Monday, November 29, 2010

Welcome Christmas!

As much as I absolutely reject any notion of Christmas before Thanksgiving, once Black Friday rolls around, I absolutely embrace it all! We put our tree up on Saturday and it's completely decorated--minus an angel for the top, because we don't have one. We're on the lookout! We put up our outside lights yesterday and they look great! I'm all for the Christmas music on the radio now, and throughout the day have Pandora's Christmas Radio station playing. (I may even have to upgrade to Pandora One if I'm not careful of my time!) We also have a small collection of Christmas stuffed animals from Build-A-Bear Workshop. Not surprising since I worked there for a little less than a year! We have Hal & Holly Moose (Holly has the "Jingle Bell Rock" sound in her hand and Hal has lights on his antlers), Frosty the Snowman that lights up and makes a "magic" sound when his hat is lifted, and a smaller Hal that was a gift to BABW employees (He wasn't available for retail). Munchkin LOVES them all! She's getting a Rudolph from BABW for Christmas as well, thanks to her wonderful MG who stopped by her BABW, since there isn't one anywhere near here! I love that she's old enough to have fun with Christmas this year!

I have a few stand-out Christmas memories: One, my stocking. My mom made both my sister's and my stockings when we were little. Auntie Em's has Disney characters (Pluto is the only one that stands out to me) and mine is Santa going into a chimney, along with a decorated tree on the roof. Why there is a tree on the roof, I don't know, but it's so pretty! I had a hard time my first Christmas away from home because I didn't have all the special things that made Christmas, well, Christmas for my family, one of which was my stocking. So last year I bought stocking kits for the three of us. MG helped me start Munchkin's and I started on mine....neither got very far and then got put away. Daddy accidentally knocked all the sequins and beads on the floor, and not knowing they were important, swept them up and threw them away. So we bought another kit for Munchkin's and I've started working on it again. I'll get hers done by Christmas at the very least! Unfortunately, my main needle broke last night, so I'm hoping I can get another one tomorrow! I have to find another one of mine too, since all the sequins were out and are now gone. So I don't know if I'll start on mine next or if I'll just jump to Daddy's since his is still in it's original packaging.

Another thing that I always remember from childhood Christmases is the nativity that my mom has. It's musical--it plays "Silent Night" (which is probably my favorite Christmas song) So now my expectations have been set pretty high!

I could probably go on for days about Christmas memories, but I won't. Maybe later.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Day 25--Happy Thanksgiving! Today, I'm thankful that, for the first time since Daddy has joined the Army, we had a Thanksgiving meal together! Not to mention it's our first Thanksgiving with all three of us. Munchkin didn't care for the turkey so much, but she loved the green beans! I'm also thankful for the technology of Skype. We're going to be able to spend some time with my family that way! So great to be connected even though we're not together!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day 24

Day 24-I'm thankful today for unexpected early release times! Daddy got to come home only an hour and a half after going in! We've had such a great family day! Most of my to-do list didn't get done today, but it'll be there for me later! These are the moments we can't get back and it's great to be able to soak it all in!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day 23

Day 23-I'm thankful today for Sears. I became aware of their "Heroes at Home" program this year. During the holiday gift buying season, Sears takes donations to give to military families in the form of gift cards. We got our first (of 3) e-gift card email today. The donations are divided evenly among the participants that were selected. This year, the application opened and closed within 24 hours. That's how many people want to be a part of this. I feel so blessed that we were accepted and can have this to make our Christmas less stressful. So, not only am I thankful for Sears doing this program, I am most thankful for the amazingly generous people who have donated! Without those donations, there wouldn't be a program. So, to everyone who has donated--Thank you.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Days 18-22

Wow...been a little bit of a slacker lately!!

Day 18-I'm thankful for yummy dinners! I'm looking forward to a few on the menu this week--not to mention Thanksgiving dinner right around the corner!

Day 19-I'm thankful for a kick in the pants today! I got a free week at Curves and went in for the paperwork today! Daddy's been encouraging me to join for awhile, and I finally did.

Day 20-I'm thankful for being Daddy's "taxi". It's rare to see him when they're out training, but he had some down time and needed to get some things, so he called me! It's always great to spend a few minutes with him--and Munchkin really loves seeing him!!

