Saturday, January 31, 2009

Daddy's Election

Here is what Daddy had to say about his election recount this past Monday.

" I called Delegate Herring to congratulate her and let her know that I would not be filing an election contest with the House. I was pleased to learn from her staff that she's been sworn in and was attending a committee meeting when I called.

Along with the people of the 46th District, I look forward to her representation of the 46th district. This recount has been about assuring the voters of the 46th District that the votes they cast were counted accurately and that they have the representative of their choosing in the House. Of course, I had hoped to be that representative, but, ultimately, I requested this recount to ensue the integrity of the voting process. That goal has been accomplished.

My family will always consider this campaign a blessing. We played an active part in the democratic process we so cherish. We met so many great neighbors and have made new friends and strengthened old friendships.

Finally, I hope the General Assembly will take up a change in the Election Code to ensure that absentee ballot voters, and especially military voters, such as those whose ballots were not counted in this election, will be able to have their votes counted in the future."

Friday, January 23, 2009

Katie or Joe Murray’s Wife?

When I worked for Senator Thomas (CT) I used to accompany him to receptions on a fairly regular basis. At these receptions he would always get a name tag and write his name on it, “Craig.” And I would always think the same thing, ‘You are not just Craig, you are Senator Thomas.’ In fact, at the reception honoring his reelection he wore a name tag that said Craig and I asked him about it. He just smiled. Also, whenever he would introduce himself to someone, no matter who it was, he would shake their hand and say, “I’m Craig.” And again I would think, ‘No, you’re Senator Thomas.’ And very rarely, but sometimes, someone would come up and start talking to him, not having a clue that he wasn’t just Craig, he was actually Senator Thomas.

Fast forward to last night, Joe and I attended the Commonwealth Republican Women’s Club. Most of the time Joe and I were standing together, so I was either introduced as Joe’s wife, or the person could put two and two together and figure out that we were married. However, there was one point in the night when Ella and I were off doing our own thing, and Joe was in another part of the house talking with someone. A very nice woman came up to me and introduced herself, so I shook her hand and said “Hi, I’m Katie.” We started talking and through the course of conversation she asked if I was new to the group. I then explained that my husband, Joe, had been invited to come and meet the group, so I came with him. She then looked at me and said, “Oh, you’re Joe Murray’s wife!” I immediately had flash backs to working for CT and thought, ‘Oh no, do I need to start introducing myself as Joe Murray’s wife? Or maybe I should at least say that I’m Katie Murray.’

In the car on the way home I told Joe the story (which of course he loved) and we started talking about how I should introduce myself. We decided that it’s ok for me to keep introducing myself as just Katie. After all, I’m the same Katie I was on December 16, when Joe decided to run for office, and I’m planning on being the same Katie after the absentee ballots are all calculated and the race is officially over. And hopefully, I’ll still be the same Katie the next time Joe runs for office (because he will run again…just wait and see).

This is similar to the time right after college when I decided that I was going to start going by Kathryn because it was more professional. I introduced myself as Kathryn and even had it put on my business cards. It lasted about 2 weeks and one day I woke up and decided that I’m just not a Kathryn, I’m Katie. I don’t have a problem with the name Kathryn (I’ve actually always liked my name because I feel like it gives me name options…Katie, Kate, Kat, Kit, Kathy, etc.), but at the end of the day I just didn’t FEEL like a Kathryn…I felt (and still do) like a Katie. So Katie I will remain.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

19 months old!!!

Ella turns 19 months old today! This means that she is closer to 2 years old than she is to 1 year old! I'm happy and sad all at the same time. I am so excited to see her grow up and learn new things, but I feel like the past 19 months have flown by and part of me wants them back. At least this is a great excuse to bake a cake! Although I already made her sugar cookies with frosting and she doesn’t like them (whose child is this?). I guess she’s a strictly chocolate chip girl.

Anyway, the days leading up to Ella’s 19 month birthday were rough. The poor girl is getting teeth, which means that she is sleeping even worse than usual and isn’t eating nearly as much as her mommy wants her to. Add to this the typical fussiness that comes from getting teeth and things around the Murray house haven’t been fun. Luckily Tylenol was always close by to help out and make her feel better.

