Monday, December 25, 2006

Ride-A-Long with Dave

What better way to understand your husband and his job then to job shadow, or do a ride along? Since it was Christmas Day, and the other family members that WERE going to go to the station made other plans, Dave's captain agreed for me to "ride along" with the fire crew throughout their day.

Of course I had to sign the necessary paperwork. You know the kind stating that if I get injured or die that I will not hold SBFD liable. My favorite part is where it stated that the Captain will ensure myself a "safe retreat" if I felt something was too much for me to handle.

I also had to dress the part. Dave went out and bought me a navy collared shirt just for the occasion, and I had to wear navy blue or black pants and black shoes. I was able to wear my navy blue POW MIA flight jacket on medical calls, but for fire calls had to switch to Dave's brush jacket (yellow jacket).

Overall it was a pretty slow day -only 3 calls. I wish I could go into detail about the calls here, however due to the confidential nature of the calls I am unable to. :( *sigh* Needless to say, I have a newfound appreciation for David and what he does on a daily basis. It was cool to see him in action...he TRULY knows what he is doing, and I'm a pretty harsh critic so that's saying a lot. It was cool to actually be in the engine when they were going to calls, and to see the people on the street waving, while hearing the lights and sirens from a whole new perspective. One of the other firefighters let me borrow his headset so that I could hear what people (meaning Dave, the engineer and captain) were saying en-route to medical calls.

Since it was slow during the day, Dave dressed me up in his turnouts and let me feel how heavy the gear is. He hooked me up to a SCBA (Self-contained breathing apparatus) and let me breathe from it. That was interesting...and I sounded a bit like Darth Vader. He also had me try on the hose pack that they put on for wild land fires, in addition to the turnouts and heavy gear I had tried on earlier. We talked about doing some hose drills, but unfortunately this never came to be...although I am sure that I would have been able to hold my own here. I'm starting to get muscles :P

We had a nice Christmas dinner thanks to Carlos (the engineer) who purchased a Honey baked ham and Claim Jumpers Dutch Apple Pie. We also made mashed potatoes, salad, banana muffins, corn, and something else that I am forgetting. There were 5 side dishes in all.

Overall, I am glad that I had this experience. Although I wish there had been more calls, I truly did gain a better understanding of what David does on a daily basis, and hope that this experience will prove me to be a more understanding wife when he comes home from work. It's easy to get caught up in your own day and drama, and was refreshing to step out of my little world and be a "fly on the wall" of Dave's world outside of our humble home.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Spark of Love Toy Drive

Every year the San Bernardino Fire Department holds the Spark of Love toy drive. Basically, three families are chosen per elementary school for an invitation only event in which they are able to come to the fire station, get cookies, hot chocolate and such, meet Santa Claus and walk away with some toys. These families are families within the community that without the assistance of this program would not be able to afford the luxury of gifts under the Christmas tree, or even a Christmas tree at all.

This year was no exception, and I wanted to be involved. I called up the organizer and explained that myself and my team would like to assist. I started a campaign at work that would allow my employees to dress casually for the next month if they donated $20 in toys to the Spark of love toy drive. I got a big box (that came from my dining room table) and sat it outside my Stats board with signs on it for donation. If the team donated $20 in toys, I gave them a certificate which they could post outside their cube so that everyone knew why they got to dress casually at work.

Monday, December 18th was the culmination of the toy drive, as this was the evening of the event. It was VERY cold, and I arrived with Caiden in tow at about 5:30pm. The doors didn't open until 7pm, yet there were people lined up down the street to get into the event. Two lines were created. One for those that had invitations (and were chosen by the elementary schools), and one for those that did not have invitations. For those that did not have invitations they were told that they could wait until the event was over, and if we still had toys remaining we would allow them to come in, but there were no guarantees.

Inside volunteers worked to place each toy into the appropriate category (toddler boys toys; toddler girls toys, boys 5 and under, etc...), and prepare for the nights events. One of the chief's dressed up as a Fireman Santa - he was the main attraction.

