An End and a Beginning

On November 1, 2013, we wrote our first blog post, hoping to reach the right person and help her learn more about us in a effort to create our family.

Last week, we brought our daughter home.

We’re saving the details of the story for our daughter and her family, but here’s the gist: The end of January, we found out there was a mom that wanted to meet us. Two weeks later, we met a smart, strong, kind, funny, sweet woman. For both of us, something clicked. Five days later, we were over the moon to find out she had chosen us. About two weeks after that, we brought our little girl home. She’s almost three months old and already she’s stolen our hearts. We love her more than we could ever imagine and I truly don’t remember what life was like before she was here. We were blessed with beautiful weather this week and as we sat in the car on Monday night, eating dinner as to not wake the baby, DJ and I agreed that we’ve never been happier and, for the first time maybe ever, there’s not a thing in the world that we want.

To everyone who has followed our blog for the last year and a half, thank you for reading and thanks for your support. Somedays, it was just enough to see that someone had read what we were writing. For the time being, the blog will be retiring.

Thank you to everyone for your thoughts and thank you for reading! To the other waiting families, we wish you a quick wait and, while this isn’t a lot of help now, know that the wait is totally worth it. Every tear, every heartache…I would gladly endure it all three times over to have her here in our arms.

There’s no day like a SNOW DAY!

I LOVE snow! In high school, I worked at a ski resort. The best part was unlimited free skiing – yes! I just love snow. I grew up about 3/4 mile from a school with the best sledding hill and every snow day, all the neighborhood kids would layer up and trudge over there, not coming home until we were wet, freezing, and exhausted. Then we’d watch movies and have hot chocolate, then wake up the next morning and repeat.

Last night, it snowed here. And not just a little snow, a real snow! DJ and I both went to work. Since we don’t have kids yet, we like to go to work whenever we can to make it easier for the parents we work with to stay home (paying it forward never hurt, right?) But when we got home, we suited up and sprinted to the back door like kids.

The snow is almost as deep as Petey is tall - good thing he has a taller guy to carry him.

The snow is almost as deep as Petey is tall – good thing he has a taller guy to carry him.

Maddie's a little snow princess.

Maddie’s a little snow princess.

Obligatory snow selfie with Holly

Obligatory snow selfie with Holly

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"I call this the LeBron"

“I call this the LeBron”

Two guys, playing in the snow.

I seriously couldn’t love these guys anymore.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Brrr! Yesterday was a cold Valentine’s. Running a 10k in su freezing temperatures probably didn’t help, but hey, what’re you gonna do?

We registered for this race in November – a 10k, a medal (I’ll do anything for a medal), and post race wine and chocolate. What’s not to love? The weather. Of course this is the coldest weekend of the season so far.

We got to the race in New Kent around 8:15 for a 9:15 start. We waited in the car, then decided to head for my pre-race warmup in the port-a-potty line. While standing in the ages-long line in a 15* wind chill, I said to DJ “I wouldn’t mind if we left and didn’t do the race”. We both nodded and took off for the car. Halfway there, while trying to justify our decision to bail to ourselves (“we’re grownups, we can do what we want”), we wondered if maybe we could do just the 5k. After all, we had driven all that way. So we turned around and sprinted back to the start line. Once we were there, we were warmed up and DJ said “welllll…I think I might do the 10k”. Dammit. That meant I should too. (Like we mentioned earlier – competitive. I couldn’t let him beat me distance wise.) So we sucked it up and ran the 10k. And it wasn’t that bad.

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Part of our motivation was the post-race meal. We have a tradition of a big, unhealthy breakfast after races and yesterday it was a pancake breakfast (RVApancakelove), benefitting the food bank.

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The rest of the day was nice and low key – the way we wanted it. We made lobster macaroni and cheese as our celebratory Valentine’s dinner, then watched a movie. For us, it was perfect.

Today we’re not leaving the house. We both have books we want to finish and some movies to watch and soup is going into the pot here soon for dinner. A perfect cold weather day.

Hope everyone’s staying warm this weekend.

P.S. – they’re calling for serious snow here this tomorrow night – please do a snow dance! I love the snow and we haven’t had much yet this winter. I can’t wait to take our kids in the snow – it’s a good excuse for grown ups to act like kids too. So if you have a snow dance, please do it!

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P.P.S. – today’s my grandfather’s birthday! My mom, my cousins, my aunts, and I hatched a plan to make sure he got as much recognition as possible – he got an ad in the paper and at last count he’s gotten 60 birthday cards!

