Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Recap and a Baby Bump

We had a great time over Christmas this year hanging out with family! Our tradition since getting married has been some version of the following: sometime the week preceding Christmas, most years the day before Christmas Eve, we hop in the car with Taylor's parents and brother (and now almost sister-in-law, Caroline!) and head down to Kentwood, Louisiana, where Taylor's maternal grandparents live. His grandmother is a wonderful cook, and they have a HUGE garden where they get a lot of their vegetables and produce. We have great time visiting with the Stevens side of his family. Christmas Eve is back in Jackson, with the Christmas Eve service and a yummy gumbo dinner. My parents never really had a specific Christmas Eve tradition, so we all go to church together and then head to the Sledges along with Taylor's other grandparents for that delicious gumbo. Christmas Day we alternate each year who whose house we go to first, and we basically split the day after that.
This year was slightly different on Christmas Day because it was a Sunday. I've got to say that I absolutely loved the opportunity for corporate worship on Christmas Day! It was neat to see all my sweet church friends first thing that morning, and to sing in the choir on Christmas Day. Taylor and I woke up a little early, checked out our stockings to see what Santa had brought us, and then headed down to First Baptist. After a great service, it was back to the Sledges for traditional Christmas lunch and presents!

Here is a sweet pic of Lisa and her boys:

And Mark with his parents, CB and Evelyn:
Baby Sledge's first sleeper! I love that it has guitars on it. I hope he will inherit mine and Taylor's love of music!
After lunch it was on to my parents house for more hanging out with the fam....and more eating!
Our niece Dorothy loved her fairy princess Barbie:
My brother with Anna and Catie:
Dad "assuming the position" as we like to call it. After lunch he plops down in this chair and pretty much doesn't move until he goes to bed. Love it.
There's Angie in the corner and that's me with what Olivia got for Christmas!! Penny Gig the guinea pig. Bless her little heart, every time we got her out of the cage she basically froze, not moving a muscle. She might twitch a little whisker or two, but that was about it. I'll bet she has warmed up to people by now though.
Olivia, me, and Penny Gig :)
She found a warm spot on Carter's chest:
And now, for what you've all been waiting for....(ha!) the BUMP!
This is at a couple days short of 19 weeks. I am so thankful to be feeling well, and--a huge milestone--I finally felt sweet baby boy moving around in there a couple of days ago! I've felt him two or three times a day since then. It's so funny--he seems to like, or at least respond ,to the sound of the drill! As in, the one I use all day long! Maybe he will be a dentist one day like his mama. ;)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Back for Christmas!

Well, kids, I'm back! I took a bit of a blogging hiatus for several reasons, which I will discuss, but the main one was--if I were blogging constantly, I knew there was no way I would be able to keep my mouth shut that we are expecting a baby in May!!! We are so thrilled, blessed, and thankful beyond anything we have experienced before as a couple. We found out shortly after my last post that we were pregnant, and as you can imagine, thoughts of this new little life have been pretty much at the forefront of our minds most of the time since then. It seemed almost futile to me to try to blog--I didn't know if I'd even have anything to say, considering I was busting at the seams with THE thing I really wanted to say! Anyway--after we reached the end of the first trimester--ok let's be honest, I let it slip a little before then. It was my fault, I'll admit it. We both started telling a few close friends (a policy I instigated) when I was around 10 weeks along, and before we knew it, I walked into the bank one day and it seemed that the whole town knew! Ha! It was honestly a relief though--we were about to bust!

Our lives have been a whirlwind since I posted in September--we have been to many football games in Oxford, family gatherings, trips to Huntington Beach, California, for Taylor's business and New York City for our "babymoon". I was in our church's Christmas program, Carols by Candlelight, and sang Mary's song, "Breath of Heaven." We had a family picture session with the Sledges with a professional photographer, since we are expecting and Taylor's brother, Travis, recently got engaged!! We can't wait for Caroline to officially be a part of the family! We had a Christmas open house at my new office, and our annual cookie swap party at our house with college friends. Taylor has been busy with work and I have been just as busy--overwhelmed, really--with my work. That combined with pregnancy tiredness and nausea left me unable to function after about 5 pm every day--hence my lack of blogging. I would joke with Taylor that my brain went into shutdown mode on my way home from work. Our office transferred to a new location just recently, which was a pretty stressful process, but which has been absolutely wonderful. We've been practicing there for about three weeks, and we love it. Dad had been in his old building for almost 30 years! It was a great spot for him all those years, but with my joining the practice we had outgrown it--we simply needed more space. I will post more later about that process and share some pictures of our new, spa-like locale! It was the first thing I have ever decorated myself, and it has really given me a lot of confidence for decorating the nursery! Be looking for lots of pics soon from all those events--I want to do a few recaps.

I am now on into the second trimester (almost 19 weeks along), and am feeling much more energy! About a week and a half ago, we found out that this precious new baby is a little BOY!!! We are so excited. I am fully prepared for all things blue, plus tractors and trucks and trains--snakes, snails, and puppy dog tails--isn't that how the little rhyme goes? It was so funny, because for some reason we were both just convinced it was a girl! I'm not sure why--we just were. We truly had no preference whatsoever though--so it was such a fun surprise when the sonographer showed us what she saw! One of the purest joys I have experienced was seeing the look on Taylor's face and listening to his yells of excitement as he immediately must have seen visions of little boots and overalls and a little man in diapers to take hunting with him! His first comment when we left the appointment: "Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. I think I'm going to buy him a rifle--today!" Ha!

That night we had a gender reveal party for family and a few close friends. It was SO hard all day not to tell our families the news. Especially since I work with my dad all day long! I tried to avoid him as much as possible. Although I will say--he didn't pressure me one bit, which I really appreciated! He just wanted to know if the baby was healthy.

Here is a picture of the proud parents from the night of the gender reveal:

And one of my favorites from the night--everyone holding up their cupcakes in anticipation. And this is what I just love--my best friend, Emily, lives in Nashville and wasn't able to be there--so we Skyped her in!!! That's her sister, Natalie, holding my iPad. Emily's face here cracks me up! Thank you, Lord, for modern technology!

Blue icing!!!
Taylor's parents after taking a bite of their cupcake. Such a sweet picture!
And us with all of the proud and excited grandparents!

We feel so blessed and excited that this little boy is coming into such an environment of love and anticipation! My prayer life has really been strengthened since we found out we were expecting--I pray for those 10 little fingers and 10 little toes, plus a million other things, multiple times a day! I just can't wait to meet him!

Well, I am off to the grocery store to start my afternoon of cooking for tomorrow! I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas, and that you and I both spend lots of time reflecting on the reason for our celebrating this weekend--the fact that the King came to earth in the form of a little baby boy, and that he grew up to be the Savior of this world. I am so very thankful for all my blessings this season, especially that most important one!