Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year

So... Obviously I'm no longer an active blogger, but since I completely failed to get a Christmas/New Year's letter of any sort into the mail, I thought this would be a great place to post one so I could share it with family and friends via email. When I took at peek at my blog I realized I hadn't even updated it last Christmas, so I set out to find the letter I sent (after Christmas 2015) and upload it here. That's when I discovered it had been saved as a draft in blogger, but never uploaded. Good grief. My brain is mush--completely unfocused and constantly thinking of other things!

For what it's worth, here's the synopsis of 2015. Hopefully in the next couple of days I can get one written for 2016 too!

Happy New Year, dear friends and family! While my plan to do Christmas cards was obviously not successful this year, I did want to compose a quick letter to let everyone know that we haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. Our Christmas letter wasn’t my only holiday fail this season--there were two boxes of decorations that never even made it out of the storage room!

This year has certainly been a challenging one, but we survived and are hopefully better people for it! Chad is starting his 13th year with Westar Energy, and although his job keeps him busy, he usually enjoys the challenges--except when they involve being the on call person during an ice storm. Over the Thanksgiving break he answered/made over 200 power outage phone calls (at all hours of the day and night) in a 48 hour period! He travels all over the eastern half of Kansas on a regular basis and took a couple of longer trips to Phoenix and Houston this year as well. In non-business related travel, he went on his annual golf trip to Florida last month with Dante and some other friends, where they played eleven rounds of golf in five days. I guess it’s obvious that he still loves golf. :)

Thankfully, we had a few opportunities to travel together this year as well. For our 21st anniversary in June, we went to Omaha for a couple of days to see an Old 97’s show and hang out with Chad’s brother Matt and his wife Julie and their family. For my birthday in August, Chad surprised me by flying my brother in to hang with my mom so that we could take a quick weekend trip to beautiful (albeit very hot) San Antonio. We saw another 97’s show while there, visited the Alamo and spent lots of time on the gorgeous river walk! Although Chad wasn’t able to join us, Mom and I also made a trip to Houston to visit her sister Merry Jo and my many cousins in the area.

Speaking of my brother and my mom, the most exciting trip of the year actually happened in September when Chad and Mom and I flew to California for my brother Eric’s wedding! We spent a fantastic five days in a cute rental house, did some sightseeing, and enjoyed the beautiful wedding celebration with Eric and our new sister-in-law, Jiffy. We are so thrilled to officially have her as part of our family!

While this letter sort of makes it sound like we had nonstop fun in 2015, in reality our lives completely revolved around my mom (who is in the latter stages of dementia) and her care. I spend around 60 hours a week with her, as she can no longer be left alone unsupervised for more than a couple of hours at a time. I try hard to fill her days with joy, so this year we spent lots of time going to art galleries, shopping, swimming, doing puzzles and art projects, taking day trips to nearby towns, going to plays and concerts, taking walks, and attending other local events. We even did a little horseback riding! Although she still has days in which she can enjoy life and certain activities, her memory for anyone besides her immediate family is virtually gone. I laugh/cringe when people ask me (usually in front of Mom) if I work, since even though I’m not technically employed, this is by far the most emotionally and physically demanding job I’ve ever had! With that said, I’m so thankful I am able to do it and I’m so thankful that my Mom is still with us. It probably goes without saying, but I most definitely would not have survived the year if it weren’t for the amazing support (emotionally and financially) of my incredible husband!

With Mom keeping me busy, our furry children haven’t received the amount of attention they were once accustomed to, but they have adapted pretty well. At age 9, Fresco is pretty laid back and can deal with just about anything (except a person walking by in front of our house). Flower, however, continues to be a challenge! She needs multi-mile walks daily and still has lots of energy to burn. Although we’ve had her for almost 2 years, she still acts like she’s six months old most of the time. She still has major issues with strange people and other dogs, and unfortunately my lack of schedule flexibility has made it nearly impossible to get the training help we need to correct her behavior. Even though she’s pretty high maintenance when she’s outside our home, she’s a pretty good girl when it’s just Chad, Mom and me! We love her and she definitely adds lots of laughs and excitement to our lives.

We hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas season full of peace, love, joy and all the things that make you happy! We pray that 2016 is full of blessings and happiness for each and every one of you.

Much love,

Kim (and Chad)

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