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2012 {a year in review}

i love looking back at the year coming to an end.  i love reflecting on the moments that have shaped who we are today.  in a broad sweep, i am thankful this year is over.  on one hand, boy, i have so much to be thankful for.  my husband and i are strong and healthy.  we have a beautiful home that continues to become just how we had wished it would be with each renovation.  our four-legged babies are well and make us laugh every. single. day.  we have had amazing travel adventures.  professionally, we are both doing exceedingly well.  we have wonderful friends and family.  but as this year comes to a close, i am more reminded of what we don’t have.  where we are versus where i had wanted to be.  i wanted to be out of the 200′s, i am not.  i wanted to be well on my way to having a baby, we are not.  this is another year that brought another miscarriage.  more month after month of counting days, taking temperatures, and peeing on countless sticks.  we are where we are.  we can’t change the reality of what we had hoped to be true, is not yet.  so while it is nice to look back, my sights are clear and focused on welcoming 2013.  only looking forward.

here are previous years in review: 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008.

{january}

we were able to have our first taste of our own honey.  unfortunately, it was due to a failed hive that didn’t survive the winter.  this little taste has us very excited about the hive that is going strong.  we are hopeful that 2013 will bring a real harvest of honey in the fall.

we made the difficult decision to give away dorothy, our rooster.  he was a beautiful guy but was more frisky than our five hens could handle.  we found a wonderful farm that wanted a young rooster to replace their older one.  he had 30 hens in a completely free range farm.  a few months later we learned he had died.  we were definitely sad but know that he probably had the best three months running after all those ladies than we could have ever provided him here.  even though it is a sad ending, we know it was the best decision we could have made for our little flock.

{february}

the husband whisked me away to wilmington for the day for my 31st birthday.  i love day trips to the coast.  we aren’t huge beach people, so really, a day is all i need.  there is something about an afternoon wrapped in a quilt with toes in the sand.  it is good for my soul.  at the beginning of this month we suffered our third miscarriage.  this one was the earliest loss, at just 5 weeks.  each one has been so different but our heart breaks all the same.  a day trip to fly a kite was just what we needed.

we decided to take the plunge and buy dog grooming tools.  we couldn’t see spending $500 plus on grooming.  the pups loved the extra attention and we loved our wallets feeling a bit fuller.

i received quite the valentine’s day gift this year.  mlb premium package!  2012 was a dismal year for my red sox.  here is hoping cupid is as kind again this year and my boys in red decide to play real baseball this year.

because we were down a rooster, i foolishly decided to add three hens to our existing flock.  i will never make this mistake again!  don’t get me wrong, i love our new three.  dolly parton, stevie nicks, and tina turner are beautiful and great layers but it was weeks of rotating injured birds in and out of the house.  all the fighting played a toll on birds and humans alike.

we even built a separate pin inside of the existing run it got so bad.  thankfully, the ladies have settled down and figured it all out.  lesson learned.

{march}

i took my first pottery class and walked away with six bowls that i absolutely love.  i fell in love with pottery and hope to spend a good bit of 2013 at the wheel.

we began collecting enough eggs to start selling.

my first official business expense.  my very own macbook.  i can not express how much i love it.  of course, i did get a hot pink case to protect the goods.

the book club at the hunger games movie.  i saw it twice.  i loved the book series and the movie did not disappoint.  i am looking forward to 2013 book club picks.

we decided to do more adventuring in 2012.  we started in our own neighborhood.  we took a segway tour of the capital and loved it.  the back story if you don’t remember, in chicago the previous year we had wanted to do a segway tour of the city.  i was too heavy.  literally.  after significant weight loss, i was beyond thrilled to mark this adventure off my list.

in march i hit the 100 pounds lost goal.  i still can’t wrap my head around how much i have lost.  lately, most days i can only think about how much further i have to do but it is really nice to take a look back to see how far i have come.  i have accomplished a lot and should be more proud of myself than i am.  as my celebration, i bought myself a vitamix.  i know.  they are SO expensive.  but let me just say this, i use this baby every day.  seriously.  more than the microwave or the dishwasher.  it was hard spending the money initially, but looking back i wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.  best decision ever.

there was lots of garden work done.  weed pulling.  new mulch.

we also spent a weekend in kitty hawk.  hang gliding.

