Through the Process

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated, but we’ve been anything but quiet!  Over the past few months, we’ve been going through the process of a domestic infant adoption, and today was our home visit!  As of now, we are in the waiting process for a placement, and it could happen any time!

Read more about it on my other site: Chancing a Dream!

Much love,
K.

Whirlwind

journey

It’s been a month, but what a month it has been.  J and I have been planning out our cruise, and getting stuff done with work.  I’ve been traveling for work a bit, and right now I’m sitting at our offices in Wisconsin.  It’s been insanely busy, but not too stressful (which is good…normally busy = stressed in my life), and overall I’m just plugging along.

However, there have been some major changes going on!  After our failed IVF last year, we had intended on doing another cycle in February.  Then, we booked a cruise, that had us going to the Caribbean, and with the Zika virus outbreak and scare going on, we weren’t comfortable trying to get pregnant prior to going into a potential hot bed for the virus.  So, we decided to push off IVF until after we returned from the cruise, since my meds weren’t going to expire any time soon.

And that was all good and well.  I mean, it wasn’t ideal or anything, but we would have handled it.  But honestly, ever since our failed IVF, I haven’t really felt very confident in this next round working.  And, while my IVF cycle was VERY easy (I didn’t have a lot of problems with the meds or the procedure), I wasn’t really keen on putting my body through all that again for little to no payout.  J and I started talking about options, and he opened up that he wasn’t overly confident in the next IVF round working as well, so we decided to just not go forward with it.  With both of us feeling defeated before we even began, it didn’t make much sense to throw so much time and money at the issue, not to mention medical procedures that have a level of risk involved.

Which left us with a few different options.  We considered embryo adoption for a short while, but decided that we weren’t really interested in going down that path.  I am not really tied to the idea of being pregnant, only in being a mother, so at the end of the day I’d be fine skipping pregnancy altogether.  Once we discussed that, the decision was pretty clear…we were moving on to adoption!

And, with that…here we are.  We’ve started the home study process with our chosen adoption agency, and are in the midst of gathering mountains of paperwork.  Luckily, it’s all pretty easy to compile, except for our background checks from when we lived in the Netherlands.  That’s requiring a bit more finagling than I initially realized, but thankfully we have good friends who are Dutch and have been helping us out.  We’re very excited to be moving forward down this path, and can’t wait to bring home a baby!!  It feels right, which only adds to the excitement of it all.  Hopefully, the process will move smoothly and we’ll be growing our family shortly!

Much love,
K.

30 Days of Blogging: My Happy Place

happy placeIt’s the final question for my “30 Days of Blogging” Challenge!  It took much longer to complete than I initially anticipated, but sometimes the best things in life aren’t the easiest.  I feel like even though I knew the answers to all of these questions, quite a few of them really provoked a lot of thought for my response.  And introspection is a good thing to entertain, every now and then.

My last question is probably the hardest.  “Where am I happiest”…a good question, to be sure, and one that really made me step back and think before answering.

The truth of it is, I struggle to be happy.  I’m a pretty content person, and have a wide range of emotions (with quite of lot of emotional instability), but it’s hard for me to pinpoint when I’m truly happy.  I will say, when I think back to all my “happy” moments, the vast majority have included J.  He’s my rock, my emotional stability.  He’s my perfect north on a compass.  When I’m with him, I feel like I’m the most “ME” that I can be.  No matter where we are, I feel like it’s home, because he’s there.

So, in reality, I can’t pick a place I’m happiest.  With J would be my answer.  The place doesn’t matter, just the person beside me.

 

Much love,
K.

30 Days of Blogging: Life Lessons

life lessonsEvery day I learn something new about life.  I think that to learn is to grow, and the minute you stop learning you die.  Maybe not physically, but emotionally and mentally, for sure.  When I think back over my past 32 years, I think about all the life lessons I’ve learned.  There’s been a lot of them, to be sure, but a few stick out in my mind.  The biggest one, though, is fairly simple.

Don’t let expectations of how you SHOULD be force you into something you’re NOT.

