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mumford & sons. {3rd time around}

the husband and i have been fortunate enough to attend three mumford and sons concerts over the last two years.

i have written about my favorite band time and time again.  their words have gotten me through some really difficult times.  this third concert was a full circle moment for me.  their first album was my inspiration, playing in my ears for almost every single pound lost.  their second helped me cope with the pain of miscarriages and heartbreaking frustrations of infertility.

the first time we went to see mumford and sons we were in the two week waiting torture period.  we had just started trying again and were so very optimistic.  i remember sitting on the lawn just hoping beyond hope there was a baby growing inside of me.  there wasn’t.

the second time, pretty much the same scenario.  it was several months later, still trying and hoping, i sang along with the entire auditorium every word.  a few days later realizing, yet again, there was no baby.

earlier this september the third time was the charm.  my almost 30 weeks along baby boy was kicking along with the music.  the music he has been listening consistently his entire existence.  i am pretty sure mumford and sons and red sox baseball commentary will be what soothes our little one instead of the traditional lullabies.

there are no words to describe our hearts these days.  i wake up throughout the night and every time i lay back down, before closing my eyes i wait to feel a movement.  i smile, take a deep breath and remember that this isn’t a dream.  i fall back asleep.  i wake up each morning, count my ten kicks and start my day.  each night, the same.  i lay down, the husband and i both tell garrett how incredibly grateful we are for him, count more kicks and then off to sleep.

while i am scared of everything {an entire post}, i am happier than i ever thought i could be.

below my feet is my favorite song.  nowadays i can’t get through to the end without tears.  in my head i flashback to over the last five years and see where we are today and i can’t help but cry.  i found this print {from etsy, of course!} and it will proudly hang in garrett’s room.

 


gluten free eats in asheville

just one of the many, many reasons i love my husband is where he was born.  asheville, north carolina.  seriously one of my most favorite cities in the entire state.  i have been there several times without him and completely fell in love with the town.  and by town, i mean the restaurants.  for a novice, self proclaimed foodie and celiac disease girl, asheville has everything i could dream of.  tons of local restaurants that cater to those with food allergies.  back to the husband.  often when we travel that way to visit family, there is never enough time to go downtown.  our own planning fault.  we typically go up, stay out of the city because we are cheap and eat at the cracker barrel right off i40 due to convenience.  this trip, i took charge.  we decided to make a vacation out of it and splurge.  our christmas gift to each other.

we stayed right downtown at hotel indigo.  a brand new hotel that i highly recommend.  my favorite part of staying downtown {in any city that we travel} is that you can walk everywhere.  the hotel ended up being the perfect half mile to our {now} favorite restaurants.  not bad walking a mile just to get to and from.  plus, walking downtown doesn’t feel like “exercise.”  with all the people watching and window shopping, before you know it you are at your destination.

our first stop was my favorite restaurant in all of north carolina.  salsa’s.  i will gladly drive 4 hours to and back to grab dinner.  {i am a little obsessed!}  this complete hole in the wall restaurant has flavors that are beyond amazing.  it is super small and there is almost alway a wait.  inside it is cramped and loud with only about 20-30 tables packed together.  it is worth it.  the chef, hector, can make almost any dish gluten free.  simply delicious.

our next stop, although completely stuffed from dinner at salsa’s, was the french broad chocolate lounge.  the husband is a chocolate fiend and i knew this would be the perfect spot.  we grabbed a slice of chocolate cake for him and a gluten free slice of eggnog cheesecake for me to take back to the hotel.  and since it was super cold, we decided we needed to share a cup of “liquid truffle” for the walk back.  basically, a really thick hot chocolate that was beyond perfection.

the next day, before heading to grandma’s house, we waited in line at the tupelo honey cafe.  we had both been here before and the husband loved it.  i wasn’t all that impressed because their gluten free menu was pretty scarce.  well, that was a couple years ago and boy was i surprised to see such a large gluten free menu!  i was thrilled to order a cup of tomato soup and gluten free grilled cheese sandwich.  i can’t remember the last time i had a grilled cheese.  simple foods that can easily be made gluten-free at home that are now available to order out.  the husband just laughed at my excitement to order a grilled cheese.

