Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Memories and Miracles

I am home for Christmas for the first time in two years. I feel very nostalgic for the years I have had. Some memories...

9 - The age I first played a flute, the action that changed and shaped the rest of my life

11 years, 364 days - I got my ears pierced, I had waited my whole life and felt just awesome

14 - Worst birthday of my life, I learned EXACTLY what kind of friend I never wanted to be

16- The age when I truly understood the meaning of "heaven" and "forever"

18 - I graduated high school, moved two hours from home, and started college

19 - I fulfilled my lifelong dream of working at Lakeview, met Mark, and lost Brandon Sage

20 - Mark and I got engaged

21 - I graduated from UofL

22 - Mark and I got married and bought our first house

23 - We learned we were expecting

24 - I became a Mama

Sometimes the best times are just measured in days...

80 - The number of days old our miracle is

Last Christmas we were miserable. We had given up on trying and had just made the decision to actively begin the adoption process the following month. We knew the wait may be many years while waiting for a placement and we worried about how many more days, weeks, months, years, Christmases we would have without a little one. But at our very lowest, our very weakest, God reminded us that HE is the author and perfecter of life and that His Will will be done.

Dear God,
Thank you for the past 80 days and for our beautiful Christmas Blessing. We love you! Amen.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Reason for the Season

Saturday the third was our church's Breakfast with Jesus and Santa. As one of the families with a little baby we were asked to play Joseph, Mary, and Jesus.

We had gotten dressed and were sitting in the little stable when a little girl who had just nocholantly seen Santa pointed and screamed "BABY JESUS!!!" It was like the kids who scream at Justin Beiber she just kept saying, "Baby Jesus! Mom, that's him! Baby Jesus!"

Such complete and utter joy. It was wonderful to see someone who not only gets the "it" of the season but who PASSIONATELY LOVES the real reason for the season!

Merry Christmastime Friends!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving

Usually I make a post of the top ten things we're thankful for each Thanksgiving. This year has been a lot of days that I am thankful for.

01.01.11 - The beginning of a new year, the one we vowed to live happily as "just the two of us"

01.28.11 - The day we learned there was THREE of us

02.14.11 - My 24th Birthday

02.15.11 - The first day I threw up all day and I really felt pregnant

03.03.11 - Mark's 23rd Birthday

03.31.11 - The day we first heard "Baby's" Heartbeat

05.21.11 - The day we saw her beautful face

Alot of anxious days inbetween waiting for...

10.05.11 - Annabeth Sage Riley's Birthday

Alot of wonderful days inbetween...

Today. We are so thankful for today. Last year I was thankful for my gradually improving health and a doctor who was willing to let us try. This year I am thankful for my gradually improving healing and the doctors who saved her life.

After all of the frustration and pain of "everyone but us" experiencing the joy of being parents we are so thankful that it was part of His plan to let us be hers.

Happy Thanksgiving to all those who prayed for us and with us and for our little miracle.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Annabeth Update

Annabeth was three weeks old yesterday -
Some of you will say "Where has the time gone?!"
Mark and I are thinking, "That's it?!"
Annabeth's Top 5 Favorite Things:
5. Screaming instead of sleeping.
4. Cuddling.
3. Eating.
2. Holding her head up to look around at everything.
1. Her Dad. She loves him more than ANYTHING which I love to watch!
Annabeth's 5 Least Favorite Things:
5. Wearing clothes.
4. Changes to her schedule - She IS my child!!
3. Being cradled like a baby
2. Her hat falling down over her eyes
1. Peeing. She screams bloody murder every single time.
*Yes, we've had the doctor check everything and she's fine, she just hates it*
Measurements:
Birth Day (10.05.11): Weight: 9.1 lbs and Length: 21 1/4 inches
Going Home Day (10.07.11): Weight: 8.11 lbs and Length 21 1/4 inches
Two Week Check Up (10.19.11): Weight: 9.7 lbs and Length 21 1/2 inches
We thank God continuously for the incredible blessing of being Annabeth's Mom and Dad.
Thank you to all of you who have called to check on us, brought us food, let us cry/laugh/share stories, and for all of your prayers!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Longest Minute

Annabeth Sage Riley arrived Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at 8:55 am.

I promise that I am not about to share our complete birth story but will share God's amazing grace!