The doors opened promptly at 7pm, and the families were let in 2-3 at a time. Each family would go get drinks and food then were directed to a table of writers (I was a writer). The writers would write down their name on a post-it note along with the ages and gender of their children. Some families had 9-12 children each. The "writers" would then pass the post it notes to the "runners" who would run around with large bags and fill them with toys for each child. They would then call out the families names and the families would get their bags of toys (some lucky families received bicycles) along with the opportunity to sit on Santa's lap and take a picture with him. It was extremely cold and a bit windy as well. The families from the invited list were so sweet and appreciative. The kids were amazing. I fell in love with one family. The little boy was so excited when he saw a coloring book (that the fire department normally passes out when kids come visit). I saw him eyeing it, but he didn't want to ask for one. I handed him one along with a packet of crayons, and he was SO excited. He looked at that book like it was the BEST thing, and proudly exclaimed to his mom and dad that he got to COLOR in that book. When he was handed the bag of toys his eyes just LIT UP! It was very touching to see all of the children's faces. I only wish I could do more. The evening was a success as each invited family received a bag full of toys for their child/children. We even had some toys left over for the uninvited families.

Just seeing all of these families truly enjoying this chilly night in December just made me even more thankful for everything that God has provided for me and my family. Although Christmas is the time of year that people start thinking about others and tend to be more generous I feel that it is important to sustain these feelings all year long. Who needs a holiday to be thoughtful, generous and caring? At one point or another in our lives, we have needed to rely on the kindness of others, or will need to…I know I have…so why not give a little all year long? Although I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions…if I did, mine would be something like that. Just a thought. :P

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

One of THOSE days

Have you ever had one of THOSE days? You know the kind...the kind where you should just get back and bed and pull the covers over your head and hide from the world until today is tomorrow. Well, I know those days a little too well, and today was no exception.

The morning started out well…cold. I unwillingly woke up, after Caiden ransacked my bed and ordered me to "wake up time". I got up to head to the shower, but was overcome with an amazing set of cramps (and not THOSE kind of cramps either). Hmm, maybe I'm coming down with the stomach flu or stomach continued to ache throughout the morning. So much so that I was doubled over at times..."it's is going to be a good day...I'll man up", I think to myself.

I get Caiden and myself ready in record time, and head out the door to a frosty car - yeah, that's right there was ICE on my in sunny SoCal. I rush to put Caiden in the car and start it (so it can warm up), but the car hesitates. It's just so chilly. No worries. It's just a little hitch, today is still going to be a great day.

I finally get the car started and drive down to the gas station to get gas, and I figured I would get a cup of coffee while I'm there (I have had a perpetual headache for the past couple of days that I can't seem to shake. It is constant and pretty painful). I choose decaf as I am trying to cut down on my caffeine intake, and proceed to add creamer. I grab a banana and some napkins, turn to walk out and realize that my cup is leaking. *No problem...this is a tiny setback* I grab another cup and off I go. I pay the cashier and put my credit card back in my pocket. I think to myself, "Put your credit card back in your wallet before you lose it", however by the time I took the short walk from the cashier to the car I had already forgotten these pearls of wisdom. I put the gas cap back on and shut the little's won't close. After 4-5 nice attempts, I go ninja on the thing and it finally cooperates.

I drive happily to work (or should I say I drove to work), and drop off Caiden pretty uneventfully. I arrive at work ready to start my day, already calculating the endless to-do list in my head. I turn to grab my computer. Crap! My' home. *sigh* I even packed up my computer and put it in a place that I was SURE not to forget it, yet I did. I contemplate driving back home and then back to work, but what a waste. Just then my phone pops out a reminder...your director's surprise party in 1 hour!. Great! I completely forgot...oh, and I'm wearing jeans because I conned my team into helping me with the Spark of Love toy drive by allowing them to dress casually for a month.

