Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fun, Warm Times!!

Russell & I got our Christmas present to each other early this year!! We want to enjoy it through all the holidays! Like our new outdoor fireplace?We've already had our first smore roasting!! We had a community group get-together at our house last night, starting out with warm Santa Fe Soup and all the yummy toppings and sides, pumpkin cake and brownies, and then we moved outside by the fire to enjoy some fun fellowship and smores of perfection!
Below, Kat looks like she's frizzling! :)Ben & Virginia cuddle to keep warm!
Same with JP & Megan, although JP did stay in a short-sleeve shirt all night. He must be hot-natured!Russell & I enjoyed the get-together, and we look forward to sharing in some good times around the fireplace with YOU! Give us a shout, and come on over!More pics here!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

30 Weeks!!

Russell took this picture, and my response was and still is, "WOW!" Rhys has grown SO much SO quickly! It's amazing to me that we only have 9 1/2 weeks to go! Whew! I pray that the Lord will allow me to continue to enjoy each moment of this pregnancy, as sweet Rhys continues to incubate and develop inside my tummy! It's been a wonderful and truly miraculous experience! So far, I look forward to our next! :)
Rhys weighs in at about 3 pounds this week, measuring about 15.7 inches from head to heel.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Off Roadin' Weekend 2008

Russell and several guys got together for a great outdoor weekend at Gray Rock in Gardendale, Alabama! A couple of guys came all the way from Louisiana and Arkansas! They camped and road their off-roadin' trucks from this passed Friday afternoon through Sunday mid-morning. You'll see lots of pictures of Russell and his tan Jeep, Ryan and his red Jeep, Chris and his white truck, Larry and his yellow Jeep, along with some others! Thank you for all the great pictures, Chris!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bonjour de Canada!

Just returning from an exciting weekend in Quebec, Canada!

Russell works with a flooring company, and one of their manufacturers hosts a mill tour in Canada each year. This year, I got to tag along! So, in addition to a work trip for Russell, this was our final "Babymoon" before Rhys arrives! Our immediate team from Birmingham...Russell's invited architects and designers...consisted of 4 others, in addition to awesome team!

We all met at the B'ham airport on Saturday morning during the wee 5:00 hour, boarded our flight and arrived in Quebec City about 1:30pm EST. We unloaded our luggage at our ritzy hotel (pictured below), and we were off to find some lunch! I've truly never seen so many eateries in one town or city! So many quaint and cute cafes, restaurants, coffee shops, candy shops, etc! Our choices were many! "Jenn, Ryan, I thought about our trip to New Orleans so often during our stay in Canada! Remember how much we ate over that 4th of July weekend? Yeah, same story here! Russell and I are still recovering from all the food!" We ended up eating pizza waffles at a cute little waffle shop just down the street from our hotel in Old Quebec City.
Above, the wall/bridge leading into Old Quebec City, just below our hotel...

Above, our Pizza Waffle lunch cafe! Asparagus Pizza Waffle below. Yum!

We then walked around the city in the 40 degree, misty weather, all bundled up in our outdoor attire and gear. We made it back to the hotel a short while later, where I hung up my wet jeans to air dry so that I could take a nice, long HOT bath then nap before dinner!

Dinner...a whole subject for itself! It was phenomenal! We dined at guessed it...Italiano! We were lavished with wonderful red and white wines (yes, I taste tested EVERYthing!), appetizers such as fried fresh Parmesan, smoked Salmon, Salami, Bruschetta, other specialty cheeses and meats! I thought that was dinner, but we were then given dinner menus. I was already full! However, I didn't hold back! I ordered a mouth watering, buttery linguine tossed with crabmeat and leak. I was told to save room for dessert, too! Whether I saved room or not, I ordered on command ;), and I devoured my Chocolate Truffle cake, along with coaching Russell on ordering the Tiramisu so that I could taste test that, too! :) Dinner seriously lasted at least 2 or 3 hours! It was absolutely delicious and overly filling! I admit, I did NOT want to see food for a while! :)

The next day, Sunday, we toured the city, and I thought of many of you...

Notice the amazing architecture throughout Old Quebec!

