December 31, 2008

Top 5 moments of 2008

2008 was a year filled with ups and downs, but all in all I got through it and had some memorable moments. Here are my top 5:

#5 = Getting a new job

#4 = Our 2-week Hawaii trip in Maui and Oahu

#3 = Participating in a relay triathlon (even after finding out I was pregnant just a few days before)

#2 = Our first anniversary

The #1 greatest moment of 2008:

The day I found out I was pregnant. It will be the most important day of 2008 and the greatest moment of my life. I feel so blessed to experience the miracle of life and so thankful for everything. The reactions of family and friends has been so wonderful. I am fortunate to have loving and kind people in my life and their support has been so amazing. Each day is a blessing.

What am I most looking forward to in 2009:

Baby Bear's arrival! I can't wait to see what he/she looks like! Papa Bear (formerly known as Mr. Bear) and I are so excited for the arrival of Baby Bear in 2009. It will definitely be an exciting new year filled with happiness (and anxiousness I am sure). It has already been an adventure to say the least (you can read more about the goings on during my pregnancy in my Baby Bear blog). I am looking forward to 2009. Bring it on!

December 28, 2008

Holiday treats

We had a really nice, low key Christmas. I kept well within my budget on Christmas gifts and I am quite proud of myself. Homemade gifts were a great way to stay within budget. I made Red Velvet Truffles and cookies and wrapped them up. Everyone seems to love the Red Velvet Truffles!

December 24, 2008

Holiday traditions

For as long as I can remember my family has always celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve. We would stay up until midnight and open our presents at midnight. It was a nice little tradition as a kid. As an adult it seemed to work out well, so that we could celebrate Christmas day with Mr. Bear's side of the family (though we would be quite tired).

Our Christmas Eve celebration rotates among my aunts and uncles homes, this year my parents are hosting and decided to change things around. Instead of our Christmas Eve tradition, we are celebrating on Christmas Day with a Christmas luncheon. I guess it is nice that we won't have to stay up so late, but now we have more places to travel on Christmas Day . I'm a little bummed out about the change of tradition; it is a change from what I have come to enjoy since I was a little girl. All that matters is that I can see my parents and my lola on Christmas. That is what Christmas is truly about: spending time with family.

Anyways in keeping of tradition, I let Chase Monster open his present on Christmas Eve:

December 22, 2008

Happy Hanukkah

Last night was the first night of Hanukkah. I remember the first time I celebrated Hanukkah. My freshman year of college, my college roommate was Jewish and Hanukkah started before finals began. We had a menorah and lit a candle for each night. It was such a nice way for my college roommate to share her traditions with me.

Mr. Bear's cousins are half Jewish and the first holiday that I spent with them, Christmas day coincided with part of the Hanukkah celebration. It was nice to celebrate both holidays together.

To my friends who celebrate this special holiday: Happy Hanukkah!!

December 21, 2008

So much to think about

We are finally moving forward with the remodel on our home. We had put the remodel on hold for a while now, but with Baby Bear on the way it is time to get back in gear so that we can get in the house. So now we have a lot of decision to make with the house. Much of Mr. Bear's original plans have been changed due to budget and time (we want to get into the house before Baby Bear makes an appearance), so we have been thinking about a lot of things and trying to make practical decisions. For example, with the floors: we originally wanted hard wood mahogany floors. Mr. Bear had picked out this gorgeous set of hard wood floors. Well, it is a bit expensive and it is quite possible that a baby/toddler/child will not be so nice to the floors. Not the most practical choice at this time.

Right now, in addition to doing research on infant seats and strollers, I am also doing some research on washer and dryers. So much to consider: top loaders vs. front loaders, capacity, steam washers. There are so many different brands and a lot to think about. I am thinking Baby Bear will produce more need for washing than I already have, so I will have to choose wisely. Any recommendations or advice?

December 17, 2008

One year

It is hard to believe that one year has passed since Tricia was taken from us. I remember that day clearly as it was yesterday.

Tricia was really sick and we knew she would be passing at any moment. She had been moved from the hospital to a hospice to help manage her pain. Each day we visited her at the hospice, as we knew it was just a matter of time before she was taken from us. It had been just 2 weeks prior that Mr. Bear received a call that his sister (technically step-sister, but she was his sister just as his step-father is as much his father as his biological father) had a brain seizure. The day of December 16, 2007, we made hand prints of Tricia with our hand prints. It was a nice little exercise that one of the grieving counselors did with the whole family. It helped to have a piece of her to have with us.

That evening, we went back to the beach house we had rented near the hospice. (It was nice to to have a house to stay in rather than sleeping in hotel rooms, as we had done for several days. All of us stayed at the house and later during the week it was nice to have friends come and stay as they visited.) We made dinner and relaxed by the fire. It was a Sunday night and we had all had a long day. Mr. Bear and I went up to the room to sleep. I remember that it was a very light sleep, it seemed as if I was partially awake listening to every sound in the house. Then a knock came to our door and I immediately sat up and my mother-in-law came in and told us that she was gone. It was just after midnight and they had just received a call from the hospice. It was December 17, 2007 and Tricia passed away from breast cancer of the brain. Everyone in the house was up and made their way downstairs into the kitchen. There was sadness and relief that she was no longer suffering. We consoled each other and decided that there was no reason for everyone to head over to the hospice. The important phone calls were made but the rest would be made during the day. Mr. Bear and his cousin went over to the hospice to make sure things were taken care of and the rest of the house tried to go back to bed and get some rest; we all had a busy day ahead of us to plan the funeral.

