Friday, December 31, 2010

What a Year!

2010 has been quite a year for us. When I think about the year I only seem to focus on the trials of the last couple months, but this year was tough right from the get-go. I spent the first couple months of this year wondering if I would still have a job at the end of the school year. While I was thankful to find out I would have a job, I was sad and mad to find out that I would be taking an almost 10% pay cut. I spend countless hours at work and do so much more than so many of the teachers I work with, but unfortunately in education you do not get paid by merit only by years. Then the end of the summer and fall hit and I dealt with the devastating blow of thinking I was going to lose my mom. At 26 I like to think of myself as a grown up, and I got to deal with all the grown up parts of this situation, but I still need my mom and it was so hard to imagine a life without her.

While this year has had it's blows and I have shed too many tears to count, it has also had it's oh so wonderful and miraculous moments. My amazing little man turned one. I never knew why the relationship between my mom and my brother was so different until now. I love my girl more than anything in the world, but I love my boy in such a different way. It must be similar to how a daddy loves a daughter. I'm so thankful to have these two little loves in my life and they amaze me everyday!

We started taking family vacations this year which turned out to be a blast. In April we went to Massanutten and then in July we went to Vermont to visit Noah's family. In August Noah and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary with a weekend at the beach. Then my first love started preschool! I can't believe how big she seems and how little she seems at the same time. She's doing great and even though she has more than her share of timeouts, she is everyone's friend and she is learning new things everyday! In October she turned 3. She comes up with the funniest things to say now and she is constantly making me stop what I am doing because I am laughing so hard.

During two of the hardest months of my life we took the kids trick-or-treating for the first time and celebrated a wonderful Thanksgiving with another family vacation. By Thanksgiving we had the wonderful news that my mom was going to be ok and I've never celebrated a Thanksgiving with more to be thankful for than this year. God truly does listen to our prayers!

We just finished celebrating a wonderful holiday all together with more snow than most of us have ever seen. It was so nice to have my whole family here and to have mom (although tired) back to normal. She'll be here in a couple hours to watch the kids for the weekend and she'll be back keeping them full time on Monday!

Thank you to all of our friends and family and even those that I barely know for all of the kind thoughts, prayers and comments this year. You'll never know how you touched me and my family with a simple message or card and I can never say thank you enough because words don't do my feelings justice. I know that I am truly blessed and I am looking forward to 2011 because I know that I can handle whatever life throws at me and I have true friends who will always be there to help me!

Happy New Year everyone and I hope 2011 brings you everything you dream of!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!!!

I don't know where I live anymore but it certainly cannot be Virginia Beach! Christmas evening it started snowing and didn't stop until the next morning. The weathermen had predicted it, but I never would have believed them. We ended up getting over 14 inches which is unheard of here! It is the most snowfall we've had since 1980, which means this is the most snow I have ever seen in my entire life! It's also the third biggest snowfall this area has had in the last century.

Thankfully I married someone who
knows how to deal with this
Our icy walkway
Noah took Izabel out to play in the snow the first day and they had a blast! Her snowsuit from last year still fits (thankfully she doesn't seem to grow much and can still wear 24 months) so she was nice and warm out there. Noah told her they were going to make snow angels and she said no let's make "tummy angels" so that's what they did! It was really windy and obviously extremely cold so they didn't stay out long. Tanner has had a very severe case of RSV which is a respiratory infection that is very dangerous for babies. Since he has been so sick I stayed inside with him. The snow doesn't seem to be going anywhere so hopefully he can go outside and play a little today or tomorrow, but he doesn't have anything to wear! Don't be surprised if you see pictures of him in a pink snowsuit :)

All ready to go outside :)

Noah throwing snowballs at the windows :/
She could barely walk through all the snow!
It only takes an inch or two to shut this town down. We don't have snowplows or equipment and manpower to deal with this kind of weather because we never have to deal with it. Needless to say we have been snowed in for three days now. I literally cannot open my back door because of all the snow piled on the porch and the snow fell of the sides into the pool ripping a giant hole in my cover!

Thankfully all of the schools are on Christmas break or we would probably have to make up this whole week of school. Noah had to go into work for a few hours yesterday and it's back to normal today with a little delay. In order for me and the kids not to be stranded again we got up and drove Noah into work. I don't know why I thought it wouldn't be bad but it literally looks like you could go ice skating on the neighborhood roads. The main roads are only a little better and the interstates are pretty good. It took us about an hour round trip which doesn't sound bad until you realize that Noah only works about 10 minutes away! I'm thinking we're not going anywhere today, but at least we have the option.