When I was growing up, it was always expected that I would do well in school.  Pay attention in class, earn good grades, do extracurricular activities…those types of things.  What’s weird, however, is that college was never part of the equation.  No one in my family had ever gone to college before, not even in my extended family, so it was never really talked about that I’d be any different.  In fact, the expectation was the opposite.  Everyone just expected that I’d stay at home after high school.  I’d find a local job, find a man, settle down and get married, and have some children.  And, let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with that plan!  If that’s what you want out of life, then absolutely, it’s a great plan!  But, if it’s not really your cup of tea, then there’s a problem.  And, obvious or not, that plan wasn’t my cup of tea.

Sadly, my parents weren’t onboard with my plan, which was attend college and move away from home to pursue a career.  And, especially in the beginning, I can see why.  College was new and scary for them, they’d never had a child move away.  All in all, it wasn’t sounding like a good thing, so I can definitely understand their lack of support and hesitation.  Emotionally, it would have been so incredibly easy to just cave and do what was expected of me.  There was a lot of guilt and pressure to toe the line (so to speak) from my parents, and at times I could feel my determination to carry on waiver.  There was a lot of heartache, and some harsh words, and it was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make, but I decided to stick to my guns and go to college.

Looking back, no regrets.  It was, hands down, the absolute right decision for me.  I thrived in college, learned so much, and accomplished my dream of going to law school and being a licensed attorney (even though I don’t currently practice).  It was years of hard work and dedication, late nights and too many caffeinated beverages.  I worked more part-time jobs than I care to count, and had to make some tough decisions during my years there, but I learned so much more than what was in a book.  I learned life skills, decision-making skills, coping skills.  My critical thinking really developed, and even though I had no background in corporate marketing or program leadership, I’m happy to say that I’ve done really well in both areas, mainly due to the skills that I picked up while on my own in college.  All of that maybe wouldn’t be true now, had I caved and followed what my parents expected of me.

So, that’s my greatest life lesson, up until now.  It was hard learned, hard-fought, and especially hard-won, but worth every struggle.   What about you?  What is your greatest life lesson?

 

Much love,
K.

Friday Favorites: Wedding Trends

This past month has been a whirlwind of weddings.  Over the past 10 months, I’ve witnessed four friends (four couples) get married, and of that four, three were in the past month!  Which, of course, made me think about my wedding and how I really enjoyed planning the entire thing.  For a brief while, I even considered starting my own business as a wedding planner!  It’s still a dream of mine, but one that probably won’t come to fruition for another 5-10 years.  So, with that, I thought I’d do a Friday Favorites post on my favorite wedding trends!

1. Earthy, Neutral Wedding Color Palettes

gold_cream_white_color_paleI am in love with the latest trend of incorporating earthy, neutral tones into the wedding color scheme.  Creams and greens, paired with taupe and light browns are the sweet and simple colors that dreams are made of.  Earthy inspirations also add a touch of whimsy to the day, by bringing a bit of the outdoors indoors.  Hints of gold or copper can go even further to create a night-time elegance that is perfect for any style wedding, no matter how casual or opulent you want your day to be.  These colors can’t help but suggest understated elegance, plus they’re going to be a classic color pairing that won’t leave you cringing when you look back at your wedding photos 20 years from now.

 

2.  Family Style Reception Dinner Service

family style diningThere’s nothing that inspires the feeling of love and closeness like family style dining.  Brides and grooms are now choosing to forgo the traditional plated service in favor of serving food “family style” at the tables.  This style allows for large plates of food to be served at the table, and individual guests serve themselves, never requiring anyone to leave.  This style really encourages guests to get to know one another, especially if you have some out-of-town guests that aren’t familiar with everyone sitting next to them.  Combine this with long tables that seat several (instead of smaller tables seating 6-8) and you’ve recreated the dining set-up from your favorite old-world restaurant!

 

3.  Typography Invitations

invitesNew trends in wedding invitations are all about reminding the readers what is most important, the actual words!  Typography is the art of arranging type in the most appealing way possible, and invitations are a perfect place to use this style.  What’s more important than the “Who, What, Where, and When” of the wedding?  Making sure that the message gets through to your guests is key, and what better way that letting the message really shine than with typography.  For added elegance, using letterpress and luxurious paper to make your invites is a trick that will really give your guests something to remember!

