Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

I'm probably not going to be posting much between now and the New Year.  If I do, it's because I got a moment to do so, but I'm planning on enjoying this time with my family and enjoying L's first Christmas.  I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

Merry Christmas Monday Memories (Belated): The One With the Going to the Chapel

Thursday, December 20, 2012

This morning my friend Derek posted this on Facebook:
a holiday reminder that if you post a photo of your new engagement ring on here this holiday season you will be un-friended.
If there had been a Facebook, and had I known Derek ten years ago, he would have un-friended me.  Ten years ago on Christmas Day, Sheldon asked me to marry him, and in some sort of holiday delirium I told him, "Yes!"

All kidding aside, I can't really tell you much about the day.  I know that it snowed, and that threw his plans into kind of a skid.  We had been dating for five months exactly that day, according to Sheldon.  In our relationship, he was the one who kept up with that sort of thing, believe it or not.

The day started with our opening presents at my house.  I just sort of had a feeling that he was going to propose, so with every gift, I thought that maybe there would be a ring.  There wasn't.  I tried to not show my disappointment.  Again, I don't know how well I did that.  Ten years is a long time to try to remember details, especially when everything goes so quickly.

That night, we went to his house, and I thought that it was a little strange that his parents and brother decided to go look at lights.  But hey, I was knew to their world, so I wasn't going to ask questions.  Sheldon and I were left alone watching some stupid NBA game on television.

A little while later, he ran to his bedroom to get something and tripped as he was trying to get down on one knee.  He asked the question, and while I was saying, "Yes!" Erin's husband (but they weren't even dating yet) was leaving a lengthy message on the answering machine.

It wasn't the most romantic moment of my life, but it was probably one of the sweetest.  Like Anne Shirley told Gilbert Blythe when he proposed,
"I don't want sunbursts and marble halls. I just want YOU. You see I'm quite as shameless as Phil about it. Sunbursts and marble halls may be all very well, but there is more `scope for imagination' without them..."
Almost exactly a year later, nine years ago from today to be exact,  we were married in my hometown church in Heavener, OK.  Nine years, four moves, two dogs, two pregnancies, one miscarriage, and one active baby later we're still going on strong.  We're still not really the most romantic people, but we love each other, trust each other, and in a sense complete each other.  I thank God every day for bringing this man into my life.  It has been the best ten years of my life.  If I had it all to do over again, I don't believe I would change a thing.

Christmas Music Favorites

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I haven't really felt much like nor honestly had the time for blogging since Sandy Hook.  At first everything I thought about posting seemed trivial and pointless.  As bloggers, we often feel the need to say anything about something like this, whether it's a political stance or just offering our thoughts and prayers to those affected by such a horrible, horrible event.

I realized though that I didn't need to put my stamp on it, and to think I did was more narcissistic than most of us bloggers are than usual.  It's really not about me, ya'll, not this time.  It's really not about any of us.  Instead, I've spent time I might have been blogging playing, reading to, and just loving on my little blessing who is still sound asleep upstairs and thanking God for every precious moment I have with her.  Also, I've spent as much time as possible with her Daddy, because for some reason his work always gets beyond busy at the end of the year, and I don't get to see him much at all.  I didn't even have a Merry Christmas Memories Monday post this week, but I'll post one belatedly tomorrow.  Tomorrow is a little more fitting for this memory anyway.   I want to slide back into the Christmas spirit despite the tragedy, so today I would like to share with you some of my favorite Christmas music.

I adore Christmas music, so you have to understand that paring down the songs that I love was rather difficult.  So, I'm going to A). recommend certain albums and B). highlight the songs I like best from these albums.

Joy To The World:  A Christmas Collection by Lincoln Brewster - I only have one song off of this album so far, "Miraculum," but I love it.  If you love Trans Siberian Orchestra, you'll like this song.  It is just beautifully and masterfully done.  It is a new favorite for me, even more so than Michael Buble's Christmas music.

 Traditional Christmas Classics - Nothing gets me into the Christmas mood more than listening to an orchestra play "Sleigh Ride."  Seriously, I just love that song.  I like it best when performed by the Boston Pops.  Remember when the A&E Network actually stood for Arts and Entertainment?  I would watch Pops Goes Christmas every year.

