Sixth Wedding Anniversary

Over the weekend was our 6th anniversary and we both just can’t believe it has already been that many years. We spent the day pretty low key. We had celebrated back in August with a dinner out to Melting Pot right before our failed placement since we assumed we would be busy with other things at this point in the year. No worries though it was still great. We went out to dinner at Red Robin (I know gourmet food for us) on Friday night after an evening at the gym. Andy loves Red Robin so to him it is a great anniversary dinner and I like it enough that I don’t mind it being our dinner out.

Then on our actual anniversary, Saturday, I went out to the Yellow Daisy Festival with my mom and started doing more Christmas shopping.  Followed that up with a baby shower party for a good friend that is due in a couple weeks and finally went home to check in on Andy’s day. He got to relax and watch some college football while he wasn’t working on a project of shooting some glass awards. All in all we both enjoyed the day even if most of it wasn’t together. We did get to spend the evening together though and were happy with how we spent our anniversary.

Finally, on Sunday we spent a great breakfast with some friends who were in from out of town for the weekend and got to catch up with them for a little while. We love their daughter and them. Can’t believe that it has only been like 2 years since we first met them online. We already have both traveled to visit each other a couple times and always look forward to the next trip. Hoping to see them again soon and spend some time hanging out again. After we saw them off on their drive home it was time to go to the late church service. We typically go to the 8 am service so the 11 am service was definitely different for us and there were a lot more people there at the later service.

All in all as you can see the weekend didn’t hold anything super special but it was how we love spending our weekends together so it was a great way to celebrate an anniversary. Plus with Andy’s photography schedule starting this coming weekend for Lacrosse it will be harder to have those weekends for a couple months.

Thanks to all those who wished us a happy anniversary and for all those who were able to celebrate with us 6 years ago when we officially became family!

Summer Update

Well as the summer is starting to come to a close with the weather changing and schools back in session we are looking back at our summer adventures. We had a hiatus from the blog this summer during our match with an expectant mom. There just wasn’t much time to keep the blog updated while navigating the new relationship. Now it is time to get back into the swing of things though and keep our followers up to date on what we have been up to.

We Finished the Nursery

The reason was due to the match although a majority of the room was completed already. It was great to put the finishing touches on it though. We bought the custom sheets we wanted, made a custom ruler to measure our future child’s growth, created a keepsake box, and hung some custom art work. It is great to know that the room is done and ready for an adoption. Luckily we don’t have to pass the room or go anywhere near it if we are having a rough week with the wait.

We Visited Family for a Reunion

millersburgWe have fun visiting family whenever we can but since it is an odd year this summer brought about my side of the family reunion. We were originally planning a week long journey to visit parts of Pennsylvania and some other family but ended up cutting that part out of our plans because of the match and not wanting to waste what little vacation time I have to take off then. We had a lot of fun with the activities that we did get to do though and I am already looking forward to the reunion in 2 years.

 

 

We Visited Friends in Asheville

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Through this wonderful but sometimes trying adoption journey we met some friends of friends that have been so supportive of us. We met them a little over a year ago only but have already visited them twice and they are getting ready to come for their second visit in a couple weeks! While visiting we got to tour around the Biltmore estate and eat some delicious food. Their daughter is also awesome to play with while visiting and she is always excited to see us!

 

We saw my Sister’s Family Twice

HoustonThe upside of having a match in Houston was that we got to visit my sister and our nephews. We don’t see them as often as we would like usually but this summer we saw them three times (two times in Houston and once at the family reunion). While visiting them we got to go to the Lacrosse All Star Game and go with the boys when they got to meet their teachers for the new school year. The next several months will go by fast hopefully when we get to see them again at Thanksgiving!

 

Stephanie Went to Vegas for Work

vegasMy current company has an annual conference that we host and this year it was in Las Vegas. It was five days of lots of work but also lots of fun networking and getting to know so many new people at my company and with some of our partners. Originally Andy was planning on coming with but we will just have to hope that the conference is in Vegas another year for him to join me out there. Luckily he doesn’t enjoy gambling really so even with kids in tow (hopefully in the near future) he will still be able to enjoy the pool and walk the strip taking pictures.

 

 

 

 

Andy Worked on some New Projects

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In addition to a couple Lacrosse tournaments this summer Andy also shot a summer camp for children with disabilities and custom photos for a landscape company in the area. He has a couple other potential projects coming up soon too that will be great to keep him busy. Plus, Lacrosse fall league will give him lots of teams to shoot again and have full weekends running around to the games.