I quickly drive to Target to get some "appropriate" work pants, and rush to the cashier to pay. I open my wallet, and NO CREDIT CARD. I search my pockets...nope. I retrace my steps and cannot find it ANYWHERE. I tear apart my car, call the gas station, and then call Caiden's childcare. They tell me that a child found a credit card, but it may be a “play” one (apparently people give their old credit cards for the kids to play with...who does that? I'll tell you who does that...someone who wants their identity stolen that's who). I look at my watch. I have 30-40 minutes until the party. I rush to the child care place and proceed to look around...nothing. I find out that a teacher found it, put it on a table because he too thought it was a "play" card, and some kid walked off with it. (Maria...that's the kid that took it - the other kids ratted her out). We search everywhere. I am now on the nerves of everyone as I frantically look for the card.
I start getting reminders to go to the party. *Sigh Sigh* I warn the teachers that I'll be back, and hop in the car to rush to the party...did I say it was a surprise. I nearly run a red light and slam on my breaks (tires smoking and heads turning) as I am trying to get directions to Scott's Restaurant from my lead, because of course I don't know where I am or where I'm supposed to be. I make it to the restaurant which pretty much wants people to valet, as the hide the self park in an area called the garage that apparently one must have top secret clearance to locate. I make it...just on time. Problem is this is a SURPRISE party, so on time is late.

I arrive (the last one there) to my director, two Vice President's, one admin, and 3 managers. Lunch was delicious, and I tried my best to put my "game face" on. At lunch, the director announces he is coming back to my office (great, because I have no computer, so I will not be very productive) and he wants to meet with the team quickly. I then scurry to call my lead and my coworker to notify all of our employees to meet in the vocational room in 15 minutes (some people were called off of lunch). We meet, it's great. I leave work to continue the search for the credit card, all the while praying that SOMETHING would go right today.

I arrive at Caiden's school...they see me coming and shake their heads. I start to tear the place apart while 2 little girls follow me around incessantly asking questions. I then don gloves (at a teacher's suggestion) and start to dig through the trash. *seriously, is this really worth it? I'll just cancel the card...darn it*. I grab Caiden and off I go.

I call the credit card company, explain the situation and ask my options. They tell me they will declare the card "lost/stolen" and send me out a new one. I ask them to rush it (which costs me $15) because I still have Christmas presents to buy and about 4 days to do it in. Dave is working so I have to buy all the gifts this year (so if you don't like your gift...just smile and nod...I honestly can't take the rejection right now). I ask if I will have to contact the companies that I have automatic bill pay and they say just transfers over. *sigh* Hallelujah! Something IS starting to go right. Perfect. No sooner had I hung up the phone that Caiden's childcare called. They "FOUND the card", they exclaimed!!! (Of course you did...I just cancelled it). I quickly hang up the phone, and call the credit card company back who tells me that they already processed the deactivation, and the way...I DO have to contact each company that I have automatic bill pay with. *Double sigh*.

I go to the grocery store to pick up food for Christmas dinner (you know the one that I am planning and cooking by myself - again if you don't like and choke it down) :P
I am now sitting at home at 8pm, after trying for the last 1.5 hours to get Caiden to go to sleep. He is not feeling well, and is hard to settle down. *thump head throbs* I'd dance, but I would probably break my neck or something. Hey, not a bad least I would get a break :P

Ok, so I'm off to do laundry, or clean the house, or wrap gifts (did I tell you that the gift wrap is buried in the garage...yeah...not wrapping gifts tonight). *sigh* 4 more hours and today will be over. *smile*

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

It's Beginning To Look A lot Like Christmas!

Thanks to David, that is. I came home from work, and what did I see, but a wonderful display of lights!!!! I was so excited. Our neighbors have been telling us that we lack the Christmas spirit and that we are scrooges and such. I told them to be patient (I know, can you believe I told someone to be patient) as David was working, and I was too afraid to try and put up the lights. As you can see, from the video, Flash wasted no time in christening our decorations.