{april}

as part of our adventuring 2012 we signed up for the rugged maniac 5k!  it was an absolute blast.  the husband, our pet sitter and good friend bonnie, and good friend naomi all hit the course running.  running this race, i felt the best i have in years.  unfortunately, i have spent the rest of the year recovering from two herniated disks as a result of this race.

this very moment is when it all went numb.  i misaligned my hips and jacked up my back.  i haven’t been the same since.  i have learned in the last month that recovering from an injury is just as much mental as it is physical.  i have never in my life felt the sheer pain as i did with the herniated disks.  the fear of feeling that pain again has prevented me from pushing myself.  the moment i feel the slightest twinge in my back, i stop.  i am stronger than that.  i am slowly realizing that fear has been standing in my way and i am far more healed that i believed.

even with the injury, i am so glad we did this race.  the husband and i had a blast completing it together.


in april my beekeeper husband decided to add three hives to his families property in virginia.  this meant traveling a couple hours with boxes of live bees in our car.  sure.  adventuring in 2012, right?!

after much optimism, effort, and money we were devastated to learn that a bear was equally excited about the new hives.  needless to say, no bees survived and it was a complete loss.

i hosted my first sewing class!  based on the interest, i hope to add a couple more in 2013.

{may}

i honestly have no idea how we did all that we did in may.  we lived the hell out of may 2012.

first, a durham bulls game to see the red sox farm team.  i will support my red sox at all levels.

we hosted a memorial day bbq for several dear friends.  i mean.  watermelon + this cutie = sigh.  complete adorableness.

we then packed our bags for a final weight loss reward trip, jamaica!  this trip.  whenever i am anything but happy, i close my eyes and picture myself here.  with these people.  i fell in love.

we stayed in our own private home with a private beach and pool.  it was complete bliss.  each meal prepared by shaki (pictured below).  he knew all about my food allergy and took special care which included gluten free key lime pie and pancakes in the morning.  i have never in my life felt so pampered.  thanks to social media, shaki and i are still in touch.  he keeps me up to date with all the happenings there and i love the friendship we share.

when we arrived back to the states, the husbands little brother, matthew, graduated from pharmacy school.  we couldn’t be more happy and proud!

i loved looking back at events and comparing the life changes that the husband and i have made.  here is a picture of matthew’s undergraduate graduation and below from pharmacy school.  i will note that the fresh jamaican tan helps :)

a little after their graduation, matthew tied the knot!  here is the husband and myself at the rehearsal dinner.

{june}

the pups and i spent some quality time.  after a month of being on the go, we missed each other.

i made my first batch of watermelon jam from our home grown watermelon.

we celebrated father’s day in greensboro.

june brought record heat that our sweet rose “chunk” couldn’t handle.  despite all of our interventions, we lost our first hen.

we hit the airport again for a quick trip to chicago.  i love, love, love chicago and i love my dear friends that live there even more!  we decided to stay downtown and hit up all the touristy stops …

“the bean”

ferris wheel at the navy pier.  i am seriously not a fan of ferris wheels.

thanks to a groupon, we went sailing on the lake.

we were able to reconnect with our good friends to celebrate christina’s wedding!  i am so incredibly happy for her and mike.  i love these girls!!

another comparison shot from caitlin’s wedding a couple years ago to christina’s.  yay! for life changes :)

{july}

back home, my etsy shop business started picking up.

i completed another pottery class.  this time, berry bowls and a mug.

{august}

sweet milo bojangles is still having a hard time adjusting to being strictly an indoor cat.  his new cat tree helps occupy his attention.

our garden produced tons and tons of peppers.  plenty enough to jar up and preserve.

we were able to take the short trip to virginia to see my favorite band, mumford and sons.  the concert was incredible.  in february of 2013, we are heading to dc to see them again.  i would totally be a groupie if i didn’t have other responsibilities.

we traveled with my great friend, laura and her husband.  he is a master of picking out restaurants.

we dove into several firsts.  homemade yogurt.

freezer meals.

and homemade laundry soap.  this batch of soap is still going strong.  we use it for every load and i am guessing i have a couple months left.  talk about cost savings.

another first for me, camping!  surprise, i loved it!  i can’t wait to go again in 2013.

{september}

i learned that i am going to be an aunt!  my little brother and his wife, jackie, are expecting their first in late february.  along with my dad and stepmom, i threw them a gender reveal party.  i had a lot of fun planning such a fun party!

the cupcakes revealed, PINK!  i can’t wait to spoil little addison grace in 2013!!

