Stressful May – Both Fun and Emotional

Well May is officially over and another month of the year has gone by. It is amazing how fast this year has already flown by and it seems like the rest of the year is going to be the same way. This month was a little crazy and a lot stressful just with the wait taking so long and some of the things going on throughout the month.

May started with having our annual home visit for the home study renewal and finalizing all the paperwork needed to get everything done in time for the update. We ended up having some problems with some of the paperwork going missing and then some of the tests that we had done needed redone by the doctor’s office. Needless to say we are happy that we have another year until we have to think about home study updates.

During the home study update it brought back a conversation of reviewing any contacts that we have in the last year and unfortunately that meant going over some of the emotional and financial scams that we have had. While doing more networking and putting our profiles out on other profile sites work for some to bring home a child faster it also opens you up to more scams usually. We decided that we were done with the other profile sites and that we would look at other options for networking instead.

Deciding what we are willing to spend money on for networking at this point in the adoption and other options that we are starting to look into on if they are even possible. We started researching doing a video of us to post on social media and YouTube so that it can be shared and help spread the word about our hopes to adopt. Also, we designed a pass along card that we can send to friends/family and have them hand out to anyone that might know someone looking to place a child a for adoption. Once we figure out what we are going to do and if we need help from our friends we will definitely let you all know! Everyone has been so supportive of us so far and we feel truly blessed with the support we have gotten.

Every year Mother’s day is hard to deal with while waiting to adopt for me and this year wasn’t any different even though there were lots of activities planned for the weekend. I had a great time spending Mother’s day with my mom and a friend going to the Fox Theater for Pippin. The show was amazing as usual and it was fun to have a girls afternoon out. In addition that weekend we also had our adoption agency annual picnic, lacrosse games for Andy’s business, and a friend’s house warming party to go to.

We have a few projects around the house that started up in the month of May too. We are in the process of getting a new roof for the house (if it would just stop raining one of these days), quotes for mulching the backyard, pricing out painting the house, and then a couple smaller inside projects too. We did get a bunch of artwork framed that we have been collecting for several years and just need to hang them all on the walls now. Look for a separate post about some of our house projects during the wait later this summer to see just how busy we have kept.

Finally there were some outings/dinners with friends throughout the month that we had a blast at. Staying busy now has been our saving grace to keep from stressing too much over the wait. Check out a couple pictures from the last month!

New painting that I did that we are hanging up in the nursery.

New painting that I did that we are hanging up in the nursery.

What a fabulous crawfish fest as per usual every year!

What a fabulous crawfish fest as per usual every year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hanging out between games at the Lacrosse fields.

Hanging out between games at the Lacrosse fields.

I finished planting all of my different planters for the porch.

I finished planting all of my different planters for the porch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andy working hard shooting lacrosse games.

Andy working hard shooting lacrosse games.

Andy meeting our friends new daughter for the first time!

Andy meeting our friends new daughter for the first time!

New Year’s Resolutions

Well it’s a new year which for most people means new resolutions to try and accomplish. For us our resolution hasn’t changed: Become parents. We are hopeful that this is the year someone will choose us for their child. While the holidays are hard to deal with when you want to be parents and aren’t yet, they also remind us of all the things we want to do when we are and the memories we want to make. The New Year Eve/Day holiday brings with it a new beginning as well so it’s one holiday that is easy to jump on board with while waiting to adopt.

Although I have never made resolutions in the past for new year, I have to lose for my goal weight thought about what I want to accomplish this year. Doing this will hopefully help keep my mind off of the wait and enjoy all the wonderful things we do have in our lives.

Health

Last June I decided I needed to start losing some weight because I wasn’t happy with my appearance any longer. Even though I did well, I still have a few more pounds to lose for my goal weight and I hope to be there by March. In addition to the weight Andy and I are both resolving to workout more. For me it is to build up more muscle and for him to lose weight and get healthier. By the time a baby does come into our lives we will hopefully both be healthier and happier with ourselves.

Travel

Another resolution I have is to take a couple trips. We have already started planning two: Vegas (woohoo) and a road trip on our way to a family reunion. Other thoughts are to go camping, a quick beach getaway, and go to a cabin in the mountains. They would all be shorter and a stand in for the trip we really want to take, 2 weeks in London and Paris, but are things we love to do and would be exciting to us too! In addition we have a couple planned visitors this year, more are always welcomed.

Adoption Support

Plan more get togethers with our friends we have made through adoption. Last year we did a girls night painting and a night out at a sports bar for dinner and drinks. We also plan on continuing to go to the monthly support groups and agency gatherings. Hopefully this year we can do at least one get together every quarter. The people we have met are all wonderful and we know that they understand all of the crazy things the adoption journey has brought us already and what is still in store ahead.

