Sunday, December 30, 2007

2007...See ya!

Wow. What a year, what a year, what a year. I thought that I would reflect on the actual events of this past year and hopefully leave them all behind as I enter into 2008. So, here are our personal highs and lows from the previous year.

January:
~We rang in the new year at Todd & Jess' house with Erin & Keith.
~Moved into Todd & Jess house b/c days before our new rental had a furnace malfunction and blasted soot all over our things.
~Found jobs much sooner than expected.

February:
~Met with a fertility doctor for the first time and learned that not only were we facing a full-force resurgence of uterine fibroids, but several hormones were elevated and our chances of pregnancy were slim. And they became slimmer and slimmer as we learned more and more.
~Jess and Todd got pregnant.
~We made a low offer on a house and it was accepted!

March:
~We signed on the house, moved in and began cleaning our stuff that had been in storage for months. Nick's parents were here for NC move part 2. 

April:
~We sent our initial application to our adoption agency and were accepted!
~We went to Pittsburgh to get two MRI tests.
~Nick was in a car accident, totaled his truck, broke his left humerus and was out of work for the next 4.5 months.
~Our first visitors came: Emily, Guy & Anna, Erin H., and Mom and Dad.

May:
~We decided to schedule a hysterectomy in Pittsburgh in June.
~More visitors came: Jess, Chad & Esme.
~My doctor had a accident and was unable to do my surgery, but ultimately I ended up seeing her partner who is a top-notch non-invasive surgeon, so instead of a traditional (full-incision) hysterectomy I had a laporoscopic procedure. Lucky break. (No pun intended.)
~Grief began to set in. And it sucked.

June:
~More visitors came: Erin & Keith came for our birthdays.
~We left for PA and I had the surgery.
~Spent our first days at the cabin that would eventually become our family cottage!

July:
~Returned home. (Weeds from hell).
~Returned to work. (Me, not Nick.)
~More visitors came: Nick's mom, Brooke & Homer.
~Nick's Grandmother died. Returned to PA for funeral.

August:
~Our nephew, Jacob, was born.
~We began our adoption homestudy.

September:
~We went to the Chesapeake Bay for Labor Day and met Jacob for the first time.
~Nick went back to work, immediately promoted into a new role.

October:
~We went to Charlotte for our adoption fingerprinting.
~We had more visitors: Neil & Susanna, Deb, Zach & Johan, Nick's parents & brother, Marilyn and Larry.
~Todd & Jess' baby, Ben, was born.
~We received permission from USCIS to adopt a child.

November:
~My parents visited again.
~I gave work three weeks notice.
~We stayed home for Thanksgiving, with the exception of spending Thanksgiving Day in Charlotte with Nick's aunt.
~Some big changes occurred in the Vietnam adoption world and so we took a few weeks to determine our next steps.

December:
~I finished up with work.
~We sent our paperwork to Vietnam and are officially on the waiting list for a child.
~We went to PA for Christmas.
~Nick had a root canal.
~Mom and Dad signed on a cabin at the bay.

I have these high hopes that tonight at midnight, the world will turn right-side-up and things will be much smoother this year. But, I also realize that while our lows were BIG, we had just as many highs. The one thing this list doesn't demonstrate is the amount of extra paperwork life threw at us in 2007. Two insurance claims, an adoption, buying a house, moving twice, etc. There is surely more to come in 2008, but I am happy to say that the majority of it is behind us. I'm hoping for some quiet, uneventfulness in this new year, although a completed adoption would be nice.

We loved having so many people visit this year. We've been told that it tapers off after the first year. So, if you haven't visited us yet or you would like to visit us again, let us know. We'd love to host you sometime in 2008!

Happy New Year to you all. I hope you have fun ringing it in this evening and that you enjoy the days, weeks and months to come.  

2007 Year in Review meme

I picked up this idea from an adoption blog that I follow. The idea is to take the first sentence from your first posts of each month over the last year. I'll do this today and tomorrow I'll give my actual "Year in Review". If you have a blog, you should do one too! And if you do, please drop me a comment so that I can see yours as well. Surely it will be more interesting than this! Tomorrow's post may offer a bit more information to these odd post-beginners.


January: "It has been an eventful month."
February: "Oh to be on the beach...."
March: "We continue to work through the displaced housing situation."
April: "On Friday, we finally completely closed on the house."
May: "It is Spring."
June: "Today we're headed to PA for a few weeks."
July: "Total Drive Time:"
August: "He's such a cutie!"
September: "Sunset on the Chesapeake."
October: "Neil and Susanna were nice enough to include us as a stop on their vacation last week."
November: "Today I found this site."
December: "I can't believe it is December."




