24 December 2009

Christmas Eve Blizzard News story


"Oklahomans Under Seige From Record-Setting Blizzard on Christmas Eve"


UPDATED: 4:20 pm CST -- OKLAHOMA STATEWIDE -- Conditions across Oklahoma continue to develop into highly dangerous winter conditions. During Thursday afternoon, over a foot of snow and drifts as high as five feet in many parts of the state were occurring, including the metro OKC area. The Oklahoma Governor's office has issued a State of Emergency declaration for all 77 Oklahoma counties. At Will Rogers International Airport, 10 inches of snow had fallen by 4:00pm.I-40 eastbound and the H.E. Bailey turnpike were closed, and all major interstates in and out of the metro Oklahoma City were closed off completely by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation as of 3:34pm. Life-threatening conditions were being reported all over the western part of the state, where numerous multi-vehicle accidents left many motorists fighting just to seek shelter in Siberia-like blizzard conditions. On I-40 near Hudiburg Drive near Midwest City, up to 50 cars were involved in a huge multi-car wreck, according to the OHP.The Oklahoma Highway Patrol was highly discouraging any travel throughout the state, as blizzard conditions were making travel extremely dangerous, and in many cases, life-threatening. The OHP suggested those tied up in their cars to NOT leave to try and get help. The blizzard conditions could overwhelm and incapacitate in a manner of minutes. Wind gusts from 10:00am Thursday morning to late afternoon never wavered from 45mph to 60mph.Visibility is extremely limited throughout more than half the state, including Oklahoma City. The sleet, snow, and fierce blowing winds are expecting to leave the state by midnight on Christmas Eve, but have already left a complete path of destruction through much of Oklahoma as of Thursday afternoon.Stay tuned to NewsChannel 4 for continuing coverage, and check www.4warn.com throughout Thursday for regular updates as conditions worsen this Christmas Eve.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The afore mentioned Hudiburg Drive is 1/2 a mile from the nearest gate on base - to put it in perspective of where we live. I have pictures to post, but I have to download them from my computer first, so I will post those later.
The winds are definitely bitterly cold!!

Blizzard closes I-44 from OKC to TX border

http://newsok.com/article/3427256
Weather, wrecks close eastbound I-40 near El Reno, all of H.E. Bailey Turnpike
FROM STAFF REPORTS The Oklahoman Comments 0
Published: December 24, 2009
Blizzard-like conditions and wrecks prompted state authorities to close a portion of Interstate 40 near El Reno and the H.E. Bailey Turnpike.
A wintry mix of rain, sleet and snow is expected to hit after noon today, reducing visibility outdoors as a winter weather warning remains in effect for...
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol closed eastbound I-40 at U.S. 81 about 11:05 a.m. because of multiple crashes.
The H.E. Bailey Turnpike, which is the portion of Interstate 44 extending southwest from the Oklahoma City area to the Texas state line, is closed because of the weather, the patrol reported.
Military vehicles are being dispatched to the toll road to pick up stranded motorists on the turnpike, said Jack Damrill, spokesman for the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority.
It's unknown how many motorists may be stranded on the turnpike, which extends from Newcastle to the Texas state line
"We've got a couple troopers stranded," Damrill said.
Officials have not estimated when the roadways will reopen.
Troopers have reported weather related wrecks across the state because of today's storm.

We're under a Blizzard Warning!

I awoke early this morning (about 0400) to the sound of the northern winter wind howling against the house and the sound of tiny little pieces of ice and snow hitting the roof outside of our bedroom window. I got up and looked outside and it was the beginning to snow!
Now I'm sitting in the dining room/living room, listening to the winds howl against the house. We've accumulated some snow on the grass, but not enough yet to cover the top of the blades. It is definitely cold outside though!! I'm really glad that my plans include staying inside baking and cooking and preparing for having Christmas Dinner tomorrow!
Here are some maps courtsey of www.weather.com:



These winds put the windchill at about 13 degrees F.

23 December 2009

Christmas Quiz

Okay, post your answers in the comments section, and after Christmas I will write a blog with the answers. :) Have fun!

1. Quadruped with crimson proboscis
2. 5 p.m. to 6 a.m. without noise
3. Miniscule hamlet in the far east
4. Ancient benevolent despot
5. Adorn the vestibule
6. Exuberance directed towards the planet
7. Listen, aerial spirits harmonizing
8. Monarchial trio
9. Yonder in the haystack
10. Assemble, everyone who believes
11. Hallowed post meridian
12. Fantasies of a colorless December 25th
13. Tin tintinnabulums
14. A dozen 24-hour Yule periods
15. Befell during the transparent bewitching hour
16. Homo sapien of crystallized vapor
17. Primary Carol
18. Seraphim we aurally detected in the stratosphere
19. Perambulating through a December solstice fantasy
20. The slight percussionist lad

We might get SNOW for Christmas!!

I am so excited about the possibility that we might have a White Christmas! I knew that there was a slight chance of a winter storm for Christmas, and even though I tried not to be hopeful about it (because I hate being disappointed about snow and have since childhood), I secretly nursed a hope that it might actually snow on Christmas.
Last night when I check the weather forecast, there was only a chance of rain and some really cold wind. I had to get up early this morning because I had a doctor's appointment, and sure enough, when I went outside, it was pretty warm out - in the 50's warm. Sighing, I knew that there wasn't a chance for snow.
Then while at the clinic, my PCP mentioned that we were supposed to get 10 inches. Really?? It went from nothing to 10 inches in less than 9 hours? Surely not!
I did notice that the temp had dropped at least 10 degrees when I went back to my car.
When I came home, Mike and Sophie were still asleep, so I went into the computer room to get online and check the forecast.
Lo and behold, this is what I found: These are courtesy of www.kfor.com/weather
It's going to snow!! Yay!!! I feel like a little kid, all excited waiting for snow! This must be why I dreamed about going shopping for a sled last night! :D

And Lord willing we'll get a White Christmas!!


18 December 2009

"The Day Dad Was Pregnant" an article

Thanks Michelle for sending me the article!! It's so hilarious! I keep trying to get Mike to wear the sympathy belly at the Family Advocacy Center, but he refuses . . . I only make him carry various articles up and down the stairs all day - you know a box of wipes, Sophie, Sophie and some toys, a load of laundry, etc.

