Friday, December 26, 2008

Settling Down

I was finally able to take a breath today after the holiday whirlwind of parties. We went to our last "get together" and we are free to do whatever we want for the rest of our vacation.

On Sunday, we had the Hicks family Christmas gathering. It was at Kat and James' house and it was lots of fun, although many people needed to leave early because of the weather. It snowed about an inch just in the first few hours. Ricky and Rod drove to an empty parking lot and took my car for a spin, just so Ricky could show off our car. Ricky and I received a fish tank for the gift exchange. We also found out that Daniel and Mandy are pregnant!

On Tuesday the 23rd, we had a Buck Christmas gathering at my parents house. That was good too. Grandma Regina made some awesome food, and Judah got some cool toys. Both Ricky and I got some good gifts as well. Harvey, Liz, and Conner were there, as well as Uncle Aaron, Aunt Shannon, and the girls. Grandma Buck, of course, was also there and was thrilled to see Judah. I believe it was the first time she saw him.

Wednesday (Christmas Eve) was the Ochs' Christmas, also at Ricky's parents' house. That was... interesting. Ricky's grandparents saw Judah for the first time. The gift exchange was fun to watch. There were a few good gifts that everyone was fighting over the whole time, and they went around and around several times, which made for some good laughs. Afterwards, they always do their traditional poker game, which is always boring for me. I hate poker, so it's pretty much just a few hours of me waiting around to leave. Daniel and Mandy announced their pregnancy as well.

Christmas Day we rolled out of bed and went to my parents for a traditional Christmas breakfast. We had my dad's famous biscuits and gravy (mmmmm...) and some baby Dutch boys (aka German pancakes). It was delicious. It was nice to have a small family party with just the gifts to each other. We all made out great over all. Ricky got a Princess Bride action figure. Yeah! I got TONS of great stuff.

My family set off to go see Valkyrie *envious* so Ricky and I trekked back to Sumner yet again. I'm sure it goes without saying, that we have driven waaaay more than we preferred to, but we are kinds stuck with that for the rest of our lives. It was sad to have that feeling "Ugh, I don't want to go there!" but what can you do. It was going to be the last time for awhile, so we'll get some time to recoup. So we got there and had a great time opening up our last round of gifts. We got more AWESOME stuff and had another relaxing, low key, hang out time. Ricky gave me some jewelry, most notable of which is a silver cross necklace, and $300 cash for anything I want! We stayed pretty late because we watched Iron Man. It was James' first time seeing it, and he loved it.

Then today we went to go see Granny D. in Des Moines. We exchanged gifts and had some tea. My dad and brothers also came, so we had fun hanging out and discussing biblical doctrine.

So finally, we are back at home to stay (for awhile). It was another busy busy holiday, but we loved it. We are going to try to lay low for the next week and try to get some relaxation out of this time at home together. Luke is spending the night, so he and Ricky are going to stay up late and have some male bonding time. Meanwhile, I am going to bed early, since there's no vacation from motherhood.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Christmas Miracle (a short story)

Once upon a time, there was a family with a brand new baby boy. Let's call them the Ochs family, and the baby boy was named Judah, and he was the cutest boy in all the greater King County area.

Now one day, an evil elf from the North Pole went to Santa and said, "Santa, Christmastime is just too happy! There are too many children being good this time of year, and we have too many toys to make! And now you might give them a white Christmas!?!? This is just crazy!!!" So Santa replied, "Nonsense! We can't let all those kids down. Just think how sad they would be. Especially that baby boy, Judah, who is the cutest in the greater King County area. Christmas has to be the happiest time of year!" The elf quarreled back, "The cutest boy in the greater King County area doesn't even like Christmas because he doesn't know what it is!!" Santa, unable to convince the elf otherwise, BANISHED him from the North Pole never to return.

The elf was beside himself with anger, and sought out to find the cutest boy in the great King County area to teach him and his family to hate Christmas and show Santa what a fool he was for making Christmas so merry. So off he went to the Ochs' house, and found the baby boy, Judah, soundly asleep in his crib. In his rage, he put a curse on the boy that he would no longer be the cutest boy in the greater King County area, but he would contract a flesh eating disease to eat his face off until Christmas morning!!


Now when the parents awoke, they were very troubled to see their baby's face being eaten off by a flesh eating disease. They called the doctor, but the doctor was not there! They called doctors for hours trying to find someone who could help, but all to no avail. There was just so much merriment from Christmas, that no one was working! They were all around town making merry and drinking eggnog. Judah's parents were distraught with grief.

