Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mommy's Little Boy

Owen is changing right before my eyes. Everyday his hair gets longer, his feet get bigger and his hands get fatter. Seeing his contagious smile and bright blue eyes puts a smile on my face every morning (even at 6:00 am). I can't help but think that I helped bring that beautiful, caring, hilarious and amazing child into this world; he makes me feel special and like my life has purpose.

Last weekend both Esson and Prairie families prepared for Halloween (Bryan's favorite holiday). I knew that it was going to be hard to celebrate Owen's first Halloween without Bryan, but I wanted Owen to experience all of the things that his father loved to do. I knew that Owen was going to like the pumpkin goo but I did not know how much. On Saturday night, at roughly 5:00pm, Owen dug his tiny fat fingers into the stringy orange goop and whipped it all over my parents kitchen. As if it was not bad enough that I had to wipe orange goo off the walls, but then Owen decided to eat/devour the pumpkin guts. Not only did he try it, but he LOVED it and could not get enough.

Then, on Sunday, Owen and I ventured over to the Prairie's house to spend yet another day carving pumpkins and taking pictures. Of course, Owen was his usual photogenic self (just like his father) and posed for roughly 200 pictures. I even had to buy a special outfit just for the occasion. I am sure that once Owen gets older he is going to be so upset with me for taking pictures of him every three minutes. I just can't seem to help myself. He is way too cute.

Although my hands are still a little cramped and I smell like pumpkin, I had a lot of fun spending time with my family and carving pumpkins with Owen. It was really hard to put on a smile and prepare for Halloween without Bryan, but I knew that it was important to do with Owen. Bryan and I always loved decorating for the Holidays and spending time with our family, so I knew that that was something I had to continue doing with our son. I want to raise Owen just as Bryan and I had planned. He is going to be surrounded with love, family, and amazing traditions that have been influential throughout both of our childhoods. Bryan and I were so lucky to get such amazing families and I want Owen to be just as happy as his father and I were. He is going to be one loved and spoiled little boy.

Friday, October 23, 2009

All Grown Up

My little boy is growing up. Not only has Owen decided to crawl but he is officially in a big boy car seat now. No more cute polka dot bucket seat.

I feel like it was just yesterday that I was holding him in my arms and seeing him open his eyes for the first time. Now he is 22 pounds and 7 months old. From the day he was born he has always had a "chill" personality and has been filled with so much love. Very rarely does Owen cry or throw a fit (knock on wood). I feel like he has the same personality and aura that his father had. Similar to Bryan, Owen just likes to sit back and observe. (They were two peas in a pod). I cannot wait to watch him grow and turn into a fine young man. He is an amazing little boy. Every time I look into his eyes I see Bryan and am filled with love and amazing memories.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

On The Move

As of yesterday, Owen has officially turned 7 months old. I thought for sure that he would just skip crawling all together and go right to walking, but this past weekend, Owen started to army crawl. In one day he went from just rolling around to pulling himself across the floor with his arms. Not only has he been getting around faster but he thinks it is pretty cool to roll all the way over to the stairs and try to get up on them. Yesterday I turned around to see him leaning on the first step and bouncing up and down on his knees. I have a feeling that I am going to be one busy momma here soon. (Pictures to come)

Not only has Owen figured out how to crawl, but he has been really into the whole copying thing lately too. Papa taught him how to click his tongue this weekend (which he thinks is pretty cool) and he loves to raise his eyebrows when you raise yours. He is also really into sharing his nuk (fafa) with you if you ask nicely. I am sure that the whole sharing thing will end quickly though once he realizes what he is doing.

Not only he is one smart little boy, but he knows it and thinks he is pretty funny. Every day I learn something new from him. I am pretty sure that he is going to be smarter than me soon. I better start brushing up on my skills and hitting the books again. I have a feeling that I have my work cut out for me.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mixed Feelings

This year was supposed to be the first year that Bryan and I took Owen out to Hecla to experience hunting for the first time. Bryan loved to hunt and looked forward to it/prepared for it all year. He was looking forward to teaching Owen how to climb a tree stand, shoot a bow, and wait patiently for the big bucks to walk within 50 yards.

