Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Recap

Man this year just completely flew by. It seems like it was just June and yet here we are checking off another year in the books. 2013 was a pretty great year, not too many complaints! ;) I don't know why some of this post is highlighted either...add in there learn more about HTML to my New Year's resolutions! ;)

What were your highlights of 2013?

Brian became an Aircraft Commander
Brady turned 3!
Layla turned 1!
Layla started walking, talking, and growing hair
I finally weaned Layla after nursing her for 14 months
Brady became potty trained!
We traveled to Minnesota countless times, went to Mississippi for a wedding, North Dakota for Brian's brother's wedding, and all of the states in between.
I started blogging a lot more and have "met" so many great people
Brady started preschool and matured so much
I started running and ran 3 5ks and met my goal of running a 10k!
I turned 28
We survived and (dare I say we thrived during?) deployment #4
I became a MOPs(mothers of preschoolers) table leader and key spouse in the squadron
My friendships with the lovely ladies here grew leaps and bounds
We had lots of visitors and enjoyed spending time with family
We got to all be together for Christmas 2013

Did you keep your New Year's resolutions and will you make more for next year?
I never really make New Year's resolutions but I guess a goal I made for myself mid-year was to start running (because I hated it and wanted to push myself) and to finish some 5k and 10k races and that I did! I think for next year I won't make concrete goals but want to make more of an effort to spend quality time with Brian and go on more dates. I also want to do more running and hopefully run another 10k. And spruce up this 'ol blog!

Did anyone close to you give birth this year?
Several close friends had babies this year and many will have them next year as well!

Did anyone close to you die?
No one close to us died this year but there were far too many deaths from Brian's class at the AF Academy, one that just occurred a couple days ago. Each day, each flight, and each deployment I count my blessings and praise God that I get more time to spend with him. It may sound dramatic but it's the truth.

What countries did you visit?
Just the good 'ol U S of A!

What would you like to have in 2014 that you didn't have in 2013?
A shiny nice new camera! :)

What dates from 2013 are etched in your memory, and why?
The day Brian got back from his deployment because it was such a joyous day

What was your biggest achievement this year?
Definitely finishing a 10k. I hate to run and it was a pretty big deal that I stayed committed in training for and finished it!

What was your biggest failure?
Probably not being present enough. I feel like I'm being pulled in so many different directions that I need to work more on being in the moment with my kids. Putting the phone down, turning the tv off, leaving the housework and just simply enjoying time with my children because they're only this little once.

What's the best thing you ate?
I have no clue!  Maybe something from Dunkin Donuts since they just built one literally blocks away from our house? That makes me sound so chubby.

What's the best thing you bought?
Gifts for the babies this Christmas. This was the first year Brady really had a wish list and it was so fun to see him light up. And Layla really enjoyed Christmas this year too. 

What did you get really, really excited about?
Having my blog win one of the top 25 military mom blogs on Circle of Moms!

What do you wish you'd done more of?
Hired a babysitter and gone on more dates with Brian

Compared to this time last year are you: a)richer or poorer? b)happier or sadder? c) thinner or fatter?

a. Richer?
b. Happier because I'm doing more for myself this year
c. Thinner but working on being fatter from these holidays!

Did you fall in love in 2013?
I fall in love more every day with Brian. Awwhhh

What was your favorite tv program?
It probably would have been the Office which sadly ended this year. Otherwise I'm a stupid reality tv junkie and hate admitting it.

How did you spend Christmas?
In Minnesota with our families and then back in Omaha with just us.

What did you do on your birthday and how did you celebrate?
Brian had sadly just left for his deployment but we got to celebrate a couple days early.  On the actual day we went to the Apple Orchard with our deployment buddies and had a fabulous little dinner party here with friends. I turned 28 or celebrated my 10th anniversary of turning 18, either one.

How would you describe your personal concept of 2013?
Trying?  Kind of trying to be more fashionable. Yeah that's it.

What kept you sane?
My husband, my friends, preschool, and parent's day out!

Tell me a valuable lesson you learned in 2013.
Tomorrow isn't guaranteed so live your life, count your blessings, make sure your feelings are known, and love like there's no tomorrow. 

Goodbye 2013, thanks for the good memories, here's to 2014 and even more!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Ross Christmas Story

Well our trip to Minnesota got a little delayed with Brian being sick but we made it and froze our butts off. Seriously, Minnesota is only 5.5 hours away but it is SO much colder! How the heck did I live there for 22 years?!  Our trip was a little hectic with so many Christmas's but overall we had a great time. Probably wouldn't travel again a couple days after a deployment ends but it was nice to see family.  Here was our Christmas:
At our first Christmas party Layla and her friend Lola got matching hats. And shared the affinity for sucking.

Brady was excited for our Christmas with Brian's family

Where everyone was spoiled..

beyond belief! 

