Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year - Review of 2011: Part 1


We have one small reason why 2011 was such a big year for us! Want to take a guess at what it is?!?! Why, yes that would be our sweet baby girl. Our firstborn. Miss Ella Grace. This year has been packed full of major changes in our lives. We experienced loss of life, busied ourselves preparing for a new life,  celebrated another great year of marriage, experienced the birth of our baby girl, changes in our jobs, some scary health problems on both sides of our families, a wonderful vacation, having to return to work with a newborn, and wrapped up the year with some very memorable holidays!
I have learned a lot this year. And almost 99.9% of it was taught to me by someone who is 26 years younger than me and weighs under 20 pounds, ha! I have learned how precious life is and how quickly it can be taken from us. I have learned that I have to prioritize my life because when you become a Mommy it is absolutely impossible to accomplish all that needs to be done and all you want to get done. Basically, I learned that I can’t do it all. Which is a very hard lesson to learn. I learned, once again, how utterly and truly blessed I am (I’m constantly learning this one over and over). Lastly, but certainly not least I learned how to love unconditionally. Truly, whole-heartedly, unconditionally. Of course I am referring to my love for my daughter. 
You hear about it your whole life. About a “mother’s love” for her child. You think you understand it, but until you actually experience it, I don’t think it’s possible to truly “get it.” I am beyond grateful the Lord gave me the opportunity to be a Mommy. There really are no words that exist that could explain my gratitude. It is reasons such as that I am SO glad God knows how I truly feel in my heart. How thankful I am. I will never be deserving of His unconditional love, grace, mercy and blessings for me while I am here on earth, but I am so happy he chose me to be Ella Grace’s Mommy! It is for this reason I am calling 2011 my BEST year yet!
So here is a little recap of 2011 in the Coop Home

January - In January I was just passing the halfway mark of my pregnancy. Was incredibly swollen and still had a looong way to go!

18, 19, 20 weeks




21 weeks



22 weeks



Also, we started out 2011 on a sad note. Mikey's grandpa Harold passed away : ( We traveled to Iowa in the snow and on icy roads. I stressed the entire trip there and back. I hate this it was for such a sad reason, but I was so very glad to get to finally visit Keokuk, Iowa and meet so many of his family members. On the way home we stopped in St. Louis, Missouri to take some  pictures as it was my first time there also. 














February -  In February, my belly continued to grow as I drew closer to my last trimester. We of course celebrated Valentine's Day when I received some beautiful diamond earrings! And also began the process of turning our extra bedroom into a nursery! You can read those nursery posts HERE and HERE

25 Weeks







26 Weeks



Starting on EG's Nusery

















March - March was a fun month! I started the third trimester! I had my baby shower for Ella Grace, had our 4-D ultrasounds (yes, that's plural...we ended up having 3!) and I posted about some of my favorite things I had received for EG HERE.

28 Weeks - 3rd Trimester! And VERY swollen!!!






4-D Ultrasound! The 3rd attempt! This was at 32 weeks!




Baby Shower Invitation












You can read more about her baby shower HERE.


April - April was pretty eventful itself. A little too eventful! I will explain that soon. The girls in my Sunday school class threw me and Ella Grace a second baby shower! That was awesome!

Me and some of the Sunday school girls!


We also celebrated 3 wonderful years of marriage in April! Of course we didn't really get to do too much celebrating as I was 9 months pregnant at the time. And here is evidence...


Whoa!!! I know...I'm still glad he wanted to be married to me looking like this! Ha!

We ended April on a very scary note. This event explains the little "too" eventful month I referred to previously. On April 27, 2011 an F-5 tornado tore through parts of Birmingham. Including our very own neighborhood. I was 36 weeks pregnant. I was working day shift at the time, so I left work at 3:00 that afternoon. Only 3 hours later parts of our city were utterly and completely destroyed.

 Mikey was scheduled to be off that day, but was supposed to go to work for an hour or so just to cover dinner breaks because they were short on workers at the time. But. I pitched a HUGE fit! And it's a REALLY good thing I did! Thankfully, he didn't want to hear me complain, whine and cry so he called work and told him that he wouldn't be able to come in. I have NEVER been more thankful that he listened to me because that F-5 tornado ripped through our backyard at the exact time he would have just gotten to work. 

I wish I could explain to you the feeling of sitting in a closet, holding on to your husband and doggies for dear life. Literally. We actually watched the same tornado that hit our neighborhood destroy Tuscaloosa, AL on TV just 30-45 minutes before we were sitting in the closet. We never lost power until 4 minutes before the tornado hit. So we knew exactly what kind of monster was headed directly for us. S-C-A-R-Y!!! It was so loud and SO freaking scary! I get chills every time I rethink through those moments. All we could do was just hold each other and pray. All I could remember thinking was is it going to suck us out or crush the roof in on us. And also. "I think I'm about to have this baby in this closet!"

To make a very long story a little shorter. We survived. Obviously. And so did our home. Thankfully! However, others were not so fortunate. The house directly behind ours was completely leveled as were many other homes in our neighborhood. I took pictures of our neighborhood and our city, but since I never blogged about the tornado until now, I will have to locate them and add them later. This event is another reason we have SOOOO much to be grateful for in 2011!

Lastly, this month we finished EG's nursery! Read all about that and see more pictures HERE.



May - This was the BEST month! For obvious reasons! We welcomed our sweet Ella Grace into the world! Absolutely the most amazing experience of my life! Read about her birth story HERE and HERE.


Ella Grace
May 12, 2011
12:08 P.M.
7 pounds, 6 ounces 
20 1/2 inches

June - We spent June adjusting to our new lives as parents and watching our little miracle grow and change SO quickly! Also, Ella Grace met lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins this month!

Meeting Aunt Liz, Uncle Matt and Carter and Connor for the first time




Meeting Uncle Jason, Aunt Dareath, and Brendon




June was also Mikey's first Father's Day! This was EG's gift to him that morning, ha!



So there you have it. January through June 2011. I didn't plan on making this "year in review" post two separate posts, but as you can see it has gotten a little out of hand. Stay tuned for Part 2: July through December. Oh, yeah. And...

 Happy New Year!!!!