Before Owen was even born he was destined to be a hunter. When I was pregnant, Bryan would watch different hunting shows (like White Tale Freaks and Dream Season) every night before we would go to bed. Most nights I would fall asleep on his lap and wake up to him saying "Hunny we can go to bed now". I am pretty sure that Owen knew when the hunting channel was on, even when he was a brand new baby, because he would always get really quite and stare at the screen. That always used to make Bryan so proud.

This weekend Bill, Lori, Bob, Rachel, Owen and I headed out to Hecla for the hunting season. I knew before we left that it was going to be hard, but I did not know that it was going to be this hard. Every where I look I have flashbacks to last year when I was pregnant and Bryan and I were cuddling on the couch and talking about how we would raise our son. Now I am laying in a bedroom, on a twin bed, by myself, wishing that Bryan was here. All I want to do is go out in the field and search for him. I keep thinking that he is in his tree stand waiting for his perfect buck and just has not come home yet.

Sine Bryan's death I have been able to keep myself busy and distract myself most days when we are home in Plymouth, but I cannot seem to do that out here. I keep thinking about how Bryan really wanted me to go hunting with him and watch him kill a wall worthy buck. For our anniversary he even planned on getting a double tree stand so we could sit together and I could film his big kill. I have gone hunting with Bryan a couple times in the past but never for the whole day. It has been really hard for me to see Bob and Rachel go together and experience it as a couple and think that that should be me and Bryan too. It is also really hard to be the only one here without someone. I feel so alone and that is something that I can honestly say I had never experienced before Bryan's death.

I know that I have Owen but it just is not the same. I don't have anyone to sleep with or kiss goodnight. I don't have anyone to stay up laughing with or talk about my day. I don't have anyone to dry my tears and tell me that everything is going to be fine. I don't have Bryan.

I always feel like I have to be happy and put on a front so that I don't ruin anyones day, but really all I want to do is cry and scream "WHY BRYAN, WHY ME, and WHY OWEN?" I hide my emotions all day, then when everyone goes to sleep I go on my computer, look at pictures of Bryan and I, cry, try to write, and then pass out from my sleeping medication. Everyone always tells me that I am such a strong women and that I am a great mother, but really I feel like a weak, empty, terrible mom. I know that things are still fresh and that it will take awhile to feel "normal" again, but I just don't feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel. My life will never be the same and I just can't help but feel like I will never be happy again. I just have to keep reminding myself how lucky I am to have Owen. I will always have a little piece of Bryan with me in him. He is my miracle.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bryan John Prairie

I fell in love with Bryan way back in the first grade. His beautiful blue eyes and fun personality were irresistible, even to a six year old little girl. After many years of having a crush and drawing hearts next to his name in my yearbooks, I finally got the courage to ask him out to sno-daze, our sophomore year of high school, with a puzzle. After freaking out all day long about what his response would be, I received a hand delivered envelope from one of his friends. Inside the envelope Bryan had created a puzzle out of notebook paper in one of his classes that said "YES". It was on that day that Bryan and I became good friends and started on our path through life together.

After three years of wishing and hoping that Bryan would ask me out, Bryan and I went on our first date, the summer before our senior year began, to a movie and dinner. On September 23rd, 2002 Bryan asked me out and we officially became a couple. After praying that we could be together for almost 10 years I finally could call him my boyfriend. I was dating BRYAN PRAIRIE, my life-long crush.

After a couple months of dating Bryan was driving me home in his Chevelle and I fell asleep on his lap. He said that in my sleep I looked up at him and said "Bryan, I love you". Bryan woke me up right away and told me that he loved me too. I can honestly say that we had a love that most people never get the pleasure of having. We loved so deeply and honestly. I knew when we started dating that he was going to be my husband someday. And low and behold on July 17th, 2004 Bryan asked me to marry him at Lake Calhoon. We both knew that our lives were going to be filled with so much love and happiness. We were so excited for the future.