 

In Addition

We also had fun celebrating with local friends and family for Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and my birthday. Spending time with friends and meeting new additions to their family has been great too. It is exciting that so many of our friends are growing their families and hopefully we will soon too so that we will have kids of similar ages to grow up together.

 

Coping With the Wait

From the beginning of the adoption process we knew we would need to do things to help make the time go by while we were waiting to adopt. There are people that adopt fast (less than a couple months) and those that take years to adopt so we tried to prepare for any situation to lessen the amount of stress we might feel. As the wait continued on farther than either of us thought would happen (past 2 years) we found ourselves looking for other ways to keep busy and feel like we were still accomplishing goals in different areas of our life. Below is a list of some of the things we have been doing this year and hope to continue doing not only through the rest of our wait but after the wait is over too!

1. Started a daily list/note of something good that happened or that we are thankful for:

This list is not something that we post anywhere or for anyone specifically to read but it is a way to focus on something each day that makes us happy or that is going well in our lives. It can be something small such as having a great time watching a new movie or it can be something bigger like buying a new car that will come in handy once we adopt. Once we do finally adopt maybe I will take a top 10 or so from the list and put it in the baby book to show some of the great things that happened while we were waiting.

2. Take trips and have visitors:

We have taken multiple trips during the wait and this has helped us to stay busy and not feel like we are putting our lives on hold while waiting. This summer we already had one trip and have 2 more to still come this summer. The next one is for my family reunion in Pennsylvania and a short road trip leading up to the reunion. We are really looking forward to it though since we will get to see some friends and family on our way up the east coast as well as do some fun things like visit Biltmore Estate. The second trip is mostly work for me but it is hard to be in Vegas for work and not have fun too! Hopefully this will be our last party vacation before becoming parents.

3. Joined a church:

This is a more recent development but we have really enjoyed the church we found in our community. It is exactly what we were looking for and have already met some great people there that we love seeing every Sunday. We are hopefully going to become official members of the church later this month or early next month. The church back great memories for Andy when we first started attending of the church he grew up in and we love our pastor there.

4. Exercise:

Over the last several years we have both gotten a little out of shape and we decided that this was the year to turn that around. Not only are we getting in better shape to be healthy or keep up with an eventual toddler running around, we are also working out some of our frustrations. After a couple months of a few days a week working out we can both already tell a difference in our energy and how we feel. Another added bonus is that any weight we have put on from extra stress during the adoption wait is getting under control.

5. Allow ourselves to be upset and to talk about the feelings we are having:

Holding it all in and not talking about the wait and the struggles/frustrations just tends to make us even more upset and frustrated. We have really been leaning more on our support network of friends/family/adoption support group/counselor/etc. more in recent months but it has definitely helped to have such great support. Although we sometimes don’t talk to people about what is going on we always talk to each other and through this we both know that as a couple we are strong and that we can deal with so much.

6. Stay Busy:

Whether it is going outside and enjoying the warm weather in the pool, having dinner with friends, or going to different events around town we have always enjoyed staying busy. During the wait it has been even more important to stay busy and keep our minds thinking about other things besides the adoption. Surprisingly most of our summer is starting to get booked up with different things so if you want to try and get together we will find a way it just might take a couple different dates before we find one that will work for everyone :).

7. Work on projects for the house or baby room:

The house has a never ending list of projects that we want to get done and accomplish so whenever we have a little spare money we are finding different things we can work on there. On the other hand, the nursery is getting close to being completed. We are working on a couple small projects over the next couple weeks and then the room decorations and furniture will all be completed and ready for a baby to arrive!

8. Work Work and more Work:

It’s hard to stress about the wait if you are so busy working all week long. Plus both Andy and I love our jobs which makes the work not seem painful and like the weeks never end. I stressed over changing jobs during the middle of the wait and although it will mean that I won’t get as much time off post adoption as I was going to get before it means on a week by week basis I am happier.

9. Work on adoption networking:

No matter how much networking we do it still feels like there are other things we could try. We try to add new things every once in a while to see if something different might bring us closer to being parents. New ideas and things that we have either done recently or might be doing in the near future are: pass along cards, redo website, update pictures, work on our blog, take pictures for instagram, work on an adoption video, etc.

10. Go to support group:

Even if we have been to the topic before it helps to socialize with those going through the same thing and to validate that how we are feeling is totally normal. Having people to talk to that know the pain and heartache makes venting so much easier. You don’t feel like they might be judging you for having your thoughts and feelings and they can agree that they have been in the same place.

