Side Note:

Side Note:
For those who haven't figured it out, or haven't been here: The titles of most of the blogs here are song lyrics. If you google them, it should take you to the song and the song is good to listen to before, during, or after reading to help set the tone of the blog. I find music to be very cohesive with reading and writing.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Hello Hurricane...

One a sidenote: I love Switchfoot.

Okay, back on topic now. Today was our pre-deployment brief. It's like this thing is being shoved in my face everyday. I know it's real, I never doubted that for a moment, but it isn't getting any easier. I passed the "just get it over with" stage and now we've entered the cling stage. We do everything we can together. He's being supportive. I think he gets that this is probably going to be the hardest thing in my life. He's encouraging me to make friends so that I will have some people to be around during it. I went to a party and made a few, as well as enjoy spending time with his friend, another medic's, wife.
We've also stopped the denial. We're being adults and discussing real possibilities and options now. He even asked me if I wanted to move home. We discussed it rationally and that it was a real possibility that I'd have to work out and come home a few months early but it was a possibility.  I can't do it though. This is our home.  I don't want to leave our home behind. This is our house and its full of Erik. Everything I look at reminds me of him, and so I don't want to go to an empty house with no memories because even though I know these memories at time will bring sadness, I know that at other times they will remind me of him and I'll feel closer to him. 
I have a lot of nightmares lately though. In fact, ever since the real date was announced I've been having them. Not every night, but enough that I know it must be stress. Two of them have been nightmares of him coming home from deployment and asking me for a divorce. In the first one I woke up after that, but in the most recent one I could feel the real pain in my heart and I felt myself crumbling away in the dream. Too many women have been posting these sorts of issues on Facebook groups I'm in. They keep briefing us on it at ACS and on how the men change and get depressed and it isn't so much that they don't want to be with you, but that they don't want to go through the heartache of loving someone and being away from them. Erik and I know better. I truly believe that. The pain is worth it to be their for each other at each reunion. He knows I'll always be hear waiting faithfully and loving him and trying my best to be the best wife I can be and the best warrior on his homefront.
This too shall pass.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tax Refunds, More Certificates and A Booming Business!

Okay, so maybe not "booming" but it is definitely making quiet popping sizzling noises. Haha! I have my first order and someone interested in making the second! Whee! I'm so excited. I did the happy dance. (For more on the happy dance, see this video and skip to around :31)  We got our tax refund so I am using a small (very small) portion to buy a few things I'll need such as business cards (free through,)  labels (cheap through the same site,) boxes and cakeboards (
I also did some more classes, graduated them and now I have four shiny certificates from the Department of the Army. Go me! Erik also got one for Trauma Training that I intend to frame with his others in the hallway. Soon We'll have a whole hallway of his certificates!
Yesterday I attended a Dove Chocolatier Party hosted by a friend I recently made. Her name is Heather Elliot and she reminds me alot of my BFF Heather. I'm going to make sure I introduce them when she comes up to visit. Besides, I think I'll host one of her parties when everyone is here.
I apologize again for the sketchy mess posting as of late, I'm battling what my dear hubby believes is a sinus infection with a possible upper respiratory infection tacked on with it. Once I'm more coherent I promise to make better posts again. Until then...


Thursday, January 27, 2011

You Can Never Know Too Much...

I feel like a sponge, lately, soaking up everything around me. I soaked up Erik's cold. (Not quite happy about that one.) I soak up the dishes and the laundry, I soak up the things I hear people say (unintentionally, actually, not because I'm eavesdropping) and I soak up all this knowledge I am getting in my classes.
Yesterday was the last day of AFTB Level 2. It was a little more in depth into traditions and team building and things like that. I really liked it. Some of it was a little elementary, but I think that's sort of their as a reminder for most of us and a quick lesson for those who have never had it before.
I also had an FRG meeting that went really well. It was nice to know more of the specifics of what will be happening when the dreaded D-word is finally here. I feel like alot of the questions I really needed answered have been covered.
The hardest part of the last few days was the explanation of casualty notification and the process. I think that is when all this being a reality finally wound up and punched me in the stomach. I started crying in the middle of my class and had to excuse myself. When I came home and explained to Erik that I needed to talk because I had cried in front of a room full of people I think he finally realized we couldn't keep putting off the discussion, and so he sat down with me and we figured out alot of things.
This is a short post, and I apologize for that, but I still feel like poo because of this cold.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Why Can't We Be Friends...

