Paul and I started the first major phase of remodeling on our house that was built in 1958 and needed some serious updating. We spent a lot of time at Home Depot daydreaming about paint colors and we moved everything out of the four bedrooms and into the living room or garage. We had finished all of our adoption paperwork a month or two before and spent all of January wondering when, oh when, would our profile ever be approved and go live so that birthmoms could start considering us.
Our adoption profile went live on February 7th. We were excited and nervous and so very hopeful. I started checking my email something like 5 times an hour. It was out of control.
Paul's brother Dave came to stay with us for a few days and he instructed Paul on how to texture walls and install doors. Together they framed in walls for closets, tore out old doors and carpeting, and made huge progress on the house.
After Dave left, Paul and I worked hard on sanding down textured walls, then priming and painting. Paul spent a lot of time with a saw and a nail gun putting up trim around the floor boards, windows, doors and closets.
When I went back through both our House of Nash blog and our adoption blog, I realized that I didn't have any photos really from those months and the blog posts were somewhat sparse. That's because in early March we were contacted by Kayli. It was thrilling and intimidating. We emailed often - almost every day it seemed like - for most of that month and by the end of March, we felt confident announcing that Kayli had chosen us to be the parents of the baby girl that she was carrying who was due on May 13.
My mom, sister and niece Emma came to visit over General Conference weekend. It was so much fun having them out here to visit and we enjoyed walking at the lake, going shopping, and watching general conference.
The following weekend, Paul and I flew down to Texas and met Kayli face-to-face for the first time. It was amazing and fun and exciting. We already felt like we knew Kayli from our phone calls and emails and texts and we just felt so much love for her being there with her.
I held a baby goat. It was awesome.
Paul and I celebrated our 7th anniversary on May 7th. Then on Mother's Day, I flew to Texas to be there in case Clara decided to come early. She didn't. In fact, I ended up being there for 2 weeks. It was an intense two weeks, but I am so grateful for the time that I had to spend with Kayli leading up to Clara's birth.
Finally, on May 19, 2011, Clara Jane Nash made her way into the world.
Paul was still in California the day that Clara was born working at the new law firm he had just started at a few weeks before. He flew out the next day and got to meet his daughter late in the evening on May 20th.
Paul and Clara got to experience their first tornado during Clara's first week of life. It was scary and exciting. We hunkered down with Kayli's family in the hallway and waited out the storm.
My parents came to stay with us in California when Clara was just two weeks old. Clara slept, and slept, and slept.
For Paul's 30th birthday, we went to Huntington Lake with his family, including his aunt and uncle and cousins. Clara went swimming for the first time at 5 weeks old.
Then we took Clara camping in the Santa Cruz mountains with our good friends. She slept in her pack-n-play all swaddled in warm blankets like a champ for most of the night and then cuddled with us in our sleeping bags in the early morning.
Our friend Ginny threw us a beautiful baby shower with a book theme. We were given so many nice gifts from wonderful friends and had such a fun time.
Clara continued to sleep a lot during the month of July. In fact, in early July she was going through a growth spurt and it seemed like she was sleeping 20+ hours a day. We took her to Sanborn Park to take photos for the 4th of July and Clara was very annoyed when we tried to wake her up to look at the camera.
In August, my little sister Jessica got home from her mission. It was also the first time that my sister (who was 9 months pregnant) got to meet Clara. In fact, Jennie went in to labor less than 24 hours after this picture was taken at the airport.
Clara had fun meeting her cousins, Emma and Lily.
Paul didn't get to come to Utah with us and was excited when we got back from our trip. Clara and I missed him while we were gone and were glad to get back home.
We also started harvesting our garden in August. It was the first time that we have ever done a garden (Paul's parents had helped Paul plant it earlier in the year when they were out visiting us) and we ended up with a lot of delicious produce. One of our favorite things that we grew were the three varieties of lettuce because we were able to have so many fresh salads just by going outside and clipping a few greens.
In September, I won Best Overall Pie at our stake harvest festival. It was super exciting and I was ridiculously and embarrassingly proud.
We also took Clara to San Francisco for the first time and walked across the Golden Gate Bridge. It was breezy and cold and Paul ended up pushing an empty stroller while I carried Clara bundled up in blankets in my arms most of the way trying to keep her face out of the wind.
I turned 31 in October this year. We went on our much-anticipated Hawaiian vacation the first week of the month. Paul and I had never been to Hawaii together even though we had each been there with our families when we were young. Maui was beautiful and we had a great time playing on the beaches with Clara, who did really well with the waves and the sand.
Paul's parents came and stayed with us the week after we got back from Hawaii. We loved having them here with us and Clara was especially excited to have grandparents around. The weekend of my birthday, we went to Yosemite for our annual trip there. We stayed at the lodge in one of the family rooms, went on hikes, and just enjoyed spending time together.
For Clara's first ever Halloween, she dressed up at Little Red Riding Hood and mom and dad took supporting roles as Granny and the Big Bad Wolf. We took photos of all the scenes from the story and created a book that we gave as gifts to Kayli, the grandparents, and my sisters.
Clara's adoption was finalized on November 18th in the Santa Clara County courthouse in celebration of National Adoption Day. It was an amazing day - one of my favorite days of my life. Clara seemed to be having a really good time too.
We visited our good friends the Millers in November at their new home in Auburn. We miss them a lot and wish that they were closer by so that we could hang out with them like we used to. But it is nice that they aren't so far away that we can't do weekend visits like this one.
My parents and my sister Jessica came out over Thanksgiving. We ate lots of good food, played with Clara, and did some shopping. We also drove into the mountains nearby and cut down our Christmas tree.
And here we are in December now, just a week away from another Christmas - our first with our precious baby girl. My sister pointed out to me the other week that she remembered me writing a blog post last December where I was musing about the length of time typical adoptions take and pondering whether there was any chance that we would have a baby by Christmas 2011. And I am so thankful that Clara is here with us.
She seems pretty thrilled about it too.
And the year isn't over yet. Still to come is Christmas Day and then our Temple Sealing. Yes, 2011 has been a BIG year around here.