Sunday, June 30, 2013

June Blog Challenge Day 30: My Closet

30.  What's one thing in your closet you wear when you have a nice occasion?  Interpret that as a date night or important job event.

Just one thing?!  I like variety too much to just pick one thing :) 

If it's summer time, though, and my husband and I are going out, I will most likely wear this dress:

In winter time, this is usually the top I'll pick to dress up in:

June Blog Challenge FINISHED! :)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

June Blog Challenge Days 29: College

29.  Tell me the highlights of your college years.

Well, I didn't go to college!  There was never a big emphasis put on education in my family.  All four of us children struggled with school.  Although it was difficult, 3 of us did eventually graduate high school, which was a big accomplishment for each of us.  Once I was done with mandatory school, I had zero desire to continue!  I did take a correspondence photography course with the New York Institute of Photography.  It took me way longer to complete than it should have, but I did complete it!  Nowadays it is getting more and more critical to have post-secondary education to get a good job or dream career, so we will probably encourage our child(ren) to attend university or college.

Friday, June 28, 2013

June Blog Challenge Days 27 & 28

27.  When you were younger, what job(s) did you want to have?

When I was little, I wanted to be a secretary, a teacher, an author, and an illustrator.  I alternated between these, but more often it was the secretary and author.  Both still appeal to me :)

28.   Do you speak any other languages?  When do you think a child should learn a new language?

I don't speak any language other than English fluently.  I took French for 5 years (grades 4 - 8) because it was mandatory, but it never really stuck.  All it has really helped for is that I'm able to recognize some French words (and thus some Spanish as well, since they're so similar).  My parents are fluent in Low German and so all four of us, their children, know Low German to some degree or another.  My brother (the oldest one) is also fluent in Low German, the next oldest understands all of it but only speaks some of it, the next understands some of it and speaks some of it, and then there's me, the baby.  I understand words and phrases here and there and can usually catch on to the gist of what's being said, but if I try and say any of the words and phrases I know, it usually comes out all wrong.  Interestingly, though, I still find that there's a word here and there that I actually only know the Low German for, and don't know the English for, but don't know exactly how to pronounce in Low German!

I have no idea when a child should learn a new language.  Since we live in Canada, Hubby & I think it'd be wise for our child(ren) to know both English & French, since to get a good job and career of one's choice, it is getting more and more beneficial to be bilingual.  I'd also like for our child(ren) to know Low German, but I'm not sure how possible that is (it's kind of like a slang language, not really a written one).

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

June Blog Challenge Days 24, 25, 26

24.  What's your biggest fear about becoming a mom?

Ohh, I have a number of fears.  One of the main ones is my epilepsy.  My medication keeps it under control very well, but I still have to be careful.  There are many more concerns tied into this one as well, but I don't feel like getting into long explanations of how my epilepsy works.

25. Describe the contents of your purse. What kind of purse do you have?

I have an old purple purse that serves it's purpose and is a happy colour.  Contents?  Usually too much!  Papers seems to pile up.  And a pharmacy.  I want to get a new purse but am unsettled on what style or colour.

26. If you could give advice to a newbie infertile, what would it be?


Look into all your options before making decisions.  Decide what you feel comfortable or uncomfortable with ethically.  Keep talking with your spouse about what's going on in your head.  Don't forget about him and how he feels.  Try to spend time thinking about and doing things that you enjoy so that you don't get completely obsessed with dwelling on babies and ttc and/or adoption.  Allow yourself to grieve.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

June Blog Challenge Day 23: Charity

23.  If you had $100,000 that had to be donated to charity what would you do with it?

I can think of a few places/people I'd like the money to go to, and it wouldn't stretch very far probably before it'd be all gone!  Different family members in need are the first people I think of.  Then GoodSeed, and New Tribes Mission, particularly New Tribes Mission Aviation.  And if by this time the money's not all gone, then our local food bank (they have helped us out with Christmas hampers during rough times) and Quagga which is a stray cat rescue we have brought a cat to and they are great.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

June Blog Challenge Days 18 - 22

Catching up!

18.  If your insurance covered infertility treatments at 100%, unlimited attempts - what would you try and for how long?

Since our main reason for quitting ttc is due to my epilepsy and epilepsy medications, I don't think this really applies to me...but otherwise I'd probably try a lot, for a long time...but I don't know...I can't really say what I'd do if in that situation...how much I'd be willing to go through until turning towards adoption anyway.