Thursday, December 27, 2007

Family Auction






Friday, December 21, 2007

Trees


Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

3-D Snowflake

A few weeks ago, I found this great 3-D snowflake tutorial online. I've been wanting to try it ever since and finally made it happen today. I don't know why I fit this into my stuffed to-do list or why I've fit daily posts into my stuffed to-do list, but maybe its because I need more than the constant feeling that my life is being run by a check list. I needed to add in a few "just for fun" activities.

So, this is the snowflake I made. It is hanging in my studio window and I must say, I enjoy it. Next time I make one though, it will be much smaller. Don't you think that it would be a great Christmas tree ornament?

Give it a try. But do it when you have some time and patience. It doesn't take long, but if you're not paying attention its easy to find yourself starting over.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Merry Christmas to me!

Last night a group of women went out to dinner together as our Christmas present to one another. It was a lot of fun, and there was more than one conversation to be had at all time. I can't believe that we've actually lived here a year. I feel like I'm barely getting to know these women and yet they are also people I would think of as friends in this area. This year just left both Nick and I with very little social energy and somehow the entire year got away from us. With that said, I do want to have close friends here and I really hope to get to know all of these women better because I really like them. There was some brief conversation about making it a monthly date--although each of us hosting and not making it an eat-out event. I am not sure if it will happen or not, but I would be all for it.

And then, when I got home, I found this:

Nick had installed the wall! I have such a wonderful husband.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Weekend Work

Well, we didn't quite accomplish everything we had hoped, but we did accomplish quite a bit. With Christmas arriving in a week, I'm not sure that our evenings this week will be so much about the house project as they will be about preparing for the festivities. However, I did promise before and after photos and since we did paint, I suppose it is worth sharing something.

This is our bedroom wall before (already mid-project):


This is our newly painted bedroom wall (and if you notice the backer board from the first picture is now installed on the bathroom floor & shower):


The wall of insulation in the above photographs will eventually look like this:


One last thing. This morning I found this on another blog. I enjoy both non-traditional and traditional Christmas music so I thought it was quite fun.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Two differences

Tonight I am aware of two big differences between living in the city and living in the country. We are in the midst of our first winter storm this season and I feel like I should know more than I do. This probably makes no sense, but it is just so dark here. And it is blowing so much that I can't tell if it snowing anymore because I don't have the option of just looking at one of the many streetlights to see if it is still snowing. It is just dark and whatever is happening is happening without my monitoring apparently.

Secondly, the wind here...Wow! Since we moved here I have been amazed (frightened) by the wind on more than one occasion. But as I sit in bed tonight I am aware that I can hear the gusts of wind making their way down through the valley long before I hear their force reach our house. This is always accompanied by my silent pleas that there is a reason that this house has withstood the winds for nearly twenty years. It is just so incredibly loud. Unfortunately, the house is also a bit drafty. I guess with 60 mph gusts, the wind is going to find its way into the house in one way or another. So, we'll just add another quilt to the bed and hope that the noise doesn't keep us awake.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Yummy Goodness



I have spent the last several hours in the kitchen baking. We're taking part in a cookie swap this evening, but I figured that I might as well make enough for the neighbors and Nick's work crew before calling it quits! So, twelve dozen cookies later (well, thirteen, but I burnt the first batch), I am done. I have a baked corn dish in the oven and an hour to relax (or get ready) before we need to leave.

I'm still hoping for the exciting before and after photos on Monday, but I'm also realizing that house projects rarely go as fast as you hope....especially when baking gets in the way.

Etsy

I finally have put some more earrings up on etsy. In addition, I made a few other, minor changes. Putting my stuff out there is not really my favorite part of the creative process, so feel free to offer any advice!

I hope to add some books next week, as well. I have several sitting in my studio ready to be sewn together, but before I can do that I need to finish staining the boards for our bedroom wall.

We are in the middle of a master bed and bath remodel, and have been for months. I took a few pictures this morning and have high hopes that on Monday I'll be able to post beginning and end of the weekend pics, and you'll actually see a difference. However, if that is going to happen, I need to get back to work!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

This Week Last Year

Well, this week last year, we were here. As in, it has been an entire year since we packed up all of our things and said goodbye to our friends and neighbors in Pittsburgh. We had about 25 people show up to help us pack up the truck including family from the eastern part of the state.

I remember small details of the day:
The little babies who are now toddlers.
Being intrigued by the repetitive "Satisfaction Guaranteed" on the side of each pizza box that Brooke & I picked up in Shadyside.
The catch in my throat as I saw the soap in the sink one last time.
The emotion that was at bay until the very last minutes.
The friends who stayed until the very last minute.
Our great neighbors who put together snacks for the road and gathered information for possible hotels we could stay in on our drive.
Visiting Neil & Susanna at the Christmas tree lot and getting a wreath that would stay on our barn wall until we dismantled last week to make a new one.
A funny, whispery conversation with Sara that made much more sense the following week when we learned that she was pregnant.
Missing what we were leaving and anticipating the possibilities all in the same emotional space.