From: http://www.parenting.com/article/Pregnancy/Care/The-Day-Dad-Was-Pregnant?cid=preg-newsletter-week7d4-bullet2

The Day Dad Was Pregnant
Babytalk challenged a father of two to try on pregnancy (or rather, a fake 33-pound belly) for size
By Geoff Williams, Babytalk

My wife had recently given birth to our second child when my editor at BabyTalk called me with an assignment: See what it's like to be pregnant by wearing an "empathy belly" -- a sort of pregnancy suit for men (expectant dads try them on briefly during childbirth class) -- for one day. Having just gone through nine months of backaches, nausea, and sore feet herself, my wife, Susan, was all too thrilled for me to have a taste of her discomfort, if only for a day.

Full of bravado, I insisted that I would also wear the belly at night, so that I'd have it on a full 24 hours. That was before we learned that the makers of the empathy belly suggest wearing it no longer than three hours at a time. (Something to do with not wanting the husband to freak out by the instant changes, collapse, and suffocate, I believe.) It was also before I knew that wearing the pretend pregnant belly for even a few minutes would try my physical strength. The empathy belly isn't for sissies, and neither, I've come to truly understand, is pregnancy.

But it took fake breasts and a bladder pouch to get me to realize that. I borrowed my 33-pound empathy belly from the College of Nursing at the University of Cincinnati. It's not just a belly though: The contraption consists of two foam breasts; a rib belt designed to constrict the lungs and make it harder to breathe; two seven-pound lead balls inside the belly; a two-pound suspended weight that simulates a baby's kicking; and a weighted pouch that represents the baby's head on the woman's -- or in my case, man's -- bladder.

If you go to the official website, you'll learn that anybody wearing the belly for ten minutes or longer can expect a range of maladies, including a "low backache...awkwardness in all body movements...pressure on the bladder, with increased sense of urgency of urination," and my favorite, "changes in sexual self-image and abilities." Yikes.

I decided to give my new breast-and-belly suit a whirl on a weekend. On Saturdays, I try to give my wife a break by taking our two girls -- Isabelle, 2, and Lorelei, 3 months -- to visit my parents. This day wasn't any different, save for the empathy belly in the trunk of the car (you're not allowed to drive while wearing it). I thought it would be helpful to spend some time outside my own home wearing the belly to truly understand how a pregnant woman feels. But I also knew deep down that I'd probably conveniently forget to mention to my parents that I had brought it along. Fortunately, my wife had sent over an e-mail reminding everyone. In another lucky break, my parents had a friend visiting, Debbie, who, along with my mom, was all too happy to help me put on the empathy belly. As soon as they strapped on the rib belt (giggling all the while), I felt frighteningly short of breath. And when I sat down on the sofa, I immediately felt an acutely uncomfortable sensation -- the bladder pouch. As somebody who has had some close calls with the restroom, usually when I'm on the highway, and once when I was stuck in an elevator, I didn't like the feel of this. But overall the snugness wasn't so bad -- it was maybe like being a mummy, except with your limbs and face free. Really, what was the big deal?

"It's not so bad," I said, glancing at my mother and Debbie, who both seemed to be euphoric about my plight. But after the novelty wore off a little, the two launched into a conversation related to work. Meanwhile, Isabelle was concentrating on a cartoon show. My dad was in another room, holding Lorelei.

I remained on the sofa, taking note that yes, I had some slight pressure on my bladder, and sure, I couldn't take deep, deep breaths, but this wasn't so tough. It's not like I feel that different than before, I thought, absently fondling my fake breasts. In front of my mom.

I yanked my hands away and tried to pry myself off of the sofa. Immediately, Isabelle asked me to pick her up. "Oh, jeez," I muttered, squatting down. The empathy belly instructions are adamant that you shouldn't bend down without squatting; I didn't want to test my luck.
As I lifted her, other than a brief puzzled glance, Isabelle didn't even seem to notice my misshapen body, which was a big relief. (After I accepted this assignment, I worried that when Isabelle grew up, she would have a foggy memory of her father with a pregnant belly, keeping a therapist employed for years.) My 2-year-old was just happy I was holding her -- which meant one of us was happy. After all, she's 31 freaking pounds.

"You seem kind of cranky," my mother said.

"It must be my hormones," I sighed. I looked at my watch. I had only been wearing the empathy belly for 15 minutes, and I knew I should go at least another hour or two. I didn't want to admit it to anybody, but, by this point, I wasn't enjoying my pregnancy at all.

Fortunately, everybody else was. My mother and Debbie kept making jokes at my expense. My brother, Kevin, and his girlfriend, Rachel, dropped by and each had a good laugh. And my dad took photos.

I probably logged in about 90 more minutes, and three bathroom trips, until I'd had enough. When I arrived home with the girls, my wife was beaming. "Your father sent me the photos," she said. Cursed e-mail. "And I sent them to my mom."

"Of course you did," I said. That was inevitable.

"And Shannon loved them." Shannon is one of her dearest friends, so that was no surprise. "But I'm still waiting to hear from Pam and Colleen," said Susan, "and Mary Lou, Kim and Mike, Nancy, Sue, and..."

Great.

I wasn't mad at my dad for sending the photos. But I was mad at him for telling Susan that I had said, "Wearing this empathy belly is much more difficult than actually being pregnant." My wife quickly replied, "Tell Geoff that if he likes, he can try being pregnant for five minutes, and he will see how comfortable the empathy belly is." And then she reeled off a list of things that the empathy belly would never do, like "give you insomnia, give you hemorrhoids, and make you push a baby out of an opening the size of a lemon." She also took issue with the fact that I could take the empathy belly off at any time and leave it in a box.

Boy, she's touchy.

The next day, my wife, daughters, and I went back to my parents' house for lunch, where the main course was my grandmother's fried chicken. Not two minutes into the visit, my wife was volunteering to help me put on the belly. Susan yanked the rib belt around my chest much tighter than my mother and her friend had. "Comfy?" Susan asked.

"I cuhnnn-n-huhhly-breathe," I said.

"Then I guess it's working," Susan said cheerfully, and then hoisted the rest of the weighted contraption on me, with no trouble at all, as if she were John Wayne saddling his horse for the thousandth time. With my lungs doing double-time, the weight seemed to double or triple, too. Okay, it's a big deal, I thought. Big deal, big deal, I get it, I get it, I get it!

