Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Army Givith....

...And The Army Taketh Away

I am eternally grateful for everything the Army has given us.  There isn't a day that goes by that I am not in awe of how different our lives are and how truly blessed we are to have what we have, live the way that we do and continue to receive more and more with each passing day.  I can honestly say without a doubt the biggest blessing we have come across are the people who started off as mere acquaintances, turned friends who we now consider family.

This ever growing family of ours may have no blood relation, but the ties that bind us are forever tightening and holding us together.  It doesn't matter how many miles are put between us, I promise to watch these babies grow, I promise to spoil them with all the love I have in my heart, I promise that through my tears I'm smiling because I know deep down this is what's best for you and your family.  I promise to miss you everyday.  I promise to stay in touch, and I promise I'll suck at it, but when we talk it'll be like no time has passed at all.  I promise I'll love you still and we will meet again some day.  This Army is a small world, and if I don't see you in here...I'll find you somewhere, you're family.

So to all my family that the Army is taking or has taken, or will someday take, I miss you, I love you and don't think just because you're PCSing to Ft PoDunkNowhere means you're off the hook.  It takes a whole lot more than a few miles to come between us.  Stay safe where ever you are, you mean something to everyone, and everything to someone!

All My Love Xoxo,

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Congratulations SPC Curtis Osborne!

Congratulations SPC Curtis Osborne!  Yesterday on 1 AUG 12 my husband pinned Specialist, and I had the honor of being the one to pin him.  It was such an amazing feeling to listen to the glowing words spoken by Curt's 1st SSG and his Commander, it took nearly everything I had to keep my composure and not cry as I often do.  I'm quite certain I was more nervous than he was, especially since Curt knows these people even though he has only worked with them for a few months.  I'm guessing you get to know people a lot more quickly during a deployment.  I don't think I would have been nearly as nervous if he was still with his prior unit, simply because I know the majority of them personally, and the few I don't I still see and talk to during the monthly FRG meetings I still hold.

Although Curt isn't one to hide his pride in his abilities, he can be rather humble at times.  This promotion happened to be one of those times.  He received a waiver to become promotable in June, but due to leave dates and everyone just getting home from deployment his pinning was held yesterday.  The waiver was required because without it he would not be eligible to make SPC until his 2 year mark in the Army.  In Curt's mind either was this promotion was a "given" regardless of the fact that he earned the waiver to get it early.  He is more than proud, but he is all the more focused on getting his stripes because he knows those he has to push harder for.

My husband is a truly where he is meant to be and I have never seen him excel to this extreme before.  Curt is good at everything he does, but to be good and enjoy what you do brings a whole new meaning to life.  I believe with all my heart this is where we belong, as a family and as individuals.  We have never been happier, stronger or more in love with each other. 

Congrats Honey, you deserve it and you earned it!! I love you truly, madly, deeply! XOXO

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Someday I'll get the hang of this....

My Grandfather has a saying, excuses are like assholes, everybody has one.  So I'm not going to run down the list of excuses as to why I haven't been writing, I'm just going to tell it like it is and you can decide for yourself if I'm making excuses.

So the last time I wrote was May 20th and here we are now July 25th.  Give me a little credit please because we all know I have gone much longer for as you will soon read, lesser reasons.  I'll begin at the end of May.  Gunnar and I were doing everything to make sure we were ready for Curt to get home, and keeping busy (busier than we maybe should have in hind sight).  

It all honestly seems like a blur now.   I was having FRG meetings and in the middle of a change of command for Curt's unit here at home.  I was helping with the FRG for the unit he was deployed with and trying to get friends back and forth to the airport as needed.  Memorial Day came and went as was rather emotional for me, especially after a call from Curt's grandparents to tell me how proud they are of him and us as a family.  It was incredibly heartwarming.  Gunnar was still playing baseball, which meant practice 2 nights a week and games on Saturdays.

Then came the day we had been waiting for, for what seemed like an eternity and in reality was less time then AIT.  It was finally time for HOMECOMING!!!  I think that day (and night) dragged on forever, in fact I'm quite certain there were more hours in that day than any other day I've lived thus far.  When he walked onto that tarmac though all that time just melted away with my tears of joy.  I will never fully be able to describe how it feels to wrap my arms around my husband after having not been able to, or seeing the joy in my sons face the very moment he lays eyes on his daddy.  There's nothing like it in this world, and it makes everything perfect, even if just for that moment.