Erika, the above and below pics are for you! :) I know your appreciation for quaint, historic village settings!

Stephanie, the above picture is for you...I thought of you when we passed by this quaint art store! :)

Above, one of many gorgeous cathedrals!
Below, Sarah, my sweet architect friend :), this picture is for you! I thought of you when Russell pointed out the curved facade! Amazing!

Darby, Jenn, I totally thought of you two when I took these pics (above and below)...all the shops had the most adorable decorations adorning their facades! I just wanted to go into each shop because of the tastefully decorated and inviting front awnings!

Below, a beautiful, HUGE mural! Quebec has so much character!

Sunday night, we were yet again 'wined & dined' to the max! This time a steak house! For starters, we were served some kind of patte (yuck! I learned that I cannot stand for my food to be mashed and blended together into a mousse-like texture that looks like dessert but tastes like some kind of meat! I much prefer to eat the original texture and know what I'm eating, thank you very much!) I did enjoy, however, the wonderful sour dough bread, fried brie, shrimp cocktail, a wonderful baked mushroom and cream cheese spread and more! As if all of that was not enough, we were once again given dinner menus...I ordered a fabulous French onion soup, of which I ate every bite and sip! :) I did order some kind of a fish, steamed vegetable and rice dish, but I hardly touched it. Sad, but it wasn't worth the room in my tummy, as I looked forward to dessert time! Even with Rhys in my tummy, I did manage to squeeze in some yummy desserts! I enjoyed a smooth and creamy chocolate mousse dome (Ashley, Dan, y'all would've LOVED this!) with vanilla icecream and chocolate covered strawberries. Once again, stuffed beyond my limit.

Our final day, Russell was off to treat his clients to a mill tour! I was literally alone from waking up at 6am until 8:00 that night! I'd really prayed toward this day, asking that the Lord would give me His peace, strength and courage in getting out and about in the not be lonely, scared or too bored on my own. The Lord really provided, as I spent several hours walking through Old and New Quebec, shopping, eating breakfast and lunch by myself (I've always feared having to eat out all alone! Now, I know that I can do it!), going back to the hotel for rest and naps, reading by the hotel's fireplace, and constantly praising the Lord for leading me through the day. I was so thankful at the end of the day for more than 'surviving' a day to myself in a big city with mostly French-speaking strangers surrounding me! I admit, at one point during the day, I told myself that I was so ready to get away from all of the French speaking...I needed some English-speaking fellowship! :) Russell and his team returned just shy of 8:00 that evening. By then, I was too exhausted to do anything but eat a turkey sub from Subway (yay for a simple turkey sandwich! :)), pack, set my alarm for 4:00am EST and go to sleep!

We're home safe & sound, with a wonderful experience to remember and share! I praise the Lord for the richly fulfilling time with HIM and with my husband! What a wonderful Babymoon! "Okay, Rhys, we're 'officially' ready for you!" ;)

All Canada trip pics here!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Anniversary Delight with the Wright's!!

Russell & I were spoiled, once again, last night to a delightful evening with Rusty & Claudia. After their visit here last weekend, they continued on to Chattanooga, TN for a gorgeous trip through all the mountains and changing Fall leaf colors. Then, they came back through yesterday evening and treated us to dinner on their anniversary! :) "Thank you!! Thank you!!" The treat was certainly in the fun evening of fellowship, which, of course, led us back to the house for a couple of games of Joker!! "We'll get 'em next time, Claudia! Thanksgiving's just around the corner!!"

Dinner consisted of lots and lots of crab legs at Joe's Crab Shack! YUM! We started out with an appetizer of shrimp. Then, our waitress brought out bibs, 'tools' :) and hand wipes...preparation for a messy but yummy din-din! The crab truly was delicious! All the yummy sides, too. I had actually ordered Maui Mahi (ie, eaten via 'tools' necessary :)) because I wasn't so sure about the whole idea of using tools to get to my meat. :) Everyone encouraged me to try the crab, and it was delicious and not too terribly difficult to get to. Of course, we, then, splurged on dessert...the best and most beautiful Bananas Foster I've ever seen, along with an IBC Root Beer Float! :)

