Tuesday, December 30, 2008


As we all are aware, change is a part of life. You either adapt or get left behind, because nothing ever stays the same. As a child, I know I never thought I was going to grow up. I rushed life, always saying "I can't wait!" for that next big moment. This Christmas, part of me yearned for my childhood again. Then, I remembered that I shouldn't wish for anything but the present, for right now, and began to enjoy my new surroundings. Don't get me wrong, I was in the Christmas spirit, as I always am, listening to my Christmas CDs, decorating our new house, and being full of smiles. However, things were definitely different. As my dad and I discussed, I missed his traditional "week off with the girls" leading up to the holiday mania. It has been a long-standing tradition for dad and I to bake cookies...LOTS AND LOTS of cookies. The first year we decided to bake, we must have made hundreds of cookies. Each year, we learned to cut back just a little more. And this year, I didn't bake any cookies, because it just didn't feel right without dad by my side...maybe next year! I also missed going to Top of the Hill, a few minutes from my house, where one family goes all out and decorates every inch of their yard and house, even brings in Santa, and it is absolutely a tradition to go see. I missed my mommy and my sister. Just being with them, spending time with them. I missed my Nanny and Aunt Fanny. I love spending time with them on Christmas day. I really, really missed going to midnight mass at St. John's downtown with the bishop, lighting candles and singing Silent Night at midnight. I even missed the Gibbs on Christmas Eve. We have been going there with Nanny on Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember. Mrs. Gibbs, I am not sure if you should be excited about this or not, but I cried my eyes out when it hit me that I would not be tasting your awesome seafood bisque soup and homemade muffins this year! Kyle kept insisting that we would make some soup and muffins if that is what would put a smile on my face and I sobbed "but only Mrs. Gibbs can make it that good!!!! It just won't be the same if it's not cooked by her!" Poor Kyle...

However, even though this was my first Christmas away from the Gilberts and Loughlins, this was my first Christmas with the Settles and Keadles and let me tell you that it was fun!! As all of my cousins are grown up now, it was so fun to experience the joy of Christmas through children's eyes again. Lia and Julia, Kyle's cousins and our flower girls at the wedding, were so much fun to talk to about Santa and his elves. They even have two elves that stay at their house in December to create mischief (things like dumping the trash over) and report back to Santa in the North Pole about how well they reacted. On Christmas morning, Julia showed off her new Hannah Montana beauty set, Lia and Julia told us about their new Wii (and Santa even set it up for them!!), and their smiles said it all. On Christmas Eve, we went to Myma's house (Kyle's maternal grandmother) and all of Kyle's cousins, aunts, and uncles were there. We had lots of good food (my contribution was Cracker Barrel-style Hashbrown Casserole..mmmm), Julie read her annual Christmas story entitled "Change" (hence my blog post title), and we did our gift exchange. Aunt Lydia was who gave me a present and it was a BEAUTIFUL gold-trimmed plate with a picture from the wedding on it. The picture was of the backs of me, my mom, and my dad as we were beginning our walk down the aisle. She was able to capture this moment after ensuring that her girls journeyed down the aisle with baskets in tow and before going to sit down. Thank you Lydia, I LOVE IT!! Kyle got an awesome Columbia fleece coat. On Christmas morning, Kyle and exchanged our gifts to each other (we mainly stuck to stocking stuffers this year). It was so nice to wake up on Christmas and have him with me!!! Then, we went to Kyle's parents and we opened all of our presents with Rhino, Clay, Randy, and Julie. I got some really cool stuff!! Julie even found a Marley Christmas story that is in the form of a children's book! It has Marley the dog from the book & now movie Marley and Me. Julie cooked breakfast casserole (similar to my mom's strata) and Myma, Aunt Lydia, Uncle Joe, the girls, and Aunt Charlene came over. Then it was over to Nene and Papa's for lunch. Nene hides money for the grandkids and I got to take part in the fun hunt this year! My money was stuck down in the dirt of a plant! haha I took a nice 2 hour nap on their sofa, then it was time to get ready for supper at Nene and Papas again.

That night, the dreaded stomach virus hit. Julie got it first, then me, then pretty much everyone else. About 30 people in all got it throughout the families. I guess it spread like wildfire because everyone had gathered so closely over the past 24 hours. It took about 36-48 hours to get back to normal and man, I am so very glad to be back to myself!!!

I am so very thankful for my health today more than others because I have been sick on and off for 3 weeks and am finally feeling fabulous! First, I had a cold that I just blew off which was mistake #1. As an asthmatic (even with it being mild), I pretty much have to get everything checked out when I am sick. Well, with just having started work, I didn't give it much thought. Then, on December 20th, I took a quick nap before getting ready for Jenna and Johnathan's wedding (Jenna is Kyle's cousin and Johnathan was pretty much another brother growing up). When I woke up, I hardly had a voice. Not thinking much of it, I went onto the wedding and enjoyed myself completely! It was beautiful. Then, when Jenna and Johnathan were leaving the reception, everyone lit sparklers. Mind you, it was drizzling. Well, the smoke from that was enough to send me into quite the coughing fit and I could hardly breathe. So, as soon as I got home, I took my inhaler. That night, I tossed and turned all night, not able to get in a position where breathing was easy. The next morning, I told Kyle that I couldn't wait to be seen. So, we went to an urgent care center where I was told that I had asthmatic bronchitis. I started antibiotics and prednisone (steroid) and continued my albuterol inhaler. Let me tell you, the prednisone made me CRAZY!!!! I felt like there was a psycho trapped in my body. I am glad to be done those pills. But needless to say, I was better just in time for Christmas and then the stomach virus hit. So, like I said, I am THRILLED to be feeling 100%. Let's just hope that I can stay healthy into the new year!

Oh, I must say to everyone that the movie Marley & Me is worth the expensive movie ticket!! We went to see it on Sunday and everyone loved it. I bawled my eyes out, of course, but it was worth every chuckle and every tear! I was actually impressed by how well the movie stuck to the book. Now, I want to see Bedtime Stories with Adam Sandler, The Curious Story of Benjamin Buttons about the man who gets younger as he ages, and the new Will Smith movie!!! Gotta love how all of the good movies come out at once.

Other than that, work is going really well. So far, I love it and I really like the patients and my coworkers!

Well, I believe that's enough of an update for now. I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday season, no matter if it was full of old tradition, new tradition, or a little of both. I am wishing everyone a very happy, healthy, and safe new year!!!!!

Love you, Jen

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