{october}

we completed our master bedroom renovation.  here is the before …

and after.

while at it, we tackled the closet as well.  new paint and shelving system.  ahh, sweet organization.

i learned how easy it is to make homemade stock.

the husband found a ridiculous price for hardwoods and had more tons than i can remember delivered.  since then, he is often found outside chopping away.

we celebrated my dad’s birthday in durham!  he was on a duke high because they had just become bowl eligible.

the husband and i made our way to the state fair.  year after year, we can’t stay away.

another photo collage from the state fair.  looking at these makes me proud but is also motivation to keep going!

we took the opportunity on pregnancy and infant loss day to remember our three heartaches.

we also celebrated the husband and an award he won at work.  i am beyond proud of him and his work.  it was wonderful to see his company recognize his groups achievement.  as part of the award, we were treated to a trip to new york city!

we had time to take in some sights and even enjoy a quintessential new york city deli, with gluten free bread!

after catching matthew broderick on broadway, we were able to meet and snap a couple photos with him.

{november}

for our second year in a row, we completed a thanksgiving day race.  this one in greensboro with my dad and stepmom.

we hosted a thanksgiving feast at our house this year.  my wonderful cousins from georgia came up for a few days and we invited lots of neighbors, friends, and family!  it was an absolute blast!

maybe the biggest news of the year was my etsy shop being published!  it was featured in the holiday gift guide in us weekly.  there it is, first page front and center.  i still have to pinch myself.

needless to say, the orders immediately started rolling in. 263 orders later, all that had requested christmas delivery were fulfilled.  it was a very busy month.

i upgraded sewing machines.

sam tried to keep me company but sometime he just had to rest on a pair of slippers.  such a hard life.

the husband had to travel a bit for work so my best friend came over for an old school slumber party.  board games and all.

{december}

a birthday scavenger hunt for the husband.

new living room furniture.

a christmas trip to asheville.  we stayed downtown in a new hotel and was within walking distance of my favorite spots.  salsa’s.  incredible.  tupelo honey.  amazing.  and my new favorite, posano.  a 100% gluten free restaurant.  seriously.  every. single. thing is gluten free.  i mean, why don’t i live here?!

and the french broad chocolate lounge.  yes, we spent two nights here for dessert.  i fell in love with the liquid truffle with cinnamon and cayenne ganache.  the husband, quintessential chocolate cake.  pure. food. bliss.

wife secret: i love christmas vacation for one reason.  the husband grows a beard.  sigh.

now we are back home and enjoying our last few days of vacation.  our three loves staying warm by the fire.  we are obsessed with breaking bad and staying up way too late watching episode after episode.

my hopes for 2013 are simple.  i want to fill my year with memories of laughter and new experiences.  i want to continue living more healthy than i did the day before.  i hope you all have enjoyed the ride of 2012 and will join me in welcoming 2013 with open arms.

happy new year!


merry christmas

wishing you all a merry christmas from our family to yours.

front of our 2012 christmas cards.

inside top.

inside bottom.


transporting 30,000 bees and other weekend festivities

friday the 13th.  typically i am not phased.  but when the beekeeping husband put on the calendar that he was going to be driving 3 pounds of bees (approximately 30,000) from our neck of the woods to his parents farm, about two hours across the state line.  i got a little nervous.

so, of course, i volunteered to go with him.

but first, 12 gallons of sugar water (bee food) needed to be made.  i don’t remember volunteering but since the husband is phenomenal at making epic messes in the kitchen, i decided this was a job i could handle.

plus i had martha stewart in the kitchen to help clean lick sugar off the floor.

so friday the 13th was no match.  we made it successfully with no stings.  no emergencies.  we arrived to the most beautiful day.  fun clouds.  lots of sun.  a perfect day on my in-laws farm.  i love the photograph below of my father-in-law.

this is how we roll.  beekeeper style.

adding sugar water made by yours truly.  the first two hives the husband placed the freed bees while still in their box.  he then went back a couple days later to remove the box and check on the queens.

for the third box, he used the shake method.  basically he opens up the box and shakes the bees out.  it is a little cray cray to say the least.

let me reiterate, no stings.  no gloves.  it is a mystery.

i may have been in charge of painting the hives.

i love this beekeeping husband of mine.  i love his passion for this hobby that was inspired by watching his great grandfather.  i could do without the smoky smell.

the rest of the weekend was spent watching red sox baseball.  i am so tremendously sad that one of my favorite players is now on the dl and i am crossing my fingers it is just a partial dislocated shoulder and won’t require a season ending surgery.  and although it was sad watching the sox without jacboy in the lineup they are officially on a winning streak.

i seriously love baseball movies.  i have many memories of watching major league over and over again during summer vacation with my little brother.

