Friday, May 10, 2013

Hope Floats

It's amazing how time flies, this time last year Eric and I were meeting with the fertility specialist. I remember leaving the Dr. and feeling discouraged and praying an answer would present itself. Learning that neither one of us had fertility coverage with our health insurance and seeing how expensive treatments actually were, we left the Dr. feeling like we had hit another dead end in our dreams of starting a family.

Lucky for us, a lot can change in a year! Eric recently (like last week) started a new job! He's been working so hard towards this goal and we couldn't believe how quickly the perfect opportunity presented itself. With the help of our friends (Ben and Katie) Eric was referred to a position that the company was looking to fill for 6 months. So far he loves it and he's learning a lot. The job comes with many great perks and benefits, including great health insurance. Do you see where I'm going with this?... Yes, our prayers have been answered, we now have fertility coverage! I had to hold back tears when I was reading the health policy. We still need to go back to the fertility specialist to see specifically what our new insurance will cover, but I'm hopeful it's what we need to continue our journey. Once everything settles (hopefully within the next month) and we're both officially covered, we'll be heading back to the Dr.

I'm a true believer that hope truly floats. Eric and I have been working so hard to complete our goals and it finally feels like everything is coming together. In my previous post of welcoming 2013 I stated that I didn't know what the year was going to hold for us, but I knew it was going to be an exciting year... whether it was Eric getting a new job, progress continuing on the house or the start of our family.. I was excited to see what the year was going to bring. I can't believe how true those words are coming out to be. I'll continue to hope and pray that our baby is on it's way, the feeling in my heart grows stronger everyday. As Eric has been saying and I've continued to repeat... "All Good Things Babe" and he's so right.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dream BIG!

Yesterday I posted a quote on Facebook - "If your dreams don't scare you... they aren't big enough." At the place I am in my life right now these words couldn't be more true.
Last year I attended the NIU Bridal Expo with the soon-to-be Mrs. Jacob's to get inspiration and ideas for her wedding. While there I noticed there was only one vendor for stationary / invites, I couldn't believe it. For the past two years I had been designing for weddings and keeping steadily busy. I remember looking at my soon-to-be business partner Sam and telling her, next year we're going to have a booth here. At that moment I didn't realize how true that statement was going to be. As the year went on I kept the expo in the back of my mind and the statement I made. I kept an internal conflict going, could I really do this? Of course you can I told myself! What happens if we get really busy, I've been so busy and doing this on top of a full time job has become cumbersome. That's why you have an awesome partner I told myself. Would people really like my work? I reminded myself they have and they will! With family and friends constantly pushing and encouraging me and coworkers asking, exactly why are you here again if you can do this?... I knew it was time to take the leap! When the time came I completed the form, took the profit I received from a job and signed up for my first Wedding Expo.
Since I've been a solo act since I've started this design journey, it's hard to be in a partnership. It's hard to change when I've been set in my ways. It's fun to have a partner that gets excited about paper, invites, glitter and punches the way I do! So honestly I'm not just taking one leap, I'm taking two. I'm expanding / starting a business and a partnership which are both completely new to me. I'm excited for the challenge and the path I'm on.
2013 has only begun and already I've taken a huge step that's going to hopefully change everything! I'm eager to meet new clients and see what design challenges they have in store for me! I'm excited to start working with Sam on a business level and hope this grows into a long term business adventure! Whatever happens this has been a huge dream of mine and I'm grateful I have the opportunity to pursue it! As I stated in the beginning, "If your dreams don't scare you... they aren't big enough" Well this is huge, and yes I'm definitely scared, so I must be moving in the right direction!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013!

It's officially that time again, we're saying goodbye to another year! Typically the common consensus is that everyone is thankful for the year to be over and hopeful for the new one to start. For me 2012 was filled with memories I will happily look back on and smile. Here are some of my highlights from 2012:
It was the year of weddings! I proudly watched so many of my friends say "I Do" to the loves of their lives. Eric and I each had the pleasure to stand in one and support our friends along their journey to the altar. I also had the honor to design for multiple weddings which kept me very busy!
It was also the year of babies! I welcomed two new nieces, one nephew and many new little ones to my friends. So many visits, so little time! For the little ones I have yet to meet, don't worry, we'll visit soon! Eric and I are hopeful that our little one will be on its way in 2013, I know he or she will be worth the wait.
Silver Pumpkin Designs was officially established and we're hoping for a prosperous year! I'm very grateful for the amazing support system we have while starting this new adventure!
Those are just some of the major highlights from 2012, Eric and I made sure to create some memories as well. Tried new things, went on new adventures and made sure to enjoy our time together as a married couple. We're not sure what 2013 has in store for us, but we're hoping it's going to be a ride we'll never forget. I'm not really going into the New Year with any resolutions, only the idea that Eric and I are going to live it for all it's worth! You never know when life will throw you curve balls and we want to be prepared. Whether that be the beginning of our family we've been praying for, a new job for Eric, a very busy year of design for me or more construction on the house... whatever the New Year has in store for us, we'll be ready! We're so blessed to end 2012 and begin 2013 with the most amazing family and friends. Here's to 2013, cheers to a great year!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Today and Everyday

