Every year since I was a kid (that was a long time ago!) my mom has written a Christmas Letter with her Christmas cards. When I moved out, I started doing the same. It’s our cheesy family tradition.
I got a little lazy on the Christmas cards this year, and I don’t send out cards to any local friends (postage is expensive!!!), so, with out further ado, the famous Christmas Letter 2014!
Ho ho ho … yawn!
Well, 2014 has been pretty much of a dizzy blur. I even gave up on my “photo-a-day” challenge that I started back in 2010. I’m not happy about that. I’ll pick it back up in 2015!
The “year of yawn” started off pretty great. In January I completed the first ever Disney Dopey Challenge. If you ran a 5K (Thu morning), 10K (Fri morning), half marathon (Sat morning) and full marathon (Sun morning), you were officially “Dopey!” I’m not sure if I was Dopey for running (well, 80% walking) 48.6 miles or Dopey for paying the insane $500+ registration fee. Regardless, the hardest part of the 4 day challenge was waking up at 3am 4 days in a row to be at the Epcot parking lot for each race. Well, that was the hardest part until the actual marathon on Sunday. Of course, completing 26.2 miles is never a ‘walk in the park’. Although with Disney, you actually are walking in all 4 theme parks … and a lot of boring highways. I finished in a blazing time of about 6.5 hours. That finish time is nothing to brag about, but I finished my 4th marathon, so I’m bragging gosh darn it!
In February I did my first ever “Disney Princess half marathon”. I think I was the only girl out there who wasn’t wearing a tutu or a tiara. That was also the last time I got my period in 2014! Was that too much information for a Christmas letter?!? Well, I’m leading up to that in a moment …
The last week of March I scored a free cruise on Princess Cruise Lines (since I’m a travel agent). Chris and I drove down to Fort Lauderdale to board the brand new Royal Princess ship. It was an Eastern Caribbean cruise, which is an itinerary I’ve never done before, so I was super excited to see St. Maarten and St. Thomas. The highlight of St. Maarten was ‘airport beach’, where the beach is about 10 yards from a huge landing strip. So all the huge jets look like they are going to land on your head. It took me back to visiting my parents on Kwaj and watching the plane land about 5’ away from me. It rained all day on St. Thomas, but we had fun hanging out at some overlook point high atop a hill. The coolest part about Princess Cruise Lines is their “movies under the stars” program. They have super cushy lounge chairs up on the pool desk, thick blankets (it gets cold when you’re outside cruising around the ocean) and nonstop snacks! Seriously, during the movies they brought by popcorn, then ice cream, the cookies, then pizza! And this is after pigging out at buffets all day long! The cruise was a lot of fun, but I was sea sick for most of it. I threw up 3 times in St. Maarten (that drive to airport beach was a very curvy!), on the tender boat to the Princess private island, once in the stateroom and once in a housekeeper’s cart that was hanging out in the hallway. Since I spend a lot of time in bed feeling dizzy, Chris and I watched a lot of the World Series of Cricket on ESPN International (the only live channel you can get at sea). We tried to get the breakfast server (who was from Europe) to explain how cricket works, but we never quite got the hang of it.
When we got back home (on a Sunday) I was super dizzy. I was still ‘sea sick’ on Monday. And yet again on Tuesday. When I was still dizzy on Wednesday I thought, “maybe this isn’t sea sickness after all …”
As you may or may not know, a pregnancy test is normally a + (plus) or a – (minus) sign. Well, the 2 tests that I bought at Target showed up as | (straight up and down line)! That’s not plus or minus, so that was super UNhelpful.
Thursday (after the cruise) I got a doctor’s appointment and she confirmed what my sore boobs and dizziness were telling me. I was officially 38 and pregnant.
Then I spent April and May throwing up every other day. Those weren’t fun times. They also weren’t fun times for Michelle and Drew (our roommates). Michelle doesn’t handle watching throwing up every well (I threw up in her car a few times). I always carried a large plastic cup with me everywhere to throw up in. It came in handy way too often. I actually lost some weight my first month of being pregnant, but then I started packing on the pounds. All in all, I gained about 60lbs. (side note – I’ve lost close to 30, but I’m still pretty chubby and still wearing Chris’ clothes)
When June rolled around, I was miraculously better! It seriously felt like a miracle to wake up and be able to get out of bed with no dizziness! Well, that’s when the paralyzing, intense back pain started, but at least I stopped throwing up. Chris and I focused our attention on buying a house. With our massive budget (that was sarcasm), we got a realtor from our bank and began the hunt. All we knew is that we didn’t want to live too far away from anything. We are also both prone to be very quick to pick things (we picked our wedding venue after only looking at 1 place!), so we tried not to fall in love with any houses we saw and tried to not make a rash decision.
