Monday, December 27, 2010

A "brief tail"

We are in the midst of potty training Bo again . . . don't judge . . . he has had some physical issues that made it very hard to train him and now that we are getting better control of those things, we have raised our expectations for him. He is still so very uninterested, dare I say, annoyed by all things toilet. Needless to say, we have gone through numerous pairs of underwear . . . in fact, today we ran out. So I borrowed some of Tru's. And while Josh, Caroline, Tru and I were playing a game of Sorry, Bo ran by in the loaner pair. Tru paused from his turn, looked at us and said in all seriousness, "I really hope Bo doesn't pee in my briefs!"

It took us a minute to recover. I love the unintended funnies that come out of their mouths!

Recap and Blues

I am such a big event person . . . I LOVE the preparations, the decorations, the songs, the food, the smells and the feeling of Christmas!! Consequently, however, I am SOOOOO sad to go to bed Christmas night and December 26th is one of my least favorite days. Today, Caroline and I went to Target and it was such a let down . . . no hustle and bustle; it was pretty empty and everything Christmas was on major markdown. <SIGH>

On a positive note, we had a WONDERFUL Christmas! Our kids are at magical ages and it makes Christmas so fun. This was a very different Christmas for our family, though. Last year, Caroline said that she really wanted to wake up in her own bed on Christmas. Up until our wedding, my parents and I went to my Granny and Pop's house for Christmas and after Josh and I got married, we alternated between Granny's and his family in Georgia. I had never been at my house on Christmas morning. Josh and I never minded the travel, but agreed that as soon as one of our kids expressed a desire to stay home, we would start some new traditions.  As special and fun as it was to make new memories, it was also very bittersweet. Our first Christmas without Granny was very sad at times, but Granny would have been so ticked if we had let that feeling dominate the occasion, so in her honor, we partied!

We started Christmas eve with donuts and then my mom, my Aunt Cindy, Caroline, and I went to get pedicures. That is a new tradition I think we should keep ;).  In between the donuts and pedicure, I decided to attempt some Georgia Christmas dishes to add to our feast. I wanted Josh to feel as if it was truly a merging of traditions. Somehow we got it all done in time to go to the 4:30 Christmas Eve service at church and then went to my parents house to eat with them and my aunt and uncle and cousin who came from Texas. We stuffed ourselves full of yummy goodness (I even managed to pull off the Bass dressing, dirty rice, and banana pudding!) and rolled ourselves into the living room to open presents. . . Do you think our kids were excited?!

Our kids were blessed with many wonderful presents and managed to seem truly grateful! Each year, my mom gets the kids a set of matching pajamas. After all the other presents were opened, they donned their pj's and we headed home to open our little family's gifts and get ready for Santa! (Well, technically, we reopened them since Bo had opened them all while Josh was in the shower and we were getting our toenails all gussied up!)

 It was a very Kindle Christmas around here . . . Josh, my dad, my Uncle Terry, and cousin Rory all got one!

We believe that Santa needs a little caffeine along the way . . . maybe it's because half of us are lactose intolerant, but Diet Coke seems like a better gift for the big guy than ANOTHER glass of milk!

 Christmas morning was spectacular . . . the kids managed to wait until 7:30 to get up....we had a gate at the bottom of the stairs and blankets covering the rails so they couldn't peek. It was great fun to watch them revel in their gifts and express true joy and glee!! We played with the new toys for a while and around 10:30 my parents and aunt, uncle, and cousin came over for brunch and stockings. I loved hosting the morning . . . it was great to let the kids play and enjoy their gifts with no rush to be anywhere. I incorporated another of Josh's Christmas memories into the morning and we had breakfast casserole, Monkey bread, grits, and lots of laughs.

 Looks like Santa enjoyed the diet coke ;)
Anxiously waiting at the bottom of the stairs
.... and they're off!