In my last post I said I was going to try to find the true meaning of Christmas. I was going to enjoy the season and try to do something festive everyday to keep my spirits up. Up until last Friday I can honestly say I was living up Christmas for everything it was worth.
The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementry School literally tore my heart apart and like many dampened my holiday spirit. While Eric and I are not parents, I can't fathom the idea of finally having a child of our own after so many years of trying and someone literally taking that precious gift away from me. My heart breaks for all the parents who are burying their child this Christmas instead of watching them open up their Christmas gifts.
I found my faith being shaken again, as it has in the past with other life events. As many I needed answers as to why killings like this keep happening, why innocent children this time? In the evenings I would tune into the news, which is something I hate doing because it's never good. I found myself reading more news articles than my Christmas books on my Kindle. Praying that something good would come out of all of this, even if it was as small as others being more kind to one another.
As the week continued I searched for good in the world. If you know me well, you know I hate Christmas shopping. My holiday shopping consists of me ordering presents online and having them delivered. I hate the crowds, the traffic and the overall rudeness of people in a hurry. You would think given it's the holiday season and we're all out for the same reason, people would be kind to one another and spread cheer, I think this only happens in the movies, silly me. Little did I know, God had a plan for me, a lesson to be learned. This week I had to go to the stores to finish up some shopping that couldn't be done online. While shopping I kept running into rude people at the stores, I was going out of my mind!! My Facebook post from Wednesday, and I quote: "Going to the stores this time of year drives me to drink!!! Free shipping is my BFF!!" I think I feel the most sorry for people who work in the stores, because I'm telling you, I literally just stared at people, thinking, was there a reason you had to be so rude!? I would give some examples of everything I experience, but I want this to end in a good way, so let's keep moving forward shall we?
Message # 1: Every year I get my brother-in-law a bottle of his favorite wine (his Birthday is New Years Day) and a box of ribbon candy, a guilty pleasure he enjoys once a year. For the past couple of years I've had to search high and low for this candy. For whatever reason I haven't been able to find it at Walmart. This year was no exception, every store I went to, no ribbon candy. My last stop was Target last Tuesday. I searched all the candy aisles, no ribbon candy. Feeling defeated as I stood in line with my one item to purchase something made me look behind me and there was my friend Renea and her daughter Bella. Literally doing a dance of joy, I ran to her and gave her a big hug. We talked for a while and then headed out to our cars. I told her I was in search of ribbon candy, and explained our tradition. Later that evening she called me to let me know she had found my ribbon candy! She went to Michael's after leaving Target and she said they had a whole bunch of it. I was thrilled, the next day I went out and bough Adam two boxes on the off chance I wouldn't find it next year. Granted it sounds silly, it's just ribbon candy after all but as I explained tradition is very important to me, especially during the holidays. I don't like letting people down. Seeing Renea when I was just about to give up reminded me that even though you might get frustrated during the search and the answer might not come as quickly as you want it too, it will come and you can't lose hope.
Message # 2: On my way home yesterday I was talking to my Mom as I typically do. She asked me to stop at my Walgreens because she was in search of a specific item. Not really wanting to stop because I was finally done with my store shopping and I was excited to go straight home, I told her I would. While a friendly store associate was asking his manager about this out of stock item I watched a woman walk up to the register with a cart of items. She rudely asked if I was in line and I said, sorry, no and moved out of her way. She proceeded to ask the next person and finally made her way to the register. All I kept thinking was I need to get the hell out of this store before I lose it! I again couldn't understand why someone had to be so rude. After leaving Walgreens I told myself to stop and get gas so I didn't have to do it in the morning. I also had to cash in my winning lottery ticket (don't get excited, it was only $2.00!) and I thought I would purchase a few more for Eric. I pumped my gas, battling the harsh wind and snow and made my way inside. I made my purchases, ventured back to my car and started to pull away when I noticed a woman running to my car. Thinking this woman was a little nuts, I rolled down my window anyway. (Now thinking about it, this is how people get robbed this day in age, just saying.) I saw her arm raise up and in her hand was my debit card, it must of fallen out of my pocket. I looked at her and said "Oh my gosh, thank you so much!" She smiled and handed it back to me. All I kept thinking was wow, it's storming out and she noticed I dropped it and literally ran to my car to return this to me. All I wanted to do was get home to get out of this weather. This reminded me that there is still kindness in the world and there are those out there that are still willing to go out of their way for a perfect stranger.
Granted what I take as my "messages" are small compared to some life changing miracle, something that confirms your faith to the core... but they're important to me and helped me this week. As my Dad says, when you ask God for help, he isn't going to immediately give you the answer, he's going to show you the way to get your answer. We may not get an "answer" as to why the shooting occurred and why so many children lost their lives too early. One thing is for sure though, in times of darkness this country does come together in love, prayer, kindness and hope. During the last few days of this holiday season, and everyday heading into the new year, hug your family extra tighter, let your friends know how much they mean to you, don't ever lose hope that someone is looking out for you and remember the greatest gift you can give is love.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My Blanket Making Adventure