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Picture Dump – 2005 Edition

It’s 2015, which means that this year is ten years of my life I won’t get back that DJ and I have been together. We’ve taken, well, I’ve taken, soooooo many pictures in these last ten years. Here’s a sampling of some of the earlier ones.

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Our first official picture together – we’d been together about two weeks and I was in the throes of mono.

 

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My first trip to Cape May. DJ still busts out those glasses (with no glass in them) when he’s in a mood. This restaurant is Uncle Bill’s Pancake House, a must-stop for every trip home.

 

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Visiting the Cape May County Zoo. Those glasses stayed on the whole weekend.

 

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Our first trip to Boston. This was right before ice skating in Boston Common.

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The Salisbury University Honors Christmas Ball 2005.

 

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New Year’s Eve 2005.

 

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Isn’t this how every spends New Year’s Eve?

 

 

January

Hi friends,

Wow, the end of January already! At least I’m finally starting to get used to writing 2015 instead of 2014.

What’s been happening the last month?

Well, DJ is a DOCTOR! A week before Christmas, he defended his doctoral thesis, researching radiation treatment methods for prostate cancer. The week leading up to that day was one of the most nerve wracking of our lives, but the payout was so worth it. It was one of the best Christmas presents we could have asked for.

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We spent Christmas at home, which we usually do. We both had to work the day before and after. I like working Christmas eve. I work with some really great people, but the holidays always make everyone nicer. I always make chili and cornbread and bring it in for my coworkers (I think this is the fourth year in a row I’ve done it).

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The weekend after Christmas, we went to my parent’s house and visited so many friends. It was great! We spent a lot of time with the people we love. We always get asked how the adoption process is going – we’re fortunate to have so many people who care about us and are excited to love a new baby!

I had to work on New Year’s Day, so New Year’s Eve wrapped up pretty quickly.

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Can’t stop these party animals

 

Our running training has started for the year. I’ve started with some plantar fasciitis, so I’ve been in the pool at VCU a lot.

DJ’s advisor threw a defense celebration for him two weeks ago. DJ’s mom, Helen, had her gallbladder out right after Christmas, but her doctors let her come for the party, which made us so happy!

This week, I went to a photography workshop with one of the best photography instructors in the country. It was a great presentation (and it was super nice to have the day off work – we’ve been so busy lately!) I even got to go up on stage and get a picture with him!

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We are so hopeful for 2015 – it’s off to a decent start so far. We can’t wait to see what’s in store!

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We finally found out what happened to DJ.

 

Christmas in Song

“Grown a little sadder/Grown a little older/And I need a little angel/Sitting on my shoulder/Need a little Christmas now” – We Need a Little Christmas

I love Christmas, but this year it was hard to get into. Granted, we were abnormally busy this year – on December 19, DJ successfully defended his PhD. He’s officially* a doctor! But removed from that, we both just felt like something was missing. I mentioned this in my previous post, so I’m not going to dwell on it, but we thought we would celebrating this Christmas as a family of three, instead of a family of two. So preparing for Christmas was a little sadder than normal this year.

 

“And everyone is singing/I hear those sleigh bells ringing/Santa, won’t you bring me the one I really need?/Won’t you please bring my baby to me?”All I Want for Christmas is You

This is my favorite Christmas song (and I can sing this song almost as well as Mariah Carey herself, although DJ and the dogs tend to disagree). Again, we thought we’d be a family of three this year, so it was hard to hear this song and not think of the baby we were hoping Santa would bring us.

 

“Have yourself a merry little Christmas/may your heart be light/In a year our troubles will be out of sight.” – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aASCHienefI

This is a close second as my favorite Christmas song. It really resonated with me this year, thinking back over the last year and especially where we were this time last year. I had just been laid off, so DJ and I were both applying and interviewing for jobs. We didn’t know where we were going to be living come summer, if we were going to be living in the same city or different cities, or even if we would find jobs. Our troubles of last are truly out of sight this year. We both have good jobs, we are still living in our home (which I love so much more at Christmas), and, most important, we are together. Everything may not be the way we would like, but that’s okay. We both believe that “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”

 

We had a wonderful Christmas. We both had to work Christmas eve, but we had a great day home together yesterday. We spent the evening with friends, sharing a meal and each other’s company. So Christmas was good, we are good, and we’re ever hopeful for a family of three for Christmas 2015. We hope that you are well and that you had a good Christmas. We hope for good things for everyone in 2015.