 Sascha's indoor slide
 Bo's Buzz Lightyear Spaceship
 Caroline's Ipod Touch
 Tru's Indiana Jones Legos
 Wings with a ball gun
 Tru found Tate's GINORMOUS bone
 she loved sliding
 my cousin Rory with the kids (he was so sweet with them!)
 you spell their names T-R-O-U-B-L-E
 Sascha's favorite stocking stuffer was the whoopie cushion . . . she thinks it is hilarious!
 Caroline, Cindy, Terry, and Rory

I must admit that change and I are usually not friends . . . I loooove tradition. But this year required new traditions be started. It was not as hard as I expected, but I missed the smell of Granny's house and the familiar routine from 33 years of Christmas done the same way. It made it easier to dive into this new normal because there were 4 sweet kids to focus on. I also knew the best way to honor Granny was to enjoy the holiday that she always worked so hard to make special. She was there in spirit, but even more cool than that . . . she was actually celebrating the birth of Jesus with Jesus. My grandfather died my senior year of high school and for the last 15 years, I have left a Christmas card for him at his grave. Granny kept them all and, in a Providential decision, gave them to me last Christmas. This year, I was at a loss. I wouldn't be going to Pop's grave this year. And Granny couldn't collect his card. It was one of the more emotional realizations of the season for me. Then I had this idea and decided to send Pop and Granny a card together . . . 

There were definitely moments of sadness this season, but there were so many more joyful ones. And God has been so good to overwhelm me with hope recently . . . just like the angel told Mary, "Nothing is impossible with God!"

I hope that your Christmas was as warm and wonderful as ours!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas from the Bass Family