 

4.  Textured Cakes

wedding cakeI enjoy fondant as much as the next person, but I can honestly say that nothing gets my tummy rumbling like ultra rich buttercream frosting.  Before, brides shied away from buttercream because it wasn’t as sleek and smooth as fondant, but now that textured wedding cakes are making a comeback, buttercream can reclaim the throne.  Another trend that textured buttercream really lends itself well to is the ombre effect that is so gorgeous.  While it’s true that wedding cakes aren’t around for long, many brides find it more economical to have a small tier or two to show for the cake cutting, and then have sheet cakes in the back that can be cut to serve guests.  Bottom line, as long as it tastes amazing, people won’t care if it’s from the cake at the front of the room or from the cake at the back.

 

5.  Making it Personal, a Timeless Trend

welliesThis is a trend that really shouldn’t be a trend at all.  Above all, a wedding should be a reflection of the bridge and groom, and their life and love together.  Weddings are for the happy couple to share their excitement and new beginnings with their closest loved ones, and is a time for celebration and well wishing.  Focus on those aspects that really mean the most to you and your significant other, and let those bits shine throughout the ceremony and reception.  One of my favorite weddings (as a guest) was one where the wedding and reception just looked like the bride and groom.  It was set in Seattle, a location very dear to the bride (and also became a favorite destination for the groom), and incorporated their love of tartan plaids and Wellies (her Welsh heritage) and Slivovitz – a clear liquor (his Slovenian heritage).  Their wedding was understated and simple, and it really focused on their love of each other and the simple things in life, which exemplifies their everyday personalities.  Those weddings are the type that really stick with the guests, the weddings where the focus is on the love of the couple, rather than on the material “things” used during the day.  That is a wedding “Trend” that really shouldn’t be a trend at all, but is one I’d consider of utmost importance, so I had to include it.

And there you have it, my favorite wedding trends!  Hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it, and please feel free to add a few favorite of your own in the comments!

Much love,
K.

30 Days of Blogging: Excitement!

bridesmaidThere are always things I’m excited about in life.  Usually, it’s the simple pleasures that excite me the most…the first day where I notice the leaves changing color on the trees, the first hot chocolate of winter, that first moment in the morning where I wake up and find my husband watching me with love in his eyes.  It’s the little things that matter the most, and I do my best to really focus on those and hold tight to them.

But, right now, I’m excited about something slightly bigger.  One of my best friends is getting married THIS WEEKEND!!!  I’m her Matron of Honor, and I am so incredibly thrilled to be able to share this day with her!  She’s had a rough year or so, and deserves all the happiness life has to offer, and I know her husband to be will give her all that and more.  Plus, it’s one of the few weddings that J can actually go with me to, as normally there are conflicts in our schedules.  Tomorrow kicks off the wedding weekend festivities, with manicure and pedicures for us ladies, then the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner after.  Then I’ll be spending the night with the bride at her place, and we’ll wake up Saturday to what I am sure is going to be a fantastic day!  I’m seriously very excited and can’t wait to spend time with her before her big day!

So, there you have it, my big excitement!  Is there something that you’re excited for at the moment?

Much love,
K.

30 Days of Blogging: Relationship Status

relationshipThis seems like such a silly post topic, as most of you can gather from my various blog posts that I am married.  But…short and sweet, right!

SPOILER ALERT:  I’m married.  Yep, I said it.  Married.

J and I got married in May 2008, a year before I graduated law school.  The timeline to our relationship was not the norm, but it worked for us:

 

First Date:  March 10, 2006

Engaged:  July 22, 2006

Married:  May 16, 2008

 

A lot of people thought it was too fast to get engaged four months after meeting, but it worked for us.  Even now, six years later (six years of marriage) we’re both incredibly happy.  Marriage isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it, and I wouldn’t change it for the world!

Much love,
K.

30 Days of Blogging: First Love and First Kiss

first loveAfter several years of happy marriage, it’s hard to recall loving anyone as much as I love my husband.  But, if I think back, I can remember my first kiss, as well as my first love.  Surprisingly, they weren’t the same person.

