Friday, July 31, 2009

I've Got An Itch

Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that I've been cleaning and organizing like a crazy wierdo the last couple of days. I've cleaned out every closet and made bags to take to Good Will of clothes that we either don't fit in (because they are way TOO BIG!!!) or just simply no longer wear. I've cleaned under the beds, re-organized our closets and drawers, and de-cluttered our bathroom cabinets. I've even gone as far as to take ALL of the clothes that Reagan has outgrown and I've organized them by size. I then packed all the clothes into those space-age vacuum sealed storage bags. Those bags are now stored away in bins that are labeled by size ranging from premie/newborn up to 2T. There are over 10 extra-large over-sized Rubbermaid storage bins full of her clothes now. Needless to say, she has a lot of clothes. If the next child is a girl, then we will have nothing to worry about.

What's that you say? Next child?

No, I am not pregnant. Yes, I am thinking about it. I'm thinking about it ALL THE DANG TIME it seems. I see pregnant women every where I turn. If the women aren't pregnant, then they are holding or nursing a newborn. Or, I'll see two or three sisters all dressed alike looking so adorable and cute while walking through the mall. Or at the park. Or at the pool. Like I said... ALL THE DANG TIME!

Our original plan was to start trying for our second child sometime last Fall. Those of you who have been reading this blog since that time may remember all of the stress and strain that we went through with Ryan's back surgeries at the end of last year and the beginning of this year. Ryan was on some pretty heavy duty pain medications, one of which stated directly on the label, "Do not plan to get pregnant or father a child while taking this medicine." Um, alrighty then. So much for our plan for child number two at that time! We were told we would need to wait at least two months for all of the drugs to be out of Ryan's system before we could start trying again, so that put us looking at April of this year. But something happened during that time that I never told any of you in blog-land about...

The day before Ryan's third surgery, I went to my family doctor on the verge of a nervous breakdown. You see, I had suffered from clinical depression once before a long time ago, so I knew that all my signs and symptoms were pointing in that direction. I was scared to death for Ryan, but I wouldn't let him know it. I was trying to shoulder his fears as well as my own, all while still putting on a happy face for our daughter and doing my best to keep life as normal as possible for her. But on the inside, I was falling apart. I would hide in the bathroom to cry, or I would cry in Reagan's room after I had watched her fall asleep. I was a nervous wreck. My doctor put me on an anti-depressant, Effexor, and he also prescribed a mild sedative, Serax. At my request, I was only put on what is considered to be a half dosage of each of these medicines. I wanted relief, but I knew that I needed to be able to keep a level head as I was pretty much a single parent taking care of my daughter and my husband at that time.

The medicine helped. The sedative provided me with immediate relief, and within two weeks, the anti-depressant had kicked in. My doctor and I both agreed that I would need to stay on them for some time in order to get things back to a normal state for me. So, the plan to get pregnant was pushed back even further. Sure, the dosage that I was taking would probably have had no effect on an unborn child, but I wasn't going to take the chance.

But guess what... as of yesterday, I am completely off of both medications! I've been off of the sedative for over a month now, and I've been slowly weening off of the anti-depressant for the last three weeks. Maybe the fact that I am now physically "allowed" to get pregnant is the reason that I can't stop thinking about getting pregnant. Or maybe it is just time! Regardless, I've got an itch! We do still plan to wait until later this year to actually start trying though. The next three months are my busiest months with weddings, and I don't want to be working 12-14 hour wedding days every weekend while feeling nauseous and exhausted from the first trimester of a pregnancy. So, it will probably be November or December before we really start trying. But in the meantime, Ryan says that we need to do a LOT of practicing. ahem...

Truthfully, I want two more children! I would love to add both a son and another daughter to our family. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens...

