Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 - In Review

So, I haven't told you about our Christmas celebration, but I'll post about that later. I have a doozie of a story for you from our trip. But, since it's the last day of the year, I thought I'd do an end of year post.

2008 has flown by. So much has changed, so much has happened. We have experienced times of absolute joy and awe and other times of terrible sadness and loss. There was a 12 month period in 1997 and 1998 that reminds me a lot of this last year. Kinda weird that it was 10 years ago.

I felt God's presence through so much of what happened this year, and the times that I didn't feel Him? Well, I know that He was there - prodding us along, carrying us through hard times, and making sure that we didn't have more than we could handle (although it didn't seem that way at the time).

We started off the year with anticipation for the birth of Lil Major and a quiet celebration at home. Little did we know what the year would hold for us. Before January ended, I made an impromptu trip to California for my step-grandfather's funeral. The sad time turned into a very enjoyable family get together as I saw family members I hadn't seen in years.

I was able to take a quick trip back to CA in March to visit friends and family before the arrival of Lil Major. It was so much fun to hang out with everyone, including my sister and nephew, and it was the last visit before my parents moved to Kansas.

April was a crazy, exciting, beautiful, happy, scary month. We weren't expecting Lil Major to arrive until the end of the month, but my body had other plans. Just 16 hours after my parents arrived in Wichita, I was sent to the hospital, and I didn't come home until I was holding a precious baby boy 5 days later.

Just a few weeks after Lil Major arrived, tragedy found our family. We lost The Colonel's brother and his wife in a tornado west of Wichita. We spent most of the summer in shock as we grieved the loss of two special people. We learned a lot through our experiences, and The Colonel and I drew closer to each other and our new little family.

When it was time to return to work after maternity leave, I chose to quit my job (that I hated anyway) and accept an offer for part time work with a local aircraft company. The best of both worlds! I got to spend 4 days a week with my son, and still make a decent living working 3 days a week.

It was hard to get "back to normal," if that's possible, but that's what I tried to do in August as I traveled back to CA again for a family wedding a longer visit with friends. The time went by quickly, but I had so much fun. And Lil Major turned into quite the traveler!

After thinking that I would be working 3 days a week for the long haul, the economy took a dive, and I found myself without a job. The sudden change caused me some anxiety, but I'm so thankful to be able to stay home with the boy. And I'm on the lookout for some work-from-home stuff that I can do.

Before we knew it, the holidays were here...and now they've almost passed us by. The year flew by! And I know that time is not going to slow down. Lil Major is growing so fast, and we are enjoying him so much.

Some things that happened in 2008 make me want to say that I can't wait to start over in 2009. But, I will never wish 2008 away -- it's the year that made me a mom, that brought my husband and I closer together, that saw my parents move closer to all 3 of us kids, that we lost loved ones - who we will see again one day. Who knows what 2009 holds for us...I guess we'll have to see where we are in 366 days.

The year is ending in just a few hours (at least in our neck of the woods), so I'm off to enjoy the final moments with my husband...if we can make it til midnight, that is! Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Every year, my super talented hubby writes our Christmas letter. This year, a newer member of the family took over the honors...with a little help from his Daddy. So, I bring you our family letter for 2008. Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, People,

I arrived early – three weeks early, they tell me. There was a lot of hullabaloo and apple polishing in the hospital, but I found out later it wasn’t for me. It was for the Jayhawks who had just prevailed in a big game. It seems as though I interrupted what was a spirited second half of a basketball game. I was nothing more than a post-game footnote. To make matters worse, my folks were shoddily prepared for my arrival; no car seat, no diapers, no nothin’ – another stick in the eye. I had a bit of a wobbly start, if you ask me. But my Dad tells me, “Don’t fret, son. At least you were born in a red state.”

I am relaxing in my quarters now. As I compose this from my crib, I am gazing up at camouflage netting hanging from my ceiling, camouflage walls, camouflage blankets. My room is dimly lit. Dad tells me it is like a war bunker, whatever that means. All my stuff is brown and green. Even the garb I am wearing. This is really everyone’s home like this?

Only six months old and I have traveled more than Bob Hope. SuperMom has lugged me around to seven states and one ocean. Dad usually stays at home. He is already secretly advising me, ala John Madden, about air travel. He says things like “Man was not meant to fly,” and “Watch out for those left coast loonies,” whatever that means.

Sunday afternoons at my house are jam-packed with cheap entertainment. I am learning about Chiefs football. I park myself between SuperMom and Dad and watch them hurl objects at the television while shouting things like “Tackle him! Tackle him!” and “Catch the ball, you loser!” The furry schnauzers run for cover. Outstanding! Dad usually stalks from the room before the game is over, but SuperMom and I sit ‘til the bitter end.

