Monday, December 31, 2012

Another Year Closer

Well, there goes 2012. It's been a long year. I'm kind of glad to see it go, actually.

Every year (and every single day) is filled with countless blessings, and I don't ever mean to not fully appreciate each of them. But, in terms of fertility, or lack thereof, is it horrible to be glad to just check another year off the list? Surely now, we're a year closer to our children, right? I never thought I would look at our journey to parenthood in year-long time increments, but yet another Christmas has passed us by without even a pregnancy. Surely the number of childless Christmases we are to experience as a couple is dwindling down, right? While the number of babies extraneously present in my life are constantly increasing, the number of days or months or years until we have our own simply must be decreasing. They just have to be. That's how math works. Today is a day closer to me becoming a mama than yesterday was. And tomorrow will be closer, still. Because of that basic arithmetic, I'm glad to see this year come to an end.
I know God has a great plan for us. And I know that He already knows what that plan is, down to every detail. I trust that completely. And because of that, I'm glad to have marked another year off of the journey. Don't get me wrong, I completely hate that it actually was a full year within that journey; I wish the journey to parenthood was already complete and that it had been measured in days or months alone, instead of entire 12-month calendars. But regardless, I'm excited to take that 2012 calendar off the wall and start a fresh, new one. With 12 more months of 2013 ahead of me, maybe a conception (followed by a healthy pregnancy and birth) is possible. Maybe 2013 is the year.
Here comes that tricky hope again. That scary flame that encourages me to keep dreaming. But maybe it's right. Maybe 2013 is the year. 2010 wasn't. 2011 wasn't either. And 2012 wasn't, still. But maybe, just maybe, 2013 is the one. Only one way to find out.
I've got to take another step forward. Move another day ahead.
January 1, 2013 is, at the very least, one day closer to me finally becoming a mama.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmastime 2012 Highlights

Merry Christmastime!! (It applies until January, right?) I hope your Christmas has been wonderful! Mine has been very blessed, indeed.
Disclaimer: Ever since I got my iPhone for Christmas last year, I've been highly dependent on it for my photos and have, therefore, been negligent with my real camera and bad at taking a good amount of pictures. So, since Instagram has become my more consistent form of mini-blogging, I'll just share the images that I highlighted as they occurred throughout the season.
The week before Christmas, Matthew and Heather joined us at the historic Ryman Auditorium for Andrew Peterson's "Behold The Lamb of God" concert.
The tag line for the show is "The true tall tale of the coming of Christ." Within the concert, they tell the whole story of the Bible in song, from the creation to Jesus' coming and including His crucifixion and resurrection. It's awesome, and a great way to put the focus on Christ at Christmas.

And it was so cool to see so many amazing artists and musicians on one stage coming together to proclaim the Good News.

Moving on to other highlights, Brad and I won 1st place in our neighborhood's home decorating contest. Again. Holla! We already have big plans to up the ante next year.

This year, I bought some Scentsicles to make our artificial tree smell more like a real one. They're scented ornaments that are just fragrance-infused sticks which blend into tree, allowing you to "smell the real smelling smell of a real tree" without seeing the true source. I loved it.

We personalized our annual ornament to add to our growing collection. We also (secretly) backlogged one from 2006, which is the only year of our marriage that we failed to commemorate with an ornament. It has been bothering me for six years each time I trimmed our Christmas tree and strolled back down memory lane. I figured if we could get one unique to that year, it wouldn't really be cheating. So we snuck one in honoring our college graduation. Now we officially have an ornament for each year, and in the future, nobody is any the wiser. Trick, trick. Well, except all of you guys. But, shhhh.

Brad's family came down early to celebrate the holiday. I didn't take any photos (oops), but here's one that Matthew took of the aftermath. Jeremy got a toy train set, and their dad got a remote controlled helicopter. For not having any children in the family, we still represent the toys!
While his family was in town, we all went to the Belcourt Theater, which is this old, historic movie theater that plays mostly independent films, classics, or movies with cult followings. We saw one of my Christmas favorites, "Home Alone." It was so much fun to watch such a familiar movie with a large audience. Every time something hilariously unfortunate happened to those darned Wet Bandits and I heard the innocent laughter of children (and adults) all around me, my heart was filled with even more Christmas joy. And I may or may not have taken a picture of the title art as it appeared on the big screen. I hope I don't get arrested for copyright infringement!
Later in the week, Bradley and I spent an evening in our car driving around town and looking at Christmas lights while we drank some warm coffee. I do love memories like these.

We didn't see any of my family this holiday, but we did ship gifts back and forth. My parents let this beauty appear on our doorstep! With their encouragement, we opened it before Christmas morning, and we are so glad we did! We used it to make a couple batches of Brad's delicious eggnog.

