Thursday, February 24, 2011

I've been sprinkled

My very thoughtful co-workers decided to have a baby "sprinkle" for me this past weekend. It was such a generous idea and I was truly thankful for their thoughtfulness. Elizabeth did the planning and her mother Linda hosted. Linda's home is beautiful, the food was delicious and everything was just lovely. Tim and I were given some much needed and very nice items to prepare for the baby. Here are some pictures of the event:

Elizabeth sent invitations to all my family and I was happy that my Mother In Law could make it!
Beautiful spread of yummy food!
It was really nice doing something with my co-workers outside of work.
I got some really great items, one of them being this sweet little insulated Thirty-One bag that Laura had monogrammed with Taylor for us. It will be perfect for bottle transport to and from daycare!
The next gift was totally unanticipated but I am over the top excited that my In-Laws gave it to us because I know we will use it a TON. I've been really trying to research front pack/carriers because I know it will be vital with a little one + Kennedy (grocery shopping, mall, cleaning around the house, etc.). I registered for the ERGO Baby & am thrilled we got it!
Another item I registered for but wasn't at all expecting was this little baby food cooker. I tried making Kennedy's baby food once she started solids and just really had a hard time (something I attribute to not having a quality food processor in my possession). This little baby does it all - steams, processes, re-heats, etc. I can't wait to use it and give making baby food another go. I am feeling optimistic about success now that I own this - thanks to my Mom and Jim.
My co-workers went together to purchase bedding for our bedside bassinet. I LOVE it. I finally washed it and put it on the bassinet on Tuesday. I think it is precious. It matches our bedding perfectly and we'll be able to move this little bassinet wherever we need to in the house easily so I'm thrilled I have cute bedding to go with it.

I don't have a picture, but my sisters also went in to purchase me the BOB jogger infant car seat adapter so I am going to be ready to run....well I'll have all the "gear" anyways! I got so many other items we needed too - some linens and blankets, burp rags and bibs, onesies and nursing supplies. We feel ready with what we have on hand and we wouldn't have without that shower so we are so grateful.

Kennedy joined me at the shower and she was so excited about helping Mommy open the baby's presents. Can you tell? Little did she know several people brought her "big sister" presents too. So sweet!
Jackie gave her this little baby. Isn't it cute? She has other baby dolls in the house but nothing little bitty like this. She has played with it alot since we opened it on Sunday.
Jackie and Kennedy have a special little relationship. Jackie is practicing her Grandma skills way before she needs to - one day she is going to have some seriously spoiled grand kids!
Of course Courtney (always the thoughtful one) brought Big Sister a present too. I'd have to say currently her gift has made the biggest impression.
She gave her this little princess lip gloss tin and y'all - we have not left home without it since. I'm talking, we've taken it EVERYWHERE and she wants to show it to EVERYONE. Precious. 
Nana and Pawpaw brought her a little something she didn't have yet:
I need not describe her feelings about it but lets just say I think she'll be real proud to use it at practice this Saturday.
Another sweet friend of mine (who didn't even come to the shower) LeAnn dropped off a gift for the baby and for Kennedy. We've worn these a good bit since getting them as well.
I felt doubly blessed because not only have people been so generous and thoughtful about giving to us for the baby, but they've considered my original baby too and that makes me a happy Momma.

Monday was Nana and Pawpaw's day off so they stayed at home with Kennedy while Tim got some things accomplished around the house and with the vehicles. From the looks of it: she had a pretty good day at home with her grandparents. I wished I hadn't had to work but I was thrilled that she got some time with them.
You gotta love a Pawpaw who will play barbies with his grand baby! Apparently Barbie and Cinderella had quite the soccer match with her new soccer ball but unfortunately I don't have those pictures.
I was happy to have Tuesday off and get a few more things done around here. I put away all the shower gifts, packed a few more things for the hospital and worked on a school project with Kennedy:

Kennedy's great grandparents (both sets) on Tim's Mom's side - were born in Germany and my Dad was born in Germany too so we chose to create Germany's flag. Turned out cute, huh? She was so proud and so excited to share her flag with Miss Emily.
*And just in case you're wondering: yes, we live in this princess gown most days of the week if allowed. If I would let her - she'd wear it to school every day too. Oh my!