Wow. What a year. Not really anything like we had hoped or planned. In fact, I can honestly say not a single challenge or blessing was anticipated, dreamed of or in line with a single hope we had for this year. And yet, we've made it through. I'll save the details of this chaotic year for a fancy new years end post, but I will say that I hope more than anything that this next year is nothing like this past one. It was the fastest and craziest series of events that I think either of us have ever encountered.

Oh, and for anyone who has been overly worried about the fate of all of my handmade presents, the machine obliged me today. In fact, after whining to Nick about it last night, I showed him everything I had tried and how nothing had worked. Except, of course, it did that time. Go figure.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wednesday

Today has been an incredibly quiet day given the magnitude of today's accomplishment. All of our paperwork has been sent to Vietnam and we are officially waiting for our child's referral! It feels wonderful.

And yet, today has been quiet and I'm not sure what I want to be doing with my time. I have books to work on. I have books to read. I have laundry to fold. I have a house that could be cleaned. I am a bit chilly--although its pretty warm outside. I am ready to make dinner but it isn't quite time. I would be sewing right now, but the sewing machine and I are at odds. As patient as I am, it just doesn't want to work with me. I am ready for a new machine. When I was given this one for my birthday a few years ago, we decided that once I proved that I really enjoyed sewing, and it was needed, we could upgrade. Unfortunately, leaving your job and buying a new sewing machine seem like a strange pair of events. So, I probably won't do that. I may just keep wishing that my current machine will get out of its grumpy mood and work already.

I haven't done much for my Christmas presents yet. I had planned to make several using the sewing machine. I may need to rethink some of my gifts. Instead, I have been working on some book commissions as well as some books and earrings to put on etsy. As soon as I have new things up, I'll let you know.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Simple Things

Anyone who has been in my car probably remembers the screeeech when I start the car. (I'm sure that if you don't remember recall the sound, it is only because you were probably too overstimulated by the dirtiness to notice.) I can't say for sure when it started because I don't actually remember a time when it didn't happen. Every time I am completely aware of it and as nonchalant as I try to be, I absolutely hate it. This bit of hyper-sensitivity has lead me to realize though that in the last two weeks, something has changed, but I can't figure out what. In addition to some other new quirks, the screeeech is only happening about half of the time. I can't even tell you the physical peace my body feels when it doesn't happen, but I love it. And every time, it makes me smile. This is just one example of how something so seemingly simple really can make my day. I hope you have a few of those as well.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Tomorrow

Tomorrow is my last day of work.

I haven't really broadcasted this because quite honestly, I feel slightly sheepish about it and when you live hours and hours away from many of your friends and family, you can sort of just not mention things and then it doesn't come up. I've often thought about the fact that had we gotten pregnant down in these hills, we could have likely hidden the fact for some time. And, I guess we actually did keep our adoption secret for about three months for the most part. Not running into people, or talking to them regularly gives you a bit more opportunity (with less effort) to just compartmentalize different parts of your life.

But, I decided to just own that tomorrow is my last day and put it out there. I don't have a plan. Part of the plan is actually to not have a plan. This has been a hellish year and my mind and body are fighting back a bit as the weight of the stress works its way out of our lives. It's a bit hard to own this need because the choice to stay home with children is challenging enough for some people to understand...but for most people, the idea of staying home without children just doesn't make sense. Except, it does for me.

I bought a few books and some new supplies and I guess this is just going to be a time of rest and reflection and hopefully some revival as well. Every now and then I get ideas of how I'll structure each day, or the production goals that I have for this time and then I stop and remind myself that the goal is only to rest and not have a plan.

Who knows, maybe with the space to begin reflecting on more than the million details we're juggling between the puff-back, Nick's accident, adoption, grad school and work, I'll find something interesting to blog about. Some people start blogs and don't tell friends and family so that they can reflect freely. Well, I'm not going to start a third blog, and most likely it won't just be adoption related...so I guess parts of it might just fall here. We'll see.

In the meantime, have you been buying handmade? I do have some new things to update my etsy shop, so hopefully I'll get to that soon. Maybe next week should just be a rest & etsy week.

One last thing. This week we took a picture in our living room for some adoption paperwork that we're working to complete. This it the first year we've really decorated for Christmas and I am really enjoying the festiveness of our space. I thought I'd share it with you. And yes, I know, we look like dorks.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

December!



I can't believe it is December. Not only because this year was incredibly fast (and full)--but also because we had a gorgeous weekend. Above are some pictures from the walk I took with Jess and Ben on Saturday.


One of the greatest things that I discovered this past month was the The Ultimate Handmade Holidays Master List.  SewMamaSew posted new tutorials every day for the entire month of November. Every. Day. So, if you're looking for some handmade inspiration, check out this list. I have several of them bookmarked, but haven't actually made anything from them yet. But I will. And you should, too. There are many many options and nothing looks too difficult. Happy crafting!