Tuesday, July 30, 2013

August Already?

Alright, I know it's not technically August yet, but close enough!

I’m certain it’s not just me, but wow is this summer flying by!  In one aspect it’s good – the faster time flies the faster a baby will be in our arms, our hearts and our home.  In all other ways, it’s not so great.  I am not a winter weather person at all, so the longer the dog days of summer stretch on, the better!  We have been busier than I ever remember.  I don’t know how that’s possible, since I’ve been a busy person in general since middle school.  But, I figured I would do a recap of our summer so far…

I never did share about the visit we got from my dad and my step-mom in May.  They came down for a weekend, and (as always) we really enjoyed their company.  We took them to one of our favorite restaurants, Bricco (downtown) for pizza, salad, fried risotto (my favorite!) and martinis.  We also enjoyed an Akron Aeros baseball game with Marti Gras fireworks at the local stadium.  We visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Saturday and all agreed that it was not what we were expecting, but we went to the West Side Market in Cleveland afterward and they really enjoyed that!  I think we plan on going back the next time they come down, and they’re bringing a cooler to do some shopping!  Later that night we had dinner at Melt Bar & Grilled – another favorite of ours.  Each time we have a ginormous sandwich from there I have to call my dad and say “guess what Nate just ate?!”  We absolutely had to go there so my dad could experience it himself.  I think he was pleased.  If you haven’t heard of any of these places and you’re in the Akron/Cleveland area… look them up!  You won’t be disappointed.

The following weekend, we went on a road trip to Lexington and Nashville.  Oh, it was so much fun!  Nate’s cousin graduated from high school on the 25th, so we headed to Kentucky to celebrate with him.  We spent some quality time with the family, and got a Lexington nightlife experience!  The next day we packed up and headed to Nashville, where my roommate from college and her husband are living.  I haven’t seen her nearly enough since we graduated, so it was excellent to be able to catch up with her!  We really do need to do a better job of keeping in touch regularly!  Luckily it was a long weekend, so we got an extra day to spend together and then hit the road back home.

We also had family photos done with Nate’s entire family at the end of May.  We used Loren from Sharpe Images Photography, and she really did a wonderful job!  Not only did she capture 15 people (5 of them being under the age of 6) beautifully, but she corralled kids too!  I wanted to share some of my favorites from our session:


We were lucky enough to be able to attend two Indian’s games in June.  We went with friends each time and enjoyed more local restaurants before the games - namely Market Garden (I feel like we’ve had a lot of really good food this summer, but somehow we’ve managed to meet some pretty high weight loss goals, too!).  At the second game we each got free jerseys, Nate caught a tee-shirt and a baseball stress ball, and there were AC/DC fireworks afterward.  Can’t get much better!


We did take some time off for Nate’s birthday when we rented a cabin in Hocking Hills.  It really is a beautiful, remote and relaxing getaway each time we go.  It’s becoming a favorite vacation spot for us.  Normally we look forward to no internet and no cell phone service while we are there, but this time we just hoped we didn’t miss anything from our adoption agency.  Luckily, we didn’t!  As usual, we weren’t ready to come home when our last day at the cabin came.


We spent 3 days in Michigan with my family for the 4th of July.  I got to catch up with some old friends who I haven’t seen in forever, got my fix on my hometown favorite restaurants, and lots of time in the lake.  The water was a chilly 61 degrees while we were there, but I miss it so much being in Ohio that I couldn’t resist jumping right in!  I was cold for the rest of the day, but it’s just so refreshing!



It has definitely been the season of home improvement for us.  Our house has been in a general state of disarray since the beginning of July when we had our carpets cleaned, not once but three times!  I have nothing bad to say about the carpet cleaning company we used – they were courteous, efficient and have good prices.  But for some reason we ended up with brown spots all over the living room that were not there before the carpet was “cleaned.”  The owner of the company did come back out and re-clean our carpets, and there was definitely an improvement, but spots still showed up that weren’t there before.  So, last night Nate and I moved all of the furniture for the third time this month, borrowed our sister-in-law’s carpet cleaner and re-cleaned the carpet again on our own.  There was even more improvement this time, but it’s still not perfect and I’m throwing in the towel.  Most of the spots are in areas where our furniture will be, so I’m not overly concerned.  I’ve officially decided that we will never clean the carpets in this house again – there are hard wood floors underneath and the carpet will be torn up before I deal with brown spots any longer.