 

*It won’t be “official” until graduation in May, but he’s done all the work. All that’s left is to walk across the stage on May 9!

How much is too much?

When we started blogging, our intention was to reach families that may be considering placing a child for adoption. We felt like our letter on file with the agency was very static, but the blog gives us a chance to regularly update and would let someone learn more about us. A struggle of mine has been trying to figure out what to write and how much.

I’m not going to lie. The waiting has been hard. We never expected we’d be facing a second Christmas without our baby in our arms. But we also know that the end of our pain is the beginning of another family’s pain. The family that won’t raise the child they love. So I don’t want to come across as insensitive, or as though I’m looking for a pity party. So we only put on the good stuff. The pictures of us smiling and happy. The stories of trips and races and the things we do. I don’t write about the days I can’t get on Facebook because it seems like someone is posting a new pregnancy or birth every day. I don’t write about the days I cry in the car or in bed or into DJ’s shoulder. But I don’t think I’m going to. To whoever is reading this, I just want you to know that we are real people. We’re not just abstract folks on a website. We have real, changing emotions, just like you.

We don’t know what the family that is meant to find us is looking for. We don’t know if it’s something in our biographies, something in our looks, or something we’ve written here. But I feel like I haven’t been completely honest by only sharing the “postcard moments”. For that, I apologize. We’re not going to have any pity parties here, but we’re not going to be afraid to share when we’re having a rough day. We want you to know we don’t take the choice you’re making lightly. We’re in this. We’ve stuck it out this long because we’re invested.

Sooo…our bad. Yes, it’s been four months since we’ve updated. Wish I could say it was for a good reason, but it was really just life. Life’s been just a lot of normal the past few months, but here’s quick recap anyway:

August 

SC: The middle of August, I passed another certification exam for my job. I was certified as a generalist to work in any lab area, but this certification makes me a clinical chemistry specialist. I’m not working in a chemistry lab now, but the certification is nice to have and I was #1749 to pass the test…ever. The test has only a 50% pass rate, so I was very happy.

DJ’s Job: DJ started his residency at a local hospital. He loves it. He works with patients and treatment planning every day. Not only does he love it, he’s good at it. As in, really good. He’s quickly earned the trust and respect of the senior physicists in his department.  (I made him stand by the tree for his first day of work)

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Photography: I had two photographs displayed at a local art show, which was also benefitting the dog rescue group I’ve been volunteering with. I’ve done their photography for a few years, but this year I also designed their holiday card and I’ve been running their Facebook page.Maddie Bug

 

September
In September, my dad came to visit as he won third prize in the employee and family art show held at our hospital! One of the pictures he took during their mission trip to Haiti was chosen as third place in the amateur category.

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I also started a sign language class and kickball started again.

October
DJ’s brother got married! The wedding weekend was a whirlwind – we left at 6 on Saturday morning, went to my hometown in MD for the funeral of a friend, then went to NJ for the wedding, then Monday morning back to my hometown for a high school soccer game, then home around 11pm. The wedding was beautiful and we’re so happy to have Trevor officially a part of the family. (And I must say that DJ looked so dapper in his pink bow tie)

Of course, there was halloween. We didn’t know if we were going to do it this year, then we realized, who are we kidding? We’ll dress up. Shrek and Fiona it is.

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November
Whoa. November was a whirlwind for us.

We worked the election the first week of November (we are the chief officers for a new precinct starting this year).

We went to see our favorite band together one last time during their farewell tour.
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Two days later, we ran the Bay Bridge in Annapolis for the Across the Bay 10K.
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6 days later, I ran my first half marathon! I didn’t break any speed records, but I finished and in under three hours, which I was super happy about it. It was such an overwhelming feeling. I trained every weekend from August to November, so it was definitely as much a mental thing as it was physical! (And to be honest, if you give me a medal, I’ll do just about anything).

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DJ had minor surgery the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I say a minor surgery, but the outcome was major. DJ has had a hearing aid in one ear for about two ears. Take your thumb and plug your ear canal – that’s what his ear was like. The doctor that diagnosed the hearing loss didn’t completely work it up and, frankly, accepted not knowing the cause. DJ switched insurance when he started his new job and his new doctor was able to diagnose the cause within two minutes of reviewing his chart. A quick, 30 minutes surgery to replace the little bones in his ear and his hearing is back to (almost) normal – definitely no more hearing aid! We had a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Now it’s December and the holidays are beginning. Let’s not make it another four months before an update. 🙂