And if the experience was strange the day before, now it was surreal. We all sat down to lunch. My Uncle Joe was annoyed that I was sitting beside him, because I seemed to take up all of the space around me. My Uncle Larry just appeared amused. As did my brother, his girlfriend, my parents and my wife, who all asked at regular intervals how I was holding up, as if they thought it would be funny if I wasn't holding up so well. At least my grandmother seemed supportive. Until, that is, after dinner, when she looked my way and offered a challenge: "I'll bet you can't tie your shoes." Et tu, Grammy?

I retreated upstairs with Isabelle for a while. She played in my old bedroom, and at one point, I tried lying on my side, imagining what it might be like to sleep like that for an entire night. Night after night after night. Honestly, I'm not sure how any woman does it.

Watching Isabelle play, I had some time to reflect on a lot of things, like how lonely pregnancy can feel. I mean, sure, you're a celebrity for a while -- Susan got a lot of attention from the family when she was pregnant, and I was getting a lot, in a different sort of way. But at the same time, if you're the only pregnant person in the room, and the only person who has to think about how to navigate across the room, well, there's a sense of solitude to the whole thing.

And helplessness. When Isabelle and I were going downstairs, she wanted me to carry her, but I was worried about tackling the stairs with my arms full of preschooler. I shouted for my father, who came to Isabelle's rescue while I retreated to the restroom for probably the fifth time since we had arrived.

But when I finished my business and reached down to zip my pants, my belly kept getting in the way. Grunting, I pulled and pulled, until I finally placed my fake stomach on the counter, bent my knees, and tried to pull. I wound up toppling into the bathtub.I stood, holding up my pants with one hand, gingerly descended the stairs, and snuck into my parents' den.

I tried putting my belly on my father's desk, which was a little higher than the bathroom counter. Still no luck. Sweat was dripping off of me now, and my forearms were aching -- all from trying to zip my pants.

After about five minutes of struggling, I gave in and called for Susan. This was a two-person job. "I don't know how you zipped your pants all those months," I said.

"Maternity pants don't come with zippers," she replied.

"That's right," I said. "You know, maybe I do have it harder than you did." My wife shot me a look implying I was sleeping in the garage that night.

Later, Susan softened, and shortly before the three-hour limit was up, she suggested I take the belly off. I didn't protest. I waddled a mile in her moccasins, and I have to admit, I have a new respect for all pregnant women. I especially have to admire women who repeat the pregnancy experience.

Susan's actually talking about going for a third. There are times when I think she's crazy, until I'm making Lorelei laugh, or lying in the grass with Isabelle, marveling at how she can watch an ant and be simply fascinated by it. (That is, until she tries to pet it, and accidentally sends it into oblivion.) There's something about having kids that really is magical. And so, I can honestly say that if it was possible for men to be pregnant, and if I had to trade places with my wife, I would happily go the distance for nine months.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

New Winter Sport: Present Wrestling

Mike's present came in the mail yesterday, via UPS. I didn't know the exact delivery date, so I was hoping to be home when it arrived. And preferably, Mike not home.

Well, Mike was home and I wasn't when it arrived. Hmmm, this secracy thing isn't starting off too well . . .

I pulled up into the drive last night with Sophie, and there it was, sitting in its box (with another box that got delivered the same day) on the driveway. I thought it would arrive in a brown box, but no, it was sitting in a very descriptive original box. Anyone who saw it would know right away what it was.

I immediately thought "Oh no! Mike's seen it! He knows what his present is!"

My next thought was "Oh no! It's going to be too heavy for me to move by myself and I'll have to go and get Mike to move it for me! And the surprise will be ruined!!! Aahhh!"

Before I opened the door to the house and brought Sophie in, I decided to try and see if I could move it, and I could. So I put in the outdoor storage where Mike doesn't go (to my knowledge). Then I went to get the trash can from the street so Mike would think I was delayed by moving that up to the house.

Then I went inside. Mike came down the stairs at this time, and I asked him if he had seen the box outside (referring to the other box that was delivered). He said that he hadn't, although I wasn't sure if he was telling the truth or if he wasn't telling the truth to save the fact that he had seen the box his present was in and just didn't want me to know that he had seen it and knew what his Christmas present was.

Because I had hidden his present, I knew I would have to wait until today when he was at work to go out and get it and bring it in to wrap it. I also knew I would probably have to get more wrapping paper. I had plans to run a few errands (go to post office, return a text book, etc) today, so I thought I would pick some up while I was out.

However, such as the plans that I make go, I ended up not leaving until later than planned and then everything took longer than planned, so I didn't get home until about 1530.

Guess who was home when I got home? That's right - Mike had gotten off work early. Foiled!

So I went inside with my bags from errands and Sophie and shooed Mike away to go and play with Gomer for a while. (Gomer is Sarah and James' cat that we are pet-sitting for while they are in MI.)

Then to bring the present inside. After wrestling it out of the storage shed, I brought it into the house and took it to the living room. I had previously cleared the entire coffee table off and had rolled out some wrapping paper so the present would be ready to place on said paper on said table.

Well, lifting the present is not easy in my current 6 month pregnant state. And getting it set just right on the paper on the table was not an easy task either. At least I chose to do this on the coffee table and not the dining room table! And of course the phone rang mid lift.

So I paused to answer (after setting the present down) and talk on the phone for a few minutes. We'll call it a break. :) Then back to present wrestling.

What I had not anticipated is that the prsesent is longer than the coffee table. Hmmm. This caused the wrapping paper to tear at one end. Grrr. Good thing I have lots of tape.

So now the present is situated on the wrapping paper on the table. Now I just need to flip it on its side and reposition . . . this takes a few minutes because I couldn't just pick up the whole thing to move it an inch. I had to scoot one end, then the other . . .

Now the wrapping can begin. The paper is long enough, but only goes up to the top of the sides of the box. I had anticipated this already, so I knew I would have to wrap twice.

I got everything taped up and good to go for that side.

Now, to repeat on the other side.

So, I had to move the present off the coffee table and start all over again. So I did.

And Sophie is watching this whole process intently from her exerciser.

Now the present is wrapped and I have to put it under the tree.

New set of problems.

I decided I wanted to put it behind the tree where Mike couldn't try to guess what it was. So I had to move all the presents that were already under the tree.