on sunday i took a spontaneous beach trip with my crafting soul mate.  she has been featured on the blog before with her amazing surprise birthday party during book club that she threw for me.  which included baking brownies inside of egg shells.  she has become a very close friend and i jumped at the opportunity for a girls day with her.

she and i are both food lovers.  we had quite the spread.  black bean and corn salad for lettuce wraps from the lettuce in my garden.  two types of salsas that when paired together were taste bud exploding delicious.  mango, grapes, watermelon.  and grape leaves.  which i have not yet discussed my new love for with her and she just knew (see it is true we are soul mates).

i brought several camera lenses.  an extra memory card.   while setting up the food i realized, no camera battery.  oh well.  i guess another trip needs to be in the works.  i am officially sun burned or as i am referring to as my jamaica base tan. thank you so much for kidnapping me for the day laura!

i love having a full weekend which will hopefully spill over into a wonderful week.


how sweet it is.

one of our three hives did not survive. the other two are doing well and we are crossing our fingers they make it through the winter, healthy.  sadly, we deconstructed the hive that failed.  we were fortunate to find leftover honey that they never used.

so we took apart the comb. and processed the honey.  this was a very simple way of straining the honey from the comb.  there wasn’t a lot so it didn’t make sense to find an extractor from our county beekeepers to borrow.  old school honey processing at its best.

a bowl for strained honey.  and another for the drained comb.  easy enough.  then came time to can the honey.  of course, there was lots of sampling.  you know, for quality assurance.

now, time to find something creative to do with the little bit of comb i have left over. while i decide, i think it is time to enjoy some warm oatmeal drizzled with a bit of our own honey.


2011. a year in review.

a couple years ago i started my “year in reviews” and soon after the holidays wrap up, i immediately look forward to taking a look back.  here is 2010.  2009.  2008.  2011 was another year full of laughter.  loss.  goals accomplished.  adventures.  growth.
last year the quote that i felt wrapped up the year was this, “never let your memories be greater than your dreams.”  this year i like this, “far from what i once was but not yet what i am going to be.”  i am more optimistic.  more healthy.  more happy than i have been in a very long time.  but i am not yet where i want to be.
i hope you all enjoy taking a look back with me.
january

january was a slow month around here.  we traveled for the holidays (max patch!) and were slowly finding our new normal.  looking back, i was still in my depression fog from our first miscarriage.  going through all these pictures and memories allowed me to recognize when i started to see the sun again.




february


i turned the big 30!  the husband surprised me with a birthday party that included so many wonderful friends including my 7th grade language arts teacher.  she is one of my most favorite human beings and i was thrilled to see her.

i made my “30 while 30″ list.



we started planning for chickens.

we traveled back to florida to see the last discovery nasa shuttle launch.  words can not describe the feeling watching the launch.  pure genius.  we were fortunate to stay with our friends which always makes traveling more fun!

march


march was a roller coaster filled month.  i continued to cry often about the baby i had lost.  not knowing how to move forward but searching for comfort.

we hosted dylan’s cousin for a fun weekend that included a homemade pizza party.

my etsy shop grew tremendously this month.  new date and initial pillows were added and were a huge success.

we started our 2011 garden.



april


we added two hives, bringing our total count to three. i love watching the husband work the bees.  he is so calm.  so patient.  beekeeping is an artform.

three chickens arrived!  the golden “girls” (one turned out to be a rooster and we still call her by her original name, dorothy).  here is rose on her first day with us.

the coop was built and the run was coming together.

this was the best year so far for snap peas and lettuce.  we ate very well thanks to our family gardener (not me).

we decided to start trying for another baby.  we were completely surprised that we immediately got pregnant.  we were thrilled.  i just knew this was suppose to be.  i had vivid dreams of holding my baby. i was so very happy.

we celebrated my brother-in-law at his white coat ceremony from pharmacy school.  we are so proud of both his fiance and his hard work.  we are looking forward to attending both their graduation and wedding this upcoming year.

we spent a day at a local farm.  learning about, well, farming.  we both were inspired.



may


may was filled with celebrating our ten year anniversary.

milo watching over our bee hives.

we added three more chicks.  the two buffs are lucy and ethel.  the black is cosby.

we started a live “peep” show.  blog stats grew.  the “peep” show was a big hit!

we went strawberry picking with a fun friend.  i have found my crafting soul mate and, together, we have decided to make 2012 the year of craft dates.  i am beyond excited.



we started suspecting the our dorothy was not like the others and was in fact a rooster.  we were right!