 Christmas With the Chipmunks - This was probably the first record, yes I said record, that was mine as a child, and I loved it.  I remember getting it around Thanksgiving when I turned five, because I think  great-grandmother died that same night.  It's funny how you remember those things.  Anyway, listening to this album was a Christmas tradition at our house, especially when we were decorating the tree.  I will always love "The Christmas Song" the best.

 Merry Christmas by Mariah Carey - OK, I'm going to admit that when I was in high school, I was THE BIGGEST Mariah Carey fan.  Then she got all hoochie, and my tastes in music changed drastically with age and well taste.  However, I can always honestly say that I loved "All I Want For Christmas Is You" a decade before Love Actually made it the holiday favorite that it is today.

  A Very She & Him Christmas - I like this album, but Ladybug just LOVES their rendition of "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree."  She starts dancing and jamming every time she hears it.  Her face honestly just lights up, and she even somehow knows how to play air guitar.  It's awesome, and I had to add it.

 Miracles:  The Holiday Album by Kenny G - I played alto sax for seven years in school, so I have a soft spot for Mr. G.  I especially love his rendition of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," which is one of my favorite Christmas songs of all time (I won't bore you with the story behind it, but it's AWESOME!).  This is a song and honestly album that makes me feel all romantical when listening to it.  Hey, I had this in cassette!

  Christmas Offerings by Third Day - Listening to Third Day sing "Do You Hear What I Hear" just sends chills down my spine.  They're far better than the tingle Chris Matthews gets in his leg when the President speaks.  I seriously recommend this to everyone.

  A Christmas Story by Point of Grace - Point of Grace has several Christmas albums, but this was their first with all four original members of the group.  This album and the next two that I'm going to list were all produced by Brown Banister, and they're exceptional albums.  I pretty much stopped listening to their music after two of the originals left the group, and I do believe their Christmas album is the best.  My favorite song on this is "Not That Far from Bethlehem."

  The Christmas Sessions by Mercy Me - We bought this album and the next at a Christmas concert in Little Rock that Sheldon and I attended seven years ago.  It was the last big thing we did there before moving to Northwest Arkansas.  Sheldon didn't want to go at first, but I reminded him that I had attended MANY country concerts in the past with him, and he could go to this with me.  To this day, he says it was the best concert he has ever attended.  The whole album is superb, but I especially love their rendition of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." Oh, I also love "Silent Night" with Amy Grant.  Wait, I just love the whole album.  I've joked that's not Christmas until I hear NKOTB's "Funky, Funky XMAS," but it's really not Christmas anymore until I hear MercyMe's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree."

  All I Really Want For Christmas by Steven Curtis Chapman   - This whole album just moves me.  I wish I could relive that concert we attended, because it was just so good.  Every song was great, and I await Christmastime every year so I can listen to these songs.  They're all wonderful, but "All I Really Want" always had and always will just tug at my heart strings.  As a mom now, it really does.  I found myself crying in the car one day while picking up lunch and listening to it.  You have to be heartless not to be touched by it.  "The Miracle of Christmas" is also just wonderful.

 Here is my list.  Like I said, I pared it down a great deal, because I just can't list all the Christmas music that I love.  What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

No, Not FML

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Yesterday I was tempted to post on Twitter something with the hashtag, #FML, but I didn't.  We all know what it means.  If you don't, then Google it.  I'm not running a hashtag dictionary.  I don't use the f-word in real life - ever, so why would I abbreviate it and think that's acceptable?  In the end, people would read it and not think to themselves "F-M-L," they would think what it stands for.  So in essence, to them I would have been using the f-word.

Not only that, but I realized that to make a statement like that would be in a sense saying that my entire life just sucks.  That's not true.  Yesterday sucked.  Yesterday was just a rough, difficult day all around. To say that the events of yesterday overshadowed all of the good in my life would be not only a falsehood, but also probably the most ungrateful thing I would have ever stated in my life.

Yesterday was just bad.  Bart had worked until midnight the night before.  I waited up for him, because we usually don't go to sleep until around that time at night anyway.  Then Ladybug woke up at 1:30.  This seemed like just the usual, "I lost my covers, I lost my paci, I've hit my head on the top of my crib" cry, and after taking care of her, I went back to bed.  Then she woke up again at three.

