Sunday, December 28, 2014

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Influenza

It is December 27th.  Just a few days left in 2014.  As I click through the photos that captured our Christmas celebrations, I start to look back over the year.

As with any family, there are ups and down.  Triumphs and heart break.

I am going to gloss over the trials--Ellie's gastrointestinal and sleep issues, my torn hamstring and chronic back issues, my canceled trip to see my best friend, Andrew's wisdom teeth removal, my good friend's cancer diagnosis--and focus on the joys for 2014.



Nearly 1 year ago, Andrew left his long-time job at IBM to take a position with Red Hat, Inc. (I have no idea what exactly he does, but it involved tech stuff).  I was excited by the prospect of moving to the Boston area.  After all, I moved to Texas from the East coast and my best friend lived just an hour away.  Andrew was elated he found out that he could telecommute.  In mid-January, Andrew packed up his office and relocated his place of business to  . . . our dining room.  I so did not win the "let's move to Boston" argument, but Andrew is much happier now that he can roll out of bed and go to work in his PJs while working for a company that he loves and believes in.

We celebrating an early Christmas with my parents. 

Andrew also started to work on a bench to go with our kitchen table.  After 11 months, this large, gorgeous oak bench with tons of storage was finally completed and it made its home in our kitchen just 2 weeks ago.  Andrew really has a talent for architecture and wood-working.  There will be a future blog post on Andrew's DIY activities and believe me when I say you will be impressed!

The year of 2014 is the year that Ellie started to really communicate with us and all around her.  Andrew and I started to see changes in Ellie around February and since then, her communication skills have exploded.  Her signs are more fine-tuned.  She continues to make up signs, which confuses us until we finally figure them out using our powers of telepathy.  She is trying to vocalize.  In fact, with prompting, The Bear can say "I want red juice, please"!

We spent Christmas day at my BIL/SIL's new house in Celina.
For once, Ellie didn't run away from me at picture time.
To avoid the stink-eye, I tickled her.

Over the summer, The Chunky Chicken rode a horse for the very first time.  We thought that she would be scared seeing as she was petrified to go near a horse, but she was a rockstar.  Now, every Monday evening, Ellie has horse therapy.  She tells us "horse" and "key key" [donkey]. The changes that we have seen in Ellie are remarkable and I know that horse therapy is one of her favorite things to do.  Dance classes started back up this Fall and with it, Ellie's gross motor skills have progressed.  She is also imitating everything! She also has several of her own "fashion" posts--on this blog, Instagram, and Facebook.  Oh and did I mention that my BABY turned 5 years-old???

A very sleep deprived Ellie was an ornery little thing at her
classroom Holiday party.  She dumped plates of fruit onto the floor and shook her juice
onto the table.  However, when it came time for the piñata, she waited her turn!

As for me, I got my life back on track.  After years of yo-yo dieting and suffering from poor body image, I finally took control of my life and lost almost 30 lb.  In April, I participated in a 21 Day Fix challenge and I saw a significant change in not only my body, but also with my mental health, sleep, and energy levels.  I then decided to do something that was both exciting and scary--I became an Independent Beachbody Coach and run my own health challenges that focus on physical activity, clean eating, and mental health.  These past few months have been both exciting and challenging as I am now self-employed and trying to figure out the home-work-family balance.  This year, I will not be making the resolution to "loose weight", but rather focus on loving myself, becoming stronger, and creating healthier versions of my favorite foods.

Ellie was a little overwhelmed by all the presents at my in-laws' house.
She also didn't understand that some of those presents were not for her.
Well, maybe she did understand and just didn't care!

In May, our little family went to Madison, Wisconsin for a family vacation.  We stayed with my parents in a rented cabin along Lake Kegonsa.  The weather was gorgeous, the scenery was beautiful, and the company was the best.  After a week in Madison, we headed on down to Rockford, Ill where I gained a sister!  That's right, my baby brother Matt finally found a woman to put up with him.  Amber is the sister that I have always wanted and I am so happy that Matt finally got around to proposing to and then marrying her.  I would have been really unhappy if he let her "get away"!  Goal for 2015: convince the Bruns family to move to Austin.



A few weeks ago, my parents came to visit our little Austinite family for a week.  Mom and I got to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which was full of complicated guitar and electric violin rifts, amazing vocals, pyrotechnics, laser lights, and creative stage scenery.  I do hope that we can make Trans-Siberian Orchestra a tradition.  Of course we did our usual baking cookies with my mom, dining at Z-Tejas, and visiting Santa Claus.



Andrew, Ellie, Sophie Dog, and I made the drive up to Plano, TX to visit Drew's side of the family for Christmas.  The car ride up there was very difficult since I haven't been able to drive more than 20 minutes due to my back, but Ellie was very chill in the back seat.  As opposed to her usually screaming after 2 hours in the car.  We had a really nice visit with my in-laws complete with Dunja's awesome cooking, Charles delicious pies, and movies!  We finally saw Gone Girl.  Mama Dunja and I had a hard time holding it all in since Drew and Papa Charles didn't read the book. We also got to see most of my nieces and nephews and one of my great-nephews!  The drive back was excruciating and required frequents stops and limping (sciatica sucks), but I do not regret making the trip.  In the Theurer household, nothing is more important that spending time with family.

We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Plano.  Ellie got a kick out of
Grandma Dunja  showing her the camera.


True to Ellie Bear form, 2014 is ending with a BANG!  Ellie was just diagnosed a few hours ago with Influenza A and an ear infection.  Girlfriend certainly knows how to ring in the New Year!



*The photos in this post are from: Breakfast with Santa at North Austin Mother's club, Holiday Party at Ellie's school, Lakeline Mall Santa, Christmas with my parents, and Christmas with Andrew's mom and step-father, et al.

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