2013: The Year of Love

"Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity." 
-Henry Van Dyke

2013 was a good year.  It had it's ups and downs, but this year I have chosen love above all else... and so 2013 was a good year.  We are still a family of 3 and I'm fine with that. I've embraced my fortune to have all of this extra for our daughter. Extra time, extra  money, extra love. 

2013 was a terrifying year. My dad had two MAJOR surgeries but both went well and he's here with us. Here to talk to, here to hug, here to enrich all of our lives, here to love. 

2013 was a busy year.  There wasn't much down time and it was tiring and wonderful and full of LOVE!

Here are some highlights from the second half of 2013:

Abby started school!  She attends a Performing Arts Preschool and we couldn't have found a better fit for her.  She loves going to school and is thriving there.

This picture was from her school recital. She was a snow fairy and in my (totally unbiased) opinion she stole the show. ;) 

I turned 30 this year. It has taken me some time to embrace that number, but I'm finally accepting of it. LOL. My loving husband really went all out to celebrate my birthday this year.  We took a romantic dinner cruise on the Spirit of Philadelphia.  There was champagne, flowers, fireworks, dancing, food, delicious drinks and great company. I truly felt like a queen that day and it will forever be one of my favorite memories.

Abby continues to love dance class and her teachers... so even though she's now dancing 5 days a week in her preschool, we allow her to continue Saturday morning classes as well. Our little prima ballerina!

We have taken on many projects this year... but one of Abby's favorites has been growing an avocado tree from a seed.  This was the day we brought B.A.T. (baby avocado tree) home. A big thanks to my friend Karen for passing him along to us. <3

Halloween brought with it another princess costume. It always amuses me that my rough and tumble sporty girl is such a fashion diva and so into princesses. This year she was Sofia the First. :)

2013 was the beginning of our new bathroom.  The new toilet and tub are complete, and the new sink and accessories are installed... now we just need to finish sanding and painting. It's been a work in progress for a while, but I'm pretty excited about the end result.  When you live in a house with only one bathroom, that bathroom needs to be nice!

Our furry family member turned 4 years old in November and we celebrated by making her peanut butter pancakes. Roxie loves her peanut butter and Abby sang Happy Birthday to her. :)

Abby and I found a new show to bond over (and obsess about)... Dr. Who!  We are now officially Whovians and have watched every single episode from 2005-current. We even made sure to watch the Christmas episode on Christmas day. The picture above is Abby's imitation of a weeping angel... though I doubt I would have to explain that to anyone who watches the show since it's a pretty spot on imitation. ;)

Last but not least, our one and only baby girl turned 5 years old. She had a special day of celebrating with a trip to the movies, shopping, out to dinner, and the Maiorino grandparents spent the night. Her party will be next month and should be super fun!

2013 was a good year.  I made some new friends, finally met some old friends in person, made some amazing connections with people and hopefully lived my life with love, glorifying God along the way. I cannot wait to see what 2014 has in store for us. 

TTime is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.
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Hard to Breathe

This post is dated incorrectly and I can't fix it. Today's date is July 24, 2013.

Have you ever been so down about something that it becomes physically hard to breathe? There is an actual physical ache in your chest, your stomach is upset and the pressure is becoming unbearable. I never knew what people meant when they said that.... until today when there was only one line on the pregnancy test.  Two years later and I should be used to that by now, right? Except that this was the cycle where we really gave it our all... hundreds of dollars, giving myself shots and pills and other medications, dealing with horrible side effects that would hopefully be worth it, an iui procedure... our numbers were perfect and our chances were doubled with the release of two follicles instead of the normal one. The doctor said "see you soon with that positive test!"  This was it. This had to be it. We agreed to go all in this cycle and if it failed... accept defeat. I was dreaming of twins, our daughter was dreaming of a sister, my husband probably secretly hoping for a son. I knew that we wouldn't be "safe" until I saw a heartbeat up on that screen, after three early losses I was prepared for that. I wasn't prepared for complete and utter failure. A negative test after going through hell and doing everything you can do when according to countless tests there is NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU ANYWAY is a special kind of pain. The worst part is that I don't know how to let it go. It's in my soul and with me 24 hours a day. As long as hope flickers, I can't let it go, but I need to move on so that I can be wholly myself again. Writing has always been a great release for me, so hopefully putting some of my feelings down here will help me let go of them. I'm already breathing just a little easier.


I Know Some Amazing Women...

I've come to realize that I am blessed to have some truly amazing women in my life.  They inspire me, challenge me, laugh with me, cry with me... some of them make me a little crazy (as I'm sure I do them as well)... and some of them are truly angels in disguise.

Mom: You are everything that a daughter could possibly want in a mother. You build me up, make me laugh, and have instilled in me a self confidence and strength that can only come from being raised with the knowledge that I am loved no matter what. I adore you.

Mom H: I couldn't have imagined a better mother-in-law.  You are always there for me, sharing my challenges and struggles, supporting us no matter what.  I am so thankful to be able to share in your humor, love, and generous heart.

Erica: I have seen such a change in you over this past year. I'm proud of the strength and maturity that you're showing and so glad to have you in my life (and right next door). I'm looking forward to warmer weather and nights spent outside talking while the kids play.

