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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 :)


back home, my etsy shop business started picking up.

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


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.


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!!


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.


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.


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!

{wordless wednesday}

“I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.” President Barack Obama

what do i stand for? {what do you?}

tomorrow is such an important day for america.  time to head to the polls and cast our vote.  local races don’t get anywhere near the attention that the presidential election receives, but it is so important to do our research.  government is local.  i spend a good bit of time in our local court system, judges have tremendous influence and power.   get to know these judges before casting your vote.

i have spoken out on facebook of my beliefs.  i sincerely love having respectful conversation from differing views.  i have been hesitant to write on my blog.  on one hand, i make income and don’t want to piss of readers.  but on the other hand, these are my beliefs.  this is what i stand for.  and i have decided that if you read this blog then you must want to know “me” on some level and it is my job as a blogger to demonstrate my most authentic self.  i will say this again but more than once never hurt anyone, it doesn’t matter your beliefs.  go vote.  so many people before did not have this freedom.  say thank you to our ancestors for standing up for what they believed in and cast your educated vote.  more than any candidate or party, i believe in democracy.  i believe every person has a right to have their voices heard.


i have made the conscious decision to promote what i love.  stand up for what i believe in.  without bashing the other side.  i believe what i do because of the circumstances i have experienced.  the environment in which i work.  the people i have met.  i am going to assume, that if you believe differently, then you have had difference experiences that have led you to believe what you do.  one is not right.  one is not wrong.  difference circumstances equate different beliefs.  i believe if more people recognized this simple statement, there wouldn’t be such tremendous hatred from one side to the other.

at the end of the day, i believe we have more in common than what divides us.


i have a pretty liberal view on taxes. higher taxes (primarily for the wealthy) and a larger government are necessary to address inequity/injustice in society.  i support a government that provides for the needs of the people and create equality.  obviously, restrictions that are in place are there for a reason.  i don’t believe capable working individuals should choose not to work because the government will provide all needs.  despite what many voices report, this is not the case for anyone that i have worked with on welfare for 8 years.  welfare has restrictions and time limits.  people can not simple live off the government for their entire life.  taxes enable the government to create jobs and provide welfare programs for those in need.  government programs are a caring way to provide for the poor and needy in society.  i heard michelle obama speak back in 2008.  i adore her.  i respect her.  she said, “our country is only as great as the weakest link.”  i believe we live in a community and it is the job of the more fortunate to offer a helping hand to those less fortunate.  i believe society as a whole is stronger when all are having basic needs met.


i have a pretty conservative view on the economy.  the free market system, competitive capitalism, and private enterprise create the greatest opportunity and the highest standard of living for all.  i believe in competition.  free markets produce more economic growth, more jobs and higher standards of living than those systems burdened by excessive government regulation.  however, i do believe in some regulation.  the government must protect citizens from the greed of big business.


i support free or low-cost government controlled health care.  there are millions of americans who can’t afford health care and are deprived of this basic right.  there are millions that go into debt and lose their homes because of medical bills.  every american has a right to affordable health care.  this goes into my belief of a strong society, when everyone has access to quality health care, society is healthier.  families can get preventative care and never see an emergency room.  i work with families that their doctor is the emergency room.  this is not how i would want to live with my family.  i believe our citizens deserve better.

religion & government:

i strongly support the separation of church and state.  the bill of rights implies a separation of church and state.  it infuriates me to no end to hear the christian believers talk about how their religious liberty is being threatened.  how about, you are not the only group of people with beliefs.  i loved this quiz i found.  10 questions to see if your religious liberty is being threatened.  the only way to ensure your own religious liberty remains strong is by advocating for the religious liberty of all, including those with whom you may passionately disagree. because they deserve the same rights as you. nothing more. nothing less.


i believe marriage is the union of people who love each other.  it should be legal for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals, to ensure equal rights for all.  i support same-sex marriage.  i feel so tremendously passionate about this civil rights issue.  i opposed to the creation of a constitutional amendment establishing marriage as the union of one man and one woman.  all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation, have the right to marry.  prohibiting same-sex citizens from marrying denies them their civil rights.  everyone deserves the same rights as you and i. nothing more. nothing less.


i believe global warming, not terrorism, poses the greatest threat to the united states.  terrorism is a result of arrogant american foreign policy.  i actually fall into the libertarian opinion here.   good diplomacy is the best way to deal with terrorism.  relying on military force to defeat terrorism creates hatred that leads to more terrorism.  i believe that not only am i an american, but i am a citizen of the world.