After the delay in homecoming and all the excitement of having Curt home, it was well after 2am when we got to sleep.  The next morning we decided to go to the outlets about an hour away to find some new PT sneakers for Curt and just wander around.  Lucky for us, Curt adjusts amazingly well to everything, including timezones and lack of sleep.  I think he has to to compensate for my inability to adjust to just about everything.

We'd been at the outlets for a few hours, had an early dinner and were heading home.  My neck had been bothering me for a few days but I assumed I pulled a mussel while I was cleaning the carpets.  It started to get progressively worse as we got closer to home, so I tried to massage it and just rest.  About 10 minutes after we walked in the door my face a head started to go numb and tingle and I was nauseous and dizzy.  I could barely stand up. 

Curt had been home less than 24 hours and we were heading straight for the ER.  The good news is they got me in pretty quick, the bad news is at first they thought it was meningitis so they send Curt and Gunnar home, the worse news is I was there for four days.  Poor Curt had to do everything, take Gunnar to and from school, baseball, cook, clean and even go back to work before I was able to come home.  On the bright side it wasn't meningitis so they were able to visit me in the hospital, but I was on too much medication to know who was coming and going.  It's an awful feeling to not be in control of anything.

I apparently had an infection of the sphenoid sinuses and that only happens to a lucky 0.1% like myself.  I received multiple rounds of IV antibiotics in the hospital, then another 28 days course of oral antibiotics once I came home.  Followed by a CT scan and an appointment with an ENT who has since put me on another stronger 28 day course of oral antibiotics which will be followed up with another CT scan in mid August.  Hopefully I will be feeling better by then.  I was doing better until this course of antibiotics kicked in.  I think they have taken everything, good and bad, out of me.

On a brighter note, this summer we had a water slide party for Gunnar's 8th birthday.  We went to Washington, D.C. for the first time, and I cannot say enough wonderful things about our trip!  We went on a marriage retreat with the Army and were able to go to the Smithsonian Air and Space and American History Museums.  The three of us took an amazing free (gratuity based) walking tour from a company called DC by Foot, and our guide was so engaging we didn't even notice the 100+ degree heat and 90% humidity until the tour was over.  I learned more in two hours of walking than I did in all of my history classes combined!  Gunnar was truly enthralled and I couldn't be happier about it.  We also visited beautiful Kure, N.C. beach for a day trip while my mom was visiting.  She surprised Gunnar the day before his birthday and it was priceless!  

After mom went home we made our way to the famous Outer Banks or better known as OBX for another marriage retreat.  I am a self proclaimed beach snob, I spent my summers on a pristine white sandy beach with beautiful water and great waves and very residential, so where we stayed in OBX was much too touristy, yellow sanded and dark watered to lure me back.  We did have a good time though.  Gunnar got thrashed in some waves and had three lifeguards circled around him at one point.  He also did a great job climbing two difficult rock walls in one of the surf shops.  Curt tried to eat his weight in ice cream for a free t-shirt, but instead we bought $16.99 worth of ice cream just for Curt (and no shirt).  I even had to leave at one point because  I was getting sick just watching him try to do this!

Now we are back at home and trying to get back to reality.  Curt is working for Brigade now, I am still the FRG leader for Bravo and helping with Brigade.  Gunnar starts swimming lessons next week and goes back to school next month.  I'm not sure where the summer went but I know we enjoyed it.  I'd love to get some more beach time in before it ends too.  Time will tell, it seems there is always somewhere we have to be....someday I'll get the hang of this.  In the mean time I'll just keep swimming and enjoying the little things when and where I can.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

On My Way

I'm on my way to making my goals that I set, little by little.  They may not seem like much to most, but to me they are life changing.  These are these goals I set for myself on May 8th.  That date happens to be the 1 year anniversary from when we moved here to Ft. Bragg.  It's hard sometimes to believe we have been here a year already, and other times it feels like this is the only life I've ever known.  Anyway, back on track.

  • Focus on family
  • Focus on getting back to me
  • Blog once a week or more
  • Work out 4-5 times a week
  • Loose weight 
  • Read  
Of those goals I have managed to hit most, now 2 weeks later.  I have been able to focus on my family and myself.  I have been able to get to the gym for the last 7 straight days and I have lost 2.5 lbs in that time.  I have not yet cracked open a book, and I missed posting a blog last week.  Hey, 3 out of 5 ain't bad!  Especially when those 3 are the most focused on getting back to me and my family.

