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!