This time she wasn't so easily consoled.  I had to rock her a bit and sing to her.  Then I put her back down, and just as I was going back to sleep, she cried again.  This time I changed her diaper in case she was uncomfortable and gave her some ibuprofen in case those teeth she has been trying to cut for three months were giving her problems.  I put her back down, and she screamed.  So I ran the hair dryer to calm her, and made it back downstairs when she started again.  I brought her downstairs and tried to get her to sleep with us.  That didn't work.  I took her into the living room, gave her a small bottle, and rocked her.  That seemed to work, so I put her down again.  Once again, just as I was getting to sleep, the cries started.  I thought she was probably hot in her fleece jammies, so I changed her into a cooler, cotton pair.  Then I grabbed a pillow and a blanket, brought her downstairs, and I just rocked her for the next hour in the recliner, because that seemed to be the only thing she wanted.  Finally, after six, she was sound enough asleep for me to put her in her crib, and she slept the next two hours.

Of course by then Bart was up and getting ready to go into the office, and Lucy and Dory (who had been up and down with us for at least the last hour) were needing to be fed and pottied.  I took care of that, Bart went to work, and I curled up in bed with the dogs for a little bit.  However, I knew that I had to get up and shower before Ladybug was up for the day, so I dragged myself upstairs to take care of that.

When I was through, Ladybug was sort of awake, lounging in her crib in a more dazed mood than usual.  I pulled her out and realized that at some point between six and eight she had pooped - that never happens.  I think a number of factors made her uncomfortable:  teething, being hot in her jammies, and also having a belly ache.  The poor kid didn't stand a chance.

I tried to keep our normal schedule all day, even though we were both struggling, because if I didn't then our entire routine would probably be messed up for days.  I even took her to the library for story time, because two of my friends were reading to the kids as special guests.  That was where Ladybug spit up on me for the first time in months.  Thankfully she didn't spit up on my friend Liz while she was holding her.  So we went home and managed to stay awake until nap time.

Ladybug didn't argue with being put down for her nap, and I quickly came downstairs and curled up on the couch with a pillow, a blanket, and a Dory.  I only woke up with Lucy nudged my nose and had me somehow make room for her on the couch as well.  We all slept soundly for around an hour.  Then I started to try to wake up, and I heard Ladybug stirring on the baby monitor.  The rest of the afternoon / evening was not great.

I wanted to clean our bathroom and do some other things while she played.  She just wanted to be held, but she didn't want to be held, but she did.  This grouchiness went off and on for hours.   She was exhausted from not getting enough sleep the previous night and didn't know how to handle it.  Around six, I just curled up with her in the recliner and rocked her until Bart got home after seven.  I handed her to him to start dinner, and she was not happy about not being with me.  Bart held her in the kitchen so she could watch me.  When she finally seemed to warm up to him, they went to our bedroom so he could change.  They played ball (with the dogs locked outside the bedroom so they couldn't steal the balls) until dinner was ready.  She seemed to be in a better mood.  We ate, Bart gave her a bath while I did dishes, and it was bedtime.  After reading Goodnight Moon and part of Luke 2, she went to bed without a peep and slept through the night.  Bart, the girls, and I soon followed suit.

It's seven-thirty Thursday morning, and Ladybug is still asleep.  After feeding the dogs, I went upstairs to check on her, turned her right side up, and covered her, and she never made more than a little peep.  I'm thinking today should be a much better day, because she has had a restful night, as have I.  We made it through a very rough day, but we made it.

I can't with good conscience ever say "FML" in any form and mean it.  I had a tired, grouchy baby yesterday.  I have a baby.   Even the bad days are blessings.  I must remember 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 and "...give thanks in all circumstances..."  I don't have to be thankful my baby was a crank, but I must still remember to be thankful and not ungracious.  I'm also trying harder to remember Ephesians 5:4 now, because I have a pair of blue eyes that watch and a pair of little ears that hear everything I say and do now.
Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

So no, I'm not hash tagging anything with #FML.  If I have in the past, I shouldn't have.  My life is good and blessed beyond measure.  I don't want in anyway to be connected with thinking it isn't.  I would rather start a #MLIB (My Life Is Blessed) hash tag.