When you are a child in school, making friends is as easy as borrowing crayons, playing on the same slide or sitting next to each other in class. From elementary school through your senior year of high school you develop friendships easily because you see the same people on a day to day basis, you are all doing many of the same activities and share the similar bond of adolescence. The same can not be said for adulthood.
As an adult, all of your innocent, youthful confidence seems to seep away into the unknown and you are left with nervousness, shyness and doubt in yourself. You begin to question whether people like you, would want to know you and whether or not you're being "that person." You know the one I mean, the one who creeps you out with their clingy need to be friends. The one you'd like to grab by the ankle and tug away so their head isn't always stuffed up your rear end.
It's hard to make friends as an adult. We have responsibilities and agendas that lead us to believe we are too busy to be a good friend or that others are too busy for us. What we forget, however, is that we all need friends.  Each of us needs companionship to get through hard times. Your family can attribute to some of your friendship quota, but your spouse and family can only do so much.
With the impending D-word ahead for Erik and I, my need to make friends is ever more apparent to me. Heather/Vchanny will always be my best friend but with the two of us being military spouses the inevitability of being stationed apart from one another was something we knew we would have to fave eventually, I just don't think we realized it would be so soon. Regardless, with her 18 hours away I need to put myself out there and try to make bonds here as well so that I when Erik does return he doesn't find me rocking in a corner singing "I'm a Little Teapot" to myself and wondering why the dog is starving.
Okay, so that is a bit of an exaggeration, but in all seriousness I am making some effort as well as what would appear to be a little headway. I had a minor set back in December where the friend I had though I had made mysteriously cut all contact betwixt herself and Erik and I, with no explanation,  might I add. I chalk that up to experience and choose to move on and know that clearly I need to be more selective.
I think that taking these classes is helping because I am meeting people at them, and though perhaps I may not be buddies with the people I meet I am at least becoming more social and trying to be less apprehensive about striking up conversations.
In myself, I see alot of doubt. I see myself asking: Am I annoying? Am I being too friendly? Am I talking too much? But at the same time, this is me. I am being me. I am not a rude person, I am sarcastic and cynical, but I can also be fun and cheerful. I can be helpful and help to put a smile one someone's face. If I have to change who I am, why should I want to be someone's friend?
Making friends as an adult would be much easier if we all carried around crayon boxes to share.


Friday, January 21, 2011

The Real Real Housewives...

We get such a bad rep, we really do. And to be honest, when you think of the extremes of what a lot of army wives have done, you can't really blame people for assuming things about us. But I do. We are not all the same. We do not all spend crazy amounts of money while our husbands are gone. We do not all sit around eating bon-bons. Most of the wives I know work or have worked or, like myself, their husbands like the time together with their wives not working.
Before Erik and I were ever married we talked about working and educations and all these things. Erik wasn't in the army when we met or got married, as anyone who has read my first few blogs will know. That decision came after. But even before the military was a part of our lives, we knew that at some point when we could afford it financially we would be careful not to over-extend ourselves financially so that Erik could work and I could stay home and clean and pay bills do the shopping and the cooking. This way, in addition, when we had kids I wouldn't go from working full time to being home full-time, I'd already be used to it. This is something we both want and it works for us. Does it work for everyone? No. Does everyone want it to work for them? No. But why is our choice for me to stay at home so wrong to so many of you? Is it because you're a women's liberator who wants to come liberate me and burn my bra? No thanks. Not unless you intend to come carry my boobs around for me all day so my back doesn't kill me.
Is it because you want to do the same but can't? I learned in economics in high school how to function as a family on one income. Then, at eighteen, a boss I had when I worked for a certain orange cell phone company as customer service told me that he and his wife were the same way and wanted the same things and had been living successfully with four children on one income their entire marriage because they did not buy things they could not afford and limited themselves to one credit card for emergencies only. Even then they only used it if they did not have what they needed in savings to cover the emergency. That's right. They had a savings account on one income too. It isn't hard. You just have to be careful.
My parents raised seven children on one income and they weren't rich by far or "livin' it up" but they got by and did just fine.
My best friend and her husband manage it just like we do. She used to work full time and the extra money was great I'm sure, but I bet it's even better being able to be home and watch their first child grow up and know he's not stuck in some day care all day every day.
My husband is my best friend and I am his. I love him and I care for him. He adores the fact that each day I make him breakfast on his hygiene hour, lunch on his lunch break and dinner when he is home. Between those times, I clean our house, I budget, I run errands. I make him proud of me just like I am proud of him.
I may not get a paycheck but I have a job, and it is one I wouldn't trade for the world.



Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Nostalgia, Books, Crannies & Nooks...

Yeah, I rhyme. All the time.
Okay, okay. Enough being lame. I was watching The Ernest Green Story yesterday on television. This movie was released in 1993 as a made-for-TV movie and I remember watching it then as a five year old (yes, my love for documentaries has actually been alive in me for that long) and not really grasping the full reality of the movie. I understood the gist of it. A group of people were being introduced to a new school where they weren't wanted and were treated badly. I remember guns and bayonets and I remembered one of the girls being thrown down stairs.  Watching it again yesterday, I was truly awed at just how severely people were treated and it put me into a state of awe and ponderance.  How can human beings hate, with every fiber of their being, an entire group of people based on something so ridiculous as a physical attribute? How can we look at a group of people and see them all the same? When I look at a group, I see the individuals. I see them for their spirit, their merit, their moral fiber and their love of humanity. I see how they treat people and even if they don't deserve it, to a point, I try to treat them kindly. I am amazed at the strength of everyone who came through that time period in our country and rose above it. I know that in some ways in some places their is still alot of reasonless hate but nothing comparable to that time of tension.
After the movie, Erik and I were watching our nightly dose of game shows (Jeopardy & Wheel of Fortune every night) the doorbell rang. My package of books from Military One Source arrived. For those who don't know, you can get 10 free books from them per calendar year and they are awesome. A lot are self help or non-fiction books but they also offer a selection of fiction. We tucked ourselves into bed once our shows were over because I knew today was going to be a day of cleaning. With the upcoming visit of my friend, Yuri, I felt the need to get everything cleaned up a little early.
Off to test my knowledge skills with some Jeopardy!


Monday, January 17, 2011

All The World's A Show...

And I think sometimes I play the comic relief. 
Yesterday was eventful. I managed to drop, knock over, spill or injure everyone and thing that came into contact with me. My intention was to cram my cleaning into one day (that being yesterday) so that I could spend the last day of Erik's DONSA weekend with him. (For anyone who isn't aware, DONSA = Day Of No Scheduled Activities.) However, after realizing that I was probably going to kill myself in a massive accident of epic proportions if I continued handling the knives in the dishwasher or mopped floors and then walked on them, I decided to hide and do nothing of the sort and instead spent the day between my computer and the couch. I was much safer in the long room and escaped the day with nothing more than a stingy, itchy cut on the back of my hand...which I don't recall getting and thus am unsure how or where I got it, but none-the-less, I survived.
Today after seeming a bit less accident-prone I decided to start some of the cleaning. I knocked out laundry & the kitchen and got rid of the clutter, which are the three things that drive me the most batty. Tomorrow I intend to do the bathroom and the floors and nag Erik until he picks up his cluttered man room so I don't feel embarrassed and leave the door closed the entire time we have company.
There's a clear difference in wiring in men and women. Men see clutter and think "But atleast I can see where everything is," whereas we women see clutter and think "Ah! I can see where everything is! No! Put it away!"  Obviously the statement appears similar, but to a man it's a simple easy way to lay all of your crap out and with a woman we think to ourselves that everything should go somewhere and not be obviously lying around for others to see. An example:  We have one dresser between the two of us, so most of our clothes are folded outside the dresser piles on the floor. However, I refuse to let our underwear and socks be outside of the dresser. Now, for Erik, as a man, his logic is as follows: I am a man. I wear underwear. Everyone wears underwear and everyone knows that everyone wears underwear, so if anyone sees my underwear why does it matter since they know I wear underwear anyway?  Though I see his point, my brain, as a woman, sees the situation in a completely different light: Who cares if everyone wears underwear and knows I wear underwear? That doesn't man I want them to see my underwear or know what it looks like!
So really, I guess it's the same for everything else. Sure, I could leave out our dvds, our games, our books, our plates and dishes and people would know that clearly, we all use these things, but why do I want them to look at it and see it all out? Besides, as women especially, we tend to judge what we see and remember it clearly. This brings me to the whole military ball thing: Erik doesn't understand that if there is a ball every year that you can't wear the same dress two years in a row. The first year you wear it, every woman in the room will look at you, whether in her head or out loud will judge your dress and you for wearing it and the image will be seared into her memory the next year. Not so well that she'd be able to recall each seam to a police sketch artist, but most definitely clear enough to recall that you made the serious faux pas of wearing the same dress twice. The fact is that, intended or not, it is our nature. We are a catty, territorial breed. We judge and we comment.  This is why we clean before company visits even if we are already tidy to begin with. This is why we buy new dresses for each big occasion.  This is why men will never understand. God Bless them for trying, though.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

They Learned Me Good. Uh-hyuck...