Well, David did a great job, and I have to say that it is making me a bit jolly (or maybe that's due to switching to that's why I'm so tired all the time). So of course, I have to say something to the neighbor. He told me to call Dave something Griswold. He said it was from the Christmas Vacation movie or Vacation movie. This is the 3rd time in the past week that someone has asked me if I have seen this movie. I guess I was absent that day that everyone saw it.

Anyway, of course the competitive streak comes out in me when he explains the movie a bit. He said that David went over and above, so he needs to top it. He had just gotten home from buying a carousel that goes around (Christmas themed one).

Bring it's on!!!!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I said 1 INCH!!!!!

I normally love going to get my hair cut. My favorite part is when they wash your hair and they massage your head. I love that part. Yet every time I go get my hair cut, I am afraid. I feel like I am holding my breath, hoping that they get it right. Either the hairstylist doesn't care to hear what I am saying, or they feel that they know better. Regardless, I never seem to get exactly what I want.

I went into the salon asking for bangs and tighten up my layers, but to keep my hair long. Yes, I want long hair, so I would only like 1 inch taken off the bottom. "1 inch" repeats the hairstylist. "1 inch" I confirm.

Well, how is it that we agreed on the 1 inch, however when I was done 6 INCHES...that's right 6 INCHES of my hair was lying on the salon room floor. *Sigh*.

Although I think it is too short, I have received comments ranging from it looks "amazing", "cute", "nice", "takes years off my face" (apparently I am old - and this after I was having a conversation with a friend that I tend to get carded when I go places, yet he tends not to and he is nearly 10 years my elder. His response. Well, you look your age. Thanks *sigh sigh*). I also heard that I look more like a "homemaker" and that I look "more feminine" and "vulnerable". So based on these comments, prior to my haircut, I was a masculine looking, hard, elderly-looking woman. Wow! This does WONDERS for my self esteem. :P

Seriously though. I appreciate all of the kind comments. It has kept me from mourning the loss of 6 inches of my hair that was prematurely cut.

*Side note: when trying to a picture of your own is VERY difficult and quite humorous to do. Also, these pictures were taken at the end of the day. I swear I actually did do my hair today, but it's 11pm at night. What do you want?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Christmas Giraffe?

When what to my wondering eyes did appear, but a minature sleigh and eight tiny...giraffes? Uh, not the story I remember.

I mean, when I think Christmas, I think Giraffe's, don't you? Well, apparently the people at Tarbell Realty do. I stopped by the gas station last Sunday on my way to a Christmas party when what did MY wondering eyes see, but two minature reindeer and a Christmas giraffe. I didn't think anyone would believe me so I took pictures.

I almost waited in line so Caiden could pet the giraffe, but Caiden and I were already running a bit late for the party. As we drove past, Caiden kept asking me to "Back up mama, back up!" :P

The reindeer themselves were quite a spectacle. This picture does not do them justice, but they looked like something out of "How the Grinch stole Christmas". You know the dog that he puts reindeer antlers on? Yeah, that's what they reindeer looked like.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

2006 Christmas Fireplace

So, I got into the Christmas Spirit...I thought I was on a roll. I was going to decorate my entire house myself. I was going to make our house a regular Norman Rockwell painting at Christmas time. I was going to just sit down for a few moments after finishing decorating the fireplace...and then I fell asleep.

Oh, well. At least I got the fireplace decorated. Our stairs are only half done. I would take a picture of those, but I am ashamed that I have yet to finish them. :(

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Our Christmas Tree - Revealed

Well, I wasn't about to decorate the tree without Dave, as that is a Beckom-Bonney tradition that we decorate it together. Our tradition is that each year we buy a Christmas ornaments that showcases what we accomplished that year. The rest of the ornaments on our tree are bulbs. That way, when we decorate the tree every year, we can reminisce about the good times we have had and the accomplishments that we have had. Seeing as David has been working SO much, I had a friend help me put the tree up, and then wrapped lights around it. To this day, our tree remains undecorated. I am waiting for Dave to have a day off :)

Below are a few pictures of Caiden in front of the tree right before going to school.

