Thursday, December 20, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Dear Friends and Family,

As you may know, this has been quite a busy year for us. We started 2007 with Melody pregnant and Maya turning two. Jeff began his final semester at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. We also began to pack up everything in hopes to move to Ohio in the summer.

Melody went with her friend, Fauna, to Arizona in the Spring to see their friends, Petra, Tessa, and Kathy. She then went to Chicago to meet up with friends from Birmingham, Cortney, Jane, Katie, and Angie.

Jeff graduated with honors in May with a Bachelor of Science in Materials Engineering. Melody (finally) received her degree with honors with a Bachelor of Science in Health Science.

We sold our house in Vestavia Hills and began our hunt for one near Dayton, OH. We decided to stay with Mom Kingsley in Lexington, KY while we searched. Because of all the heavy moving, Melody began labor a tad too early and had to go to the hospital and be put on temporary bed rest. She recovered after a couple of weeks of rest and the baby stayed put!

Jeff was able to join the Boy Scouts, from our home church in Birmingham, to attend a High Adventure Camp in the Florida Keys! He was able to travel out to sea (during a tropical storm) and use his scouting skills as well. He loved being with the scouts and miss them terribly.

Melody also did some traveling to Florida to see her friend, Laura, marry Lance King. Because of the bedrest, she missed her dear friend Debra's wedding in Alabama to (her former high school sweetheart) Bill Whittaker. When Melody was feeling better, she also went to Vermont with her best friend, friend Tami, to see their college friend Rachel, get married to her longtime boyfriend (10 years!!) Jonathan Taylor. Lots of traveling and lots of weddings!!

After all the traveling was over, we all moved to Medway, Ohio (near Dayton) to be close to Jeff's new position as an engineer with the US Government. He loves his job and couldn't have dreamed of anything more. We had to give away our dogs, Missy and Koda, but they are both in great hands. We miss them so much.

Maya has blossomed this year. She knows so much and we are so proud of her. (See previous posts for wonderful stories!) She was most excited when she received her baby, Reili. Reili was born by c-section on August 14th at 11:24am. She was 7 pounds 10 ounces and 19 inches long.

Right after Reili's birth, Jeff injured his knee by tearing his ACL and Meniscus! He underwent knee surgery a few weeks later. He is recovering well. (We feel like we are getting old because we are mentioning our ailments in this letter.)

Melody began working for two health and wellness companies as a per diem wellness consultant. She usually works a couple of days a week and loves working in the healthcare field.

Jeff and Melody are both going to begin working on their Master's degrees in the Spring. Jeff will pursue a Master of Materials Engineering and Melody will pursue a Master of Public Health. Maya will pursue a pre-school education (hopefully) and Reili will pursue bigger things such as learning to crawl and sit up.

We hope you are enjoying this glorious holiday season. We love our Savior, Jesus Christ, and hope you enjoy celebrating his birth this Christmas Day. God bless!

Jeff, Melody, Maya, and Reili Kingsley

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Earning her keep.

Signs I'm Getting Older

I recently went on a trip for work to Kentucky and Indiana. On the way, I realized that I am not the youngest person in the room anymore. It is a tough transition from being young and vibrant to being the woman who talks about breast milk and diapers.

I got in the car, which was pre-warmed so I wouldn't be cold, and cranked up my music... which for once was not the Wiggles. In my pensive face (see previous post), I began to think about the following things:

1. The loud music was too loud thus I progressively turned it down throughout my drive.
2. The loud "music" was NPR and John Mayer.
3. I had the car completely packed the night before so I wouldn't forget anything in my sleepy stupor.
4. The seat heater in my car not only warms me, but comforts my achy muscles.
5. 5 miles over the speed limit would get me there fast enough. No need to raise my insurance premiums by getting a ticket!
6. Sensible shoes are underrated.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Pensive Maya

"You're looking very pensive."
"No, I'm just thinking." -The Thiedemans

Monday, December 17, 2007

Sugar Hangover

I don't feel so good. Yesterday was a yucky, icy, snowy day. We stayed inside all day and made it a nice family day. I suggested to Jeff that I wanted to make cookies. He put in a request for sugar cookies with frosting. I like cookies but not super sweet cookies. We made a batch of sugar cookies and I got a recipe for frosting that called for 4 cups of confectioner's sugar. I ate a few cookies and think I may have OD'ed on sugar. I have a headache and feel lethargic. Maybe I can rinse out my system with a lot of water. Don't you just love the holidays?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Jeff vs. Netflix... Who would win??

My dad was a happy go lucky, laid back, easy going kind of guy. His nickname was "Smiley" because he always seemed to have a big smile on his face. He served in the Air Force for 20 years and never made it to a high rank because he was pretty content where he was. I would have to say he was an Omega Male. This terminology doesn't really exist, but there you have it.