Day 21-I'm thankful for lazy family days!! Daddy was home, finally, and he got up with Munchkin and made breakfast. We got a few things done, but mainly we just had good family time!!

Day 22-I'm thankful today for Curves! I had my first day today and it was amazing how fast it all came back! I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to schedule it all now, but I'm ready to get in a routine!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Couch to 5K

Monday was Week 1, Day 1 of the Couch to 5K program for me. I'm not sure that I'll be able to finish it in 9 weeks, because I think I'm going to need to repeat some weeks in there. I completed Week 1, Day 2 today and did a tiny bit better than Monday, so there is progress! C25K days are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, I'm taking Lightning for a walk on our normal family walk route, which is just a little bit shorter than what I'm currently doing on C25K days. I know I'll probably miss some Saturdays, but that's ok. When I get halfway through the program, I plan on rewarding myself with some running gear from . My end goal is to be able to run with Daddy--who runs an 8 minute mile. At the end of the C25K program, I should be running a 10 minute mile, so not too far off! I bet he'll slow down for me until I can catch up! I'm excited to do this, which feels weird because I really hate running!!

Day 17

Day 17-I'm thankful today for Daddy's thoughtfulness. Daddy got to come home last night!! It was great to see Munchkin get so excited to play with him before bed. He didn't have to be at work until 10, but got up around 7 (I think) and cleaned up downstairs for me! I slept until about 8, Munchkin was awake in her bed, but happily playing with her toys. She had woken up about 5 and didn't want to go back to sleep, but after about half an hour of nursing and rocking, she finally went back to sleep. Daddy had noticed that I was out of bed for awhile, so he didn't want to wake me up! He even switched out the laundry and put her diapers outside to dry! (Speaking of which, I need to bring them in!) It was so great to wake up to that kind of peace!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Awesome day!

When I dropped Munchkin off at watchcare for PWOC this morning, I was a little nervous. Her favorite lady wasn't there. It turns out she had to have her appendix removed and will probably be out for the next 6 weeks--meaning Munchkin won't see her again until Spring semester, since we only have 2 meetings left (we don't meet next week due to it being Thanksgiving week). I was all set for Munchkin to have a huge meltdown about me leaving her, but she surprised me!! She was happy--no tears!! I didn't even get a pager today, which was a first! When I picked her up, I spied on her for a minute. Usually, when I pick her up, she starts to cry as soon as she sees me. Silly girl thinks that that will make me think she's been so sad without me! So I spy on her now. When she doesn't know I'm there, she plays so well!! Today, she was on one of the rocking toys, just rockin' away!! Another surprise: she didn't fuss when she saw me! She just came over to me and asked to be picked up! The lady said she was so great the whole time, ate her applesauce well, listened, and played!! I mentioned her rocking and she said she'd been doing it for about 30 minutes! I think we need to figure out some room to get a rocking toy in here!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Day 16

Day 16-I am SO incredibly thankful for AMKOL. The ladies there are some of the sweetest, most supportive ladies I've ever "met". That support system helped me SO much during our deployment last year. Whenever I had a question, a "go me" moment, a day that didn't seem to end, a time when I thought I couldn't bear one more second--I could turn to AMKOL and there would be somebody to tell me just what I needed! It's an amazing place of amazing women. Without it, last year would have been so much harder, and even now, when Daddy is home, it's still an amazing place to be! I have LOVED being able to tell girls facing down a deployment that YES, you CAN do this!! I've been there, there absolutely IS a light at the end of the tunnel--and there really is an end to the tunnel!! Support, encouragement, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to's all there!

Day 15

Day 15-I'm thankful for Kindermusik. I started taking Munchkin to Kindermusik classes when she was about 2 months old. She loves all the music and dancing! She loves to play with the other kiddos too! Her favorite part though? The instruments! She loves to bang on the drums, shake the egg shakers, hit the clackers together, all of it! She's so proud of herself when she plays an instrument and always gives herself a round of applause when she's done! It's also helped her learn to put things away! Very rarely do I have to tell her more than "Put in please. ___ all done." and she very nicely puts whatever it is in the basket or bag! In Alaska, our classes were paid for, minus materials, by the Army Family Covenant, since Daddy was deployed. Here, we were very lucky that Ms. Diane (our teacher) is extremely conscious of military families financial capabilities for things like this and has an amazing price and is willing to work on payments! She truly does this because she loves the little children and helping them learn and play! So today, I'm thankful for the amazing things that Kindermusik has done, and certainly will do, in Munchkin's life!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day 14

