Monday, April 25, 2016

Life Lately.

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind. I had a few rough weeks of school, with assignments on top of exams on top of research papers on top of group presentations on top of more assignments. Needless to say, it's been a busy semester. I can't believe the last week of class is next week.

I registered for my last semester of college last week and I'm still coming to terms with it. As excited as I am to graduate and receive my bachelor's degree, I am even more terrified of becoming a full-fledged adult.

I've also been busy with just life in general. My summer job requires quite a bit of training so I've had to go back to Houston for a meeting and then this past weekend we had a leadership retreat, which was oh so fun. I love meeting people who are passionate about what they're doing and everyone I encountered this weekend loved their job. It's not everyday you get to be surrounded by people like that.

I also found out a few weeks ago that I received the honor of being a College Scholar at The University of Texas at Austin, which means I'm in the top 20% of my class. I had no idea that this was even a thing until a month ago, and I was (and still am) overwhelmed with pride and honor.

And just last week, I applied for Teach for America, which was exciting/terrifying/amazing/nerve-racking. I learned about TFA at the beginning of the semester and immediately connected with their mission. Even if I don't get accepted to TFA, just learning about them and what they do has really helped me realize that I do want to be involved in education post-graduation.

I've also been able to work on my 101 in 1001 list in the past few weeks. I ran a 5K at the Longhorn Run. I did not train at all and was actually genuinely surprised when I was able to run more than 90% of the race (the hills on campus killed me though, so I walked those). But I definitely need to start running more if I want to accomplish a 10K!

I also got to see Kacey Musgraves live!!!!!!!!!!!!! When I made my list, I had no idea I'd be able to accomplish this goal so fast! I have been wanting to see Kacey Musgraves since I discovered her music in high school. I  l o v e her and her performance, though short, was amazing. It only made me want to see her again in a smaller venue!

I also traveled to a new place: Luckenbach, Texas. Luckenbach is the cutest little country town in the middle of the Texas Hill Country. The town has been made famous by the many songs named after it, most notably of which is "Everybody's Somebody in Luckenbach, Texas." The town is home to a post office, a bar, an outdoor stage and a dance hall that I am dying to go two-steppin' in.

Life lately has been busy and stressful, but it has also been really, really great. I feel so fulfilled and fortunate to be able to do everything I'm doing. I'm looking forward to this semester ending and the start of a busy and fun summer! Until next time, H

^^^got to spend some quality time with my little man
^^^the best friend and I successfully planned a week of events for Moody College of Communication students! 
^^^got my yearly dose of exercise at the Longhorn Run 5K (and crossed an item off my 101 in 1001 list!)
^^^the best friend and I went on a day trip exploring the Hill Country a few weeks ago. We took photos with the bluebonnets, napped at Pedernales Falls, enjoyed listening to some live country music in Luckenbach and ate the most delicious italian food in Fredericksburg. 
^^^I knew the words to every song and may or may not have cried a little when Kacey Musgraves came on stage! 
^^^ I am so extremely proud and honored to be in the top 20% of my class at The University of Texas.

*Also, side note: Currently obsessed with Beyoncé's new album 'Lemonade'. It's been on repeat for the last four hours. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Hank Owen.

Oh how this sweet boy just melts my heart. I have been so in love with Hank Owen since he made his debut on March 22, 2016 at 12:52pm. He weighed a healthy 7lbs 11oz and was 19 3/4 inches long. I got to witness this little man's birth and it was quite an unforgettable experience. 

I was not supposed to be in the room for my sister's delivery. Up until the day of Hank's birth, my sister was pretty adamant that it was just going to be her and her husband in the room with the doctors. I, of course, understood this completely and planned on respecting my sister's wishes. But when the nurse told my sister she was ready to push and started clearing out the room, my sister said that mother and I could stay, so we did. 

But let me back up a little and talk a bit about the day before Hank's arrival. As I mentioned in my post last week, my sister and I spent our entire spring break trying convince the little man to come out. Even after a week of bouncing on yoga balls and eating spicy foods, my sister showed little signs of progress, which meant she had to go back to teaching and I had to go back to school. 

In hopes that Hank would decide to make his arrival before I left for school, I pushed my departure time for Austin back as late as I could. My first class wasn't until 11am on Tuesday, so I planned to leave early Tuesday morning. But, after spending my last day of Spring Break in Galveston, my parents and I got the call we had been waiting for: my sister was being admitted into the hospital. 

My sister had her regularly scheduled doctor's appointment on Monday and, at the appointment, they discovered that her water had been leaking. It hadn't completely broken yet but they were afraid of her getting an infection so they admitted her to the hospital. Within a couple of hours, my sister had been induced and given an epidural. 

The night she was admitted, she and her husband had several close friends come visit and stay at the hospital with us. It was nice; it was like the calm before the storm. There was a lot of reminiscing and many laughs. My dad, with a recorder in hand, asked my sister's friends their fondest memory of Chloe. My sister getting pantsed by her best friend in front of the football in junior high was probably the best (and most appropriate) story. 

Fast forward about fifteen hours and mister Hank was finally ready to make his debut. I will spare the gory details of the birth because believe me it. is. gory. I was honestly completely unprepared for what I witnessed in that delivery room, I should have read a book on childbirth or something beforehand. But to be able to witness my sister give birth was one of the most beautiful (and disgusting) things I have ever seen in my life. 

As beautiful as it was, Hank's birth was also one of the most stressful hours of my life. My sister pushed for an hour, which may not seem like much, but, oh man, it is. It goes by fairly fast but it's a long time to be pushing. That's an hour of taking three 10-second long pushes almost every two minutes. I'm not going to do that math (I'm a communication major for a reason) but that's A LOT of pushing. I saw the top of Hank's head for like a solid twenty minutes before the rest of his little body made it out. 

My sister had quite a few people waiting in the waiting room during her delivery and, in between pushes, I would send out a group text to my dad and grandma so they could stay updated on the progress of Hank's birth as well as update everyone else in the room. While that hour of pushing went by fairly quickly for everyone in the delivery room, that hour went by really slowly for those patiently-not-so-patiently in the waiting room. 

The first minute of Hank's arrival were quite stressful as well, as it was discovered that his umbilical cord had been wrapped around his neck during delivery. He didn't come out crying; he was quiet, limp and blue--which brought a short wave of panic over everyone in the room. But as soon as they took him under a lamp to warm him up, he let out his first cry and we were all flooded with relief. 

The second I laid eyes on that little man, I was in love. I can't even begin to describe the feeling. I truly never knew I could ever love something so little so much so fast. When I finally had leave Hank just two days after his birth, it was so much harder than I ever expected; I cried for almost half of my drive back to Austin. 

I went back home this past weekend to see my little man again and I still can't accurately put into words how much I adore him. He is so sweet, I just cuddled him all weekend long. I love being an aunt (the whole two weeks I've been one) but watching my sister become a mother has been one of the best things about all this. She's slipped into the role of being a mom so effortlessly; she truly is a natural. It's been really amazing to watch her take care of Hank. Without even realizing it, she inspires me and encourages me to be a better person. 

I hope Hank knows just how many people love him. I can't wait to watch my little man grow up and conquer the world. 

*Also, disclaimer: as much as I would like to take credit for Hank's newborn photos, The Johnson Camp Photography took these beautiful photos of my little man!