Wednesday, January 06, 2016

2015....a year in review

Looking back, 2015 was a year filled with lots of good time with our family and friends.  

In January, we celebrated Andy's birthday with dinner at the Melting Pot and going to a Travis Tritt concert (thanks to Darrell and Rae!). We also enjoyed having my brother Andrew stop through and visit on the way back to college - he came through a few times this year and we love having him (and any of his college friends with him) visit!

I headed to Vegas for work - Winter Furniture Market. This ended up being a really exhausting and rough trip and I was very glad to get home. 

February was a cold month with a little bit of snow in North Carolina. But we still headed north for a long weekend to see my other brother, Patrick, who was visiting Baltimore for a week. 

Lots of good family time and fun with my adorable niece and nephew. And we painted a picture for my mom!

This was a mostly family trip, but I squeezed in a little time to have brunch with my long-time friends. I am so thankful for their friendship and that they always make time to visit when I come to town.  

March brought warmer weather and we enjoyed heading to a local park to walk after work. We took our nephew and Andy's sister with us one day!

I was busy planning and leading a women's retreat for our church. We stayed at a beautiful retreat center in the mountains  and had a lot of good God time and a lot of fun!

In April we enjoyed Easter dinner with Andy's mom and sister. I had another Furniture market in there, and we were excited to have a new baby niece join the family (and she happened to be born on her big brother's birthday)! I sent a package out to them in California that included the shirt and onesie - her big brother had been calling her "baby garlic" most of the time his mom was pregnant with her. Even though they named her Betsy, I wanted to have shirts with her brother's chosen name for her too. 

In May we enjoyed a relaxing month, going to minor league baseball games and grilling outside. For Memorial Day weekend, we went up to visit my family in Baltimore (and all went to an Orioles game). We took a quick day to visit Philadelphia where Andy had an "authentic Philly cheesesteak" and we got to visit his cousin. The weather was beautiful all weekend and we picnicked with our Baltimore friends and their kiddos. 

We spent some time relaxing with Andy's family out at his dad's lake house in June. Our friends from Baltimore were heading to a wedding in Florida and we were excited that they were able to stop through and spend a night on the way there and another 2 nights on the way back to visit with us. 

Our friends from Baltimore were heading to a wedding in Florida and we were excited that they were able to stop through and spend a night on the way there and another 2 nights on the way back to visit with us. We showed them around High Point, NC (including the huge chest of drawers in downtown that are a landmark to go with all the furniture industry in High Point), got some fresh Krispy Kreme donuts, and went to the science center. And they loved spending time with our dog, Maggie - even wanting her to camp out with them in the living room.  

We spent the 4th of July at the lake and enjoyed watching fireworks from the boat. On my extra day off around the 4th, we went up to spend a day in Mayberry and took Andy's mom and even met my mom there (she was on her way back up to Baltimore from a quick trip to visit my aunt and uncle in southern VA). We had fun going to a famous restaurant (The Snappy Lunch) there and stopping at a winery on the way home. 

The highlight of the month was being able to travel out to California and meet my niece! I was fortunate to be able to tack a quick trip to visit my brother and his family onto the front end of my July Vegas work trip. It was my first time in California and we had a great time. My niece and nephew were both adorable and my brother and his wife are such good hosts, planning fun meals, picnics, and day trips to Malibu beach and an art museum. I was so glad I got to make the trip and I hope to be able to get out there to visit them again soon. 

After a long weekend in California, I flew back to Vegas for work. This time it wasn't such a bad trip and in between a lot of work, I was able to relax a little and enjoy a little bit of my time there with co-workers.  

When I got back from traveling, Andy and I decided to get serious about house hunting in August. We had been casually looking at house for a while, but were ready to go ahead and see if we could find anything we liked since we knew we were going to stay in the Triad for a while. And we were just getting tired of renting (even though we had a great landlord and a rental home we had really enjoyed for the past few years). We looked around in some of our favorite neighborhoods and ended up with a few contenders. I really wanted a home that was a little older and had some personality - not a total fixer upper, but something we could do a little work on over time in a certain neighborhood. And we found the perfect house for us - by accident! We were using an app to save houses we liked and then we would drive around and look at them. There was a house I wanted us to drive by and see, and I knew it was blue, so I saw pulled up a blue house from my list and we drove by....then I realized it wasn't the right house - it was another blue house that was a little over budget. Andy ended up really liking the area and we set up an appt with our realtor anyway. We both really liked it and realized it was in the county so the taxes were less and between that and negotiations on the price, it ended up being in budget and working out for us. 