I would like to say that for anyone reading this post who is filled with anxiety, fear, sadness or depression, please know that there is NOTHING wrong with asking for help. I'll be honest, I was scared and ashamed to admit that I needed help. But a very dear friend of mine made me realize that I had nothing to be ashamed about. She told me that she was extremely proud of me for being wise enough to realize that I couldn't do it all on my own, and that she was even more proud of me for being courageous enough to ask for help. I of course cried when she told me that! But those tears were happy tears. It made me feel so relieved to know that I wasn't being judged, and it made me feel so relaxed to know that she understood. So for anyone reading this, please know that I will not judge, and I will understand. Feel free to send me a private email using my CONTACT ME button located on my right sidebar if you ever would like to talk and do not want to leave a public comment...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Let's Rock Out

Seriously, where does this child get her energy? This video was taken tonight just after 7:00 pm... after a day spent at the lake in the hot sun for over three hours! I'm ready to just crawl in bed... she's ready to ROCK OUT!

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Home Again

I'm in the process of catching up on all my favorite blogs... it's going to take me a few evenings to read the over 200 posts that you all have written in the past week... but I will get it done! I can't wait to see what y'all have been up to while I've been gone...

We're back home from our vacation to NC. As always, the trip seemed far too short once it came time to return back home. We enjoyed every single second that we were there... except for when we had to say goodbye!

Our last few days were just as busy and fun as the rest, and of course I have the pictures for you to prove it!

Auntie Anna joined us for a trip over to Holden Beach to play in the ocean. Reagan seriously thinks that Auntie Anna is the coolest Auntie in the world...
Ryan & I joined in on the fun in the waves as well...
Once we were all full of ocean salt and sand, we headed on over to the water slides for more fun. Anna & I both commented on how much smaller the water slides looked now that we were adults. When we used to go to those slides as kids, they always seemed so much bigger! I'm sure that in Reagan's eyes, they were monster-sized...
One of Reagan's many requests of Momsey & Pops was that she wanted to see fireworks while we were visiting. Pops put on a grand display the first night that we were there, and then he put on an even bigger show our last night there. I don't have any pics of the actual fireworks, but Reagan has discovered that she loves sparklers...
The entire trip was amazing as we did so many fun and memorable things each and every day. And it was the perfect relaxing holiday as well that we all so desperately needed. On the ride to take us to the airport on Saturday afternoon, Momsey asked Reagan what she would miss the most about the beach. Reagan was very quiet for a few seconds, and she had a very serious look on her face. She then turned to my Mom and said, "I'm going to miss you and Pops the most." I fought back the tears as best I could... Reagan on the other hand decided that it was time to cry, and she began to chant over and over again, "I don't want to go home. I want to stay with Momsey & Pops. I don't want to go home. I want to stay with Momsey & Pops..." Needless to say, I shed a tear or two at this point!

Thank you again Momsey & Pops for a fabulous vacation. Ryan and I both agree with Reagan... YOU are what makes our time at the waterway all the more special!
It's going to be a long 5 months until we go see them again at Christmas...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Does Ryan Even Know How To Relax?

It's a rare thing to see my husband relaxing. It's as if Ryan's body is physically incapable of sitting still. Even here, at the waterway, he still goes looking for some sort of work to do. Prime example... the other day at low tide he decided to scrape all of the barnacles off of the family pier.
He practically begged the neighbor that lives behind us to let him trim a few of the overgrown hedges that were growing in the neighbor's yard. And knowing him, he will probably cut the grass before we leave just so my dad doesn't have to do it. That's Ryan... always working!

At least here at the waterway, he does slow down a little. He loves to fish, and he will sit on the end of the pier with a fishing pole in his hand for hours on end. He really loves it when Pops takes him out deep sea fishing, especially when they have a great day of fishing like they did on Tuesday...
My Dad gave him a few lessons on how to properly clean the fish, and then he also "schooled" Ryan on how to clean the crabs that we caught just off the end of the pier.

We only have a couple of days left in our vacation, and Ryan and I both always hate it when the time comes to head back home to the real world. Reagan now feels the same way too. But with the time that we have left, we plan to do a little more playing, have a lot more fun, and we'll even work on perfecting Ryan's relaxing skills a bit more. Seriously, how can you not relax here?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

When I Grow Up

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while already know that I used to dream of being the next Mary Lou Retton. But, I bet you didn’t know that I also dreamed of being the next Kristi Overton!

That’s right… I had dreams of being a professional and competitive water skier. I’ll let you in a little secret… I still hold on to that dream!
Reagan… she’s still in that decision-making stage. She too has dreams of a gymnastics career, as you well know. But she also is starting to show some interest in the water sports.