The Short Birth Story: Arrived at hospital at 2:15 pm on October 4. Confirmed labor. Officially admitted at 4:20. No epidural due to a drug allergy. LONG night of labor. Pushing began at 6:15 am and at 8:55 am Annabeth Sage arrived. At 8:56 am her life began.

When a baby is born usually the nurses say, "It's a boy or girl" ours looked me in the eyes and said, "You're not going to hear your baby cry right now." And at the place where the usually call out a length and weight, four doctors announced, "No heartbeat. Beginning chest compressions now." Our 2 hours and 45 minutes of drug-free pushing had gone from Dr Franklin, a nurse, Mark, and me to a room full of OBS and NICU staff in a matter of seconds. I looked at Mark, saw the complete and utter fear in his eyes, and I began repeating "Dear God, please save our baby" over and over again.

We had waited and prayed for so long for a baby that when we learned that we were expecting it was the greatest miracle either of us had ever known. We lived in fear that everyday of expecting our little on would be the last. Then in those hours of labor I finally felt like I could breathe, like she was 'for sure' ours. God had other plans, He had planned the longest minute of our lives as doctors and nurses worked for the Lord and through Him our little girl began her life. We thought we heard a little cry and then they rushed her to the NICU. We waited a long time to hear what had happened. We later learned she began to breathe at 8:56 am. One minute, sixty seconds, an amount of time that seems like nothing but this one time it was everything. Thank you God for Your amazing grace and our incredible miracle! To Him be all the glory!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Chicken Butter

If you've spoken with me since January you know I've become a total ding-dong. No really, the educated, college brain I worked so hard to develop has become a "palcenta brain." This is a REAL condition that affects women from the beginning of pregnancy and can last all the way through their youngest child's fifth year. It's a condition where in order to simply survive the woman's brain often forgets to do anything but think of the baby and thus the woman becomes a complete ding-dong about everything else in the world. This is me now.

Wednesday Mark and I went to WalMart. We desperately needed groceries and I cannot push the cart without contractions so we went together. We arrived in the cold foods section with "butter" as the next item on our list. I like the Smart Balance with Flax Seed, Mark likes the Country Crock Fat Kid Butter and so every other purchase we trade off which kind we get. It was his turn. And so I send him over to pick his butter, he brings it over, and for some reason I could have sworn that label said "Chicken Butter."
*Note: Chicken is, and has been since January, the most disgusting thing in the world to pregnant me*
I said, "Chicken Butter?! What is that?!" Mark just stared at me like I was insane - remember, placenta brain - "Calcium Added." Upon a second glance I realized he was right, he had not selected Chicken Butter but rather Calcium Added. So, there I was in the cold foods section, 9.5 months pregnant with my skinny little feet bloated out to the size of small countries, in one of the last shirts that fits, with Annabeth swinging from my ribcage like it's a set of monkey bars...and I just laughed, loud and long. Mark finally just pushed the cart away from me, moving on to the milk section, clearly pretending to not know that crazy, giant footed, laughing woman who wouldn't even let her husband buy Chicken Butter.

If you're now sure that I'm insane and sorry that you're my friend: Annabeth will be five in a few years, you may want to come back then when I have normal feet, a waistline, and my college educated brain back.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Retirement

Ahh...to be in early retirement, what bliss!

My first few days off work have been wonderful! It wasn't until I looked at a calender that I realized that in the past year I had only taken 4 days off work - 2 sick days and 2 days for funerals. No wonder I was exhausted!!

DAY 1, Saturday: I read not just one but TWO who books while Mark slept and I waited for my sister to come for a visit.

Day 2, Sunday: Lu's 22nd Birthday. Church, remembering 09.11.01, lunch at the Creation Cafe with cake sent from heaven, a walk along the canal, a "detour" to Zionsville with jewelry shopping, and then a wonderful evening at home with Lu watching 90's movies and being sisters.

Day 3, Monday: Lu and I FINALLY found the Benjamin Harrison House (this took us 4 tries this weekend) where we enjoyed an almost 2 hour tour. Then upon the recommendation of our tour guide we headed to lunch at the Propylaeum for a tea luncheon - we had Monte Cristo Paininis and some more cake sent from heaven (Give me a break, I am 9 months pregnant! I can have my cake and eat it too!!) Then, because we are now ladies of leisure, we took an impromptu tour of the ladies club with a fabulous group of society ladies celebrating a 50th birthday.

