December 30, 2011

2011: The Year in Review


This has been the hardest but very best year in my twenty-eight year life.

In January I celebrated my 28th birthday, heard a lot of annoying stuff, and went to Labor & Delivery in premature labor.

February found me very jealous!

In March we finished the nursery, felt as ready as we could be for Evie's grand arrival into this world!

In April I hit the darkest point in my life and was officially diagnosed with Post Partum Depression and Anxiety. I started medication immediately and although the months between are a blur of sadness by July I felt like I was standing in that light I saw at the end of the tunnel, the one I had only glimpsed for so long.

August passed in a blissful state as I basked in a deeper-than-ever love for my family.

September saw the switch to cloth diapers, and I let go of a little of the guilt I had been carrying around over having PPD/A. I also confronted the haters who criticized Chris and me for deciding to formula feed Evie. As an aside that post is one I am most proud of; it was cathartic and after writing it I really got behind my decision and stopped letting other people and myself beat me up because we fed formula.

In October we went to the pumpkin patch and I just said NO to being a pageant mom!

I fell deeper in love with my family in November and was more grateful for them then ever! I had the world's worst surgery, Evie got really really sick, and I got really really pissed! Yet we still remembered all that we have to be thankful for.

December was crazy hectic! However, we got the Christmas cards mailed, we got the decorations up, had a fantastic Christmas!

2011 was a life changing year. I'll always cherish the year that gave me my daughter. Amidst all of the grief and sorrow the year brought, her life shines like a light brighter than anything else. Forever and ever 2011 will be the year of Evie. Although I will miss this year and I am so ready for what 2012 has in store for me and my little family! Catch y'all on the flip side!

December 29, 2011

Christmas Recap & Photo Dump

Alright folks here it is, the much anticipated (right? I mean y'all were totally looking forward to this?) Christmas recap and photo dump!

We had a great Christmas! It was very very hectic and next year we are staying home, but this year it was worth it.

Christmas Eve we went to Candle Light service with my family and then to eat at Macaroni Grille, which we do every year. This is my favorite tradition at Christmastime.

Christmas morning, I made breakfast, then we woke Evie up so she could see that Santa did indeed stop by! After she played with her toys, we had a yummy breakfast of homemade cinnamon rolls, egg casserole and sausage casserole.

After breakfast we all looked to see what Santa left for us in our stockings, then while Evie napped Chris and I showered and got ready to leave for Pickwick Lake.

We drove to Pickwick to see Chris' grandmother who is in a nursing home due to Alzheimer's. His mom and dad got her out for the day so she could have Christmas at their cabin. Chris and I both felt this year that breaking the "don't go anywhere on Christmas day" rule was warranted.

After we got home from Pickwick, Evie opened her wrapped presents and then Chris and I did our Christmas. After Evie went to bed we had our Christmas Dinner, which was crock pot french dip sandwiches, pasta salad and french fries! We went casual this year since we were gone for about six hours.

The next day we got up and did Christmas with my parents in the morning and Christmas with Chris' parents in the evening.

Wheew! It was a crazy busy weekend, and I am still exhausted and the piles of laundry at my house are unbelievable! BUT -- we aren't done yet; we have the whole family Christmas this weekend on Sunday! 

{Our Christmas in Pictures}

Our Tree and Presents!


Santa Came!




Stockings are Stuffed!


Evie wouldn't leave Bear behind even to see what Santa brought!


Santa brought Evie a Sophie the Giraffe!


Evie LOVED what Santa left for her...


...and she loved everything in her stocking.





Evie and Daddy playing with her new toy!
(can't deny this child can he?)


We all had matching PJs! This is a new, and oh so cheesy, tradition we have started!
Evie did not sleep in hers because it was too cold. We changed her into them after stockings!



Opening presents!



Christmas at Nana and Grampa's


All the presents are mine!!!


Evie with Grammie and Grampie

So that was our first Christmas with our precious baby bug. She is totally spoiled for sure -- she has at least 12 more presents to open this weekend. No clue where it is all gonna go! It is definitely time to get started on that play room!

As for Chris and I, we had a great Christmas also. We were spoiled by our parents and spoiled by each other! I think my favorite gifts were my new camera bag, tri-pod, flash and, Keurig coffee maker and boots! The most meaningful present was a new charm for my pandora bracelet. Chris had it engraved with Evie's name, two hearts and her birth date. It was very special and he was proud because I cried!

