#FirstRealEvansVacationEver2016

So, the Evans clan spent the week before Thanksgiving in Florida, on St. George Island, and it was fantastic! I really can’t wait to go back!!!

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There were a ton of shells the first day on the beach. Didn’t see them to quite this extent the rest of the week.

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Oh, yeah. He had fun. Until he came down with a fever the next to the last day there.😦

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We rented a couple of kayaks, and they were so much fun! So glad we did!

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Ryan did really well with the water. He liked it coming to about his knees, but would then run back up, and continue with his more important work of digging. I was fine with this; I didn’t have to worry about him around the water.🙂

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The off-season beach life… TAKE ME BACK!

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Not the greatest picture, but I had to include it. I’m not sure I know anyone else who would actually take boffers to the beach. Love my family!

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See? The WHOLE beach to ourselves. It was amazing!

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It was chilly the first couple of days we were there, especially in the mornings, but the water was too captivating to stay in side!

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Shot looking down from our third floor balcony.

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Gloriana had me up earlier than I would have liked on vacation, but I did get to see a couple of beautiful sunrises!

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— And here I skip a day of adventure which deserves a post of its own, and involves rather more story-telling than I have time or inspiration for at the moment. —

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Morning walks on the beach, coffee in hand, were one of my favorite things. One morning Sam and I saw the dolphins playing about 25 yards out. It was amazing to watch!

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He loved running up and down the beach as we walked slowly along behind him.

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A couple of the days were really still, and the water was amazingly clear. I actually braved the water (without a kayak) those days. The other days were breezy enough for me not to want to get too wet.

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❤ my dork!

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The last full day came with the biggest swells we’d seen all week. They had a lot of fun playing in them. Sam and I were dealing with a sick moose, but we made it down to watch a couple times, and Sam went out when Ryan was napping in the afternoon.

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I may have preferred the calmer, clearer days, but the wind did make for some picturesque waves!

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Looking down to the beach from our balcony.

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Postcard worthy.

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Our lovely rental, Sea Rose.

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I’m ready to go back. Can we please go back?!

Florida Critters

Mostly pelicans, to be totally honest.

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That’s how they land when they’re catching fish… Somehow I didn’t realize that until this trip! I was fascinated, always almost expecting them to have trouble recovering or something.

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I call it: “Bird on Water” in the style of the Impressionism’s great masterpiece names…

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Yes, that’s a leaping dolphin in the background there. Sam and I saw them so much closer than that, but were too enthralled to remember pictures until they got farther away.

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Some friends of Sam’s grandparents live on St George Island, and they have one of the cutest dogs!

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Review Time!

Let’s see… Since my last post in the first week of SEPTEMBER (!!! So much for my once a month goal…), a lot has happened. Gloriana passed 3, 4 and 5 months. She is getting heavy, can almost sit up, rolls over easily (and then gets mad until she rolls herself back over), and is teething like CRAZY. Ryan’s vocabulary is improving by the day, and he’s to that amusing stage where he says things that in theory mean the same as what he actually means, for example: yesterday I went Christmas shopping, and I told him I was going to drop him off with “The kids.” Ever since then, he’s been telling me that I “put him down with the boys.” Can’t believe he’s going to be three in less than 2 weeks! Sam got a new (his old?) job at SMI, and he’s loving it! I’m so glad; it’s a much better fit for him! I had my 26th birthday, which struck me as incredibly weird – not bad, just weird – being closer to 30 than 20 or something. I’m still taking everything day by day, and I’m very much enjoying my life these days.

We had an awesome Reformation Day event where one of the families hosted the church, and the whole day was full of games, dancing, food, and fellowship. We’ve been to TN a couple times. Once for my amazing friend, Tricia Ann’s wedding. For that trip, Ryan, Gloriana, and I rode down with Daddy and stayed the whole week before, and Sam came down the day before the wedding. That was a strange week, to be away from him for so long. Ryan was desperate for some daddy-time when we got back home! The other trip was this past weekend, for Thanksgiving, but I’m getting ahead of myself. A couple weeks before Thanksgiving the whole Evans clan headed down to St. George Island, Florida for some much needed rest, relaxation, and family time! We had SO much fun, and have already started planning next year’s trip!😀

We’ve not been great about taking a lot of pictures, but we’re going to keep trying to do better. Moments around the holidays always tend to remind me that next year’s events may look very different, and I want to remember all the good times.