june

with the amazing help of our good friend david and both of our families, we finished the chicken run and  coop.  there was no way we could have finished without their help! 


very soon after we shared our pregnancy news with our family and a few friends we lost our baby.  another miscarriage.  another hole in our hearts that can never be filled.  i wrote about it here.  i remember sitting on the doctors table in pain both physical and emotional.  i go back to this vivid memory often.  the anger i felt that day propelled me to change my life.  it was a desire to change that i had never felt before.  this was the day i started on different path for my life.  this included dying streaks of my hair hot pink.
it is so hard to look at this picture.  not because of the 50 pounds that i have lost since.  this pictures shows a girl trying so desperately to not fall into a dark hole.  there is such sadness and heartbreak in my eyes and yet having the desperate clutch to reality.

the hens helped take our minds off our pain.  they moved outside and everyday was a new adventure for all of us.


july

july brought lots of workouts.  changes in eating habits.  changes in our life habits.  we found a soccer field and played together.  for fun.  weigh in mondays began.  workout lists were created.

the chickens enjoyed afternoon treats.  blueberries were by far the favorite with yogurt as a close second.

reward trips were planned.  first 30 pounds was a trip to boston to see my beloved red sox play the yankees.  my favorite city and favorite team with my favorite guy.  motivation to workout everyday was in place.


i relived middle school for one night.  new kids on the block concert in my hometown.  it was a magical night.

august

i joined a book club.  our monthly monday evening food, gab, and book discussions were just what i needed this year.  i adore these ladies and look forward to what 2012 brings in our discussions.

the chickens continue to grow and thrive.  grass clippings are such a treat.

the first picture of myself that i started to notice weigh loss.

five year wedding anniversary was celebrated.

my sweet boy.

we canned sauerkraut this year from our abundance of cabbage in our garden.


september

i started running.  i started to fall in love with running outside in the rural county where we live.  

my first goal of 30 pounds lost was met.  we started our seven day travels from our home, to boston, ending in tennessee, and then back home.  

we visited friends that live in boston.  we caught a game.  we sat at the green monster during batting practice.  we walked on the field and i stole some dirt.  we rode a boat.  we ate amazing food.

we found pure happiness.



we then traveled to tennessee to celebrate my grandfather’s 90th birthday.  it was amazing to see the entire family come together with such unconditional, kind love.  it is rare and we appreciated every second.

when we came home our chickens welcomed us back with their first egg!  and they haven’t slowed down since.  it is december and we are still getting 3 to 5 each day!

october

october started many home projects.  we painted our kitchen.

went to our 11th state fair together.

the eggs just keep coming.

we had a little photo shoot with a dear friend of mine.  to celebrate our weight loss.  to celebrate our choices.  this was such a difficult year but also one of the best.  everyday we chose to actively live each day.

november

we completed the dining room remodel. i love my dining room. it is so simple and so perfect for us.

we celebrated my granny’s 90th birthday with an ice cream party at her house.  we told dirty jokes and laughed all the way from our head to our toes.  it was just lovely.


the groomer always makes us laugh with the bows she puts in martha stewarts hair.  too funny.
we hosted thanksgiving for my family.  my best friend, who i am lucky enough to also call my cousin, brought his entire family (husband and four boys) up from georgia.  words don’t describe how incredibly happy i was having them here.   


on thanksgiving the husband and i ran our first race, together.  the gallop and gorge 8k.
las vegas was reward trip number two.  20 more pounds lost. i love this man.  i love travel.  i love that he has supported me fully with everything i needed to succeed.  we both have made such huge changes in our lives while simultaneously growing together.  


december
december brought a surprise birthday party for my husband. 

many christmas parties and festivities.

lots of cuddling by the wood stove and christmas tree light.

we hosted our families this year.  pinatas were a hit.

2012 …
looking ahead we have a reward finale trip to plan.  a wedding in chicago which will include many blues  clubs per the husbands request.  another 90th birthday celebration in tennessee, this time for my grandmother.  a family trip to new york city to see the yankees and red sox play.  a possible volunteer trip to haiti. hardwood flooring project for the entire home. and many, many unknown adventures.
we have learned that each year is a roller coaster.  there is sadness.   people we must goodbye to.  dreams that die. but there is so much goodness.  so much joy.  so much to be grateful for.  i am so thankful that i am wrapping up this year with the health of my husband by my side, my sweet cat milo, our pups sam and martha stewart, and all six chickens doing their thing.  
simply put.  we are optimistic about the upcoming year.

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