A Few Facts About Me

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

  • My favorite color is red.  I LOVE red.
  • I won't ever drive another red car though.  They're just police magnets.
  • As much as I love red, I don't like turquoise.  I have learned to accept pink, but am not thrilled with it.
  • I don't watch reality TV shows of any sort.  I just don't like them.  There's nothing realistic about any of them, and I think they've ruined television.  I prefer a nicely written, scripted series to watch with witty dialogue, humor, and some drama.  I don't mind watching something a little soapy as long as it's well written and acted.  I do hate people trying to pass off fiction as real life.
  • I have become addicted to Once Upon a Time, Revolution, and Grey's Anatomy. 
  • I'm addicted to spoiler alerts.
  • In that sense, I like to read the end of a book sometimes before I'm finished with it.
  • I love college football and baseball.
  • I hate it when people on Facebook make posts, basically begging people to respond to see if they're really liked.  I just want to comment, "No, Sally Field, I don't really, really like you!  If you want a nicer comment then post something witty, observant, nice, or funny."  I don't though, because someone other than my mother taught me not to say anything at all if I have nothing nice to say.  
  • I think that the first season of Friends is the best, as is the first season of How I Met Your Mother.
  • I married a man who loves country music borderline obsessively.  That said, I like just about any other genre of music.
  • I sometimes craze Flying Burrito white queso.
  • I find ketchup nasty.
  • I was listening to Mariah Carey sing "All I Want For Christmas" back when Seinfeld was the top show on TV.  That was WAY before Love Actually.
  • I think that Modern Seinfeld is one of the best Twitter accounts ever.  I forgot how much I miss that show, even if Sheldon hates it.

A Random Tuesday

  • So many people are seriously worried that the world will end next week.  I just hope that I don't forget that my wedding anniversary is the day before the world is supposed to end.
  • A cold front came through Sunday.  I'm already so completely over it.  Once upon a time I didn't mind the cold so much.  It was the perfect time to curl up by a fire and read or watch movies and eat junk food.  I used to read actual literature and watch movies in one sitting.  Then I got dogs who seem to need me outside with them when they potty, and I had a baby who loves to be outside playing.  So inevitably I have to bundle up a few times a day for one reason or another and brave the cold.  I'm trying to make the best of it by bundling Ladybug up like Randy in A Christmas Story.  Well, maybe not that much.
  • I've decided to stop calling B "B" here.  He is now "Sheldon," for reasons obvious to anyone who watches The Big Bang Theory and knows B.  He isn't quite as bad as Sheldon, but he has many Sheldonesque tendencies like marking each individual pair of socks differently so they'll always have equal tread.  Heck, his brother, Capt B, once called Ladybug the product of Sheldon Cooper and Rory Gilmore.  He's partially correct, and I'm tired of having to distinguish between B and Capt B.
  • I've felt a little lost online lately.  I've spent so much time working on Christmas projects, that now they're finished I don't know what to do with myself.
  • Since last Friday was Pearl Harbor Day, we watched Tora! Tora! Tora!  Ladybug loves planes and was enthralled by it.  Sadly, she rooted for the Japanese, because they had the airplanes.
  • It's not Christmas until I hear "Funky, Funky XMAS" by New Kids On the Block.
  • Lucy keeps tweaking something in her right foot when she does her aerial acrobatics during games of bubbles.  She limps for a while, then gets over it.  I worry over her so much, now that she's five years old.  I'm hoping my redheaded baby will be with me for years to come.  She's my heart dog.  I love Dory so much, but Lucy and I have a very deep, different connection.  She was the one who knew I was pregnant the first time.  She was the one who knew I was in labor with Ladybug and wouldn't leave my side.  
  • As I've entered and exited stores lately, I've had to wonder to myself if Salvation Army bell ringers ever experience hearing loss from all that bel ringing?  It really hurts my ears to hear the bells.  I know I probably seem rude, trying to get away from them as soon as possible, but they cause me real pain.
  • I love these little feet.

Merry Christmas Memories Monday: The First One In Our House

Monday, December 10, 2012

By 2007, B and I were finally at a point in our life together when it was time to settle down and plant some roots.  Finally, we had lived somewhere for more than a year.  Finally we could call where we lived, "home."  So we did what most young couples do, we bought a house.

I'm not going to go into details about my house, because at the time it was intended to be a good starter house.  Then the market crashed, and I don't see us moving any time in the near future.  That's ok though. We're where we're supposed to be.  I like our home.  It's a good home, and it's the only home that Ladybug, Lucy, and Dory have ever known.

So anyway, we bought our house in spring of 2007.  It was also at about this time that I had grown extremely tired of spending Christmas Eve night anywhere other than my own home and never being at home at all on Christmas.  I was tired of being the vagabond couple, always the guest of my mother or in-laws at Christmas.  So we decided that Christmas was going to be at our house that year.  My family and B's family both were coming to celebrate with us on Christmas Day.