However, I am most grateful for the gift of a happy healthy baby girl, who makes my world go round!

Merry Belated Christmas y'all -- I hope you are all as blessed as we are!

December 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

I promise to have a full Christmas re-cap soon (you know as soon as I recover from it), but until then here are a few iPhone shots to tide you over! :)

{What stocking stuffers look like when you are nine months old!}



{Pretty much cinnamon rolls are the best things ever. She would barely touch her eggs!}




December 27, 2011

Overwhelmed

A few days ago my friend became a mother.

I remember the day she got married. I stood beside her on the altar, my feet killing me as I tried to sniffle as softly as I could. The bridesmaids had been warned in no uncertain terms that crying was strictly forbidden, but emotion and love know no rules and I so I wept happy tears as one of the friends I loved most pledged to love and cherish a wonderful man. I was overwhelmed with happiness for her.

I remember driving to Florida with my family the next day, thoroughly exhausted from emotion, dancing and probably one too many glasses of wine at the reception. At some point we were talking about her wedding and I burst into tears, completely overcome. My friend was married; she was on her way to Hawaii for her honeymoon and on her way to starting a really different chapter in her life. I couldn't and still can't place a finger on what particular emotion that was. I imagine it was a mixture of bittersweet and joy, but since my typical response to any and all emotions, both known and unknown, is tears, I went ahead and cried.

In the time since her wedding day she has stood next to me and cried as I married Chris then flounced the train of my dress after. Two days after I called her to tell her I was having a little girl, she called me to tell me her father had passed away; we have laughed and cried, shared our good news and the unthinkable. She has rubbed my pregnant belly and held my new born daughter as Evie cried.

Then, last week I got a message: "Baby ___ is on the way!!!"

Again, I was overwhelmed. I was so happy for her, so excited and so full of joy, and again, because I cry, that is what I did. My friend was going to be a mother in a few short hours. It was a good feeling.

From first grade Sunday school, to sleepovers, youth group, cheerleading, family vacations, drivers licenses, different colleges and weddings we have been so much a part of each others lives, always picking up like nothing has passed, no changes have been made, and this year exactly nine months apart, we both became mothers. Maybe once the age difference levels out our babies will play in the sand in Florida together.

My friend is a mother, and a few days ago I felt her newborn son snuggle up to me as I held him in the hospital. As I rocked him we smiled at each other, a quiet moment amidst the action in the room. I didn't cry because I knew she would hate it, but it was a good feeling.

December 23, 2011

An Evans Family Christmas

I'd like to invite you into our home to see a Christmas done Evans style! I hope you enjoy our decorations as much as we do! (Also sorry for the crappy pictures -- I am *hopefully* getting a tri-pod soon so I can take better shots with a slow shutter speed and a low f stop).











Y3W: Merry Little Christmas

From our family to yours we send you the happiest of Christmas greetings!






December 22, 2011

A Letter To Evie at 9 Months Old

Dear Evie,

You have been a part of my life for approximately 18 months now, a year and a half. You have been an outside baby almost as long as you were an inside baby, and mommy and daddy can't remember life with out you!

Although we didn't know it then, our days were gloomier without your "heh heh heh" laugh and now sporting two teeth smile.

We were more well rested, our bank account was fuller, our eyes had less bags, we did laundry far less frequently and we could walk through the living room without tripping over something that was essential to baby survival (or maybe it's parent survival).

I used to have time to run errands without planning them two days in advance. I could go to the mall or get a manicure on a whim. Daddy had plenty of time to play XBox and the puppy dogs thought the whole world, not just ours, revolved around them.

Nine months later life is different. It's not that our life revolves around you entirely it's that the brightest light of our life is found in you. We find it in the overwhelming joy you express during bath time, because good Lord girl you love your bath (you get that from your mom, just ask Daddy and Grandpa they pay/paid the water bills). We find it in the way you flirt shamelessly with everyone, and will stare at people until they comment how cute you are and only then will you bestow your beautiful smile on them. We find it in the way your big blue eyes grow wide at the sight of bear and you laugh your head off crawling your way down the hall until you finally reach him. We find it in your constant desire to snack on your toes and the way you blow raspberries every time I ask you to say "Momma". We find it in the dim light of your nursery as we watch our living angel sleep peacefully. We find it in how extraordinary every ordinary day is with you.