Ahh...life is good! I've done some exploring and shopping that will be more difficult once Annabeth is here, I've completed her baby shower scrapbook, and I have her photo book caught up with pictures through last Sunday.

As much as I am enjoying retirement, I am looking even more forward to her arrival so I can return to work! It's nice to know the job I'll hold forever, Annabeth's Mommy.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

MC1 is 10-42

MC1 = Master Control 1 = Me from 04.07.11 - 09.09.11 at the Johnson County Jail
10-42 = Radio Code for End of Shift

Yesterday at 1630 I had my last 10-42 time.

I am so blessed to have been employed by the sheriff's office and even more blessed to have served alongside the men and women who make it run. Their dedication and service to our community is unbelievable. There were countless days/nights when people came in early, stayed late, skipped lunches all for the sake of a stranger, the honor of serving.

Running Master Control, being responsible for the lives of more than 300 people on any given day, was a stress I did not always think I could handle. There were many tears cried at moments when I felt I'd been too slow or failed a coworker or been short with an inmate. But to those I worked with, worked for, I want you to know it was the greatest honor I have ever had. Thank you for trusting me from 0800-1630 M-F with your lives. Thank you for allowing me to call the shots. Thank you for your quick responses, your encouragement, and your understanding when things got crazy in the box. To assist and serve you all has been such an honor. Thank you for your continued service to our community. May the Lord Bless You and Keep You.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Now You Must Live Like No One Else So..."

"..later you can live like no one else." - Dave Ramsey

For anyone who has read a Dave book or taken the class they may be familiar with this phrase. For Mark and me, it hasn't just been a phrase it's been our life attitude.

Today, we have been married 2 years, 3 months, and 1 day and at 5:15 this afternoon we became DEBT FREE! 2 years, 3 months, and 1 day ago we were more than $25,000 in credit card and student loan debt. Today we have set ourselves free!!!*
*Dave Ramsey's Financial Plan does not include your living place as part of your debt. We still owe on our house and will now begin paying it down more quickly*

This journey has been my passion (Mark has merely tolerated it). I read my first Dave book in college and then reread it before we got married - Thank you Dad for making me - and came into marriage prepared to accomplish one financial goal - financial freedom!
People often ask me, "how?" or "would you show me?" Well, friends, as my parents taught me: Never spend more than you make. Pay Cash. If you can't pay cash, you don't need it.

I will tell you that we lived in the cheapest apartment in town, we ate dinner at home, we took our lunch to work, we carpooled, we never bought new clothes, we skipped vacation offers from friends and family, we moved into our house and only did necessary house renovations that we payed cash for, we used coupons for everything, we exchanged junk with friends and family to get "new" stuff, we used every Birthday and Christmas and overtime dollar towards this one goal.

We did not allow ourselves to be tempted by worldly goods as we remembred God's Words in Romans, "Owe no man anything but love." Our goal of financial freedom was not just a logical one but one of Love for our Lord and our desire to serve Him in every aspect of our lives.

So, today, we offer this gift to you dear Lord, the gift of owing no man anything but love. Please send us our next assignment as we seek to do Your will.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Last Trip Home

This morning I woke up incredibly sad, it's the last morning of my last trip home for months.

I had the incredible privilege of growing up in the same blue house for the first 18+ years of my life. I was very brave and switched bedrooms three times but other than that I never moved anywhere. So, during my college years, camp summers, and married years this place is still very much where I refer to when I say "home."

I know all of the cutesy sayings that ladies sew on samplers, "Home is where the heart is" or "Where ever you may be is home" are touching, but for me, this blue house is very much home. At 32 weeks, this is my last doctor approved trip and after the discomfort and pain after Friday's drive here I understand why. Annabeth will be here in 2 months and then I am sure we will need quite a bit of adjustment before we're able to just drive down for a visit to Evansville.

I love this house, not just because my family is here, but because I know all the places where the floor creeks, which stairs to skip in the middle of the night and I love the yard, the memory ground for so many childhood dreams and games.

My new hope is that Mark and I will be able to give Annabeth some place like this. A place that is positive and safe. A place that even at 3 years out of college and 2 years married feels like the only place she'll want to be on a bad or sad day.