We were doing pot-luck, which was how we always did Christmas with my dad's family, so I don't have any stories about trying to cook a turkey that wasn't thawed, or anything like that.  We picked up a ham (I seriously prefer ham over turkey every day of the week) and a turkey breast from HoneyBaked Ham.  We had desserts from Rick's Bakery.  Everything was set to be easy and happy.  You know things had to go a little haywire, don't you?

First of all, on Decemeber 16, we did everything wrong in the process of getting a puppy.  We had our own house finally, and as a four-year anniversary / Christmas present, I talked B into letting me get a dog.  I wanted either a female Golden Retriever or Bernese Mountain Dog.  Having grown up in Small Town, USA I didn't realize that there was a right and wrong way of buying a pure-bred dog.  So, I scoured the Classifieds of every newspaper every day, searching for a puppy.  On Sunday, December 16, I found an ad for Golden Retriever puppies.  B told me to get a myself a dog.  I called the number, they had a female, and they were outside of K-Mart in Springdale.  We hopped in B's old blue Chevy truck, picked out the little butterball, wrote out a check, and had our first "child," Lucy Snowflake.

I'm going to admit to you right now that Lucy is to THIS DAY still at times my neediest, most demanding child - including Ladybug.  I think adjusting to having her in our lives was more difficult than adjusting to Ladybug.  I certainly know it was more tiring.  Between that, his grad school demands, and working full-time B was sick by Christmas Day.

So, I awoke on Christmas Day and found an open Walgreens where I could buy him cold medicine and orange juice.  While trying to get things ready for company, I had to take care of Miss Demanding on my own while dealing with my mother and a sick husband.  Things were not going as planned.

Still yet, in the end, things went smoothly.  It seemed that everyone had a nice time.  Everyone especially loved our new "baby."  This coming Sunday is our fifth Lucyversary.  To me, the Christmas of 2007 was our first Christmas in this house.  More importantly though, it was our first Christmas with Lucy a very important member of our family.
The day we brought her home.  Our Blue Light Special.

Cuddling with me during nap time today.

What I What WE Have Learned In Ten Months

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Today Miss Ladybug, you are ten months old.  Here are some things that we've learned thus far:
  • You've been crawling for about a month and a half, and get around fairly well.  You pull up some, but don't show any hurry to stand up and walk, but that's ok. I'm not in any hurry for it to happen either.  
  • Right now, you like to follow me around the house, and I've learned that making you crawl laps is excellent exercise. 
  • You love reading books and being read to more than just about anything.
  • You enjoy watching airplanes as they take off and land near our house.
  • You loved the Lights of the Ozarks. 
  • You've started dunking your head under water during baths and blowing bubbles.
  • You enjoy Christmas music.
  • When you want one of us to read a book to you, you'll scoot it in front of you as you crawl toward us.  
  • Your favorite books right now are "B Is For Bear" and "Goodnight Moon."  Almost every day before your afternoon nap we also read a little from "The Secret Garden."
  • Sometimes to get you to sleep, I have to employ the use of a hair dryer.
  • You still don't like textured food much, but eat baby food like there's no tomorrow.
  • You share your finger foods with Dory.  Sometimes you just want to wave them in her face, but that never works.
  • It's very obvious that you understand so much of what we're saying now, because of the way you respond.
  • You say a lot, we just have to catch what you say and understand it, because you say it so quickly and don't repeat yourself much.
  • You love bath time and will cry when the water drains down the tub, and it's time to get dry and dressed.
  • You love pulling levers and studying how to take things apart.
  • You love pretty things and love being pretty even more.
  • Your hair is now long enough that it no longer sticks up much.  I sort of miss the mohawk, but it's nice being able to put barrettes in your hair now.
  • You still love watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Play With Me Sesame.  You also love watching the news, especially the weather.
  • You're more toddler now than baby.  I miss the little baby, but I'm loving the toddler so much!
  • Every day it is a blessing to be your Mama.

Merry Christmas Memories Monday: The One That Could Have Been a An ABC Family or Hallmark Movie

Monday, December 3, 2012

Have you ever seen the Christmas movie on Lifetime, ABC Family, or Hallmark where a young couple was moving three days before Christmas with the help of their younger brother when a freak snow storm suddenly came, stranding them and threatened to ruin Christmas?  I haven't seen it, not that there isn't one.  There seems to be a Christmas movie about just almost every scenario imaginable.  No this, this I lived.