This was my attempt to take a picture of us in front of the tree...cute picture of Caiden and I, but tree. :(

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The winner of the Santa Competition...


I am happy to report that this was neither David's Santa nor mine. The winning Santa was in fact a Santa that I impulsively bought this year!

Ha! The original Santas were Swiss Alp's Santa (David's Santa) & Victorian Santa (my Santa). Sadly neither original Santas received any votes. :(

Hey, but at least I didn't lose to Dave's Santa!!! :P

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Hunt for the Perfect Tree

Ok, so I have been a little busy, and have not blogged lately. I know. I have heard it from multiple people that I must blog. So, tonight you will get a number of entries (or at least that is the plan...let's see how long I can stay awake).

On December 7th, David, Caiden and I went searching for the perfect Christmas tree. We searched two tree farms until we came up with "THE TREE". We picked it out, had it flocked (no, I am not saying a bad word...for those of you back East - flocking is the California attempt to make our Christmas trees look a little more like your snowy Christmas trees. It is where they take fake snow and spray it on the tree).

Caiden also found the perfect tree. It was this little Charlie Brown tree that was really not much bigger than him. It was off to the side amongst the port-a-potty and some metal garbage. He LOVED it. He called it "Caiden's tree". I took a picture of him by it. It was pretty cute. He was very proud of his tree.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The 1st Online Santa Competition!

Drum Roll Please!!!!

For those of you who know me, I collect Santa Clauses. I started doing this about 2-3 years ago, shortly after Dave and I moved into our house in Old Town Orange. I don't know what came over me (maybe too much Egg nog, or dreams of snowy white Christmases), but I have taken a liking to Santa Claus...and I haven't stopped collecting since. I tend to like "different" Santas...not the typical red coat, red hat thing.

Well, as many things with me are...I have found a way to turn this into a competition, but to appreciate the competition I have to tell you its origins. When the collection bug first bit me, I found 2 Santa Clauses that I liked, but I really could only afford one. I liked them both, but I tended to lean more towards this particular Santa (I am desperately trying to refrain from telling you which one as not to skew the results), however Dave liked a different one. We eventually bought both Santa Clauses, however I was not happy unless I converted Dave, and he liked MY Santa more.

Each time someone came to our house, I would have them vote on which Santa they liked better. So, now that my collection has grown a bit. I thought I would take this to the web.

I have named the Santas to make it a bit easier. Please cast your vote by posting a comment. May the best Santa win!!!!!

Woodland Santa

Victorian Santa

Swiss Alps Santa

Purple Santa

Velvet Santa

Mystic Santa

Snowy Santa

Elf-like Santa

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Happy 5th Birthday Mackenzie

Caiden was invited to our Mackenzie's (our neighbor) 5th birthday party. It was at Chuckee Cheese, and Caiden had so much fun.

He was a little shy when they asked all of the kids to stand and dance when they sang Happy Birthday. Mostly, he just sat on my lap during that time, but the rest of the time he did very well. This was a first for Caiden as there was an "adults" table and a "kid's" table. Caiden sat and ate his pizza (although we wouldn't let him have soda) and stayed at the table. He did keep to himself, but to be honest so did I at his age. He is a lot like me when I was little. Cautious and an observer.

After we had cake and sang Happy Birthday, Caiden played some games. He REALLY enjoyed the air hockey table, and the game where you hit the little creatures that pop up. There was one where you had to step on the buttons that lit up (they looked like spiders and made noises like "Splat" and "ouch".

Dave's competitive streak came out and he literally wrestled with a machine to get a ball out, and ended up breaking it. The thing just kept spitting out tickets.

At the end of the day, Caiden and Daddy sat down to count their winnings. Caiden ended up picking a microphone, a blue spider, these hand clapper things, stickers, a yellow top, and something that I can't explain (simply because I am not sure what it is).

Caiden had a lot of fun. Thank you Mackenzie for inviting us!