Little Dexter had just turned one, and knowing how easily distractible his curious mind is, Mark and Christen wanted to find a serene location for their family photo shoot. “I used to coordinate weddings and did a few at The Little Chapel in the Woods at Texas Woman’s University,” Christen says. She knew its gorgeous landscape and surrounding trees would be the perfect place to commemorate Dexter’s first year and newest milestone: walking! Grandpa even got in on the fun with Dexter, and Megan DeSoto Photography captured some absolutely adorable moments between this sweet family that they will cherish forever.
The Family Story
The beginning of a new year marks a fresh start for everyone, and many relish in the opportunity to gain a fresh perspective and implement changes for a new chapter in life. For Christen and Mark, a surprise on the first day of 2016 brought a change they didn’t see coming.
“Mark and I never really planned to or not to have kids,” Christen says. They were prepared for whatever life had in store for the two of them whether that meant kids or not. “But after a few years of not really but kind of trying and no results, we just figured it wasn’t in the cards for us,” she says. “But when I found out — after a whole three pack of at-home pregnancy tests — on New Year’s Day 2016, that I was, indeed, knocked up, we braced ourselves for our little family to grow.”
Aside from the sickness that continued through all 39 weeks, Christen had a relatively routine pregnancy that she documented with weekly check-ins on her blog Bourbon and Sparkle. “When I went in for my 39-week checkup, I was so over being pregnant, so my doctor scraped membranes to help speed things along,” she says. Two days later, things started rolling. Christen was lying down trying to rest after a restless night of sleep when she rolled over and felt a sharp pain just as her water broke. She called Mark, who was on his way to work, and he immediately turned around and headed home. “He was totally like a sitcom husband, running around grabbing the bag, basically freaking out that I wasn’t moving fast enough,” Christen says, remembering that he was equally as anxious when they arrived at the hospital and no one seemed to be moving quickly enough for his taste.
They settled into their room, and the anesthesiologist finally arrived with the giant miracle needle, and Christen and Mark watched the olympics together for the first time all summer. “Then in the middle of the baseball game we were watching, a whole team of people came in, and it was time to get the party started,” Christen says. “I think I only pushed for an hour or so, and then after 11 hours and 57 minutes, Dexter was born at 8:43 p.m.”
The Joyful Changes
After taking Dexter home from the hospital, everything in Mark and Christen’s lives was considerably different. “My pregnancy came at a time when my career was really on a lightning fast trajectory, and I was scared to death of having to hit the pause button and that it would cause my sparkle to fade,” Christen says. “I didn’t really end up taking maternity leave, which I regret, but since I work from home, I’ve still been able to bond with Dexter in an incredible way.”
Now, Christen says things like happy hour are more of an infrequent occurrence in their lives, they go to bed early, eat dinner earlier and are more conscious of the things they eat and the people they surround themselves with. And it’s all because of their little bundle of joy. “Dexter is a total hamball,” Christen gushes. He’s happy and smiley and super chatty. He’s curious about everything, strong and constantly testing boundaries.” Dexter also loves their cats, and as evidenced in these photos, he loves to make his parents laugh almost as much as he loves to laugh himself.