Sunday, December 30, 2012

Asheville

Like I mentioned before, Weston and I spent the first part of our vacation catching up with old friends.  We used to hang out with these folks every week for several years when we lived in Johnson City, and before everyone moved away to their husband's residency programs, we took a cruise together.  We said our goodbyes the day we got off the boat.  It was sad to say goodbye to such good friends.  We had only seen the Smith's twice since that goodbye, and we hadn't seen the Freeman's once since.  So we were so excited to catch up over the last 2.5 years!

The Smith's, Eric and Dawn, live in Asheville less than an hour from where we all lived in Johnson City.  Eric will finish up his family medicine residency this spring, and they have an adorable daughter, Olivia, who is 6 months.  The Freeman's, David and Kaylen, live in Richmond, VA while David completes his psychology residency, and Kaylen is expecting a baby boy in February!

To start off our visit, we got in later than expected to Asheville thanks to some horrible traffic.  So we were able to see Olivia for just a minute before this sleepy baby got her bath and bedtime.




The next day we all visited and ate lunch at the delicious Tupelo Honey Cafe .  The girls went back and spent the afternoon baking and cooking away from pinterest recipe ideas to have our own mini Christmas party that night.  


And our coordinated plaid husbands.  I'm still learning with my camera so Weston is a little blurry.



The Smith's were awesome hosts!  Their house was decorated so nice for Christmas, and they hung garland everywhere.  It was so beautiful.  As wonderful hosts, they gave both of us pregnant girls the two beds, and they slept on the air mattress.  Dawn even wrapped up ear plugs with ribbon in case Olivia woke us up in the morning which was thoughtful but not necessary.  For one, Olivia was so good, and we never heard her crying in the morning.  For two, we better get used to a crying baby in the middle of the night.




We exchanged Christmas gifts, and we got Miss Olivia a baby doll.


And our spread that we made for the Christmas party included sausage balls, ham sliders, several types of Christmas cookies, brownie Santa hats, baked brie, and deviled eggs.





And Elsie, another resident in Asheville with Eric, was able to join us with her husband Ben for the Christmas party.  Elsie graduated with the guys, and it was so great to see her again too.


Thank you so much for having us, Dawn and Eric!  We had a great time!!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Weeks 17 and 18

Weeks 17 and 18 flew by for us like time does for all of us at Christmas.  We celebrated my 29th birthday on the day I turned 17 weeks.  So we snapped the weekly picture on our way to dinner.  Weston was really sweet and treated me to a day of beauty for my birthday.  I got a pedicure in the morning, and my makeup done before dinner at MAC.  I love MAC makeup.  It was really a wonderful day with my honey, and the pedicure was so relaxing.  I haven't had a pedicure since the day of my wedding 5 years ago!  I think I may have to have another one or two pedicures before the baby comes.


So here is week 17.  I thought I started feeling the baby moving at night around this time, but Weston thought it was a little too early for me to feel movement as a first time mom.  But the further along I go, I am certain that I am feeling the baby, and it is so reassuring to feel the flutters.


Wait a minute! Silly daddy.





This week is the big week.  We find out boy or girl!  We're starting to get really excited to know if we'll be having a son or daughter!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Throwback Christmas

Well we have finally made it back from our travels for Christmas.  We started off our vacation in Asheville, NC with a visit with old friends from Weston's days in med school.  Then we drove in to spend Christmas with both our family's in Franklin.  Weston got horribly sick with a stomach bug on Christmas Eve and missed most of the Christmas celebration.  Poor guy.  Thankfully, he's on the mend now.

I have a few pictures to share from our visits, but as you might guess from the post title, these pictures in this post are from the good old days.  I raided my parent's photo albums and scanned some Christmas pictures through the years.  They bring back so many happy memories for me.


Christmas 1984: I had just turned 1 that Christmas.  I'm with my Daddy and my middle brother Joe.


Christmas 1984: We always did the stockings first.  Dad always had a million batteries in his stocking for the presents yet to be unwrapped, and Mom usually had a chocolate Santa.


Christmas 1986:  All dressed up for Christmas Eve Mass.  Joe is looking dapper in the green sport coat.  We were ages 3, almost 6, and 9 that Christmas.


Christmas 1987: Our first Christmas in our new house.  It was a two story house.  So this marked the start of the tradition of having to wait at the top of the stairs while Dad got the video camera turned on, and Mom got her glass of orange juice.  Mom has to have her OJ first thing in the morning.


Christmas 1988: Our first Christmas with our new puppy Checkers.  He was the best dog in the world, and we celebrated 17 Christmas's with this little guy.  He used to love curling up under the Christmas tree.  Eleven months out of the year he'd curl up behind our toilet, but for the month of December the tree was the lounging location of choice.


Christmas 1989:  My first Christmas to get an American Girl Doll.  I got Samantha that year, and every Christmas after my gifts from Santa completely consisted of dolls, dresses, and books from AG.  I would squeal every time I ripped open the wrapping paper and saw the brown AG box. 