Also in August, Andy started a semester long program to get certification to be paralegal. The program was at a local college and was for adults who already had a Bachelors degree. It was an intense program with 4 hour classes every Tuesday and Thursday evening and several Saturdays a month. 

We ended up putting an offer in our chosen house and it got accepted on our anniversary - Sept. 1. So we had a big anniversary present to each other this year! Other than that, we celebrated 7 years with a low key date night.

We try to take some sort of trip together for Labor day weekend since it is always around our anniversary and this year we went to Houston, TX for the long weekend. We went to visit Andy's cousin and her family, as well as his aunt and uncle. His cousin asked me to come down to do some family photos and we combined that little bit of work time with family time and even got away to a nice hotel in Galveston for just the two of us for a night. We had a great time and really enjoyed out time together and with family. And I was glad that they loved the photos I was able to get!

October was a very crazy month of packing, Andy busy with classes, and another busy work time for me with the High Point furniture market. But we still decided to take a quick trip down to Charleston for my brother's family weekend at the Citadel. We met my parents there and enjoyed spending time with them, my brother, and his friends. 

We closed on our house on Oct. 23, and we were excited to get the keys and do a little work on our new place before we moved in. We painted the living room, 2 bedrooms, the dining room and den and were really happy to have all that done. And Andy was excited to get a John Deere (used) riding lawn mower delivered the day after we closed. 

November was our moving month - we packed everything to a truck and then cleaned out our rental. Those are 2 very excited faces to be all done after two long days of moving and cleaning up. Then we spent a lot of the rest of the month unpacking and setting up at our new house. 

I had fun teaching a paint class at our church for the women. We had a great response - 38 women attended and we all had a lot of fun hanging out and painting. 

For Thanksgiving we headed up to Baltimore to my parents house. We had a fun, relaxing time with my family and Andy was able to go spend a day in Philly with his cousin. We fit in some time with our friends up there and enjoyed meeting my friend Erin's newly adopted son. I even got to spend a little time taking photos for her. 

It was unseasonably warm in December - so much so that we had friends over and cooked outside! We enjoyed Christmas parties with friends and played a big game of Dutch Blitz. 

Andy graduated from his Paralegal certificate class and did a great job - getting all As. It was a tough semester of study with buying a house and moving in the middle of it all, but he enjoyed the instructors, other students, and what he learned. He is now going to be pursuing legal research type job opportunities. 

We had a good time celebrating Christmas-time with Andy's mom - checking out Old Salem and going to her church for a Christmas service. She also took Andy's sister and I out to see a really fun Appalachian Christmas Play in downtown Greensboro. 

We did our annual family photo and Christmas time with Andy's dad, step-mother and siblings the Saturday before Christmas. 

Then on Christmas Day, Andy and I had a nice, quiet day to ourselves and decided to tackle a few more home projects, including replacing a lot of lighting fixtures (inside and outside) and re-doing a bathroom. 

And that is the very long post about our year! Looking forward to seeing what 2016 brings. 

Here are previous year's blog posts: 200820092010201120122013, 2014

Friday, November 27, 2015


In the midst of all the crazieness that we have been going through since the middle of August and the rest of the year. I am sitting in the living room of my in-laws (Abi's parents) house with most everyone playing games except me. (I have never been a game player when we visit.) And yet I realize there is so much to be thankful for this year...

First and foremost Abi. Since being married we have been through a ton. Yet it seems our relationship is stronger than ever before. We are are true partners in everything that we do.

Our Parents. Whether its my Dad and Stepmom being there for advice to keep us straight. Their insight has kept us on the straight path and sane. My mother. There's been several times during the renovation and moving that she's been able to drop everything and help lessen the stress of thing's. Abi's parents in Baltimore. Unfortuenatly they have yet to see Casa De Adams. They have always and I mean always a quick phone call away when we've needed it the most.

