The 2000 Christmas Kazette
    All 3 of us enjoyed a New Year’s Celebration in
downtown Omaha. They covered a section of the town, which included a park with a waterway running through it, with innumerable lights, mostly the small, white variety. There were some holiday themed objects outlined in lights in the waterway, and they also sold 3-D type glasses at local stores that turned the lights into snowflakes, “2000" or, “Noel” when you wore them. Pretty cool. After some speeches they lit the lights all at once. It was cold, but not bitter, so the lighting ceremony was worth the wait. Afterwards they had fireworks and those were pretty too! We had Erika in her backpack and we put some battery powered lights on it; we got lots of comments on that, and plenty more people pointed and nudged the person next to them.
    In February I discovered a soda fountain in a town about 20 minutes away and planned to take Doug there for Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately we all got sick, but fortunately (remember that book?) we were well enough to go a week later for my 33rd birthday!
    We also took a trip in early February to Seattle. My driver’s license was set to expire so I had to go renew it. We made a family trip of it and had a very good time visiting friends and the area.
    Also in February we started a months long
journey of soul searching. The girl who had been babysitting for us, Jamie, had some trouble at home and wound up in a State run facility and asked us to be her foster parents. Her situation was not pretty and we really wanted to help. We visited her each week, went to her court dates, made phonecalls on her behalf and kept in touch with her social worker. In the end we made  the  heart  wrenching decision NOT to take her into our home. We’ve seen her a few times since then and it seems her life, although somewhat better than before, is still in turmoil. I hope she finds peace soon.
    In March Doug and I celebrated our 12th wedding
anniversary. Erika was still fun to bring to restaurants
at that point, plus we didn’t have a babysitter, so we 3 went to “The Spaghetti Factory” and had a very yummy meal. We also took a very nice horse and carriage ride while we waited for our table. Erika was scared of the horse but enjoyed the ride.
   Late in the Spring, Doug and Erika were playing at
the park just down the street and they met a very nice girl, Katy, who happens to live right down the street from us! Whoo hoo! We were back in business with a babysitter. We very much enjoyed having her babysit until she left for college in mid-August. We do have one other very reliable babysitter, Shauna, who goes to college locally, but she also has a job, so she is very busy; we try to book her weeks in advance for things like the plays to which we have season tickets.  Anyway, finding Katy, and then in the Fall, Denise,
has enabled us to indulge in one of our favorite diversions; Movies. We mostly go to comedies like “Space Cowboys” and “Meet the Parents”.
    We had a nice summer; fun fireworks on the 4th,
trips to the zoo and museums, but Doug was also kept busy with trips for work and going to school.
    In June we attended a wedding that was very fun!
Since we were headed East where most of our family and
friends live we extended our trip and ran around visiting
everyone we could squeeze in and spent the last 3 days at
the weekend long wedding of Lydia and John. Doug and I
know Lydia from college. They had the celebration at a
State Park in NY; the invited guests had cabins for the
whole weekend and there were activities, food, sun, fun as
well as a beautiful ceremony.  There were FAMILIES there
so Erika fit right in. It was a blast. Our plane trips to and
from the area were quite another story. Suffice it to say
that driving would have been less of a headache.   Ha!
    What was a fun trip was our ‘vacation’ with Doug’s parents to western Nebraska and South Dakota! We met up with them in Scott’s Bluffs, NE with the intention of
camping for a few days as we traveled around. However, SNOW... that’s right, snow in September, had us rearrange our plans a bit so that we stayed in cabins all but our last
night. We explored Scott’s Bluffs, drove to Mount Rushmore in S.D. via “Carhenge” (if you don’t know, ask me) and finally tented near Valentine, NE on our way back home.
    The Fall brought 2 bits of excitement to us. The
first was my “Non-ID” from the agency through which I was
adopted as a baby. This is information culled from the
agency’s files which gives me some information about my
biological family without giving away their identity (hence
the name “Non-ID”). I now know things such as the age of
my birth mother, and a few other things. After guessing at things like that for 33 years it was nice to have some answers, although I would have enjoyed getting more information, identifying or not. I do intend to try to meet these people; future “Kazettes” will undoubtably update you!

    The second bit of excitement, at least for me, was my decision to take HORSEBACK RIDING LESSONS! I started in October and have been enjoying them very much. I go once a week while Doug stays home with Erika. My lesson lasts about 1 ½ hours and
includes me ‘tacking’; brushing, saddling, bridling and undoing all that stuff after. I’ve long wanted to take lessons and figured Nebraska was as good a place as any to finally pursue this interest. (Although technically I take my lessons in Iowa!) I’m not looking to
become an Olympic level equestrian or anything, it’s just a skill I want to have in my arsenal; much like driving a stick-shift... not sure I’ll do it much but I like knowing how. I am enjoying it enough that, as of now, I’d
like to do it way more often then I drive a stick shift, hee hee, but I know how life sometimes tends to divert us from doing things ‘just for fun’. For now I will enjoy the lessons.
    Although this was our second October in
Nebraska, it was the first Halloween that Doug and I
spent together here. As usual we went all out and
carved 5 jack-o-lanterns and had quite a few other
decorations in and around the house and yard. Since
Doug had over 100 kids last year, we bought bags and
bags of candy! The weather was strange this year; we
had lightning all night, some sprinkles, and around 8
PM a true rainstorm, but we still managed to get
nearly 100 trick-or-treaters. AND, this year was the
first time we took Erika door to door! She was dressed
as an Oreo Cookie, while Doug and I each wore a “Got
Milk” t-shirt. Our plan was to take her to about 3 or 4
neighbor’s houses, but Erika enjoyed it so much Doug
and I each took her down a whole block! We’re glad she
enjoyed one of our favorite holidays. (She’s still scared
of Santa!)
    November sped by, and our Thanksgiving table was graced by some friends that we know from our time in WA. Mike and Leigh are now stationed here and it’s certainly nice to see a friendly face in the area! Our Thanksgiving meal was yummy and the weather was nice enough, though somewhat cold, that we took a walk to the park after eating; the adults got a little exercise and Erika got to swing, slide, climb, and play in the sand with her sand toys... not to mention a ride to
and from the park in her wagon. Fun!
    The Thanksgiving weekend gave us a chance to do some yardwork, and I finally worked up the courage to get up on the roof and hang some lights this year. I  had the
extra incentive of clogged gutters... UGH! After cleaning out most of the gutter on the back of the house and hanging about ½ the lights on the front of the house, my fear of heights overcame me and Doug rescued me by finishing the job. Thanks, Sweetie!
So that’s it, our year in a nutshell. If we have your
email address you undoubtably have heard most of the
stuff related here. If we don’t, please send us a message!
Between Doug and I we have something like 8 email
addresses. (Omitted for privacy)
If you’re calling us, PLEASE make sure it’s between
10 am and 9 PM CENTRAL TIME!!!   
And to keep an ‘eye’ on us, visit Erika’s website. I try to do
a decent job of keeping it updated. There’s new stuff every
few months or so when I’m being good. ☺