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. 🙂

Annual Beach Getaway

Hey there.  Julie and I are sorry it has been a long time since we have checked in.  We’ve been out and about and the blog got away from us for a little while.  These past few weeks have been a little bit crazy.  The highlight was the four days we were able to spend at the beach back in my hometown in New Jersey.  We usually try to get there at least once a summer, crashing at my parent’s house.  This year was a little different.  While we did stay at my parent’s house, my parents weren’t actually there.  They were off cruising the British Isles.  For the first two nights, we weren’t alone though.  My brother and his fiancee came down and spent the weekend with us.  It is always good to catch up with them.  The highlight of our time together had to be flying a kite in 20 mph winds.  This doesn’t sound too terrible, but this thing dragged us up and down the beach as we held on for dear life.

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After my brother and his fiancee left, it was just the two of us left alone in my parent’s big house.  It was a little bit eerie, to tell the truth.  But we still were able to make the most of our trip.  We spent one day walking the boardwalk, playing some skeeball and video poker, and having fun at a local waterpark.  It was most spectacular.

Watersliding

Watersliding

All too soon, our trip was over.  We did overlap briefly with my parents.  My parents got back from the airport at 2am, and Julie and I left New Jersey by 10am.  However brief, it was nice to see them and spend one breakfast together.

Overall, it was a fun and relaxing trip, but there was one thing Julie and I both noticed.  Traveling around town, we would see many families on their summer vacation.  We both starting dreaming up all the things that we love about that town that we can’t wait to share with our child.  We can’t wait to build sandcastles, fly kites, ride waterslides, and play skeeball with our child.  I guess you could say we’re head over heels for it (I’m practicing my dad jokes already).

The art of the cartwheel

The art of the cartwheel

Wedding Weekend in North Carolina

On Friday, DJ and I drove to North Carolina for my cousin’s wedding. Steven is my mom’s sister’s son. A quick-run down of my family on my mom’s side: My grandparents live in Ohio, in the same town my mom grew up in. My mom’s sister, Jackie, and her husband, Art, live in the same town. Jackie and Art’s daughter, Anissa, is my only girl cousin on that side. My mom’s other sister, Mary, and her husband, Mike, live outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. Their sons, Steven and Austin, also live in the Charlotte area. I’m the second oldest of the bunch. (It goes Steven, me, Austin, Anissa). We were ALL together this weekend for festivities and we had such a great time.

You should know these people by now. We clean up pretty well.

You should know these people by now. We clean up pretty well.

My beautiful cousin, Anissa, and her awesome boyfriend, Tim.

My beautiful cousin, Anissa, and her awesome boyfriend, Tim.

My aunt, Jackie, and uncle, Art.

My aunt, Jackie, and uncle, Art.

My mom and her sisters.

My mom and her sisters.

My parents

My parents

All of the cousins. Austin, Steve, Me, and Anissa.

All of the cousins. Austin, Steve, Me, and Anissa.

The wedding was on Friday, so on Saturday we got to hang out as a family while the bride and groom left for their honeymoon. We went to my aunt and uncle’s house for the day. They live on a lake and we took their boat out and went tubing.

He was the only one not to flip the tube.

DJ was the only one not to flip the tube.

It's a lot harder than it looks.

It’s a lot harder than it looks.

DJ Julie Boat

We both made it alive.

 

My dad got in on the tubing action

My dad got in on the tubing action

And my grandfather certainly wasn't going to be left out

And my grandfather certainly wasn’t going to be left out

Hanging out in the water after tubing

Hanging out in the water after tubing

Since we live across four states, we don’t see each other as often as we’d like, but when we do, it’s like we’ve never been apart. I love my family and on top of that, they’re pretty awesome people.

Our kitchen

Our kitchen area is my favorite place in the whole house.  We chose fun, bright colors for the kitchen and the adjoining sunporch that has become our breakfast nook type area. The porch is the room that sold me on this house.