Recent Updates and Activities

So this month has been a little crazy and busy as I alluded to in one of our earlier posts. Keeping busy and accomplishing goals has helped make the adoption wait go by smoother even though we still have difficult days to get through here and there.

We had an awesome support group earlier in the month. The topic was infertility and adoption and although we did talk a lot about that topic the group in general just had a lot of great topics to talk about. We met several new couples that have recently started the process or the wait too which was great. I think this was our third time going to this specific topic at support group and it has never been the same. Andy and I love the conversation and support that we get by going to these meetings and even when we are not sure about the topic we always find that we were happy to have gone.

We also replaced my old Saturn car this month. I have had it since college and it lasted me well over the years but it was finally time to move onto something better. We got the new VW Golf Sportwagon Diesel and I love it (so does Andy but it is my primary car)! We got the hand controls put on without too much issue although a few of the places I called were annoying about not answering my questions and just asking me a bunch of stuff instead. We bought this car specifically since I am not into SUVs or vans and with our hope to be adopting sooner than later we wanted a vehicle with more storage for my chair, a stroller, a car seat, and everything else we need.  We will be going on a road trip this summer for my family reunion and we can’t wait to take the new car!

A had a girls night out at Eclipse for some delicious Tapas a week or so ago which was a blast and so much good food. They are all small plates at the restaurant so you can order multiple things (which is a good thing because you want to order everything off the menu). I stopped myself at 4 different plates and after stuffing myself and having some girl talk I was so happy to have the chance to hang out with the girls! We always have a blast together even if all we do is eat good food and talk. Now to figure out when to have the next one!

One of our things we wanted to work on this year was our health and while our diet is going well we decided to join a gym and get a trainer as well. Andy’s blood work a couple weeks ago showed that his levels are so much better in just the last 3 months and with adding in the gym they will hopefully be back to where they should be soon. I am already excited to be back in the pool swimming after almost a decade off, even if it is just swimming a few laps. My goal is to be able to swim a mile straight and build back up some of my strength (those nephews of ours are still growing and still insisting that they should be on my lap).

Another thing we ‘accomplished’ this month was finding a church. We have been talking about it for a while now and a couple weekends ago we had done our research and found a church to try. We love the church that we found and are excited to get up on Sunday mornings and go to service. Living in the south there are a lot of churches everywhere you turn however a majority of them are baptist or non-denominational and we were looking for a Lutheran church to attend. We both like the more traditional services and were lucky enough to find a church that holds both contemporary and traditional services.

Finally, Andy has had Lacrosse, Lacrosse, and more Lacrosse photos! He is staying so busy with his shooting schedule this spring that I am sure he is looking forward to the summer when things slow back down for him.

Spring Visit to Houston 2015

Well I am a little behind on getting this blog out there but last week ended up being a little crazy… more on that in a later blog.

The weather kept us from watching the nephews play baseball and lacrosse over the weekend (which had been the main purpose of our trip this time) but we still ended up having a great time. We had fun eating some awesome food (mexican, bbq, burgers, etc.) now the diet has begun again. In addition to joining a gym a couple weeks ago we also signed up for a personal trainer last week to help keep us focused on our health goals and get us to where we both want to be.

My mom, sister, and I got to do a girls night out on Saturday with a dinner out and then a night of painting at a paint studio close by. I have gone several times already and have a blast and mom and I went just a couple weeks before this but we thought it would be a blast to do all of us together. We had looked for a painting we could take the boys to as they love art too but it just didn’t work out on this visit so it will have to be another time.

In addition to the delicious food over the weekend, the whole family went indoor sky diving! This was one of the craziest things we have done as a family I think and was not even aware that it was on the table for possible events until the last minute. The indoor sky diving place was called iFly and they were amazing. Since I am in a wheelchair we were unsure if they would be open to helping me in order to enjoy the experience with everyone. They ended up being so great though with the instructor helping me get into the wind tunnel and guiding me as needed. If you have an iFly in your city and have the desire to go I would suggest it as an awesome activity to do with friends/family. At the bottom are a couple links to the videos for both Andy and I in the tunnel…

 

We also were able to watch my younger nephew’s piano recital with just enough time to make it to the airport. Luckily, his piano teacher was able to move the schedule around so he was first to play otherwise we would have missed that as well. It was awesome and he is such a riot. He played two different songs on the piano and the second song he actually played twice. The first time he played it sitting and the second he played laying down on the bench… haha!

What a whirlwind vacation/weekend but such a great time was had by all of us!

