"When you called me to be a Mama, You didn't ask for perfection. But that with every breath, I'd point them to You."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May 18th

Today, May 18th, holds a lot of special memories for me. Five years ago today I was blessed to witness my niece Ella come into the world. (At the time I watched her birth I had no idea she would one day be my niece). Four years ago today, Cody proposed to me at Ella's first birthday party. It was at Ella's birth in the hospital that Cody said he first knew he wanted to get to know me better. What a cool date on our calendar every year.

Looking back at Ella's day of birth... here's what stands out. I remember my phone beeping at around 4:30 in the morning -- a text message from Cassi saying "Start praying." I still laugh when I think about that text message. Leave it to Cassi to be so vague. I immediately shot out of bed and called her... "What do you mean -- start praying??!" "Baby's coming," she said. We had planned for a long time for me to be one of the people in the room with her when she gave birth so I had been looking forward to this day for quite a while. Cassi's mom was driving her to the hospital and had stopped at a gas station to get coffee on the way -- so Cassi was sitting in the car waiting when I talked to her. "Just go back to sleep," she said. "I'll call you when we get checked into the hospital."

Yea right... of course I couldn't get back to sleep after that! I remember lying in bed for almost two hours watching re-run episodes of "Roseanne" on TV just dying for her next phone call telling me to head on over to Covenant Hospital. Finally somewhere between 6:00/7:00 a.m. she told me they were ready for me.

Later in the morning was when I got my first glimpse of Cody at the hospital. Prior to that day I had only seen him in person once... and at that first sighting he had a head full of thick curly hair. Now here we were, Cassi in intense labor, and he shows up at the hospital around lunch time with a shaved head... looking like a completely different person... peeking into Cassi's hospital room with their dad Tim. And being somewhat typical men... Tim decided they would go eat lunch so that they could duck out of there for the most intense moments of labor before Cassi finally got her epidural.

A few hours after that a beautiful little girl was born. (And if Cassi ever makes public the picture of me sobbing in the background while she holds Ella for the first time -- I might have to hurt her!) I was just so happy to finally meet the little girl that had brought me and Cassi so close together during the previous nine months.

*This picture was taken right after Ella opened her eyes.

*Holding her the morning after she was born.

*The second time that I babysat her. I don't have a picture from the first time. I think it's because I remember her sleeping the entire time... in my arms of course.

I can't believe she is five and about to start kindergarten this fall!! Happy birthday Ella!

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To celebrate Ella's first birthday, Cassi planned a gathering at the Eagle City Winery. Everyone... and I do mean everyone... knew that Cody was going to be proposing to me that night. Everyone except for me of course.

*Reading Ella one of her new books she received... just seconds before Cody got down on one knee.

*Here I am watching Ella with one of her new toys... but notice Cody in the background... ring box in hand...

...And then it happened! So glad we have this moment caught on camera... even though the picture is a bit blurry.


*This was the box that the ring was in during Ella's party... disguised as though it were one of Ella's birthday presents. Clever.

*The first flowers Cody ever gave me were pink roses that he had sent to the UNI football office when I was an assistant up there during my senior year at UNI. They were for our first Valentine's Day together. These pictured above were the roses he gave me right after he asked me to marry him. So what flowers did we use for our wedding?? Pink and white roses of course.


*To this day Cody still insists that I never actually said, "Yes." I have to remind him that my excitement, the acceptance of the ring, the hug and the kiss and the fact that we did indeed get married was my way of saying, "yes."

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Tonight we are once again gathering with family to celebrate Ella's birthday. A park, some pizza... and two little kids of our own to enjoy it with. Happy May 18th!