We hope the holiday season finds you well! I know I skimped on the Christmas letter last year . . . sorry! There has been much to reflect on this year and so I am glad to sit down and try to recapture it. First of all, I have to say the theme of this year would have to be God’s grace. We have seen FIRSTHAND that it is sufficient each day, each hour, and even each minute. 2010 has been difficult but God was still good in spite of the hard times. And there were definitely some wonderful times as well. 
Very early in the year, we found out that my dad had prostate cancer. And while we all knew that it was one of the better cancers to have, that didn’t really take away from the stress and sadness and fear that we experienced. (FYI, the kids were just told that Papa was sick, not that he had cancer because that is an even scarier word for little people.) The Lord was so good to my dad and our family.  Based on the initial tests, it looked small and contained and not as aggressive as it could have been. Through much prayer and much research, my dad decided to go ahead and have a prostatectomy in March. This allowed more treatment options to be available for him in the future if needed. God’s hand was obviously in that decision because once the prostate was removed they found not only was it more aggressive than originally believed, it was also in all four quadrants and outside of the prostate. He recovered well from surgery and has had an amazing attitude throughout the entire process. He kept saying he just didn’t want to miss God and what He had for him during this experience. We were all touched by the way people reached out to us and by God’s grace throughout the time. His most recent lab’s indicate that he is cancer free!
No sooner had we all began breathing regularly again from that, my Granny died. Granny was an amazing grandmother, but she was an even more amazing friend and woman. My kids adored her and she them.  I miss her daily and feel at times I am still reeling from the sudden loss. She was the most independent woman I have ever known and the Lord was kind to her and allowed her to go fast. She had a massive heart attack on May 2nd (poor Josh’s birthday)and never recovered. Mom and Dad and I were able to be with her as she passed and it is a memory I will cherish forever. To be able to hold her hand and thank her for her life and love as she entered the presence of Jesus was precious. So much of who I am is because of her. I cannot wait to see her in heaven. How blessed we are to have hope that there is more than just this life. It has been hard and painfully wonderful to see my mom handle her death and her estate with grace and tears and honor. We have been able to share some sweet times laughing and crying together.
That week could also be called one of the least favorite weeks of Josh’s life. He and Granny had a special bond and to lose her was very hard for him, too. He came back from the funeral and within 2 days found out that he no longer had a job. Pharmaceuticals is a great job, but there is NO loyalty. I won’t pretend that it was easy. I was (probably safe to say we were) almost afraid to ask what else could happen. Granny and Josh’s job in one week so soon after Dad’s cancer sounded like too much, but again, God’s grace was all over us and we were able to tearfully, prayerfully, and tentatively put one foot in front of the other. We saw how He had already provided for us and chose to believe He would keep His word of not giving us more than we could handle and never leaving or forsaking us. Earlier this year, Josh and a friend, Marty, had decided to start a side business selling ice houses (similar to the ones we own in Pine Bluff). Because of that decision and Josh’s faithfulness towards saving, we were able to have income while he looked for steady work. It was our manna, and the unusual ice house sales rush ended about the same time Josh began working as a physician recruiter for UAMS. 
There are blessings to being unemployed/self-employed . . . we were able to travel over the summer without worrying about vacation days! We went to Disney World with my parents and had a blast. The kids were AMAZING and we were able to have a time of laughter after a very tearful season. We got to spend a week at the beach with Josh’s family and made a lot of memories playing games and laughing. We took a little road trip to Kansas City to see the Clarks and loved every minute with them.
I don’t recount these experiences for you all so you can feel sorry for us or to complain. Rather, I do it because God has been so good to us in a year that felt so awful. 2010 was a year where we had to cling to Him for daily sustenance. Those kinds of years, while not fun, are always precious. 
Here are some quick individual updates . . . 
Caroline is 8 and still a sweet, sweet girl. She is in 3rd grade and loves her class! Caroline is dancing with a Musical Theatre Dance Team and starts competitions in January. She loves it and seems to be somewhat of a natural at performing! When she isn’t dancing, she is reading! (I LOVE that!)
Tru is 6 and in 1st grade. Tru also loves to read . . . he has been particularly interested in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and the Captain Underpants series. He has a great belly laugh and those books really crack him up. Tru played football again this year. I am fairly certain he will not be in the NFL, but he had a great time pretending to be a bobble head on the field and eating snacks after the games!
Bo is 4. Bo is fun and sweet, but he can be hard. He is 100% committed to whatever he is doing . . . if it is cuddling, no one can cuddle better . . . if it is throwing a fit, no one can do that better either! Bo had several months of speech therapy due to a physical issue in his palate. He loved it and tested out 6 months earlier than expected! Bo really loved having something that was just his and did not like anyone but me going in to therapy or talking to his Miss Yauren (Lauren). She, of course, adored him, too!
Sascha Jane. Oh my. She is 2 and BOY IS SHE 2! And fun. And sweet. And the current focus of most everyone’s attention! Sascha has a great sense of humor and great comic timing. She loves to talk and color on ANYTHING (including the walls and herself). We all adore her and are enjoying watching her become her own little person!! (Oh, and I LOVE that she is still a mommy’s girl!)
Josh is doing a great job as a physician recruiter. He is selling ice houses with Marty. He is teaching some 3rd grade boys Sunday School and was Tru’s football coach this year. He still loves to run.
I am teaching some 3rd grade girls Sunday School and trying to be involved in the kids’ school. I am involved in the most amazing, life changing Bible Study I have ever done and am eternally grateful to our babysitter, Abby, for my weekly “Rachel-time”! If there is time after all of that, I still like to run too!
We truly do wish you a Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Thank you for being in our lives!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


It's true. The title is not just a ploy to draw in my readers. I am a big, fat chicken. And my big, fat chickenness is on display because I am an even bigger, fatter, idiot. A couple of months ago I decided to go for a run . . . while pushing the stroller . . . and wearing my Sketcher Shape-Ups . . . in our hilly neighborhood. Well, my hip has never been the same and after an x-ray and painful exam, my doctor ordered an MRI to see if I tore anything.


Fact: An MRI of the hip requires a FULL BODY MRI for 45 MINUTES!

Fact: I am already sweating.

There is an open MRI clinic close by and they may be comparable price wise. Apparently we have pretty lousy insurance that doesn't pay as much as it should. And get this . . .  Josh works for A HOSPITAL . . . a hospital that is sending me to another hospital to have this done. Does that seem weird to anyone else? 

Anyway . . . your prayers for the people who have to deal with me next week will be much appreciated. I am sure I will scar them and annoy them. (Just ask my dentist . . . I don't handle people leaning over me and messing around with my mouth well either.)

In my defense, I have birthed 4 children with much bravado. And I had a colonoscopy without ANY sedation or medication. I know every twist and turn of my intestines. So I am not a total wuss. My pride just thought you should know that.