And the chair next to the tree.

Did I mention that I'm six, almost seven, months pregnant?

So after moving all the presents while taking mental note of what was where so I could put them back as they were, AND moving the chair, I push/pull/carry the present over to the tree.

I had wanted to lay it flat, so I wrestled with it to get it scooted behind the tree, which is far too heavy for me to move by myself, and realize that it won't fit that way.

So I have to wrestle it back out from behind the tree, turn it, and then get it back behind the tree again. All the while watching out for ornaments and the strand of lights since the plug is right in the center of this whole present-moving operation.

By now I've worked up quite the sweat. At least the present is placed though!

So I put the chair back and put all the presents back as close to the way they were as I could. And I turn around and there are the other presents that I bought today that I have to wrap staring at me!

At least I don't have to wrestle with those presents!

I can't wait to see the look on Mike's face when he opens his present. I'll be sure to have my camera ready. :) And I can't wait to tell him the story of wrapping it too! :)

14 December 2009

Reality Check

Today is the first day of the December intersession courses at UCO. I have taken many intersessions in the past, so I thought that this intersession would be like the previous classes. I also knew that with Sophie, it would be a lot harder to study at night and do any assignments for the class.

Well, this intersession class, the Evolution of Human Sexuality, apparently is a lot harder than most previous intersession classes. There are no tests in the class, we just have to do outlines for our grades. Normally that would ideal, something I would love. However, with my life being how it is currently, I knew immediately that I would not be able to do an outline on three chapters a night. Not with a little baby who needs me and cooking for Mike. And we have two Christmas dinners to go to this week, plus a Family Expectations class. Those things are important to me.

So I dropped the class. I am very sad about it, but the reality is that I would not be able to do the work, which isn't fair to those in my group, to the professor or to me.

I find that my education is getting pushed further and further to the back burner. I am so close to finishing my degree - 16 credit hours, and yet I feel that I am farther away than I was two years ago. I dropped the previous classes that I was enrolled in because I was really sick and being pregnant while caring for an infant was too much and I could not keep up with the work.

I suppose that I could say that if I was more dedicated or worked harder or made school my number one priority, that it could work. There are a lot of moms out there who have gone to school. I would not, and am not, going to put school in front of my family right now.

I did find the distance education courses and so I will do those until I finish my degree. They are flexible. I just hope and pray that I have the self discipline to complete the courses. I had a good start to the current course I am enrolled in, Shakespeare, while in SD, but since I have returned, my time has been occupied by finishing unpacking and organizing the house from when we moved, and of course, taking care of Sophie.

I just feel so down about this whole thing. And I will most likely end up dropping my January intersession class as well. . . . :(

13 December 2009

New House Pics

We finally have a house! It's actually part of a quad-plex, kind of like a town house, except we have a carport, storage area and a fenced in backyard. :)
View of the front of the house - we're the door on the left.
While showing the inside of the house to Ruth, I had to take a break and feed my Sophie-Bug. :) I'm saying "Sshhh" to her. (It helps calm her down.)

Here's half of the kitchen, which is now painted Honey Toast yellow. :)
And the other half of the kitchen - I love having a big kitchen!
I do plan on posting more pictures once the house is completely decorated. I don't have a time line for that yet. :)

Visiting South Dakota Pics

I don't have a whole lot of photos from our trip to South Dakota. My battery was getting low, so I didn't take as many pics (like pictures of the actual Thanksgiving meal, etc). I wish I had now, but oh well. Anyway, here is Mike teaching Sophie how to play the piano - it's never too early to learn!
Now Sophie's trying it out for herself.
South Dakota really is a beautiful state. I was surprised to see some green though!
This was taken on the way out to Todd and Janine's ranch, east of Gregory.
Sophie hanging out in her sleep sack that Grandma Ruth got for her. :D
I think she spied something over to the right. . . .
My happy Sophie-Bug!! :D
Beautiful South Dakota sunset.
Sophie was fluffing Grandma Ruth's hair - it was so precious, I had to get a picture! (And a video)
We stopped at Subway on the way back for lunch, and Sophie held her bottle for the first time by herself!! So I had to grab the camera and capture the moment! (And it's a great picture of Mike too!)

Tinker Parade Pics

Leading the Christmas Parade, which started on base in the housing area, by the Youth Center, was the Honor Guard.

















I got a lot of pictures of the horses leading the carriages, and consequently I was always able to get the characters in the carriage in time . . . however, I was able to capture a picture of the Grinch.










Here are some of the other characters who were in the parade . . .













The AWACS Sentry golf cart was pretty funny to see. Tinker is home of 1/3 of the AWACS in the world (I believe, Michelle or Sarah can correct me if I'm wrong), so hence the AWACS golf cart.










I didn't get a good picture of Santa and Mrs. Clause, but the horse pulling their carriage was gorgeous and he knew it!










Here's Santa and I and Sophie.














When we got a picture with the Grinch, Sophie would not stop staring at him! It was if she was thinking, "what in the world is that thing?? He's not even the right color! And the eyebrows?!?" It was pretty funny.








Mike finally showed up, so we were able to get some pictures with him as well. (And Sophie is still checking out the Grinch!) Mike missed the parade because he was at home getting a snack, then he walked down the club, there these later pictures were taken, so it took him a while to get there.








Here's Sophie with Santa. She really had to check out all the white hair on Santa too! She's so funny and precious!






Christmas Tree Cutting Pics

Here's Mike standing next to our tree before we cut it down.

We went to Martinbird Christmas Tree farm in Tuttle to get our tree. They had a huge selection of types of trees to choose from.









Here are Sophie and I. It was pretty cold that day, only in the high 30's, so we were very bundled up - especially Sophie. I'm actually wearing her in a sling on my hip under my coat, since that is so much easier than carrying her.
















Mike cutting down the tree. It only took him a few minutes - he would make quite the woodsman. :)











Here is the only pic I was able to get of the tree farm. I feel that it doesn't really do the farm justice at all. There were acres and acres of trees lined up neatly in rows. And the sun was just starting its descent in the western sky and would have made for a glorious picture, but unforunately my camera battery was on its last legs and I was only able to get the few pictures that I did.






Here is the tree set up in our living room with the lights on. I was actually able to decorate it until a few days later . . .