Stephanie’s Flight

Andrew’s Flight

2 Years and Counting

Well today is day 1 in the third year of waiting, can I just say ugh. We went live with our agency on April 5th, 2013 which seems so long ago now. It has been hard to stomach that we have not adopted yet since our agency has a 80% adoption rate by the time you have been waiting 2 years. While Andy and I both still hope and feel like this is the year it is going to happen, this particular milestone to reach has been a little more difficult than the others. We are both so ready to be parents and the not knowing of when it will happen is getting harder. Both of us feel like if we knew the date that it would happen, even if that date was a year in the future, it would be easier knowing and not stressing about the wait so much.

Since knowing the date is not something we can know until it actually happens we are both making some changes in our lives. We are getting a couple doctor’s visits taken care of, looking into churches to attend, joining a gym (that has a pool in case I want to swim), looking at purchasing a new car, etc. It is also time to do some more projects around the house and we are looking forward to a few trips coming up over the next several months, including one this weekend to visit our nephews in Texas. We typically have very busy lives in general and we haven’t put anything off during the wait that we want to do, other than a couple really large trips (like Europe or a cruise). As the wait continues it is just finding other things we want to do before we have a child that will make travel or date nights more difficult.

Over the last week we did get the chance to have a date night and see the movie Home, which was hilarious and awesome. It has been a little while since our last date night just because of my changing jobs and Andy’s crazy schedule of photography in the spring. Also, we used Andy’s new smoker to do up some delicious ribs and have my parents over for dinner. They turned out great and next time we will try and improve upon them by cooking them even lower and slower. We finished up the week with a little Easter celebrating with the family. My mom and dad had us and my aunt’s family over for a ham dinner last night. It was delicious food and fun to catch up with the family a little bit.

I have been thinking one way to kick off the new year of waiting is to start a thankfulness/positives jar. Where every day we try and put in 1 thing positive that happened or 1 thing that we are thankful for that day. While we can then focus on the good things that are happening for us and around us we can hopefully stress less about the wait. Today I am thankful for everyone that has supported us so far in this adoption process. It is amazing to see over 1000 people on our Facebook page that have been following on our journey, the people we have met in support groups help to keep us sane when we feel like no one else can understand what we are going through, and our friends and family are anxious to see us as parents and look forward to updates no matter what the update is.

Update on Life in General

So it has been a little while since we have written a blog post, it has been a little crazy around here for us though. I started my new job a couple weeks ago and have been busy going through training. I have a couple more weeks left of training until I become certified though. Andy too has started one of his busy seasons. He has several potential things that he is working on in addition to the lacrosse photo schedule he already has over the next couple months.

On top of starting out a new job Andy and I have been hanging out with lots of friends and family for dinners. It has been great to eat some awesome food and catch up with some people that we don’t get to see often enough. We even got to meet Andy’s cousin’s newest daughter last month. Even though she slept 90% of the time we were together it was great to finally meet her and give them the baby gift we got them too. We really wish there was more time to see friends and family and hope that with me not traveling for work as often it might be easier in the future.

Our schedule is just going to get busier over the coming months though as we setup more and more things with friends and family. We are babysitting this whole weekend for some friends of ours (their daughter is adorable and awesome!), have friends visiting, going on a trip to Houston to visit my sister’s family, and making plans with some friends in Atlanta all over the next month or so from now.

Staying busy is helping us not stress too often over our upcoming 2 year anniversary of being a waiting family with our agency. At 2 years 80% of families have usually adopted with our agency so to not be one of those families is starting to become a reality and makes it hard to stay positive at times. We know that when the right situation is here it will be terrific but the not knowing the time line is stressful and we can’t wait for that to be over for us and to finally have a child in our family.

The next couple of posts should be coming pretty soon and hopefully we will have lots of pictures to share too!

December in Review

The month of December went by fast just like the rest of the year has. It was a lot of fun spending so much time with friends and family. Over the course of the month we held or went to 5 Christmas parties, attended a New Years Eve party, watched several movies at the theater (both old and new), had a quick trip to Michigan (see the earlier blog on that :)), decorated for Christmas, and spent some time relaxing at home.

We both really enjoyed our white elephant gifts and our personal gifts that we got throughout the season, and hope that everyone else got some great gifts as well! We did pick up a couple new things for the baby/nursery this month as well. We got the Velveteen Rabbit to add to the book collection that is always growing, a couple of wall hangings that were Andy’s as a child to use in the toy room, two pieces of a toy kitchen from Andy’s parents house that has been in the family for years, and a knit hat that looks like Yoda for the baby.

