January and February have flown by so quickly!
We rang in the new year in typical fashion for us: a low key night at home with a bottle of my favorite sparkling white. January, as a whole, was like a breath of fresh air. After a very stressful 2011, we were finally able to just breathe a bit. It really was almost an immediate relief. Brandon took some leave time, and finally caught up on his holiday days (since the ER has to be staffed 24/7, nurses don't automatically get days off for federal holidays. In a perfect world, each nurse is given an extra day off sometime around each holiday, but the ER here was understaffed for so long that it didn't happen for several months). So, we finally had some downtime to relax.
Best of all, we were able to really relax for the first time in a long time. I kept saying, "I didn't even realize how much we needed this." It feels wrong for me to think of a vacation as a "need." It's such a luxury. But we did desperately need to relax. We both realized that we had been stressed for a very long time. 2011 was hard. It brought many changes, and major life changes-- even when positive-- are stressful.
When we returned from our vacation, we celebrated my birthday. It's the first time I've ever panicked a bit about how close I'm getting to the big 3-0. As a kid, I always thought that 26 was the age when you finally "made it." You were old enough to be taken seriously as an adult, yet still young. In my "life plan" (made when I was 8 or 9 years old), 26 was the age when my husband and I would have our first baby: after I had completed my doctorate, of course. I also imagined that I would be one of those women who slept in a silk nightgown, drank black coffee, and started each morning with a three mile run. I'm pretty sure that image was inspired by a Folger's commercial.
Well, at 26, I am married, so there's one similarity between real life and my childhood fantasy. No doctorate, and no plans for a baby, although we could get a call any day with a referral (a match) in our adoption. No silk nightgowns for me-- I'm a total pajamas girl. I do start every morning with coffee, but it's not Folger's and it's not black. I never run. Never.
February has been another great month. Brandon still had a couple of holidays, so his work schedule has been a little easier than a normal month (which is great, because they will soon be significantly short staffed again with several people deploying). We have made the most of our time.
February brought some progress in our adoption process, although we don't have any news to share.
February also brought an unexpected realization. It hit me one day that this is really home now. I didn't expect to feel that way. I thought it would always feel like an extended travel assignment. But it doesn't. We've put down some real roots here. I know there will come a day when we'll be moving on, and that's okay. But it's nice that it feels like home in the meantime.
Speaking of roots, I also did some work in our flower beds this month. Last year we planted lantana, lillies, aster, and some moss roses (the moss roses didn't survive halloween, unfortunately. Next year we will move some lawn chairs down to the road instead of having kids-- and their parents-- traipsing through the yard). The lillies have sprouted, and will soon blossom. The lantana didn't fare so well. I cut it back to the ground this month, and hope it grows back. The aster will bloom this fall.
But, obviously, we needed some spring color. So this month, I planted rose bushes, African daisies, gerbera daisies, and a few other pops of color that caught my eye. The orange and lemon trees we planted last year are on the verge of blossoming. Most of the herbs I started as seeds last year are developing into tiny baby plants, and I have some new pepper plant sprouts. The full grown herbs from last year are all returning, and I added fresh oregano and a second basil plant (basil was the best investment I made last year, I used it at least twice a week in recipes).
So far, 2012 really has been a much needed breather after an exhausting last year. I'm excited to see what the rest of this year holds-- it could be a big one for us!