Friday, December 31, 2010

We're having a girl!

Wednesday Calvin and I had a wonderful doctor's visit. We spent over 30 mins in the ultrasound room watching the baby move and taking pictures. They checked out everything they could to make sure the baby was healthy. It was very reassuring and so much fun to watch her move around. The ultrasound tech was awesome - we were so pleased with the appointment. They had a big screen television mounted on the wall in front of Calvin and I so that we could watch everything she was doing on the computer very easily. It was the perfect balance of mixing the measurements needed to check out the baby's health along with letting us watch her move. I drank a big hot chocolate on my way to the appointment to help with activity, and it worked!

It took a little while for us to get the baby to pose for the confirmation, but she's all girl! Her name will be Kathleen Margarette Dickenson. She's named after both mine and Calvin's grandmothers. This is a name that Calvin and I have had picked out since before we were married. We do plan on calling her Kathleen. Oh, and we have a great 4D profile picture of Kathleen playing with her foot! (In the 2nd picture below)

This week Calvin and I have been working hard at getting the baby's room ready. We have all the furniture rearranged, drawers cleared out, and closet cleared. I plan on decorating a little more throughout January, and I believe now that the space is created the objects will start to fall into place as we set up the crib and plan for the other baby stuff to fill the apartment. It is a fun type of "spring cleaning" and we've been happy to do it. This mixed in with baby reading and research has kept us pretty much wrapped up with baby the majority of each day. Calvin laughs because it's the one thing that gives me energy these days. I can stare at stroller options and reviews for hours.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A White Christmas

Christmas this year was just as wonderful as I expected it to be. I am so grateful for my family and if I haven't said it yet on this blog - my parents are awesome. We went home on the 23rd. Hung out with the women on the Fender side of the family on the 24th for small shopping errands and lunch. Then the whole clan filled up the last two rows of Bethlehem UMC at the Christmas Eve service. (Calvin went to the 4:30 service at Salem UMC where he is working this year and came back for a 9 p.m. double header in the same night.)

Then on Christmas day Jason and Brandy came over late morning for gifts with our family and the entire Fender family came to my Mom's house this year for Christmas dinner. It was a big Christmas as usual, but not very stressful. My mom did an excellent job at keeping it all running smoothly. To top it all off, on Christmas morning it started snowing beautiful large snowflakes and didn't stop until the following morning. Church the next day was canceled and we spent an extra day relaxing with mom and dad before heading back to Durham! The snow had to be at least 6 inches or more by the time it was done. It was so beautiful mainly because it was all snow as it fell without the usual freezing rain that accompanies it.

Below is a picture of us in front of Mom's Christmas Tree. Also, Calvin had fun making a couple videos of my favorite Christmas traditions with our new HD camcorder that we were given for Christmas. After Grandpa tells the Christmas story and gives us his thoughts for the year, Santa always comes to visit us to pass out presents. Here's a link to view him passing out the presents to the kids. These guys represent the 4th generation of the family that all still get together on Christmas night. Also typically each year we have a "gag gift" or two passed out. Melissa's family hit the proverbial nail on the head this year creating a Bah Humbug shirt for Dad and giving us all Nerf darts to shoot at the biggest Scrooge in the room! We all really got into it, and it became a Nerf dart fight with the whole family. Here's a link to view the fun!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

We’re on vacation: whoooohooo!

The fall semester has come to an end, and this is one of the times where I love that Calvin and I are both on the Duke semester calendar. This past Thursday Calvin took his last exam then on Friday I went to my last day of work. I’ll go back on January 4th and Calvin heads back to class on the 12th. So we’re currently enjoying two full weeks of vacation here at the apartment together.  It’s wonderful having this much time to just be together in the apartment, check off a to-do list and catch up with friends over delicious meals. So far on the list we’ve finished up the Christmas baking and shopping, Christmas cards are sent, presents have been shipped, and I’ve set up and done as much as I can for now on the baby registry at Babies”R”Us. Plus, last night I got to see my two favorite ladies in the whole world – my roommates from college. Brandy, Lucia and I all went to dinner at Four Eleven then the UNC game v. William and Mary. We were in the rafters, but it was still a great time to catch up in a nostalgic atmosphere. And 5 years after graduation there’s nothing like singing "Hark the Sound" with one girl on each arm to bring a tear to your eye. (Here’s a view from our seats below.)