We kicked off Christmas Eve by going back to the Belcourt Theater to watch "It's A Wonderful Life." They host multiple daily showings of this Christmas Classic every year during the week leading up to the holiday. It may become one of our annual traditions. Watching movies at home without an auditorium full of other film lovers just seems so boring now.

When we got home, we swapped our gifts of Christmas PJs, made some cookies from scratch (We seriously love that mixer!), and waited for Santa to come.

Christmas Eve just isn't Christmas Eve without a reading of "The Night Before Christmas."

Nor would it be complete without boarding the Polar Express!

Christmas morning we woke up as a family and exchanged stockings.

Chester was anxious to dig into his. I think he was irritated that he could smell bones and treats in the bottom, but he couldn't get to them easily. Even though the sock monkey was initially tossed aside to get to the tasty goodies, he has since played with it a lot. It's actually already missing an ear. Oops.

Then we had our traditional Christmas morning breakfast of cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate. Brad tried to make a batch from scratch, but he accidentally killed the yeast and the dough didn't rise. (Yeast is so finicky!) Luckily, we had a tube of Pillsbury on hand. That's still homemade in my book.

Later Christmas morning, we finally got to the (other) main event of the day: "Les Miserables"! We had both been so looking forward to this film release, and we were not disappointed. Seriously, go see it. It's amazing. Such great acting and singing and storytelling and visual cinematography!

That evening, we had Hill Ridge over for Christmas dinner. With Publix' help, Brad perfectly roasted a ham, and I baked a couple casseroles. Our friends brought over some other side dishes, and we topped off the meal with sparkling grape juice. Oh, and Brad mastered the yeast and made some awesome rolls from scratch. I was thrilled to not only get to spend a great Christmas dinner with our best friends, but also to set my table with my new Christmas dishes!

After that, there was nothing else to do but settle in and finish this year's Christmas puzzle.

I sure do love Christmastime. I can't wait to finally have children to share all of our traditions with. 
How was your Christmas holiday season??

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

One Week More

Ohmygoodness, you guys!!!

[image source]
So, you know how I have a tendency to get kind of obsessed with a few things? (What me? Never!) Well, my newest obsession has become Les Miserables. And people, seriously, it should become your latest obsession, too!
Mere months ago, I didn't know anything about Les Mis more than the fact that it's a "fancy" musical which I'll probably never encounter. Pssh. How naive I was! Little did I know that it is the most epic story in history (besides the story of Christ)!
A good friend of mine introduced me to the trailer, and the rest is history. Here, let me do the honors of paying it forward to you. Feast your eyes on this!

Shyeah! Toldja so! Based on those two and a half minutes, I decided that it looked absolutely monumental. Since then, I've been pouring over everything I can get my hands on through the trusty world wide web. Brad and I have listened to the soundtrack, I've watched the 25th Anniversary Concert, and I have seen every clip that the film has posted on youtube. It's official. I'm obsessed.
From my limited understanding of the history, Victor Hugo's 1862 novel about the life of a convict (and those surrounding him) during a French Revolution and spotlighting social injustices of the time has inspired many film adaptations as well as the musical that's been running here and in London since the 80's. But I'm pretty sure that this is the first film to be based on the musical which is based on the book. And they're doing their best to bring the authenticity of Broadway to our screens. The director insisted that every take be sung live rather than prerecorded and lip synced during shooting.

I can't get over how incredibly amazing this film will be. The more I learn about it, the more excited I become. The story! The actors! The voices! You better believe that Brad and I have already purchased our tickets for Christmas morning, opening day. I can't wait! (You can also count down the days with this Les Mis advent calendar!) 

One Day Week More! I can already hear the people sing!

Friday, December 14, 2012

I Knew You Were Trouble.

[image source]
Yesterday, on her 23rd birthday, Taylor Swift released her 23rd video. This one is for her new single off her Red album for "I Knew You Were Trouble." This is one of my favorite songs on the record, and even more importantly, it's Brad's favorite one! I'm not going to admit how many times the two of us have belted it out in the car or danced to the dubset beat in our kitchen.
The song is unlike anything she's ever done before. She has said that she wanted the music to sound like the feeling experienced in the chaotic relationship that inspired it. I'm not surprised that she also ventured into uncharted territory with the video that accompanies it. (It's also fun to hear her perspective on it all...)

It's taking me a bit to get used to the "new, more mature" Taylor, but I actually really like it. I'm not sure how it will fit into young girls' lives, but TSwiz is 23 now, and she deserves to grow up in her artistry a little bit. I, for one, am loving following her journey!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12 cubed

[pic via]
Well, here it is, everybody. The final counting holiday of this kind for a century. We won't have one like this again until January 1, 3001, so this is the last time to celebrate the month, date, and year falling together in perfect unison within our life times. Hope you make the most of it!
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