global warming is caused by an increased production of carbon dioxide through the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas).  does anyone seriously believe that this not a scientific fact?  the united states is a major contributor to global warming because it produces 25% of the world’s carbon dioxide.  proposed laws to reduce carbon emissions in america are urgently needed.  in our local elections, both on the state and county level, fracking is an issue that comes up frequently.  i am strongly against fracking until more is researched about the long term impacts.


oil is a depleting resource.  other sources of energy must be explored.  i believe the government must produce a national plan for all energy resources and subsidize alternative energy research and production.  i support increased exploration of alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power.

women’s rights:

i sincerely don’t understand the republican party and their beliefs on women’s rights.  why are we fighting over the same rights that were fought for years ago.  lets move forward and tackle current issues.  abortion is such a heated debate, basically i believe that women are intelligent and can make this choice for themselves.    i personally could never imagine make that choice.  but it is a choice that is my right to make.  what bothers me most about this issue is this, the republican party wants to ban all abortions. they don’t want to educate students about how to prevent pregnancies and life threatening diseases.  {let’s all pretend no one in high school is having sex!} they don’t want to fund birth control pills.  so they care so much about these children.  oh no, there is no funding to the foster care system.  they appear to only care about the babies for approximately 9 months.  i work with these children.  i work with these families.  my experiences have taught me better.  these children deserve better.

for me personally, paul ryan disgusts me.  his opinions on women are so tremendously archaic.  given our fertility struggles, i don’t know what the future holds.  any and everything is on the table.  including in-vitro fertilization.   ryan co-sponsored the sanctity of human life act, which remains stalled in the House. the bill, which is only three pages long, says that “the right to life guaranteed by the constitution is vested in each human being, and is the paramount and most fundamental right of a person; and the life of each human being begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent, irrespective of sex, health, function or disability, defect, stage of biological development, or condition of dependency, at which time every human being shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood.” and it defines “human” and ‘”human being” to include “each and every member of the species homo sapiens at all stages of life, beginning with the earliest stage of development, created by the process of fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent.”  if passed, the implications for banning in-vitro fertilization is clear.  again, this is a choice i would like to make.  for myself.  without have men make laws that make my choice for me.

as a woman, this is why i am voting for president obama. the first bill obama signed into law was the lilly ledbetter fair pay act of 2009. this law makes it possible for women to fight in the courts when they discover they are being discriminated against in their pay. obama supports the paycheck fairness act, which would help end the really depressing reality that though it is 2012 women still only make 77 cents for every $1 a man makes doing the same work, an act that all republican senators voted against in june. he has given us the affordable care act which now allows women preventative care exams without copays, free contraceptives, and an end to insurance companies charging women more for their insurance for the simple fact they are women. even though more than 99 percent of women of child bearing age have used contraceptives at some point in their lifetime and even though it is a cost saving measure in the long run, republicans have vehemently opposed it.

i have beliefs that are predominantly liberal, a good bit libertarian and some conservative.  i have printed off my sample ballot and i have democrats, libertarians, and, yes, republicans that i am voting for.  each reflect my beliefs.  i don’t fall into just one category.  i am guessing if you look at each issue you feel strongly about, you will see you don’t fall into one category either.  i wish more than anything to have civility in the next couple of days.  social media makes it so easy to lash out without thinking about the people reading your words that feel differently than you do.  being told that as an obama supporter i need “wake the hell up” and that i am “stupid” is not constructive.  i have been guilty of writing some pretty hateful comments but i am recognizing that they are just not needed.  no matter what the election results are, we have to live together.  work in the same community.  we are neighbors.

at the end of the day, we have more in common that what divides us.

know what you stand for.  be proud.  go vote.


i am so very thankful. truly. thank you to all of our friends and family that have reached out to us.  thank you to all you readers that don’t “know” us but have sent your love our way.  we hibernated this weekend.  eating lots of comfort foods (i.e. spaghetti and ice cream).  watching lots of movies.  reading books (i just finished the first hunger games book and to say i am obsessed would be an understatement). lots of tears. lots of frustration. lots of leaning on each other for support.

this is a process.  one, quite frankly, i am really tired of.  but i go on.  we move forward.  it is what we do.