You may notice that our lamp is leaning a bit, it got bent in the move. :( And since I haven't found a permanent place to put my purse and the diaper bag yet, they just get plopped down in the chair for now.

12 December 2009

Getting ready for Christmas

Things are here have been pretty busy (what else is new?) in preparing for Christmas. Our tree is decorated and I have some of the decorations up. I think I might finish up the rest of the decorations today.

I also was out for five hours today shopping, although not all of it was Christmas shopping, some was grocery shopping and there was a trip to the post office (waiting in line always takes at least 20 minutes there - and it doesn't help that I always forget about the customs form until I get to the counter, then I have to take the time to fill it out while I could have done that while I was in line.) That's a hint for you Mom - you're getting a box and a package in the mail soon. :) They said about 6 business days.

I got presents friends, wrapping papers and I got some Christmas dishes (all of them were $4 or less!) I went to a Thrift store and also to the Dollar Store and was able to pick up a few plates and bowls. I also got a table cloth, tables runners and napkins to use for Christmas dinner (this year and in the future). And I got a few presents for Mike, Sophie and Thomas.

I was actually to secure the very last item on two accounts today (which was a relief because I was really hoping to be able to get them!) One of them was the Christmas plates they had at the Dollar Store; when I was there with Marilyn last week, they had dozens. I got the very last two!! (Which was all I was planning on buying). Sam's club also has 4-packs of classic novels - they're really nice hardbacks and come in a nice case as a set. I was able to get the last one of "A Little Princess", "A Secret Garden", and two others that I can't think of right now. At less than $16, it was a really great price for the quality of books. The other set I got has "Pinocchio", "Alice in Wonderland", "The Wizard of Oz" and one other.

Well, have to go pick up the car from the shop! More later (and hopefully posting some pics)!

And with sales and coupons, I saved $126 at one store! (I only spent $67.) I love that!!

10 December 2009

Break

Sophie went down for a nap not too long ago and we shall see how long she naps. I just wanted to catch up on some computer things and then it's off to get started on organizing the computer room.

I had wanted to have the whole house completely finished, organized, decorated and looking beautiful by last Monday night, when I hosted my Pampered Chef Party. However, it dawned on me Monday morning that just having the downstairs clutter free, clean and partially decorated will just have to do for my guests. As a result of that, everything that did not have a place yet downstairs (mostly on the kitchen counter) got carried upstairs and placed on a free space on the floor in the computer room, Sophie and Edward's room or the hall. So . . . my goal by Sunday is have all of that stuff picked up and put away. It is a goal and I know that my goals usually fall short, or sometimes long.

I am really glad to be blogging again and I am trying to make a habit of it because it is a great cartharsis for me and I just feel so much better blogging about my life. This year has been pretty crazy and busy, with a new baby, moving, etc. I have so many blogs in my head and blogs that I intended to write, but never got written. So just getting on my blog and writing SOMETHING makes me feel like I accomplished something in my day! (It's a mental thing.)

Now the downside to this is that when I get on my blog, I tend to write and write (because I love to write) and then I'm on my blog for hours. Literally. Perhaps I will have to invest in a timer, or I could find that one that got unpacked . . .

I have started going to the Wednesday night PWOC as well as the Tuesday morning one, and I am really LOVING the study that we are doing. It's on the book of the Romans, but I think mostly it is the lady who is leading the study - Ellen. She is a teacher by trade, and it is definitely her gift. Even though the study hasn't officially started and we've just been going over small things about Romans and Paul's life, I feel that I have already learned so much. I find myself looking forward to this study every week and absolutely not budging about missing it if Mike suggests that we skip chapel on Wednesday night (there's also dinner served immediately prior). I love to have such enthusiasm about studying God's Word and motivation for getting into it myself.

When it comes to enthusiasm and hunger for the Word, it seems to ebb and flow in my life like a river. Sometimes its quick and rushing, like now, where I devour everything I can, sometimes it's slow and lazy where I have a hard time just picking up the Bible to do quiet time and don't do Bible studies. Sometimes the river is at flood stage and I almost feel that I'm drowning, I'm so overwhelmed with all the Bible "responsibilities" in my life - other times the river is low, so low that it's running dry and I start to thirst and hunger for the Word in an almost physical way. Of course, like a lot of rivers, there are boulders and rock outcroppings that create rapids of tension or dissention that must be worked through and sometimes the river is smooth flowing and everything is so wonderful. Of course, this description could also be used to describe one's life - but I'd prefer to keep in about my spiritual life. I do know that where ever my river goes - it is the Lord who leads and directs it's course and uses me as a tool to reach others - whether it be to carry them in encouragement, help them to grow, or just course with them. Praise be the Lord our Maker who has numbered all the days of our life!

Well, I would like to write more, but it shall have to wait. I do need to get started cleaning this room up! :)

Date Ideas and Family Fun

Here's a list of FREE events in the OKC area for December and January.

DECEMBER:

FREE museum Sundays:
Dec 13 - Oklahoma Heritage Museum - 1400 Classen Dr
Dec 20 - Oklahoma City Museum of Art - 415 Couch Dr (downtown)
Dec 27 - all 4 OKC museums are free
Go to www.downtownindecember.com to learn more about this

Ride the Trolley for Free
Ride the Oklahoma Spirit Trolley during Downtown in December Winter Celebration Nov 29-Dec 31
To view a holiday trolley schedule visit www.gometro.org or call 235-RIDE (7433)

Free Oklahoma River Holiday Cruises
Enjoy holiday lights, hot cocoa and holiday music on and open-air deck or heated cabin every Sunday from 1300-1800 Nov 29-Dec 27
To learn more visit www.okrivercruises.com or call 702-7755

Myriad Gardens - OG&E Garden Lights
Will be open FREE every Sunday evening in December for special twilight viewings, courtesy of OG&E from 1800-2100 Nov 29-Dec 27.
To learn more visit www.downtownindecember.com.

JANUARY:

Free Zoo Mondays - Mondays in January and February are free for guests of all ages.
Hours 0900-1700. Address: 2101 Northeast 50th
To learn more visit www.OKCZOO.com or call 424-3344

Attend Forever.For Real February 6th (sat) for relationship strengthening workshop.
From 0900 -1500. Free with free lunch provided.
3 locations:
Express Event Center - 8512 NW Expressway
Skirvin Hilton Hotel in Downtown OKC - 1 Park Ave
Embassy Suites - Norman - 2501 Conference Dr (this is where the AF Ball was located)

To register, call 639-3080 x 248. This is the number for Family Expectations, but I don't know if you have to be part of Family Expectations to actually participate. If you aren't part of FE, but want to go, you might try calling and find out. It's sponsored by Hobby Lobby. Family Expectations is sponsored in part by the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative.