Apparently I’ve watched way too many episodes of House Hunters on HGTV, but I was expecting to find DECENT and clean houses. Holy moly – there are some real dumps out there! One house even had no floors and holes in the walls! And most houses were straight out of the 80s. Granted, it was also our budget that wasn’t showing us the best of the best, but it was a real eye opener.
After going out 3 separate times, we narrowed our search down to a subdivision about 4 miles from Walt Disney World and 5 minutes from the major Florida highway. It was the perfect area – close to everything, yet still isolated from all the tourists traps and huge yards! So on 7/2/14 we officially moved into a house that was only a tad over budget! My game plan is to live here forever. This isn’t a ‘starter house’, it was a ‘forever house’. Obviously, life happens, so we’ll see! It’s totally worth it the over budget-ness because the house is so much bigger and nicer than I could’ve ever imagined. It’s got 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms (typical), but it also has a large-ish laundry room (most houses just have laundry closets or the washing machine is in the garage), living room AND family room (that’s uncommon for Florida houses to have 2 living spaces) and a dining room. And the best part, it has a huge pool and a MASSIVE screened in back porch! The screen on the porch is key in Florida and it’s nice and shady back there. I love it, and have been eating breakfast outside every morning. I try to get Chris to eat dinner with me outside, but he complains that it’s too hot. The house is a light shade of pink, so we’re planning on painting it ASAP! The countertops are kind-of ugly and the light fixtures are straight out of 1992, but it’s nothing major. It’s also 100% tile, which is easy to clean.
Let’s fast forward to November, since I just spend most of September and October just being super fat, uncomfortable and just plain lazy. It got to the point where I couldn’t even bend over put my own socks on! (thankfully, living in Florida doesn’t require a whole lot of socks wearing). Since I’m “over 35” (which is the magic ‘you’re too old’ age for being pregnant) my doctor wasn’t going to let me go too far past my 11/20 due date, so she scheduled an induction on 11/22 at 8pm.
24 hours of horrible labor and drug induced sleeping later … Annie Jayne Clark was born. She came out at 8:29pm on 11/23/14. And, yes, if you’re keeping score, 11/23/13 was our wedding date last year. I think it’s really cheesy that we had a baby on our 1 year wedding anniversary, but hey, I’m over 35! I don’t have time to wait around.
If you’re wondering why we chose to name our daughter after a red head-singing orphan, Chris’ mom’s name was Marianne and my mom’s name is Jayne. So we got the “Annie” from “Marianne”. Although I call her Bubba, Pooky or Wiggly-Poo and my dad calls her Pee Wee. I’m afraid she’s not going to know what her real name is!
I planned this pregnancy perfect, since I was on maternity leave for Thanksgiving, and I’ll still be on leave for Christmas and New Years! Although Chris wasn’t too fond of the planning, since he missed 2 home UCF football games as well as the big UCF vs. USF game in Tampa because of little Bubba. We saw a baby in a pack ‘n play crib out tailgating this year, so maybe Annie will come out to a few games next fall.
I don’t know much about kids, but Annie seems to be a keeper. She only cries when she’s hungry (which is like every 2 hours). She also hates getting her diaper changed and REALLY screams her head off during bath time. Basically, my theory is, she hates being naked. I hope she’ll remember this feeling when she’s 16. She’s a pretty good sleeper at night. I get up about 3 times per night to feed her, but after a 20 minute feeding (while I watch old Martha Stewart on Hulu), she’ll go back to sleep in her crib. So I’m pretty tired and cranky, but I’m getting about 5-6 hours of sleep per night (just not all in a row), so I really can’t complain too much.
Annie also appears to be pretty darn cute. Or maybe I’m just a tad biased. Everybody says that she takes after Chris. I don’t really see a strong resemblance to either of us. I guess we’ll see what happens when she gets older!
My parents (who moved back to the US in May) live about 1 hour away in The Villages, and feel the need to snuggle with Annie at least once a week. This also means they will stay up all night with her once a week and give me a sleeping break! Needless to say, they are welcome over any time!
I already broke my tradition of ‘photo a day’ and I’m breaking another. I can’t even do my ‘top 5 movies of the year”. Honestly, I’m so embarrassed, but I’m not even sure if I even SAW 5 movies in the theater this year. Working until 8pm for the first 1/3 of the year, being super puke-y for another 1/3 and working until 10pm for the last part of the year really put a damper on my social life.