Thursday, December 31, 2009

END

No silly readers, not the end of the blog, it's only the end of the year! We've had a great 2009. Below is a recap of our wonderful year.

"We too have had an exciting and challenging year. The recession has impacted everyone, and for the first time, Jim’s company felt the sting. Although there were no lay offs, hiring for any new positions required a lengthy process and this resulted in a vacancy in Jim’s group for over 5 months. Jim and the other 4 people that report to him did a lot more travelling than normal. Sometimes, Melanie thought she was a widow living alone in Texas.

Jim was released as Gospel Principles teacher in February, and continues without a calling (this has been a blessing to Melanie when she was in Nursery so he could help out). We both continue to support our Ward Choir, although, because of Jim’s travel, we did not participate in the Christmas program for the first time in 8 years.

Melanie was released as Nursery Leader in May, and quickly called to Sunbeam teacher in June. She has between 12 and 16 Sunbeams in her class – really challenging for her! Even with such a big class, she loves those children and they in turn love her.

In August, we celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary! Gosh, time flies when you’re having fun! We were lucky this year, Melanie’s parents came to visit and her Father, Bill had some major dental work done, so they were here for two solid months. This really came in handy while Jim was travelling.

Jim was very blessed with all the travel, no accidents, and he got to see some very beautiful parts of the world. In March, Jim returned to New Zealand for work, where he spent two weeks and was able to attend Church with the Saints there.

In September, Jim went to Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador for work. Again he was gone for two weeks and while spending the weekend in Peru, he went to Machu Picchu, the ancient Incan city! The pictures he brought back are breathtaking.

Then later in September he attended a global meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as well as a day trip to Indonesia. In his journey there, he went to London (only got to see the airport) and spent 1½ days in Dubai! Again, we’re blessed that he had great travels and didn’t have any problems. Jim continues to travel to Mexico quite a bit, and already has a trip planned to return there in January.

We spent Thanksgiving here in Texas, with some friends who’ve become surrogate family, and are looking forward to a “staycation” during the Christmas Holiday. We also spent Christmas here in Texas as Jim needed his time away from the road. We missed seeing our families, but are secure knowing that Heavenly Father is watching over us all."

We look forward to 2010! Lot's of opportunities and challenges will await us. We look forward to seeing friends and family and having good times together. We look forward to a visit again from the In Laws and also from Jim's Dad and his new wife!"

Be safe tonight and have fun celebrating the beginning of a new year!

Jim

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone!

We had a beautiful "white" Christmas Eve, and now we've got some beautiful sun and calmer winds for today.

May each of you rejoice in the Birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, as you celebrate this holiday with your family and friends. We love and miss our family and friends and want all of you to know that we are truly blessed to have you in our lives.

Merry Christmas!

Jim

Thursday, December 24, 2009

I'm dreaming of a White Christmas

Yep, right here in good ole central Texas! We had snow today for about 20 or 30 minutes. We got a call from Cori and then Princess looked out the Window and there were flurries. She hollered over to me (cause I was in the den) and I grabbed the our little Nikon Camera (it's a P80) and started shooting the video. I'm tellin ya, we've had some weird with a Capital W weather this year. I hope you enjoy the video - Princess is too cute when it comes to these little Mother Nature surprises.
video

Jim

P.S. While the video was uploading, it quit snowing, then started again. Maybe tomorrow we'll wake up to white stuff on the ground and reindeer prints and sleigh marks!?!

Christmas Flowers

Let's see, Princess and I have been married for almost 22.5 years, and in that time, we've had 23 Christmases, Thanksgivings, and Halloweens. For the past 23 years, my in-laws (or out-laws depending on how we think - LOL), have sent us a flower arrangement for our dining room table. This year was no exception - behold the flowers from Bill & Linda!

The Roses smell Beautiful and the whole arrangement
is brightening up our Dining Room

On another note, yesterday the temperature was a warm and balmy 74 F here in Waco! Today as we pulled into the garage from having Christmas morning with the Blackhursts, it was 39 F and drizzling! There's a saying here that goes something like this: "If you don't like the weather in Texas, just wait a while, it's gonna change!", and that is so true!

Merry Christmas Eve!

Jim

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas

Over here at this homestead, we're countin down the days till the Jolly guy comes. Last night we got together with some friends to do a gift exchange. Dinner at Cheddars (insert oohs, aahhs, and mmmhs), then to our house to exchange. We usually have some sort of dessert prepared, but we're lame-o's this year and didn't have anything ready, so C prepared some brownies and we threw in the ice cream for some "brownie sundaes".

This year there was a bit of stealing going on in the exchange. It didn't get nasty, just some good hearted fun. Then we watched some Modern Family, listened to some Christmas Songs (all over Apple TV, or as I like to call it iTV). Then some photos in front of the Christmas Tree. which I posted below.


The Girls - C, L, and Princess

Princess, Sadie, Sasha and Me


C & M
T & L

Merry Christmas!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

After Party

The ornament party last night went very well. We ate the great food, enjoyed the wonderful desserts brought by all to share (by the way, if you brought desserts and you didn't take them home, they're going to be returned today - Just Kidding), and then a wonderful game of "White Elephant" with the ornaments.

