A month later, I’m still so happy about these gifts Nathaniel gave me/I gave myself at Christmastime. When Nathaniel gave me my engagement ring, it had a cubic zirconia in it and we would talk now and then about putting a real stone in it someday. I never wanted a new diamond so I never thought much of not having one. Then Nathaniel’s grandmother asked us if we’d like to have a diamond from Nathaniel’s great-great-grandfather’s ring. It took a few months to get it sorted out, but it was so worth it. I got my ring back on Christmas Eve (the package wasn’t delivered so I had to drive to FedEx and miss the first part of Christmas Eve dinner!) and I can’t stop thinking about how beautiful it is and how much it means to have this special stone. The gesture on N’s grandma’s part is indescribably precious to me. (My ring used to look like this. The diamond is much smaller than the CZ, so the original jeweler in Chicago [it’s inspired by the architecture of the Field Museum, gussshhh] completely remade the head.  I love it!)

Also, a year after starting my half-sleeve, I was finally able to get it finished. My tattoo started out looking like this in ’08 and in 2012 I had more birds added.  Christmastime that year, I wanted the two different styles to look more cohesive, so we added a bunch of storm clouds.  It had looked just unfinished enough to be noticeable and start to drive me crazy (you can kind of tell in this picture) so having it done is so satisfying.  That whole middle part on the underside of my arm is new.  Haley McMahon at Crimson Hilt in Denver has been working on this tattoo since I added the color birds.  Nat and I both love him.