Sophie and Santa

Sophie got to visit with Santa at the Family Expectations Holiday Dinner (the one we all know was a Christmas dinner) on Tuesday night. Before the picture was taken, she had to really check out Santa with the fluffy white beard and all . . . it was pretty cute. :)

08 December 2009

Grateful

Tonight Mike and I went to the Family Expectations Christmas Dinner. It was called the Holiday Dinner, but we all know it was a Christmas Dinner - I mean Santa was there and we sang Christmas songs.

Anyway . . .

Sophie was definitely the belle of the ball. I had her dressed in her other new Christmas dress - it's red like Santa's suit and has a little hat that goes with it. (I also had her in warm pants because it was so cold outside). She was just laughing and smiling and bouncing up and down on Mike's lap - that got quite a few people's attention actually. And one of the volunteers doing the food asked if they could bring her over to meet all the other food volunteers in the building. Sophie was fine going to her and I could see her the entire time, so we agreed. She apparently had a blast meeting everyone and laughing and showing off her new dress. And they all loved her (we got lots of compliments when it was our turn to go through the food line.) Mike and I have discussed several times what to do if this kind of treatment continues (it's actually not unusual for Sophie to be the center of attention). We're worried about her getting self centered or something if this continues beyond her toddler years . . . hopefully with a sibling coming we won't have too much to worry about because she won't be the only child . . . we just don't want her to become vain or self-centered or that kind of thing.

Moving on . . . they had great food (turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, mashed sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, rolls and red velvet cake) and Sophie got a Christmas toy, which I'm going to wrap and put under the tree for her. She also got her picture taken with Santa (it will be available on Thursday, so hopefully I'll be able to have a copy on here by the weekend), and we got a huge turkey for our Christmas dinner.

It really was a great night and Mike and I had a lot of fun. Sophie was really great the entire time and even danced and bounced when Rumble, the mascot to the OKC Thunder Basketball team came out. I really wish my camera battery wasn't dead. :(

When we left to go back to the car, we noticed right away that the wind had switched around and was now coming out of the northwest and very, very cold, and really blowing. It practically pushed me to the car (good thing we were walking away from the wind, not into it). We had Sophie in the car seat in the stroller, so she was shielded from the wind by the two tops and we had a blanket on top of that. And she was under three blankets in her car seat and had a beanie and a hood on. She seemed to be pretty cozy. She has learned to keep her hands under the blanket when we go outside now. She catches on pretty quickly to things like that . ..

So just before writing this blog, I decided to go online and check out the weather forecast for tomorrow since Sophie and I have to go out. The low tonight is 18 with a windchill of 0, (poor Mike has PT in the morning!) and the high tomorrow is 25, and this is with a NW wind of 20-30mph. I thought that was super cold until I checked out the forecast in Gregory, SD, and Long Pine, NE where Ruth and Pam live. In Gregory, it's 3 degrees right now with a windchill of -20 and the forecast for the next few days is "bitterly cold" with a "dangerous" windchill of -25. It's about the same in Long Pine. Ruth and Pam, if you are reading this, what on earth do you do when you have to go outside??? Oklahoma is the coldest state I have ever lived in - and it rarely gets that cold.

So if you are going out this week in OK, NE or SD, or KS for that matter, bundle up so you can stay "toasty-woasty" warm, as I would tell Sophie. She protests being bundled up until we go out the door, then she's quiet. :)

05 December 2009

Sophie update

Sophie turned 8 months old on Thanksgiving Day and she has really been growing - tall that is! She weighs less than 15 pounds, but is over 27 1/4 inches long! So she is a very long, skinny little baby. She is still incredibly active. Tracy, the nurse from the base that comes and visits us every three weeks or so, says that Sophie is the most active baby that she has ever seen in her career! I'm not really surprised.

Sophie is a very busy little baby, and although she isn't crawling yet (and has no interest in crawling whatsoever at this point after learning to sit up) she is always reaching for things and can scoot around sitting up or on her back. She loves to explore and figure things out. She actually figured out how to take Mike's watch off one day when he was holding her on his lap! Then she examined it very carefully for some time! A watch makes for a quick, easy distraction when I'm out somewhere! Whenever she gets a new toy or object, she turns it over and over and examines it very thoroughly.

She absolutely loves books! Actually when we pick out books to read I have to pick two - one for me to read and one for her to hold because once she gets ahold of a book, she does NOT like to let it go without examining it very carefully first! The other day Marilyn and I went to IHOP for lunch and Sophie sat in her highchair holding the menu with both hands the right way up and studying it like she was going to order something! I wish I'd had my camera! We got a lot of comments from nearby customers and the waitress from that! Sophie will actually sit pretty still for long periods of time while I read to her. Especially if we're sitting on the floor together.

On the not-so-happy side, Sophie has been diagnosed with strabismus (sp?) - which is where on eye likes to wander to the outside. She has an appointment with a pediatric ophthlalogist this week. Her pediatrician, Dr. Dean, said that because the eye cannot focus on two things at once, eventually if the problem is not corrected, she could go functionally blind. That basically means that her eye will work perfectly, but the brain will cut off the functioning and will no longer receive the images from it. Apparently this condition runs in Mike's family - his niece Kendra had it as a baby as well. She had to have two surgeries to correct it. I don't know if Sophie will have to have surgery, or just wear glasses or maybe an eye patch . . . I'll find out on Tuesday.

Back to happier things - even though Sophie is small, she is a very veracious eater. She absolutely loves baby food (except for rice cereal by itself and oatmeal). If you aren't feeding her fast enough, she will actually be quite vocal between bites (that translates into screams between bites). And sometimes she just leans forward to meet the spoon in a very fast motion - it's pretty funny actually. We're working on going through vegetables right now; she gets something new every four days (to see if she's allergic to anything). She's also no longer on Nutramigen formula, as of last week. She is now on Good Start Gentle Plus. It's predigested like Nutramigen, just not completely so. She's tolerating it fairly well. She doesn't eat as much of it as she should be though, so I might have to call Dr. Dean about that.