They say that girls want to marry a man like their father. I guess I'm the exception to that rule. I think I wanted to marry the opposite of my dad. My husband is extremely competitive. He will compete with me at any game (even though he's the only one competing). He works hard day in and day out. He is always at the top of his class, was close to my dad's rank when he left the Navy after only 4 years, and excels and anything he does. He is the alpha male... he is not an alpha male... he is the alpha male.

We decided to get Netflix. Netflix is a fun way of renting movies because you choose a plan where you can have x amount of movies at a time and you are able to watch the movies when you want and return them when you want. Jeff decided to do the math. He's an engineer, so everything we do somehow merits the need for him to pull out his massive graphing calculator. Anyhoo, he figured that if we watched the movie the day we got it and put it in the mail the next day, it would only cost blah blah amount per movie if we got the blah blah amount per month plan. "Sure," I said, "that plan sounds good to me." So that's what we did.

To give you a little insight into my life, you must read previous posts. Not that anyone I know has an easygoing stress-free life, but I just want to say that I barely have time to shower, much less watch a movie. No, seriously, I don't have time to shower.

Now, if I get a movie that Jeff doesn't want to watch with me...which happens on a regular basis, then Jeff will attempt to schedule my movie(s) arriving when he is on a business trip. I say attempt because that would entail me watching the movies when I receive them and returning them the next day. I, in my non-competitive nature, do not care to beat the Netflix 'system'. I watch movies when I have time. I got Netflix because of the luxury of not having late fees, watching them at my leisure, etc.

If I do not watch the movie that I want to see in what Jeff deems sufficient time, my movie (unwatched, mind you) will go back into the mail. This is the kind of thing that helps my husband have peace of mind. This is the kind of thing that stresses me out.

To all those who love math, engineering, or even have a competitive nature, can you please tell me if this makes sense?


I have been working hard as a biometric screener/health educator/wellness consultant. There is really no official title for what I do, I just do it, enjoy it and get paid for it. I decided to work a bit extra this week because I will be off for the next three weeks. I work at different companies checking on the employees' health to kind of give them an idea of where they are physically. We check blood pressures, cholesterol, body fat, bone density, and things of that sort. Since most people take time off for the holidays, these companies don't usually schedule health screenings during those times. It is good for me because I get three weeks off without having to request it. It is bad for me because I don't get paid. I had the bright idea of working extra to make up for that time.... so, back to the fun title of this post....

I have worked every day this week. You may think that is no big deal, but for a mom of an infant and an almost 3 yr old, it is VERY hard. I have also only been working 1-3 days a week for roughly 4 hours at a time. This week I was working long days, driving all over Ohio and waking up WAY before the sun. Somewhere around Wednesday night I started falling apart. I was completely exhausted and wanted to go to bed at 7:30pm. Needless to say, this never happened. I got up the next morning and was so tired. I was still pretty clean, I thought, so I slept a little more and skipped the shower. We have all done this, but it CAN backfire.

In my sleepy stupor, I forgot to put on deodorant. I went to work at a corporate site. I thought all was good but I occasionally smelled some B.O. Odd, I thought. These people bathe regularly (I often work at places where people only bathe on occasion). I went on with my day and got home only to realize that it was me. What? Just one day of skipping a shower? How could I be that stinky? Ah, I forgot to put on my deodorant. This is key on a skip shower day. I hope I didn't offend anyone or gross anyone out.

Once again, I was completely exhausted when I got home. I worked all day, drove all over and just wanted to go to bed. I did not make dinner, but somehow we all ate something. I skipped Maya's bath. She seemed to still be good... it is winter, you know? (This is all part of the rationalization that comes with being tired) So, I didn't bathe, Maya didn't bathe and we would all get to bed at a reasonable hour. Then Jeff, who is strangely obsessed with 'beating the system' of Netflix (story to come soon), wanted to watch a DVD on his laptop in our bed when I wanted to go to sleep. Mind you, it was only 7:30pm. I asked him to please put on some headphones and I would go to sleep. I didn't. I watched it.

The next morning I needed to be in a city 1 hour 15 minutes away at 6am. If I got up around 4am, I could leave in time. My alarm went off and Reili wanted to be fed. I fed my bed...while I was laying down. I woke up again and it was 5am. I had to leave because the event started at 6:30am. I had no time to eat, shower, or do much of anything. Why oh why did I skip my shower yesterday?????

I changed my undies (VERY important) slapped on Jeff's man deodorant (serious stuff), sprayed myself down with body spray, brushed my teeth, changed and ran out the door. I cleaned my face with a baby wipe, brushed my hair and put on makeup in the car and made it to my job just as the health screening was beginning. We are encouraged to be there one hour before the event. I was there 2 minutes after it had begun. Wow.

I would like to take this time to relay an important message:
1. Never skip a shower simply because you are could and will probably backfire.
2. If you are over 30, go to bed when you are tired. You aren't a spring chicken. Accept it.