Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Forever Ago... 2013, A Year in Review

If you were following my blog before, I must first apologize for my abrupt pause in postings.  I could give you a bunch of excuses - and some of them are really good actually- but in the end, they are just excuses... as usual... I'm trying to be better!

2013, A Year in Review

2013 was a years of incredible highs and also a few pretty significant lows.  I'm going to focus mainly on the highs - the most important of which was the birth of our son Calvin Stewart Manchester Lopez on July 7, 2013.  Also, please read my previous blog posts for all updates before the last post.
Above is the front and below is the back of the baby announcement I had every intention of sending out...

As of my last official blog post, David and I had just returned from our "Babymoon" to Hawaii.  It was my first time traveling across the Pacific Ocean and more specifically to Hawaii... I LOVED it!  Wow!  Hawaii really is the most relaxing place I've ever been to and I can't wait to go back!

The month of May was filled with work at Opera Idaho and preparing for Calvin. I was honored with an absolutely amazing baby shower thrown by some dear friends of mine- Caree, Kara, and Adrean.  It was such a lovely party and I laughed so hard I cried.  Plus, making it extra special, my forever bestie Blake flew in from San Francisco to surprise me for the weekend and it was just the best!

Around the end of May I had a couple of bouts in the hospital with borderline preeclampsia.  It was a lot scary and about that time I swelled up like a tick.  My brother Morgan commented that, "Even your eye lids are swollen." Thanks for keeping it real Miggy!  I was put on partial bed rest and told to keep my feet elevated as much as possible for the remainder of the pregnancy.  My employer at Opera Idaho was incredibly gracious and let me work from home much of the time.

In June, we lost a dear friend in a tragic car accident in the North Carolina mountains.  Holly Fischer was one of David's best friends from High School.  She was the kind of person who was simply a joy to be around.  People gravitated toward her.  We both miss her terribly and think of her often.  David was able to fly to Charlotte to be part of the memorial in early June and I know it meant I lot to him that he could be there.

In late June, some of the ladies from the Opera community also honored me (and Calvin) with a beautiful luncheon at Emilio's.  I felt so honored, and the baby loved all the attention - he didn't stop kicking for even a minute!  And a few days later, our Idaho family, the Wilcombs also hosted a wonderful co-ed shower for us up at their house.  There was lots of laughter to be had by all!  Thank you all for making me, David and Calvin feel so special, and thank you for all the gifts!  I have used every single one!  And I can't seem to find the pictures I have... but I'm sure they are on Facebook if you're interested in seeing them!

July 2nd at my baby doctor appointment, we discussed whether David should go on his scheduled trip to Wisconsin for one of his best friend's weddings.  My due date wasn't until July 21st, so although the doctor didn't say, "Go," he also didn't think there was any chance I would go into labor over the holiday weekend.  Luckily, David listened to his intuition and at the very last minute decided to stay home, because against the odds (according to our doctor), I went into labor between 1-1:30am on July 7th.  Coincidentally it was almost exactly 6 years to the minute when David and I first laid eyes on each other.

My labor was easy at first.  I didn't even realize I was having contractions.  When the nurses told me my contractions were 1-2 minutes apart, I thought, "This is going to be a cake walk... I can't believe my sister screamed."  Cut to noon when they told me my labor had slowed and they would have to give me pitocin to get me back on track.  Pitocin is the devil.  I labored on pitocin for about 5-6 hours before I told the nurse I thought he was "crowning for sure."  They got everything ready and the doctor told me "Well, you're 100% effaced, but only 2.5, no wait, I think I can get it to- you're 3cm dilated."  That's when I lost it.  I was in so much pain I was scared to have a needle in my back so I agreed to the pain killer.  When they injected it David asked, "How long before she feels the effects of it?"  The nurse said, "Right away."  That's when I said, "Get me an epidural NOW!"  Once the epidural was in, I slept and when I woke up it was go time... Calvin was born at 11:57pm weighing 6 pounds, 1.4 ounces and he was 19.75 inches long.

The first few days at home with our little bundle of joy were a blur.  If it hadn't been for some very amazing friends who dropped by with things like food and items to make breastfeeding easier, or to just hold the baby, I'm not sure I would have held it together.  To all the many friends I have out there who have twins (or more)... I salute you!  The lack of sleep is brutal!

About a week after Cal was born, my dear sweet mama was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  It was as if the rug was pulled out from under me.  She insisted on coming out to meet Cal as planned, despite everyone's pleas for her to start treatment immediately.  Headstrong and stubborn she made the trip from Wilmington, North Carolina to Boise, Idaho to meet her newest grandson.  Despite my reservations about her traveling instead of getting treatment immediately, I was so glad she came!