19. What's your advice for parenting an adopted child?

My advice for parenting a child who is adopted would depend entirely on what age they were adopted at, and what their life was like before they were adopted.  From what I've heard, it sounds like you parent a child who has been adopted as an infant exactly the same as a child you gave birth to, although there is conversation about adoption and birth families that you wouldn't have with a child you gave birth to.

20. What sounds reasonable in an open adoption - I.e. how much contact is do-able?

This varies greatly from person to person.  That is why an agency matches up the birth parents and the adoptive couple who are both comfortable with the same amount & type of contact.  Thankfully this is not binding and can change & grow as the relationships change & grow, because at the beginning a lot of contact may sound scary for one side or the other, but eventually as trust is built perhaps more contact works well for everyone.

21. Tell me about a TTC blog I don't have on my blog roll - why should I go visit? (No preggos please)

Ironically, the person whom I got this June Blog Challenge from (Waiting for Baby) is now pregnant (I don't think they knew that when they put out these questions) and is now actually looking for preggo blogs!  Anyway, I follow a lot of blogs, but I currently don't have any ttc or preggo ones on my list (which, personally, is okay with me).

22. What's your favorite children's book?

I love children's books :)  You can never go wrong with Guess How Much I Love You.  And I have this hilariously adorable book called Hamsters Holding Hands.  And I really like Robert Munsch.   I'm sure I'm missing other good ones :)

Monday, June 17, 2013

June Blog Challenge Days 15, 16, 17

15.  First love?

That would be Hubby :)  I had a few relationships before him, and I probably thought I loved each of them, but now, knowing what love really is... 

16.  What did you have for breakfast today? What do you normally have?

I had a Cinnamon & Raisin bagel, toasted with butter, from Tim Horton's, and I can assure you that is definitely not my normal.  My normal is a bowl of Cornflakes & 1% milk, sometimes with a banana sliced into it, sometimes just plain.

17.  Do you drink coffee? Cream/sugar/how do you drink your coffee?

Nope!  Never have and I can't really see myself starting.  

This is What I'm Feeling Lately...


Friday, June 14, 2013

June Blog Challenge Days 13 & 14

13.  What's the most interesting vacation you have been on?

This would have to be my honeymoon 8 years ago.  We went on a road trip and spent most of our time in Alberta and BC.  It was my first time in BC.  We went to a lot of neat places, saw so much beautiful scenery (gorgeous mountains!), and really just enjoyed spending time together.  A few of our favourite places were the Victoria Butterfly Gardens, the Vancouver Aquarium, Cathedral Grove, and the Royal Tyrrell Museum.  We mostly stayed in basic hotels, but we also stayed at Castle Mountain Chalets and Bear Hill Lodge.  I love road trips with Hubby and I love being a tourist - sightseeing, taking pictures, eating out, staying in hotels, etc.  We love the outdoors so most of our honeymoon was spent enjoying it. 

Bridal Veil Falls in Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park near Chilliwack, BC


14.  First job?

Well, I had a number of small jobs before my first "real" job, which was working at Tim Horton's - one opened up in our town for the first time.  I got that job when I was in grade 12 of high school, and I worked there for a year and 8 months.  You sorta just do everything there - make coffee, make food, clean bathroom, mop floors, wash dishes, work the drive thru, etc.  It wasn't the easiest always, but often it was fun, and hey, I met my husband there, so that's definitely something I wouldn't change!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Baby Registry

I made a baby registry and am attempting to add things to it.  That sentence feels surreal.  There's a lot of thoughts going on in my head here.

One, the website says you have to enter in an "expected arrival date".  They say "Expected arrival date is your due date or, for families that are adopting, the date you expect to bring the baby home."  First of all, kudos for acknowledging adoption.  Thank you.  ...But we have no date we expect to bring baby home!  And I am not waiting to make a registry until we get matched, because we could get matched just days before baby is born.  (More likely it'll be weeks, but who knows.)  After talking about it with Hubby, we decided to enter in the absolute latest date they would allow us. So our "expected arrival date" is set for June 11, 2014.  Then, if I understand correctly, it stays active for a year after that.  So I guess if we don't have our baby by June 11, 2015, I make a new registry.  Products will probably have already changed by then anyway.