Our (very orange) kitchen

Our (very orange) kitchen

My favorite room in the whole house

My favorite room in the whole house

A confession though. I hate cleaning the kitchen. Abhor it. I love the kitchen being clean, but will play tetris in the sink rather than load (or more in my case, unload) the dishwasher. I will wash utensils on an as-needed basis to avoid messing with the dishwasher. Bless DJ for being diligent about the dishwasher or else we would probably eat from paper plates every night.

In the six years we’ve been married, we’ve moved three times. We moved into our first cute apartment in RVA right after we got married. We moved into a different apartment in a different part of town with about 5 days notice when the aforementioned cute apartment had no heat. And in July 2010, we moved into our first house, our first space that we owned and that we could truly do with what we wish.

Every time we’ve moved, my objective is to always get the kitchen unpacked and functioning first. As long as you have a mattress and boxes of clothes, the rest of the house can come along as it pleases, but the kitchen is the anchor of the house. It’s the room where we usually say good morning after DJ’s lovingly gotten up early with the dogs and I stumble out of bed ten minutes later.

It’s the room that made us buy a reciprocating saw at 8:45pm the night before our new refrigerator was to be delivered because I didn’t know refrigerators came in different heights and we had to cut a cabinet off the wall.

It’s the room where I screamed because there was a spricket on the floor (I don’t do bugs) and DJ wasn’t home. Our first dog, Corky, came wandering lazily into the kitchen and upon deciding he didn’t want to eat the spricket, stepped on it for me.

It’s the room where we’ve prepared so many meals for more friends and family than we can count. We’ve made two Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas dinners, Easter lunches, party food. We’ve made hundreds of cookies to gift to our friends and neighbors.

It’s the room where we’ll make bottles at 1:30am for our babies. We’ll set-up a high chair in the breakfast nook, overlooking the back yard when it’s sunny or when it’s raining or snowing. It’s the room where I’ll make our kids’ first birthday cakes. It’s the room, in the house, where we will be parents.

 

July is here

It’s Julie. DJ’s in the final throes of PhD preparation, so you’ll be stuck with me for a while.

It’s hard to believe July is here already. Normally we’d be getting ready to go visit my parents for the 4th of July weekend. I grew up not far from the Antietam Battlefield and every year, the Maryland Symphony Orchestra performs a free concert with fireworks at the battlefield. It’s a tradition in my family and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve missed it (Once I was in Germany, once it was just waayyy too hot, and maybe the year I was born?). My dad and usually someone go down to the battlefield around 7 on Saturday morning and claim our spot.  We get the same spot every year, but there are also upwards of 20,000-25,000 people there, so getting a spot early is a necessity. We pack (almost always too much) food, games, and books, and head out in the late afternoon. We eat, visit, and relax until the concert and fireworks.

DJ's first time at the Battlefield - 2006?

DJ’s first time at the battlefield – 2006?

I was super grumpy that day - admittedly, the hot temperatures and I don't mix so well. Take notice of the matching family shirts though.

This is part of my mom’s family – my grandparents, my aunt and uncle, and my cousins. I was super grumpy that day – admittedly, hot temperatures and I don’t mix so well. Take notice of the matching family shirts though. (I think this is 1999 or 2000)

2010 with our friend Lauren!

2010 with our friend Lauren (who will henceforth be known as Aunt Lauren)

Even the rain doesn't stop us.

Even the rain doesn’t stop us – or the Power Rangers. (2009)

It’s the one time a year that lots of friends from home are all in one place and it make visiting easy. Unfortunately, this year’s going to be an absentee. Since DJ is wrapping up his work, we had to choose between going to the battlefield and my cousin’s wedding in North Carolina next weekend – no brainer.  I’m going to miss the battlefield certainly and it’s a tradition that I can’t wait to share with our kids.  But I’m even more excited for the wedding. All of my mom’s family will be there and we’ve been looking forward to it for months. We’re a large, loud bunch, and I can’t wait for our kids to be a part of it all.