I've recently started a new hobby of sewing baby blankets. With everyone around me having babies and having found a very simple tutorial online, I was excited to start a new challenge. Not having enough time usually plays a big factor in me starting new projects. Usually I'm always busy doing something for someone else which leaves no time for things I want to do. This truth left me even more bound and determined to follow through on this project!
Now I've been to the fabric store many times with my sister so I had an understanding on how to purchase fabric. I'm not completely oblivious, however I did not realize how expensive sewing projects can be! After my initial fabric shopping I've become a little more savvy in taking advantage of sales and using coupons wisely! I completed my first three blankets in about a week. I lovingly gave them out for shower gifts and they were well received. I get so excited when I get to see them in use, my newest niece Natalie used hers at the hospital right after she was born.
Since my first three blankets were such a success I decided to make blankets for the rest of the kids in our family. I made three fleece tie blankets with the much needed help of Eric and I'm going to sew four more baby blankets! Two for Christmas gifts and two for shower gifts.
While posting my successes on Facebook my Cousin and my Aunt have both referenced my Grandma Van Wie and reminded me how special this new hobby of mine really is. It's almost like I was destined to do this. Growing up my Grandma was always making blankets or pillows, I never questioned why, I just figured she loved to sew. Every Saturday my Dad would pick up his Mom to spend the day with her. On occasion she would bring a blanket over that she was currently working on. I remember Jimmy and I sitting on top of our dining room table with her blanket under us spread out over the table. We would help her tie all the yarn threads that held her fabric and batting together. She also taught us embroidering, she would sketch out pictures on fabric and we would use a hoop and trace out the picture with a needle and thread. Now thinking about it, I owe a lot of my creativity to her.
My Grandma always gave away her pillows and blankets as gifts. Our hall closet was always overflowing with her labor of love. We always had enough resources for the tents we would create in our bedroom, enough warmth for guests staying the night or essentials when camping. Now that I have my own home I know how nice it is to have extra blankets. The past couple Christmas's Eric's Grandma asked what we wanted and I answered, we want another blanket. While I don't have any from my Grandma, I have two from Eric's that we use on a daily basis. A blanket isn't just material, it's a gift of warmth, comfort, something that ties you to that person and makes you think of them every time you use it. Now I understand why my Grandma created and gave these pieces away and thanks to my Cousin and Aunt, I'm going to think of her every time I create a new blanket.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