We took a trip to the Mall of America (of course)

Ate some yummy food

And rode some rides.  Brady wanted to ride this...look at that drop!

Here's a video of him on it with Nana and Brian!

And this was his face after it. Doesn't quite get how to do thumbs up. (This is his excited face mixed with I got wet on that ride and that was crazy! face if you couldn't tell).

And Layla saw some more characters.

We got to do Christmas with some friends and Layla's godfather. And I of course forgot my camera but we had a wonderful Christmas with my good friends from high school and college.

And if that wasn't enough Christmas for you..here's Christmas Eve

where we colored pictures of Santa

made Christmas cookies  (my favorite, spritz!!)

Ate way too many delicious meals. Seriously. I think I weigh at least 5 pounds more!

Had way too many presents under the tree again

And got to watch the kids light up seeing every new toy. Because, honestly, it's all about them. And it's great.

We tried taking a family picture which went oh so well


We got to wear our new jammies

Say cheese for jammies!

We wrote a letter to Santa

And left carrots for the reindeer too, duh.

And Santa came! He came! He got his Thomas he wanted oh so badly.

We also went and saw the movie Frozen. It was good!

Oh and we tried to fit sleeping in there too. After 5 quick days we said goodbye to frigid Minnesota and came back to 66 degree Omaha weather.

Layla caught Brian's bug while we were in Minnesota and added a nice stomach element to it.  It's just so fun driving in the car with that puke smell.  And with a car absolutely filled to the brim with presents.

But luckily she's much better now and back to eating like a champ. (This is for you, Jenn). ;)

And we had our family Christmas in Omaha.  So. Many. Presents. Make. It. Stop!  This is what I get for doing my Christmas shopping in October.

But this present business never gets old, does it Brady?

Rascal enjoyed it too.

And Layla decided it'd be nice to feed something other than herself.

We're still trying to dig out of all of the wrapping paper, presents, laundry, boxes, and insanity that was this year's Christmas.  I'm thinking next year we may opt to do a nice low key Christmas. In the Bahamas. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

One Lovely Blog Award

I've been blogging for about 4 years now (holy cow!) but have only recently opened myself up to the wonderful blogging world that is out there. I have "met" so many wonderful and aspiring people out there and really hope to expand and get to know more of you out there!  One blogger, Becky, who I have had the pleasure of getting to know via a pumpkin swap recently nominated me for a blogging award. It's actually my first award and I really appreciate the honor, thanks Becky!!

The Rules
Thank the one that nominated you. 
Put up the picture for the lovely blog award.  
Tell everyone 7 things about yourself.
Nominate 7 other people and tell them that you've nominated them.

7 Things About Myself

1. I'm blind as a bat. No seriously, I have the worst eyesight. If I were to show you my glasses, you would be amazed at how thick the lenses are.  Thank goodness for the invention of glasses and contacts because I definitely wouldn't be able to survive without them!

2. I'm not a cat person. I wish that I was. And I'm making strides with my parent's new cat but I have never been and probably never will be a cat person. I just never can read cats.  They just seem so sneaky to me. The time we went to the humane society to pick out my parent's cat just about put me into the loony bin. Being in a room full of cats with my eager and grabby children was enough to give me a panic attack. My kids absolutely love cats though and probably would die from happiness if we ever got one. For now, a dog will have to do. And seeing Gramma's cat on trips to Minnesota.
Ignore the nasty picture of me but this my parent's cat trying to sharpen her claws on snuggle with me and I was a little freaked out. And these are my glasses (two facts in one picture!) but you can't see how thick the lenses are until I turn my head. Trust me, they're bad.

3. I've never broken a bone (knock on wood). And I don't drink enough milk either so this fact still amazes me.  I'm a pretty cautious person though so I hope this fact is always true!

4. If I could choose any place to live: it would have Minneapolis, Minnesota's metro, mountains, the ocean, 4 seasons but a mild winter, and would have a housing market like Omaha's. Let me know if a place like that exists. Oh and you'll have plenty of time to figure that out. Because we don't get to make decisions like that until, oh, about 2020.

5. I've never been stung by a bee (knock on wood again).  Yet I'm pretty scared of bees, although it's getting better. So when I would read things about it hurting as much as a bee sting, I don't know what to compare it to.  

6. I am married to an Air Force pilot, yet I don't really like to fly. It gives me a lot of anxiety even though I've flown countless times. My husband doesn't make it any better though, he loves to react to sounds or movements on the plane, "That didn't sound good! That's not normal!" just to get a rise out of me. Thanks, dear.

7. My children and husband are my world. I don't know what I'd do without them. And though they all drive me crazy here and there, I absolutely love them to the moon and back!

And now for my nominations! (You definitely don't need to participate, but I love reading these so if you feel like it, I'd love to learn more about each of you! And if you've already been nominated, I apologize, there's more than 1 person out there that loves your blog!).

