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Year of the Poppy

Year in Review!

I’m going to start this review as of December 2014, because a year ago today, on December 17, 2014 at right around this time (7AM-ish), my entire life changed. On that morning, I took what seemed like the hundredth pregnancy test in a span of the five months we had trying to get pregnant and was so certain that as soon as I peed on the stick, I was simultaneously going to get my 5-day late period – which has happened way too many times while TTC. Only this time, it was totally different. On that early morning, alone in the bathroom on that snowy December day in Montreal and John far away in Greenvillle for a few more days, I found out I was about 4 weeks pregnant with John Fredrick. I was brimming with excitement and joy and filled with about equal amounts of terror and fear. I Facetime’d John right away who was eating breakfast by himself before work in our kitchen to tell him the news and he was overjoyed – suddenly, in one moment indicated by a piece of plastic in my trembling hand, everything about our existence, our identities and our purpose had changed in the most drastic of ways. This microscopic freckle of a life would now be the center of our universe – and there is no way to mentally prepare for that moment when you take on that responsibility.

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!!!!!! No Words!!!!

We have a nickname for our sweet John Fredrick, which we adopted pretty early on in the pregnancy. I had several apps on my phone that described in detail the development of the baby week by week, and they all measured the size of the baby with some sort of comparison with a fruit or vegetable. At 4 weeks pregnant, our baby was an impressive 2mm, comparable to the size of a poppy seed. Our hearts were overjoyed and the nickname Poppy was born. He has been Poppy to us since that day, and it’s a name we use on a very regular basis since he is probably used to hearing it from the womb.

Thinking back on this day a year ago, and then looking around me to see how far we have come and how much our lives have changed (not just with Poppy) in the past 365 days, I wanted to recount the past 12 months. This is my last morning in our house in 2015, since we will be hitting the road early tomorrow morning and it makes me so happy to think back on this amazing year and a bit sad to say goodbye to it. So here we go, a month by month recap of some of the memorable things that have happened in the past year:

December 2014: Found out we were pregnant!

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How we announced our pregnancy to John’s family!

January 2015: I was still “stuck” in Canada and endured another (and hopefully my last) -40 Degree winter in Montreal. John and I took a 4-night trip to Club Intrawest in Mont-Tremblant (an amazing resort!) and our car wouldn’t start twice because of the extreme cold. I couldn’t snowboard because Poppy was still so little. To be honest, I couldn’t do very much of anything since I felt so sick! So we just sat by the fire, watched a bunch of Friday Night Lights, ate Kraft Dinner and drank hot chocolate.

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-40 Degrees in Mont Tremblant – a real Canadian Winter, eh?

 

February 2015: Still stuck in Canada during my first trimester. So hard to go through it without John and not know when I could get my green card to come back to the US. But late that month – found out I would be having my interview at the embassy in March, so yay! Also – had our first Ultrasound at 12 weeks and we got to see Poppy’s heart beat for the first time, he even waved.

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St-Mary’s – first ultrasound!
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Poppy waving to Mama and Dada!

 

March 2015: BECAME A U.S. PERMANENT RESIDENT after 2 years since applying, with 7 months stuck in Canada and not allowed to enter the States. Moved back to Greenville on March 14th and did our 17-hr road trip with our little Poppy, now growing steadily in the 2nd trimester, and his presence was now announced to all our friends and family! We also had our first appointment with the Midwives at Greenville Midwifery Care and started our journey to prepping for a natural, unmedicated childbirth!

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April 2015: POPPY IS A BOY! We really thought he was a girl and we were in shock for a few days (haha) but we are beyond ecstatic we were going to have a bouncing baby boy in our arms in just a few months. Also – I became an Aunt to my sweet nephew, K’ian Axl – so fun that he and John Fredrick are going to grow up together!! This month I really started to feel settled back in to Greenville. GOT A JOB!! I was so happy (and proud of myself!) for getting my first job in the USA at 24 weeks pregnant! Worked with some very amazing ladies at Clothes Mentor on Haywood Road. Ladies, if you have never been – you must check it out, they have beautiful clothes for amazing deals.