On September 22nd, 2007 Bryan and I got married at Holy Nativity Lutheran Church. It was the best day of my life. Bryan and I were so happy and excited to start our family. And on July 27th, 2008, after 4 positive pee sticks, we found out that we were having a baby. Bryan danced around the house singing various Beatles songs, while I freaked out. Bryan was so excited to be a father and could not wait to see his little baby. He prepared the house, washed the baby clothes, joined the parenting websites, read up on all the latest baby books, and took really good care of me. Bryan would leave me little love letters and cds to tell me how proud he was of me and how excited he was to be a daddy. Not only was he very thoughtful and romantic but he would drive me to work and pack me lunches everyday so that he would not have to worry about me and the baby. He is the worlds best husband.

On March 19th, 2009 our son Owen was born at 11:04am. He was so healthy and beautiful. When Owen was born Bryan took him from the doctor and handed him right to me. He kissed my forehead, kissed Owen, and said "I love my little family". From the moment Bryan held Owen he was deeply in love with him. Bryan was born to be a father. He was so natural at it and seemed to know exactly what to do. Bryan would rush home after school and work just to see Owen and would cry when he held him in his arms
. He was his little boy and Bryan could not wait to help raise him and make him an amazing person.

After Bryan graduated at the end of May with his nursing and biology degree from Augustana College, we decided to move home to be closer to our family. Since Bryan could not find a job in the nursing field yet he decided to work for his friends window washing company to try to get enough money to pay our bills. On September 3rd we received a call that Bryan had fallen off Methodist hospital while trying to save his friend/co-workers life. After we arrived at the hospital they informed us that Bryan had passed away. It was at that moment that my life stopped. I was sitting in a room trying to process the fact that the love of my life and best friend was dead all while looking across the room into my 5 month old sons eyes. He would never get to know his father. The father that loved him more than life it self and was looking so forward to watching him grow. I went from the perfect life, with the perfect man and the perfect son... to an unemployed widow and single mother, all within a couple of hours. My life was turned upside down and I have no idea how to make it any better. How do you know who you are when you don't have the other person that completes you anymore. I have always been Ashleybryan (also known as bryley) and now I have to try to find Ashley somewhere. It was a very scary and surreal day. I thought that they were lying to me and it another womens husband that died and not mime.

I would give anything to have Bryan here with me today. I miss his sense of humor and the wrinkles he would get by his eyes every time he smiled or coughed. I miss how he would kiss my back when we were asleep and how he would giggle while he dreamt. I miss his monkey feet and the way his hand fit perfectly in mine. I miss how he would tell me how much he loved me and how we would slow dance sometimes in our pajamas just before we would go to sleep. He was the worlds greatest husband and father. He was and still is my everything.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Snowy Monday

Today we woke up to Owen's first snow. What a surprise! We didn't take him outside because it was too hard to put his snow suit on (he will not stop moving), bu t he loved looking out the window. I think I see a lot of snowmen and forts in my future.

Bryan absolutely loved the snow and would freak out when it started to get cold. I think that it was mainly because he knew that hunting season was here. I have a feeling that Owen will be the same way. I guess that I am going to have to figure out a way to enjoy the cold weather. I do have to say though that I am more excited for this winter but primarily because I cannot wait to put Owen in all of his warm clothes. There was a huge deal at Kohls last week so Owen got a lot of really cute outfits.

I am in love with his new red Adidas shoes and his sock monkey hat. Even though he is only 6-months old he already knows how to get his way. All he has to do is bat his eye lashes and shoot me that gigantic smile. I can already tell that he is going to be a ladies man just like his daddy. Oh man, I am in trouble.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Trying to figure this all out...

I have never really blogged before, but I thought now was the right time to give it a try. I wanted to have a place where I could write about my son Owen and adjusting to life without his father and my husband, Bryan. Although I am not sure how to express my emotions on a web page I thought/hoped it would be therapeutic in some ways.
I also wanted to start a blog so that our families and friends could keep updated on our lives and how we are all coping. I hope that this website gives people a glimpse into our everyday emotional highs and lows. Owen is a special young man and brings so much joy into so many peoples lives and I would like everyone to know just how special he is.
I hope that I can figure out this whole blogging process and come out a stronger mother/woman in the end.