What We are Thankful for this Year
Written by Abby and Austin
2017 has been good to us. There is so much to be thankful for during this season of life so we thought we would make a list to remember the great things that mean the most to us this year.
Our new niece, Ellyette Nicole
Little Elly graced us with her presence about 8 weeks ahead of her Thanksgiving due date! We are so so thankful for this little one and the progress that she has made and that she is now home from the NICU and doing great! We are also so thankful for her nurses and doctors who took such good care of her and her mom, my sister-in-law Ali. She is a little miracle and the apple of her big sister Ashlenn's eye! She has been a fighter since she was in the womb and we know that God has great plans for this little girl. The NICU nurses even made her a super tiny (for her 3 lb body!) Wonder Woman costume for Halloween! We are so excited to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with Elly and Ashlenn!
Our Own Place
It would be an understatement to say we have had our share of apartments and living spaces over the 8 years we have been together. From cramped studios to 5th floor walk ups to me living above a bar in the middle of France (long story there) to most recently sharing a house with 3 other people. We have finally moved (circa August) to our own duplex house near downtown. Although, not massive by any means, it fits our lives at the moment and has been an absolute Godsend. Abby has been able to scratch that decorating itch and I have loved the chance to be close enough to downtown to swing over for a quick cup of coffee or an afternoon bite to eat. It has given us the chance to finally bust out many of the storage laden belongings that we haven't seen in years and finally nest in a bit. We have also enjoyed having people over for dinner and game nights and most recently Westworld marathons. I've got my coffee bar all set up, my record player on a constant rotation of Sam Cooke and Frank Sinatra, and the big screen on full display. No doubt, we are enjoying our new digs.
Durham, North Carolina
This has been our first full year living in North Carolina and we endured a couple setbacks we weren't expecting. We moved here last year for Austin's job and after a lot of debate, soul searching, praying, we felt at peace with Austin not going back to it this year, which created some unknowns going into the year. Were we going to stay in North Carolina? Are we supposed to go back to Chicago? Should we look somewhere else new entirely and move cross country again? We didn't know. We hoped and prayed for a push in the right direction. So far, we feel at peace here. I am really enjoying my job and have now been working for my company for over a year and have met and worked with some of the best people in my career so far. From not knowing if any TV jobs existed in North Carolina to where I have ended up, has been a God-send. We are thankful for the friends we have made here who have become family and this time to live a slower paced life than we lived in Chicago and NYC. While we do miss it, we know we will end up in the right spot because we always have. Who knows what next year holds for us, but for now we are thankful for our time and our life in Durham.
Since both of us work for ourselves technically (only when it to comes taxes- another stress), health insurance has been a huge unnecessary stress for us, especially for two people who couldn't be healthier. Politics aside, our system is completely messed up and doesn't serve us as well as it could. I can't imagine having health problems and the stress that comes with dealing with insurance companies. I'm so thankful we can afford the terrible plans we can afford and our health that has sustained us from needing to use it. Trying to live in the present and not thinking about our future (aka wanting to have a baby in the near future) has been our saving grace as we buy time until hopefully we get on a company health insurance policy.
I suppose this goes hand in hand with being thankful for Durham itself, but it certainly can't be mentioned enough from my end at least. The weather and climate here are super ideal. Other than June-August, where it can get past 100 degrees, the temperature rarely goes below 50 and we truly get to experience each and every season without some of the negative drawbacks (ahem, snowstorms like the polar vortex). It has really allowed us to live an outdoor lifestyle to a certain extent and we have thoroughly enjoyed bike rides, hiking,grilling out, and evening cocktails on the porch (also morning coffee there too for me). We also save on the need for extra closet space to store all those coats we had in Chicago.
Being able to see our families as much as we have
Even though we live so far away from our families now, we have been blessed to see them throughout the year. All of our parents have visited us in North Carolina and we've taken a few trips home. We definitely miss them and wish we lived so much closer or at least had more money and free weekends (soccer season is tough!) to visit more often. This spring we got to go to Italy and spend 10 days with my family which was some great quality time for us and we have upcoming trips together for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and a vacation after Christmas. It's been hard to miss out of family events and celebrations and just the day to day life together, but we are thankful for the time we do get.
We have been very fortunate to travel a lot this year! It's one of our favorite things to do together and we love visiting our friends and family all over and have been fortunate to make the trips- especially now that we are in driving distance to so many great getaways. We've travelled to Savannah, Minneapolis, New York City, Chicago, Portland, Kentucky, Emerald Isle, Palm Beach, Charleston several times, Italy, and will be headed to Paris and Belgium after Christmas. We still have more friends to visit in Alabama, Texas, St. Louis, California, Virginia, and Boston and will be adding them to our list for next year!