our final day was spent trying a new restaurant, posana.  i was hesitant because i really wanted to go back to salsa’s for one more meal.  i didn’t want to risk my last meal in asheville on an unknown restaurant when my favorite one was right down the street calling my name.  but this restaurant offered what no other restaurant did, a completely 100% gluten free menu.  seriously.  every single item.  the chef’s wife was diagnosed with celiac and together they created a delicious menu that is 100% gluten free and enjoyable for those without the food allergy.  i learned how funny living with this disease for five years is, even looking at the menu, i instinctively skipped over the pasta selections and the sandwiches.  i have been trained to not even look at those sections in restaurants because those foods are off limits.  i had to remind myself {with the help from our waiter} that i could have absolutely anything i wanted.  i was like a kid in a candy store.  we ordered focaccia bread with homemade pimento cheese spread for our appetizer.  even my gluten eating husband said the bread was delicious.  we then did something we have never been able to do for five years, share our meals.  i ordered a burger {gluten free bun} and he ordered a fried green tomato sandwich {gluten free, obviously}.  we split our meals in half and shared along with our side of sweet potato fries.  i was in complete food bliss.

and before leaving, the husband insisted on one more stop at the chocolate lounge.  he “needed” just one more slice of chocolate cake.

needless to say, the husband fell in love with asheville in a whole new way.  it was a wonderful short vacation and it is nice to be reminded that we don’t have to travel all that far to feel miles away from home.


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!


{wordless wednesday}

the last week in pictures.


3 days in new york city

new york city was a whirlwind trip! i feel like it was just yesterday i was making my packing list and now the trip has already come and gone.  the husband won an award at work, along with three others in his group, for a project that they have been working on for close to 10 years.  needless to say, i am so tremendously proud of him.

as part of the award package, the winners along with a guest (yay!) were flown to new york city for three days of amazing events.  we flew up on wednesday morning, were able to grab a quick lunch and then it was quickly time to get “dolled” up for the award ceremony.  transportation, hotel, everything was taken care of.  it was wonderful to not have to think about a single detail.

the award ceremony was held at the liberty science museum.  an entire museum to ourselves, i snuck away from the cocktail party to play a little.

we were so thankful that our good friends, jamal (also award winner!) and his wife, mae were on the trip.  many great memories were made!

when we were filling out our reservation information weeks before the trip, we noted that i had a food allergy.  when we arrived to the dinner, our waiter had noted that i had celiac disease and was very thoughtful with the menu and my options.  i am always so nervous at big events because i never know if i will be able to eat safely.  it was such a huge relief and i was tremendously thankful. below is the husband and the team he is apart of.  i adore each of his team members and enjoyed getting to know them better on this trip.

on thursday we had until 4pm to take in new york city.  the husband has only been once (on business and just for the evening) so i tried to fit in “quintessential” new york. first up, he had to experience the subway system.  everything from the not so pleasant smells to the amazing musicians.  the subway in new york is like no other.

we took the subway to the 9/11 memorial.  finding the visitor passes, waiting in line after line, security checks similar to the airport did not sway us from taking in all the memorial stands for.  it was stunning.  heartbreaking.  beautiful.  it is still under lots of construction but when it is finished, it will be breathtaking.

we then headed back to the theatre district and hit up grand central station.  i had never been in all the times i have visited.  we hit up a true nyc deli that offered gluten free bread.

then, of course, no trip to nyc would be complete without a trip to shake shack.  we just got shakes and boy, the did not disappoint.

the husband’s company took everyone out to the broadway musical, nice work if you can get it.  it starred matthew broderick and several other amazing tony award winners.  there is simply nothing like a broadway play, on broadway.  the husband even mentioned afterwards that he can now see why people fly up for one night to catch a play and this would be something cool to do.  yes husband, i am putting that is writing and holding you to that!

after the play we waited outside to get autographs and pictures with the cast.  amazing!

our final morning we slept late and then hit up times square.  we stayed at the w times square so it was a quick elevator down from our 44th floor room to be right at the sights and sounds of times square.

it was a quick trip but was packed full of amazing memories with friends and with my love.


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