Last night Tim and I spent some time getting some things off the floor and onto the walls in the baby's nursery. It's coming together...slowly but surely. It's way harder than you think to decorate not knowing the sex of the baby. We are on our official countdown - I'm 38 weeks today and the midwife thinks I'll go a bit early which could mean ANYTIME now. Oh my.
 The picture above is what is hanging over the changing table. We used those letters in Kennedy's room but the shelves are new. I've not a clue what we'll fill them with but they were clearance at Target and I thought they'd look nice. The artwork below was done by Big Sister herself and the mat was in the discount bin at Hobby Lobby and the frame was on sale - I think it turned out sweet. The little canvas bin was a gift from Abby and Billie and we've filled it with soft baby toys. The little block frame is a gift from them as well. Not sure what we'll put in there but Kennedy keeps reminding me that I need to put a picture in it.
 While my Mother In Law was here she used leftover fabric from the chair to recover this little ottoman she wasn't using much at her house. I think it looks so cute and it will be so nice to have somewhere to prop my feet up when I'm nursing. The print on the wall was compliments of Jes - I'm still so happy with how it turned out. The mirrored plate is something I painted at Mad Potter and once we have a name - I'll write it on there with a porcelain pen and bake it to make a nice little personalized piece of decor. 
I feel like major progress has been made in the nursery and Tim and I are pretty much packed should we (Lord willing) go into labor at any moment. Now it's just a waiting game. I told Tim last night I feel like it's similar to when your house is on the market - you live in this "the house has to constantly be clean" phase and right now I feel like I'm living in a "we need to be ready at any moment in case I go into labor" phase. More than anything - I'm just excited...about meeting the baby, seeing if it's a boy or a girl and then sharing him/her with all our friends, family and each other. Anytime now....

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Friend

So...I have this friend, and recently this friend had an AMAZING experience. I thought she may choose to share it on her own blog....but alas days have gone by and still no posting. More than likely her decision not to share is one made out of being so super duper humble, but I am going to brag on her because she deserves it!

I'll tell you a bit about her first. She loves Jesus. She loves Jesus a whole lot. So much so that just becoming friends with her and being around her has made me love Jesus more. Seriously! The way she listens, the way she doesn't judge, the way she always gently points me towards his outstretched hands when I haven't thought to do it on my own. At times previous and current when I have gotten/get distracted and busy...thinking my situation seems so BIG...she ALWAYS reminds me that He is bigger and He is waiting...for me. She has made me follow him harder, love him more, and more importantly she has made me want to be for others what she has been for me - an amazing Christ following friend. One who you know seeks God for you when you can't/ haven't thought to seek him on your own. No matter the time, no matter the situation, no matter the circumstances...I know when I've talked to her about ANYTHING....she's taking those things to him on my behalf as my friend. Seriously, what more could be better in a friend? I say friend, but at this point she is as close to adopted family as I could get. My husband loves her, I love her, and my daughter slap adores her.

Of course her strength in relationships (which we've witnessed within our family) has carried on into multiple other areas because that kind of commitment to people and to Jesus is a gift. A gift with a purpose...a purpose that she is living out every day. You see...she works in an industry where women come to see her and her place of business because they are in a situation where they need help. Sometimes they are scared, sometimes they are ashamed, sometimes they are worried, sometimes they don't know what they are but they know they need help. Her job every day revolves around helping these women. She is the director of a place called Life Choices....a non profit pregnancy center in Western PA, and her name is Chelsea.

Since she began working there - BIG things have been happening. She felt God leading them in a direction that many were scared to go but she trusted Him and after months of all the associated responsibilities - they can not only counsel girls on what to do when they see a + or a - on that pregnancy test, they can offer them medical support, they can show them that there is a life form with a beating heart that God created - growing inside of them. They can then begin the process of loving them through (regardless of the outcome) one of the most challenging times in their lives. Sometimes the women choose abortion, but now...thanks to the addition of the medical clinic they hope that far less women will make that choice and instead choose life. Whatever the women choose, when they are in that center and when they are around Chelsea there is one thing they will most certainly feel....L-O-V-E-D.  

~Change directions with me for a moment~

The Susan B. Anthony List is a nationwide network of over 285,000 Americans dedicated
to ending abortion by advancing, mobilizing and representing pro-life women in the political process.
In 2011, SBA List will leverage political gains into legislative success for the unborn through its Stop Abortion Funding Campaign. This campaign advocates for the passage of the No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act, which creates a governmentwide statutory prohibition on abortion funding, and the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, which ensures that organizations that perform abortions, including Planned Parenthood, do not receive
federal dollars under the Title X federal family planning assistance program.

Every Spring, the Susan B. Anthony List presents its Young Leader Awards to a group of young women who embody the pro-life legacy of Susan B. Anthony.
Susan B. Anthony was a trailblazer during her time for the rights of women and the unborn, and through these awards, the Susan B. Anthony List honors a new generation of trailblazers. Past awardees defended Life in the Halls of Congress, in pregnancy centers, and in their own schools as leaders for women and unborn children.

Chelsea was not only nominated by the board members of Life Choices to receive a Young Leader Award, she was elected as one of the recipients! It is an amazing honor and the Susan B. Anthony organization has written more about her and her fellow Young Leader Award Winners here.

So on January 20th she received the following email, not even knowing she'd been nominated by her board:


Congratulations on being chosen as a recipient of the 2011 Susan B. Anthony Young Leader Award.
The Susan B. Anthony List presents its Young Leader Awards to a group of young women who embody the pro-life legacy of Susan B. Anthony. This year, the awards will be presented at our 4th Annual Campaign for Life Gala, which will be held on February 16, 2011 at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington, D.C.