The game was quite tame with nary a moment of excitement, except that T & L did not go home with the old maid! L was a gracious gentleman and after having his ornament stolen, he opened the old maid and proudly displayed it for all to see! After the ornament game, we played the dice game or as others may recall, "the candy bar game". We like to spice this one up and we throw in lip balm, Hot Wheels cars, Snickers, Twix, Munch, some Orbit gum, a couple of$5 gift cards to Subway or Panera, and then we're off playing. Those gift cards must of changed hands about 20 times. P & M were very lucky rolling lot's of doubles and sixes to choose loot from the table! It was fun to see everyone go around and back and forth stealing from each other's bags.

After the game, EVERYONE, decided it was time to go home at 8:30! The earliest ever. T & L stayed and helped clean up, while Princess and I played phone tag with M & C on the whereabouts of their daughter's plane arriving into Houston. Her played was delayed from Salt Lake, and she would not make her connecting flight into Waco. Their daughter arrived, and so did they to pick her up.

We had a great evening and again, no pictures to brag and show you here on the blog.

On another note, this is the second Christmas without Mom. I only think of this because she loved this season, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. She loved the lights, the stories, the baking, the wrapping, but most of all, she loved being around her family at this time of year. She taught her children the reason for the season, and she taught us love! Unconditional love.

So remember when that person in a hurry beside you cuts you off, just smile and pray that they are not in a car accident, or when the rude person in the store grabs the thing you had your hand on, just smile, pray that you find another, and remember that the gift giving is in celebration of Jesus Christ.

Have a great Sunday

Jim

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tonight's the Night

Yes sireee folks, tonight's the night for our annual Christmas Ornament Party. The preparations are well under way!

Yesterday was a quick trip to Austin for the Honeybaked Ham store, then to Costco, and back home by 1:00 PM. Then I weeded and turned all the front flower beds (my gluteus maximus is reminding me I'm out of shape right now). While I was working in the yard, Princess was prepping in the kitchen.

As of right now, the menu is:

Mini Chicken Cordon Bleu, Cranberry Meatballs, Cheese ball, Ham, Turkey, Rolls, and Veggies with Dip. Each guest couple is bringing a dessert to share, and we'll have some sparkling cranberry punch. Even more, Princess made CHEX mix! Me Likey!

I've cleaned the front entry way floors, done some laundry, cleaned the guest bathroom, and now I'm gonna go vacuum the house! We've got candles going and it smells great!

I love this Christmas time of year!

Jim

Saturday, December 12, 2009

For Princess & Linda

Yes, I know this is not a Christmas song, but it is Neil Diamond - for two of my favorite Ladies, Princess and Linda

Friday, December 11, 2009

Home Again

I just arrived home from a week in Chicago. Man was it cold there this week! Lot's of snow, Lot's of wind, and LOT'S of cold temperatures!

For a desert rat, having grown up in Vegas, I had seen snow in Utah, but never had I experienced waking up to 2F temperatures with a wind chill of minus 14F!

The year end meetings with my team went well. I think we got a lot accomplished.

Tonight we're heading out to see the town of Burnet, TX for some holiday sights and sounds. We've never been before and it just feels like the time to go (plus we're going with friends), so it shoudl be a fun night.

Tomorrow I'll be working to catch up on some "desk" time stuff while Princess irons my clothes for the last trip of the year next week. It will feel good to catch up.

Jim

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Crazy Weather

All day long it's been snowing here in Chicago. At one point, the wind had the snow blowing HORIZONTAL! Seriously! I'm sitting here in the hotel room listening to the wind BLOW the snow around again! It's loud and COLD! The high was like 30 and tonight's low will be around 6! SERIOUSLY Six degrees F! Who wants to live up here in the Winter!

The high tomorrow will be 14 F - I can't wait to get home where the low is in the 30's and the high is in the 50's!

Be safe everyone!

Jim

Monday, December 07, 2009

Winter

I'm here in Chicago, Beautiful city, but it is cooollld! I mean 35 F for the high when I landed at 4:00 PM. Thanks goodness I packed my scarf, gloves, and heavier coat. It's also cold back home. I've looked forward to cooler weather, but this came fast and it seems like the cool down lasted only one day.

I've also got quite a bit on my plate. Two of my team are retiring the end of December, so more training on my part. I'm not having sour grapes, they both deserve it, almost thirty years of service each. I can see it now, it's going to be a busy 2010. Heaven help both me, Princess, and the girls - I'm going to be more of a stranger than ever.

Jim

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Aha Moments

You know, sometimes life comes at you fast and you've got to be on your toes to handle it. This has been me lately. Flying from one place to another, working long wierd/hard hours, and trying to achieve that oh so out of reach work life balance thingy.

I have made a realization in my life. I'm spread too thin. As such, I reached down into my boots and found that I was spending way too much time on things that were taking up my time. One of these things is Facebook. While I loved reconnecting with high school friends, old missionary companions and missionaries from our local region Waco, I realized that it was causing a conflict with me. Therefore I deactivated my account.

There was a huge relief lifted off my shoulders and hopefully more time for blogging, my number one passion.

I'm off to Chicago tomorrow for the week for work. Then home again for the weekend. We finished the Christmas decorating, finalizing with the tree being decorated. It feels good.

Also, if you haven't been watching, I have three new shows for you to check out.

1) Modern Family - This show just makes me laugh until I want to pee
2) Glee - High School and music - need I say more
3) Vampire Diaries - It's my weekly Twilight fix with a lot more blood and wooden stakes.

Check them out and let me know what you think.

Jim