My birth certificate reads ‘xxxxxxx,’ but nobody calls me that. They call me ‘Little Major’ or ‘Major’ or ‘Little Buddy’ or ‘Buddy’. Dad sometimes refers to me as ‘Major Minor’ or ‘The Offspring.’ At this point I will answer to just about anything – I am one befuddled baby.

I have recently learned how to growl. Like a bear. SuperMom and Dad carry me around in the library where I randomly growl at people. Dad says I must have a sixth sense – I only growl at liberals.

Lest I forget what I look like, SuperMom and Dad have installed hundreds of photos of me throughout the house. I am photographed more than Brad Pitt. Snapshots everywhere! Oh well, it worked for the Ayatollah....

People tell me I look like my Dad. Fortunately, he is already warning me of my bleak future. “Get ready for a lifetime of mockery and harassment,” he says. But what does he know? Seven months old and I already have more of a mane than him. Besides, SuperMom is always telling me I am the cutest baby in the county.

Signing off now,

Lil Major

Friday, December 19, 2008

Free Travel!

Check out Cheap O Air for more info! You've got until Dec 22 to sign up!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Feeling

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here (is that cliche enough for all of you??). It's true! On Tuesday morning, we woke up to this beautiful sight...

And it's been so cold here all week that it's all still on the ground. I'm so thankful I haven't had to drive to work this week. There were a couple days where the roads were just terrible during the morning commute. Thankfully, The Colonel didn't have any problems. Since Lil Major has been sick, he hasn't been able to taste his first snow yet, but we've ventured out for some quick errands. This is as close as the poor boy has gotten to the snow so far...

Before the snow came, we kicked off our season by visiting our Botanical Gardens. They light up the gardens with luminaries and lots of other lights. Even though it hadn't snowed yet, it was pretty stinkin' cold, so we bundled up. Lil Major was bundled up so well, even his nose wasn't cold when I pulled him out of his stroller at the end!

Our house is all decorated for Christmas, and I have to confess that I haven't taken the time this year to just sit and admire it. I've been rushing around too much. But, as I type this, I'm listening to Christmas music, smelling the yummy cookies I just made, enjoying the lights and thanking God that my boy has been napping all afternoon. I need a hot drink, but I'm too comfy to get up.

My decorations look a lot like last year...with a few exceptions. Wish you could all stop by for some coffee and a cookie...guess this will have to do for now.

Welcome to my home! Here's what you see as you walk in the front door.

MIL's 100+ year old piano looks great in the dining-room-turned-sitting-room, and it makes the perfect place for my Nativity set.

The tree and mantle look pretty much the same as years past.

Almost all of my Christmas ornaments have special meaning to me - gifts from The Colonel from our dating days, mementos of past vacations, photos of loved ones, hand made ornaments from elementary school. There are some new ornaments this year, and they're just as special to us.

Front and center on the tree this year is this one...we miss you G&K!

And a couple other new ones...

I LOVE getting all the cards, letters and photos from family and friends. For the last few years, I've been trying to figure out a good way to display all of them. I think I finally figured it out, and my good buddy Marge was my inspiration. I got the idea from a sign she made for Lil Major at my shower.

The house is decorated, 2 batches of poor man's toffee have been made and given away, a new batch of cookies are cooling in the kitchen, and our church Christmas party is this weekend. All that remains to be done to complete our pre-Christmas traditions is to watch Christmas Vacation. If I only had a few more hours in the day...

How are your preparations coming??

The Best Prescription EVER

For 8 1/2 months, ever since Lil Major came home from the hospital, I've been having problems with my back. I first noticed as I hunched over the pack and play to change the boy or to lay him down to sleep. I just figured I was compensating for a sore belly from the c-sect. At my 6 week check, I told my OB about the pain. She said it was just tired, and not to worry about it.

Well, all this time later, it still hurts...and it's SO much worse. I get numbness and tingling down the right side of my back. The only way I can sleep is flat on my back. It's much worse after a busy day of playing with the boy, picking up the house and doing countless dishes.

After complaining for months, I finally sucked it up and went to the doctor. I'd been putting off going for lots of reasons - I didn't have a regular doctor, I didn't figure they could do anything for me since I'm still nursing and can't take most meds, and I didn't want to seem like a whiny kid complaining about aches and pains.