I've had a lot TON of encouragement and motivation from family and friends.  Gunnar even plays his DS at the gym if I can't go while he's in school and he tells me he's proud of me!  That right there makes it all worth it.

I'm not gonna lie, I don't enjoy working out, and I don't know that I will ever get to that point (quite frankly I'm sure I won't) but I enjoy how I feel after and I already like the results.  The elliptical machine is my nemesis.  When I started a week and a half ago I could barely do 2 minutes.  Today I was up to 20 with a 4 minute cool down.  Again, not fun per say, put when I see the calories burned after 20 minutes on that machine verses 20 minutes on the bike....I make it happen.  

Then one of the best things for me has been an app for my phone that a friend showed me.  It's called My Fitness Pal.  I can track everything, and I do mean everything.  I can track my workouts  and I can track every bite of food that goes in my mouth.  You can even put in the caloric intake for your own recipes based on what you put in them.  I can even track my water intake for the day.  You can add friends, and comment on their progress.  You can track your weight and measurements.  I'm a very visual person, so this really puts this in perspective for me.

So all in all I think I'm doing pretty well.  I'll try to crack open a book this eek, but no promises, I'm still pretty busy and this week is no different.  I will do my best to post another blog before the end of the week, because writing is not only my outlet but my passion.  For those of you that read this, I thank you for sticking with me through the good and the bad.  This blog is supposed to be about victories big and small, so that is what I'm getting back to.

It's a roller coaster life, so lets put our hands in the air and enjoy the ride!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

It Shouldn't Hurt to Help

I never expected any of this to be easy, in fact we waited so long for Curt to join the military because I knew it was going to be hard.  At that point, I just didn't know exactly why it was going to be so hard for me.  I figured it would be the usual difficulties of military life, long hours, trainings, deployments, not enough family time and too much work.  The truth is we are very fortunate, the hours are usually reasonable, the training schedule is tolerable and there is a lot more family time in the Army than there ever was in our civilian life.  As for deployments, well there is nothing wonderful about them, but they are part of the job and par for the course.  I knew when he signed on the dotted line that we weren't coming out of this without some deployment knowledge under our belts.  So, no matter how easy or difficult each of these things may be, either separate or all together, they are still not what makes this at times such a difficult life for me to lead.

It's me.  Yes, it's me, I make it difficult.  Not any one thing and no one person other than myself can be blamed for the perceived hardships that I seem to face.  Why?  Why, because I bring them on myself.  I offer things that I am simply not fully capable of, or that I have not completely thought out.  Or maybe I think I am, or have, but I can't possibly run through all the possible scenarios in my head no matter how hard I try, so when the one scenario that I didn't account for anxiety kicks into overdrive and I'm out.  I bite off more than I can chew, more times than I can count, and I end up overworked, overwhelmed and exhausted, and sometimes I can pull it off, but other times I don't have it in me to keep up.  

I seem to I have this inability to say no, combined with this innate ability to insert my ability to help with anything under the sun.  I have this fear of rejection, of the potential repercussions of saying no, of simply upsetting someone, or letting them down.  I hate the idea of not being there when someone needs something, whoever or whatever that may be.  The problem has become, my inability to say no has left me neglecting the people I love them family.

Nothing was ever supposed to, or should have come before my family.  It shouldn't hurt this bad if I'm helping.  Too many tears have already been shed, it's time to refocus on what matters most.  I know in my heart the people that love me for me will stand by me (some already are) and the ones who only see/saw me as a taxi/babysitter/party planner/FRG Leader/Etc are just the "fluff".  There will always be people who are fillers in your life and then there will be real friends.  Right now I need my real friends, not the "fluff".

So in the spirit of getting back to me and getting back to the reason for this blog, I'm setting some goals.  My goals are strictly for me, but I will let you know when I meet them and if I am staying or straying from them.  I promise to be honest, not only with you, but with myself.  

  • Focus on family
  • Focus on getting back to me
  • Blog once a week or more
  • Work out 4-5 times a week
  • Loose weight 
  • Read
I think that's a good start.  If I need to add to it as I go, I will.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bittersweet Tears of Joy

I knew being an FRG leader was going to have it's ups and downs, and I knew it wasn't going to be easy.  I also knew there were people far better suited for the slot, but I have a weakness for those in need, and at the time we (we being our FRG) were in need of a new leader.  So I did what I do best and volunteered myself, my family and my time for something I was only mildly familiar with.  