(For those who didn't get the Uh-hyuck, by the way, watch about the first 10 seconds.)

Moving along, good evening, all! I am quite tired this lovely and frigid evening. Its about 9° outside with a windchill of oh-my-gosh-I-can't-feel-my-fingers. I'm sitting at the computer contemplating taking a few (dozen) acetaminophen so that the aching in all my joints ceases...or I knock out for a few days, you know, whatever comes first. This weather across the US the last week is insane. I mean, here in the North Country it's normal and to be expected, but it is most definitely not supposed to be snowing in every other state. When Southern California gets snow, something is wrong. Global warming, Al Gore? Try global freezing-my-butt-off. Where's an aerosol can when I need it?
I've been taking a ton of classes at ACS, which I know I mentioned last post. I'm really enjoying them. Even today through the brief emotional moment discussing deployments, I felt much better and more educated. So, obviously, I took the logical next step: Signed up for four more classes! Woo! If I don't know almost everything there is to know after this, I'll at least feel like I do, right? Ha. Boost to my knowledgeable ego.
Speaking of that dreaded D-word again, Erik has been extra affectionate and easily downcast. This is not something I am used to. I don't mean to say that my husband is not affectionate to begin with, quite the contrary actually. Most people think we're mushy and silly. But this is random, long, soft hugs. It's sweet but it makes me a little sad when I see him sad or when he remembers he won't be here for something. (Today he realized he wouldn't be here for Heather's visit. He was looking forward to helping us make invitations for Carter's first birthday.) I love that I have a husband with a big heart. He's sentimental and loving and caring and I am spoiled and I know it.
His team is in the play-offs this year. I'm hoping they make it to the super bowl. We're going to go to his friend's house to watch the game this Saturday and I'm considering making him a Green Bay Packers cake for either this game, or waiting until Super Bowl if they make it and making it then. I know he'll appreciate it and it will give me a chance to try out my new decorating toys...Squee!
The cold is getting worse in here next to the window on the carpet-less floor, so I think I'm headed back to the couch to double up on blankets, chit chat with my dear hubby and probably, inevitably, fall asleep for the evening.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Good Morning, America. How Are You?

A song being stuck in my head always seems to be a great way to start off a blog post. I'm in a random sort of rant-y mood today, so bear with me and I'll try to keep it short.
I took two days of Army Family Team Building classes this week. For those who may not know, AFTB classes are designed with the purpose to better educate military families and soldiers (who get promotion points for them, FYI) about the military, customs, abbreviations, purposes and other things. There are three knowledge classes and a fourth class if you'd like to be certified to teach the courses within the classes. I graduated class level one yesterday. I was quite happy to see a certificate with my name on it! It's been a while since I did something for myself like that just to learn and feel productive. I'm also signed up for class levels two and three as well as Key Caller classes one and two. (A Key Caller works for the Family Readiness Group as a go between and point of contact between the FRG leader and the members.) I think if I can continue to take classes and enjoy it, I may like to teach an AFTB class or work at ACS. (Army Community Services)
Moving on, not this coming weekend, but next weekend I believe, my friend Yuri is supposed to be visiting. (She's the one who drew the lovely lady you can see to the left of the blog in the background.) Anyway, she's one of my best friends from high school. (She, Heather and I are very close, as is Amber even though Amber and Yuri try to kill each other sometimes. Haha!) I'm looking forward to a visit from her. Heather is scheduled to visit sometime after the dreaded D word  begins, and though I initially asked that it be right after he leaves, I am reconsidering and wondering if maybe I should see if she'll come around my anniversary so that I won't have to be alone on it. I am hoping to maybe, if I don't make it into the phlebotomy program (*crossing fingers*,) that I'll be able to go down for a while in May-June to Tennessee for Amber's wedding, Carter-buggy's first birthday, and a little visit with my mom and dad. Ideal circumstances, are hard to come by though so I'm not holding my breath.
Speaking of ideal circumstances, I wish I could get some sort of guarantee Erik will be able to get leave in October around the time of John and Beth's wedding. It's tricky to plan what I'm doing when I don't know when he'll be home. If he's home that week but we didn't have enough time ahead to get him on the cruise, neither of us will be going because I'm not going on a cruise while my husband is here. At the same time, if we know ahead of time he'll be home during that time period I'll have to scramble to get a ticket and separate room for us both. What a pain in the butt!
I wish I could just write him a note.