I can't wait to start new traditions next year as our family grows.  I only hope our children will have as fond and meaningful memories of our family at Christmas as I do with my childhood.  I hope everyone had a very blessed and joyful Christmas!



Monday, December 17, 2012

Decking our Halls

Christmas is almost upon us.  Three candles were lit on our advent wreath at dinner tonight, and I can't wait to celebrate the birth of our Savior with our family and friends.  By far one of my favorite moments every year is attending Christmas Eve mass huddled in a pew with my entire family and singing "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" in Latin.  It is so moving deep in my soul.


Our nativity set that was Weston's Granny's set.




And here is my year-round ruffle wreath, it was inspired by the wreath made on the Dear Lillie blog.  I only wish I had chosen a stiffer fabric for the wreath.  I used a cotton blend that was on sale when I made it several months ago for fall.  Now my ruffles aren't quite as perky as when I first made it.


The little evergreen detail is just attached to an alligator clip.  So once Christmas is over, I can just unclip the Christmas decor and put up something for Valentine's day.


And for fall...



 Happy Monday!  Off to finish my Christmas shopping, and then we're headed to the historic Alabama theatre to see a showing of Christmas Vacation tonight with friends.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Sweet Sixteen

I hit the sweet sixteen this week in the pregnancy, and I am still feeling great.  My regular clothes are starting to get tight.  So I ordered a pair of skinny jeans and a couple cotton shirts to start my maternity wardrobe from Old Navy, and I love them.  I was really nervous to order anything online without trying it on.  So I am really glad it worked out!  It's still a little weird wearing the full panel jeans.  I feel a little like Steve Urkel wearing them, and when I showed Weston what was going on under there with full panel maternity jeans, his face was priceless both confused and slightly disturbed.

By the way, speaking of online ordering I am really digging the online shopping this year for Christmas presents, especially when you can score some free shipping.  No driving, no crowds, yes please!

And without further adieu, baby bump photos...





I definitely feel like I am starting to pop between weeks 15 and 16.  I better start using that cocoa butter more religiously now.

And here is a little collage I put together using photoshop elements.  I'm trying out the 30 day trial, and I'm struggling with making these side by side comparisons.  There must be an easier way.  Any tips?  I think I'll be practicing more with it this month and see if it's something I want to buy.


Happy Friday to you!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Baby Bump Ahead

I've been getting requests on posting baby bump pictures.  So for my mom and MIL enjoyment, I'll post what I have so far.  I definitely have gained the "you ate too much pooch", and Weston laughs at how I rock my jeans unbuttoned after dinner.  But I just went to the doctor today, and I've only gained less than a pound and still weigh about what I did pre-pregnancy.  I did have a dream the night after our Thanksgiving feast that I gained over 40 pounds at my 14 week appointment.  The numbers on the scale kept going up, and the nurse just had me step off once it hit past 40.  Oh crazy pregnancy dreams!

I'm sure I'll look back on these baby bump pictures and enjoy them, but I'm already starting to regret doing them weekly.  I guess the further along I am the more difference we'll see week to week.  And yes, I do realize I probably won't have the time or energy if we're blessed with more children, but it's fun to do for the first. :)






Well that's all for now.  I'll try to post these regularly each week as we go along.

Thank you all so much for all your love and support with our news.  It was so exciting to share with the world, and everyone's kind comments made it even sweeter.

Before I leave, Weston found this somewhere online, and he said he wants this for the baby.  Who needs a baby bjorn when you could have this??


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I hope everyone is enjoying time with family and friends remembering the many blessings in their lives.  Weston and I plan on celebrating one BIG blessing this year!

Yep, we are 13 weeks pregnant!!  Here is our ultrasound at 12 weeks sleeping with his/her hand on its face.


I still can't believe that we're pregnant and in our 2nd trimester.  Those who are close to Weston and I know that we've been praying and struggling to start our family for 2 years.  We were diagnosed with unexplained infertility, and we've been through more doctors appointments, shots, blood draws, and ultrasounds than I ever imagined.  But I am so thankful for my husband who has been my support and partner through the most difficult time in our short 5 year marriage.  He's wanted this baby just as badly as me, and he has stayed so strong and faithful to me and the Lord.

Above is our ultrasound picture to ensure our baby was in my uterus-where it should be for the next 9 months.  When we first found out we were finally pregnant, our doctors were not hopeful that this baby would live.  They were concerned my hormones were not increasing like they should be and perhaps this baby was ectopic or I would miscarry.  So we were in what I termed Pregnancy Purgatory.  I knew I was pregnant, but my heart was guarded.  It wasn't joyful like I imagined.  We didn't get to surprise our parents with great news.  We had to share with them that this may not be our time, but they were our prayer warriors.  It was the most emotionally draining two weeks of my life waiting until we were far enough along to see on an ultrasound where our little one was.  For those two weeks, I went to the doctor every other day for bloodwork.