The doc was awesome. And I'm only slightly freaked out that she's about my age (when did I get old enough to have a doctor MY age??? That's why I refuse to think about the fact that my friend's hubby is a cardiologist...and he's YOUNGER than me!). She thinks it's something muscular since it's off to the side of my back. She told me take Aleve regularly, she signed me up for some physical therapy (which will be new to me), AND she wrote me a prescription to have a massage every 2 weeks!!

Woo hoo! Can't go against doctor's orders, right? My insurance will even cover it, after a co-pay, if I can find a "preferred provider." Sounds good to me!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mondays still suck

I haven't worked (a paying job) on a Monday in several months. And now I'm not working (a paying job) at all anymore. But, my Monday still sucked.

It actually started last night. The boy went down easily about 7:30pm. He slept GREAT...for 3 hours. As I got up from working on our Christmas letters to head to bed, I heard him...awake...crying. It took me an hour to get him settled back down and asleep in his crib. He's got a cold and an ear infection, and he's more comfortable sleeping propped up on my chest than flat in his crib. Too bad I can't sleep that way.

After that, he was up every 90 minutes! All.Night.Long! Finally, I kicked The Colonel at 5:30am and made him get up with him - I didn't care that he was working this morning...I needed to sleep!

Finally, at 7;30, I gave in to the cries coming from the nursery and dragged my butt out of bed. The morning went pretty smoothly. We ate breakfast, started some laundry, the boy took a good nap, and then we got ready to go to lunch with my old co-workers and boss. We loaded up into the car, pulled out of the garage, and I hit the button to close the garage door. And then things got crazy. The double door shut, but the single door opened. What? I didn't push that button. After punching at buttons and yelling at nothing, I pulled back into the driveway and went to investigate. I still don't know why the single door opened, but the double door had a broken opener - the chain was hanging on the ground. Great!

By the time I got all the doors properly closed, I was late to lunch. No biggie. While we waited for our food to come, I fed Lil Major his lunch (squash, mango and sweet potato). Then I let him taste a little bit of my mashed potatoes. AND THEN, the boy started coughing...and he puked his entire lunch all over himself. In true mom fashion, I caught most of the puke in my hand. What was I trying to save? I'm not exactly sure.

All of my co-workers groaned and gagged, and I swept the boy up and into the bathroom. Luckily I had a change of clothes in the diaper bag. He spent the rest of lunch cuddling with my boss, and she LOVED every minute of it. I had planned on running some errands after lunch, but due to the puking incident, we just headed home. That means that I forgot to mail the Christmas letters and bills while we were out. nice.

We came home, the boy took another nap, my Dad came over to look at the garage door, and then we had to head back out into the -9 degree windchill so the kiddo could get his flu shot.

All that to say that I wasn't in the best mood when The Colonel got home, so I didn't think it was funny when he asked me what I did all day, and why couldn't I get anything done, and why should HE get up with the kid during the night. He has to WORK all day. I know he was joking, but it was so NOT funny today. And just for that, I'll be kicking his butt out of bed every 90 minutes tonight to comfort the sicky baby.

And for listening to me rant and rave, I bring you some pictures of my super cute kid.

Oh, and I am trying to find some time to take pics of my Christmas decorations and post them. You all should do the same!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Mail Call

I've been anxiously waiting for some things to arrive in the mail. Every day I check the box, check the front porch, but nothing is there. FINALLY, everything showed up TODAY. The UPS guy came to my house twice today. Not sure why they couldn't combine it into one trip, but whatever.

What was I waiting for? 3 different photo orders. I ordered a bunch of prints for our Christmas letter and of our family photo shoot. I ordered several photo gifts from Vista Print, and I've WAITING WAITING WAITING for my free Oprah book from Snapfish.

How exciting to get it all in one day. In a mess of cardboard, I ripped open all the boxes to check my goods out. Everything was there, and it all looked great. Of course, Snapfish screwed up and sent me double my order on the prints - but they only charged me once, so all is well.

But, something was weird in the Vista Print box. After I pulled all of my stuff out, there were still 7 calendars in the bottom of the box. And they weren't mine - it was some other family's stuff! I kinda freaked out b/c if it was my stuff that was sent to some random person and I never got it, and I didn't have it for Christmas...what would I do?

So, I called Vista Print (by the way, I've used them several times before and always been happy with their products) to tell them what happened. You'll never guess what this chick (who I think was answering the phone from the Philippines) said. She told me to THROW AWAY the calendars and that the customer would just call them in a few days when they didn't receive their order. Are you kidding me???

I said that I could tell her some info about the product and maybe she could figure out who's order it was so they could reprint and reship. She said NO, that's not our policy. We'll just wait til they call us.

