Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are thankful for so much - each other, our wonderful families, our friends, our health and our jobs! We are extra excited this Thanksgiving to spend it with our new nephew Matthew Sherwood Kramer who was born at 5:36 p.m. Sunday, N0v. 23 weighing 8 lbs. 9 oz. at 20.5 inches long. Mom, dad and baby are doing well. To check out pics of the cutie, visit Grandma and Grandpa Kramer were married 35 years ago on Nov. 23 so they got a special anniversary surprise! And Tim and Melissa celebrated their third anniversary yesterday. Lots happening in family! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Santa is Coming to Town

Isabella sat with Santa for the first time ever! She even told him what she wanted for Christmas - a Mickey Mouse Speed Racer, or in her words, "A Mickey Mouse Car Park." We were so shocked that she sat with him, we weren't even ready for the picture. In fact, I told the picture people not to worry about her. When we saw Isabella sitting with Santa, we scrambled to get a picture. It didn't come out too bad, but Isabella did have her "terrified smile."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Busy at Work

Many of you know that I recently went back to work.

I'm back at Kent State, this time full-time. I've been consulting for Kent State for more than a year. I began talking with them back in March to come to work full-time. Well, it finally came to pass. I'm the new Manager of Public Relations and Marketing for the College of Communication and Information. I will oversee PR and marketing for four schools and one program: Communication Studies, Journalism and Mass Communication, Library and Information Science, Visual Communication Design and IAKM (Information Architecture and Knowledge Management).

Isabella started preschool this week. She goes twice each week for 2.5 hours each day. The rest of the time, she's with Grandma Mary. Thank goodness, she's with Grandma!

My boss is really flexible. Once I get set up in this new position (it's a new position for the university, too.), I will be able to work for home some, too, so I can be with Isabella. And university benefits are a lot better than what we had.

I'm so LUCKY! I'm so thankful that I was able to get in to the university, especially during this tough time. And thanks to all of you who have sent me "congrats" messages.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Called to Duty

Isabella and I had the honor, along with Aunt Julie, Grandma Mary, Papa Steve and friends from Chris's work, to celebrate with Chris and his unit yesterday as they said farewell to northeast Ohio for yet another duty tour in Iraq.

One hundred seventy soldiers of the 135th Military Police unit based in Chagrin Falls, OH left this morning for their final state-side training exercise before re-deployment to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

We will get to see Chris briefly at Christmas before he ships off for 12 months. I can't imagine how Julie feels each time Chris leaves for training or another mission. It has to be heart-breaking! I just know how helpless I felt when she and Chris were there together a few years ago. I'm thankful that Isabella was not around then to see the worry in all our faces. Now we are trying to explain to a three year old that Uncle Chris is going to war, but Aunt Julie is here to help.

Isabella doesn't know what any of this means. She just knows that her uncle is not a few blocks away, not on the phone when she calls for him and not with Aunt Julie when we visit.
We'll send letters and photos often and Isabella says she'll draw and paint him plenty of pictures in preschool. She even gave him her "Gentle Puppy" stuffed animal to take overseas with him. Uncle Chris and Gentle Puppy are going to play in the sand for awhile. That she understands.

Blessings and prayers to SSG Christopher Madera and the troops of the 135th MP Unit!

For more on yesterday's moving ceremony, visit:

Monday, November 10, 2008

Viva Las Vegas

More than one person has requested seeing the pics from my Las Vegas birthday trip. It was hard to decide which of the 510 pics to post so I created a video for you to watch. I'll warn you; it's long but the breath-taking pics of the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam are worth the time.

Kevin took me to Vegas to celebrate my 30th birthday. It was our first trip away from Bella so it was hard when she cried and asked when we were coming home. But she did great with much thanks to Grandma Sue, Papa Al and Grandma Mary and Papa Steve.

We stayed in a suite at the Treasure Island Resort. Beautiful! The weather was cold (low to mid 50s) so it was warmer here than in Vegas. Go figure. Locals said it was a fluke cold spell. The day we returned home, the temp was back up in the 80s.

We had a really nice dinner with cousins Sarah and Ben. They live in Vegas and were nice enough to take us to a fabulous restaurant called Cafe Lux. Kevin made special plans to take me to a really nice restaurant called Hugo's Cellar. The waiter gives roses to all the ladies and they had a special birthday surprise for me. Watch the video to find out!

Overall - great trip! Great way to spend a birthday!
View this montage created at One True Media
Viva Las Vegas!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Halloween Pics

We had a lot of fun trick-or-treating experiences. After a rainy night at Boo at the Zoo, we headed to Stow's special Halloween event for a warmer outdoor treat. Isabella played games, painted, went on a hayride and trick-or-treated at the campground at Silver Springs park. The next day we joined Tracy, Paige and Morgan for a sunny afternoon stroll around Brimfield to find treats. Finally, on Halloween, we enjoyed a pizza party with Grandma Sue, Papa Al, Aunt TT, Uncle Keith, Aunt Melissa, Kelsey and Kylie before heading out for our treating. The girls had a great time saying "Trick-or-Treat" and "Thank You" at each and every house.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Preschool pics

I'm doing this backward. I should start with Halloween and move to preschool. We are so proud of Isabella for learning at preschool, I had to post these pics first.

Of late, Isabella has suffered from separation anxiety. She's easily upset when we are out of her eye line. She cries and throws fits until we return. We've been working with a family therapist to help Isabella through these issues. Preschool is one of the steps in this process.

I wasn't sure what to expect yesterday when I stepped out of the room that first time. She cried but calmed down quickly when I returned right away. When I left the second time, she looked back but was okay. She went over to paint a picture.

She tried one escape move when she noticed me looking in the window but didn't flinch when I encouraged her to go back in.

Great job, baby girl! (Oh, you're not a baby anymore.)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Pre-school visit

Watch for pics in the next few days! We've got a lot from Halloween and from today - Isabella's visit to pre-school!

She attended her first class today and will officially start on Monday, NAdd Imageov. 17. She was not sure about it at first, but after just one short crying episode, she played and painted and had story and bible time and even gym class. She made a new friend and is talking about school a lot. If you ask if she wants to go back, though, she says no. But she'll have a great time! (My baby is growing up too fast!)