Archive for December, 2009

The Magic of Hope

Hope is my favorite word.  It stands miles beyond fear, is heavy with gratitude and is so much more than just a simple wish.  It’s a belief that something is truly possible.

Last year, with the birth of our first baby, I focused on the word “savor” as the attitude and characteristic that I wanted my life to reflect – savoring each moment of pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting.  This year, I keep coming back to my old friend, hope.  I have a good life, that much is true.  But choosing joy no matter our circumstances has so much to do with our ability to hope.  Maybe we don’t know how a problem will be solved or if it will be solved at all – but through it all there is always hope.

Hope strengthens.  Hope gives courage.  Hope creates joy.  How could it not be my favorite word?

Think about choosing a word of your own to focus on for the next little while.  For inspiration, click Ali’s blog here.

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It Doesn’t Hurt to Try

Back in September our nurses at the Reproductive Care Center called us.  They had just met with the rep for Ferring Pharmaceuticals and had an offer for us.  Ferring was sponsoring an essay contest for those who had used their drug during IVF and were successful in getting a baby.  The nurses, after months of treatments and doctor appointments, were now our friends and thought of us for this contest.

I ended up putting it off until the day it was due a month later and was under the gun to try and write an essay as well as get my doctor’s signature that the information was accurate, gather photos that they needed, blah, blah, blah.  It seemed like a lot to do and I considered just ignoring the whole thing.

Then I realized that I could piggyback off my blog writings – why start from scratch when I had plenty right here at my fingertips!  I sifted through a few key blog posts that reflected what I wanted to say about our invitro process and pieced together what I wanted for my essay.  Our Reproductive Care nurses were fabulous enough to get the right paperwork faxed back to me in the middle of all the other things they had to do that day.  With photos chosen and package compiled, we sent our entry to Ferring just in time.

A few weeks ago we received a Fed Ex letter saying that I had won the essay contest and I just received an email saying that the prize, a $3,000 scholarship for Coleman, had been transferred to his education fund.  We were so excited and I admit, I am very proud of myself for winning.  But it still kind of amazes me that I almost didn’t even try.  Things were busy, there were quite a few steps to follow to enter the contest, I was probably feeling like a regular tired mom that day – and I almost just ignored the opportunity in favor of a nap.

When my niece, Brynne was in junior high she ran for student council every year.  Every year she lost.  Her sophomore year of high school she ran for junior class officer.  Worried that she might be setting herself up for more disappointment, my sister asked her daughter, “What if you don’t win?”  Brynne said, “Mom, I already know what it feels like to lose.  I’d like to see if I can win.”

Brynne - beautiful on the inside and out

That year, after four years of trying, she won.  She won the next year also and had a fabulous experience planning, leading, learning, making friends, and doing all the things that student officers experience.  But what if she had given up?  Watching Brynne taught me a lesson that I still think of often.  Even if you don’t win, it doesn’t hurt to try.

It’s almost the beginning of a new year – now is the time for a fresh start, don’t you think?  Afterall, it doesn’t hurt to try.

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This will be my last download for 2009 – I’m hanging out with my family till the New Year instead of designing!  Happy Holidays to all of you, wherever you are in the world.  Thank you for being a part of 2009 with me – it’s been a wonderful, new journey and I can’t wait to see what 2010 has in store for our little family.

Enjoy the holiday!

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Another Christmas first.  It’s been about 35 years since anyone in our little family has sat on Santa’s lap.  I predicted that Cole would not cry but opt for his serious face that he gets when he’s not sure about something.  I was right.  This picture captures him perfectly with his chubby belly showing, his shoes and socks kicked off and the transfixed stare directed toward Santa’s jingle bells.  I love every part of him and this journey we’re sharing together.

I’m learning that starting traditions and renewing old ones is what having children is all about as we look at life always with the thought of what is best for Cole.  Some things we want to do exactly like our parents did because we know it helped us become who we are today.  Some things we want to tweak or change because it fits our family better.

But whether we’re talking about Christmastime or our family habits that last all year, one thing is for sure – traditions take on a whole new meaning when children are a part of them.  We are grateful beyond words for this new phase of our lives.  We were late in getting started but are embracing the adventure of parenthood the best we can and establishing the traditions that will help our little one have a happy life as he becomes all that he is meant to be.

Here’s to family traditions – at the holiday season and every other day of the year.  Enjoy!

