Friday, January 29, 2010

Wait, did my doctor just say that??!?

I had my physical the other day. I had assumed the position and then my doctor says "Holly, do you mind if I let Nurse So-and-So take a look at this?" That definitely makes the list of Top Ten Things You Never Want to Hear Your Doctor Say.

(I should mention that everything was worries)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Step by step, baby

Last night (well truthfully about 2:15 this morning) I finished the remainder of our online adoption mega-questionnaire. Before Nathan went to bed we did the sticky part...the one where we have to take a list of about 30 or so disabilities/diseases/drug exposure situations and say if we would be willing to accept a child who fell into one of those categories (and also if we would be willing to accept a child if either of the birth parents had one of those diseases, etc). Man, that was tough. Nathan and I struggled with more than a few of the options, not gonna lie.

So what's left?? Physicals (mine is tomorrow...Nathan's in on Wednesday), interviews (individual and as a couple) and our home evaluation (anyone wanna come over and help me clean?) I am getting pretty stoked...although part of me feels like it isn't real. Like someone will pop out from around the corner and say "Ha Ha! You've been Punk'd! You can't really adopt - you guys are freaks!" So hoping that doesn't happen...but just to be safe I'm keeping a look out for hidden cameras.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Midnight Hour

The last week or so I have had a wicked bout of insomnia. I find myself not falling asleep until around 4am. I'm not sure what little goblin is stealing my sleep...I've tried to smoke him out, but he is determined to stay hidden.

Not being able to sleep does have some positives. For instance, the other night I got started on my mega-questionnaire for adoption. I wasn't sleepy so I kept going...and I finished my part! FINISHED. Now I'm just waiting on some documents that are being mailed to us and for Nathan to finish his portion. I also found out that I have some random beeping alarm that goes off at 3:16am. I think it is a stopwatch, but I haven't been able to catch it before it stops beeping...maybe tonight. :)

I have tried several things to placate my little sleep goblin. No caffeine during the day, Ambien, muscle relaxers, Tylenol PM, ambient noise, counting backwards...all to no avail. Yesterday after not falling asleep until 3am I still got up at 8, cleaned the apartment, cooked a big meal, ran errands and still was not tired when bedtime came around. I didn't fall asleep until almost 4 this morning. Any suggestions? I mean, I've always been a night owl, but this is getting ridiculous!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Making Adjustments

I know I already posted about my resolutions, but I have had quite a bit of time to think the last few days (unemployment will do that to ya) and I want to add a couple things.

I am the piano player at church. This shouldn't cause me any stress because I have been playing the piano since fourth grade - but I haven't kept up on playing hymns and I've lost my proficiency with them. It feel a great amount of anxiety sitting there waiting for the meeting to start, knowing I will need to step up to the plate, er...keyboard...soon and plunk out a tune. I feel very embarrassed when I can't play it through without lots of noticeable errors...which is an all too frequent occurrence (especially since they seem to pick all of the lesser known hymns). So one of my additional goals for 2010 is to be able to comfortably play all 340 hymns in the hymnbook.

I also want to branch out in the kitchen...I find myself making the same 10-12 things. I make them well, and we like them, but I want to expand my repertoire. My goal here is to try one new recipe a month. Got one you love and want to share?

So now my resolutions are:

- Finally (may I repeat...FINALLY) get all of our stuff done to get our adoption homestudy approved
- Lose some weight
- Do something nice for someone everyday
- Be better at remembering birthdays
- Get and stay organized
- Be able to comfortably play all 340 hymns in the hymnbook
- Try one new recipe a month

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Baby steps

Today Nathan and I spent the afternoon taking another step in our adoption journey. We got fingerprinted! I was so hoping it would be the old fashioned way with ink, cause that would have made a cuter picture...but turns out the state of Illinois is up on technology and used fancy, non-ink techniques.

Nathan has good deep-ridged fingerprints...mine were not so good. I told the guy I do a lot of things with my hands (sewing, knitting, scrapbooking, painting, sanding, etc...) he said that would easily wear them down. I don't care as long as they are good enough and I don't have to do them again.

It is nice the change a new day can bring. Yesterday I was getting a little (read: ate almost a pound of chocolate) bummed out because our adoption journey is not moving as quickly as I would like it to. The ball had stopped rolling. I felt completely overwhelmed looking at the items left for us to complete before we can bring a child home. The list felt never-ending. Part of me just wanted to give up...I felt hopeless. I went to bed in tears.
Today when we got up we decided to do something on that list. When we walked into the waiting area at the fingerprinting place I felt a surge of happiness. We were moving towards our goal again, we took a step, and albeit a very small step, it sure feels awesome to be rolling that ball again.