With that, I’ll end this post, since that teething baby has me typing one handed at the moment. Hoping to get another post up with a few pictures from our FL trip, ones that don’t require much, if any, commentary.🙂

 

 

 

A Day in the Windy City

Creative title, eh?😉

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Our first destination! We carpooled with friends from church, and thoroughly enjoyed exploring the Shedd Aquarium.

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It was Melinda’s idea for all of us to go for her birthday! An excellent idea; I hope she had as lovely a time as we did! We got to the aquarium a few minutes before it opened, and, by the look of the lines when we left shortly after lunch, I’m sure glad we did!

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Ryan enjoyed watching the fish. In one section they had it set up so you could touch lake sturgeon, and I’m pretty sure that was his favorite part. He’s been talking about it quite a bit since we left that area!

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Reflections!

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I enjoyed this tank. Those tiny, blue fish were captivating.

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Spider crabs. Those things were HUGE!

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A very big snapper!

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“It was dark.”

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Ryan enjoyed all the turtles; so did I.

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Y’all know I had to.😀

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The skyline was fascinating!

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So we got a family picture. (Gloriana was in the ergo most of the day, and did wonderfully!)

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Such a skyline, on such a lake! It was beautiful to visit!

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After exploring the aquarium, we walked to The Bean. On the way, we passed this beautiful fountain.

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Streets like this always fascinate me!

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The scale of the big city had this country girl staring up and feeling a bit of vertigo!

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Obligatory Bean picture.

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The architecture…!

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More skyline interest. I was intrigued by the way the old and the new were all there, mixed and mingled in a way that made the city feel unique, new, and historic all at the same time (as it is, I suppose).

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We rested in the shade around The Bean before Justin drove us around some of downtown (where I gawked at the gorgeous buildings, but didn’t take any pictures), and to our final destination: dinner at Connie’s Pizza. I finally got to try real, Chicago-style, deep dish pizza!!! It was really good! Unfortunately, I was so hot and dehydrated by the time we got there, that I mostly filled up on water, and couldn’t eat much pizza. That just means we’ll have to go back.😉

I had a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to go back sometime (sooner than later please?)! I want to explore some of the museums and restaurants, and go back to The Bean (for a keychain, from the shop I didn’t realize was there), and see the amazing buildings again! Maybe we can find somewhere to go up and look down and out over the city; that would be cool!

Couldn’t wait to share these

I was going to try to wait – mostly because I’m tired, my computer’s almost dead, and I’d have to gt up to plug it in. But these few were too cute not to give them a quick edit and throw them up on here.🙂

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The day before she turned 2 months… and now we’re rapidly approaching 3 months!

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“Oh, I’m not going to cause you any trouble ever!” Uh-huh…

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The last 2 are from yesterday. She was being even more smiley than usual!

Life Snapshots

These pretty much sum up life right now, especially if you add in a few toddler meltdowns, and a bunch more diapers.

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Cannot believe this girl is almost 2 months old now!

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She is so smiley and happy!

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I really think Gloriana would smile most readily at Ryan if he would only stay back a bit. He can be overly affectionate sometimes, but it’s kinda sweet to watch (while making sure he doesn’t accidentally smother her).

Gloriana Karis

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Introducing our sweet baby squashy, Gloriana Karis Evans. She was born at home at 9:41pm, Saturday, June 18th, 2016. She was 7lbs 1 oz, and 21″ long, and we are so, so happy. We are extremely thankful for our amazing birth team. Everything went so smoothly, though I did end up needing to have an episiotomy (8-10 minutes into pushing, baby was crowning, but the cord was – we’re guessing – pinched between her head and her fist, causing her heart rate to drop, so the wonderful midwives made the call to get baby out quickly, especially important since this was a VBAC.), which will make recovery longer, but, as I keep telling everyone who cringes when they hear that, it’s WAY better than the c-section!