Two, I feel slightly like a fake; a girl playing house.  I'm not pregnant, we're not matched, it hasn't even sunk in yet that we could get a call any day.  It feels like someone's going to call me out yet and tell me I'm not a "real" expectant parent so why am I making a registry?  And maybe laugh at me to boot.

Three, it is REALLY difficult figuring out what to register for!!!  I have this long list I've compiled from Through Clouded Glass's old feature, Moms and Babies, where moms shared some of their must-have products.  I've also bookmarked half a dozen must-have lists from various websites and blogs.  But I still have only registered for 5 things!!  I feel like I don't even have a clue what are the essentials for a newborn.  Poor baby.  We will take care of you, really.

Four, I feel partially crazy for registering already when it may be years upon years until we get matched.  But I want a small surprise baby shower before we are matched, and Hubby knows this, so he says to go ahead and make the registry, and send him wishlists and party ideas, etc, that he can pass on to the women in the family.  So I'm doing it.  Scary!  There may be a shower in a couple months, and then all the gifts will sit for years.  Or perhaps we don't even get the shower in time before we're matched and we have to scramble buying stuff!  So many unknowns.  (We've made it clear we don't want any baby showers during the 3 weeks that the mom can change her mind.  After that, though, I want a huge shower with every relative and friend possible!!)

For those of you in the adoption realm, when did you make a registry?  Or did you even?  How did you figure out what to add to it (if it was your first baby, like me)?  Did you buy a lot of things yourself or did you get a lot of things as gifts?  Did you wait to buy things until you were matched or even until every thing had gone through, or did you stock up ahead of time?  What would you consider the essentials for a newborn (no nursing stuff please)?  Any other advice for me and my insecurity? ;)  Thank you!

June Blog Challenge Day 12: Anniversary

12.  Perfect anniversary - describe it.

Ideally Hubby & I would like to go to Hawaii for a couple weeks.  I'd like to do a lot of sight-seeing as well as eating out and swimming.  I'd like to stay at a really nice hotel or resort. 

And, regardless of whether we would go away somewhere or not, IMO all anniversary dates should include gifts, flowers, eating out, and spending lots of time together :)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

June Blog Challenge Day 11: Wedding

11.  Describe your wedding.

We got married on a Saturday, April 16, 2005, at 11 a.m.  Around the time we got married, we hardly knew anyone who got married on weekdays or evenings, which is very common now.  (Good grief, I make it sound like it was ancient days ago!)  We were 20 and 22.  Seems so young now!   

Note:  These pictures are all scanned in so they won't be that perfect.

We made the invitations ourselves (a bunch of us women; it was fun).  The ones we gave out looked more or less like this one (I have a few left over each with slight variations and I can't remember which one we decided on ultimately).

The ceremony was first, in the church.  I chose the big church I had grown up in, even though Hubby & I attended elsewhere at the time, because I had always imagined getting married there and couldn't picture anything else.  We had 300 guests, too, so we needed a big place!

The guestbook table right before entering the sanctuary.  We had matted pictures of ourselves for guests to sign as well as the traditional guestbook.  The programs had eagles on them because Hubby loves birds. 
Hubby's amazingly talented aunt did all the decorating.
Yes, I loved daisies.  Still do!  I believe my FIL built those two shorter stands up front.
Hubby's parents.  Hubby was the first of their children to get married, so this was all very new to them.
My big brother ushering my mom in (my dad was with me).  I think they're both so cute here!  This was old hat for my mom & dad; my 3 older siblings all married before me, with one of my sisters having been married only 6 months earlier!
Hubby's brother and my cousin were our candle lighters.  This is traditionally a woman's role, but I've never cared for tradition :)  Those poor guys, we never thought to put a candle holder or anything on to protect their hands and the whole time they had to be careful not to get hot wax on them! 


After that the groomsmen came out to stand and wait for the bridesmaids to each come down the aisle.  My hubby had four close friends, so I chose 4 bridesmaids, too.  I'm scanning all these pics in (what a chore!) so I'm not going to show an individual pic of all 8 people, so here's a couple of the posed pics taken later.