I asked her if she'd rather hear from an irate customer or just fix the problem now. Again, she said, that's not their policy to try to fix it!

I asked for a supervisor. After 5 minutes, the supervisor came on and told me the same thing. I finally convinced her that it would be better to try to figure out who the order belonged to. She asked for the order # on the box. Duh! The order # is mine since it came to me! Oh, she said, well, I need a first and last name then.

Luckily, the family had their names on one of the calendars, so the supervisor was able to find the order, reprint it, and ship it out to them. I told her maybe they should re-examine their customer service policy for how to handle mis-shipments.

Can you believe companies operate like this??? I think it will all work out, and I will probably use them again (they DO have some great deals), but I'll be sure to keep an eye on my delivery dates and make sure I don't wait too long to call when I don't receive something.

Monday, December 08, 2008

What do you say?

I look forward to getting the mail during the Christmas season. I love to see everyone's family photos and read about their year. But, a card we got today made me cry. And since I'm so anxious to read all the cards, I was driving to the gym when I opened this wasn't my safest driving ever.

The card was from a friend who left her husband this year. The Colonel and I met this family (mom, dad, 2 kids) when we first moved to Texas right after we got married. We love them! We spent a lot of time with them over the years - holidays, vacations, backyard BBQs.

Over the summer, The Colonel got a call from the dad. He told us that he and the mom were getting a divorce. She had found someone else. Apparently, it had been going on for a while, but the parents (our friends) decided not to tell the kids until school let out for the summer. And the dad was giving the mom some time to come to her senses.

She never did. She moved out. Now, I only know half of the story, but the card we got today was from the mom. She said the kids are doing great and they have adjusted well to their "new situation." She also said the kids are "all fine."

How in the world can the kids be all fine?? She was so nonchalant about it. I don't know how to react. I don't want to abandon her, but I don't know how to react or what to say to her. I don't want the dad to think I'm siding with her, and I don't want things to be harder on their kids....what do I do??

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Bargain Hunting

5 days before Thanksgiving, the conversation when something like this...

MOM: Let's push this table into the corner so that there is more room to walk around.

ME: We can't, it's broken, it will fall apart if we move it.

MOM: Well, you need a new table then.

ME: Let's check craigslist.

Four hours later, there was a new (to me) solid maple table sitting in my breakfast nook.

I'm starting to think that The Colonel is right about his "billfold getting lighter every time mom is around." hee hee

My beloved, but broken, red ceramic pedestal table, which was also a steal as I bought the floor sample from Timeless Furnishings, has been chucked to the side...

to make room for my new, albeit smaller, table...bought at the bargain price of $30!


Wow, the giveaways in bloggy land keep getting better. check out this one for $500 to Wal Mart. I could do a TON of christmas shopping and still have some left over...Hmm...maybe toward my D-SLR!! =)

Go check it out!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Fun with Daddy

I don't know how The Colonel comes up with all these super fun things to do with Lil Major. Here is the latest...the kitchen has turned into a race track, and I love it!

Thanksgiving 2008

I can't believe Thanksgiving has come and gone. Where in the world did this year go??

We had a nice peaceful family Thanksgiving this year. Just 9 of us around the huge table we set up in the family room -- The Colonel, Lil Major, me, my parents, the 'Rents, my brother, and a friend of hubby's from work. I wanted a sit down dinner instead of a buffet line because inevitably the first person through the line is finished eating before the last person sits down. We sat down, prayed, and passed the food. And then we told silly stories about our childhood, and The Colonel tried to make his mom pass out with all the crazy scary things he's done.

Our turkey was wonderful, and we have LOTS left over from the 17+ pound bird. I got so wrapped up in the preparations that I didn't take a picture of our table, but it looked GOOD. After dinner, we chatted some more, did the dishes, gorged ourselves on pie, and THEN we made homemade cinnamon rolls. That is a tradition that usually takes place the day AFTER Thanksgiving, but my punk little sister insisted we bring some to her in KC on Friday. Spoiled sis...she got what she wanted! =) (Love you, sis!)

Here are some photos I DID take of our celebration and the day after in KC.

Mema on the piano...

The grandpa's watching TV...

My bro and Lucy...

Grammy and Lil Major...

Grandpa and Lucy, who seems to think she's a cat...

The cinnamon rolls just coming out of the oven...

Papa and his boy in their matching mom's very favorite store.

The cousins...who were not allowed to get any closer than this, as Captain had pink eye.

Whoa! There are 4 babies now!