Sophie has also started signing! She's only done it three times, but she's done it. I try to teach her some baby signs, like milk, eat, etc. Well, she has given me the sign for milk three times. I am so excited about that! The first time she did it, Nikki and I were unpacking the kitchen and she was sitting in her stroller watching, and she just held her arm out and gave me the sign. Because she wasn't acting hungry or fussy or anything, I was a little unsure, but I made her a bottle anyway. And that was what she wanted! It was so neat! Then she did it twice more in SD. I know some of the newer signs won't show up for a few more months, but it is exciting - and motivation to keep at it!

There's so much more I could write, but it's late and I do need to get off the computer and go to sleep! :)

More later, including pictures (once I find the battery. Can you tell my missing battery is driving me crazy??)

Edward update

Well, I'm 25 weeks and 6 days pregnant (shocking, I know!) Edward has really stepped up the kicking, although he has yet to match Sophie's activity level in the womb. He really doesn't like it when I hold Sophie and kicks at her. I don't know if she notices or not. But I can't really hold her in the front anymore, I have to hold to the side of my belly, at which point Edward will usually migrate to the other side, which is very interesting. I can't wait to see the dynamics between Sophie and Edward after he's born!

Things have been progressing really well. We had a fetal echocardiogram a few weeks ago and he is perfectly healthy. They said he was 4 ounces smaller than the average, which just meant he'd probably be a 7 pound baby. They said the same thing about Sophie. They definitely aren't as worried about him as they were about Sophie.

I feel like he's growing a lot faster than Sophie did. Sometimes I just feel like I'm so much bigger than I was with Sophie. Although other days I don't feel that way, so maybe it's just the clothes I'm wearing, lol.

I do have some round ligament pain with this pregnancy, but that is from picking up Sophie or something. I do have a lot more energy with this pregnancy, which is really great. There is no way I would have been able to move and do all the stuff I've done when I was pregnant with Sophie.

It won't be much longer at all before March gets here!

New house and moving

We are officially moved into our new house on base! Well, it's not a "new" house (they're building a lot of new houses and some of our friends got new houses), but it's great none-the-less! It's kind of a townhouse, but we have a fenced in back yard and our own car port and we have covered storage in the front and back.

Our new house is 3 bedrooms and 2 1/2 bath. We have a living room and dining room in one, a pretty nice sized kitchen and then a little den attached to the kitchen that I plan on using like a playroom for the kids.

I started packing on the Saturday prior to Veteran's Day, (when I was sick) and we moved on Veteran's Day. Everyone from the Bible study was kind enough to come out on Veteran's Day (when they had the day off work) to help us move. Of course I was still packing when we were moving out . . . (story of my life) . . . so we were still making little trips from the apartment for another week . . . We are completely moved out now and our keys have been turned in. It was really weird seeing the apartment empty again. Nikki helped me clean it and she was a huge help! She's really awesome at cleaning! I don't know how much of our pet deposit and regular deposit we'll get back - I'll be surprised if we get anything back at all. The cats destroyed the blinds (actually it was mostly Eowyn - she wasn't exactly graceful or stealthy about getting into the window and would just kind of crash through the blinds), and also pulled up the carpet in the doorways, trying to get at us when a door was closed for some reason.

Since we've moved in, I've been unpacking and trying to get the house set up. It's been a really slow process. This is mostly due to the fact that I can't just go straight through all day because I have Sophie and she needs attention and to be fed, etc. So a lot of unpacking has been done at night after she goes to bed. I would love to be able to go to bed right after Sophie goes to sleep, but that hasn't really happened yet . . . I've also been doing stuff when she's napping, so I haven't been napping either unless I'm having a hard time staying awake. So far we have all but three boxes unpacked, two of which are mostly unpacked and one only has my Breyer model horses in it, so I might not open that one for a while since I don't have anywhere to put my horses at the moment.

My painting plans kind of fell through. I didn't get everything painted before we moved in like I had planned (also the story of my life). When you have an infant and you're pregnant, you just can't do as much as you can do without those two things in your life. I'm learning to plan accordingly still. I have come to the realization that I am not superwoman, nor am I a supermom like some women. I'm also not going to push myself to exhaustion just to get it done - that's not good for me, Edward, or my family. So if I'm tired at 2230, I'm going to go to bed instead of staying up an extra hour and pushing myself. Anyway . . . the kitchen got painted, although I decided that yellow was too yellow, so I had to repaint it in another, more subdued yellow that Terri was kind enough to give me (she had some leftover from her kitchen). Sophie and Edward's room is still being worked on. Terri did some amazing art work freehand and has been painting that. Unfortunately some green paint got spilled on the carpet in the hall upstairs, which I didn't think was a big deal, but Mike apparently had different thoughts and got quite upset and said no more painting after the room is finished (that means not painting the living room or our room). Since I knew where he was coming from (we'll probably have to pay to replace the entire carpet when we leave) and this isn't our permanent home (we'll be moving in 2011 unless we PCS earlier than that), he decided he didn't want anymore painted. So instead of arguing, I just picked my battle and I'm keeping the paint for the next house. It will add a lot of weight for the next move! (That translates into being paid more money to move.)

So, as of right now, I just need to hang up a lot of stuff on the walls and find places for things. I'm still going through a lot of things and giving things away. I have a lot of summer maternity clothes I'm going to give away (since I can't wear them anyway) and stuff like that. It actually feels good to not have as much stuff. :)

The other room that did get painted is the study/library (the second bedroom). I painted this amazing blue called "pacific blue" and it is so relaxing! I can just feel my blood pressure go down and my body get less tense when I go in there! I think I will be painting at least one room that color in every house that we live in, in the future! We decided to put all of our books (that fill 3+ 6 foot bookcases) and the desk and computers in there and the kids just won't be allowed in there. It also gives Mike a quiet place to study for school (and me, when I study).

I do have big plans for the backyard for the spring. Again, we'll see how that goes. I would like to plant a garden. I know that I'll have to replace it with grass when we leave the house, but I have decided to go ahead and do it anyway. I want to plant green beans, tomatoes, squash, pie pumpkins and some other things that we like to eat. We'll see. I know it's ambitious since I'm having a baby in March, but I would like to go ahead and plan it and we'll see what happens. :) It gets lots of sun and seems to drain well so far. We'll see . . .