House

Finally, I want to work on some home projects that will be more difficult to handle when we are parents. We have chairs I want to build, a cabinet to refinish, shelves to build, yard work (fire pit!), and random little things. Over the last couple years we have done a couple big projects and some smaller ones for the baby room, so hopefully I am not being too ambitious.

All of this is of course in addition to my work and Andy’s crazy photography schedule on weekends. This year is looking like it could be great for us and it hopefully will be. Wishing for luck in this new year for all those trying to be parents!

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.

Emotional at the Holidays

Well it is time for our busiest time of year and the typically wonderful holiday season. Lately, though, I have noticed that I seem to easily get annoyed or upset this holiday season. This is our second year going through Christmas and Thanksgiving while waiting to adopt. It is normally my favorite time of year with all of the decorations, movies, music, food, family, and friends. This year there have already been times that I wish I could just skip it all though and fast forward to the new year. I really want to enjoy the holidays with friends and family though at the same time.
There are so many traditions I want to share with our children and things I can’t wait to see them experience. Being around our family helps but we can’t be with each other through the entire holiday season since we don’t all live in Georgia. Plus at some point we all need to make money, go to work, and get things done, it can’t be all fun all the time.
This year we are hosting Thanksgiving at our house with my sister’s family visiting for the entire week. Hosting this year is at least giving me something to occupy part of my brain with planning events, finding new recipes for the turkeys, figuring out any projects I need to finish before then. We will have 14 people at our house for the day so there will be lots of prepping and cooking to do during that week as well as being busy with family activities. My nephews are great distractions!
I know technically we don’t know what will happen and maybe we will get a last minute call about a situation and be parents still before the holidays. However, that isn’t extremely frequent to have last minute situations through our agency. Also, I figure if I plan for it not to happen it might be easier to get through and enjoy the holidays than thinking that it could happen and be even more disappointed if it doesn’t happen.
Instead we are trying to plan out all of our free minutes between now and the end of the year. We have always had the motto during the wait that if we are busy with something else then we can’t dwell on what could be. Currently, we are planning on doing a holiday party for friends, going to our normal holiday parties, working on projects around the house, and attending any shows or events that we think might be entertaining. If you know of a fun event in the Atlanta area for during the holiday season let us know and maybe we will fit it in our schedule!

Labor Day Weekend!

This past weekend Andy and I went to Houston to visit my sister’s family. It was a low key but fun weekend visiting them. A majority of the weekend was spent playing with my nephews. We got to enjoy their pool a couple of the days, play football, pick our fantasy football teams (that we all play in together), run races, play board games, and watch some good movies.

Living so far away from them can be frustrating since we would love to spend more time with them each year. We are very lucky that we get to see them 2-3 times a year though and soak up as much time as we can. I’ve added a couple pictures from the weekend below.

On the plane and excited to go to Houston!

On the plane and excited to go to Houston!

Andy and Jacob running races

Andy and Jacob running races

Playing football

Playing football

Playing football

Playing football

After the end of the game Fibber (Matt won!)

After the end of the game Fibber (Matt won!)

Jacob jumping (belly flop) into the pool

Jacob jumping into the pool

Matt jumping (belly flop) into the pool

Matt jumping (belly flop) into the pool

Matt and Stephanie underwater

Matt and Stephanie underwater

Jacob and Stephanie underwater

Jacob and Stephanie underwater

 

The Hinze Holiday Christmas 2014

We started the Christmas Holiday celebrations off with a party at Stephanie’s parents’ house. They have one every year for the people in their neighborhood and we always go and catch up with some friends from there. There is always good food and good company every year and this one was no exception. It was a lot of fun and Stephanie even got to hold little baby Mia, granddaughter of a friend, for a couple hours.

Stephanie's mom, Cay, and her at the holiday party

Stephanie’s mom, Cay, and her at the holiday party

Stephanie and baby Mia

Stephanie and baby Mia

Andy and Stephanie at the party

Andy and Stephanie at the party

A week later it was time to pack up the dogs in the car and make the long trip up north to visit Andy’s family and friends. We made good time in the car despite the bad rain and having two dogs in the backseat. When we arrived we were greeted with a little snow already on the ground, really just a light dusting, and Jasmine (our Chihuahua) was not thrilled with the idea of it at all. Etta on the other hand really had a blast when we got more snow later in the week for her to run around in.

Etta in the snow

Etta in the snow

We spent the next 7 days spending time with friends and family in the area. We hung out with some of Andy’s high school friends at Buffalo Wild Wings, had dinner and lunch with several different friends, went to the casino with Andy’s cousin and her girlfriend, and of course spent Christmas day at his parents’ house. At the casino Andy ended up down and Stephanie ended up winning so all was good there! Although, Andy’s dad Ken was the big winner of the trip and even got his picture taken for hitting one of the big wins on a slot machine.