 

 

May 2015: Went on our first babymoon to Myrtle Beach during Biker Week (not intentional!). We had an amazing time at the beach, looking at all the rad bikes, and showing off and tanning my late 2nd trimester baby bump all over the beach! On the 31st of that month we also became members at our wonderful church, Pendleton Street Baptist Church, where John and I were baptized together. We also finished our childbirth preparation classes with Jen Hutchison’s Lamaze-based class Your Childbirth Journey. This class was absolutely integral to our natural childbirth and Jen is absolutely amazing! Love you, Jen!

June 2015: Did our maternity photos at home with Andrea Joy Photography in Greenville. We wanted to capture our lives (finally) here at home in Greenville as we await our baby boy. Travelled back to Montreal for 2 wonderful baby showers thrown by my beautiful family. 30 weeks pregnant, and flew back to Greenville by myself with all our baby shower gifts was no easy task.

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July 2015: Celebrated July 4th at Myrtle Beach! We got maternity photos taken at the beach and this time it was hot and busy! And I was 35 weeks pregnant, and pretty much feeling like a beached whale – but loved every moment and memory about it. Also had a wonderful baby shower put together by our amazing church family. We are so blessed! John was also part of the VBS drama again this year – so Poppy got to hear his Dada on stage. Next year hopefully he will be able to watch him in action!

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My favourite 1-year apart Transformation July 2014 and July 2015 at 34 weeks pregnant!

August 2015: Mom and Dad came on the 4th and was so happy to spend time with them as we counted down the days until….the 14th when John Fredrick McAleer III was born!!! The love of our lives, Poppy was now in the flesh and our joy grew exponentially!! As if you couldn’t tell, I’m obsessed with our son!

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With Mommy and Daddy, 5 days before giving birth!
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My Poppy at 30 weeks, and then 5 days old.

 

September 2015: I turned the big 3-0 this month! What an amazing year this has been. I got a beautiful Tiffany necklace from John and a Sakura Bloom silk ring sling, both of which I wear pretty much on a daily basis. I got to celebrate with my amazing husband, my sweet John Fredrick, Mom, Dad, my brother, my sister in law and my nephew AND my amazing in laws on John’s side. This has been a whirlwind of a month. The only sad part was having to say goodbye to my parents again until next August.

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Love my Family!

 

October 2015: Poppy’s first autumn and Halloween festivities this month made it super fun. After weeks of wonderful visits from family – which we absolutely loved – we finally go our house back to ourselves and could settle in to our little family life.

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Pumpkin Picking…rather, sleeping.

November 2015: John and I celebrated our 3-year wedding anniversary this month! We love travelling and have done trips for the past two years on our anniversary but this year, we took it easy with little Popster (a Poppy nickname ha!) and just had a yummy sushi dinner and relaxed at home with a hot chocolate. Celebrated our first American Thanksgiving with John Fredrick and decorated our first family tree!

December 2015: Brought Poppy to see Santa (twice) and enjoyed all the amazing Christmas festivities with our sweet son. John and I LOVE Christmas so this was so much fun to have our baby boy with us this year. Oh yea – and I also started a blog 🙂

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Friendships: I had SO many pregnant friends this year to share this journey with it’s amazing!! Another wonderful blessing this year was that, during and after my pregnancy, I surrounded myself with women and people who supported our birth goals and views and we made so many new and amazing friends. Really. We have been so blessed this year, and I am so thankful for the new friendships that I started this year. You know who you all are!

Well, if you got to end of this post – you are awesome!  That was my year in a “short” recap, I know I missed a lot of other memorable moments. This year started off joyful, but difficult since I was still stuck in Canada, apart from John and waiting for my immigration to hopefully come through….everything was so uncertain and it was so hard on my heart. We just weren’t sure where God even wanted us to be. I just wanted to be home with my baby in my belly and my husband back in Greenville, but our hearts were open to the possibility that that wasn’t where God wanted us to be. We were just tired of the uncertainty! Our prayers were answered and every day has been such a wonderful blessing. Life goes so fast, I think it’s important to take a few moments, deep breaths to remember and look back on the days behind us both good and bad. Then once those moments are over, prepare yourself for the adventures ahead. I can’t imagine how 2016 can even begin to measure up…but I know it will in its own way.

Take a few moments to yourself in your busy day and think….What are some of your memorable moments in 2015??

Love y’all – maybe in 2016 I will adopt some of the Southern slang? Merry Week before Christmas!

xx

Jill

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