My first kiss was when I was 15.  I was a late bloomer, what can I say.  I had been entertaining a crush on a guy a year older than me, for quite some time, but he had a girlfriend.  We were in band together (yes, I was a band geek), and would often walk home together from summer band practice.  We were friends anyways, so it wasn’t illicit in any way.  However, towards the middle of the summer, as we were walking home, he told me that he had broken up with his girlfriend, because he liked someone else.  I commiserated with him, telling him that I was sorry about the break-up, but that I hope the girl he does have feelings for likes him back.  He stopped me and told me that I was the girl, and that he liked me.  Then he leaned in an kissed me.  I was in heaven!  Yeah…heaven was quite short-lived.  I found out a few days later that they in fact weren’t broken up, still dating, and he had no intention of breaking up with her.  Then, I find out that he told her about the kiss, and when she blew her lid (rightly so) he said that I kissed him!  Talk about a jerk!  So…after that, she hated me, I lost some friends  (that obviously weren’t friends in the first place), and I learned a very valuable lesson when it comes to guys.  Make sure you don’t jump into anything with a person, and always make sure you get the full story!

My first love was shortly thereafter.  My good friend was also in band in with…in fact, we were both in the drumline.  We had been friends for a few years, and gradually gotten closer.  It was one of those situations where he had a crush on me, but I didn’t him.  Then I had a crush on him, and he was dating another girl.  It took awhile for us to get our timing aligned.  We started spending more time with each other, then gradually started kissing and cuddling.  A slow progression.  He wasn’t keen on dating anyone seriously at the time, but that changed after a few months.  We started dating my Sophomore year of high school, and stayed together all through high school.  We were together during the death of his mother, his graduation, two years of college for him, and my high school graduation.  He’s a good man, that I still keep in touch with.  We eventually outgrew our relationship, and while it was hard at the time, I have no doubt it was the right thing for us.  We’re still friends even now, many years later, and we try to meet up whenever he’s in town (he has since moved to Canada with his wife).  I wish him the best, and will always treasure that first love with him, even though it isn’t the same as the love I share with J.  I’m thankful that the experience left me with good memories and that I can look back on it with fondness.

What about you guys?  Are you with your first love still?  Fond memories of your relationship?

Much love,
K.

30 Days of Blogging: Attraction

attractionAttraction in a relationship is important.  I’ve always said that physical attraction shouldn’t be the most important thing, but I’d be naïve if I said that it didn’t count for something.  If anything, the physical is what gets you into a relationship (often times).  It’s the catalyst that kicks off the “getting to know you” process, and without it, most people wouldn’t give the other person the time of day.  Obviously, this isn’t true of everyone, but for the average person…it usually starts with the physical.

Which got me to thinking…what am I attracted to in a partner.  For me, it’s a 20/80 split between physical and mental attraction.  I guess, if you know me in real life, you can look at J and physically see what I’m attracted to, but it’s so much more than looks.  In the physical department, I like guys that take care of themselves.  I appreciate exercise and healthy eating habits, and I like guys that have some meat on their bones.  I’ve had super skinny partners before, and there’s nothing wrong with it, but if we were talking about an optimum partner, they’d be more muscular and hefty.  No real preference on hair color…I’ve dated brunettes, red-heads, and blonds.  Blue eye color seems to be a theme though…I’m a sucker for blue eyes.

Personality is really where I get sucked in.  I can be somewhat attracted to a person, but if their personality is amazing, they’ll become the hottest thing on earth to me.  I love a sense of humor.  Laughing is a must for me.  Intelligence is incredibly attractive.  You don’t need to be a Rhodes scholar, but you do have to be able to hold an intelligent conversation with me.  The ability to debate is nice.  I think that some of the best ideas come from intelligent debate, and I don’t shy away from healthy conflict.  A sense of adventure is a MUST.  You have to be able to appreciate life and all it’s uncertainties, and be willing to embrace a great adventure to stick around with me.  Finally, I find a strong personality incredibly attractive.  I don’t like pushovers.  My partner needs to be able to stand up to me when necessary, and be willing to stand his ground.

So, that’s what I’m attracted to.  Strong personalities, intelligence, adventure.  Some of it is physical, but far more is a mental attractiveness.  What are you attracted to in a partner?  Is it physical, or more mental, for you?