Day 14-Today I'm thankful that my kitchen, mainly cooking real meals, isn't quite so intimidating anymore!! I've even found a Diana-proof way to cook bacon!
*Cue flashback scene*
Back in early 2006, I wanted a BLT for dinner (Daddy was at work at Olive Garden). I started the bacon in the pan...and all of a sudden it caught on fire. An electric stove, not quite to the grease popping stage, and I STILL don't know what made it catch fire. I knew not to put water on it, since it was a grease fire, and felt it necessary to scream that to the empty (well, Lightning was there!) apartment. First thought: (after OMG IT'S ON FIRE!!) was BAKING SODA. Couldn't find any. So next best thought: FLOUR! This was back when Daddy had time for exploring cake decorating, so he had a huge tub of flour in the kitchen. I grabbed whole handfuls and THREW it at the pan. Resulting in burnt globs of flour and a kitchen covered in white dust. I finally got the flames down where I could get to the under-oven drawer where we kept the lids to the pans and got it on, putting the fire out by suffocating it. Next task: making the smoke alarm turn off. It was in our bedroom on the ceiling, but without a chair (and we didn't have a chair I could stand on) I couldn't reach it. So I just started jumping and trying to hit the button. I was eventually successful. I was a bit traumatized and couldn't cope with cleaning it all up, and Daddy came home not too long after. After the "are you ok"s, it was "What were you thinking?!?" We got it all cleaned up and decided that bacon was now a Daddy thing. I've been scared of cooking bacon ever since.
*Cue transition to present*
Tonight, I'm making Beef and Potato Boats for dinner. It requires bacon. Daddy's not home yet. Oh, look, my AMAZING panini press is still on the counter. It needs a new name. I think I can count on one hand the amount of times we've made paninis on this thing, but I CAN'T think of how many times we've used it!! It's amazing. So I set it a little higher and threw (Ok, I carefully placed) the bacon on it! No grease splatters, no burns (a couple of which I have on my hand from trying to cook bacon for breakfast last weekend--but Daddy stepped in before I had too much to do with it!), and it's actually a little healthier. The panini press can be sloped downward or level. When it's sloped downward, the grease runs off into it's little tray, so the bacon didn't just soak up it's own delicious fattiness. So now I'm waiting on the potatoes to finish baking so that I can turn them into boats!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day 13

Day 13-I'm thankful for the mess. Weird, huh? I'll explain: We have been very blessed when it comes to Munchkin's toys. Between Auntie bringing hand-me-down toys, everyone giving her gifts, and us spoiling her just a little, Munchkin's toys have their own mini-room. What is labeled the dining room of our house is Munchkin's Toy Corner. Granted, we never would have used it as a dining area, and I love having Toy Corner where it is. I love that Munchkin loves her toys and explores them! I'll love it even more when she can help clean up--she's getting there! I'm thankful that we have the things to make a mess. Now let's see about being thankful to clean up the mess!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Day 12

Day 12--I'm thankful for Lightning. I know I mentioned him in Day 1, but he really is an amazing dog!! He pretty much house-trained himself, he doesn't have accidents (he does have "on purpose"es when he's mad that Daddy's gone though!), he doesn't chew things up, he doesn't bark a lot, and when he does, there's a good reason! I don't have to worry about leaving him at home when I go out, he's AMAZING with Munchkin, all kids really, and he's sweet. When Daddy's around, he really doesn't care if I'm there or not, but when he's not, he knows when I need him to cuddle! This year has been a little difficult with him health-wise, he has horrible arthritis in his back right knee and there's not much we can do for it except give him supplements and medicine for the pain. He's had to cut back on his frisbee time, which he hates, but he's still so active! He turned 5 this fall. It's crazy to think that we've had him for FIVE years!!! We adopted him from Rescue Farm of Evansville, Indiana--they were at Petsmart with him and his 5 brothers and sisters. No two of them looked alike. I chose a puppy and Daddy chose a puppy and we took them to a little room to play. My puppy wasn't very playful...Daddy chose Lightning. His name then was Pumpkin (they all had fall names, one of his sisters was named Cider--and we ended up running into her and her new family a lot around town!) and we had to wait another week to take him home, since they were due to be spayed and neutered. He was 8 weeks old when we brought him home. SO tiny. We were told that they were Shepherd/Terrier mixes and he shouldn't be more than 20 pounds full grown. They were just a smidgen off....he's 45-50 pounds! He's the perfect size--not too big, not to small. It's going to be a very sad day in our family when he's no longer with us, and even though we talk about what kind of dog we want after he's gone (We're currently thinking German Shepherd), he will definitely NOT be replaced, and he's set the bar high for any dog that comes into our family! Now lets all just hope that we don't have to see that day for another 10 years or so!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day 10 & 11