After the first week of finding out we were pregnant and my hormone levels, I was told my doctor wanted to talk to me about his concerns at my next appointment.  I knew it wasn't good.  I was devastated, and my mom came down that very next day to be with me and go to my appointment.  I am so thankful that my mom was there with me.  The doctor was very kind and explained to us his concerns of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.  He told me in his 20 year career as an infertility doctor that only two of his patients with hormone levels like mine went on to have healthy pregnancies.  So we left knowing it was all in God's hands and prayed that the baby wasn't ectopic, and if I were to miscarry, it would happen naturally.  I could not believe after struggling for two years that I was praying for a natural miscarriage, but I had to give this baby up to God's will.  He blessed us with this baby, and it was His will I prayed for our baby.

After our appointment, we went to Hobby Lobby to get crafty and get our minds off of everything for a little bit.  I will never forget this moment.  We were right there in the middle of the ribbon aisle when I got a phone call from my nurse that my numbers had tripled!  It was a miracle!!  My mom and I tried to contain our excitement and praise with the news we had gotten in Hobby Lobby to minimize the strange stares of why two women were so excited about ribbon.  I continued bloodwork monitoring for another week with each time tripling.  They want it to double, so triple was wonderful.  The doctor called to tell me that he hoped he was wrong on this one, our baby, and continue to rest until my first ultrasound.

Like I said earlier, our first ultrasound showed the baby was snug in my uterus, but we still had a long way to go.  It wasn't until another week that we heard the baby's heartbeat.  It was good and strong at 126 bpm, and the doctor told us it was a good sign of a healthy pregnancy.  It was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard.  I wish I had an ultrasound picture from that appointment, but I don't.  Below was next week's ultrasound where the heart rate was 160 bpm.

A little video of the heartbeat from 7.5 weeks along.

video

And we had one more ultrasound before I graduated to the OB!  Heartbeat was in the 180's, and the doctor congratulated me. This was so exciting to finally be released to the OB and join the baby bump group. 

 And on Halloween, I had my very first OB appointment at 10 weeks.  Here was our little pumpkin's Halloween picture.

I want my all my family to know how thankful I am for the love and support that they give to Weston and I.  We are so blessed.  We were blessed even before we conceived this baby, and now my heart is bursting.  I have never been happier than how I feel at this moment.  It feels wonderful to share our story.  Through infertility, God has pruned my heart.  I've had moments of weakness: anger, sadness, and confusion.  But through it all, I've learned to be happy for others who have what I desired.  We've opened our hearts to the idea of adoption in our family.  I've learned to be patient and listen to what God wants for our lives.  And I am so thankful that this is what God desires for us at this moment with this very loved child of God. 

Happy Thanksgiving y'all!!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Locks of Love

I love to grow my hair long, chop it off, donate to Locks of Love, and rinse and repeat. I'm sure most people or familiar with Lock of Love, a non-profit that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children with a medical condition that has caused hair loss.  I recently did this again and donated my hair to this worthy organization for my third time.  My hair grows relatively fast, and I never get nervous about dramatic haircuts.  This probably wasn't my longest donation.  It has to be at least 10 inches to donate, and this cut was exactly 10 inches.

Please ignore my bed head, unstyled look for the "before" picture my mom took for me on the way out the door.  


Tara worked her magic as always, and here is what it looks like now.  I love how easy it is to dry now and style.


While I don't get attached to my long hair, I can't imagine how difficult it is to lose your hair completely especially as a child.  It is so simple to donate, and you can donate even if your hair is highlighted (as long as it's not overbleached).  And even layered hair is accepted if the longest layer is 10 inches.  Check out their website for more information on how to donate.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Little Late

Good thing I don't get graded for my blogging.  I would have to plead with the teacher that the dog ate my blog posts and probably get held back a grade.  I know it's been so long since I've posted anything.  I have pictures piling up on my camera with no blogging to go along with them.  The longer I put off posting anything, the harder it was to get back.  But I am back!

I have pictures I'm rediscovering from two months ago.  We met up with some of our lifelong friends and spouses at a cabin in Gatlinburg.  It was a good meeting place for us as we traveled from Kentucky, Nashville, and Alabama.  It was a really fun weekend, and two of the four couples went to the Tennessee game.  Oh to be back two months ago when we had a coach and a team that was hopeful of the good things to come this season.


Jenny and Jakob, our other half, joined us at the game. 


It was pouring down rain when we were walking to the stadium.  So Jenny and I ran to the bookstore to buy our way overpriced $10 ponchos.  Here's hoping that the money the university makes off those ponchos will buy us a new coach!
 


Fortunately we scored seats under the overhang of the second level, and it stopped raining about the time off kick off.

  
Jenny and I had fun taking pictures of our men during the game.


After the game, we headed back to meet up with Jennifer, Erica, David, and Ryan to eat dinner.  Afterwards, we spent a late night talking on the porch of the cabin and soaking in the hot tub.  The only issue was the  cabins in this resort were a little too close for comfort, and our vacationing neighbor was not too pleased with our late night chats.  I think we got about 8 hours of sleep the entire weekend, but we had to make the most of our little time together.

David and Weston




Thank you for such an awesome time friends!  Next time lets get a cabin without neighbors!!