I am thankful that Mama, Dad, and Lu have planned lots of visits up north for the fall and winter so that we may see them. But today, with the sun streaming in the sunroom windows of my blue house, I wish I could stay just a little longer...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Healthy Birth Class #1

Last Monday we began our Healthy Birth classes at St. Francis. I admit I had put off registering, they recommend doing so in the 4th month, but it had just seemed so far away. Well, her due date is 8 weeks from today so it was about time to learn how to make that all happen!!

Our class has 12 couples, all very nice. It was interesting every couple has learned the gender of their baby and most have been calling them by name for months now - just like us with Annabeth! :)

Last Monday was introductions, time for the partners to share concerns/questions, and time for us mommies to talk about the "uncomfortable stuff." God bless those women who feel as funny and hormonal as I do! Monday was also the beginning of labor videos, all of which I missed due to my "morning sickness" because yes, even now, I am throwing up all day and night. Good thing Mark has a strong stomach and was able to stay through the whole class.

Initial Thoughts:
1. I am thankful to the custodians of St. Francis for keeping the restrooms REALLY clean!!
2. All of the staff seems just as helpful and knowledgeable as we had been told.
3. I am really!!! thankful the class meets three more times. I am beginning to get so nervous!


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Servant Sunday

This year CUMC began a prayer shawl ministry and earlier this month we prayed as a congregation over the newest batch. We didn't realize at the time but one of them was for us. Today our little family (along with all of the Fire, Military, and Police families in the church) received our own prayer shawl as part of Servant Sunday.

So, a thank you, to the skillful hands who made our Sheriff's Yellow blanket/shawl. We are grateful for your prayers and your beautiful handiwork. We are thankful for your sacrifice of time to make our gift.

Thank you to the families we stood with in front of our church. Families who also give up days and nights together, who plan weekends based on an on-call schedule, and who sacrifice holidays and special times with loved ones to protect and serve strangers.

Most of all, thank you to God, for protecting Mark and the thousands who put their lives on the line every day. As I looked at the other families, I said a special prayer for the parents and spouses who stood alone today, receiving their shawl on behalf of a loved one who was in harm's way this morning. I thank God for his constant watch and protection over Mark, our coworkers, and all of the men and women who value the lives and protection of others above their own. Thank you on this Servant Sunday.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

"Your Baby Asian!!"

I have noticed, especially lately, that every parent has a few "go-to" stories about each of their children. You know the ones...the cute little anecdotes that can be pulled out at a moment's notice and that other's can mouth along to. This is Annabeth's...

Mark and I love sushi. I mean LOVE sushi! I have been an avid fan for years and finally got Mark to try it during our engagement and he's hooked as well. I love eating at Japanese restaurants I love the music, the tea, the little sushi plates, and the food! Needless to say, despite my nausea and vomiting sushi has always sounded good and stayed down. In turn, Annabeth has eaten mostly sushi during her life in my belly.

One of our favorite places is Tokyo Buffet (on Emerson and County Line): a Chinese buffet, sushi bar, and now a fruit bar with chocolate fountain! It's wonderful and thanks to their coupon in the paper each week we can both eat for less than $25. During my pregnancy, I've discovered that they also do takeout sushi by the pound. For weeks I went there two to three times a week. Sometimes with Mark sometimes alone with the great takeout option. Finally on about week five of this cycle my favorite lady there exclaims,
"Your baby love the sushi. Your baby Asian!!"
So you see, God does answer prayers. For many years I have dreamed and prayed for an Asian daughter, and God has given me a little sushi lover! He is so good!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

6th Appointment Update

This past Thursday Annabeth and I went to see Dr. Franklin. Still no weight gain BUT for the first month NO WEIGHT LOSS!! A wonderful thing to see the same number again this month!

Blood pressure is still wonderful. No swelling or vein issues. No further restrictions on activity or lifting.

I am feeling : Big! Some days I feel like I wake up and have grown over night. I also finally feel like I "look" pregnant. After 25 long weeks, it's crazy to think that in 15 weeks or less she'll be here! It's all so long and so short at the same time.

Annabeth is feeling: sassy! When Dr. Franklin put the cold heartbeat moniter gel on my belly this week, Annabeth kicked her! She's a lady who knows what she wants!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

My Great Adventure

Before getting married, I always said I wanted to "wait to have a child." Never could I specify what I was waiting for or how long I was to wait I always just thought I needed to hear and see many things before a child entered my home. Even as Mark and I married and decided to trust God with the timing of our child, I worried that I would miss my great adventure.

