Friday, June 29, 2012

Knox Benjamin Taylor is Here

Yesterday, my best friend had a baby. Sweet, handsome Knox Benjamin Taylor came into this world just after 12:30 p.m. after some hesitancy. I'm not sure where he gets those stubborn genes!?

He's not even mine, but I immediately fell in love. It's something about that strawberry blonde hair and those tiny wrinkly feet that render my heart helpless to him.

But you know what I love even more?

The picture above.

Two people I love and enjoy so many life moments with now have a son. There's now a third member of the Taylor family, a third person to love and a third person to share life moments with.

I can't wait to celebrate all the milestones Knox makes in his life. I can't wait to see him and Tilly play. There's so much to look forward to in his life that is just beginning.

But right now, my heart is perfectly content with this picture and the start of a new family.

Few moments can be better than this one.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Family Baby Shower

We have had so much going recently ... beach trip, baby showers, nursery prep, doctor's appointments, vehicle break downs, teeth falling out. All of those things have led to two weeks of silence on the blog. I promise to catch you all up the happenings. Especially the part about our teeth falling out. That is a great story!

But I want to start by sharing some pictures and stories from the baby shower, hosted by some very special ladies in my family, for me and Tilly this past weekend.

As many of you know, Ty and I are naming our daughter after my great uncle, Tillman Netherton. Tillman was his full name. Most people called him Tilly. Those closest to him called him Till.

Tilly and his wife, Ruth, lived two doors down from my grandparents, and Ruth still lives there today. Anytime Nana and I would go for afternoon walks or the troop of Netherton grandchildren would take over the street, you could count on finding Tilly in a lawn chair at the top of his driveway. We would always stop by and say hello. His vision had started to fail him years prior, but he knew us by our voices and was delighted by the visits.

You won't find Tilly's name in any baby name book or be able to look it up and discover its meaning. But this is what it means to me. When I knew him, my great uncle didn't have vision as we all know it. I'm sure many of those days he sat in his lawn chair, he couldn't really see the beautiful view of Cross Lake that stretched out before him. But he did have a different kind of vision for things eternal. He was loving and kind and generous and Godly, all the things I hope my daughter will be. I can only hope that when the things of this world fail her, that she can have the same eternal vision as my great uncle.

At the shower this weekend, Tilly's wife, Ruth, said she knew he was looking down on my Tilly from heaven and smiling.

What a wonderful thought! It has warmed my heart to think about that ever since.

Another favorite moment from this weekend's shower was getting to see sweet Landry and my cousin Casey again. I know traveling seven hours with a two-month old was probably less than desirable, but I'm so glad they made the trip. And even more thrilled was my Nana, who got to meet her great-granddaughter for the first time. Nana held her and sang to her for what seemed like hours. I asked her what song she was singing and she said, "I don't know. Just a song I made up and sing to Cookie each morning."

FYI ... Cookie is her pet shih tzu.

The picture above captures four generations of the Netherton women. We're still wondering where I came from since I missed out on the olive skin and dark hair.

I had such wonderful hostesses, including my aunt Robbie, Ashley, Casey and Becky. Thanks to these ladies, I've been living on the most delicious fruit dips, chicken salad and pecan muffins since the shower!

There weren't just Netherton women there. My mother-in-law Margaret and her sister were at the shower, too. People always tell me how blessed I am to have an awesome mother-in-law. She really is the best!

This was one of my favorite items from the shower. My sister-in-law Ashley went overboard! She found this Jenny Lind rocking chair and refinished it, adding her monogram to the chair's seat. Here's a close up.

Behind our heads is a bow holder she made, and she and my brother Chris even put together a slideshow of photos from mine and Ty's baby books.

Here are more of Ashley's cute creations!

Precious monogram door hanger.

Ashley knows how much I love whoopie pies. We gave them out as favors at our wedding, and I cannot get enough of them! Now, the Whoopie Pie Lady makes baby whoopies, which made adorable favors for the shower.

I loved all the precious treats, good food and time spent with close family and friends.