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Two Inches

Monday at the gym there were only two of us in our class and Jim had us work…and work….and work our arms.  Here I thought I was doing great at Jim’s Gym but no, I was so sore from that workout.  So when Wednesday rolled around and we had to do some more arm exercises along with other things, it was brutal.  I admit that I was lame.  No, I did not rock my workout.

But to make matters worse, Jim is working on a new nickname for me.  I’m no longer the slowest in the class so along with “Speedy,” he feels the need to add to my name.  “Grandma” has been tossed around a few times.  I’m so sure, Jim!  I do not act like a grandma just because I don’t tap the floor with the medicine ball on that sit and twist exercise.

But like I said, on Wednesday I did not rock my workout.  I used only an 8 pound weight for the tricep behind the head things and had to take breaks during the dips and curls.  I was not at my best, that’s for sure.  So Jim started working on a new nickname and came up with this:

“I’m going to start calling you ‘Speedy Two Inches Hall’ because you’re only moving the weights two inches instead of 90 degrees!  It doesn’t roll off the tongue easily so I’ll have to think about it – but something along those lines.”

You’re right, Jim.  It doesn’t roll off the tongue so give it up.  And in the process I will choose to ignore the fact that whenever someone else didn’t bend their arms 90-degrees that you said, “You’re doing it the Kolette way.  You gotta go more than two inches!”

Yes, I do know that bending my arms 90-degrees is my goal instead of two inches that you claim I was moving.  And yes, I do know what a 90-degree angle is. You even asked Ken, a contractor in our class, to bring in one of his big square rulers to demonstrate a 90-degree angle to those who haven’t passed fifth grade math.  Seriously, we know what a 90-degree angle is, Jim.

So my final plea goes out to Ken.  Don’t do it!  Leave the ruler and Jim’s thoughts of annoying us even more at home!  We’re counting on you!

One thing is for sure though, I actually feel some muscles in my arms these days.  I must be doing something right.

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I think it goes without saying that we are loving our first Christmas with a little one in the house.  Things are just different this year.  We find ourselves wanting to do things that maybe we didn’t care about before simply because we want to start our own Christmas traditions with Coleman.

Over the years we have never collected very many ornaments for a tree.  In fact, we often didn’t even have a tree because either our space was too small or we were going to be gone for the holidays and I didn’t want to bother with it.  Last year, when we moved into our new home we got a tree that could last us for a long time.  I looked at the our ornaments that we had saved from our childhood or gathered from places we had traveled and it was a meager collection at best.

We have heard of many of you who get one ornament for your children or grandchildren each year to add to their collections and have decided to do the same in our family.  We like things to have meaning of some sort and so I hunted and hunted for something that would represent our little man this year.  In my search I found the following stocking letters from Anthropologie and immediately fell in love.  I knew that they would be perfect for his “first ornament.”  They didn’t have an “O” and so I decided to substitute it with a round ornament we already had.  I think I like it even better this way than if it matched.

So here’s to new ornaments, new traditions and new memories.  Cole likes to crawl under the tree on his way from one room to the other and likes to look at himself in the shiny ornaments on the bottom branches but so far we’ve been safe from any “baby destruction.”  And trust me, we’re not giving him any ideas!

Have a fabulous week and consider creating a collection of your ornaments this year.  I used three storyboard collage templates and placed them onto one document to create my ornament layout in photoshop.  Love those storyboards!


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I’m a water girl because I have practiced it.  I never really liked the taste of water but have taught myself to like it because it’s good for me.  So I always have a water with me.  A couple of years ago my mother-in-law asked me to design a label for custom water bottles for the Hall family.  Just like a business or company can create their own custom waters, a family can as well.  Since she’s the Hall family and we’re the Hall family, I design the labels and order custom water bottles when she does.

I know it sounds a little over the top, but you’d be surprised at how inexpensive it really is.  So we have designer water.  It makes me happy to see something that I have created in a format that I can carry around with me and share with others.  Plus, it’s a great conversation piece.

This year for the holidays, we are giving away cases of water to those who are close to us.  It’s practical (which I love) and unique and fun.  I’m pretty sure people haven’t received water for Christmas before.

I even took a case to Jim’s Gym – I can’t think of a more fitting gift to give to Jim, the Water Nazi.  Drink up, everyone!

For our download, I’m giving you a version of our Christmas water label to use in your holiday frame or on a card or whatever you want to do with it.  When I was in high school I had a friend named Mary Little so whenever I see this phrase I still think of her. Tis’ the season for creativity…for me, I’ll enjoy this download on my water this month.


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