Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Our Christmas

Well, it's almost the eve of 2010, how about some pictures of Christmas 2009 before my winter break is over? We all know, once I'm back to work and counting down the final 15 weeks before the arrival of baby Beck there will be no time to catch up on a Christmas post (especially one of this size!). So here is our Christmas in pictures for you to enjoy!

A few days prior to Christmas (ok, almost a week) we got 20" of snow...

Christmas morning we woke up and exchanged gifts with each other at our house before heading to Eldersburg to visit with each of our families. My pictures are primarily, er all, of my family's dinner and gift exchange -- particularly my nieces and nephews :]

Framably cute.

Little Evs watching his favorite TV show, Max and Ruby

Ben and Lacy -- this is how they interact mainly

Mom's Christmas tree :]

Our very tired puppy

Caraline and Nana

And the gift opening begins.......

Leo was hilarious. He got this octopus for Christmas at his house that morning and would NOT put it down -- not even to open other presents!

We got him this Viewmaster and he yelled - Awesome! but I'm pretty sure he had no idea what it was for, haha

Smeebo with the outfit we gave him... all wadded up, haha

Hm, what else would the boys be doing while the kids are opening presents?

Evan playing with the block set we gave him

Evan also REALLY loved Leo's Viewmaster and played with it most of the night

Once all the presents were open Evan was just not done tearing things so he went for the empty boxes and began ripping them up

Look at that teeny tiny little hand!

End of the night pre-meltdown

And what do you know? These two fall asleep once the chaos subsides. Haha, talk about peas in a pod...

Overall we had a really nice day and enjoyed getting to spend time with both of our families. We came home with some fun stuff that we're looking forward to using, and enjoyed every minute of seeing the family open the things we brought for them.

Tomorrow for New Year's Eve we're just planning on keeping it low-key and staying in. We had planned on seeing Michael in RENT down in D.C. but between the weather and Josh being on crutches, we decided it was better to have a quiet celebration at home. I'll probably make a fun dinner or something and it's very likely we'll sit around and play Mario Bros. together before the countdown :] Perhaps not the fanciest of plans, but any night spent with my cute husband is a night well-spent! And there's no other way I'd rather ring in a new year.

I hope your Christmas was merry and 2010 brings lots of fun and excitement!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Adding Injury to Insult

Coach John Harbaugh at the Raven's game against the Stealers, 12/27/09

The insult was of course the Ravens losing to themselves on Sunday's game against the Stealers. Ugh. I mean, I'm even one that will claim that NFL refs have it out for us, and it was clear that many calls were valid during that game, however when the same infractions aren't called against the other team it's hard not to feel that the bias is against you. This is not to say we didn't have some great plays and a really great overall game. It was just that so many penalties kept our great performance from paying off on the scoreboard. But, we've got one win over the Stealers this season so I don't want to complain too much.

However, to add injury to insult my poor husband was kneeling to get something off the floor of our car that evening around 6:00 and when he stood from the kneeling position his knee cap slid out of place. It's not unusual for his joints to slip and slide around, but this time he was unable to put it back in place and was experiencing excruciating pain. His dad and brother were unable to get him up from his parents' driveway without extreme pain, so we ended up calling an ambulance to transport him to the hospital. We saw a guy there who reminded us both of Dr. Leo Spaceman from the show 30 Rock. If you've never seen it, I've included a video below to illustrate. The guy was nice, but very ginger. He seemed unsure and lacked that "authority" you would expect a doctor to have when diagnosing and treating you. Either way we were discharged around 11:30 pm with a heavy dose of narcotic pain medication and Josh's leg straightened in an immobilizer. Regardless of all that he could barely move without being in a lot of serious pain.

Dr. Spaceman

We were able to follow up with a specialist yesterday who very quickly determined that Josh had torn cartilage in his knee when the knee cap shifted. He still ordered an MRI which is scheduled for tomorrow, and then would like to do surgery next week to repair the torn cartilage. So the good news is that the fix should be fairly simple!

In the mean time I am having a good time playing Nurse Jane Fuzzy-Wuzzy to my poor gimpy husband :] He says he feels guilty for making me wait on him and take him to doctor appointments on my winter break from school. What he doesn't realize is that I'd much rather do this every single day than my real job! It's much more rewarding to take care of someone you love than a bunch of overly-hormonal teenagers who have to take a county assessment every 9 weeks. We've gotten to spend a lot of time hanging out, talking, playing New Super Mario Bros. on Wii, and watching movies. I love it! Plus it's fun helping him with little things like putting on his socks and getting his cereal for him in the morning. I think I've just enjoyed being part of some of those little things that we ordinarily would do totally independently. I think I might even miss him when he's better and we don't do those things together anymore. But that's a different post.