Santa, however, back at the North Pole, saw what the evil elf had done, and set on his way as fast as he could, to save Christmas for the Ochs family. On his sleigh, he carried the medicine that would heal the rare flesh eating disease that the boy was afflicted with. Santa arrived at the Ochs household the day before Christmas. He landed in the driveway with a "HO HO HO!" Judah's parents were overjoyed and ran out to meet him. Out of his sleigh, he drew the medicine, which he gave to Judah, and immediately, the flesh eating disease died, and Judah's skin was restored. Although, he was no longer the cutest boy in the greater King County area, he was now the cutest in the nation!

They all jumped up and down and thanked Santa for saving Christmas.

Now, this is what really happened. Judah really is the cutest boy in the nation, but there's more to the story.
Judah got a cold sore. Woop de doo. The cold sore got bigger, then bigger, then began to spread, and got bigger. The mother tried to call the doctor, but his office was closed because of the snow and his message inbox was full. Then the cold sore got bigger, and grew some more, and then got pussy. So the mother called the doctor again, and he was still closed, and the message inbox was still full. Then the sore got bigger and crustier! So the mother called the doctor AGAIN, and he was still closed. So she tried to page the doctor, but he never replied...
So the baby got worse, and he woke up several times during the night crying because his face hurt so bad. Finally, mom and dad had had enough with their doctor. So they called some other doctors, but they weren't open, so they called some more doctors, and they were open, but would only take their own patients, and is was a never ending cycle of "no one wants to look at your baby," so the parents hand was forced.
They set off to the ER. But because of the snow, their car got stuck in the driveway, and the neighbors had to dig them out. They finally got out, and took the long way to the hospital because some of the roads were closed. They got to the ER and signed in, doomed to wait 2 hours to be seen because the ER was full of other people because their doctors offices were also closed. Despite their exhaustion due to lack of sleep, they prepared themselves for the long haul. Judah, however, got tired, and refused to go to sleep. So the mother walked him around the ER over and over and over trying to keep him quiet. He preferred to scream. She tried to feed him, and he still screamed. She tried to read to him, and have dad play with him, and she tried everything she could think of, but he still preferred to scream.
Finally, their name was called, and the nurse took them to see a doctor. She diagnosed the problem as a cold sore that became infected with impetigo (bacterial/staff infection). She wrote a prescription and sent the family on their way. They were still very tired, but thanked the doctor several times because they just wanted their baby to get better.
So off they went to the pharmacy to fill the prescription. The parents decided that dad and baby would wait in the parking lot, and mom would just run in really quickly. It took half an hour to fill the prescription. When they finally thought it was done, the insurance company made a ridiculous claim that the insurance information was inaccurate, and they would not cover the medication. Now this was ridiculous since the parents have some of the best medical coverage possible. So the mother called the insurance company, but they were closed because of the weather too! So she had to pay for the medication out of pocket (which was not cheap) and will have to go back later to be reimbursed. All of this took another half hour, adding up to a total of an hour waiting for a prescription. All the while, in the car, the father was trying to keep the baby quiet, who still refused to sleep. The baby screamed and screamed and daddy was going deaf and getting a headache.
Finally, mom came out and they were ready to leave. But because of all the lazy last minute shoppers at the mall, it took a great while to get out of the parking lot, and back to their home.
But now, all is well. Father, mother, and baby all got rested and were in higher sprits just a few hours later. AND the baby will soon be on his way to being the cutest baby in the nation.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas snuck up on me so fast. I don't even know what happened the last few weeks. I was looking forward to getting a Christmas tree and all that stuff, and then before I knew it, we were almost out of time!

Yes, we got our tree last night. We went out in the bitter cold and tied a tree to the top of my car while my fingers were falling off from frostbite. But all in all, it was fun, and the tree looks great. We bundled Judah up so that he wouldn't be too shocked by his first experience with freezing temperatures. He didn't seem to mind too much, and was most likely warmer than either Ricky or I.

On Saturday, we also had our family over to watch a Christmas flick. We all squished onto the couch and watched Fred Clause (which was surprisingly good) and put on a fire. It is finally feeling like Christmas around here, and if we get more snow, then that will improve the feeling even more. We have not had a white Christmas that I can remember, and so I do hope to experience that one day. Hopefully, it will be this year.

So starts the endless whirlwind of Christmas parties and food. We have a party tonight, and 6 more up to Christmas day. I'll have a lot of cooking and baking and cleaning to do, and it pretty much won't stop until after Christmas. But it's the most wonderful time of the year, and I wouldn't give it up for anything. Plus, I have a completely different perspective on it this year, now that we have Judah and everything.

Next year will be even better!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Meet Maxwell

So, I was playing with Judah as usual, and I hear this scratching over by our sliding glass door. I assumed that it must have been Cami, messing with the curtains just like she always does for hours everyday. I turn around to yell at her, and to my shock and surprise... it's Maxwell! Scratching at our door like it's no big deal; he's just really pissed because he wants some food. He didn't even seen to mind Cami there at all!

