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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas Whirlwind

Well it seems there is so much anticipation and build up to Christmas, and then it is over before you know it. This year was fun, but almost seemed like it was in fast motion. Christmas Eve was spent doing last minute shopping and preparation for family. Since this was our first year in our new home, we decided to share it with others, so Wednesday night we had Bobby’s parents over for dinner and gifts. I made Lasagna (which was a first for me, but it turned out very good) and we had Birthday cake and ice cream for his brother Davy. Bobby’s has twin brothers who turned 30 on Dec 17th and we were sad Joey couldn’t make it for the festivities. We opened gifts and played a very competitive game of Taboo – Girls vs. Boys. I do have to say that the boys only won because the girls kept messing up, therefore giving them points!

Thursday (Christmas day) we headed over to my Nanny’s house around 11:00 to open gifts and eat with my parents, brother, brother and sis-in-law and 4 nephews! Let’s just say it was an all-day event of opening gifts, taking a break to eat, more gifts, another break for dessert and more gifts. Later that night we played Holiday charades and it was overall a fun day!

Then Saturday, we opened up our home again to Bobby’s extended family of Aunts, Uncles and cousins. It consisted of 25 people, 3 dogs, 2 hams, all the fixings, lots of sweet tea, presents, white elephant gifts, lots of stealing (white elephant gifts) and a mad game of Catch phrase! And let me just say, no one held back from stealing the hostess’ white elephant gifts. I could not keep anything good in my little hands – although I did end up with a pretty cute wallet, but Bobby ended up with a box of “Endless Cookies” – enough said.

All in all it was a great time with family and we look forward to it again next year. It will be here before we know it! Hope you had a very Merry Christmas and an even better year in 2009!

Merry Belated Christmas from the Sotos!

Here is where we spent most of our Christmas time

The in-laws opening gifts

Sis-in-law, Serena, opening gifts

Polo on Christmas morning! She loved her new toy so much she already ate a hole in it and pulled out half the stuffing.

I would have to say one of my favorite things on Christmas is seeing how excited my Nanny gets when she hears she has another gift to open. "What? Me? Another present? Wow!" Here she is trying on her new slippers...she is so cute!

My brother took her to a Cowboys game a few weeks ago (a dream come true for her) and my mom made a collage of pictures for her. She LOVED it!

Corbin with his new umbrella! And you can see Callen down there playing his Leapster game.

Our little Santa, Cohen!

Cohen, Callen, Corbin and Cade

Matching PJs!! Thanks Mom!

All the family for a competitive game of White Elephant!

Waiting to see if we want to steal it!
Thanks friends and family for such a fun Christmas. We look forward to next year!


I know I have not given very many updates on my friend Robyn, but it seems that when I would get bad news, it would almost always follow up with good news. Then the good news (of her progressing well), went bad very quickly. Robyn went to be with the Lord on Saturday morning (December 20th) after a 4 month battle with cancer.

Just a quick recap of her progression and continuation of the email below...Robyn was taken off the ventilator, and given a trach. This allowed her to be more awake and she was able to breathe more on her own. Although she was still unable to talk (because of the swelling in her esophagus) she was more alert and wrote notes to friends and family. The swelling in her body went down and she looked like her old self again. They also gave her a 3rd round of chemo and discovered that it was actually doing its job. This was such a praise and encouragement to the family. Then they hit a wall and discovered an infection in her lungs. The doctors decided to do surgery on her right lung to remove as much of the infection as they could. The surgery was very successful and gave them hope in operating on the left side. After a couple days, they went in to the left lung and noticed it was more infected than they thought and because of some heavy bleeding, decided to end the surgery pre-maturely. After she came out of recovery, they soon discovered, by her vital signs, that she suffered a stroke during the surgery. After much prayer, the family decided that the Lord brought her into the world and he needed to take her out of the world when He was ready. So they decided not to do any type of life support for her. They left her on her ventilator, but decided not to increase the effectiveness of it. When they discovered on Saturday that her brain was inactive, they took her off the ventilator and allowed the Lord to bring her home, in his timing.