Siblings. Emily my sister has been huge in helping to give Abi a second opinion on things when it comes to decorating, painting and everything else that I am horrible at. It's been awesome having her 20 minutes across town. Stacey my step sister and her husband bailed us out several times with loaning us man power to move furniture and loan vacuum cleaners when ours failed trying to clean our rental home on our final day. One downside to Casa De Adams is that we're no longer two miles down the road. Katie Abi's sister for also being there for Abi to vent and get advice from even though she's in the Baltimore region. The rest of the siblings all across the country. We've loved having their support in everything. We are truly appreciative.

Friendly Hills Church. It's often times said that a church isn't about theology but, its all about the people. We are living proof of this. Our two and half years being a part of this congregation we have been able to share all of the great times and the bad. There have been so many relationships we have developed that these folks have become a true second family for us. These folks have been with us through it all.

Abi's job. Despite me being unable to find a job and deciding to make a career change. She's been with the same company for the past 2 years. She's enjoying the work and they love her.

Our health. God has blessed us with good health in the past year. My hip replacement has made a huge difference. There hasn't been a thing that I haven't been able to do around the new house. We never batted an eye when it came to buying Casa De Adams with a huge yard.

Maggie the Terrier. Abi wasn't a big fan of getting a dog when we got married. I wanted one but wasn't convinced we were ready when we got her. It turns out we were more than ready. She's always keeping us on our toes. Most importantly Maggie is always able to give us a good laugh.

This is just a few of the many things that we are thankful for this Thanksgiving.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Introducing Casa De Adams

It's hard to believe that we have been in the Greensboro area for three years. Other than me not being able to find a job, our time here has been great. We visited this area often when we lived in Southern Pines and Fayetteville (both are a few hours south of Greensboro) and we always liked the area and talked about moving here someday since it seemed to be a good fit for both of us. It's big city enough for Abi with all the shopping and culture, but has a small town feel that I appreciate. We like that we are close to my Mom, my Dad and Stepmom, and siblings, while not being too bad of a drive to Baltimore to visit Abi's family and friends.

Our arrival here just happened a lot sooner than we expected. We were blessed to find a townhouse here to rent from the absolute best landlord. It was so much easier to have my hip replaced when all of my family lived 30 minutes away compared to when I had my accident and the nearest family was 2+ hours away. Life has been great. We have enjoyed having many visitors, as the Triad has been a great stopping point for everyone to pass through on the way south to places like Charleston and Florida.

Last month we shared that we had put an offer to buy our first house. That offer was accepted and we completed the due diligence period where the house checked out ok. Our loan process was quick and easy and we are now getting to start living the American Dream of home ownership. Last Friday we closed on our new house.

Introducing Casa De Adams. Abi has always wanted an older home with character. This place certainly fits the bill. It was built in 1968 between the community of Jamestown and Greensboro in unincorporated Guilford County. We are close to everything but just far enough to be peaceful with the luxury of living on a well and paying county taxes. Abi's super creative, and after watching way too much HGTV, she will finally get to leave a mark on her own home. We are looking forward to painting and have already started. Our dog, Maggie, will get her own yard again - which she loved when we rented a house with a yard in Fayetteville, NC. Casa De Adams is on an eighth of an acre of land and most of the back yard is fenced. We are planning to install about 30 feet of fencing to get it fully fenced and then Maggie will have over half an acre of land to explore and run laps with all the neighboring dogs on either side. It also means that I reluctantly get to maintain it (for our Baltimore friends, this means that I had to buy a riding lawn mower because Abi won't let me buy a flock of goats). If I learned anything from my late Grandmother, it was to be very particular about a yard. I never had the time in Fayetteville to do much with the rental house lawn - but now I have my chance. I was lucky enough to find a good used John Deere lawn tractor which is all I really cared about in the home buying process. I was just disappointed that I didn't get a John Deere hat since I bought mine used. Just as important, Abi is reluctantly allowing me to wear my infamous, overalls with certain conditions like never being caught in public with them.

We happy to finally have some forward motion in our lives and with the house and my school going on, things are finally looking up. We might even start posting on here a little more again - now we have some new things to share!