Maxwell has been showing up in our yard for the last few weeks, ever since I left out a pile of almonds to feed the overpopulation of vermin in our backyard. I see him the most regularly, and I can easily recognize him due to his strange tail. Only half is poofy, while the other is newer growth. Most likely from some sort of fight. I began to set out nuts for him regularly after I walked by the window several times to catch him staring into the house, just waiting for me to bring something out to him. Eventually he even started to eat out of my hand! But now he is becoming very aggressive.

I immediately got some almonds for him, which he ate from my hand, and then came back a few minutes later, scratching and begging for more. He even stepped into the house! With Cami less than 2 feet away! I can't believe this thing! It cracked me up, so I had to catch some photos.

Cami and Bailey were both going wild, and Bailey was trying to get outside to chase them. I'm sure that Cami would have a blast chasing them if she ever finds the guts to go outside.

My backyard is feeling more and more like wildlife park. I saw that coyote again a few days ago, not to mention his howling at night. And that eagle that was living in the trees last year is back, and I see him frequently as well. Who would have guessed that I'd get so much wildlife a few blocks away from a industrial sized mall?

I must admit that I felt a lot like I had come out of the movie "Enchanted", but what else is new. I just open the door and sing, and all of my forest friends come running. Not that this is much of a surprise to most of you. They pretty much wrote that movie about me, and it's not rare to find me dancing through the house singing some random Disney song and at many times, quoting the entire movie.

So it's been a good morning. If you have free time, stop by to see our friendly neighborhood squirrel. I think I may need some more nuts...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Doom and Gloom

I hate to sound all doom and gloom, but my husband and I have been talking about some pretty deep stuff lately. Forgive me for not believing that Obama is the savior of our country, but the next 5 years are looking grim for the whole world. And I'm not just referring to the economy.

Iran is on the verge of creating a nuclear weapon, and Israel is ready to attack them as soon as that happens. Once Iran has the nuclear technology, then any terrorist organization can gain access to it. It won't be long until we enter world war III on the brink of a nuclear holocaust.

Ricky and I have started some preliminary talks about becoming more prepared for "whatever" might happen. In the event of an infrastructure collapse, communication collapse, power grid failure, earthquakes, bombings, etc. we want to make sure that our family is safe and well prepared.

It's so funny how so many things about how you view life change when you have a family. Suddenly, survival is key. When I was single, it wasn't nearly as important to me, because if I was going to die, I didn't really care. I was ready and I wasn't afraid of it. After I got married however, you depend on someone else; your other half. I realized that they also depended on me, which gave me a reason to stay alive, and protect my life, and protect theirs. Now that I have a kid, the feeling has grown times 10. After the bombings in Mumbai, they showed this clip of a little Jewish boy, maybe 1-2 years old, crying for his parents who had been killed. That 3 second video clip wrenched my heart, because I can't imagine if something like that happened to Judah. To be suddenly without your parents, and you can't understand what's going on, but you just want them and need them. It makes me want to cry even now just to think about it. I love him so much.

I don't want that to happen to our family, which is why we, as parents, will take measures to ensure its safety. God is teaching me more about how he feels as a Father to us. He has given us a safety plan in His Word because He feels that same way. He is also teaching me more about us as His bride, and how in the same way that a father/husband would endanger and give up his life for his family or country, how much more would He do that for us?

In the end, all that matters is love and life, whether it's here or there.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

This is my excited about Christmas post!

I am such a Christmas junkie. Last month I even watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (aka my favorite Christmas movie of all time). Today I started pulling decorations out of the attic, only to disappoint myself and put them back. My house is not in top condition to start putting out the decor, so now I have this firm objective to do some Christmas cleaning.

Everyone I know can vouch for me that I am completely entrenched in the spirit of Christmas and anything else that Christmas even remotely relates to. And I must say that Christmas is probably the single reason that I endure winter at all and don't spend the whole season in Australia (where it's summer). It is the shining light of the gray, wet, dreary, and utterly horrible grotesqueness that is winter in Seattle. And, no, I am not exaggerating.

I love shopping for people. I love Christmas sales. I love Christmas trees. I love Christmas music! I love Christmas movies. I love all the decorations. I love the general good nature that it brings out in people (with the exception of Black Friday). Even the hasty deterioration of generosity in our culture seems to go in reverse for a few short weeks. I love the time with family. I love how Christmas commercialism saturates our entire society all the way down to its core and there is no way to escape it. I know that some of these things are why many people feel the exact opposite of me, but what can I say. I am taken with it.

This will be Judah's first Christmas, which will make it even more memorable. I can't wait! And now, I have some Christmas cleaning to tackle.