I love navy blue & pale yellow together.  2 of my friends, my cousin, and 1 of my sisters

I can't believe how young these guys look here - cracks me up!  
For the ring bearer and flower girl we did something really cute and fun!  We found a fishing boat-shaped wagon that we were allowed to borrow (Hubby was big into fishing).  In it went my only 2 (at the time) nieces (sisters). (Side Note:  We didn't know she existed then, but my other niece was a little 3 1/2 month old when we got married!  About 19 months later my brother & his wife met and adopted her.)   My nieces were 6 and 1 1/2.  The older one carried an ice-fishing rod (because it's short) with a daisy tied to the end of the line (and hung onto her sister), and the younger one (was supposed to) hang onto a stuffed fish :)  Mostly she just hung on to her soother :)  Then we had two of Hubby's cousins (brothers) push and pull the wagon.  The older one (7) pulled and the younger one (almost 4) "pushed" :)  It was adorable, unique, and no one cried or threw a fit!  Unfortunately, I doubt my sister (my nieces' mom) would be okay with their photos being up on the Internet, so you're just going to have to imagine the preciousness!

Next came me & my daddy.  I was unfortunately on antidepressants at the time, so most of my emotions were deadened.  I acted nervous when I felt I was supposed to, sad, happy, etc.  That's the biggest thing I'd change about my wedding - I always say I'd change almost everything except my dress & the groom - I'd say that's pretty good, eh?! :)  Anyway, so I was "nervously" chewing on my flowers (just kidding - we just have a pic that looks like that's what I'm doing!) and hiding around the corner (that's right, Hubby didn't see me that day until I walked down the aisle!).  I took my dad's arm (one of my clearer memories from the wedding - the feel of his suit jacket under my hand) and put a smile on my face.  A little ways down the aisle I realized Hubby (to be) was crying.  Oh, shoot!  Put on stressed face!  Cue sympathetic face when closer to Hubby!  Lol!  I won't show you the whole gamut of expressions I had (while feeling virtually nothing) nor my Hubby crying.  Then we reached my sweet, sensitive man who cried, and in doing so turned every woman in the audience to mush, at the sight of his bride.  My parents gave me away and I took Hubby's arm and we went up the steps to the preacher.
Here's the back of my dad & me near the front of the church.

Here's me & Hubby (almost!) at the front of the church praying during the ceremony.
     So there was preachin' (he knew us fairly well since he'd done our marriage counseling), exchanging of rings & vows, and the signing of the guest book & lighting the unity candle.  Oh, and the kiss ;)

Then, just because we wanted to, Hubby scooped me up and we ran out of the sanctuary :D

Now that is a 100% genuine grin on my face! :)
After that the rest of the wedding party and our parents came out and there were hugs all around.  Then we lined up for the receiving line, and all the guests filed by to congratulate us and us to thank them for coming.

After that we took posed photos in the church basement multi-purpose room.  I have lots and lots of those and they are really nice, but I will only pick a couple.  Argh, there's so many good ones to pick from, lol!

Just for fun :)


So while we were taking a bazillion pictures with every combination of the wedding party possible, I have no idea what the guests were doing.  Hm.

Then it was time for the reception.  It was in the church basement, and we had pizza, yes we did!  We ordered in enough pizza for 300 guests because we are crazy people, lol!  (Don't worry, we gave the restaurants a heads-up, lol!)  There was also Caesar salad and Coke and Pepsi.  Hubby was a big Coke fan, but I'd grown up with Pepsi, so it was like a friendly feud.  Actually, Hubby's younger brother (he was 14 at the time) was the one who really liked to razz me about it :)  We had a big canoe set up filled with ice and cans of Coke and Pepsi for guests to help themselves.  When my brother prayed before the meal, he brought up a can of each and said "Today, we have a marriage of these two."  For dessert, one of my friends single-handedly slaved away at making mini cheesecakes for the entire crowd (not sure what went wrong there, but somewhere someone didn't delegate help for her or something!)  Still feel awful about that.  We didn't have a cake (!) because I don't care for cake, but by now I regret it.  I'm hoping to have one for a big anniversary some day.  Anyway, I digress...