Kristy: I always enjoy our time spent together and so appreciate and love your caring, kind heart. You are a patient and wonderful mom, thoughtful and giving and I am blessed to know you.

Margo: Your advice and commiseration during these past (and present) challenging times in my life has been so appreciated and so needed. I love having you in the family and knowing that someone "gets it".

All of my aunts and grandmothers (Patricia, Doris, Pat, Donna, Colleen, April, Robin, Sandy): You have all been there for me in different ways through the years... whether it was respecting and talking to me as a real person when I was a child, listening to me complain as a teenager, lending an ear as an adult, or reading between the lines and lending a hand when I never even asked... you helped shape who I am.  I have ALWAYS known how lucky I was to have you in my life. You have cracked me up, wiped away my tears, put me in my place when I needed a reality check, and been generous to a fault. Not everyone is lucky enough to have even one woman, outside of their mother, in their life they can count on no matter what... I have/had 8. 

Michelle: I don't get to see or talk to you nearly as much as I want to these days... but you'll always be my best friend. I am so proud of the mother that you've become and so impressed with the balance that you seem to have in your life. I have your back, always, as I know that you have mine.

Maryanne:  I never dreamed that someone who was pretty much my complete opposite would come to mean so much to me. Our shared (admittedly weird) sense of humor and your compassion, generosity, and strong personality have shown me that it's never too late in life to make a best friend. Xoxo

Kim, Karen, Jenn, Amelia, Christine, Lynda: I love you ladies! Having you to chat with, joke with and whine together on a daily basis makes coming to work that much more bearable. Some of us have worked together for years now and some are new to the mix... but I think that with our very diverse personalities we all bring a little something special to the group and I'm so thankful for every one of you.

Ashley and Meghan: When I signed Abby up for dance classes, I was nervous about the "dance moms" that I would be surrounding myself with... and then I met you two.  I was at ease with you guys immediately and our girls also fell into step as buddies right away.  Aside from our weekly hour together, it was nice having you both at Abby's birthday party and I am so grateful to know you were keeping an eye out for Abby while I was at the hospital a few weeks ago. Now that we're entering the new world of Tee ball as well, I'm looking forward to getting to know Ashley even better! 

Online friends: My mommy group(s), Christian friends, and friends of friends that I've met along the way... I've written about you ladies before and you KNOW that you're my saving grace on some days, but I couldn't write a post about the amazing women in my life without including all of you again. Our lives have become so intertwined through the years that sometimes I feel like you all live right next door to me (and often wish that you did!).

Thank you, God, for blessing me and allowing me to share my journey with all of these amazing women. 


I'm here! Recap and update

My amazing mama happened to mention that she was looking through my "old blogs" and it compelled me to travel over here myself and realize that I haven't written a word since October!  There are a few reasons for that, none of which are very good excuses. First of all... October is the beginning of my "busy season" and it's just FINALLY wearing down. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Abby's birthday, New Years, Abby's party... they all happen in rapid succession, in addition to parties, light shows, other family birthdays.  However, they are all things I should be blogging about!  I'll do a quick picture recap:

 Abigail dressed up as Cinderella this year!  Hurricane Sandy really messed up Halloween and it was actually postponed a few days.  We went Trick or Treating at the mall on Halloween and then again in the neighborhood a few days later. Our power was out for about a week, but fortunately Mike's parents had power, so we were able to stay there.  It was an adventure! 

 We spent Thanksgiving up at Lake Wallenpaupack with my parents and my nephew, Aiden.  Who else gets to make S'mores as an after dinner treat? It's always a great time up there. <3  
 Every year, to kick off the Christmas season, Apple the Elf arrives from the North Pole to keep an eye on Abby and create all kinds of holiday mischief! 

 What holiday season is complete without a cookie swap?!

 Christmas Eve was a lovely dinner at Grandmom Maiorino's house this year... crab legs, ham, and all the fixings... cooked by my mommy. Too delicious!

 Family picture from Christmas Day at the Hofmann house :) 

 The yearly tradition of daddy reading "T'was the Night Before Christmas" to his baby girl continues

 Santa did great this year and left this awesome dollhouse... still a hit a few months later!

 Abigail turned 4 right after Christmas and we celebrated with games at Chuck E Cheese and dinner at Friendly's... lucky girl, even luckier parents. <3 

 To celebrate, we had "the ballet girls" over for a pajama party!  Seriously such a sweet, kind, wonderful group of girls (and mommies!). 

 The next morning we had a pajama brunch for the family... I was particularly proud of the "create your own breakfast sandwich" bar. :)

 Since the lovely Samantha was home from college, we took advantage and had her babysit for us one night... grown up drinks and fried pickles... my favorite! 

Unfortunately, our hot water heater cracked and flooded out half of our house... we had to rip up the floors in 3 rooms and will be replacing them shortly.  While things dried up, our homeowners insurance let us stay in this amazing hotel suite! Always try to make the best of a bad situation. 

The other reason that I haven't been blogging lately is because of where I left off... with that last post about infertility and miscarriages.  No news on that front.  We're not currently seeing the specialist and have left it in God's hands. I'll update if anything changes, I promise! ;) 

And with that, I will leave you for now, blog friend. Please keep a special member of my family in your prayers...he's in mine constantly! Xoxoxo