My dad also came out as planned, a few days after mom arrived.  It really made everything perfect.  Thanks mom and dad!

While they were here it was apparent that mom was getting sick pretty fast due to a blockage in her bile duct.  Dad convinced her to fly home with him to Madison to get looked at and get a second opinion.  Once the second opinion confirmed what was going on in early August, David and I talked about it and decided that I needed to be with her to help her though this.  David graciously requested permission to work remotely through his employer HP.  His request was granted and within days we found renters for our house, I resigned from my beloved position at Opera Idaho, and I had our entire house packed up and put in storage.  Thank you again to our amazing friends for all the help you gave me getting the house packed up.  The stress from all of the little detail things I had to do almost did us in. My Ulcerative Colitis was in the worst flare up I'd had in years... But we did it!  Before we left, Cal did get to make it up to McCall once before leaving our beloved Idaho and he even got to go for a boat ride and take a dip with dad in the Payette lake!

Cuddles with Mary!
We arrived in Charlotte, NC first in time to let Calvin meet his Lopez abuelos (grandparents) before they left on a three week trip.  They were thrilled!  He also got to meet his sightly older (7 weeks) cousin Lily and his Uncle Andrew and Aunt Helena.  We felt really blessed by this because if things hadn't happened like they did, we were sure when we were going to get these two kiddos together!

Aren't these the coolest outfits from David's tios Upe and Pepe in Spain... Thank you!

A few days later we arrived to our new home for the year in Wilmington, NC... as known as my brother Morgan's house.  My nieces Kaitlin and Madelyn (I call them Kitty and Muffy) couldn't be more thrilled to have their new baby cousin living with them.  They have a real live doll to play with!

September was filled with getting used to our new surroundings and schedule.  We were able to get to the beach a couple of times and we played as much as possible in our first days there.  Mom started chemo and radiation at the beginning of the month and she was a real trooper - of course making all the nurses and doctors fall in love with her.  The girls started school, which they were very excited about- especially Muffy since it was her first time to go with "big sissy."

Making birthday crowns for Auntie Bel's birthday
First day of school

My sister Katie and my dad came down to visit in the middle of September.  It was Katie's first time meeting Cal and she was so excited to squish him.  It was a nice weekend for all of us.

The end of September we drove up to the North Carolina mountains to play with the Lopez family and celebrate Damaso's 70th birthday.  Auntie Marlee came down from Iowa too and got to meet Cal for the first time as well.  She was in baby heaven with baby Lily there too.  And no one can get over how much Cal looks like his older cousin Walker (Marlee's younger son).  It's fun to see the resemblance.  We took Linus with us and you've never seen a dog more happy to be back in the mountains!  He was worn out from all the exercising he did that weekend!

October was another big month. Mom finished her first round of chemo and radiation on October 11th.  David had to fly back to Boise for work on Sunday, the 20th, so we decided to drive up to Charlotte so we could see his family again.  And right before we left, my oldest brother Chet surprised us with a visit to see mom and baby Cal.  Cal thought Chet was pretty nice!

Thanks for my snuggly PJs Ms. Charlene Curry!

Cal and Uncle Chet!

The Lopez boys and their babies!

October 23rd was my niece Muffy's 2nd birthday... and oh were they excited to celebrate!

Then came Halloween and the big reveal of Cal's homemade Halloween costume... a Garden Gnome.  Mom worked so hard on it and it turned out fantastic!  I'm not sure he enjoyed it as much as I did... and he definitely didn't enjoy trick or treating as much as his cousins (who both went as their favorite- Doc McStuffins).

carving pumpkins

November went so fast!  David came home on November 16th.  It felt like forever to get him back and Cal and I were SOOOO excited to see him!   Cal started solid foods, which he is loving! During Thanksgiving week, Francie and Damaso graciously rented a house on the beach near my brother's house so we could all be together for the holiday.   My dad also flew in from Wisconsin.  It was a lot of fun, but everyone in the Manchester house, including David and Cal, got sick, except me and my parents.  We even had a visit to the ER with little man because he was having a hard time breathing... every parent's worst nightmare.  We felt so helpless.  Thanksgiving was unfortunately cut rather short because of all the coughing, but we felt so blessed to be able to be together with our families.

Miss Lily is eating solids too!

The Lopez men.