The graveside funeral was held on Friday and a memorial service was held on Saturday. I was not able to go on Saturday, but I did attend the small graveside gathering which was very touching. My brother Chris, and his wife, Kara sang and did a beautiful job. I am asking for you to please be in prayer for the Hassell family. They need your prayers as I am sure reality is beginning to set in. If you will, please lift up her parents, Becky and Danny and her siblings, Daniel, Jonathan and Christie.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Look who graduated...

POLO! I must congratulate my dog, Polo, for graduating from Beginner Dog School. Yes, we enrolled our 8 month old puppy in dog school. (I know you are laughing, but that's ok!)

For the past 8 weeks, Polo has been attending her Beginner Dog Training class and has learned several things. Last week she had her graduation and had to perform the many things she has learned.

Some of the things she learned was...sit, down, stand, stay, heel, walk/stop, come, and watch.

Going through the course

Nana-Dee and Nanny were proud supporters

Doing her trick! She spun around in circles!
She may have graduated from Dog School, but she is definitely still a PUPPY...

Just a few recent pics...

My sis-in-law, Kara

My Polo girl
My nephew, Cade (wearing Uncle Glenn's boots)

Polo (in one of her favorite spots)

My nephews, Corbin and Cohen
(I couldn't seem to get a pic of Callen)

My sister-in-law, Serena

My brother, Kendal and my mom

Like momma, like daughter

Me and the hubby!
Most of these pics were taken over the Thanksgiving weekend. We had a great time with both of our families.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations." Psalm 100:4-5

I am thanful, this year, for a great family, caring friends, physical health, and for my husband, who loves me unconditionally!

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Please pray with me...

A few posts ago, I mentioned my family friend, Robyn, who is 25 and was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. She has had 2 rounds of chemo and had a CT scan yesterday to see if the chemo is working. They met with her doctor today to discuss the results. Here is what her website journal (that her brother updates) had to say...

We met today with Robyn’s doctor. It was a hard meeting. He is not encouraged with the cancer’s response to the chemotherapy. Robyn’s lungs are not improving and seem to be covered with tumors which are allowing fluid to continuously leak into them. The tumors in the lymph nodes of her chest and arms are not shrinking and so the fluid has been unable to drain from her body. We have decided to go ahead with a third dose of chemotherapy which will be done this weekend if Robyn’s vital signs are stable. Robyn will also have to have a tracheostomy placed. This is a tube that will go through the front part of her neck directly into her trachea. This will allow her to be on the ventilator without having a tube in her mouth. This will be a tricky surgery because of the swelling around her neck. Robyn’s doctor is not very optimistic about this third round of chemo. It is pretty much a last ditch effort to save her. At this point she is stuck in a position physically where she is not really improving or deteriorating. It is not a place that she can stay forever. This is all still very surreal for our family. Your continued prayers are appreciated as we try to comprehend all of this and make wise decisions for Robyn.

So as you can see, Robyn and her family need your prayers more than ever!! Please pray for...

1. Robyn, that she will be comfortable and not scared during all of this. And she will fight with all that she has.
2. Her family (her parents, 2 brothers and a sister) -- for comfort, peace, rest and as much time as they can spend with Robyn
3. Her healing -- if it is God's will, He will heal her body!
4. That something good will come out of all of this.

Thanks friends!

Wedding + Baby = Longview trip

A couple of weekends ago, I drove to Longview, TX to attend my friend Tara’s wedding. Tara is the sister of my BFF from high school, Tandra. Tandra and I were connected at the hip in high school. During my junior and senior year, I think I spent just as much time at her house, that I did my own. The Anderud’s were my second family, so I did not want to miss Tara’s long awaited wedding! PLUS, during this trip, I was able to meet Tandra’s new baby girl for the first time…little Rachel Avery! I had been so anxious to meet this little baby girl and it was so fun watching Tandra be a mommy!

I got to Longview a few hours before the wedding, so I could visit with Tandra. I am so glad I did, cause our time together was so fun! I also stayed late after the wedding to help clean up and then I was able to go and have dinner with the whole Anderud clan!