Kate at Daffodil's

Whitney at Black Little Button

Shannon at Sitting in a Tree

Janelle at Wild Blue Yonder

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Few Things

1. He's Home!!
 If you didn't read my previous post, know that Brian is home! Deployment #4 is done, woohoo! And what homecoming would be complete without some decorations out front to embarrass him?!

The kids have seriously been in heaven having him home

The night he got home we celebrated his birthday (the big 2-8!). Luckily we only missed his birthday by a day and the kids had fun celebrating with him.  And this picture is taken approx 3 seconds before Layla almost ate the candle but instead blew it out with her saliva. Why I thought that was a good idea, I will never know. Mom fail.

His birthday present spread. For a couple of years I've been getting him as many beers for as many years old he is. That's going to get expensive when we're in our 80's.

 I forget this little tidbit every deployment. I dream up all of the fun things we're going to do as a family and then I'm reminded of the little biotch that jet lag is. Brian had to go into work the next morning (to in process and file paperwork after he got home at 6 the previous night, thank you Air Force) and ended up being gone an entire work day.  And jet lag has not been kind to him.  A couple things about this photo: No, Brian is not dead. Yes, my living room always looks this like thanks to children that make messes like it's their job. And yeah, that's Layla eating (per usual) some bread and Rascal watching her every move.

And not to mention the jet lag, but Brian has come down with some nasty bug. I think he brought back the plague from the desert with him. So we're not in Minnesota yet like we'd planned to be. And it usually never fails that we bring some lovely viruses to Minnesota with us (sorry in advance, family!)   And although he is physically here, he's been mostly doing this. He's going to love that I posted these photos too. Love you babe! :)

3. Christmas lights are pretty neat

Before Brian succumbed to the plague we did get to go to downtown Omaha (well, technically midtown) and see the Miracle on Farnam. 18 businesses in Omaha decorate window displays and compete for the best one.

There's also a giant tree that Brady sang "Jingle Bells' under for about 10 minutes. On repeat.

This was the zoo's display I think. The kids liked it!

4. We saw Santa!

Brady's been terrified of Santa since pretty much day 1. 

Who the heck is this guy?

The picture the year after is so horrible I can't even find it anymore. And last year Brady was so scared we didn't even get near Santa. But this year I signed us up for a breakfast with Santa (because I'm a genius, naturally). Brady's really into the big guy this year and wanted to tell him how much he wanted Thomas stuff for Christmas.  But when we walked in the door there was Brady's number 1 fear: giant blow up characters.

I took this picture from our city's recreation facebook page. Giant blow-up squirrel in the back right corner.

We have had to leave/avoid so many places because Brady is TERRIFIED of these things. I have no clue why but he will scream like he's being murdered if he even sees them. A big thing with Brady that I've been working on with him is being brave (he's my cautious man).  I told him I would never let this giant squirrel get him (or any giant blow-up character for that matter) and that no one else was afraid and that he didn't need to be either. He was bribed by the thought of breakfast so luckily we made it in the door. But Layla had to stop and talk and wave to the giant squirrel. My kids, complete opposites.

Us at breakfast.

Then Santa rolled in and we were just going to have Layla take a picture with him. But Brady was brave and sat on Santa's lap too and told him what he wanted. I was so proud of him!

And Layla wanted nothing to do with him. Like I said, complete opposites.  But the look on Brady's face after he faced his fears was priceless. He was so proud of himself and I was so proud of him too! My big boy!

And last but not least in this random post, a picture of Brady's preschool class. There he is, front and center with his arm around a kid who, because of Brady's hand, is not looking at the camera. I'm sure his mother was thrilled.

We're hoping to make it to Minnesota tomorrow and will be there through Christmas. I'll have some scheduled posts during that time, but I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and for those that are traveling, safe travels! :)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Came Early This Year..

I wish that I could accurately describe all of the emotions that go into a military homecoming.  Months and months of built up emotion waiting for the love of your life, the father of your children to step off that plane and back into your lives. 
My deployment buddies and I waiting for our husbands to return

This was the first time Brady really knew what was going on and he could hardly contain his excitement

His sign and his flag

This whole room was abuzz with family, friends, and people of the squadron ready to welcome home the crews from the desert

Video of our homecoming.  Of course Brian was in one of the last buses to pull up so our excitement and anticipation were mounting.  Brady was so, so excited.

All together again...

one of the best feelings in the whole wide world

Giving Daddy kisses

She couldn't stop looking at him, touching him and saying "DADDY!!"  Made me want to cry but I held it together!

The pure joy on all of our faces...and Layla eating because honestly, what else would she be doing?

Brian and Josh, their 3rd deployment together on the same crew

This was them after their first deployment 2.5 years ago. Their arms sure have gotten fuller! :)

The guys with all of the babies

Deployment #4 complete!

So happy to have my best friend home!

My heart is full. Christmas sure came early this year because all I wanted for Christmas was you! :)
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