You can view the invitation here. Below are some pictures from the event. She said it was amazing and they had a wonderful time. I am so glad Chelsea because you deserve it. I couldn't be more proud of you or happy for you! Keep up the good work sister!

 Chelsea and her sister Rhylie (Rhylie is on the board and took part in nominating Chelsea).
The Rearick Family ~ Love you guys!


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Tim and I have been on what we are calling an "eating out strike". It has been our way to save money and be conscious of how much we are "grabbing a bite" when we don't really need to because there's plenty here at the house. We've done pretty good with it...we allowed ourselves (when we initially went on strike) to count the upcoming special occasions as freebies if you will: anniversary, Valentine's Day, my birthday, but to try to avoid eating out otherwise. When we were deciding where to go on our Valentine's date, we heard about a deal we simply couldn't refuse:

How cool is that? Tim tried to convince me that somewhere in the fine print it required the use of tongue: yeah right! No worries - we kept it PG in line folks. So...for $6.00, Tim had a burrito and I had a naked burrito: pretty sweet deal, huh?

After Qdoba we headed to the dollar theater and saw the movie How Do You Know with Reese Witherspoon and Owen Wilson. It was pretty cute and for $5.50 we got two movie tickets, shared a sprite and a popcorn. Total cost of entire Valentine's Day Date: $11.50. You can't beat that with a stick.

Thanks to Abby and Jonathan for keeping our sweet princess. Looks like they had a pretty good time and best yet - no childcare expense involved. ;)

The rest of this week was spent working and getting ready for the baby to come. We packed the hospital bag, installed the car seat, washed the car, moved the bassinet into our bedroom, put some more finishing touches on the nursery, etc.

Kennedy and I also had hair cuts this week because Lord only knows when we'll have the time to get out and do that in the near future. She's been telling me for a while now that she wants short hair and although I tried not to sway her either way, I was hoping she'd opt for a trim because I love her little piggy tails and pony tail. In the end...she elected for short.

 AFTER: she was being a turkey and this is the best I could get that day!
 Here is one I snapped the next day at school - it was Pajama Day (aka the best day EVER as far as Kennedy is concerned).  
And here are a couple more I got today. I think it turned out cute and she seems thrilled with it which is what matters most. Daddy's happy that blow drying goes much quicker! 

Today we had an appointment and everything looks right on track. I will now be seeing the midwife weekly until this little one makes his/her appearance. I can't believe it will be here before we know it.

A while back I asked Courtney if she would be willing to help me cook some casseroles and stuff to put in the freezer to have when the baby comes. She shares my love of cooking and she's also an incredibly generous friend so of course she agreed to help me. Today was our stock the freezer/casserole cook-off and we cranked out some major cooking today y'all! Thanks to her and her culinary prowess we will now be able to have at our disposal post-baby arrival:
8 casseroles
2 home made pizza crusts or enough dough to make 8 calzones
2 different types of muffins (blueberry streusel & chocolate chip pumpkin)
& last but certainly not least ~ 2 loaves of banana bread

Awesome, huh? I'm thrilled we were able to get so much done so quickly. We had fun while we were doing it too.

We have another full day tomorrow. Tim and I are volunteering in the nursery at church nursery tomorrow morning and at 2:30 tomorrow afternoon my co-workers are graciously throwing me a "baby sprinkle" which I am so touched by.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

We have been in the Valentine's spirit around the Taylor household. It all began with a package we received in the mail from Kennedy's cousins Catherine and Maggie. She opened it on Saturday morning and was very excited with it's contents:

Then we received a card from Chelsea that was oh so very exciting!

The picture alone just wouldn't do her sheer excitement justice. You gotta see the video:

Saturday evening we kept Adalyn so Abby and Jonathan could go on a early Valentine's date. She was as sweet as ever and Kennedy got in even more "big sister" practice. We loved having her. They are returning the favor for us this evening by keeping Kennedy so we can have a little Valentine's date of our own.

 Um...notice that Cinderella is holding Prince Charming's hand! Not prompted. Too sweet.

Sweet baby cheeks! 

Thursday of last week marked my 36th week of pregnancy so since Kennedy was all decked out in her Sunday Valentine's best for church yesterday we snapped a quick picture in the front yard. I officially have 3 weeks and 3 days left until my due date. When people ask me when I'm due I'm totally rounding down and saying 3 weeks. Whatever it takes, right? =)

Yesterday evening was full of Valentine's Party preparation for Kennedy's little party this afternoon. We made treats for all 14 friends in her class and then we made a special card and muffin pan for the directors of the daycare as well as her Green Room Teachers. She loves a craft and she loves to bake so she was a big helper! They all turned out cute too. She was so excited this morning to deliver her home made Valentines!

Before we left for school we gave Kennedy her Valentine from her Daddy and I. She really liked it. Of course, what girl wouldn't? You can't really go wrong with a handbag and chocolate!

 She dove right in. Thankfully there was a good breakfast ahead of time!

We snapped a few V-Day pics for the scrapbook and then it was off to school and work for us.

I thought her facial expression in that last one was too cute to not post. Ha! Such a ham she is.