It's All About Tradition

It's that time again, the holidays are upon us! They sneak up so fast and before you know it they're gone again! This year I've decided to slow things down with the hopes the season won't flash before my eyes. I want to take in the true meaning of Christmas and allow time to reflect and appreciate what's truly important during this time of year.
My coworker and I had a conversation earlier in the week and we agreed that Christmas just isn't the same when you're an adult. When you were a kid everything was magical, possible and you had an unlimited amount of hope. If you were anything like my brother and I, we took Christmas traditions very seriously. While Mom decorated literally every inch of the house in Christmas decor, Jimmy and I would lock ourselves in our rooms and decorate. No one was allowed in until our masterpieces were complete! We would go to bed with our rooms lit up and Mom would unplug them while we were sleeping. Jimmy and I also had a big collection of Christmas coloring books that would sit in our bookcase until the proper time of the year. We would spend evenings coloring and Mom would always bring us a new one from work to add to our collection. We loved spending countless hours outside romping in the snow with my best friend Kristin and her sister Kimberly. Eating icicles off the roof, making snow forts, sledding or just sitting in the snow and taking in the winter night. If you can honestly tell me you never laid under your Christmas tree while it was lit and took in all the lights, you need to do this when you get home. Christmas Eve was always a difficult night to sleep, knowing "Santa" was going to bring us new toys. As we got older Mom would always tell us that this Christmas wasn't going to be like last and it was going to be "smaller" to this day we still don't think she knows the meaning of the word. I would often watch Mom make her fudge that she would place in tins or on platters with other assorted goodies and Jimmy and I would have to deliver them to the neighbors. Christmas morning it's tradition that Mom makes her Raisin Bran muffins for breakfast, it's something us kids look forward to every year. When she was done making ours she would continue baking so Jimmy and I could deliver a few more dozen to the neighbors. Always on a special Christmas platter with a few sticks of butter. They were always fresh out of the oven, piping hot upon delivery!
Unfortunately Christmas time isn't quite as magical as it was when I was a kid. Instead of spending a sleepless Christmas Eve in excitement for Santa to visit, you're now Santa. Your sleepless night is now because you're going over everything in your head to make sure you didn't miss a gift. I have come to the realization however that all those years of being a kid during the holidays has prepped me for the kind of adult I want to be. I've been given the greatest responsibility in making sure all the kids in my life enjoy Christmas as much as I did. Even though Eric and I don't have kids of our own to make special traditions with, we have many nieces and nephews to practice on! Eric and I love buying presents for all the kids and watching them get excited, it's even more fun when the parents get excited too! Eric may not understand why I get so excited to watch the old Peanuts cartoons, Rudolph or Frosty the Snowman on TV, but Jimmy does and we still send each other a text to make sure we watch it. Hopefully when Eric sees how excited our someday kids get when they come on TV, he'll understand.
Last month I took the challenge of announcing something I was thankful for, for 22 days. This month I've promised myself that I'm going to slow things down and try to find the real meaning of Christmas if you will. I'm almost finished with my first Christmas book, our house is decorated and my shopping for all the little ones in our lives is almost done! I listen to Christmas music on my way to and from work and enjoy a warm beverage to keep me cozy when I can. No matter how hard I try I can't fight back the tears when I hear "I'll Be Home For Christmas" on the radio, even though I know my sister will be in town before I know it!  I've told myself that I'm going to try to do something "festive" every week to keep my spirits up! I'm going to enjoy my family all month long and let them know how much they mean to me. When you get down to it, Christmas isn't about gifts, it's about tradition, memories and the warm fuzzy feeling you get when your family is surrounding you. I hope everyone enjoys Christmas this year, no matter how you prefer to celebrate it! Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

22 Days of Thanks

I was on Facebook one morning and a friend posted Day 1: and proceeded to say what she was thankful for. While I didn't get the private message as to what the new posting trend was, I got the message loud and clear. The past couple of years have been hard for Eric and I emotionally and with that struggle it's easy to lose sight of the many blessings in our lives. So I knew I had to participate in this daily posting to remind myself of the many things I'm thankful for. If you happen to miss my daily posts, they're all below, enjoy!

Day 1: I'm thankful for my growing family! I'm so blessed to have such amazing nieces and nephews, being an Aunt is the best job in the world!
Day 2: I'm thankful for a hot cup of coffee every morning. Odd I know, but not everyone has the luxury.
Day 3: I'm thankful for my time with my husband. After a long week, I enjoy our weekends together. ♥
Day 4: I'm thankful for my amazing group of friends, don't know what I would do without them!
Day 5: I'm thankful I had such a relaxing day yesterday, great company, amazing food and the rest I needed to feel energized today. Thanks again Dave Faron and Kristin, we'll definitely come over again!   
Day 6: I'm thankful for two things today! 1 that my husband is patient with me at the gym and makes me kick my own butt and 2 that I can rock my right to vote today!
Day 7: I'm thankful for date nights with my Dad, looking forward to this evening! ♥
Day 8: I'm thankful there are people in the world that will go out of their way to help another in need. It's amazing what can happen when everyone comes together as one.
Day 9: I'm thankful for weekends, nothing better than some much needed rest and time with family and friends!
Day 10: I'm thankful I get to work on house projects with my Dad.
Day 11: "Salute the ones who've died, the ones that gave their lives, so we don't have to sacrifice all the things we love..." I'm so very thankful for all the men and women who served or continue to serve our country. Also for the families who give a big sacrifice as well. ♥ Happy Veterans Day!
Day 12: At the moment I'm thankful for ice... I just banged my eye on our glass table and I'm really hoping I didn't give myself a black eye. On a more significant level I'm thankful for pictures... when I can't see family and friends all the time I enjoy the pictures that are posted. It makes me feel like I'm not missing that much even though I really am.
Day 13: I'm thankful for my awesome Mother-in-law Tammy Kenney! We always have a great time when we get together and I can talk to her for hours. She always encourages Eric and I to do things that make us happy and always wants the best for her kids. Today is her Birthday and I hope she has a great day! ♥
Day 14: I'm thankful for the unexpected moments when Eric tells me he loves me. He always knows when I need to hear it the most.
Day 15: I'm thankful that I got to spend the evening with my SIL Kim! We always have a great time and we definitely don't get together enough. ♥ Love you Kim!!!! 
Day 16: I'm thankful for cozy nights at home with my hubby! Especially after a very long week! ♥