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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 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.


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 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.


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 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!


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 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.


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.


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 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.


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 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.


there are so many things, so many people, so many events to be thankful for.  i am tremendously blessed.  our guests have left.  our hearts are full of the many memories of the last couple of days.  i miss having a house full of boys (4 boys, 2 dads).

i marked a couple of goals off my 30 while 30 list.  number 8, check.  number 28, most definitely as evidenced by the large, completely worth every single dish, pile of dishes in my kitchen this morning.

the pups had a blast.

sites were seen in my “none too subtle” attempts to get the boys to move this way.

their oldest son has decided to go to school at unc.  as a state girl i think i can sway him, but either way it would be a fantastic decision because he would be so close to me!

“christmas” morning breakfast.  recipe to follow.  super easy, major yum!

nerf guns.  whoopie cushions. “flarp” noise makers.  balloon rockets.  4 boys + lots of “farting” toys = major cool points for me and the husband.

it was unseasonably warm while the group were in town.  which was nice for lots of outside playing.  and trumpet fest 2011 totally happened.

the thanksgiving goods.  dining room set up.

craft paper on the tables with crayons.  who doesn’t love to draw on tables?!

food goods.

i love my granny’s old china.

the husband grilled the turkey.  beautifully, done.  absolutely delicious.

the dessert table.  derby pie.  lemon pound cake with lemon curd glaze.  carrot cake.  chocolate mousse pie.  cheesecake with optional cherries.  mini pumpkin pies with cinnamon whipped topping.

me and my cousin.  we are two peas in a pod.  we talk almost everyday.  i absolutely adore him.  thank you so much for driving all this way with your husband and your amazing children.  i loved every single second.

and a huge thank you to my husband.  he kept me calm when i got overwhelmed with the cooking.  he made a chart with cooking times so i would be organized.  (i was done with all the cooking by 12 yesterday. i have all afternoon to play nerf gun wars, football, wiffle ball, etc. with the boys.)  after all the crowds had left and it was just the two of us, we just cuddled on the screened porch.  talked about how much we have to be thankful for.  our life is beautiful.  my life is simply happy because of him.  

weigh in monday

#10 on my 30 while 30 list is officially crossed off on my sidebar.  weigh in monday showed a loss of 4 pounds!  i knew i would have to “bring it” if i wanted to make my reward trip to vegas.  the time table is short and i knew (with the help of my math smarts partner) that i would have to lose 4 pounds, at least 3 of the next 9 weeks.  i have definitely started off on the right foot!

click for source.

total weight loss is 32 pounds.

this past week i didn’t go to the gym everyday. instead i went running.  outside.  i have worked up to doing an hour on the elliptical at the gym. i sweat. it is hard at times because i do the interval training but i can do it. running. outside on hills.  super sweat. super sore. 

click for source.

the husband and i have started a friendly competition each monday.  week to week who can lose more pounds?  prizes are the winner gets an evening where they call all the shots.  dinner, including who cooks it. entertainment. etc.  whatever they want.  this week i am super proud of my sweet tea loving husband because he lost 2 pounds.  but that makes me the winner for week one.  i will post about my reward evening later on in the week!

i am off to a full day of my guardian ad litem work. jail. home visits. you know, good stuff. i hope you all have a great start to the week!

new day, new challenges

after my first miscarriage i hibernated.  i didn’t leave the house.  i hardly left my bedroom most days.  i was so closed off from all relationships.  the only person i let in was my husband and i can’t imagine how difficult that must have been for him.  i rationalized my hibernation and i stayed in the same place for almost a full year.  now here i am, almost the same time of year, still coming to terms with my second miscarriage.  it is cruel.  it is mean.  but i can do things differently.

there is so much out of my control that i am desperately grasping at what i can control.

my hair.  i don’t color it.  i don’t pull grays.  i do flat iron the hell of out of my wavy frizzy mess.  i wanted to do something drastic.  (but nothing permanent.)  i got the idea from my husband actually.  he kept telling me he wished i could see myself through his eyes.  (sigh. i know ladies, i am so very lucky!)  that i am the strongest person he knows.  that my strength during the d & c and my emotional strength after should shine through.  but the thing is, i don’t feel strong.  i feel like a failure, especially after my second miscarriage.  i desperately want to feel the way he sees me and i control that.  i thought i would start with a visual reminder each day that i am kinda a bad ass.  all women that have gone through this are.  seriously ladies, to have this loss, then to put on the big girl panties (well, technically take them off!) and to try again.  serious bad ass.  so i headed to my favorite hair stylist and asked for pink streaks!  talk about challenging myself!  i stepped completely out of my box on this one! oh it made her day.   and i am totally digging the change. 

another thing i can control.  my weight.  i don’t control it.  i need to control it.  it is a challenge.  a challenge that i am re-committing myself.  i need a plan.  a concrete plan.  i came up with a reward system.  not food.  but real, rewards.  pedicures.  travels.  shopping.  i will post more details and use this blog as keeping me accountable.  i lost 60lbs when i had a personal trainer and the following 6 months after she left 2 years ago.  and i kept it off!  i know i can do this.  i just HAVE to do it.  i am taking back control.

so this is day one.  pink hair, check.  gym, check.  here is a picture from the elliptical to prove it.  see, accountability.  i spent 60 mins on the elliptical. 4.62 miles (whoot!) then 20 mins working on the ball for core exercises. 

i am working on my workout jams and i will post them later today.  with some of my rewards lined up!  what do you do to keep on track?  consistency is the hardest thing.

a completed project.

this past weekend we were so fortunate to have our family and a good friend help us with our coop and run.  as you all know, dorothy is officially a rooster, and morning around here were starting like this.  our alarm clock would go off.  dorothy would start crowing.  the dogs start barking.  needless to say, there wasn’t a lot of “snoozing” going on.  it was quite the zoo.

i don’t think anyone that came out on saturday will look at a poultry nail the same way.  there was so much nailing, it is quite the fortress.  i am so tremendously proud of the design we came up with and the incredibly hard work everyone, especially my husband, has put into this project.

the ladies and gent had a first row viewing party on saturday of all the hard work going into their new home.


finished! monday night was their first night in their new home.  as of this tuesday morning, all is well.  they still seem a bit in shock but are safe and enjoying their new much larger space!  we can’t say thank you enough to my father and mother in law, my dad and stepmom, and our friend david.  the chicks are safe and happy because of all your hard work helping us get this done!
milo helping the husband relax after a very long (and hot) weekend working.

the ladies checking things out this morning.  only dorothy and ethel have ventured out, and both quickly went back inside.

my morning farm attire.  pajama pants, muck boots, feed and a book.  i could get used to this life.

of course, why use stairs when you have wings?

some of the runs features.  a dust bowl is soon to be finished but for now (especially considering the chicks won’t even come outside of the coop) it is perfect.

i love, love, love my door.

raccoon proof locks on everything.  i am a bit of a safety nerd.

love this little chick.  my girl ethel being brave.

the husband trying to coax them out this morning.

inside their new digs.


my morning.  spent in the shade with a book i am just starting.  listening to subtle rooster crows and little chirps.  i could be very happy making this my new routine.

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