The basement after it's decorated and tables set but before it's filled with people. 
The reception was great.  Each of the groomsmen and bridesmaids made speeches, as did our parents.  There was a lot of humour throughout.  We played a PowerPoint slideshow we had put together.  It was really good, but for some technical reason the songs (our favourites) never played during it :(  Our MC was hilarious.  And he got us a lot of money which gave us our honeymoon!

Hubby & I killing ourselves laughing while the MC attempts to read something in a Menno accent.  It was priceless.
After the reception we left for an airstrip in our town where my FIL used to have a hangar.  We took a number of pics with his plane, because it is the plane my hubby & I had a lot of dates in.




 

After that we changed out of our fancy duds and left on our honeymoon!

Any details I left out you're curious about?  Ask!  I'm sure I left out something! :)

Monday, June 10, 2013

June Blog Challenge Day 10

10.  How do you help get yourself (and or SO) get in the mood to DTD during the fertile period?

Lol, this is just an embarrassing question!  If this was a private blog, I might answer it.  But since it's not a private blog, and my family & friends read it...yah, not happening :)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

June Blog Challenge Day 9: TTC

9.  How supportive is your SO in your TTC journey?

Well, as you can see by reading my timeline, we're not TTC anymore :( 

As far as in the past, when we were trying...well, that was tough at times.  But since this isn't a private blog, I won't get into it here.

As far as adopting goes, he needed prodding sometimes to get his paperwork done, but ultimately, he's been very supportive.  And patient!! 

He doesn't show as much excitement as me about anything in life, and the same is true with all the baby stuff.  But in his understated way, I know he is very much looking forward to us being parents :)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

June Blog Challenge Day 8: SAHM

8.  If you had a choice - Stay At Home Mom?

Yes, without a doubt.  Now I understand this doesn't work for everybody, for a variety of reasons.  But for me, personally, if I had a choice, I would definitely be a stay at home mom. 

And if they go to school (as opposed to homeschooling) then I want to be there after school when they come home, too.  You know, with the hug & homemade snack ready :)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Super Sweet Blogging Award



Frozen OJ has nominated me for the Super Sweet Blogging Award!  How sweet ;)  Thank-you for thinking of me!!  (I honestly don't know where this award originated or what it's about exactly, but that's okay, right?) :)
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-I9xM_vpYzK0/Ua_h4bEKHpI/AAAAAAAAHhY/nvM96bzqFf8/s1600/super-sweet-blogging-award.jpg
Here are the rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Answer the 5 super sweet questions.
  • Include the Super Sweet Blogging award image in the blog post.
  • Nominate a baker's dozen of other bloggers.
Super Sweet Questions:
  1. Cookies or cake?  I'm not a big fan of cake.  Except for ice-cream cake :)  And there's not a ton of cookies I like...but there are a few I love!  (Chunks Ahoy, homemade Schmaunt Kuake, homemade Chocolate Tom Thumbs)  So I'm going with cookies!
  2. Chocolate or vanilla?  Definitely chocolate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
  3. Favorite sweet treat? Um...chocolate? ;) 
  4. When do you crave sweet things the most?  PMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  5. Sweet nickname?  Hubby calls me all sorts of sweet names :)  Don't know if this counts as a nickname, but I love hearing "Auntie" from my nieces.  But the sweetest name of all that I can't wait to be called is "Mommy" :')
And now the nominations:
  1.  Sabrina at Seeds of the Heart
  2.  Elleah at Moments to Cherish 
  3.  Lisa at WAHM In a Jam
  4.  Kara at Love, Matt and Kara
  5.  Karen at Our Adoption Faith Walk
  6.  Jaymi at Blatz Babble
  7.  Amy at Jim and Amy Hoping to Adopt
  8.  Christy at Waiting to Adopt
  9.  Ousoonerchick at One Day at a Time
  10.  Venessa at Unexpected Dreams
  11.  Suzy at Simply Suzy
  12.  Juanita at While We Were Waiting
  13.  Whitney at Our Adoption Story
 There's so many more I would've liked to nominate!

June Blog Challenge Days 6 & 7

We're busy having a garage sale this weekend so I keep falling behind...