I have one very fun "positive event" story to share from this morning before I go...
  • We had scheduled our car to go in and have something re-programmed. Subaru sent us a letter and an email to let us know there was a recall on our model because something had been programmed incorrectly that could affect the performance of the car. So, we had our appointment for 11:00 and arrived a little early. About 12:15 they let us know our car was all ready. Seemed like a long time to re-program something, but hey. We went to the desk to pick up our keys and the guy tells us that will be $261.00. We looked at each other and let the guy know we were under the impression that this service would be covered. No, he said there was nothing in the paper work suggesting it would be covered. I happened to look down at said paperwork and notice the huge list of services on the bill: new oil, new oil filter, fluid checks, brake pad inspection, tire rotation, on and on and on. I asked the guy if these were all things done today and he says yes, that was our service. Ha! I tell him this is not what our appointment was for at all! Ohhhhh snap. They performed the 15,000 mile "check up" maintenance service instead of the programming. We waited just 15 more minutes (which is sadly all it would have taken in the first place) while they did the reprogramming and walked out without paying a thing :]

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I absolutely love the holiday season. From Thanksgiving week until after the New Year, the world is just a different place - in many ways. Some of the changes are so pleasant while others can be a little frustrating. I know some people say they hate the holidays or they're glad when the holidays are over, and they have all kinds of reasons for feeling that way. As I said, I love the season even if there are some aspects of it that drive me a little crazy. So I just wanted to take a few minutes and share some of the things I love, and others that I don't love, about the holiday season.

In no particular order....
  • I love Christmas music on the radio
  • I don't always love the DJs playing the music, they can be annoying.
  • I don't always love some of the "Christmas" songs they play. For example the song about the child's mother dying, and the song about the Christmas donkey... please, people.
  • I love the smell of Christmas trees and baked goods!
  • I love the romantic lighting our Christmas tree creates in our living room and often that is the only light we use in the evenings (while enjoying the Christmas music, of course)
  • I love the "holiday spirit" when people can be so generous and warm and giving
  • I don't love the incredible traffic around Columbia in the last week or so before Christmas and immediately there after. Thirty minutes of traffic for a gallon of milk is over the top.
  • I also don't love how inconsiderate people can be, especially on the road. No one wants to die at Christmas, rules of the road still apply!
  • I love love love being able to buy things for my family and friends that I know they'll love! I don't have money to do that kind of stuff throughout the year, but I keep that Christmas savings for a reason :]
  • I love giving presents even more than shopping for them!!
  • I love the parties and gatherings that happen over the holidays. Thanksgiving is always the kickoff. Then, we have a Thanksgiving with Josh's college roommates, his brother hosts a football game the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we usually get together with all of my siblings including my step-brother Rick and his wife Annie for a dinner after Thanksgiving, then begin the office and friend Christmas parties, our actual Christmas celebrations with our families, a cocktail party with Josh's college friends and then a big fancy outing with Josh's company at the Marriott in Annapolis... ahh, so much fun, family and friends in 2 months time :]
  • I do not like when the holiday season ends. I'm depressed when the decorations get taken down and the Christmas music goes away. And when all the parties are over. Presidents' day is just not a good follow-up to Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year.
  • I love the Christmas specials! Rudolph, Frosty, and of course the Peanuts :] In my family, Christmas Vacation is another holiday classic. My siblings and I send an inordinate number of texts to each other quoting lines from that movie back and forth.
  • I love being reminded of my salvation and just how magical and miraculous it is that all-powerful God cares about little old me, and did 2000 years ago too.
  • I love most of all that I'm blessed enough to have a list like this.
How about you? I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and take some time to reflect on some of the things you love about it, including just how blessed we all are.

Merry Christmas, and all the best wishes for many blessings in 2010!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sweeeeet Caraline!

Well, you've heard it before and turns out it's true. Babies like to be born in snow storms! At least my new niece, Caraline Faith, wanted to be born in a snow storm.

My sister was scheduled for an induction on Monday morning, but at her appointment this past week her doctor predicted that she may not make it that long. She made it to Saturday morning - when the weather forecast was ballpark 18" of snow - and realized that she was in labor for real. Fortunately after having barely made it to the hospital to deliver Evan, she decided this time she would call the doctor at the earliest signs of pain and find out what he thought. He of course recommended heading right over to the hospital to avoid having the baby on the side of the road.

When she got to the hospital she was 3-4 centimeters dilated and 80% effaced, within two hours the baby was born! She had plenty of time to settle into a good labor pattern, get an epidural and in her words "enjoy" the rest of her labor before (again her words) "one big push" to deliver a perfect little baby girl!

