The Past Few Months (Part 2): Showered with Love

Phil and I feel beyond blessed by all the love and support that we have had surrounding us throughout our entire relationship, and especially now as we enter into this new phase of our lives. As I shared in our Christmas post, Phil’s family threw a baby shower for us in Illinois while we visited. Then at the end of January my mom and dear friend, Amanda, threw a shower in Mount Joy for my family and friends from that area. And in March, there was a third baby shower, hosted by Maki (my friend and the mom of the twins that I’ve nannied for the last year and a half) for our Philly friends and church family.  Even now I am almost tearing up by how blessed I am so have so many people care for Phil and I and show us their love in such tangible ways.

At the end of January, I went back to Lancaster for the weekend and on Saturday Phil’s mom and the younger girls came into town! I was so excited that they were able to travel so far to come for the shower. To make it even more exciting our Sandy Cove family (super close friends the Lewis and Holsinger families) came from New York and Virginia for the shower as well. On Sunday, my mom and my friend Amanda Lewis hosted the shower at the church where I grew up and the Denner girls, my aunt and other friends helped them.

I was blown away by how beautifully they decorated from the colors, to the succulents on the tables, to the balloons and food table. I almost cried when I saw so many friends and family there to celebrate the coming of baby girl! There was a beautiful table of veggies, fruits, hummus, caprese salad, chicken salad (my favorite), and other fun snacks. One of the cutest things was a table that they had set up with wooden blocks and paints for each guest to decorate! I enjoyed having some time to walk around and see everyone and of course eat the delicious food.

After a bit we played a few games; guess the baby animal names that went with the mama animal, Baby Shower Bingo (during gift opening), and a team game where each table had to race to pass a pacifier around the table without using hands and only the straws in their mouths. It was so funny to watch! After that there was a time of prayer over, Phil, the baby and I. And then it was time to open gifts. We got so many things we needed, some beautiful hand made gifts, sweet clothes for baby girl, and a lot of wonderful books. Phil came while I was opening gifts and got to help with some and see a lot of the people that had come out to the shower.

On Saturday, March 7th Maki hosted my other shower at her house and a few of my good friends helped with planning and decorating. My mom and Grandma came to town for the day and after lunch we headed over to the shower. There were many church friends, girls from the youth group, school friends, and even moms and girls that I’ve babysat for that came to the shower. Once again, it was such a blessing to be surrounded by so many people that I love and that show support for Phil and I.

When I arrived, everyone was mingling throughout the house. There were beautiful balloons, flowers, and decorations, including a super cute diaper cake. They had a table set up with three different stations; where people could fill out advice for the new parents and/or Baby bucket list ideas for the first year that were then put into little books. And then a time capsule box where people could write letters for baby girl to open on her 18th birthday. It was one of the most thoughtful ideas they could have done for us; and both Phil and I teared up later while reading through them.

We had a time of mingling while we ate and I had the opportunity to talk to everyone. The food and snacks were so delicious; there was chicken salad again (they know me so well), two different types of salad, sandwiches, french toast, fruit, a variety of cookies, and strawberry & mocha cupcakes. Some of the food was from the Apple Walnut Cafe in Broomall, PA and my mom made the cupcakes. After awhile we had a time of prayer over Phil, the baby, and I. I cannot fully express the love and support I felt from Maki, my friends, and church family.




And then we played a few shower games. First we played the Baby Music game; This is where every song has the word Baby in the title and after listening a clip from the song you got one point for getting the song title and two points if you knew the artist of the song. Then there was the balloon game where you sat on the balloon to pop and had to gather the letters to spell BABY from inside the balloons. Finally, they played a game where guests put a piece of paper on their forehead and had to try and draw a baby while holding it there and then I had to pick the funniest, craziest, and most artistic drawings. It was so entertaining and fun to watch all the games.