Will she be a surfer?
Will she be a stunt lady on the tube?
Or will she be a jet skier?
Only time will tell for sure!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sunset Harbor

In 1955, my Great-Grandfather and Great-Grandmother, Ralph and Sarah Myers (aka “Pop & Mom” Myers) purchased two lots of land on the Intracoastal Waterway in Sunset Harbor, NC. Years later, those two lots were divided among their three children, and three family vacation homes were put into place. Pop Myers’ two cousins also purchased the land and two houses beside the existing three family homes so that there is now a cluster of five homes within the family that sit right along the water.

Growing up, I spent most of my summers at our family waterway beach home. I didn’t always appreciate the slow-paced charm of Sunset Harbor and the waterway. I would often envy my friends who would tell stories of their trips to the popular tourist vacation spot of Myrtle Beach or Cherry Grove. What I realize now is that my friends were the ones who were missing out. While they may have memories of roller coasters and busy boardwalks, I have memories of large family gatherings that were lazy and leisurely.

I have countless memories of time spent at the waterway with all of the families together. My cousins and I would play hide and seek when the tide was too low to swim, we would build houses out of decks of cards and work puzzles on rainy days, we would jump off of the pier into the waterway to cool off on a super hot day, we would cast for fish, dig for clams, and pull crabs up in the basket. I can close my eyes and still see my Poppy (my Grandfather) taking a nap in the hammock after sipping on his lemonade and I can see my Maw Dot (my Grandmother) hiding Easter eggs for us to find in the branches of the old oak trees. I can still hear all of our screams as we would ride on the tube behind the boat, begging to go faster and actually wanting to be thrown off! I will never forget how proud I was of myself the first time I got up and stayed up on water skis. I remember staying up to watch Haley’s Comet with my Aunt Chippy and watching my Dad shoot fireworks off of the end of the pier. The memories are endless for me…

It is truly just a different way of life at the waterway. Days are planned by the sun and the tides, not by the clock. Life is simple and relaxed. Even at the young age of three, Reagan already understands and appreciates this way of life at the beach. She summed it up best last night when she looked up at me and said, “Mommy, it’s so peaceful here. Today was the best day ever.” My heart filled with joy as I listened to her say those words.

Yes, my sweet child. You are correct.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

In Case You Were Wondering

Just in case you were wondering what we've been up to the past couple of days...

We've been catching lizards...
We've been bike riding...
We've been eating the World's Largest Sucker...
We've been playing volleyball with our cousin...
We've been eating ice cream...
We've been getting all dressed up to go out to dinner...
We've been kite flying...
What have you been up to?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

At The Beach

We’re here! Our relaxing get-away vacation has officially begun!

Reagan was so excited to go and see Momsey and Pops that she was EXTREMLY hyper all day long. I mean, she was all kinds of crazy hyper. She must have asked us a hundred times, “Are we there yet” just on the way to the airport! We flew out of Vancouver Tuesday night, and thankfully Reagan slept on the plane for the entire duration of the flight into Toronto. From there, we hopped a quick flight into Raleigh, NC, where Pops & Momsey were eagerly waiting to pick us up Wednesday morning.

We arrived at our beach house to find Auntie Anna waiting with balloons. It had been almost 18 months since we had seen my sister, so it was a very joyous reunion to say the least! Reagan didn’t leave Anna’s side the rest of the day. It got to the point where I had a hard time telling who was having the most fun playing… Reagan or Anna.
After they were tired of swimming in the waterway, they decided to try their hand at fishing. Ryan had been fishing off of the pier most of the afternoon, and he had yet to have a bite. As soon as Reagan put her line in the water, she caught a fish! She then proceeded to catch fish after fish after fish! Of course, she was practicing the “catch and release” program, so she could have just been catching the same fish over and over again! Ryan now fishes with Reagan’s purple fishing pole because he says that it is the lucky pole!
Pops and Momsey took us all out to eat last night at our favorite eating spot in the world… The Provision Company in Southport. The chili-cheeseburgers were just as good as I remembered them to be, the onion rings were nice and crispy, the crab cakes were delicious, and the beer was ice cold. It was the perfect dinner, especially considering that we went by boat to get there. The boat ride up the waterway to Southport was beautiful. At one point on the way there, I looked over at Ryan and said, “I had forgotten how much I miss being here.” His response back to me, “I could never forget!” Every time we come for a visit, we laugh and talk about buying a place of our own down here. Maybe one day…

This morning, we all slept in to try to make up for the lack of sleep from the plane ride the night before. Reagan slept on a cot in Pops & Momsey’s room, and she slept for almost 14 hours straight! Now if only I could get her to start doing that at home!

