Saturday, January 04, 2014

2013...a year in review...

For the last few years (20082009201020112012), I have been doing a blog post with a recap of our the past year - mostly for us to remember what all we have been up to, but it's also our "family letter" of sorts for anyone else who wants to keep up with us and read about our life. And even though 2013 was not such a great year for us...and you can tell I was not very excited by much and pretty depressed in general by my lack of blogging...here is what we have been up to this year (you can click on the highlighted words to see the corresponding posts). And as an update: in 2013 we were not able to pursue anything adoption related because of all the transition, medical issues, and job changes. Hopefully we will be back on track with that at some point soon.

On January 1st, we were no longer homeless. We had flown back from Germany in the end of October and stayed to visit with my family in Baltimore for a few weeks. In November we moved to NC so that I could start working at my new job. However, our furniture and everything didn't immediately follow us to the US so we had to wait to find a new place of our own. Andy's parents graciously let us stay with them until the end of December so that we could wait for our furniture and find a good place to move. We looked around at various apartments and rentals and were very thankful to find a great one-story townhouse in a good location. On January 2nd, all of our furniture got delivered while I was at work and Andy and his dad did an excellent job supervising all the unpacking and got everything in place. I did a quick blog tour here. We were so thankful for his and all of our family and friends who helped during that time.  We were able to unpack quickly and celebrate Andy's 30th birthday in our new place.
Andy in our new living room

In February, I had finished my 90 day training period at my job and was on my own with customers, assisting them with mortgage questions and problems. I also started my permanent hours - which was not a great shift....I had to work 8am-7pm on Mondays and Tuesdays, 1pm-7pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 10am-7pm on Fridays. Mondays and Tuesdays were brutal and overall I was not enjoying it, but trying to be thankful to have a job since Andy was still looking for work. We got some snow....and I still had to go in to work. Thankfully I lived close and it wasn't too bad driving. The exciting thing from February was that the Ravens won the Superbowl!
Ravens winning the Superbowl & Andy cleaning snow off my car

March was more of the same....I still wasn't liking my job and Andy was still looking for a job. We were also looking for a church and started visiting a Methodist church that was close to us that was supposed to be one of the growing, more contemporary Methodist churches in the area. We liked the pastors and were giving it good try. Andy's mother and grandmother came to visit us at the end of March, over Easter weekend. We enjoyed having them and were glad to have a nice guest bedroom for them. 

By April, I needed a break from my crazy job with long hours and customers yelling at me about their mortgages all the time. And we had also just found out that Andy's hip was getting worse and he needed hip replacement surgery soon - it had recently gotten so bad that it was causing tendinitis in his foot and he had to wear a cast. He blogged about everything going on with his foot/hip here. We had to get his foot cleared up and then we could schedule surgery for his hip - so we had to put job searching for him on the back burner for the time being since he had some major health things to take care of. So, with my job and juggling all of Andy's doctor stuff, Andy and I decided that I needed a long weekend away and I booked a flight to Boston to visit my brother, Patrick and his wife, Jen, and their son, Peter. It was Peter's first birthday and I hadn't even gotten a chance to meet him yet! I was so thankful to be able to get away and go visit them and help celebrate his first birthday. I had a wonderful visit with them and loved meeting my nephew Peter! (And Andy did fine on his own for the weekend, even though he was on crutches). I was also really glad I got to go see them then, because Patrick had just gotten an interview with a church in CA and ended up taking the job and they all moved out to CA in July. So now they are much further away and it's even harder to visit them. Also in April, I was busy baking and we went to a minor league baseball game. 
Me, Peter, and Patrick in Gloucester, MA

In May, I got fired from blogging and Andy took over since I hadn't been blogging hardly at all (mostly due to always being exhausted and brain-dead when I came home from my job). He provided a humorous view of what all we were up to and life with crutches here and here. He also provided an update from the doctor here - we had been hoping to move forward with the hip replacement surgery in June, but his foot wasn't healed enough so we were having to postpone it for a few more weeks. We did get a chance to make a spur of the moment trip up to Baltimore for Memorial day weekend. We had a good weekend with my family and friends. 
Andy and his cast; me with my friends in Baltimore; 
my dad and our dog; and one of the many frogs we started seeing around our house at this time

In June, Andy's tendinitis was getting better and he was finally able to drive again! He had to keep going to PT to get his foot strengthened and be ready for his upcoming hip replacement, and he wrote a few more humorous posts herehere, and here. And we enjoyed spending time at the lake with Andy's family.