I have heard so many beautiful sounds in my life: waves crashing at the ocean, orchestras all over the country, call to the post at the Kentucky Derby, "That's Good for Another Cards First Down!", camp songs sung around a hundred campfires, songs that defined various life moments, etc

And...

I have seen so many beautiful places/things: castles in Europe, the Ocean at sunrise and sunset, a panda bear, the view from the bottom and top of a mountain, New York City at night, perfect sandy white island beaches, San Fransisco in the morning with a fresh, hot Italian pastry in my hand, etc

BUT

March 31, 2011 I heard the most beautiful sound on earth, my baby's heartbeat and May 21, 2011 I saw the most beautiful sight on earth, my daughter's face.

In that one single, Saturday morning moment I realized that she is my great adventure. Annabeth Sage will be my life journey, my greatest accomplishment, my passion. I am not going to miss anything but instead will experience everything: the joy of being not only a daughter, granddaughter, sister, friend, but also a wife and Annabeth's Mommy.

I love my life and God for giving me all that is good and wonderful in it.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"Kick me Anna!"

"Kick me Anna!" had become Mark's favorite phrase. I started feeling her move about two weeks ago but not enough to feel her on the outside. Ever since then, Mark has been poking my belly trying to get her to move. I kept explaining that even when I feel her kick, if I put my hand over that spot, she stops. Well, turns out she was just waiting to kick his hand first. Monday night she kicked her biggest kick ever, right after he put his hand on my belly. He's obsessed now. I don't think my stomach will be mine again for 18.5 more weeks - it belongs to Annabeth's kicks and Mark's pokes. I love it because I love them. I love them both so much more than I ever dreamt was possible. God is SO good.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Annabelle Paige?

Baby's Name is Annabeth Sage Riley!!

In sharing our news mostly by phone people have come up with lots of creative ways of hearing Baby's name. So...here's an explination of her name:

Her First Name:
Part 1 - Anna: Named for my grandmother Betty Anne, my mother Suzanne, and my sister LucyAnne and because I LOVE the name
Part 2 - Beth: From my middle name Elizabeth and for all of the wonderful women I have known with Beth/Elisabeth/Elizabeth in their names

Her Middle Name:
Sage: Her middle name was the middle name of a very dear friend of mine who entered the life eternal five years ago. Brandon was a lifetime friend. He was wonderfully good and kind. He loved the Lord, his family, his friends, and music. I miss him every day.

We would love for Annabeth Sage to be a little like all of these special people: Amazing. Beautiful. Gracious. Kind. Loving.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ultrasound 1

Saturday we met Baby, face to face. I had seen ultrasounds in movies and ones that family and friends had shared but meeting my own baby was a compeltely different experience, the most amazing experience of my life. I tried to stay calm during the ultrasound so I could hear everything the tech was saying but as soon as we walked out the door, I lost it. I just cried and cried and stared at those little pictures she gave us. Our baby is amazing and perfect. I thank God for our blessing.

Saturday we met our daughter, face to face. I had known from the moment I knew I was expecting that Baby was a girl. In private, we have called her she for months now. Our daughter is amazing and perfect. I thank God for our daughter.

Saturday, we met Annabeth Sage Riley, face to face. Annabeth is amazing and perfect. I thank God every moment for Annabeth. God's grace astounds me!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Week 19

We are in our 19th Week!

We go Saturday, May 21, for our first ultrasound where we will be able to see Baby for the first time! We are so excited! We have waited and prayed for so long for this one day. For years we have been told that a biological child was not possible for me, and in turn us, but Saturday will give us absolute proof (because sometimes this still feels like a dream) that God has blessed us.

We thank God continuously for Baby and all of our blessings.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

4th Appointment Update

Baby and I went see Dr. Franklin last week. Here is the update:

Weight Gain: -25 pounds. We'll try to gain this next month but if I am still sick we will be working on a plan to stop the vomiting

Blood Pressure: 110/60 (coming from work! Impressive!)

No circulation or vein problems. Also, no swelling!

Restrictions: Just the normal two that they add at 4 months, no bike riding or horseback riding.

Baby's heartbeat is a strong and steady 154 just like last month. We'll be going the third week of May for our first ultrasound - where hopefully we'll learn Baby's flavor - and our next 4 week check up with Dr. Franklin! Things are looking good in our 17th week!!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

16 Weeks!

That's right, we are 4 months today! We celebrate by reading the "16 Weeks" entry in "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and throwing up all morning.