6.  Name you picked out for your kids when you were younger. Bonus: share any name ideas you have now.

Mmmmmm...not happening :)  This isn't a private blog, and I'm not giving my names away to family & friends who read this :)

7.  You're in labor: drugs or no drugs. Why?

I've actually never thought about this thoroughly, but I'm pretty sure I'd want something.  I just don't think I'd want to be completely numb.  But who knows.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

June Blog Challenge Days 4 & 5

Oops, forgot to do this one yesterday:

4.  Favourite snack?

Well, I kinda already gave the answer, guacamole & corn chips, to this question in my last post, about my biggest indulgence.

So, today I'll go with chocolate. 

My favourite chocolate bar is Bueno.  I love the hazelnut filling and the thin wafer and milk chocolate. 

I also recently discovered I love chocolate from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, in particular the Coconut Chocolate Bombs and the Almond Joy Candy Apples.

Yummm!!!!!!!!!!!!

And today's:

5.  Do you have any pets?

No :(

But both Hubby & I are huge cat lovers.  We moved into town in February of this year, and for the 7 or so years before that, when we lived in the country, we always had cats.  We had many outdoor cats & kittens that came and went, and when we knew we were going to be moving soon, we started finding homes for the remaining ones.  They now live at Hubby's parents' in the country, and we still get to see them sometimes.  We also had an inside cat for about 7 years (and during that for a couple years, a second indoor cat).  We loved him, but I knew that (a) once we moved into a new place, I wanted a fur-free, poop-free, vomit-free, litter-free home, and (b) I didn't want a cat with a baby.  So, after we could delay it no longer, we very reluctantly gave him to my brother & sis-in-law.  Now we love on him every time we go there (and I still call him my baby)!

Monday, June 3, 2013

June Blog Challenge Day 3: Indulgence

3.  Biggest indulgence

If we're talking something I buy then I would have to say I don't indulge much worth talking about...what I would be tempted to regularly splurge on, would be scrapbooking supplies, good chocolate, and clothes.  But I don't because I just don't have the money to regularly do such.

But Hubby buys me a chocolate bar just about every PMS, which is really sweet of him :)  If only he would learn that 24/7 intravenous chocolate would be even better...hmm...

As far as food goes, my regular indulgence is guacamole.  YUM.  I love me some avocados.  I love almost any recipe containing avocado.  And guac & corn chips is my favourite.  I like it chunky, and I usually don't add anything except for Epicure's guacamole seasoning mix and lime juice.  Sometimes I make it the real way, with garlic and red onions and tomatoes and fresh cilantro and lime juice and salt.  But not usually.  I make a small bowlful and grab a bag of low-sodium Tostitos and a good book (or watch TV) and I'm happy.  And I do that on a very regular basis! :)



Sunday, June 2, 2013

June Blog Challenge Day 2: Driving

2.  What do you drive?  What is you dream car?

We have one vehicle, an '02 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo.  I am quite content with it except I wish it was dark blue or black instead of the burgundy that it is (we bought it used).  Yeah, we've had to fix it quite a bit and it still needs some work, and it uses more gas than some other vehicles, but it's completely paid off now, so we don't really want to get a different vehicle and have to start making payments again. 

Dream car?  Well, that is not something I think about much at all!  I just asked Hubby now if I have a dream vehicle, and he said "I don't think you have a specific one...if you did, it would change from day to hour to what colour it was to who was driving it to where you saw it..."  Lol!  Yeah, he knows me pretty well.  I see cars I like (Corvettes, Chargers, Porsches, etc) and take note of them, but I can't see myself settling on any one as my favourite for very long!

I will say, however, I grew up in a GM-only/anti-Ford family, and I haven't changed much from that, except now I like Dodge almost more than Chevy.  And I still don't like Ford, lol!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

June Blog Challenge Day 1: Family Story

1.  Family story - how did your parents meet, how many brothers/sisters, tell us what you want.

My parents have always known each other; I believe their relationship started, however, one day when they were both walking out of church with everybody else, and my dad caught my mom's eye and winked at her.  They married in 1972, and as of last year have been married for 40 years already.

I have 3 older siblings (yes, I'm the baby).  My brother is the eldest; he's 8 years older than me.  He is married and they have an 8 year old daughter.  My next sister is 6 years older than me; she is separated from her husband; they have 2 daughters who are 14 and 9.  My other sister is about 3 1/2 years older than me; she is married and they don't have any kids either.

Hubby & I are close to my family and spend a lot of time with them.  My family members are my closest friends.   
Here we all are at my parents' for Christmas last year.