Friday, January 08, 2010

The truth

A friend had a post that got me thinking. She wondered if the version of us that we post here in blog world is truly that of ourselves, or if it is a sweetened, photo-shopped version. I have often wondered the same thing as I peruse the blogs of friends and family...and I have had people pose questions or comments to me that make me wonder if they know the true me.

I think in my case I fall on the other end of the spectrum. Most people try to polish everything and make their life all bright and shiny. I am not afraid of the ugly. I have no shortage of posts where I show the wounds of my soul, or whine about the unfairness of the world. I think I am a more cheerful person than my blog portrays. I have people tell me all the time that they think I use drugs because otherwise I could not be so happy. I guess I need to work on showing that side of Holly on this blog.

Don't you want to be a Betty Crocker too...

Since I am not spending 11-12 hours a day away from home at work I have more time to cook. I love to cook and I have many cookbooks, all of which have fabulous recipes...but sometimes I just wonder what other people are cooking. In the cold months of winter, nothing is better than a bowl of warm soup or a yummy casserole. I have a few go-to recipes but I'd like to add a few to the repertoire. Do you have a go-to soup or casserole recipe? Feel like sharing??

To be fair, I'll give you one. This soup is FANTASTICAL. I warn may just lick out the saucepan...and once you make it for someone they'll ask for it over and over. I got it out of a Taste of Home cookbook (which are seriously THE BEST cookbooks - got my first one from my grandma almost 10 years ago for Christmas) and modified it here and there every time I made it. I use ground turkey instead of beef because it has less fat...and honestly, if it is in something like soup, tacos, chili, etc you cannot tell. Try it, I dare you. I also do not peel my potatoes, I like the flavor the skin gives...and it is less work. :) Here it is:

(pic from Taste of Home)

Spicy Cheeseburger Soup
  • 2 C water
  • 3 C cubed potatoes
  • 1-1/2 C sliced carrots
  • 1/2 C chopped green onions
  • 1 large chopped green pepper
  • 1-1/2 Tbs beef bouillon granules
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1-1/2 pound ground turkey
  • 2-1/2 C milk, divided
  • 3 Tbs all-purpose flour
  • 1 C shredded Cheddar or Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 lb bacon, sliced into 1/2" pieces and cooked


  • Cook bacon.
  • Brown turkey with garlic. Season with cayenne pepper.
  • In a large saucepan, combine the water, veggies and the bouillon; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  • Stir in turkey and bacon and 2 cups of milk; heat through.
  • Combine flour and remaining milk until smooth; gradually stir into soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; stir in cheese until melted. Yield: 8 servings (about 2 quarts).

Ok, your turn.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

How long is this tunnel??!?

This evening I sat down and filled out some more of our adoption paperwork...this is the second batch...the little bit that we have to do for the state of Illinois - well, not LITTLE, but smaller than the HUGE (read: think of how much paperwork would kill you and then back it off a little bit) amount we have to do for our agency. I do really well for a while and then I get to questions that shouldn't be tricky...but are. Take for instance the question that asks our total household income. Sounds easy right? Well TODAY ours is a whole lot less than it was LAST WEEK. (Cause my temp job is done...on the market again, hopefully something comes up soon) I hope it goes back up, but what number should I use for now? I don't want to risk putting too little and having them say "Nope, not enough" but I don't want to lie. Then there is the question that asks if both parents are working outside the home what our plans for childcare? Well, right now I'm home, but that might change soon...and honestly we were going to cross the bridge of childcare when we got to it. We've talked about it, but who knows when and where we'll get a baby and plans and situations change. I would love to be able to stay home with our kids, but depending on where we're stationed, that might not be a feasible reality.

We've also had to document the hours we've spent reading adoption related articles, watching adoption related videos, attending adoption classes, etc. You know what?? I've spent A TON of time learning about adoption...and I only know a flake off a chip off a corner of the knowledge block. Adoption is one complicated beast. A beautiful, wonderful, miracle of a beast, but a beast none the less.

I know each of these little steps helps us to get a little closer, and I do see the light at the end of the tunnel, but seriously...HOW LONG IS THIS FREAKING TUNNEL??!?

Monday, January 04, 2010

Looking Ahead

Nathan and I had quite the discussion driving home from New Years Eve. I was asking him about resolutions and wondered what his were going to be. He told me he doesn't think we need one day to make us want to be better. I agree about not needing a specific day, but hey...why not, right?? Jan 1st is a good a time as any to choose to improve yourself.