Much love,
K.

Friday Favorites: Date Night Activities

When J and I first started dating, we spent quite a lot of time meeting up for dates and just hanging out.  We hadn’t been dating long when I moved back to my parents’ place for the summer, in order to intern for a judge, after my first year of law school.  During that time, we initiated “date night,” where we’d meet up after work during the week, go on a date, and then go home.  It was a great way to see each other during the work week (when we lived 2 hours apart), while still preventing the relationship from moving too far, too fast.  So, here are some of my favorite “date night” activities, which we still incorporate into our relationship today!

1.  Picnics

Picnic-DateDuring our summer date nights, many times J and I would meet up in the city, pick up take-out from a local restaurant, and then drive to the nearest state park for a picnic.  We’d have dinner in the grass and then walk around and talk, just getting to know each other more and talking about anything and everything.  I really fell in love with J during these dates.  We were only a few months into our relationship when we instituted “date night” over the summer, and those evenings of just sitting and talking brought about a closeness that we probably wouldn’t have developed as quickly, any other way.  Even now, when it’s nice outside, we’ll often pack a picnic and go find a quiet spot to sit and relax, and talk about life.

2.  Duckpin Bowling

HR-UICoverPhotos6I’m the world’s worst bowler.  Seriously.  It was several years before I ever broke a triple digit score in bowling, and even now, J will give me a hard time about my less than fabulous bowling skills.  Regardless, I love it!  It’s fun, it’s active, and it always gets me laughing.  J and I decided to give duckpin bowling a try during one of our early dates, and I have to say that I like it much better than regular bowling.  The bowling balls are smaller, as are the pins, and it’s just so delightfully old-fashioned!  There’s a really neat duckpin bowling place in downtown where we go, that has a lot of really unique restaurants nearby.  It’s a perfect evening and great for a date!

3.  Cooking Classes

couples-cookingJ and I never did this as a date prior to marriage, but we have gone to cooking classes as married couples, and I have to say they’re a great time!  If you and your partner enjoy cooking (or hell…even enjoy eating), then this could be a great date night!  J and I have taken cooking classes in both Hungary and Morocco, and we love the opportunity to learn a new cooking technique, spend time together, and share a great meal that we made together.  Of course, even if you don’t have any local cooking classes you can do for a date night, there’s nothing stopping you from just cooking a meal together in your kitchen.  Sharing space and working together are great ways to improve your relationship, and you can reap the rewards of a fantastic meal afterwards (bonus points for including a good bottle of wine).  And the best thing of all, there are plenty of beginner recipes on the internet that walks you through new recipes and techniques, so just find one that looks good, grab your partner, and get cooking!

4.  Rock Climbing

rock climbingNow, this one isn’t for the faint of heart.  But, if you really like being active, and like to incorporate teamwork into your date nights, then rock climbing is a great way to do it.  Rock climbing is fun, even as a beginner, and it really brings out a sense of adventure.  As a plus, it also really works on trust between couples (because being suspended 40 feet above the ground while your partner holds on to the rope definitely requires trust) and can help bring you closer to your partner.  J and I really enjoy indoor rock climbing, because you can even go in the winter and not freeze your tail off, and it’s a fantastic workout that is fun while being challenging.  If you and your partner are the adventurous and thrill-seeking type, then this date night activity is definitely for you!

5.  Movie Night

movie nightWhat better way to spend an evening together than curled up together (at the movie theatre or at home on the couch) watching a movie with a bowl of popcorn.  Those tentative touches as your hands glance off each other while reaching for the popcorn kernels.  THIS is what date nights are made of, people!  If you want to go one better, pick a scary movie so that you can spend the evening clinging to your man (or, equal opportunity, clinging to your woman) as the suspenseful music creeps you out.  There’s a reason why the most clichéd options are sometimes the best, because they’re the tried and true methods of dating.  So go out there, fight over which movie is one you’re willing to sit through, and hunker down on the couch with your loved one.  If you’re lucky, you might even be able to steal a few kisses and miss the movie entirely!

What are some of your favorite date night activities?  Any that I’ve missed that should make the top 5 list?

Much love,
K.