As soon as I can access my pictures on my camera (the battery is dead and I have yet to locate the charger which is driving me crazy), I will post pictures of the house, both empty and fully finished/decorated. :)

Thanksgiving in SD

Mike, Sophie and I drove up to South Dakota to visit with Ruth and Paul for Thanksgiving. We decided to drive at night, so that Sophie would be asleep most of the way. That was a good plan, except for running into problems like a tire blowout . . . It was so great to see Ruth and Paul again and Sophie remembered her Grandma from when Ruth came to visit just a few weeks prior. I handed her to Ruth and Sophie looked at her, recognized her and just gave her a huge smile! It was so sweet!

John also came out from Hot Springs for the holiday, and it was really great to see him as well. Thomas declined on coming with us as he didn't want to do any traveling. (He was a convoy commander in Iraq and did A LOT of driving while he was there. Can't say I blame him at all.) Anyway, Sophie really enjoyed spending time with her Uncle John as well.

We had Thanksgiving dinner at the Berean Church on Sunday after the service. The church has been praying for Sophie since before she was born, so everyone wanted to meet her after the service. There were a lot of people coming up to see Sophie to say hi! She handled it pretty well until towards the end of dinner, and then I think she got a little over stimulated. Unfortunately, I missed the service because Sophie decided to get upset and declare adamantly that she wanted a bottle and nap right before the service started, so I went to the nursery with her and stayed there with her. It was good to catch up with Andrea Keller and Pastor Scott and others though after the service.

We also went out to visit Mike's high school buddies Todd and Matt, who own and work on a ranch together about an hour from Gregory. I got to meet them and also their wonderful wives Janine and Naomi. They are both really amazing - among knowing how to can food, sauces, syrups and jams, Janine also knows how to sew,garden, hunt, fish, cook for huge groups of people and is an excellent decorator. And she barrel races extremely well. Very inspirational. Naomi and Matt are thinking about adopting a child from Ethiopia - very awesome. I will be praying that everything goes well with that for them. It's so refreshing to meet other people that are the same age as Mike and I and are of like mind on so many issues, including topics like NFP and BC, etc. The ranch they live on is really beautiful, and you have to drive quite a ways on a dirt road to get to their house - I don't know how many acres they have and didn't ask, but Paul speculated that they have 7,000 acres according to the number of people that live and work the land (Todd's father is also an owner and lives on the land as well. All three families have their own houses.)

On Thanksgiving Day, we went out to Janice's house for Thanksgiving. She was recently remarried and it was held at her new residence with her new husband, who is very sweet. He's a cattle rancher and most of the cattle were up by the house to be fed for the evening when we arrived. I would have liked for Sophie to go out to see the cattle, but it was a bit cold and when Mike and some of the kids and adults went out to play in the yard, Sophie was napping, so she missed out. The food was in abundance and was extremely tasty. Janice had also decorated the house for Thankgiving, and it looked so great. It's so nice to visit places on Thanksgiving that have no hint of Christmas decorations yet. More on that later, perhaps. Pam and Joel and Beth, Jayne, Matt, Jonathan and Ben also drove up from Nebraska, and it was really good to see them as well. Everytime I see the kids, it seems like they get taller and taller! Beth is already a good head taller than me at 16 and Jayne is several inches taller than me at 14! It's interesting . . . sometimes I wonder what they think when they see me, their Uncle's short wife . . .

The rest of our time in SD was spent resting and relaxing, which was much needed after moving and unpacking! I really enjoyed spending time with Ruth and I know that she enjoyed spending time with Sophie. Unfortunately, Sophie didn't sleep very well most nights that we were there. I think it was a combination of factors - new room, it was a lot colder (even though I had her in several layers including a wonderful warm sleeper blanket that Ruth bought for her) and she was in pack-n-play, which is really too small for her. I think the worst was night when Sophie cried and stayed up until after 0200! She has quite the set of lungs and kept everyone else in the house up too. I felt really bad about that, especially since everyone was so tired the next day. So Sophie ended up sleeping in bed with us at some point in the night or early morning most nights we were there. (She loves that! She's such a snuggler!) Ruth and John played with Sophie a lot. I brought a whole bag of her toys with us to keep her entertained and would give her different toys on different days. She really missed her bouncing exerciser though. She was so happy to see it when we got home!

We left Thanksgiving night at about midnight, after taking a few hours nap. Unfortunately we had a tire blowout at 2am (almost exactly) and wouldn't you know the spare was flat. We were able to call USAA (which is a HUGE blessing because if we had been a few miles to the north, we wouldn't have had any cell service at all). They sent out a towtruck for us, at no charge, and we got towed to the nearest town, Grand Island, which happened to have a WalMart. The tow truck only had room for one in the cab, so Mike rode in the cab and I stayed in the car with Sophie on the back of the tow truck. Let me just say it was quite cold (outside temps were in the 20's) and I was really glad to have packed extra blankets in the car! Sophie slept the whole way, despite all the bumps and the temperature. So we arrived at WalMart at 0500 on Black Friday. We opted to wait in the car until the auto center opened at 0700 instead of facing the waves of greedy people rushing around and pushing for "good deals" in the store. Going in once to use the bathroom was enough! Thankfully the auto center opened on time and they were very quick in their service. We decided to replace both back tires just in case. We didn't have any more problems on the way home, except trying to stay awake. We were supposed to get in between 1100 and 1200 (and then go to sleep), but we didn't get home until after 1700. So it was quite a long ride on only four hours of sleep! Praise the Lord that we made it back safe and sound.

I wish I had pictures, but I didn't really get very many because my camera battery was low and I haven't been able to find my charger since we moved . . . :( So for now, words will have to do.

Time flies

I haven't really had much of a chance to log into my blog lately . . . so I did tonight and I looked at my blog so I could decide if I want to change the background to a Christmas one or not . . . and I have a pregnancy tracker on my blog (you might have noticed, at the top of the page). :) Anyway, I know this sounds silly, but I had no idea I was so far along! I mean, I knew I was about six months, but for some reason with this pregnancy I can just not keep up with the weeks. I'm 25 weeks and 6 days today! That means tomorrow I'll be 26 weeks pregnant! It really won't be long at all before Edward is here! Wow! Usually March seems so far away, but not it feels a lot closer!!