Day 10: Today I'm thankful for naptimes. Those few hours every day to do things around the house without Munchkin either crying for me or trying her best to "help"--which I do love to see, most of the time--is so great! Even better is when I can relax too! I haven't managed to actually take a nap, but I have had some great quiet time to myself!!

Day 11: Today, I'm thankful for everyone being so thankful! Seeing the countless "Thank you Veterans" posts on my facebook newsfeed is amazing. We just have to remember to thank our Veterans the other 364 days of the year too!!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day 9

Day 9: Today I am thankful for PWOC. For the 4 hours of free childcare, which in addition to giving me some time away from Munchkin, is helping her to tolerate different caregivers! Beyond the first two weeks, they have not had to page me to come get her! For the time spent with my class of very funny, warm-hearted, loving women. It's not uncommon for us to laugh, cry, and blush all in one class! So even though Tuesdays seem to be the only days Munchkin wants to 'sleep in' (as if we could really call it that!), we get up and make our way to the post chapel for PWOC!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Day 8

Day 8: I'm thankful for choices. We have so many choices, many of which we don't even notice, but some are so important!! Most often, the important ones are more difficult to make. Being faced with a few important choices right now, remembering to be thankful for these options is amazing!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Day 6 & 7

Day 6: I'm thankful for my mom and her craftiness. Growing up, she always made us our Halloween costumes, Christmas dresses, Easter dresses, you name it, she would make it for us. She tried to teach me how to sew when I was a child and I got scared of it and didn't make anything other than a stuffed toy for our cat. When Munchkin was on her way, Mom came to visit me in Alaska. She bought me a sewing machine and together, we made Munchkin a diaper bag made out of Daddy's original BCT ACUs. (Gotta love the Army's obsession with acronyms!) I made a couple sheets and pillowcases for Munchkin's bassinet/rocker too. Well, you've been hearing of the Halloween costumes, and I've also made a bunch of spitties, cloth wipes, and diaper liners for Munchkin, as well as ring sling. I'm glad that watching her sew for all those years has made such an impression and I just hope that I can do some of the amazing things she has and pass it on to Munchkin!!

Day 7: I'm thankful for the fall weather today. Frost on the grass, current temperature of 40. Bright sunshine, clear blue sky. Weather I missed in Alaska--since it was like this in August!!! There's already snow there now...something I'm glad we're not dealing with right now. Living in Alaska did give me a little more appreciation for the season of winter, but I did love having a true summer here!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Three weeks...

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is now less than three weeks away?? I don't know about you, but for us, this year has FLOWN!!! (I know, I know, I keep saying that, but the year is just picking up speed!) It seems that the "Thankful for..." statuses are back on facebook, but I figured I would post those here instead!

Day 1)I'm going with the obvious here: My family. My husband, Munchkin, and Lightning are so amazing to live with every day!! Then we have the family that we don't see as often, but lots more than we did when we lived in Alaska!! As the saying goes, We start and end with family!

Day 2)The fact that Daddy is home this year!! When so many families are starting to face down their deployments, we're enjoying our time together. My heart goes out to all of those families! We are looking forward to our first Thanksgiving and Christmas with all three of us together!

Day 3)The Army. Crazy, right? No, not really. Daddy has a stable job that he loves and for the most part, we're well taken care of!

Day 4)Every past, present, and future Soldier, Airman, Marine, Sailor, and Coastie. Without these amazing people, our world would be so much different. Don't wait for Veteran's Day to thank these people!!

Day 5)That I'm a stay at home mommy. I love the fact that I see (almost) every one of Munchkin's "firsts". I did, however, miss the first crawl--she was with Daddy for that one, but he did get it on video!