The wedding was beautiful and the bride was stunning! The decorations were so unique and showed off Tara’s creative abilities! I am so glad I was able to make the trip. Congrats to Mr. and Mrs. Marrone!!

Halloween - Arrrr!

I know I am really late on blogging about this, but I just kept forgetting. But my pictures are just too cute to not post! Because Bobby and I don’t have any kids yet, we usually don’t really get into Halloween that much, but this year with Polo, we (or should I say, “I”) decided we should dress Polo up! (She asked me too…haha!). Anyway, I went to Walmart and saw some really cute pet costumes. I purchased a Bee costume, got it home and discovered that since the head cover was connected to the body material, it was not going to work on our long weenie dog. So, after finding out that my nephews were going to be pirates, and I knew we were going to be with them that night, I just knew that Polo needed to be a Pirate too! So back to Walmart I went to purchase the Pirate costume!

We decided we would go out to my brother’s church (121 Community Church in Grapevine) and spend the evening at their Fall Festival. I didn’t tell the boys or Kara that Polo would be a fellow Pirate, so they were so surprised and excited when she showed up. We spent the night walking around, playing games and collecting candy. Well, Cade didn’t really “collect” his candy; he just ate it as he got it. :) The boys (and Chris and Kara) were such cute Pirates, and Cohen was the little monkey of the group. We had a great time and I think “Polo the Pirate” did too!

Callen posing like a pirate!

Aren't they cute?!

The whole Clayton "Pirate" clan

Polo the Pirate -- Arr!

She loved her costume and definitily turned some heads!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A heavy heart...

Where do I even mind has a million things running through it right now. Lately, it seems that tragic news has been hitting me from all different directions. First a few weeks ago, I heard that a a girl I knew from my church (she has since moved away) was diagnosed with cancer, pretty much in her whole body. To make matters worse, she is a thirty year old mother, of a 4 yr old, 2 yr old and newborn. In fact, that is how they discovered the cancer...when she was having some complications and they decided to take the baby early. She is now in the process of chemotherapy and numerous doctors visits. I was not super close to her, but her story just saddens me so much and I just hate this for her and her family.

Not two days later, I got an email from my mom telling me that a long time family friend was also diagnosed with cancer. Her name is Robyn and she is only 25! Her mom and my mom grew up across the street from one another for years and have kept in touch all of this time. So of course as kids, we played together. She was diagnosed when she had some pain in her shoulder, later to discover it was a blood clot. After numerous tests, they found cancer in her intestines and now possibly in her lungs. The updates we receive are not looking positive, but we continue to pray for God to heal her as only He can do!

THEN, on Monday I arrive at work and quickly receive the news that one of my former co-workers passed away over the weekend. He was invovled in a motorcycle accident on Saturday and died on Sunday due to head injuries. He was 35 and a father of 2 kids. Even though he was a former co-worker and we had not worked together for over a year, he had an impact on everyone he worked with. Brent was the life of the party wherever he went and you would never forget his smile and laugh. In fact, me and two of my other co-workers had just had lunch with him about 5 months ago! I can even remember him telling me he was going to get a motorcycle and I told him, "Brent, you don't need one of those, they are dangerous." Well, today was the funeral and it was so sad! The church was packed with so many friends and family. His Pastor, cousin, boss and best friend all spoke. His best friend's speech really did everyone in. In it he said, "Please make sure you always tell or ask your friends whatever is on your mind, cause you never know when it will be the last time you have the chance." That will make you think...

So anyway--that is what is on my mind tonight. My heart is heavy. Sometimes this life is not fun, but I know I have a better one to look forward to one day! I challenge you today to be thankful for your family, thankful for your friends and thankful for your health...we are not promised any of them.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pinch me, I think I am ten again!