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We are over-the-moon to be recovering at home, and for the strongest medications I’ve had to take being ibuprofen. I feel alive this time, and I think I’ll probably be able to remember Gloriana’s first 2 weeks, unlike Ryan’s.:/

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So far, Gloriana has been an amazing baby too. She sleeps well, nurses fine, and cries very little. Even when she does fuss, it’s not the incessant crying and screaming that I have vague memories of with Ryan. Could be personality, could be type and place of birth, could be lack of medications. I don’t know, and I don’t really care. I’m just loving it while it lasts!

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Ryan loves “his baby”. He wants to hold her all the time, and doesn’t want to give her up. It’s been such a blessing watching him love her. The night she was born was the first, and so far only, night he’s been away from us all night, and it was very strange not having him there, but I know it was more restful, after a long day of working quite hard.

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— Stop reading here, if you’re not interested in the probably-TMI details of the day —

Regular, hard contractions, 10-15 minutes apart (with little, crampy things in between), started around 6:30am. I’m thankful for a full night of sleep before labor! So, thinking things would probably stop as they had for the past 3 weeks or so, we cleaned everything up at home (just in case), and headed to the market for some cold-brew, nitro coffee floats and fresh pretzels. Those vendors are on opposite ends of the market, so the walking kept the contractions going every 10 minutes or so.

After that, we headed up to the Evans’ house, and started laundry and smoking bacon. The contractions completely stopped up there, so Sam and I left Ryan, and headed back home – just to see if they’d start again. They did. Apparently labor is a SUPER mental thing, and I don’t like being around anybody other than Sam.😛 I was extremely thankful for the birth ball as the contractions got closer together, stronger, and longer. I would lean over it, rock, grip Sam’s hands, and breathe through the hard ones. Sam was so wonderful at helping me to remember to relax and breathe. Eventually the contractions moved to about 7 minutes apart, lasting 70-90 seconds. Sam called his mom, and again contractions seems to slow down. Like I said, apparently I don’t like being around anybody except Sam, even people I love, and have been looking forward to having at the  birth for months.

Sam and I decided to go for a walk on the trails nearby, and the contractions started again. When we got back, I headed straight for the bed. I continued to have some contractions, though they had slowed to about 10 minutes apart again. Mrs. Evans went home, and Sam and I had lunch and watched a show, then decided to try to nap, in case things picked up again. I fell asleep quickly, but was awakened 15 minutes later with a big contraction. Then fell asleep again, then another contraction 15 minutes after that. Did that for 5 contractions before I decided to get in the shower to see what happened. Sam was still asleep, but I knew he’d realize I was gone before too long. This was around 4pm. Contractions continued through the shower, and continued to get closer together, and I stopped watching the clock.

At some point (I think 6-ish), Sam called his mom back down. I wasn’t paying attention. Sam said I had my eyes closed from about then until the pushing stage. I couldn’t open them; I was focused, very focused, on relaxing, breathing, making sure I went to the bathroom often, staying hydrated, making sure a contraction wouldn’t start somewhere I would hurt myself or the baby if I fell to the floor to breathe, etc… It may have been at this time-ish that I decided I was exhausted, and didn’t really care if lying down slowed contractions. I hated contracting on my side, but I felt too tired to hold myself up anymore. And it was good. I was able to fall asleep in between contractions (made them seem like 30 minutes apart, instead of the 2-4 minutes it really was). I was there when the first small urge to push started, and I was there when the midwives arrived and started checking on everything.

From here on, things are really a blur. I went to the bathroom. I got in the pool. I HAD to push. I pushed for about 10 minutes, and the midwives decided the baby’s heart rate was slowing a little more than they were comfortable with. They got me out of the pool (no idea how!), and were trying to get me to the bed when another pushing contraction hit, and I was on the floor. They encouraged me to get the baby out quickly, to stop screaming, to moan low, and force all my energy with the contraction to get this baby out! She was close, but not close enough. They broke my water, but she still wasn’t coming quickly enough. I heard the terrifying word “episiotomy,” and I panicked. My awesome midwife challenged me “Okay, we won’t do it if you can get the head out with this next contraction! Don’t scream.” I don’t feel like I was in the best position for pushing, but I don’t really know. All I know is I pushed with everything I had, and there was still no baby, and there were scissors. It was very scary, but I was able to calm down knowing that my wonderful midwife wouldn’t have even CONSIDERED episiotomy if it hadn’t been truly necessary. However, I was still a little panicky because I really had not idea what was going on. I had a vague feeling that it might have had something to do with the baby’s heart rate, but at that point, I didn’t really know. I was extremely worried that something was very badly wrong.