The morning led to a beautiful day; the sun was shining and the weather was cool. It was peaceful and serene as if Tricia had ordered that for us. We were staying at a wonderful house on the beach and the beach had a calming effect on us all; it was therapeutic for us. I remember sitting on the patio staring at the waves crash.

For the first time in my life I was asked to write a eulogy. I never thought I would spend the holiday season writing a eulogy. I wrote her eulogy in the midst of the serene backdrop that Tricia provide for me. I have written many things; I have written a dissertation and a thesis and many papers and chapters over the years. But nothing as difficult and as meaningful as this short eulogy for my sister-in-law.

We had much to think about. Fortunately, many calls had been made prior to this day in preparation. But I still think you are never ready even knowing that she was sick and this was really happening. There was so much to do. The church and the funeral home, getting the eulogy in the paper, flowers and food for the reception afterward, deciding on music and readings for the mass, looking for pictures. In many ways, like planning a wedding (which I had done earlier in the year) in a span of a few days. But being busy and planning gave us something to do. It gave us something else to focus on rather than the pain we felt in our hearts.

That emptiness and pain is still there. I really don't expect it to go away. There will always be an emptiness and pain; I just think the magnitude of it will change over time. I am especially sad that Baby Bear will never know her; will never know her vibrant firecracker personality that matched her vibrant red hair; will never know her beautiful smile. I am honored that I had that short time to know her and I will share her pictures with Baby Bear and I know that Mr. Bear will share his memories as well.

Tricia, we miss you and we love you!!

December 15, 2008

It's the most busiest time of the year!

I love the holiday season. Holiday decorations, Christmas trees and lights, baking, and enjoying the company of family and friends is something I love and look forward to. Last year was a rough holiday season. This year has been better, there is still sadness associated with this time of year as we approach the anniversary of Trisha's passing (it will be one year on Wednesday).

Inevitably this time of the year is an extremely busy one both personally and professionally. There is so much to do with the holiday shopping, baking, and decorating (which I love) and there is all the end of the year tasks to take care of at work (don't love so much). Being pregnant makes it a little more difficult to balance all that I want to do and have to do during this busy time of year. I get tired much more easily and need more rest than I usually require. I have always been the type of person to go, go, go; much like the energizer bunny. This year, I am more like a turtle; I find myself going much slower and having to take my time to rest in between tasks. It is not a bad thing, just requires more planning on my my end.

Even though it is a busy, busy time of the year. I still enjoy the holiday season.

December 12, 2008

Wow, I won!!!

I follow a great blog on my Google reader, Money Saving Mom. Crystal gives great deals, coupons, and sales on her blog. I have benefited from her blog in many ways. Recently, she had a giveaway for a $500 Home Depot gift card. I don't enter many giveaways, but this one really struck me. We could definitely use $500 to go toward our home remodel, especially with Baby Bear on the way. So I entered her giveaway, I figured I had nothing to lose. I didn't think I would win, but I received an email from Crystal this morning and I WON!!! I can't believe it. Thank you Crystal!!!

December 9, 2008

O Christmas Tree!

Mr. Bear came home today with a small Christmas Tree!! He is absolutely the best!! I wasn't sure if we should get a Christmas tree just because our place is small. But he totally got us one. It is a small tree and it is perfect. I love it! I love the holidays and being able to decorate. I am so excited. It is a little bare, I have to go and get our ornaments out of storage. I can't wait to decorate the tree!! I love how it fills our apartment with such a wonderful smell.

This is actually our first tree as a married couple. Last year, was a difficult holidays. We never had the time to get a tree or decorate or really enjoy this season. Instead we were watching my sister-in-law die and planning a funeral. This Christmas will be difficult without Tricia. I miss her and I wish she was here to share it with us.

December 7, 2008

Gas Prices, Wow

I remember it was not too long ago when people were up in arms about gas prices. I was not thrilled with it but dealt with the gas prices. I am fortunate in that I have a very short commute to work. So short that I was able to ride my bike to work up until the daylight savings time change. When the time change occurred it was too dark to ride my bike home from work in the afternoons. (No, getting pregnant did not stop me from riding my bike to work. It was actually exercise and I wish I could still do it). Mr. Bear and I felt it was not safe for me to ride my bike in the dark even with a light.

Today, I had to fill up my gas tank and it was $1.82 for premium gas! Under $2. Wow. I was shocked. Since I have a short commute, I don't fill my gas tank very much. So it has been a while since I went to the pump and this was definitely a pleasant surprise especially now that I drive my big old Chevy Suburban. I wonder how long this will last but it is nice for now.

December 3, 2008

Today's favorite snack

I love Trader Joe's. It is one of my favorite places to go grocery shopping. They have great prices on dairy and have some great food items. Today my favorite TJ treat is Joe Joe's. Maybe because I am pregnant or maybe because they are just awesome. I just ate a bunch of them and they were sooooo good. It was some chocolate, candy cane, yummy goodness. Mmmmm.

December 1, 2008

The news is out!

I haven't been blogging too much lately and I have several excuses. Well, the usual is that I have been swamped at work. But I have also had some great news that I have been keeping silent about on this blog. I have been dying to share the news and now the news is out!

I'm gonna be a mama bear! Mr. Bear and I are excited as can be. I am nearing the end of my first trimester and it is now out in the open. I am doing well. If you want to hear about my adventures so far, check out my pregnancy blog, Adventures with Baby Bear.