Dear Army,
     Regretfully, I must inform you that Erik is not feeling well, so alas, I have decided to keep him home for the next twelve or thirteen months. This, as I am sure you have perceived, means he will not be able to go play in the sandbox with the other boys. My sincerest apologies. Do take care!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Spaghetti Sauce Does Not Go On Waffles...

The title of this blog is a reference to a pre-marital counseling session Erik and I did. Its a book and dvd course put out by a ministry couple (that I am too lazy at this moment to look up but I will link at the end of the blog through amazon) called Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti. To skip a bunch of in-between stuff, the main premise is that men, like waffles, organize their thoughts into boxes and like syrup, once they're in that box, they are stuck in it. Women, on the other hand, are like spaghetti. The sauce flows all over and can touch all the noodles and all the noodles wind around the plate and connect to each other, so our thoughts often connect to a million different places.
I say all this because: All this week nearly every email I have gotten from the FRG has contained a reminder that the winter formal for Erik's unit is going to be Feb 12th. When this was announced at the beginning of December I was mildly excited because I didn't know if Erik would want to go, I tossed the idea to him, he didn't object and said we would have to get his Class A's fixed first. I agreed and then allowed myself to get excited. Clearly the class A's needing fixed comment meant it was okay to go. I start looking at dresses, I ask him what he likes and doesn't like, he gives comments here and there. Then I notice on New Year's Eve he's a little agitated when I ask him about a dress. Later I ask him point blank: Do you even want to go?  "No."
See, apparently he was in a "Class A's need fixed" box and didn't realize I'd taken that with my spaghetti and run with it. So now, when I get grumpy or upset we're not going, I end up doing the typical woman thing (which I truly do try not to do) and get quiet and try to get un-upset about it but his timing is impeccable and he walks in right at that moment and asks me whats wrong.
I get that its a dance, which is not a guy thing. I get that it means getting all dressed up, which is definitely not a guy thing either, but I think for me its a chance to go out to something nice with my husband before he deploys later. I wanted it to be our last thing before deployment together and a way to celebrate Valentine's day, and I get that being in his class A's with guys from work may not be the ideal way to spend it, and I am trying to empathize, but I still can't help feeling a little let down each time my FRG drives it home that I volunteered to help and to come to things and my FRG leader, with whom I am much better aquainted now since I am going to be a Key caller, personally asked me if we were coming and I said "We plan to."
Oh wells. I'll get over it, I know it is silly, I guess I just needed to vent.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Skinnamarinky Dinky Dink, Skinnamarinky Doo, I Love You...

There's a new car commercial on TV where some dad is de-mommifying his car by removing all the baby-oriented things from it to hit the town with his male friends for the evening. They hit the road and he turns the radio on and the theme (words of which are used as the title of my blog today) to The Elephant Show plays. Any of my older brothers and sisters will vouch for me when I say that I know all the words to this song because as a child I probably saw every single episode of the show. Twice. And they were there (forcibly) to enjoy it with me. Ah, nostalgia.
On with the day. Today I did, well, not much. The dishes in the dishwasher are clean now and there is a pound of homemade peanut butter stored safely in the refrigerator for my dear hubby to enjoy at his leisure, but other than that, I've decided to be lazy. Partly because I'm in a state of melancholy dreading that blasted "D" word again and partly because my menstrual cycle is around the corner and my back and pelvis feel like someone is running them through an old hand-washer and wringer. Pleasant, hmm? Thanks for that, by the way, Eve. Good job eating the apple. Had it not been for you, I'd be free of this pain and the pain of child birth. All the other fruit in the garden and you picked the one that not only isn't even that tasty but the one God specifically said "Hey, don't eat this" about.
My hubby picks on me, lovingly and jokingly, and asks if my cramps are really as bad as I say. All the women on my side of the family will attest to the fact that our cramps are especially bad. It might have something to do with all the feminine reproductive issues on our side of the family, or maybe somewhere in our lineage someone ticked off a gypsy and we're cursed for the rest of our days. Anyway, his jokes and prods are in love, but it makes me wonder how men would truthfully handle an entire week of feeling like their insides are tied in knots, bleeding heavily from the same place they pee, not being able to enjoy sex and being over emotional and on the verge of tears at any moment. Can you imagine Peyton Manning bursting into tears over a bad play? That wouldn't go over well.
I'm off to hide under a blanket on the couch with the dog and watch Jeopardy.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

So Are The Days of Our Lives...