And it probably could have been, but the baby came out in the next 2-3 contractions after the episiotomy. They had everything right there and ready in case she wouldn’t start breathing on her own, but she did, right away. She cried for a second, long enough to assure everyone that she was fine. Praise the Lord! After delivering the placenta (which was like nothing… for some reason I had thought it would be, not as bad as the baby, but not easy.), they got me to the bed, and baby and I had our “sacred hour.” It was beautiful. I wasn’t left alone to recover from the c-section drugs. I didn’t have to worry or wonder where my baby and husband were, and wonder what they were having to deal with. They were right there. With me. I was tired, yes, but I wasn’t drugged tired. It was amazing, and pretty much not even comparable to a  c-section birth.

After that hour, the midwives checked over me and baby. Baby went out to visit with my parents (who I am so grateful had stayed up waiting for me to deliver for something like 11 days! and who brought us Steak and Shake at midnight!). And then I got stitched up. Honestly, even with the numbing shots, this was the hardest part for me. I felt very used up at this point, and it was extremely difficult to stay relaxed.

Once that was mercifully over, baby was brought back, food was delivered, and Mama and Daddy came in for a quick visit. And then we settled in for our first night. Mrs. Evans stayed with us that night, and we all (except perhaps her) slept as well as can be expected, and better than I expected!

Ryan was dropped off the next morning, and immediately loved holding his sister.

Family visited throughout the afternoon after church, and I was already able to be up and out of bed. It was amazing, and has continued to be awesome!

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Catching Up

So, I remembered the other day that I hadn’t gone through the last few pictures on my camera from our trip to TN last month. Been kinda busy since we got home.🙂

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Nerf guns are something of an obsession with him these days.

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His first experience with a sprinkler. I think he liked it at first, but then decided he didn’t want to get wet.

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“Helping” mix up punch for the wedding, and eating the leftover bits of cheese.

Since we’ve been home we’ve been working on getting everything ready for the baby (TWO MORE WEEKS UNTIL THE DUE DATE!!! … but I’d be okay if she decided to come tonight. lol). We got a lot of stuff done Saturday a couple weeks ago, and ever since then Ryan asks me a couple times a day or more if “baby born? Baby m’out? Doon?” Yes, soon, and yet forever. So, we’ve also been trying to stay busy. Done pretty well overall. Lots of park going, walk taking, and generally weather enjoying (SO much nicer to be at this point in the spring than in the winter!). Still, it is getting harder and harder not to be impatient. Some things have helped. I’ve found myself nesting like CRAZY lately. Feel like I’ve wiped down every surface of our main living area a dozen times in the past week. I’ve done some cooking and baking. Unfortunately we don’t really have enough freezer space to put meals away, but just knowing how awesome our family and church family is, I doubt we’ll really miss anything that much. I have really enjoyed doing so much more preparation this time around though. I think with Ryan I was so overwhelmed with… everything, that I just didn’t do hardly anything! Of course, with the way things turned out, it didn’t end up mattering too much anyway. Things are shaping up to be very different this time though, and I’m finding myself excited again! And uncomfortable and ready to be done, but definitely excited.

And now Ryan’s finally asleep, so I think I’d better go and get something done. I don’t really know what yet, but I’ll do something, and enjoy doing it without getting pulled away immediately and constantly. Never know, but this will probably be the last post until the new little one decides to show up. I can always hope anyway.😀

Tennessee Trip – April 2016

We’re down for Claire’s wedding (WHAAAT?!?!), but we came down for the whole week. Which means we get to help around the farm getting everything ready! Yesterday was meat smoking, landscaping, and ice machine repair (I think… I wasn’t present for that project.). Ryan’s goal in life was to see how grubby he could get; what he managed was… impressive. I’m thinking baths will be daily while we’re here, at least, as long as the weather stays gorgeous and he’s running wild outside!

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