Last year I said this:
"I still feel like if you don't set the goals, you might just be complacent with the current version of you...never wanting to get better."
I still agree. There are many things about myself that I am happy with and yet others that I would like to change. In that spirit, here are my resolutions, a.k.a. Holly Improvement Plan 2010. :)

- Finally (may I repeat...FINALLY) get all of our stuff done to get our adoption homestudy approved
- Lose some weight
- Do something nice for someone everyday
- Be better at remembering birthdays
- Get and stay organized

So what about you? Any of you have resolutions?

Looking Back

I made some resolutions and I want to stand publicly "accountable" for how I did. So here's the rundown:

Do something nice for someone everyday - If I was going for 365 days out of 365 I failed...but the overall effect of this goal was good for me. I didn't try to do big, grandeose things every day, sometimes I would just make the extra effort to smile at strangers or give more sincere compliments...or let Nathan watch his show, etc. I didn't remember to do it every day, but I did remember more days than I forgot.

Read a new book each month - I love to read, so this one was simple.

Take a photography class - I took a couple basic classes in Logan before we moved. I wanted to take something way more in depth, but I did take at least those so I guess that counts. I can hopefully find a class to take this year.

Do everything we need to do to get our end of adoption all set up - We hit a few road blocks on the way to this one. We didn't get our end all done, but we're well on our way.

Go back to church - It took us until October to get there...better late than never.

Read the BOM & DnC again by year end - Not even close.

Learn at least one solo/concerto on piano - I didn't learn a complete one, but I think I played the piano more in 2009 than 2008 so that's good.

Learn at least one solo/concerto on flute - I didn't even get a piece of music bought...but I pulled my flute out a couple times and played through some old music I have laying around.

Do 100 scrapbook pages - I don't know if I got 100, but I probably got 50.

Be better at remembering everyone's birthdays - Total fail, unless you're on Facebook.

Do one thing a month that scares me - To be honest I totally forgot about this one. Looking back I did do some things this year that made me reach outside my comfort zone: moving to a new city, taking the train downtown by myself for the first time, working a job in a totally new line of work.

Be more grateful - I tried to look at the things/people I felt like I took for granted and imagined how my life would be without them.

B - Do something nice for someone everyday
A+ - Read a new book each month
B - Take a photography class
C - Do everything we need to do to get our end of adoption all set up
A - Go back to church
F - Read the BOM & DnC again by year end
C - Learn at least one solo/concerto on piano
D - Learn at least one solo/concerto on flute
C - Do 100 scrapbook pages
D- - Be better at remembering everyone's birthdays
C - Do one thing a month that scares me
B - Be more grateful

Sunday, January 03, 2010

New Years Eve

We spent our New Years Eve with some friends. We decided to have a seafood fest and steer clear of the crowds. I debated on if I should post pictures of the fabulous food we ate...cause I didn't want you sending me emails cussing me out when you lick your screens. Seriously.

Ok, fine, I'll show them to you. I am not to be held responsible for any excess drool-age on your end. Read on only if you are prepared, and have a napkin or a shirt sleeve handy.

First off: Bacon wrapped shrimp.
I found the recipe and Nathan prepped and cooked them.

Next: Bacon wrapped scallops.

Main course: Fresh from Newport, Rhode Island lobster.
Stuffed and prepared by Bruce. He and Sara were in Newport for Christmas (I'm wicked jealous) and they brought back some lobsters. They were stuffed with roasted red peppers and scallops. Mmmm...

For dessert: Stage one was melted chocolate goodness that I didn't get a pic of.
Stage two was this fantastic apple tart made by Davina. She served it with Creme Brulee ice cream from Ben & Jerry's. (Ok, now I'm drooling)

After dinner, we attempted some RockBand and played a game of Scene It.

Bruce 'tried' the guitar.

Sara liked the champagne.

Nathan loves Joel and Davina's dog Petie...and Petie loves Nathan.

Joel and Davina...the Rock Band professionals:

Their cat, Red, got into the liquor cabinet and passed out early.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Call of the search party, who am I kidding. Don't roll your eyes at me!

I have not been around blog land for almost a month...a MONTH. We've been busy, and I have this weird thing about safety. You see, back around the time of my last post (Dec 8) we set up plans to go to The Beehive State for Christmas. I was busy planning, etc and I didn't exactly want to announce to all of cyberspace that we would be away from our house for a week (read: vacant urban apartment guarded by a scardy cat...feel free to plunder). I do have things to share, but I am on a bit of a seafood hangover today and my brain is running in slow motion (probably because of the amount of butter I consumed yesterday) and I am struggling to get sentences strung together. Hopefully I'll have better luck tomorrow.