We're back to normal now. No more hogging Erik, the Army has decided that leave is over and they get him back now.
It's sort of an unwanted sobering. You see, this is my realization that it is the new year and Erik is working and soon, anytime now, actually, he will be deploying. He's entered "trained and ready" status and that means whenever they want him, they get him. I'm not sure if I'm ready, but then again no one cares if I'm ready. Besides, what is ready anyway? When am I ever going to be ready to send my husband overseas, into harm's way, and worry each and ever second of every day and ache from missing him? Not going to happen. I've almost adopted the "maybe if it's sooner it won't be so bad" attitude. I see it almost like ripping off a Band-aid. Grab one end and rip fast to get it over with, right? But at the same time I guess there's this tiny (and stupid) part of me that just hopes and hopes that if it gets put off maybe he won't have to go at all. (Because clearly, world peace is practical and in reach. So that's realistic. Yeah.)
In other news: Its been snowing again. All day, in fact. Other than the mess and cold, I really do think the snow is pretty. And the fact that they do an outstanding job managing the snow here is even better, I truly commend them. Plows sweep by almost every couple of hours on the heavier days and salt and brine are always down to do what can be done. Lucky for me, I'm inside most of the time anyways so I don't complain too much about the snow other than the hike through it or wading through it to get to the mailboxes down the road or shoveling to help Erik or the occasion of Rory being a princess and refusing to go out to potty alone.
I feel like baking.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Tis The Season...

Well, technically t'was the season seeing as how Christmas and now New Years are both past. Everything ran by pretty smoothly, I'd say.
A week prior to Christmas, Erik's mother, her husband and Erik's younger brother came to visit. They only had one day and night they could afford to stay, but it was worth it. Erik's been very insistent on seeing any family we can, but especially on his parents coming to see us because he wants them to not only see him before he deploys for the first time, but also see our home and the things he has worked for. After all the rough times we had within our first year of marriage, this second year we feel incredibly blessed and lucky because things could be much tougher for us than they are. So many couples, young, military and otherwise crack under the pressures of the first two years and especially through financial difficulties but I think our love, respect, and trust in God and each other helps us pull through things. Anyway, back to the topic at hand: The visit with Erik's mom and company was awesome. I made a huge meal (with way too much food, as always) and we all had a great time together playing games and watching movies. (I took a brief intermission to clean because I couldn't bare the food sitting on the table any longer. I know my best friend Heather will empathize with me on this.) When we were done I carried a few leftovers up to my upstairs neighbor. She's pregnant and in the military (so is her husband) and so I share with her when we can because if I was pregnant and working and alone I think I'd want some company and free food when it was offered. I do feel bad though because we have introduced ourselves twice now and both times I have forgotten her first name, I'm not sure why. It's frustrating.
Anyway, after Kari, Joseph and Brandon left, Erik and I tidied up and celebrated our Christmas early. We opened all our gifts (which we were happily, equally surprised with) and gave Rory her stocking. The next morning we packed the car and headed to Connecticut to see my brother, John, and my soon-to-be sister-in-law, Beth for Christmas. We had a great time visiting them from a few days before Christmas until the day after New Year's. Beth has a huge Italian family and they all do get-togethers on Christmas Eve and Christmas, so Christmas Eve we party-hopped and Christmas day we spend the afternoon fattening ourselves up on her mother's cooking. The rest of the days were relaxing and fun.  John and Beth do a lot of the same things as us and they make us feel comfortable. John and Erik can play games together while Beth and I shop or we can all pull down a few board games and play together. (It must be said, however, that the boys are not always the best sports when it comes to Outburst. How are "antagonist" "suspect" and "murderer" not synonymous enough to count as "villain"?)
It was sad to leave, but after the drive home pulling into the garage and seeing all our things is nice. Walking in the door and knowing we're home is an amazing feeling. This is our home. The place we live and love together. The place Erik works to provide for and I work to maintain.
A belated Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year!