Although everyone wanted to be there for the big event, the truth was that it couldn't have worked out better. Our mom was already at her house with her other children so there was no worry over who would watch them. No one else could get out of their houses or neighborhoods so there was no concern over who would get to be "first" to see the baby -- nothing a new mom should have to worry about, but sadly my sister did. It was just her and her husband to welcome their baby to the world without having to worry about accommodating anyone else's wants or demands. They got to spend the whole day and night getting to know Caraline and getting some much needed rest.

We were lucky enough to be able to get out and about today, so the FIRST place we went was up to meet Caraline! She was absolutely perfect and could not have been cuter. She made all these cute little noises while we were holding her and talking to her, like she was trying to be part of the conversation. She was awake and alert most of the time checking us out and getting to know our faces. She's going to be seeing a lot of us...

I mean, who could stay away from someone this cute???

Hi, my name is Caraline Faith

This is my santa hat... you got a problem with that?

This uncle Josh guy is cuter than I expected...

To say the least, our whole family is thrilled with her and are just so excited to watch her grow and learn. I didn't think I could be more excited to meet our own baby in April, but after seeing Caraline today I really wish April was sooner! I just picture these two girls turning the world upside down together, being attached at the hip, begging to sleep over at each other's houses (or at Nanny's!), and just charming the socks off of the rest of us. Beyond the matching dresses and all around cuteness, I am so excited for them to have each other and form a bond hopefully similar to the bond my sister and I have. And as close as my sister and I are, and have been our whole lives, I think having these two baby girls will only bring us closer. I told her today -- you know, we're both essentially getting a kid and a half out of this, because they're going to be at each other's houses non-stop! I can't wait :]

Before I go, here are some positive events...
  1. I am finished wrapping my Christmas presents and my cards are in the mail!
  2. I had an incredibly productive snow-day with my hubby yesterday
  3. School is closed tomorrow so Josh and I get another wonderful day together :]
Are you ready for Christmas?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Four Years

In four short years, this child will be voting.

The assignment was discussing the Patriot Act today and comparing and contrasting it to the Red Scare in America when Russia was taken by communists after the 1st world war.

  • In extreme circumstances, is our government justified in limiting or violating some Constitutional rights in an effort make the nation safer and more secure?
No they are not. Its the government's fault why 9/11 happened anyway. We wouldn't stop getting oil from their country. No wonder they had a grudge against us. The only people the government should blame is themselves, to punish themselves, not the citizens.

So if you didn't catch the drift, the terrorists are mad that we've been making them filthy rich by powering our country with oil we purchase from their countries for ridiculously high prices. Gosh, what IS our problem?

This is the astonishing "blame America" perspective that kids hear from their parents and the news and think that this convoluted scenario is the truth. I really really like this child. She is quirky and sweet, and way too smart to believe garbage like this. That aside, she will wander into the voting booth, factless, to make decisions affecting America's future in just FOUR YEARS.

This is why America needs God. And as long as there are students like this one, I will be praying in school!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


The upside is that my first semester of internship is COMPLETE!
The downside is that I have less than 1/4 of the hours logged that I will need to graduate in May

The upside is that my mentor, upon hearing this dug up a billion things I can work on
The downside is I have to start going into work 30 minutes earlier and staying an hour later to get my hours completed before I go on leave

The upside is that it's actually possible for me to complete my hours with the minor extension of my school day (for a final total of 405 hours, 400 are required)
The downside is that if anything happens, illness, snow days, a baby being born earlier than her due date, I may come up short.

The downside is that I only have 15 work weeks to get 300 hours of internship done
The upside is that I only have 15 work weeks until I go out on leave to have my baby!

The upside is that I will probably graduate barring any major roadblocks
The downside is that I may never use this degree making all of my A$$-busting (excuse the language) in vain

The downside is that I feel totally and completely overwhelmed at the thought of an extended (as if it isn't already) work-day
The upside is that GOD will make it happen and I don't even need to worry

The downside is that I have to survive the next 15 work weeks
The upside is that if all this works (which I have faith it will) I NEVER HAVE TO DO THIS AGAIN! I couldn't be more DONE with school. Forget the fork to stick in me, I'm charred. You need a jack-hammer.

The downside is that I didn't make it home until 5:30 today thanks to this wonderful revelation
The upside is that I have an exciting recipe I'm trying tonight -- lemon-butter tilapia!

Here goes nothing.... :]

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Hello Snow... and baby Girl!

Wow, December 5th and it's snowing like crazy outside! For non-locals, it's been snowing all morning since around 10:00 and is still coming down in huge, heavy flakes. The roads are slushy but not totally covered over. The ground was probably still too warm for it to just lay. Grassy surfaces are covered, and every little tree branch has it's own layer too! Here at our house, we decided it would be a good day to stay in, stay warm, and catch up on some things! So we lit our Christmas candles, turned on Christmas music, and got down to business.

