Many of you who read this blog are either related to our family or have been friends with us for a long time. There are, however, plenty of friends that we've made along the way that haven't been there from the beginning. I am always interested to learn the back-story of new friends, and sometimes it can be fun to jump in the time machine and revisit memories made with old friends as well. What better time to do so than the end of the first decade of this century? Upon reading over this, I realize that this is very Fiber Arts centric, and I know that doesn't interest all of you, but it's who I am, and what I do, and it's hard to write around that. There are family milestones throughout as well though, so read on with courage! And at your own risk. Ha. (I've included the Christmas picture from each year, so if you're just here for the pictures, we've got you covered too.) So now, WITHOUT FURTHER ADO!
Briefly, let's swoosh back in time to '95...
I was 15 years old, growing up in metropolitan New Jersey, and my dad got a job in upstate New York. We moved from Suburbia City to a dirt road in Windsor, New York. I set out in search of friends anywhere I could find them, and came across a group of kids who met up once a month at a local roller skating rink. The DJ was hot. His name was Greg, and he was 18 years old. Sadly, he wasn't interested in dating with anyone at the moment, so I moved on to other pursuits.
Fast forward to '99...
Greg had gone away to college in North Carolina, so I had only seen him here and there at random for the three years I'd been acquainted with him, but then he started emailing me out of the blue in the fall of '99. With subject headers like: Hey Hot Chick and the like, I should have probably seen what was coming, but he'd never dated anyone, so I thought he was just being randomly, unknowingly flirtatious. When he came home to the upstate NY area on Winter/Christmas break, he made it a point to be wherever I would be...and on January 1st, 2000, we became A Couple.
Greg went back to school to finish up his senior year. The next school year I moved to Tulsa, OK to go to Victory Bible Institute, which was...interesting. I have plenty of stories, which I will perhaps share someday.
2001: July 28th, Greg and I got married, and I moved into his apartment in Watertown, NY, where he was stationed for the next 5 years.
Within two months, he was deployed to Afganistan/Kuait in support of the War On Terror, and I moved back home with my family for the 6 months he was gone.
2002: Greg was back home, and we were (finally) able to enjoy life together as a couple. We didn't have a computer at home (gasp!), so I read A LOT, and worked out for hours every morning at the gym. I started to learn how to cook For Real, and became interested in food from around the world.
2003: We started a brand new kind of adventure -- I became pregnant with our first little guy, Andrew. I was suddenly obsessed with sewing. Greg bought me a sewing machine, and I made most of my own maternity wardrobe. I also scrap-booked compulsively. I gave crochet a shot, but picked the wrong pattern to start with (a "sampler" baby blanket), and didn't know anyone who could help me. When I was 6 months pregnant with Andrew, Greg deployed again, and I moved back in with my parents (again!). In September, I gave birth to Andrew in my sister's bedroom (a planned event). Greg got home the next day.
2004: This year is a bit hard to remember...not a lot of sleep, learning to be a mom, consumed with this precious brand new little person that I was caring for. I did, however, start this blog. It began with a few false starts (you'll see if you look back through the archives), but there's been quite a learning curve. In the beginning, I wasn't sure if I'd have anything interesting to say, and if I did, if anyone would want to read it. Also, for some reason I thought it might bore people to put a whole bunch of pictures into each post. Hmm.
2005: The year I discovered crochet For Real. I became pregnant with Elijah, and had a serious urge to create stuff with yarn (those pregnant urges. They're hard to shake.) I found a local lady who showed me how to work a dishcloth, and I was off and running. I bought another baby blanket pattern, and within about 3 weeks of compulsive hooking, I had this:
At some point during this time, my friend Sarah directed me to a site called Knitty, and showed me all of these cool things that were being done online with knitting. She also introduced me to my first two blogs: Georgia Bean (formerly On My Mind), and Sheep In The City. I started clicking around, and soon also came across Knotty Mouse, Boogie Knits, and Mind Of Winter. At this point, it was just a foregone conclusion that I would start to knit. And spin. ...And weave. (But shhhh, I didn't know that yet...)
I bought a set of vintage metal needles on eBay, and a copy of Debbie Stoller's Stitch 'n Bitch, and eight days before I gave birth to Elijah, I sat down to knit. My Grandma Claire had taught me the knit stitch when I was very young, so using Debbie's book, I taught myself to cast-on, purl, follow a chart, and I was off!
Knitting and crochet was all that I could think about. A few weeks after Elijah was born, I realized that this new found obsession needed an outlet (Greg is a patient man, but truly, the guy can only be expected to absorb just so much of all of this), so I started my fiber blog, set in motion with my very first post on July 1st, 2005.
In the first few months after Elijah was born, I knit my first hat, cast on for a pair of socks and a wristband with a little bit of colorwork, and suddenly could not put down my needles. I HAD TO KNIT.
In October we had moved to Georgia (Greg was doing a career school at Ft. Benning in Columbus), and I first began to imagine that I might want to spin. Also, I discovered Knitting Podcasts that year! It wasn't enough to knit alone anymore, so I started a Stitch 'n Bitch, and met many wonderful ladies, several of whom which I still stay (relatively) in touch with: Tiffany, Laura and Becca.
2006: I started spinning wool into my own yarn, and became more immersed than ever into the world of Fiber Arts. In June, I launched my (now defunct) knitting podcast, The Knitting Cook. In September of that year, we moved to Germany.
2007: Lavella arrived on the scene (in our computer room -- also planned), and my life became busier than ever. It didn't stop the knitting or spinning, but becoming the mother of three children did force me to become more organized and disciplined in how I attacked my projects. I realized more than ever before just how precious my time was, and learned to utilize any (few) moments I had to myself.
I also started a knitting and spinning group in Germany, mostly made up of American Airforce or Army wives, and formed a community there of people that I came to love very much.
Our little family started traveling around Europe quite a bit, and visited almost anywhere we could get to by car: Berlin Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Trier Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, Garmish Germany, Spain, and Paris France (again!).
2008: Just before Lavella's 1st birthday, Greg deployed. Thus began the most trying 15 months of my life thus far. It was a giant challenge, but somehow I was able to become stronger through it, thanks to God, family, local friends, and so many in the wonderful online fiber arts community who stood by me and supported me throughout. In October, I started weaving! (Thank you to dear Steffi, who helped me warp my loom for the first time.) When Greg came home for R&R in December, Jonah was born (also in the computer room, also planned).
2009: The start of this year is a bit of a blur (although thankfully it's all recorded on the blog!), but in May, Greg finally came back home For Real, and that was a wonderful day. In September we packed up, got rather screwed over by our German landlords, and said "hello" to our wonderful new surroundings here in the Austin, Texas area.
Wow, it's been quite a decade. Truly, I have no foresight to offer for the next ten years, except to say that I'm sure that it will continue to be an adventure, and I'm excited to see where this journey leads us next!
Do you have a story to tell about your past ten years? If you write about it, leave a comment. I'd love to read what you have to say.