Friday, June 1, 2012

City Life Magazine: June Column

(I write for a local monthly publication called City Life. I know some of you don't live near me, so I want to start sharing these columns with you here, too. You can click here to flip through the pages of the publication, or just read my article below. This was my column for June.)

I can't believe June is here. Mostly because after June, follows July and then August. For us, that means a baby! I cannot wait to look at the sweet little person who has been karate chopping my rib cage for the past several weeks. Not to mention, it will be nice having her not karate chop my rib cage any longer!
In honor of June and Father's Day, Ty let me interview him about becoming a dad. We sat down and tried to do it face to face, but that didn't work. Instead, I sent Ty a list of questions and he answered them via the voice recorder on his iPhone and text them to me. I love how it turned out and the entire process became something very special from him to Tilly. Even though I wrote the article, I cried when I read it this week. I married one of the good ones! And what an incredible dad he's going to be!
From a Daddy to his Daughter
Being pregnant, there’s not a day that passes where you’re not reminded of what’s soon to come. Those reminders come often. Whether that be through a growing baby’s gentle kicks and turns, or the hands of strangers that seem to gravitate toward your belly. Your body – not to mention life as you know it – is no longer your own.
Throughout this experience, there have been moments I looked at my husband and thought, “What does he think about this whole pregnancy and parenthood thing?”

Right now, this expectant mom gets all the credit. But behind the scenes, there’s a dad-to-be who’s working diligently to prepare our home and lives for the arrival of our little girl. For the past seven months, my sweet husband has put my vitamins on my nightstand each night. He’s plugged in the heating pad when my back hurts at the end of the day. And although he may not feel the daily kicks and turns, he’s the ideal partner and a hands-on part of this experience.

I knew when I married Ty that, one day, he would make a great father. For his first Father’s Day, I asked Ty if I could interview him about what becoming a dad means to him. I know our daughter will cherish getting to read these words one day, and I know she couldn’t ask for a better father.

What does it mean to be a Dad? Who have been good examples in your life and what have you learned from them?

Being a dad means being a good example and a role model for your kids. For me, obviously, my dad is the best example of this. It’s funny to see how he’s changed over the years. He used to be very hard and a no-nonsense kind of person, and now that he has grandchildren, he’s almost the opposite.

Growing up, my dad held everyone, including himself, to high standards, and I’ve never seen him vary from those standards. He raised us in a way that we knew what was right and what was wrong, and that made us who we are today.

As a coach, he touched a lot of other lives, too. It’s not rare for me to run into someone who had a kid on the swim team, or was on the swim team themselves, who tells me how my dad has made them a better person today. I’ve learned a lot from him and I hope to be the same kind of role model for my daughter.

When you think about being a dad, what do you look forward to the most?

I look forward to the day we bring her home and put her in the nursery. I think about us cracking the door to her room and looking in there to make sure she’s asleep and she’s doing OK. Beyond that, I look forward to her hanging out with me, talking to her and having her teach me about the things she likes to do and me teaching her about the things I like to do. I can’t wait to teach her to ride a bike and, overall, getting to see the person she becomes.

What are your hopes for our daughter?

I hope for what most dads probably hope for. I hope she goes to college, gets a good job and marries a nice young man. I hope she loves her dad, her mom and grandparents. Everyone always says, I want my kids to have more than what I had growing up. I don’t necessarily want that, but I want her to be happy. I hope she is, and I hope we do a great job raising her.

What moments have you enjoyed the most and the least about this experience so far and why?

I’ve enjoyed those little steps along the way, like finding out we were pregnant or finding out what gender she was. My greatest joy has been watching you, and seeing the people around us get excited. I remember going in the ultrasound room and them confirming we were pregnant, and you had tears in your eyes.

And then hearing the heartbeat. We were sitting in a little dark room and on the speakers you could hear the heartbeat pulsing. I looked at you, and you were wiping tears from your eyes. Moments like those have brought me the most joy.

My least favorite part has probably been the three months of nesting that I’ve found myself in the middle of right now. Everything from painting the office to completely redoing a nursery, to painting a crib, which is probably the worst thing ever, on down to yard work that had to be done now, for whatever reason.

If you could tell her anything right now, what would that be?

I would just want to tell her “I love you.”