I had been volunteering unofficially with the FRG since we moved here in May, but nothing like the magnitude I was about to take on.  I took over in January and held my first meeting in February.  I was very fortunate to take over from a dear friend and she has helped me immensely along the way.  I've learned a lot from this experience, and I learn more each day and with each meeting, each fundraiser, each organizational day.  Each new thing brings it's own challenges.  

I have the privilege to meet and get to know our soldiers on a more personal level than most, and I also have the opportunity to have better relationships with their spouses, ans sometimes even a few parents.  I'm not sure how much this has to do with my role as an FRG leader, or how much it has to do with the people Curt and I communicate with outside of his work, but either way I feel very fortunate to be able to interact the way I do.

I told you that so you can understand why today was so bittersweet for me and why replaying the day in my head even now the tears are falling as I type.  Today was homecoming for main body.  For me that means the 6 soldiers from our unit that had deployed a few months ago to assist with equipment came home, and the soldiers from other units that had been deployed much longer also came home.  Being that some of my dear friends were returning, I had planned on being at the homecoming anyway.  As the FRG leader I was also there to show my support.

Here's where the hard part comes husband is not part of main body and was not returning today.  Our first homecoming was not for Curt.  Now no matter how much of a planner I am and how much I want to see how things work first, some things are sacred (I think) and going to a homecoming without your spouse while he is deployed, I can no officially say is no bueno.  

I'm not in anyway saying it was all bad.  I was so happy to be able to be there to show my support, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.  I just had a really hard time watching everyone come in and find their significant other and watch them embrace and their kids get so excited, while G and I were missing and hurting.  It sucked having to keep it together and I even had to rush to the bathroom so no one would see the tears starting to fall....that was an epic fail!

I'm not writing this for pity, I don't want any ones pity.  We made the decision for Curt to join the Army, we made the decision for him to deploy, we've made each of these decisions together.  Please don't pity me for decisions we have made.  I am not pitying myself, I write because it helps me deal.  It's my blog, for me...not for anyone but me.

My tears are done falling, and my day was bittersweet.  Welcome Home Bravo....See you soon Honey....Goodnight World

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I'm Missing Me

I'd say it's hard to believe I haven't written since January, but it's not.  Just as I had begun to find myself, my way, my footing in my new life, I just as quickly seem to have lost it.  "It" being the version of myself I was finally starting to like, the one who had some grounding, the one who had found her voice.  Somehow my voice has slipped away in the simple day to day chaos I have created for myself.  There it lies, in that statement alone, I have created it for myself.   

No one did this to me, no one chose this for me.  No one but me, myself and I made the decisions that have led me astray from where I was and where I want to be.  

Now is the time for change.  I used to be terrified of change, it was part of why I never wanted to be a military wife.  I never wanted my life to change so drastically so constantly, yet I find solace in knowing or rather expecting change now.  It's why Curt and I are forever talking about the umpteen possibilities that may or may not affect us.  It's also why he can answer a call to deploy in less that the required 3 minutes requested for a call back with an answer.  We've already talked about this very scenario and what would he like to do, how would I feel, how would we feel as a family, etc.  For me it makes the impending changes that much easier to bare.  Poor Curt I'm sure gets sick of talking them to death, but he knows it puts me at ease and God bless my husband, he would give me the world (and often does) so he continues to talk things out.  Even over Skype with the lousy connection and video like a bad Chinese movie, he still hashes things out with me.  It's amazing how much he helps me, he truly is always exactly what I need exactly when I need it and he always has been.

I also find solace in the things I know I can keep the same.  It's why I can find the salt and pepper or the green towels with my eyes closed during a blackout.  Some call me OCD and that's okay with me as long as I can put it back where it goes.

Here again I've managed to veer off, away from what's really going on.  It seems to be the trend in my life lately.  So I need to get back to me, or at least figure out who I am now.  One thing I am certain of is that I am forever changing.  Who I was 5 years ago is not who I am today.  Sometimes I slide backwards and I need to take some time to reevaluate my priorities and my own happiness, because in the end myself and my family are the ones I made vows to and who will be in my forever. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Year and Changes Abound

We rang in the New Year with plenty of friends, though not all could make it.  I enjoyed having everyone here, even when they were poking fun at me for making them play beer pong outside on the deck in the cold. :-) Lucky for me I have a husband who knows me so well he warned them ahead of time that I'm too neurotic to allow beer pong in the house.  Sometime after the ball dropped though combative’s did manage to move their way into my living room from the backyard. 