Today the goal is to finish my Christmas craft, wrap the remaining presents, enjoy lunch with the Doi family, and clean the apartment. Tomorrow we’ll be going home to visit my family in Davie County, returning on Sunday. 

The goal for the following week: Clean out the office and make it nursery ready! We’re expecting preparations for figuring out the best way for baby to fit in our 925 square feet to pretty much take all week. Calvin is also in charge of research on car seats, strollers, and baby monitors so that we can make decisions there. But with perfect timing as we are making these preparations we’ll be finding out the gender of our little bun in the oven on Wednesday the 29th. This will also allow us to give a name to our baby and energize our efforts to organize before the spring semester starts. 

I hope everyone has a very merry Christmas with the ones you love.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The highlight of Thanksgiving is always Jason.

The highlight of Thanksgiving for me is always spending time with my brother. I look forward to it every year. This is the one time of year that Jason and I catch up and spend time together with a focus on each other - even if there really isn't anything new to say. I do see Jason at other times throughout the year around his racing schedule; however, this is the one holiday where the priority is some sibling bonding time. I love the fact that each year this is our time together, and this Thanksgiving weekend no exception. Last week Calvin and I went home for the annual Stockert "Night Before Thanksgiving" with Jason, Brandy, Mom and Dad. It was quite calm for us this year given that I'm pregnant and Calvin still physically hurts from the party last year. We had fun none the less, and we definitely didn't get in the way of Jason and Dad still having a good time. In my opinion, it's the kind of family bonding that the holidays are made for. I am claiming now to watch out for next year though. Calvin will be in charge of baby and I'm planning a night of checking out for Mommy!

Thanksgiving Day with Mom's side of the family was as truly enjoyable as always. My mom and aunt stuffed us full or delicious food and enough left overs for 3 more complete meals! They really out do themselves and spoil us every year. Then on Friday and Saturday Calvin and I went to my grandparent's mountain house in Sparta, NC with Jason and Brandy. I guess somethings never change with little sisters. We like to tag along whenever we can!

While in the mountains we met my Aunt Patty and her family at a choose and cut Christmas tree farm. With their help we picked out the perfect 7 foot tree to go in the corner of our living room. Since Sunday the 28th was the first Sunday of Advent we put of the tree and decorated it Sunday night! Below are pictures of the tree in our living room and the glass angels on our kitchen bar that my grandfather has given me over the years.

I'm glad the Christmas Season is here. Decorating is fun when it includes only two boxes of decorations full of only things that you love. This year Calvin and I are making Gingerbread Caramels to go with our gifts. I also have a fun craft idea that many of the women I love will be receiving as gifts. (This is really the only time of year I ever attempt to be crafty.) So I hope you all are also getting into the Christmas spirit, pulling out the same old holiday cds, and thinking about ways to be sweet to the ones we love. The only thing now is to work in more time to exercise.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Cards: To send or not to send, that is the question.

Every year I consider Christmas cards. I always debate on whether to send or not to send. Last year I even admit so sending retaliatory cards only. That's right, if you got a card from me, it was only because you sent me one first. I know that makes me lazy, but I still love you all just the same!

When considering Christmas cards for this year, thanks to my dear friend Megan, I caught sight of a few designs from Shutterfly. I love them, and after seeing the choices I knew for sure this was the year to get back in the groove of sending well wishes to all our loved ones. As we start to prepare for our family of three, this seems like a good thing to do. Why wouldn't the people closest to us love to receive an annual picture card to remind you that we're thinking of you and we love you dearly? I know that it does always bring a smile to my face when I receive cards from others. The good news is, this is the last year of having to stare at just me and Calvin. Next year there will be someone even cuter in your mailbox waiting to wish you a Merry Christmas.

I'm also excited to tell you that because of this post they are offering me 50 free cards (If you're a blogger you too can get 50 free cards, find out more here). 

I feel like each year I realize more and more the importance of family and friends. I'm looking forward to taking time this year to make sure the people most important to us know that they are loved. Thanks Sutterfly for making it so easy to reach out to friends and family this holiday season. I am now looking forward to the Christmas card season for the first time since we got married.

Below are a few of my favorite designs from the tons available to choose from. Any opinions on which one to go with?