Now it's back to playing with all of the new Christmas presents and watching new movies to occupy our time. Yesterday I got ambitious and made some major changes to our kitchen which I really liked! Unfortunately Noah did not like them and we ended up moving everything back last night :( Let's see what I get motivated to do today! If anyone is bored feel free to come over and play, we'd be more than happy to have some company!!!

Monday, December 27, 2010


We were entirely spoiled this Christmas! It seems like everyone went a little overboard, but after what we have been through the last few months of this year I guess it is ok. We woke up Christmas morning and I jumped in the shower since I knew I wouldn't have time later. Both kids got up and hung out in our bed for a while and then moved to the living room while we were waiting for Grandma and Granddaddy to here. When they finally arrived we took the kids in and started opening the presents! We took a break to have breakfast and then had two more rounds once Aunt Amy and Uncle Keith arrived later in the day.

This looks a little ridiculous and Santa hasn't been here yet!
The stockings are hung by the chimney with care
First seeing her new princess bike and his new basketball hoop
I must have been good because I got a Kitchen Aide mixer that I have been wanting for at least 5 years, a Keurig which I am in love with, an ODU flag for the porch, an epad lap desk for my laptop, some new pjs, some much needed chocolate, a new hair dryer, a blanket, and a game.

Noah got tickets to a Capital's hockey game with hotel reservations, a new coat, a shirt, a grooming kit, new headphones, a puzzle, some card games, and some pj pants.

Santa brought Izabel everything she asked for which includes a Princess Bike, a donut maker (I seriously have no idea where she got that idea from) and a doll house! She got so excited opening each thing but when she opened the doll house she actually hugged the box! She also got tons of clothes, books, a new baby, some art supplies and some games.

Santa brought Tanner a basketball hoop that is a little tall right now but will grow with him and last a long time. He was really excited and didn't want to open any gifts, he just wanted to keep playing basketball! Unfortunately the back board was cracked so I have to take it back to the store and get a new one when some of this snow melts (see next post). He also got a tower race track, clothes, books, puzzles, a baseball set, and a tool bench toy.

Mimi and Papa sent us some money to have someone come and help clean the house every once in a while. It is an amazing gift because the next couple of months are super busy at work and I will be traveling a lot. This gift gives me time to spend with my kids when I am home instead of cleaning the house!

After all the opening!
I'm sure I am forgetting things as we were so overwhelming blessed this year. Thank you to everyone for being so generous and for all of the help and prayers and gifts!

After presents we started preparing our big Christmas dinner. We had ham and turkey and all of the fixings! We played with all of the new toys in between cooking and Aunt Ann and Andy came over for dinner too. We ended up having 16 people for dinner and my kitchen was a mess by the end of the day, but it was worth it! We ended the day by playing Wii and trying to relax. We had an amazing day and we are so lucky and blessed! We hope everyone had an equally amazing Christmas!

Christmas Eve

Since we had been so sick all week we hadn't been to see Santa yet. I figured we would never get a good picture since both kids were so grumpy, but it was worth a try and a tradition I didn't want to skip. We went to Greenbrier mall to see Santa and didn't have to wait too long. Luckily we got up to see Santa right before he went on his lunch break. We put the kids on Santa's lap and photographer snapped a picture before they had a chance to get scared or cry. The next thing I new I had a picture of both kids looking at the camera and smiling! It was amazing and of course I had to buy it, but I got a pretty good one from my camera too.

PLEASE tell Santa I've been good!
I still can't believe it!

Since the kids were still yucky and I wouldn't be able to leave them in the nursery or trust them in the service, we decided to stay home and read the Christmas story as a family. I made a huge lasagna and my parents, grandma and two of my brothers came over for dinner. We read some Christmas stories and then started getting ready for Santa. Izabel spread Reindeer food on the lawn so they could find our house and we put cookies and milk with the letters the kids wrote.

Ready to go spread the Reindeer food
I'm on Grandma's and Santa's Nice List
Santa "thinks" I'm nice!
So happy to have Grandma back!
Letters to Santa with cookies and milk!

Once the kids went to bed Santa did his work rather quickly and everyone was asleep before too long. Amazingly everyone slept through the night!

Christmas #1

Since Noah's sister headed up to Vermont for Christmas, we had our Christmas with her, aunt Ann and cousin Andy before she left. The kids had a blast getting to open some presents since they had been trying to get into them for a few weeks. Theresa got the kids all kinds of cute clothes plus puzzles and blocks and gave us money towards our Ocean Breeze season passes. We also got a Home Depot gift card from Auntie and a gift card from Andy. Everyone was really thrilled with everything they got and we had a nice afternoon hanging out. Auntie made chicken cutlets for us with mashed potatoes and corn and it was wonderful as always! After we ate we decorated some Christmas cookies for dessert. It was a really nice day and a great preview of what was to come for the kids!