Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2011: Year in Review

    Y'all know I am always a little late with these things!  It seems like I blink and another week has gone by.  I can't believe we are almost halfway through this pregnancy!  Sweet little boy will be here before we know it...and I have not done a THING for the nursery.  I made a list today and am about to get cracking.  
     Anyway--2011 was a fun year for us, with some exciting trips and even more exciting news for our little family!  Here is the rundown:

      Back in January, we started off with a few little home updates--nothing big.  I always get the itch to spring clean a little early...right after the Christmas decorations come down, to be exact.  I took a trip to Washington, D.C., for my dear friend Whitney's bachelorette party.  We had such an awesome time!  It seems a good ways to go for a bachelorette party, but sweet Whitney has so many friends who are just scattered to the four winds, that it was actually a central location for all of us!  It was such a fun reunion for us.  We ate at some amazing places, went to the Smithsonian museums, the Holocaust museum--and lots of other fun stuff in between.  Also in January was the surprise shower some friends and I threw for Whitney at my house--girls came in pajamas, we watched girly movies, and showered her with lots of gifts and love.  Can't believe you have been married for almost a year WhittieKat!

     Then it was back to school for me, and gearing up for my last semester of dental school (praise the Lord!).  It had been a long four years, and I was ready for the real world.  In February I participated in Give Kids a Smile Day, which provides dental cleanings and exams for free to kids in the Jackson area.  I also did my private practice rotation.  I chose to do it with Dad at his (and now our) practice--I figured rather than go somewhere else (though I thought about it, because it's always beneficial to get an outside perspective), it would be best for me to go on and start learning the nuances of the practice I'd be joining very soon.  I also recapped Whit's wedding on the blog, and got prepared for another one--my dear friend Lauren got engaged that month!

     In March, I took the National Board Exam, and was so thankful to see the scores that came back in!  One of the final steps to that DMD, crossed off the list.  I was so thankful to have that behind me!  Taylor and I spent some time in Oxford, our home away from home, since we had invested in some property up there the previous month.  In the middle of the month was the St. Paddy's Day Parade--always an experience if you live in Jackson!  Downtown transforms into a sea of green, and it is slam full o' people.  

      In April, I recapped my cousin Dabb's wedding--it was a blast, and a great time hanging out with family.  I also completed an Oral Oncology rotation at the medical mall here in town.  We attended our friends' Jocelyn and David's wedding, which was beautiful, and spent some more time in Oxford.  I renewed my commitment to reading for pleasure, and we took a trip to Starkville with our friends Reed and Maris for the Zac Brown Band concert!  That same weekend it was back to Oxford and then over to Clarksdale for the annual Juke Joint Festival.  If you've never been, you should most definitely check it out.  Clarksdale has really became a southern mecca for arts and music, despite being just a tiny little delta town.  Easter weekend was refreshing, complete with a trip down to see Taylor's grandparents for their annual Good Friday crawfish boil, and back home for a truly worshipful Easter Sunday.  

     In May, as my school days drew to a close, I contemplated some of the deeper issues in my profession.  I worked the Gaither Vocal Band concert at our church one night--they were awesome!  We went to Louisiana to see Taylor's new little cousin, Coll, and to be there for his baptism.  Mom, Angie, and I took a much needed trip to Seaside, Florida--yay for rest and relaxation!  And then, finally...FINALLY...after a long four years...I became a DMD!  I still am not quite used to introducing myself as Dr. Sledge!  

     June brought my first month as a full-time private practice dentist, and while I loved it--I was worn slap out from the transition!  By the end of the month I had really gotten into the swing of things.  Dad and I, along with our dental assistant, took a trip to Portland, Oregon to visit a dental equipment company and choose the equipment and configurations for our new office.  

     In early July, I went down to Rosemary Beach for my friend Lauren's bachelorette party.  For some reason I didn't post about that weekend--it was such a fun time though!  And then, a couple of weeks later-- Taylor and I took a pilgrimage trip with our church choir to the Holy Land.  Being in Israel for those 8 days was one of the most treasured experiences I have had--I would recommend it to anyone, regardless of  your religion--but for Christians it is especially meaningful.  I learned an immeasurable amount.  To walk the same roads that Jesus walked, and to see even just the lay of the land--I don't think I will ever read the Bible in the same way again!

     August was gosh-awful hot, and we were pretty boring around my house.  We were thankful and proud to see  my niece, Olivia be baptized that month.  We also had a mini family reunion of sorts, during which my uncle Rip made THE best homemade ice cream you have ever had.  I'm tellin' y'all...it was heavenly.  Then, to top it off...he GAVE me his ice cream maker!! I can't wait til next summer so I can bust that thing out and try  some new recipes!

     In September, on Labor Day weekend, I headed back down to the beach for Lauren's bachelorette party (lots of those this year!).  We just about blew away--a tropical storm was blowing in!  But we survived, and had just as much fun even though we couldn't be out on the beach.  Taylor and I went to Oxford with our friends Kim and B.C. for the Pat Green concert.  I was pregnant then, but we wouldn't find out til the next week.  

     In October and November, I didn't blog because I was desperately trying to keep our big secret!  During that time we had our first doctor's appointments and sonograms, told our families the happy news, and took a few trips to Oxford for football games.  We also took a trip to the L.A. area for Taylor's work, and went to Disneyland for the first time! Thanksgiving came and went, with us hosting my immediate and extended family, as well as Taylor's parents, for the Thanksgiving meal.  It was about 30 people in all.  I love big family gatherings!

    December was super busy.  Dad and I moved into our new office (pics to come soon!) and started getting settled in our new work environment.  I sang in Carols by Candlelight at our church.  It is a big commitment, but I wouldn't trade doing it for anything!  The next day, we found out that this sweet baby is a BOY!  That night we had a gender reveal party at our house with family and a few close friends.  I made cupcakes with blue icing hidden inside--it was so fun!  We went to our Sunday School Christmas party, and the next day headed out to New York City!  It was a "babymoon" of sorts--a last little trip for Taylor and me before our little bundle arrives in May.  We had the best time--New York is my favorite city, and it becomes simply magical at Christmastime!  The day after we got home, we had a holiday open house at our new office, and two days after that, we had a big party at my house, with about 50 people--an annual cookie swap we do with college friends.  Whew!  Christmas came and went in a whirlwind--but we spent lots of time with family.  New Year's Eve we spent in (where else?) Oxford with some close friends. 

    This year has truly flown by--and has been full of transitions.  On the home front--last year our family was just Taylor and me...and now we will be adding a precious baby boy!  My thinking has shifted towards parenting and family life, and how we want that to look for our family.  We are humbled and thankful that the Lord has chosen us to parent this child--we haven't met him yet, but we love him so much already!  And in business--last year at this time I was in school--now I feel like I have been practicing dentistry in private practice forever!  My thinking has shifted from a school-like mindset to full blown business ownership. I enjoy and appreciate the challenge, and I'm thankful for the privilege of working with my dad.  I've taken lots of trips this year--to D.C., Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Israel, L.A., and New York.  I imagine that next year will be a much more slow-paced year as far as trips go--but with lots of "firsts"!  I can't wait to meet this baby boy in May!  

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