Dec 31, 2008

Waiting for the clock to strike midnight . . .

2008 was really an incredible year. I'm sure there were rough times, but looking back I can't even recall them. The laughs, wonderful memories, lessons learned, and joy that filled my life far out way anything negative. I am surrounded by friends and family that love me and bring incredible happiness to my life. I have the gift of health, home, and security.
I am truly blessed to have this year in my memory bank and look forward to the adventure, memories, good times, and blessings that will come in 2009.
Happy New Year!

Dec 28, 2008

Q - Z

Two days after Christmas I realized that I made a catastrophic error with my Christmas cards this year. I apparently stopped addressing Christmas cards in the "P" section of my address book. I'm not sure why I stopped or why I never returned to finish them off. So, I have a pile of Christmas cards sitting on the desk that will be incredibly late.
I apologize to all the R, S,T, W families and all those in between that didn't get a card from us!

Dec 19, 2008

Merry Christmas!

There are just a few more days before Christmas. The house is decorated, Christmas music is playing, Christmas cards are mailed, and presents are under the tree. Every night the boys gather around the tree to listen to some scriptures about the prophesy of Jesus' birth and the Gospel of Luke's account of that glorious night - followed by eating nightly candy from the Advent calendar!
Even in the busyness of shopping for gifts, shipping packages, and planning Christmas dinner and activities, I try to keep my focus on the miracle of Christ's birth. In the songs that we sing and the scripture we read, I find myself in awe of God's plan of salvation. The long awaited messiah was born in the town of Bethlehem, a host of angels proclaimed the glory of His birth to lowly shepherds, and prophesy was fulfilled. "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor,Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6 It is truly a wonderful time of year!
This Christmas we are blessed to be spending a few weeks with the Mlack family. Mika, Tom and Madison will staying with us into the new year. We will visit the National Tree in DC, go to church on Christmas Eve and feast on our favorite holiday recipes. We haven't spent Christmas together since 2004, so this is a special treat.
In the tradition of the Christmas letter, I feel obligated to give you a recap of our year. 2008 was filled with so many joys and great memories. The highlights of the year were a few big trips. We went to Spain for a week in the Spring, took a quick trip to New York for a weekend in April to see the METS play at Shea, and the boys and I spent a good portion of our summer vacationing in California. We went to quite a few baseball games this year, enjoyed the company of some out of town guests, and I was lucky enough to have a mom's weekend off and take a solo trip to Clarksville to visit some pals.
Eli and Gabriel are growing so fast! Eli is 6 and in First grade and Gabriel is 4 and in preschool 3 days a week. Eli loves reading and math and is doing very well in both subjects. Eli has a very sweet heart. He loves to be the leader, enjoys playing board games, and can never get enough bike riding. Gabriel enjoys his time at preschool, but it closely rivals sleeping in, staying in his jammies all day, taking a good two hour nap, and playing at home by himself. Gabriel is always willing to give hugs, frequently tells me he loves me, and sometime insists on being called "big boy baby". He'll hate me for that when he gets older. Both of the boys find ways to make us laugh and smile, as well as cause us to look at them and wonder why they do some of the crazy things they do. They keep us on our toes and make every day an adventure.
Matt is still flying "high level DOD officials" around, and serves as the company safety officer. He really enjoys his job, and his flexible schedule. I am busy ferrying the boys around, hitting the gym, keeping up with things at the house, and other little projects here and there that fill my days.
This summer we found out that we will be moving to Germany in August 2009! Even though most of our family and friends are a little cranky about the move, I am very excited about the opportunity. I've been trying to learn some basic German, and have been researching everything I can about living abroad. Eli decided he doesn't want to move to Germany. He is very upset about wearing collared shirts at the new school and has opted to stay at his friend Mary's house until the rest of the family returns the the United States. I have a feeling this move is going to be very difficult for him.
We are blessed to be in good health, surrounded by great friends both locally and afar, and to have spent the last 2 1/2 years together as a family with little disruption from the Army. As we enter into 2009 we thank God for all that he has given us and look forward to the great things that are in store for the new year.
We wish all of you a very Merry Christmas!