We also went through every drawer, closet and cupboard this month and had a pretty successful (despite the rain) garage sale, complete with a lemonade stand courtesy of our niece and nephew.  We were master negotiators (aka give them whatever price they want to pay, or they can have it for free), and highly motivated to get rid of stuff!  We only had one (not overly stuffed) car load to take to Good Will and the library after the last day of our sale.

Nate power washed the house, the front steps and our shed, which is sorely overdue for a new paint job.  We’re waiting for good weather and extra time to get a few coats of paint back on the shed – it’s looking pretty sorry (and kind of embarrassing) right now.  Maybe the weather will be nice this weekend and we’ll be able to complete this project!

We’re also waiting on a call from the painter to schedule a time to come paint a few rooms in our house.  Nate and I quickly found out that painting is not an activity that we enjoy doing together.  I’m not good at it either, so that doesn’t help.  We’re giving in and hiring someone to come fix the few rooms that we’ve attempted to paint since moving in, and I think this will be the last time for a few years.

The most exciting development on the home front is that we ordered, received, assembled and arranged our nursery furniture!  I was nervous about how the room would turn out, because it’s seemed like such a tiny room to me.  I’m happy to say that it turned out absolutely adorable, and I can’t wait to order an updated copy of our look book to include the room ready for baby!


We’ve visited with lots of friends this month, and hope to get a few trips in to visit some others.  There have been a few baby and bridal showers, our small group and adoption network meetings, and we’ve spent lots of quality time with our niece and nephew over the past few weeks.  We volunteered with our small group on a back yard bible school last week, and ended on a high note with a pool and pizza party!

I’ve been doing a lot of sewing projects lately, and I’m glad to say that I should be all caught up by the end of this week.  Although I really do enjoy seeing the finished product on a lot of these, they are time consuming and I might take a sewing break after this… unless I find something too cute to resist attempting, of course!


I really thought things would start slowing down for us by the end of July, but looking ahead to August it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen.  We have something exciting scheduled for every weekend, as well as a meeting of some sort every Wednesday of the month.  I’m feeling so blessed to have so many wonderful people and groups in our lives, and everything we have going on is really a positive force in our lives.  Sometimes it would be nice to have a “day off,” but hopefully we’ll be going away for our 5th anniversary this fall and we’ll get some down time.

Hopefully any faithful readers I have out there are also enjoying their summers.  Make sure to take some time to enjoy it, before the leaves start to turn and keep me posted on what’s going on in your lives!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Relax

My friends at Proverbs 31 posted this on Facebook today, and it was just what I needed to see:

Philippians 4:5b-6 says, “The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”    

There have been so many things going on in my life (and yours too, I'm sure) lately that are really out of my control, no matter how much I try to be in control.  Obviously, the adoption but also a couple of other things that I won't go into detail about as they involve other people's personal stories.  The last four words there should really be an indication that these things are not mine to fix, but I think we all want to help the ones we love whenever possible.  Needless to say, my anxiety level has been inching toward the roof day by day.  I thought I would share some things I've been doing to try and keep things in check:
  • I make lists
  • I Google
  • I schedule
  • I talk to friends
  • I read how-to and self-help books
  • I read and post to message boards
  • I sleep
  • I clean (obviously that will fix all of the World's problems)
  • I complain
  • I cry sometimes
  • I get mad
  • I take it out on my husband (not on purpose, of course - Sorry Nate!)
  • And when all else fails I shop compulsively and I eat (which both actually go against two big goals - saving for the adoption and losing weight (down 30 pounds so far!)) 

Looking at that list makes me feel like I get myself all busy doing things that can't actually resolve any of the what is weighing me down, which is just silly when I remember how much I'm realizing that the Lord really does have a plan and a reason for everything.  If I could learn to really cast my worries to Him, I believe my heart and my mind would be so much more at peace.

To veer slightly off topic, Independence Day has always been my favorite holiday.  Being blessed spoiled enough to live near several beautiful lakes growing up, the 4th has always meant family gatherings, sunshine, swimming, jet-skiing, good food and beautiful fireworks displays.  For several reasons, the past few 4th of Julys have not been my favorite.  I've let other people and situations become my priority and take away from the things I truly enjoy.  This is no one's fault except my own, honestly.  As we make the trip to my home town tonight, Nate and I have decided to relax.  I'm sending my worries Up and hoping for the best.