Andy and I loved having so many fun activities to do this month, however, we are looking forward to a calmer January to come. Luckily for half of the month we were off of work on vacation, so it allowed us the relaxing time that we wouldn’t have had if we were both working the whole month.

Happy New Years Eve

Happy New Years Eve

At my parent's Christmas party

At my parent’s Christmas party

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Toy Kitchen

New Toy Kitchen

Michigan with friends

Michigan with friends

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Ugly Sweater Party

Our Ugly Sweater Party

Happy Holidays!

Stephanie and I had a really busy holiday season! We just returned from our trip to Michigan to spend Christmas with my family. We packed up the car, with gifts for my family, as well as our packages for each other, and made the 11 hour drive. The drive was nice and uneventful for holiday traffic at least. We went straight to my parents house to visit for awhile before leaving and checking into our hotel.

Stephanie and I chose a hotel a bit further down the road so that we would be close to friends on Friday. We setup a gathering of friends each year we come home at the same restaurant. We had a great turnout with friends that I have not seen in almost 20 years! We spent a few hours talking to our friends and enjoyed catching up before heading back to the hotel.

We spent the rest of the weekend helping my mom do random things around the house that she needed help with. We watched some TV, moved some items around the house, packed some to take home with us, and solved some computer issues for mom and dad.

On Saturday evening, we packed up our car with our gifts and a bunch of items from my parents house that they wanted us to have for ourselves. The car was completely loaded, with only room for the two of us left! The drive home was a bit more involved than the trip up. We knew traffic would be significantly worse, and it was. We made it to Tennesse with little issue, but once we reached Tennesse, it went downhill. An app on our phone told us that traffic was getting awful ahead, so we made the move to get off the highway before reaching it, so that we wouldn’t be stuck sitting on the highway. We were treated to a slower, but more interesting ride home as we went through small town after small town.

Eventually we made it home, much to our dogs’ excitement as we opened the door to greet them! We unpacked the car and relaxed a little for the rest of the evening. We still have more unpacking to do this week but we are both luckily home with no work to do this week. It was an amazing trip for the holiday and we can’t wait for our next trip.

Thanksgiving week 2014

So it has been a little crazy around here since Thanksgiving but we had a blast all week long. My sister and her family came into town for the week and we got to spend lots of time together doing some fun activities. I don’t want to write a long post but this is just to share some of the pictures and to see some of the activities we got to do. Here is a brief rundown of what we managed to fit in during the week:

  • Saturday – Went to my cousin’s housewarming party and got to see the changes she has made since she bought it
  • Sunday – Watched Amaluna Cirque du Soleil show which was amazing and even our nephews loved.
  • Monday – Georgia Aquarium with the family and then our nephews having a sleepover with home made pizzas for dinner
  • Tuesday – Andy and I took our nephews to Legoland by ourselves to give the rest of the family time to do other things. We also had dinner at my mom’s house with the whole family.
  • Wednesday – We got to relax a little as the girls went to go shopping and the boys went to play some Lacrosse.
  • Thursday – We hosted Thanksgiving for the first time. It was a little stressful making all the food but we had a blast doing it. After everyone went home we started the Christmas decorations!
  • Friday – Had early Christmas with the family since we won’t see my sister’s family again this year. The women also did some crafting with our nephews to make some homemade ornaments. Then in the evening we went over to my aunts house to have dinner together again.
  • Saturday – We only briefly saw family when we ate some leftovers for lunch.
Stephanie and Matt goofing around during the trip

Stephanie and Matt goofing around during the trip

We all really enjoyed watching the 4D movie at Legoland.

We all really enjoyed watching the 4D movie at Legoland.

Andy and our nephews racing custom cars at the track in Legoland.

Andy and our nephews racing custom cars at the track in Legoland.

Andy being a kid at Legoland!

Andy being a kid at Legoland!

Our nephews loved getting to play Disney infinity at our house when we had a sleepover.

Our nephews loved getting to play Disney infinity at our house when we had a sleepover.

We went to Amaluna as a family and really enjoyed it. The show was amazing!

We went to Amaluna as a family and really enjoyed it. The show was amazing!

We spent Monday at the aquarium. It was awesome to see the dolphin show and all the different animals.

We spent Monday at the aquarium. It was awesome to see the dolphin show and all the different animals.

Stephanie building with her nephews at Legoland

Stephanie building with her nephews at Legoland

The family playing games on Thanksgiving.

The family playing games on Thanksgiving.