I decided to go for a run to work off all the food that I had eaten last night, but I almost died not even a half-mile into my run. It wasn’t all that hot… about 85 degrees… but it was HUMID! I had forgotten how humid it gets down here. My lungs felt like I was trying to run under water. All in all, I ran 1.8 miles on what is normally a 2.5 mile course for me. Needless to say, I did a bit of walking during my run! Hopefully it won’t take me long to re-acclimate to the Southern conditions, because I have a secret goal in mind of trying to out run my dad before we go back home!

Now, I’m off to put on my bikini and to work on my tan. I’ll try to keep updating as much as possible while we are here. But if you don’t here from me, just know that it is probably because we are too busy having FUN!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What You've Been Waiting For!

And it looks even better now that I've figured out EXACTLY how to style it!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Her First Visit to the Salon

By now, y'all are all fully aware that for the past three years, two months and two weeks, I have served as Reagan hair dresser and stylist. I gave her her first haircut when she was 14 months old, and I did a pretty good job if I do say so myself. I have always loved playing with her hair and giving her different styles...
But last week, my a portion of my stylist duties for Reagan came to end. The time had come for Reagan to discover the world of the SALON!

She was so excited to get her hair cut at Mommy's salon, but she was also a bit nervous as we discussed exactly what we were going to do.
Miss Danielle immediately helped her to relax with a little scalp massage! This is always my favorite part of my salon visits...
And then, it was time. I was so proud of my little girl as she sat perfectly still and let Danielle work her magic. Reagan was mesmerized by the whole process... especially since all the girls at the salon were treating her like such a princess. She's already told me that I can no longer cut her hair... only Miss Danielle!
I'm going to make you wait for the pictures of the finished product! A little suspense never hurt anyone, right? Reagan's new "do" will be displayed for the world to see sometime tomorrow... after Momsey & Pops and Auntie Anna see it in person when we arrive in North Carolina!

In the meantime, I'll leave you with one more picture just to tease you a little more...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The "Second" Wedding

Two weeks after our wedding (see the post below for all the details and pictures!) we got relive the moment all over again. Not the ceremony part of course, but I did get to wear my stunning gown one more time for a beautiful reception that my parents hosted for us in my hometown of Dillon, South Carolina. We realized that it was asking a lot of people to make the trip all the way across the States and then up into Canada for our actual wedding, and we wanted to be able to celebrate with those friends and family who couldn't make the trip. So on Saturday evening, July 26, 2003, we had a party! A BIG party! And like I said, other than the ceremony stuff, we did ALL of it all over again. It was awesome, and I am eternally grateful to my parents for allowing us to have the opportunity to share that experience with all of the Carolina Crew! Not many brides have the chance to do it twice with the one man of their dreams... I am one of the lucky few!

Six Years Ago - A Wedding Story

I woke up that morning, six years ago today, filled with excitement and anticipation. It was my wedding day! July 12, 2003.

My sister, Anna, and my best friend, Toni, had spent the night with me the night before, and we had all three piled into my king size bed sometime late in the evening. It was my last night as a single woman, and I loved being able to spend it with them. We laughed, told stories, had a few drinks, and at some point, we finally went to sleep! While I was in the shower the morning of the wedding, the two girls went out to get me a lavish breakfast... BURGER KING!