Cravings: Fruit and Ice Water

Aversions: All Meat. Yuck!

Weight Gain: -19 pounds (Trying to hard to gain and no progress...)

Feeling: Sick, more excited than ever, and ready for our appointment on Thursday when we'll hear the heartbeat again!

In about 5 weeks we should know Baby's flavor! We cannot wait to call him/her by name!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

We're EXPECTING!!!

We are excited (and by excited I mean - THRILLED!!!) to share that we are expecting! We keep being asked the same questions so I'll try to answer them here:

  • When did you find out? January 28, 2011

  • When are you due? October 8, 2011

  • Why keep it a secret so long? We had been trying for most of our marriage for this little one so we wanted to be "safely" into our pregnancy before sharing the news.

  • Why did Mark post it on Facebook on April Fools? Our third doctor's appointment was on March 31st and we spent that evening telling family. It just ended up being a little inconvenient that everyone else learned on April Fools.

  • How has Amy been feeling? Weeks 1 -6 FANTASTIC Weeks 8 - 12 HORRIBLE!!! I am very hopeful that the worst of the morning-noon-night sickness is over!

  • How has Mark been feeling? Tired and tired of finishing Amy's meals for her.

  • Have you gained any weight? No, unfortunately having been so sick Amy has lost 12 pounds and Mark has added a diet to the chaos of our lives and has lost 10. Our goal this month is for Amy to gain and Mark to keep loosing.

  • Have you had an ultrasound? No, our first one will be around 17 weeks. We did hear the heartbeat on March 31 and it was an incredible sounding 154! :)

  • Is this your first pregnancy? Yes. We thank God that while we have been trying for so long we have not had to endure the pain and loss of a miscarriage.

  • We know you were told that this would "never happen naturally" by more than one set of doctors, did you use fertility treatments? Yes, the most effective of them all PRAYER and complete FAITH IN OUR AMAZING GOD.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

March Visits

March has been so beautiful this year! The weather has been so wonderful that we've enjoyed great visiting this month!

Mama and Dad came up the first weekend to bring Cassidy's birthday gift - Dad made her a craft cabinet like mine. We spent the day at Matt and Jenn's new place and all went for ice cream in Columbus. It was also their first time meeting the girls so that was fun as well! Miss Kati is my kind of gal - she went right for Mama's rings!!

Brittany came up for a Sunday visit. We lunched and then went to Trader Joe's for baking supplies and food ideas. I am always so happy to see her and so excited for her bakery plans! I cannot wait for her to open her bakery and for more of her chocolate chip cookies.

Rose also made her way up for a Tuesday night date. With work we have both been so busy that I was glad to just have an evening together.

What a wonderful month spent with those we love!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Our First Weekend Together...

This past weekend was the first weekend since November that both Mark and I have been off and without a trip involved!! It was such a blessing to spend time toegther, just our little family.

Friday Night we had dinner at Fridays (with gift cards and a coupon so we paid just $4) and then went to find Mark a suit. I had been saving since last summer when he first mentioned it and so we found him a beautiful Ralph Lauren suit at Macy's.

Saturday we enjoyed a free (thank you Cindy Dawson!) trip to the Home and Garden Show and then lunched at Shapiro's. Realizing that we still had a lot of the day left we headed up to the north side to visit Trader Joe's and some other organic food stores. We promptly realized that we are too poor for such luxuries and found a FANTASTIC Goodwill to spend the rest of our afternoon in! :)

Sunday I went to church while Mark visited Great-Grandma Kathryn and then we stayed home all afternoon watching movies.

It was so wonderful to just be together! I think God for all of the little blessings in our life!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It's My Birthday!

That's right, February is here and so is my birthday month!

Celebrations were as follows:

Feb 4 -Dinner out with Rose where I received a beautiful Hello Kitty Purse!
Feb 11 - Chinese Dinner in Evansville with my parents, Lu, and Mark then home for gifts. I received lots of amazing new craft supplies and Dad built me an AMAZING craft cabinet! *Pictures of it are on facebook*
Feb 12 - Spent the day in Owensboro. Had lunch at the club with Momaw and Aunt Nancy as well as Mama, Dad, Lu, and Mark. I spoiled myself two Sprites with extra cherries. Then it was back to Momaw's for gifts and ice cream cake.
Feb 13 - Lunch at Pizza King on the corner of St Joe and Franklin - the BEST one - and then back home for Donut Bank Cookies
Feb 14 - THE day!! I worked but Tiara bought me lunch at Chicago's and then Brandi surprised me with a double-decker-iced birthday cookie! I went home for gifts with Mark, organized my new craft cabinet, and then headed out to dinner.