They also did a diaper raffle where anyone who brought diapers or wipes was entered into a drawing for an Amazon gift card. It was such a neat idea and Phil and I will not have to buy diapers for months…our closet in the guest bedroom is now full of diapers! At the end of the shower guests were given the cutest party favors: chap-stick and hand sanitizers (quite appropriate with the current pandemic) with cute labels on them. I couldn’t have asked for a more enjoyable afternoon and time to spend with everyone celebrating baby girl!




The Past Few Months (Part 1): Trip to Florida

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve written; the past few months have been so busy and crazy. I have really missed writing and have so much on mind lately to write and share, but first an update on the last couple of months. I have started my maternity leave now, but previously Phil and I both were busy with our jobs, working with Young Life, our church, and preparing for our baby girl (sometimes stressful but mostly fun).  The biggest events were our trip to Florida for my brother-in-law’s wedding, the car accident that I was in at the end of January (there will be a separate post on that later), and my baby showers.

Phil and I had been looking forward to his brother, Tim and his fiance, Faith’s wedding, in Florida for months. However, we didn’t actually know if I would be able to go until a few days before our flight was supposed to leave. Phil was in the wedding and so he planned on being there no matter what, but as I was entering into 32 weeks at that point I needed to wait and be cleared by my doctor. We had already been strongly advised against driving that far, so we bought plane tickets with insurance and prayed I would be able to go. I was cleared on Friday and on Tuesday evening, February 11th we headed to the airport.

After arriving that night, we stayed with friends of Tim’s and then slept in and relaxed the next day, while waiting for more of Phil’s family to arrive. Phil’s mom was able to find a beautiful 9 bedroom vacation home in Celebration, Florida. So not only were all siblings and significant others able to stay there, but we also had space for both sets of grandparents, and their aunt (without even filling all the beds). The home also had a pool and hot tub and a large room upstairs with pool and foosball.

It was so good to all be together and we spent a lot of time outside in the pool and hot tub and on the porch. Aside from an occasional rain shower, the weather was warm and beautiful all week long. Having so much space was nice because it allowed us to host other friends as well. Phil’s family has known Faith’s family for years (through Sandy Cove) so seeing everyone was like a family reunion for all of them. Her family is even bigger than Phil’s (11 kids excluding in-laws and grandbabies) and, in their words, even louder than his family haha. Thursday morning, both moms took Faith, all of the sisters, and sister-in-laws out for brunch at an adorable tea house. On Thursday evening, when the guys went out for Tim’s bachelor party, the rest of Faith’s family came over to our place to eat dinner and spend time together.

Friday evening was the rehearsal dinner and since Tim loves “Lord of the Rings”, Mom Denner decided to use it as the theme. We had the rehearsal dinner at a church with a beautiful courtyard and fountain. The whole Denner family went over early to help prepare. Phil has such an artistic and creative family and his mom is a natural at hosting and pulling off whatever ideas that she comes up with.  We decorated with lanterns, greens and moss, and a grazing table for the meal (see photos).  After everything was set up and decorated, those of us that weren’t in the wedding continued to help in the kitchen while the others rehearsed. Afterwards we enjoyed a fun dinner and evening together.

Tim and Faith’s wedding took place at Clearwater Beach (about 2 hours from where we all stayed) late Saturday afternoon. It was warm and breezy and the sun was over the ocean water. Faith’s dad walked her down the aisle, but also officiated the wedding (he is a pastor and her parents and sisters are missionaries in Bolivia). After the ceremony the bridal party took pictures and then we took a family picture; which was an adventure in itself as there were over 30 of us! We all then headed over to the church for the reception where we enjoyed appetizers and a light dinner, dancing, speeches, cake, and more photos! We ended the night with a beautiful sparkler send off.

Sunday was a relaxing day and Phil and I had the opportunity to see my dear friend, Yoelmys, from high school and meet her family. We also spent time with our siblings and some of Faith’s siblings at the clubhouse pool. We ended the day out on the porch, with the family, before packing and heading off to the airport. It was so hard to leave the warm weather and Phil’s family, but we also felt so refreshed upon returning to Philadelphia and work the next day.