This past Sunday night, I traveled back in time to 1991 and got to experience one of the greatest concerts I have ever been too! I waited 16 years for this and it was well worth the wait! I am talking about, none other than, New Kids On the Block!! That's right, blog readers, I went to the NKOTB concert and it was AWESOME!! I got two, last minute, tickets from my sweet mother-in-law, Sherry (her company owns a suite that had available tickets) and acted like a child when I found out I could have them! So, my best friend, Kristy and I went, and had the best time ever! We sang and screamed our little hearts out and I am pretty sure Joey, looked and pointed right at me! (ok, maybe not, but a girl can dream, right?)

They sang all of their great hits and some of their new stuff too! When I say hits, I mean all the good ones, girls. You know, Right Stuff, Hangin Tough, Step by Step, Please Don't Go Girl, Forever, Cover Girl and Tonight!!! And don't think I didn't remember every bet I did! AND they still got the moves!! I think Kristy and I were the only ones who obeyed what the ticket said, and didn't bring our cameras in, but I thought I would "borrow" some pics from my friend Whitney's facebook...hope you don't mind Whit!
You got the Right Stuff, baby

They did a couple of songs from this stage in the middle of the arena -- can you believe a girl actually threw her bra up there? (I hope I can get it back -- totally kidding! ha)

See, I told you Joey was pointing at me!

Sing it Jordan!

They still got it!

P.S. Mom-I am no longer bitter that I never went to their concert when I was ten. Good things come to those who wait!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Weenies, On your mark...

This past Saturday we took Polo to the Annual Weiner Dog races, held at Southlake’s Oktoberfest! Yes, that is right…we entered our 7 month old dachshund in her first weenie race! It was so much fun and hilarious to watch! There were more than 100 wiener dogs there—all shapes, sizes and colors! They broke them up in groups of 6 and Polo was number 13, so we were in the 3rd heat and guess what? SHE WON HER RACE!! This then allowed her to be in the semi-finals! However, during the semi-final race, she smelled something in the grass and decided it was more important than the race. Classic!! So, we didn’t get a trophy, but we were very proud of our little girl for trying her hardest!

The lanes

She made some friends (Can you find Polo?)

Polo's support team (Bobby and sister Serena)

Here is the race from the Semi-finals, where something is the grass is way more important the end of the race! (She is the one in the middle of the screen) As you will see at the end, things turn pretty crazy when two other dogs jump their fence and try to run off. Too funny!

There's always next year!!

Four Year Anniversary

I can’t believe it, but last Thursday (October 2nd), Bobby and I celebrated our four year anniversary! I know people say it all the time, but time really does fly by! A lot has changed in our lives since our last anniversary. We have moved into our first house, Bobby is in a new role at work and we got our dog, Polo! Those are some major changes, people! :)

We had a great anniversary evening! It started out with dinner at Dakota’s – a really nice restaurant in downtown Dallas that is actually underground. You have to ride an elevator that is outside, down to the restaurant. The atmosphere is beautiful and the food is AMAZING! After stuffing ourselves at dinner we headed over to the Dallas Meyerson Symphony Center, where we went to hear Kenny G! Some of ya’ll may be thinking that we are kinda young to like Kenny G, but you are oh-so-wrong! :) Bobby and I love to listen to his CDs, especially his Christmas ones! He is so amazing on that saxophone! Not only did he play with his band, he was accompanied by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, so the sound was so good. The drummer and percussionist rocked out a bit, when they did their solos. This was our second year to hear him live, so if you ever get the chance (even if you are just a little bit of a fan), I highly recommend it!

Riding the elevator down to the restaurant

My yummy pork chop

The Sotos

Kenny G Concert

It was a great evening spent with the man I love and I look forward to many more to come!

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Joys of Being an Aunt!

God has blessed Bobby and I with 4 AMAZINGLY cute nephews - Corbin (5), Callen (3 1/2), Cade (2) and Cohen (4 months). They are so fun to be around and we love them so much! Here are a few pics of me just enjoying being an aunt!

Corbin being tickled!

Callen didn't want to take a picture

Look at those baby blues (Cade)

Love me some kisses!

Corbin is goofy!

But he is also SO sweet!

Corbin, Cohen and Aunt Kim



Cohen likes to giggle!

Cade being attacked by the "tickle monster"