Tomorrow night will be dinner with the Riley Family and then sadly it will all be over. I am pretty proud that I stretched it over 12 days this year. Not a record but still exciting! Oh how I love Birthdays!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

C H A N G E S . . .

As part of my New Year's Resolution I wanted to begin saying "Yes!" to more invitations that we receive and to enjoy life again despite what I may, or may not, have in my life. I often immediately tell people that we cannot join in on their gatherings and then sit home on those days wishing I had gone. BUT in January I successfully said "YES!" to two outings and enjoyed a Birthday in Bloomington for Laura Kat's birthday and an evening out in Franklin for a Franklin Fire Fundraiser. And guess what, I had fun! :) It's nice to be the kind of person who isn't afraid to say yes and to enjoy life a little. A wonderful change in our 2011.

This month we're looking forward to another big change. Matt, Jenn, Katherine, and Elisabeth will be moving from their home in South Dakota to Camp Lakeview! We are so excited to have our brother and sister close to us and to share in the growing up of Kati and Elli. While we've enjoyed letter writing and Skype we're going to enjoy having them here even more!

My February has been filled with Lakeview love so far. I had dinner out in Columbus with Rosie and we ran into Cricker while there. I spent last Sunday with Miss Hannah Jung at church, lunch, and then a two hour talk that I had really needed.

I thank God for the changes in my life and my attitude already this year.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Stuff Swap

I read about hosting a "Stuff Swap" in an issue of Real Simple sometime last year and decided to host one this month. It ended up being VERY fun and everyone took home all kinds of new treasures.

I invited ladies from work, ladies from their early 20s through their 50s, and instructed everyone to clean out their attics, closets, etc and bring everything to my house to swap one Saturday. I decided to do it in the middle of the afternoon and just did cookies and drinks as the food. I also set up all of the big tables in our house and organized my stuff into piles. We ended up with piles of books, movies, housewares, kitchenwares, purses, and then items still in their original boxes (thank you wedding showers!) I decided not to do clothes because we had a wide varitety of sizes and ages. Everyone unloaded their stuff and then we shopped like it was a garage sale.

It was so much fun! We all really enjoyed finding things that we needed, or just liked, and taking them for free! We did a first touch rule so if whoever wanted it, had to grab it first. I ended up with two new purses, a box of books, a few movies, and some very pretty necklaces!

We've decided to do it again in the fall and to trade more stuff! We also took all of the extra stuff to Goodwill so we spread the free stuff beyond ourselves as well.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

New Year's Resolutions

From 2010...

Mark: To visit his Great Grandpa and Grandma at least once a month
Amy: To do one "Indianapolis" thing each month
Together: To lose weight and get into better shape

How did we do?
Mark visits his great-grandparents at least once a week now.
I succeeded in doing quite a few fun Indianapolis things, not one every month but my resolution forced me to get out and try new things.
Together we lost 40 pounds and got in much better shape!

Looking ahead to 2011...
Mark: ------------ He's still deciding
Amy: To live in the moment and to work on being happy as a family of two.
Together: Continuing to enjoy our Bible study that we've begun and trust that
God will take care of the rest.

SO much of 2010 was consumed by dreaming/wanting/wishing for children for our family. We, as always, will continue trusting God in the placement and numbering of our children. Please pray with us as we hope for a child of our own.

God's richest blessings on your 2011!



December Recap

I have abandoned my blog this last month and a half of 2010! So Sorry!

To recap life since Thanksgiving:

- I successfully coordinated an ornament exchange/dinner night out for the ladies at work
- We survived another work Christmas party
- Our house was decorated all month and looks beautiful this time of year
- Mark worked December 24, 25, and 26 so I played "Mark" and went to all of his family's events.
- I caught the stomach flu at Christmas Eve, then Mark caught it by the middle of the week, and then we came to Evansville to share it with my family as well.
(Mark says we'll have to work on receiving and giving better gifts next year)
- We rang in the new year in Owensboro while celebrating our "Christmas" with Momaw

All in all, a wonderful month of celebrating the season!