July was the big month - Andy was finally cleared for his hip replacement and it was scheduled for July 15th. Andy was, of course, nervous about the major surgery, but looking forward to recovering and finally being pain-free and able to do things again. We were thankful that my job (as bored as I was with it every day) had good insurance. And I somehow even got employee of the month - which they forgot to tell me about...I just saw my name and photo on the wall.

Andy's surgery went well and it was a much better stay than the last time he was at the hospital. Our regional hospital did a great job with everything. We were thankful for our family and friends who helped us out, especially my dad who had just retired and was able to come down and stay with Andy for a week or so to help out while I was at work. A week after surgery - Andy posted about his experience.

August was full of recovery and PT for Andy....and me driving him around. We were happy to have a few people come and stay with us. My parents and little brother came to visit before they took to the Citadel - can't believe he's in college now! My good friend Erin also came for a quick visit. And Andy was able to start driving again at the end of the month. 

On Sept. 1st, we celebrated our 5th anniversary by going on a quick weekend trip to Asheville, NC. It was fun to get away, but Andy still wasn't 100% so we couldn't do as much as we hoped. And that was where we stopped blogging. For the year. So the rest is what I didn't blog about. Andy continued his PT and continued to recover. Since the surgery was over and therapy mostly complete, I randomly started sending out a few resumes - for a new job for me. And I got an interview and was offered a job at a furniture company doing a little bit of everything - including a lot of photoshop. I was excited about it because it had decent hours (normal) and was in a much more creative field than the boring mortgage job. Before I started at the end of the month, we took another quick trip to the outer banks since we knew I wouldn't get much vacation time starting a new job. Andy was doing much better - so much better in fact that he was able to climb the Hatteras lighthouse! We had a great time and really enjoyed the trip. 

In October I was busy learning my new job. Even though I started at a very busy time, I still was enjoying it and knew that it was a much better fit for me than my previous job had been. I had just a few weeks to learn the ropes before the big High Point Furniture Market, Oct. 19-24. Market was pretty crazy, with me having to work every day (even Saturday and Sunday) and some long days. And overall, I was tired at the end of market, but it wasn't too bad. After market things settled down and I got to start enjoying one other perk that they didn't tell me about my new job in the interview - that we got to work from home most Fridays! So nice - I have decided that I really like working from home. Andy was still busy looking for a job and we joined a gym so that he could continue working out and strengthen his hip/leg. We also made a quick trip down to Charleston, SC to visit my little brother for Family weekend (since my parents were on a trip overseas and couldn't be there).
Me and my "little" brother in Charleston, SC

November brought a first for our marriage - we joined a church together (previously we been either moving too much or couldn't find a good fit for both of us to want to join). We had been visiting a Methodist church in the beginning of the year but after giving it a few months....it just was not somewhere that we felt like we were able to get involved in, get to know people, or even enjoy the worship. So we decided to try a new church and after searching a little online for a church that seemed like it placed a bigger emphasis on community and small groups, we found a few that we thought we contenders. But we only tried one. The first one we tried, we both really enjoyed and felt like it was a good place for us. We had only been going there for a few weeks when it came time for Andy's surgery and they still supported us and brought us meals. They did community groups really well and we had gotten plugged into a great group that we were enjoying going to - every Sunday night we meet at someone's house for food and fellowship. And even though it's a Presbyterian (PCA) and not a Methodist church - Andy was the one who really wanted to join, which surprised me. But we both love it and are glad we now have a great church family. In November, we also celebrated my birthday with a nice dinner out and were able to go up to Baltimore for Thanksgiving. I also had to take a quick work trip to Texas which was kind of fun (I don't think it would be fun if I had to do it a lot, but I shouldn't have to take many trips like that with this job). 

In December, we had a good time celebrating Christmas with our families. As is their tradition, we celebrated a few weeks early with Andy's family. We all got together at his dad and stepmom's house and exchanged a few gifts and had a nice meal together. Since we were all living in the area this year, we did our Christmas photo a different day so we didn't have to try and fit too much into that day. The photo was fun since I asked Andy's dad if we could use his old Chevy truck in the photos - the family photo turned out really well! 

Even though I didn't get any extra time off other than Christmas day, we were still able to go up to Baltimore for Christmas. The reason we were able to go is that my job decided we could work from home all of Christmas week....so I was able to work from my parent's home and still get to enjoy spending time with everyone. I was so thankful to be able to go up there especially since my brother Patrick and his wife and my nephew were able to come all the way from California! And even with all of our crazy schedules, all of my siblings and families were able to be together (briefly) for the first time in 2 years. 


And that was 2013 for us! Overall...a rough year. But we made it through. And 2014 hasn't started out well, as we have both been pretty sick and out of it. But we're hoping this year will be a better one. 

Happy (belated) New Year!

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