Ah hell, I can't prevent everything!  I learned not long ago that combative’s in just about any setting come with the Army lifestyle.  I've given up on trying to prevent it in my living room, or any other room for that matter.  Now I just try to keep my living room IN TACT when it happens.   

Everyone had left with their respective DD by about 2:30am except for one couple who was staying the night.  I managed to have Gunnar settled down and in bed by 3am.  I never imagined my little guy could make it that long, but he was so excited to have other kids there and he was having a blast!  His room and the playroom were even clean by the time everyone left.  What more could I ask for?  Oh yeah....SLEEP!  Well we got to sleep by about 4am, and I can't tell you the last time I stayed up that long, but it was well worth it. 

It’s day four of 2012 and we have already acquired two much needed things on our check list, a new (to us) car and new bed (a Christmas present from mom and dad).  Two friends have given birth to beautiful baby girls and a much anticipated baby girl Rowe as well as baby girl Richardson will make their appearances later this year.  Gunnar is back to school and Curtis is back to work, and life is back to its ever changing, ever hectic schedule.  I managed to take some time today for myself to reflect on the past year, and to make some homemade chicken noodle soup. 

It's bitter cold outside and nothing warms you up like real chicken noodle soup.  There is also something about the long process that allows me to just think, or in this case reflect.  In 2010 our life was forever changed when we made the decision for Curt to join the Army, but it was 2011 that brought the real changes.  In February, Gunnar and I flew to Oklahoma to watch Curt graduate from Basic Training as an honor grad.  To date it is one of the proudest moments of my life, yet I know it was just the beginning of many yet to come.  In April Curt graduated AIT and reported directly to Ft. Bragg, NC while I anxiously awaited news of whether he would be granted TDY to come back to AZ and help me with our DITY move.  His TDY was granted and in the beginning of May we drove from Mesa, AZ to Ft. Bragg, NC, arriving May 8, 2010.  Mother’s Day 2010. 

It was a long hard drive, Gunnar and Curt rode in the Penske, aka the "Big Banana" and I drove the Juke aka "Rib bit".  May she forever rest in peace in that junk yard in the sky.  When we got here we stayed off post in a rent by the night apartment.  It had 2 bedrooms and a kitchen with everything we needed to avoid eating out.  We were able to register Gunnar in school on post in the neighborhood we had chosen even though we weren't able to move in yet.  We had been told the wait time would be about 6 weeks but were pleasantly surprised when it was only about 2 weeks. 

We moved into a small (and I do mean small ) 2b 1b townhouse on post.  Shortly after we moved in I totaled my brand new Juke while Curt was in the field and G was in school.  Luckily I wasn't badly injured and I didn't hurt anyone in the vehicle I hit.  A few days later G was out of school for the summer and not long after that we got word that we were moving AGAIN!  This was actually good news as we were being moved out of the small place and moved into a much larger 3b 2.5 bath townhouse that had been newly renovated in the same neighborhood, just down the street.  We can still see our old place that is now in the process of being renovated as well.  

However before that move could take place, Mom came to visit for Gunnar's 7th birthday and to enjoy some of our lovely NC humidity?  After Mom's visit the movers came, packed and moved us like a whirlwind and before we knew it we were in the new place.  Unpacking wasn't nearly as fun since we had JUST done it a month or so ago, but slowly it got done.  More slowly than I would have liked.  I vow not to let it take that long again, but hopefully we will not have this lengthy of a "move" again.  I swear it felt like a non-stop move until August.

Speaking of August, that's when Gunnar and I went to visit family on the Jersey shore.  We had been back for a bit in 2007 but G didn't remember, and not everyone was there to meet him.  This was my chance to show off my little man and boy was I excited!  The only downfall was my missing husband.  Curt couldn't get leave, so he sent me and Gunnar without him.  I will be forever grateful for that time, yet I do still wish he had been able to go with us.  I did have the pleasure of introducing G-man to more cousins than I can count and I have a picture I will hold dear forever.  I was even able to meet cousins I had only seen in pictures.  We were blessed to be able to spend time with my grandparents and my Aunt Sue and Uncle Jim.  I was even able to introduce Gunnar to my Nana who had never met him.  