Back in December of 2004 when we thought we knew everything and really knew nothing (that's still the case), B and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary by taking a load of boxes from our tiny apartment in Russellville to the townhouse we rented in Bryant.  B was to start the new year working at the Little Rock firm where he still employed today.  Being the small-town Oklahoma girl that I still very much was, I wasn't entirely keen on the idea of living in the Little Rock Metro.  However, I've always been very adamant  about the whole Ruth 1:16 way of looking at marriage, so I embraced it.  We rented a U-haul truck the next day and prepared to load it with our remaining worldly goods on the 22nd with the help of Capt. B, who was a college freshman at the time, to embark on this next chapter of our lives, not paying much attention to weather reports of "a chance of snow."

The snow started falling as we loaded the U-haul.  We loaded it quickly and hoped to get on our way before things could get very bad.  Things got very bad, very quickly though.

We moved slowly, so very slowly on I-40, until traffic seemed to almost stop near Morrilton.  I mean, we were moving so slow that the tortoise was able to stop and nap a couple of time.  I was on the verge of tears because my windshield kept freezing over faster than my defrost could thaw it.  At one point I was pretty much standing as I drove in order to see where I was going.  We didn't have cell phones at the time, so I was very, very relieved when one of the boys got out of the U-haul to tell me that we were getting off the Interstate at the next exit.

There was a decent motel at that exit with a Waffle House and a convenient store near by.  We slid (honestly) into two parking spots at the motel and took one of the last rooms for the night.  We ate dinner at the Waffle House and watched car after car slide off the road and drive recklessly.  We laughed, but we were worried that we wouldn't be able to start out again the next morning.  We tried anyway, come morning light.

Just to get the U-haul to budge off the ice, the guys had to use several cans of deicer near the tires.  Thankfully there was no more precipitation falling, and we trusted that road crews had cleared the Interstate.  Of course they would, wouldn't they?  It was just two days until Christmas after all.

Traffic was moving, albeit slowly once we got on the Interstate.  It took what seemed like forever just to get from Morrilton to Conway.  Once we got to Conway it slowed down even more.  We were pretty much in Little Rock traffic by then, and semis were jackknifing all over the place.  What is normally a four-lane interstate highway had become an eight, with cars lined up on both lanes and along the shoulders.  Somehow emergency vehicles made their way through when needed.  Then came the bean field and we.just.stopped.

I hate that bean field between Mayflower and Maumelle more than just about any other place on Earth. When we pass by it on the Interstate to this day, I stare at the water tower to the right of the east-bound lanes with disgust and a sick feeling in my gut.  I watched the sun move from the center of the sky to beyond the horizon by that bean field.  I learned how to sit in the cold dark, trying to save gasoline and only running the heater when I had to.  I watched person after person try to find a bush on the side of the road where they could relieve themselves.  I was afraid to do that there, so I had Capt. B take over my car, and I used a toilet wipe box in a way never intended in the U-haul.

Eventually, after I listened to Mariah Carey's Merry Christmas about 18 times to the point where all I wanted for Christmas was for her to choke, we slowly started moving again.  Finally we made it to the 430 exit and headed south.  I tried with all my might not to freak out as we drove across the icy Arkansas River Bridge on 430.  I also tried not to think about the story I had been writing since college where two people died on a river bridge in winter weather.  I just tried to block that from my mind.

I remember either my car or the U-haul sliding as we got off at the Stagecoach Road exit.  I remember a huge chunk of ice and snow falling off of the U-haul and somehow missing my car.  I remember being exhilarated once we arrived at our townhouse.  Of course, our incredible journey wasn't over yet.  We had promised to get Capt. B home to see his girlfriend by Christmas Eve, and I was determined to make it happen.

So, we unloaded the U-haul and my car that night.  Then we got up in the morning, ate breakfast, and headed west toward "home."  I think we took Hwy 64 home.  Maybe we took several different roads, I don't really remember anything more than just wanting to not be in a vehicle for a very long time.  What I do remember is getting to Fort Smith by sundown on Christmas Eve.  Capt. B needed to stop by Walmart at THAT time in order to get a few gifts for his girlfriend's family.

Somehow, by the grace of God, we managed to have a good Christmas with our families.  I grew used to living near Little Rock and navigating my way around there.  Then in March, B told me that his firm was going to move us to Northwest Arkansas... in December.  Oh no, not again!