Dec 15, 2008

A sad day.

We have the "old-fashioned" sanitation trucks where there is a driver and a guy that physically picks up our trash and loads it in the back of the truck. Our neighborhood is pretty tricky to get the big trucks through, there are quite a few one-way streets and all of the trash cans are in the allies. Every week, on Monday and Thursday our garbage guys weave their way through the neighborhood disposing of our stinky trash. Gabriel rushes to the window whenever he can to watch at the guys at work. He loves to play "garbage man" in the grocery store by hanging on to the side of the cart, like the garbage man does in our neighborhood.
Today, our garbage man died. Mika and I were coming back into the neighborhood on our way home from the gym when we came upon a very sad scene. At first we just saw police tape and a lot of police cars, but when we rounded the corner and saw the garbage truck and a white plastic sheet on the ground behind it, we knew what happened. Our garbage man was accidentally ran over as the driver of the truck was reversing.
It is just over a week before Christmas, and today a wife and three kids found out their loved one died. Mika and I couldn't stop thinking about the accident, the loss of the family, and how horrible the driver must feel.
Praying for the driver and the family that experienced a great loss . . . .

Dec 11, 2008

Naughty List

The following businesses will be receiving coal from me this Christmas:
Toys R Us
Moppetsclosets
FamilyChristianStore.com

Toys R Us seeks to penalize early Christmas shoppers by placing unrealistic return deadlines on their items. I attempted to return an unopened item, with a receipt 98 days after the original purchase date and was simply denied a return, exchange, or any resolution other than "too bad".

Moppetsclosets at etsy.com hijacked my bracelets that have already been paid for and refuses to send me my stuff. The owner, Christi, has lied to me repeatedly and is now avoiding contact.

FamilyChristianStore.com canceled an order of mine without letting me know. So, I thought a Christmas gift was well on its way to the recipiant, only to find out through my own research that it indeed was not.

Catching Up.

Let's see, where did I leave off? I arrived safely at Fort Rucker on Sunday the 23rd in time to unpack the van, go for a run, and enjoy a tasty dinner with family and friends. The next few days were spent hanging out with the Mlack gang, and visiting my friend Katie and her son Keaton, who were all down in Alabama for Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving day was great. I woke up, worked on my newsletter for church, went for a jog, and then we all headed down to Dothan for our Cracker Barrel feast. Matt and I dined on turkey, ham, sweet potato and pecan casserole, corn, cornbread stuffing and delicious bisquits. The meal was topped off with an apple pie with pecan stussel topping. Yum. It was so tasty. At the end of the meal the nice waitress came and took away all the dishes and the only thing I had to do was roll myself out of my chair! After dinner we all went to the new theatre in town to watch Bolt in 3-D. It was a good movie and a fun way to pass the time.
Black Friday came early for Mika and I, 2:45 to be exact. We were out the door by 3am and off to Dothan for some crazy shopping maddness. We had a great time shopping, something we do very well together, and getting a start on our Christmas shopping. We followed our traditional shopping rule "one for them, one for me". We ended up with quite a few little treasures for ourselves.
A few more days down in Alabama and Mika, Madison, the boys and I were on the road to come home. Remember that 10 hour and 4 hour drive that brought me down to Alabama? Our 10 hour stretch turned into 13 and what should have been a quick 4 hour cruise home ended up taking 7. Traffic, potty stops, road closures, rain, and slow service for meals all combined were the source of the additional time on the road. We were very happy to arrive safely home.
Since then, we have been catching up, getting into a new routine, decorating the house and trying to finish off Christmas shopping. Matt arrived home on the 5th, we picked up our tree on the 6th, and hosted part of a Christmas progressive dinner on the 7th.
Days seem to be flying by. As each day passes during this season of Advent I try to remember to slow down, and take it all in.