Cheryl and Stephanie at lunch

Cheryl and Stephanie at lunch

Stephanie and Brandon hanging out

Stephanie and Brandon hanging out

Ken, Jane, Andy, and Stephanie at the casino

Ken, Jane, Andy, and Stephanie at the casino

Missy, Jenny, Ken, Andy, and Stephanie in the parking lot of the casino.

Missy, Jenny, Ken, Andy, and Stephanie in the parking lot of the casino.

Christmas itself this year had a nice casual day to just relax at his parents’ house since the rest of the trip was so busy traveling around visiting friends and family. Of course we got to open all of the great gifts that we got this year and have cinnamon pecan rolls in the morning. To finish it off Andy’s dad cooked some steaks on the grill for an awesome dinner.

Andy and Stephanie Christmas morning while opening gifts

Andy and Stephanie Christmas morning while opening gifts (you can even see Stephanie’s minion Dave in the corner)

Andy's mom, Jane, opening some of her gifts

Andy’s mom, Jane, opening some of her gifts

Stephanie with a picture frame for the babies room from Andy's parents.

Stephanie with a picture frame for the babies room from Andy’s parents.

The day after Christmas, after we had eaten lunch with Stephanie’s old teammate, we were driving and managed to hit something in the road. At first we thought it was just a flat tire, and after getting the spare on, we dropped the car off to get it changed at one of the local tire chains. Several hours later we found out that in addition to a flat tire we also had a dented and cracked rim, and would need to get it replaced. Luckily, the next day we found a Volkswagen dealer that had one in stock and got the car fixed in time for us to head home to Georgia.

With a few less gifts in the car we had some spare space to get in some new items. Andy’s mom used to be a nanny and had some baby items that she doesn’t need any longer and gave them to us. So now we have a high chair, new born rocker, and a swing. It was great to get these as we are now even closer to having all the baby stuff bought for the nursery or house. I can’t believe how much of it we have gotten for free or cheap so far and it will all definitely come in handy!

All together it was a great way to spend the end of our year with each other and with family and friends! We are looking forward to the next year and everything that it might bring!

Ringing in a New Year

Andy and I decided to host a neighborhood party this year for New Years Eve (kids included). It ended up being a lot of fun and it was great having so much noise in the house!

We had about 25 to 30 people in our house including the kids and everyone seemed to have a great time. The kids ran all over the place playing with some of the toys and games we have or just watching the TV. Meanwhile the adults ate and drank all the delicious things that were made and brought while catching up after the holidays. We even met a couple of our neighbors that we previously didn’t know have talked about getting together in the future more often!

When we first moved into the neighborhood we hoped to meet some new friends and find some people to hang out with and we definitely have. Even though it has been over a year since we moved in we are now starting to find our place in the neighborhood and to meet and get to know more and more of the neighbors. The great thing is that there are lots of people with kids in the neighborhood so when we add our own to the mix there will be lots of people around to play with!

Here is to hoping for a great New Year and a new addition to our little family!

Christmas Holiday Traditions

Over the last couple weeks things have been busy for us with the holidays and visiting family and friends. I’ll give a recap over all of that in another post (hopefully later today still). Right now I want to talk about some of the family traditions we can’t wait to share with children and some that we hope to start when we have children.

Making our own ornaments and gifts for family members. It seems like everyone with kids make ornaments using hand prints or foot prints lately. My siblings have also made platters and other things to either use or display with their kids prints all over them. I have seen so many cute ideas through Pinterest or Facebook that I can’t wait to start doing our own each year to hang on our tree and to give away!

Andy’s family has always had little mail boxes on their Christmas tree for everyone and inside they get money from their grandma. I think this is awesome and think it would be great to continue this tradition with maybe a letter about how good they have been that year as well from Santa. It would make for a great album where you could store the letter and go back in time to read all the good things that each child has done over the years.

Christmas morning Cinnamon Pecan Rolls! Need I say more! Ok so I will say a little more about it, both of our families have a tradition of cooking and eating them in the morning after opening all the wonderful Christmas gifts! It was always a great break from constant playing with the gifts to spend a little time with the family before all the kids disappeared to play with their toys.

Have our very own Christmas Express “Train” to go and look at Christmas lights (another idea from Pinterest). Probably not too entertaining for a baby but what little kid doesn’t like looking at Christmas lights! We would basically leave a train ticket in the bed for the kids the night we are going out and when they see them at bed time instead of climbing in we will climb into the car and go on an adventure. As they get older we can provide the hot chocolate and popcorn as we listen to Christmas music and drive around to see the lights.

Finally, in the end, the thing we look forward to the most is spending time around the holidays with our family doing all kinds of crafts, baking cookies, decorating the tree, watching Christmas movies, and everything else that comes with the season in our house!