Thank goodness 2005 was dry and warm like this year!  I never want to experience anything like that again!

Christmas Bucket List

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I haven't a Christmas Bucket List of things to do with Ladybug this year.  I hadn't really considered the existence of one at all until I saw a mention of one on another blog recently.  There are certainly things that I have stored away in the recesses of my mind that I want to do with her, but I haven't actually sat down and written or typed them into reality.  I'm always a little hesitant to say that we're definitely going to do this or that, because you never know what circumstances may come up to prevent it from happening.  Like, we tried to go to the lighting ceremony for The Lights of the Ozarks, but got there late and couldn't find anywhere to park.  Maybe I should have two lists: a list of things we definitely have to do, and a list of things we would like to try to do if at all possible.  

Ladybug's Definite Christmas Bucket List (as of today)
  1. Visit Santa Claus
  2. Go to The Lights of the Ozarks at least once.
  3. Visit the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks Gardenland Express.
  4. Buy gifts for and take to our church's Christmas Store.
  5. Drive around, looking at Christmas lights.
  6. Go to Christmas Eve services at church.
Ladybug's If At All Possible Christmas Bucket List (so far)
  1. Visit the KCS Holiday Express on one of its stops (I wish we could make it to Heavener).
  2. Go to visit B's grandparents in LR and see the Capitol decorations.
Last night we crossed off #2 on the Definite List, and visited The Lights of the Ozarks with our friends, Erin and Mr. Y.  It was good to get together with them, because we haven't in a long while, and we used to do stuff together all the time.  They actually live closer to us now than they did a little over a year ago, but life keeps all of us fairly busy.  They are one of our oldest couple friends we have.  One of their first dates was actually our wedding, almost nine years ago.

Ladybug loved the lights, as I was fairly certain she would.  It will be fun as she grows older and is able to take part in the pony rides, the camel rides, and the different carriage rides available there.  So far, she just liked the lights and being around so many people.  We had to buy her what amounts to a light saber while there.  She quickly learned what fun it was to hit Daddy with it.  I tried not to laugh too much.

I still don't know exactly how married to the idea of a yearly Christmas Bucket List I am, but I do love starting traditions with Ladybug, discovering the joys of the Christmas through her brand-new, blue eyes, and also sharing memories with friends who are more like family.

Ladybug's Love Affair

Saturday, December 1, 2012

I don't think it's any secret here that Ladybug has a boyfriend.  I don't even think it matters to her that he has been taken by someone else for ages.  She loves his girlfriend too.  She's still very open about that sort of thing.  We'll have discussions on that later.  Right now it's ok, because she's in love with Mickey Mouse and his girlfriend Minnie.

I'm not entirely sure the exact date of when the Mickey Mouse obsession started, but I do remember what started it.  Like most other parents, I needed to get some housework accomplished one afternoon.  So, I put Ladybug in front of the TV in our bedroom and searched the On Demand menu of our cable to see what might entertain her.  I refused to let her watch a certain purple dinosaur, and she had yet to show ANY interest in Sesame Street.  So I went to the Disney menu and found Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  The rest, as you can say, is history.

She loved Mickey Mouse from the start.  Her little chubby face would just light up at seeing him and hearing, "Hey-hey everybody!"  I quickly learned to set the DVR to record Mickey Mouse Clubhouse once a day, and actually cared if our cable provider was ever going to give us Disney Junior on our lineup.  I've bought a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse DVD and have bought episodes off of iTunes so she can watch on my iPad or AppleTV.  Some days we watch a couple of episodes, and we can go several without watching any.  She has a little stuffed Mickey and Minnie that came from the same display at Walmart as her Lady-dogs.  The Hot Dog Song and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Theme are now on everyone's iPhone, iPod, you name it.  They can usually stop her crying at the drop of a hat.    Halloween, Ladybug even met Mickey Mouse at the NWA Mall.

L recently won a Master Mickey Moves on TV.  We didn't really discuss whether or not it would be part of her Christmas, it didn't come with a box, and she was with me when I picked him up, so she got him right away.  There was no way I was separating them once they were together.  They danced and grooved all the way home together in the back seat.  She just loves Mickey so much that she can't contain herself.  When we got home, I took a little video of them.  Let's just say that I won't be surprised if this love affair lasts for quite some time.

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