After breakfast, we all loaded up into my car to go to the salon for hair and makeup. My other bridesmaid, Elizabeth, met us there at the salon along with my Mom, my Grandmother, and my to-be Mother-in-law. This salon was well known for being the best in the area for wedding day up do's, and they specialized in air-brush makeup, which was the newest thing at that time. We were not disappointed!
Once we were all looking beautiful, it was time to get dressed. I was so excited to put on my wedding gown... it was the most beautiful dress that I had ever seen! And the train... it seemed to just go on forever. I remember my sister thinking that I was going to start getting really nervous around this time, so she made me a special drink that she called "The Hulk." I still to this day am not 100% sure what was in that drink, but it did make me feel all kinds of relaxed and happy! I put on my gown and just stood in my living room basking in the moment of everyone oohing and ahhing. I didn't want my Daddy to see me until I was completely ready, and it was a very special moment when he walked into the room.

Ryan and I had decided to not see each other before the wedding, but I wanted to make the most of my time with the photographers that day. We went ahead to the formal gardens to take some shots with my family, while Ryan was simultaneously taking shots with his family at a different garden.
We didn't just do family shots... we took some fun shots with our bridal party as well.
When Ryan and I were dating, he used a really cheesy pick-up line on me one night that went something along the lines of "I could get lost in your eyes." I teased him endlessly about it, and I even went as far as to buy a really big pair of sunglasses to have on the next time that I picked him up from that airport when he came for a visit. I told him that I needed to make sure that I had my eyes covered so that he didn't get lost! It seemed only appropriate that the girls and I all wore a pair on our wedding day!
And what would the Knopp boys do without hockey? They even play hockey on the golf course!
After only a few minutes of pictures, it started to rain. And I don't mean that it started to drizzle. It was a down-pour unlike anything I had seen in Langley ever before. It was raining like crazy! We ran back to the car as fast as we could. In my big dress, this was no easy thing to do! As a matter of fact, my Dad had rented a super big Expedition just so that he could transport me and my big dress around that day. I climbed into the back through the tailgate and rode in a squat position (a great leg workout I might add) with my dress spread out behind me so that nothing would wrinkle. I look back now I realize what a primadonna bridezilla that I was being. I would die if any of my bride's tried to act that way with me! However, everyone who was with me that day acted as if I was asking for nothing at all... they let me have whatever I wanted!Once we arrived at Newlands, where we were getting married, I quickly began to realize that our plan of getting married outside was not going to happen. I was disappointed, but I decided that I didn't care. I just wanted to walk down the aisle... any aisle... and marry Ryan. So, that is what we did. Newlands moved the ceremony indoors, and everything else went according to plan. My dad walked me down the aisle, and then gave me away to be Ryan's bride.
We had a bit of a laugh as we literally shoved the wedding rings onto each other's hand.
Once we were officially married, we were able to take the rest of the formal pictures as a couple!
Our wedding party was made up of those who we love the most. Pictured here from left to right are: Elizabeth, Toni, Anna, Tiff & Ryan, Kyle, Craig, Reece and Jeremy.
It's a little obvious that we were all A LOT more relaxed once the ceremony was over. It's also a little obvious that even though Ryan was now my husband, he was also still the ladies' man!
And then, the fun really began! It was time for the reception, and everyone had a blast. Ryan and I enjoyed our first dance as a married couple...
My Dad and I showed all the Canadians how to shag like we do in South Carolina...
And Ryan gave me (and the audience) quite the thrill when he removed the garter to toss! Be sure to notice my mom screaming and cheering him on in the background along with all of the bridesmaids!
The bridesmaids weren't the only ones making some noise that night. Here's a great shot of the guys singing the classic "Sweet Caroline"...
This picture of me with my sister is one of my most favorite shots from the evening.
I am amazed that even though we got married over 3500 miles away from where I grew up, I still had many people that made the trip to be with us that day. I will be forever grateful to my parents and my sister, my Grandmother Marie Smith, Toni Branson, Elizabeth Johnson, her son Kaleb & her parents Mickey & Betty Anne Miles, Bobby and Dorothy Zimmerman & their grand-daughter Bailey, Gerald and Jean Reeves, Lorraine and Jenny Hamilton, and Ralph & Lou Sasser.

It's been six years, and yet it seems like it was just yesterday. I am even more in love with my husband now that I was then, and I didn't think that it was possible to love him anymore then. He is an amazing man, an adoring father, a best friend, and a loving husband. Every day with him is a new adventure... some of them good, and some of them bad. But I wouldn't trade a single day of the last six years because they are what got us here today. Now, I'm just looking forward to what all of our tomorrows will bring.