now you all know my little secret.  why i have not mentioned weigh in days or finale trips.  everything was up in the air.  but now we are back to our regularly scheduled programming.  meaning finale trip will be planned.  (hint: it won’t be alaska as we originally had planned.) weigh in days are resuming.  exercising is back in focus.

click for source.

i have gained 6 pounds since the monday before thanksgiving.  (i am pretty sure 4 pounds this weekend!).  instead of getting terribly upset, i am just getting focused.  i am 19 pounds away from a total of 100 pounds lost.  this is my new goal.  then i will start thinking finale trip and ultimate goal weight.

i am also doing something purely for me.  i signed up for a beginner pottery class.  i am nervous to be doing something i have never done before.  it will definitely be a challenge.  i am excited.

and because i had to share what brought tears to my eyes from laughter this weekend.  we are obviously glued to talk radio following all the election coverage.  i love politics.  both sides.  the dirtier the better.  i am completely a liberal at heart but love listening to the conservative talking heads.  my husband is not a liberal which leads to many debates.  i love it.  i love having someone in my life that i respect, that has such completely different opinions.  i would be pretty bored if we thought the same about everything.  needless to say, there is nothing that gets my mind off of things like a little limbaugh in the afternoon.  this “pin” sums up my feelings beautifully.


a recap of 2009

highlights from 2009.

a huge celebration on “snowbama” day. watching the inauguration of president obama between snowball fights, sledding, and enjoying what would be our last snow in our old home.

getting our home ready to put on the rocky real estate market.

i turned 28. not feeling much older or wiser. instead just muddling through finding the balance of hormones due to clomid, buying/selling a home (click here to remember our buying/selling experience), final semester of graduate school, and being a wife.

we moved into our new home in the country. we couldn’t be happier. we love that people have a hard time finding us. we love that our cell phones don’t work when we are at home. we love sitting our our back porch listening to the river and talking/cuddling. we have lots of dreams that revolve around this house and our property. it will be fun to see which ones come true.

my little brother gets married. his wife makes him laugh and i love seeing their relationship grow. it is hard seeing your little brother become an adult. it is weird but amazing at the same time. seeing him become who he is versus the little boy you remember growing up.

i officially have my masters degree! three very important and well deserved letters follow my name, MSW. i couldn’t be more proud of myself and thankful for my amazingly supportive husband.

i stepped on a scale and smiled. this was the month i decided to put my health as my number one priority. i got a personal trainer. i worked my ass off. i lost weight. i plateaued. i kept working my ass off. we decided to stop with the hormones. i said goodbye to clomid and hello to my life again. if you read this blog you are well aware of our infertility struggles. our miscarriages. our tremendous disappointment. we decided in june to take a break. to breathe. to enjoy each other and live in the moment without expectations. my health is number one right now. babies will come later.

we started a garden. we still have a lot of learn.

our first harvest.

i am embracing being at home and living a more simple life. learning how to make my own bread took many, many fails before i figured it out.

i feel in love with our neighborhood deer. subsequently, i got in trouble for feeding them.

i took a road trip sans the husband and pup to tennessee to visit family. i love rhea acres and am ready for another trip already. oh how i love this dog.

we celebrated another wedding anniversary. i just keep waiting for the happiness bubble to pop and will be just fine waiting for the rest of my life. each year we just seem to be evolving into a more cohesive pair. we respect and appreciate each other as individuals and as partners. our anniversary gift was a coldplay concert with friends.

our garden was actually producing vegetable fit for dinners.

a craft room was revealed.

i lost three friends this month. to say it was a difficult month wouldn’t be doing it justice. i decided to make a bucket list. and crossed off my first item. to eat a banana split at s & t’s soda shoppe.

the weather was perfect for some outdoor sewing.

we have a newly painted red door.

we went to our first county fair.

i canned lots and lots of apple from my almost apple picking trip with friends. i have discovered that i love canning and will do lots and lots more.

milo in his favorite spot.

i pulled together enough confidence to open up an etsy shop. “kelsi creates” made is debut this month.

our first thanksgiving in our new home. so much laughter. i love my family.

my first etsy order completed.

i enjoyed my first gluten free ice cream sandwich. yes, it was so good it made the highlights for the year.

our first christmas tree in our home. it is still up. i can’t part with it quite yet.

a snowy asheville birthday/christmas trip.

a new year’s eve party.

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