What a year! I thought 2010 was eventful with our engagement, wedding, and first six months of marriage, but 2011 was every bit as exciting and full of memorable events.
January: The year began with a really fun snow and sledding. Then we bought a house and immediately began remodeling. Blake, my step-father, and brother-in-law laid our new hardwood floors. We did lots of painting with help from friends. While the house needed LOTS of work, it couldn't have been in a more perfect location and we liked the layout and potential...and the price. So blessed to have found it before it even went on the market and without involving realtors.
February: We did more remodeling and had beautiful crown molding and baseboards installed. And then we moved into our home. Unfortunately 8 days after we moved in a storm came through and blew a very large tree onto our house, causing substantial damage and requiring us to immediately move out.
March: We lived in a hotel for almost two weeks, and then we moved into an apartment. March was absolutely exhausting as we met with our first insurance adjuster for over five hours one afternoon, met with a joke of a structural engineer hired by our insurance company, and began meeting with contractors. Highlights of the month were how well Blake and I worked together during such a stressful situation and how blessed we were by having flexible jobs that allowed us to deal with the constant meetings, phone calls, emails, etc. that were necessary. We were also assigned a new adjuster as we had gotten nowhere with our first adjuster in the 5 or so weeks since the tree hit our home.
April: This month was another blur as we continued meeting with and emailing our insurance adjuster and contractor in an attempt to begin the repairs our home. It felt like we were living in a cave as our time continued to be consumed by the insurance battle and the stress.
May: FINALLY construction began on our home (and we came to an agreement with our insurance company that exceeded the company's initial estimate by almost $50,000), and we could see an end in sight. Such an answer to prayers! We headed to Pawley's Island at the end of the month for my law firm's second annual retreat there and enjoyed having a 3 bedroom condo all to ourselves. My sister and her family joined us for a few days, and it was a nice get-away even if I did have to work several hours for several days.
June: The day before Father's Day I found out that I was pregnant, which was of course terribly exciting. Such an absolute blessing, and we couldn't have been more thrilled. It was wonderful to see Blake's reaction to the news, and we were able to tell his father on Father's Day and he kept exclaiming "You couldn't have given me a better gift." Since I can't keep a secret we told our close friends and family, which was super fun. We celebrated our first marriage anniversary, and Blake surprised me with an awesome trip to the Grove Park Inn. To say I loved the spa would be an understatement. I spent about 8 hours there and can't wait to go back. We also saw lots of progress with our home remodeling.
July: We finally got power back to our home and a move-in date seemed imminent. We ended up paying for a lot of additional renovations to our home like replacing the siding with Hardie board, updating the upstairs bathroom, rescreening the back porch, and adding railings. Morning sickness also began, but thankfully it wasn't too terrible. I had my first prenatal/OBGYN appointment, and we were able to see our baby. That was a relief since the first 12 weeks were definitely a scary time.
August: Our fantastic friends helped us move for the third time in 6 months, and we couldn't have been more delighted to be back in our home. Thatcher loved having a big yard again, and we liked being back in a house in a neighborhood and next door to our good friends. We breathed a sigh of relief as the first trimester (and higher risk of miscarriage) came to an end too.
September: At our 15 week appointment we learned that our baby is a boy! We already had our names chosen, so it was really fun to begin calling our son by his name--Jackson (my maiden name). And my baby bump began showing. We bought a lot of backporch furniture this month and began thoroughly enjoying our screened in porch. We visited my mother's hometown for a family reunion, and Blake finally got to see my family's land (way out in the country) and enjoy the pond and 4-wheeling. It was fun to see what a country dog Thatcher could be too.
October: I felt Jackson move for the first time...so exciting! And sort of weird too. We hosted our neighborhood's "Thirsty Thursday" this month and enjoyed having 20 plus neighbors over for appetizers, dessert, and drinks. We had our first tricker-or-treaters, which we really enjoyed.
November: Blake had surgery to correct his deviated septum and open up his sinuses to permit drainage. He's had terrible problems with sinus infections, breathing, etc. over the last few years, and this painful surgery has really helped. We're so thankful we could afford to have it done and to finally have some relief for him. We also hosted our first (two) Thanksgiving meals...one traditional with Blake's family (with a lot of help from Fresh Market) and a low-country boil with my family. And my sisters threw my first baby shower for baby Jackson, and we received absolutely precious clothes, blankets, bibs, and other things to help prepare for his arrival.
December: We enjoyed our first Christmas in our home and hosted a Christmas party for our friends. The joys of the third trimester of pregnancy began with backaches and difficulty putting on socks :) And we realized that next year we're going to have slow down more around Chrstimas Day so we can celebrate Jessus more and not just give each other our "leftovers" after going from one family meal to another. We ended 2011 with our closest friends in Chattanooga in a cabin--delicious food, wonderful fellowship, and a reminder of God's goodness.
And as we enter 2012 we eagerly anticipate becoming parents to "baby Jack" as my niece Mallie calls him. We're working on the nursery, trying to get our ducks in a row, and probably have no idea how much our hearts are going to expand with love and joy when we meet our son. I can't wait to see Blake as a dad and couldn't be more thankful to begin this journey with him.
p.s. I'm thankful for a new year and hope your 2012 is your best year yet.