Later in August Gunnar started 2nd grade.  We have since settled into Ft. Bragg and made many great friends.  G played soccer and will start baseball shortly.  I volunteer with the FRG and seem to get more involved with each meeting I attend.  I will also be volunteering at Gunnar's school.  G is getting good grades and is far above grade level in both reading and math.  Curtis is also excelling and still enjoying his new career.
The rest of the year seemed to fly by.  Curt spent the later part of October in the field.  I had a delicious birthday dinner, cooked by my friend Candice's mom.  She made us chicken parm, and boy oh boy was it good!  Curt was able to come home for a few hours on Halloween to go trick or treating.  It was raining and cold here, so we attempted to trick or treat at the PX, but the trick was on us because that was an EPIC FAIL!  Lucky for us Gunnar doesn't (can't) eat much candy, and was just excited to wear his costume.  

On the rare occasion that I begin to doubt we made the right decision by leading this lifestyle, like when Christmas was spent crying on Skype, instead of hugging in AZ with family.  I look around and it doesn't take me long to realize that Christmas is only one day out of the year, and yeah it sucked, but even if it sucked big fat monkey toes, it's still better to have Christmas in NC with my husband and my son and a couple goofy soldiers sleeping on my couch, than if any single one of us had had to be alone on Christmas.  Or if I could have been in AZ but Curt had been deployed.

November came and went just as quickly.  Mom came to visit again for a few days.  She helped us hang curtains and pictures.  She's always amazing at decorating and redecorating.  I hope she can always visit close to the times when we PCS, if not I will be forever lost!  We also ended up getting a dog while she was in town.  True to her word, she had nothing to do with the decision.  It just happened to be the right dog.  I had NO intention of getting a dog, but if I have learned one thing, sometimes you just have to say "yes".  Her name is Lucky.  She's a Border collie mix and brindle in color.  She's beautiful, about 2.5 years old and had puppies before we got her.  She was picked up as a stray when we adopted her from animal control's adopt-a-ton at Petsmart.

I cooked Thanksgiving dinner here with the help of a few friends.  I think there were close to 25 bodies here if you include all the kids.  It was pretty amazing all things considered.  Thanks to Courtney's Dad I even managed to save the gravy after Candice and I put raw giblets in it unknowingly.  Well we knew they were raw, we just didn't know to cook them before putting them in the gravy!  The gravy was saved and Thanksgiving was a sweet success.

December was warmer than I anticipated it would be here.  The weather fluctuates a lot, and I don't care for the cold but for some reason it really seemed to bother me the closer we got to Christmas that it was warmer here than AZ!  Mind you it was usually only by a few degrees and our lows tended to be lower, but I wasn't taking any of that into consideration at the time.  Nor was I taking into consideration that I don't like the cold.  I was just rather distraught that I couldn't be in AZ for Christmas.

Curt started his 1/2 day schedule on the 15th and Gunnar started winter break on the 16th.  Things just got a bit chaotic from there.  We were always on the run doing errands or hanging out with friends or even sometimes doing errands with friends.  That's when you know your life is busy!  We went to Curt's Christmas party, which the FRG helped put together.  I think we did a pretty good job if I do say so myself.  If nothing else I enjoyed seeing everyone together in one place, not working and seemingly having a good time.  I wish I had had more time to spend with everyone but it was nice to see and chat with the people I did.

Then before I knew it, it was Christmas Eve!  We had two of Curt's buddies spend the night because my rule for all holidays is that no one can spend it alone, and all are welcome here.  I am SO thankful they stayed because I would have never been able to help Curt get the 3 in 1 game table my parents sent for Gunnar put together.  It took all 3 of the guys to do it!  They even helped Curt wrap all the presents when I passed out.  Awe man I love them!

Christmas morning was great for Gunnar, and that's all that really matters to me.  I cooked a big breakfast/brunch like my Dad always does, and the guys played with G-man.  There was a lot of skyping, crying and napping.  All in all, minus the whole skyping and crying bit, it was pretty damn good.

Now I've come full circle.  The year ended with a bang when even Gunnar was partying like a rock star until 3am, and I can't speak for anyone else, but I had a great time.  So when it's all said and done and I look back at 2011 and all the changes it brought, I think the biggest changes for me are not the ones you can see, but the ones that remain unseen.  The changes I've made within myself, and how I've grown as a person, a wife and a mother, and how our family has grown together. 

I know that 2012 will bring its own challenges and its own changes.  So I'm here, ready and waiting and you can be damn sure I am going to rise to the challenges no matter how big or how small and I may still be fazed by change, but that doesn't mean it can break me.