We can't wait to experience the next nine months with you baby bug; you are growing up so good.

To the moon and back baby girl.

Love,
Mommy

{Evie: Nine Months Old}



 

December 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Santa Claus is Coming to Town!

We didn't have single tear, not a one! I am very impressed!




December 20, 2011

Evie Hearts Bear

Well I am back from a unplanned and somewhat forced vacation from the interwebz. I think I have been busy every waking minute since last Friday. I literally made bread for about 14 hours on Sunday, as well as canned a ton of apple butter.

So I welcome you back with a photo dump. Enjoy!

Evie has a thing for bears. It started with a lovie that her Auntie Leslie gave her, and then progressed to a Build a Bear Chris made for me when we were first dating. Evie laughed her head off when she saw him for the first time, so she stole him and now he is hers. She sleeps with her lovie at night (I feel like the stuffed bear is too big right now) and I think it is one of the most adorable things I have ever seen!

Then Sunday I sent Chris to Walgreens for formula and paper towels and he came back with a three foot replica of her bears. When we woke Evie up we showed her the three bears and I was afraid her little head would explode from excitement.

Oh and did I mention they are all named Bear? Creativity win over here, folks.

{The Three Bears}

{Haaaai there big fella! You come here often?}

{Bear Hugs!}


{Bears Make Me Happy!}

{Alright, crazy lady. That is enough pictures!}

{Do you like people taking pictures of you while you eat?}


December 15, 2011

The Handmaid's Tale: On Uncommon Faith

This year Christmas feels different for me.

Every year I try to make sure that I focus heavily on the what the real reason for Christmas is. I listen to mainly songs that focus on Jesus, not Santa and I reflect on the blessings that have been given to me and my family. I'm not saying I Scrooge it up on the secular part of Christmas but I do try my very hardest to keep Jesus in the forefront of my mind. Sometimes it is really hard, but I try.

This year I find myself focusing on a different player in the the Christmas story, Mary, Jesus' mother who played an intrinsic role in the salvation of mankind.



Her faith was incredible. To have an angel show up in your house unannounced with the message of, "Umm, by the way God wants you to carry His child, who is going to save all mankind from sin" and to just calmly be like, "Thanks Gabriel. I've got this one." is amazing to me.

Of course, that is completely abbreviated and totally put into our language, but the sentiment is still the same.

What Mary actually said with no hesitation, not even a "Let me think about it for second"  is, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." (Luke 1:38) That was that. She would take what God would give to her, even while knowing that great suffering must certainly lay ahead for her. Even if she didn't know then that her child would be brutally put to death to save all the other children of all the other mothers of the world, she knew her life from that very moment of submission would be a hard row to hoe. She faced at the very least the immediate possibility of Joseph abandoning her, being stoned to death for her perceived infidelity and her child being labeled a bastard and put to death.


Maybe it is because I am now a mother that I am in so much wonder of this brave woman. I don't know that I would have the kind of faith it took for her to knowingly accept that her first child would save the world. To look down at your beautiful newborn in your arms and before the pangs of labor have even subsided to feel a pang in your heart knowing that you will most likely outlive your child, what kind of faith does that take? It is an incredible, all-encompassing and indelible faith. It is a faith that burns hotter than the pits of Hell and is louder than a lion's roar.

It may have been a man who saved the world. We might still live in a world and a Church dominated by men, but it took a woman, with great bravery and the kind of faith it takes to move mountains to get there. She was a young girl, still a child really, driven only by a courage born of her conviction in her faith, who submitted herself as the handmaid of the Lord and helped change the course of history.

This year while I worship and adore Jesus as we celebrate His birth, I also stand in amazement of the fortitude and sacrifice made by a simple girl with uncommon faith, and pray that I might make Mary a better role model in my life, have faith and remember that a simple "Yes" can change everything.


December 13, 2011

MDR 5.0 Happy Birthday

The next Memories Dreams and Reflections prompt is Happy Birthday! This picture was taken at Gus' second birthday party and it is one of my favorite pictures of the year. This is his Daddy, Stephen, leading him into his Lil' Buckaroo party on a pony! Gus had such a great party and we had so much fun celebrating!





 
You can see all of my MDR posts {HERE}