Happy 37th Anniversary, Rusty & Claudia (aka, Papa & Grandmom ;))!!! May the Lord continue to bless your marriage and lives together to His glory! Amen!!
It was just too cute that they were so well coordinated in their browns and we were so well coordinated in our blues! Certainly not planned! :)

P.S. Rhys seemed to enjoy the crab and seafood, too! He was movin' and pokin' around very excitedly, hopefully enjoying his meal! :)

Rhys' Nursery - Thank you, Baba & Mama Nili & Aunt Soraya

Rhys' room is coming together beautifully! Thanks to his grandparents, Baba and Mama Nili, and his Aunt Soraya, he has furniture!! It has all come in, and Russell has put it all together...all by himself, in fact! I went to Bible study last Wednesday evening and came home to this!
The crib will convert to a day bed and then a double bed!! There's even a functional drawer underneath to store diapers, clothes, etc.
The dresser is SO nice! Huge drawers, and the changing station on top will be so helpful for changing Rhys' diapers! Russell chose the Nautica theme, so when we saw this sailboat lamp, we immediately liked it! The blue shade offers a soft, sweet color when the lamp is on at night. Notice the mirror, too!Finally, the most comfortable of all...the glider and ottoman. I've found Russell sitting (ie, gliding away!!) in it at night, reading or just resting. :) I'm wondering if I'll be able to stay awake in the comfort of this chair while feeding Rhys at crazy hours! :) We'll see!
"Thank you, Baba, Mama & Soraya! We appreciate SO MUCH these generous gifts! Your grandson and nephew ;) will enjoy growing up with this nice furniture, as it should serve him for years to come!"

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Showering Rhys with LOTS of Love

Rhys, you are SO loved already, and you're only 28 weeks old! I wish you could've seen all the love that was showered over you this passed Saturday, as our sweet friends threw us a baby shower!"

"Thank you, girls!! We love each of you!!!"

Sculpting A Miracle

We had our 28-week doctor's appointment yesterday, and Rhys measures in at 45th percentile! I'm still not completely sure what that means, but the doctor says with a big smile of encouragement that Rhys is healthy, growing and measuring perfectly for his age! :) Mommy & Baby are both right where we're supposed to be! Yippee!

We absolutely praise the Lord for this praise-worthy update! We won't go back to our doc until the first of December, at which time we'll start going every 2 exciting!! Having a child becomes more real each day!

Russell's parents spent the weekend with us...Saturday morning through Monday afternoon. Our time together was truly fulfilling, as God continues to bless each of our hearts through deepening those relationships and now carrying us into sweet life transitions, as we look forward to being parents, and Rusty and Claudia look forward to meeting their first grandson! Speaking of meeting their first grandson, I am so thankful that the Lord worked it out for Grandmom and Papa to stay in town just long enough to join us for our final ultrasound!

We only waited a few anxious minutes in the waiting room when they called, "Wright." Next thing the sweet ultrasound technician sees is Rusty, Claudia, Russell and I all piling into the small room to watch Rhys on the big screen! :) It was a sweet time to share with family, and after seeing the pictures and hearing his strong heart beat, we all anxiously await meeting this little miracle!

As you can see, Rhys wants his facial features to remain a mystery! :) For all 20 or so minutes, he hid his face with his arms and hands. Chris, one of Russell's best friends and accountability partners, says, "He sounds hostile and suspicious like his dad." Very funny, Chris. :)
We did, however, get a couple of amazing pictures of his leg and foot! Looks like a sculpture, huh!?!? What a great reminder that GOD is indeed sculpting this little fella to HIS perfection and glory!

I will also note that we have confirmed that this child is indeed a BOY! :) This was a small concern for us, particularly after some friends just recently had a boy, expecting a girl! We saw Rhys' evidence, and Russell is an excited daddy! He's ready to start teaching Rhys the lessons and 'dangers' (thank you, Ryan & Jenn!) of life in the great outdoors!! :)

"Thank you, again, Papa & Grandmom, for postponing your road trip to come to the ultrasound with us!! It was so good for our hearts to be able to share that once-in-a-lifetime experience with you! We're looking forward to seeing you on Thursday evening - your anniversary!! yay!!! - when you swing back through town!! Love you!!"