On the Sunday following Thanksgiving, we got the big Christmas tree up!  The girls were giddy with excitement and had to wear Christmas dresses, drink cocoa and play Christmas music all day... what fun to be 4 and 2 at Christmas!

Right around Thanksgiving Kaitlin decided to take Grandma to school as her "show and tell item for the letter J... J for Juli."  It might have been the cutest thing ever...

My mom started chemo again in December, and she's been in great spirits.  Christmas was filled with all her magical decorations and special touches.  She really knows how to do it up right!  The girls were in heaven.  Their Elf on a Shelf (who is named Frank) came to see them and decided to have a tea party with their other toys... oh you've never seen such excitement.  I really can't wait for Cal to be able to appreciate the magic of it all!  It was so much fun!

December I lost a dear friend back in Boise, and I feel horrible that I haven't been able to properly to let her family know how much she meant to me.  Brenda Maynard Walters was one of the very best people and I think of her daily.  She is truly missed.  Boise won't be the same without her.  I tried to find this awesome picture of her and I at my baby shower, but all I have is the hard copy and couldn't get it together to scan and upload in time for this post... so I found this... Brenda and her beloved husband Nathan.  I love you Brenda!

Dad flew in again for Christmas and I felt like I really got a chance to spend some time with him during this visit.  Despite some of it being in the ER... mom was having some trouble the night of the 25th and we couldn't take any chances.  BUT we all had a perfect Christmas day together and we really couldn't have asked for more.  Everyone had a blast!

My brother John and his family came to visit from the 26th-the 30th.  My baby nieces and nephew have gotten so grown-up!  But I was happy to hear they still remember my tucking them into bed (snug as a bug in a rug!)

Unfortunately, we didn't get to spend the entire time with them because I had planned a surprise for David's birthday on December 29th down in Charleston, so Saturday afternoon we headed out and had two lovely days hanging with some of David's fraternity brothers (Thank Paul and DeeDee White and Barton Dyson) and exploring the city as a little family of three.  It was delightful!  We LOVE Charleston.  I also need to give a shout out to my friend from college Sam Sidney- her list of babysitters saved the day!  And thank you to Miss Carly for taking such good take of Cal!

When we got back to town we forgot all about it being New Year's Eve, and sadly we were all so tired, we barely even celebrated... BUT- Grandma came home from the hospital that day which made us all so happy!  AND Kaitlin and I baked Uncle David a surprise birthday cake and we all sang him happy birthday (over and over and over again - they were so thrilled!)

waiting for Grandma

2013 was filled with so many things... some not so good, but some were the most amazing things ever!  No matter what 2014 has in store for us, I can't wait!  I am a prolific Instagrammer (anabelmml) and I'm great at pinning things on pinterest... be sure to follow me if you want to keep in touch!

May all of you be happy and blessed in the New Year!

I know that it is already January 14th before I'm actually getting this posted... please excuse the typos and all the things I'm sure I forgot to mention.  2014 has kept me on my toes from day one!

Here are a few miscellaneous photos from the past few months...

Little stud in his adorable outfit from David's tia Alicia... Thank you!

Cal's favorite hat - made for him by our neighbor in Boise... Thank you Teri!

January 13th.  Happy 71st Birthday to the best Mommy and Grandma around!


  1. Hi Anabel!
    Such a beautiful post -- it's like we were right there with you throughout the year. And, such a beautiful family. Calvin is just gorgeous (like his mama). I know how much joy Issac has brought to our lives and I am so happy for you and David. Please wrap your Mom in a hug from me. My mom and I talk about Julie often, sending thoughts of healing her way. I have always adored her, and have such wonderful memories of all of us together. Send a hello and hugs to Morgan and family and your papa. And, keep posting!!!! *big hugs* Jordi.....

  2. Nathaniel GallagherJanuary 14, 2014 at 11:11 PM

    You just made my evening a whole lot richer!

    Thanks alot for sharing those Anabel...

    I have such sacred memories of time with your family...

    God Bless You All

  3. Dear David and Anabel,

    I'm in tears after reading your post. I'm so sorry about your mom's illness but I'm so glad you are all spending so much time together. What a special time for your parents to be with Calvin, the first year is just incredible (and tiring). Calvin is just the most adorable little guy, but with two beautiful parents of course he is! I hope we can meet him soon. The Campanelli's are sending our love!

  4. Anabel: Found your blog tonight. Read every word. Looked at every photo. You were right when you said a year of highs and lows. I have held Juli close in my heart, thoughts and prayers and find comfort in knowing that you are together. Cherish the time together. Calvin is adorable.
    Hugs all around. Biz