.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Adopting in Ashburn

What began in France moved to Washington, DC and then the suburbs. Let the adventures in Ashburn continue.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Dear 2014, Consider the bar set. Love, 2013

2013 was a pretty big year for us.

January. We packed up what seemed like 90% of our stuff (but later we realized was only about 70%) and staged our house in Landsdowne to sell.
Yeah, we have WAY too much stuff.
 February. Lorien and Steve got married in Hawaii! In addition to exploring Oahu we took a side-trip to the Big Island and visited Volcano National Park, thoroughly enjoying ourselves. Our house sold (for more than asking price!) and the builders broke ground on this house in Ashburn.

Dinner cruise! We saw a whale and fireworks over Honolulu.

Overlook on our first morning.

Sunset on the Big Island.

Who knows where? It's all a windblown paradise!

Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.

This was also pretty much everywhere.

Plane ride home, very relaxed.
March. Spring break found us driving to south Florida to visit our grandparents; and then rushing back because my commitment to coaching club volleyball insanely involved most of our weekends - including Easter. Oh yeah, and we celebrated our first wedding anniversary!
Grandma & PopPop looking good!

Framing is done for our condo!

This is Easter at Capitol Classic volleyball tournament. I made my players (14s) an Easter Bunny paw prints scavenger hunt that was taped all over the conference center of the Gaylord conference center at National Harbor. They gave me rabbit ears.

April. We closed on the Lansdowne house and moved into a basement in South Riding. Upside: I could walk to work. Downside: we lived near my students and I couldn't go anywhere in my pajamas.
At least it was spacious; even if every inch of the place smelled like curry.

We spent as much time as we could visiting the "dirty house."

Can you name that field?
Hand on Heinz Field, home of the Steelers. Be jealous.
In the locker room. Do NOT step on the logo.

Awesome girls chilling on a statue.
My team helping me with the countdown for days until Travis comes home.

As the days went by, the numbers appeared everywhere.

Even the family got in on the action at A & J's baby shower in Pennsylvania.
 May. Travis got back from Afghanistan! Took my first trip to Pittsburgh with the NVPremier Extreme team. Our house got walls and brick and siding! And we kept living in a basement.
Reunion with Eowyn in Fayetteville.
June. Another month in the basement. I went to my first professional conference (on education) and RJ survived the first month of my really extreme diet.
The Little War Twins play at the Velvet Lounge. Such entertainers!
July. Fourth of July on top of the theater and then we finally got to move in to our new house! It was a busy month of moving everything in and then heading up to Ocean City, New Jersey for a family reunion.

August. Our first family came to visit (which got things put together a bit faster) and we made it possible to park in the garage the night before the new school year (goal accomplished!). RJ also got a giant piece of HD art for the family room wall in celebration of his birthday.

September. School starts and Freedom volleyball season takes off. We make our first mortgage payment on the house and decide it is still worth every penny.

October. I reach the 2/3 mark on the weight-loss mission when I officially hit 50 pounds less than I was in June. RJ discovers the newest member of our family, so in ....

November. Raleigh joins our family! He is introduced to his first bit of extended family as we host Thanksgiving. We see the Little War Twins in concert on Black Friday and then enjoy the rest of the long weekend admiring our house, which thanks to guests is finally "finished" (only 2 boxes in the house!).

December. RJ took me to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra to start off our holiday season. We celebrate together by sharing an awesome advent, slowly opening our presents each week, Christmas Eve with RJ's side, Christmas in our pajamas and then making dinner for our neighbors (despite a serious altercation between Raleigh and their youngest daughter).

Altogether, we have a LOT to be thankful for in 2013. Also, we can definitively say that 2014 has some pretty big shoes to fill.

Love and wishes for a great new year in 2014,


P.S. Yes, I will upload pictures from the second half of the year soon. :)


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Traditions

For all of the holidays Richard and I have spent together, this past Thanksgiving (and now Christmas) have really seemed like the first.* I think a huge part of it is finally being in our own home and getting to prepare together. However, I think the larger part is that we are starting to make our own traditions.

This year, I loved opening presents a little each week of advent and just saving Christmas day to relax and enjoy each others' company. I loved hosting neighbors for our prime rib feast on Christmas day, connecting with the family on video chat, and going to candlelight services on Christmas Eve. But most of all, I loved how Christmas felt like Christmas again.

In the hustle and bustle of moving or coordinating sharing a kitchen with roommates or making plans to split time between "mine" and "his" traditions, it stopped feeling like Christmas. That feeling in your heart like you want to laugh or cry - and maybe you do - because you are just so happy you could burst; that is what was missing. This year, instead of being relieved that the stress is over, I am just looking forward to seeing my house back in order. It's like this holiday season was the launching point for the rest of our lives.

I had my first Christmas Eve since I could eat real food without seafood this year. It was startling to me both that it happened (unexpectedly), and that it did not ruin the day. While I don't intend to turn my back on family traditions, there is some peace in knowing that I'm less attached to the act than to the people I am with.

As a note, not everything went swimmingly (because it seems like I'm bragging a bit!, and it wouldn't be a holiday with me without some calamity): the chocolate pie got left until much too late and didn't set, so it was like a weird pudding with crust; the smoke alarms started going off just after our company arrived and they all had to be disconnected because we couldn't cool the house down with the roast in the oven; the dog had three accidents in the house and has so far eaten a dozen snickerdoodles and a full loaf of italian bread off of the counter; and I got the wrong size pajamas for RJ to wear on Christmas so he had to wear pajamas from last year (or more?).

For all that, the things I'll remember are: the generosity of my husband to me and to perfect strangers, the kindness of neighbors who forgave our dog biting their four year old in the face four days before Christmas, and the love and warmth that it feels like to feel like a family (and not be the kid or niece, etc.).

It's still Christmas for a few more days and even as I take down the decorations a little earlier than Epiphany, I know it's going to feel like Christmas in our house for a long time yet.

Here's to wishing you and yours a fabulous Christmas season.

Love always, ~Heather

*The only exception being the 4th of July which is always special to us. First time meeting his mother, getting engaged, celebrating with my parents, and this year on the roof at the theater ... have we really been together 4 Fourth of July's?!?

Labels: , , , ,

My Photo
Location: Washington, D.C., United States

Fix this