For me, business meant scanning my sonogram pictures from yesterday (!!!) and downloading some pictures of our tree I took this morning. Lucky you, this is a post with pictures!

Here's what it's looking like outside right now...

And this is what my house smells like right now... LOVE it!

Shall we begin with a guessing game? Here are some images from the Beck Christmas tree this year. Your "challenge" (you'll understand the quotes here in a second) is to guess who decorated the tree while someone else was writing a paper for school...... good luck!

Ok, so I know that was tough. Do you have any guesses? What's that, you can't guess because you're still laughing? It's ok. I'm sure I can guess what your guess is. That was a fun game.

I love my husband and am so lucky that he was willing to take care of decorating the Christmas tree (how many husbands really volunteer for that job?) when I had school work that needed to be done. He had so much fun doing it, it was like watching a little kid playing with all of their Christmas presents for the first time after the opening frenzy. Many of his ornaments talk or play music and he happily tested each one as he carefully took them out of their original packaging and placed them on the tree. There are some of my ornaments that are missing this year, but I really can't complain. Who looks at our tree but the two of us? Maybe some friends who will completely understand. And at the very least it reminds me of how adorable and weird my husband is :] Not like I wasn't aware when I married the kid! I'm sure some husbands in the world would have done much worse if left by their wives to decorate the Christmas tree.

Well, I know you're really only here for one reason (unless you're my friend on Facebook and then this part might not be as thrilling for you). We had our 20-week anatomy sonogram yesterday. What an amazing experience. There was a regular sonogram tech and a student in the room with us. The student was a wonderful addition because the tech was explaining everything we were looking at in incredible detail and most importantly discussing how things all looked the way they were supposed to. She apologized a couple of times for all of her talking, but we assured her that we loved hearing all about it! At one point the student was asking some questions and kept asking if "he" was laying a certain way or if "he" was facing this or that way. I interrupted with, "Wait! Did you see HE??" And the tech said that they hadn't looked yet, but.... (she scanned to the appropriate part) "Nope, we didn't see HE because this is a girl!" I think my shock kept me from squealing right there on the table. I was most definitely convinced that we were having a boy. Josh's family is full of boys and while rationally I knew there was just as much chance for a girl, I think my wanting a girl so much made me convince myself it was a boy so I could only be pleasantly surprised. Don't get me wrong, I would have been delighted with a boy as well. And by all means a boy would have been easier in the sense that we had already decided on a name and bedding -- and had neither for a girl. But nonetheless I wanted to know that I had at least my one girl to pass on the name Emily to a fourth generation. So Josh and I squeezed hands and exchanged a heart-melted glance before our eyes were glued back to the screen for the rest of the show. We got to see all kinds of amazing stuff, which those of you with babies I'm sure have all seen. But for any others, we were looking at her brain, chambers of the heart, vertebrae, fingers, toes, nose, lips, kidneys, aorta, you name it. I couldn't believe the detail. Then, once the tech had finished getting all the information and measurements she needed, she asked if the student could practice for a little while. Haha, you can imagine our response -- Please continue! So another 20 minutes of stealing glances at our first baby and we walked out with smiles that wouldn't budge. We were immediately on our phones calling family who had begged to hear the news as soon as possible. Everyone was very very excited to hear that we're having a girl. Several people screamed, which was fun and made us laugh :] And then we spent the evening showing off our pictures to our parents.

Now, it's your turn! Below are the first glances of baby GIRL Beck (well, besides the gummy bear pictures from weeks back, but now she looks like a baby!).

These first few are 3D pictures of her face :]

This next one is a profile picture. You can see she has her mouth open. We could see her swallowing fluid on the screen. It was wild. You can also see her heart in this picture which looked just amazing in action.

Finally, the "proof." That's about all you can say about this one :]

To top off this amazing experience, I was fully prepared to have the great name debate now that we knew she is a girl. However, while we were on the phone with our moms I heard Josh telling his mom that we did have a name... and then he told her my very favorite name that I've loved the most for as long as we've been discussing names (and those of you who know us know that's been a loooooong time). He had always just acted like he didn't really care for it, so when I asked him what brought him around he admitted that he never really minded it and that his resistance was just for sport! SPORT! Well he may be laughing, but I won :]

Do I even need to tell you that my husband has transformed into a warm pile of goo?? He hasn't stopped talking about our baby girl's life since the moment we walked out of the sonogram room. He scours the baby section of every store he goes into going, Awwwww!!! Won't this be soooooo cuuuuuuute?! I sent him to Target for milk this morning, milk, and I got three picture messages (among many other texts) about the cute baby stuff he had found including a pink Star Wars t-shirt and pink Chucks.

And he thought he wanted a boy :]