Monday night Ella and Joe were playing and she was walking all around downstairs having a great time. Unfortunately, she slipped on a rug and fell. Initially Joe thought it was nothing out of the ordinary. She falls a lot…she’s a new walker. Our biggest concern in these falls is new blisters on her hands and legs. However, after this fall she wouldn’t put any weight on her right leg. We examined her leg closely during her bandage change, and there was a little bit of swelling, but no bruising, so we decided to give her Tylenol and wait to see how she reacted in the morning. Well, it wasn’t better. In fact, when she woke up and wanted to stand up she lifted her foot and started crying and saying “boo boo.” So we called the doctor.

Of course the only time they had open was at 11:00 am…right before the inauguration. So we missed the entire inauguration and instead spent the time getting Ella’s leg examined and x-rayed. Luckily she just has a sprained ankle and the doctor told us to let her take the lead on when to start walking on it. By last night she was walking on it and seemed to be doing fine.

When we got home from the doctor Ella was tired, not feeling so good, and had spent the day surrounded by strangers poking her (her regular physician was out of the office) so we were taking it easy in the basement watching cartoons. All of a sudden she looked at me and said, “Blues Clues.” Oh no, we don’t have any Blues Clues videos and the show isn’t on anytime soon. So I tell her that Blues Clues isn’t on. Our tired, cranky, teething, and hurt foot baby burst into tears. My first thought was that on my next trip to Target I was going to buy a Blues Clues video, along with any other video she might possibly want to watch, just in case she asks for it when she’s having a tough day. After all, she’s gone through a lot today and all she wants is to watch Blues Clues…and I can’t help her! I was able to distract her with her favorite Elmo video (the Country songs video) and everything ended up ok. She even ate a ton of spaghetti while watching the video…twice…the things parents put up with for their kids.

Last night she slept much better and this morning she wasn’t as cranky. Hopefully the teeth will be in soon and the leg will be healed, then she’ll be back to her normal, happy self.

Monday, January 19, 2009

How I spent my Saturday afternoon

I decided several days ago that Ella needed some blocks. She loves to stack things and right now all she has is either her nesting blocks, which don't really work because one always falls into the other, or her little 1 inch blocks, that aren't big enough to make a really big tower. I decided that I wanted her to have the big cardboard kind, like they had in the church nursery when I was a kid. So I set out on a quest. Target (the best store on the planet) didn't have any, and Babies R Us didn't have any. Finally, I found the perfect ones at Toys R Us. It was the deluxe package with 45 pieces. When I picked up the box I thought to myself, "Wow, how do they fit all of those blocks in this little box." I bought the blocks along with some big bouncy balls (buy 1, get 2 could I pass that deal up), and we came home.

Ella was very excited and the whole way home she kept saying "Blocks!" When we got home, we went down to the basement to open the blocks and let the playing begin...and over and over Ella kept saying "Blocks!" She was ready to play! However, when I opened the box I didn't get what I had expected.

This is the box. See how much fun the kids are having?

This is what was inside the box. What? You mean I have to FOLD them into the boxes? No way! I consider myself pretty savvy when it comes to figuring things out. In fact, I'm the one who sets up all the TVs and DVD players, etc around the house because it's easy and fun for me to figure it out. So I was optimistic.

After all, these were the directions and they looked easy enough.

Meanwhile my sweet patient daughter is sitting right next to me asking for her blocks and pointing to the box where the kids are having so much fun! So I start.
The first block took me no less than 13 minutes to fold...yes, 13 minutes for 1 block...I timed it. The directions were about as clear as mud, and what they don't tell you is that if you happen to take your hand off the block before everything is in place, then the entire box comes undone and you're back at square 1.

Luckily not all of the blocks took me 13 minutes, but it was still a long time folding. At the end of 1 hour, this was my finished product.

And this was Ella.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Daddy's Election Update

Daddy's election ended up being too close to call as he is down 16 votes out of a total of 2679 cast.

The election is in an official recount and scheduled to be resolved on Jan. 26th at 10AM. We'll keep you posted.

I must say, though, since he is no longer campaigning, it is nice for Mommy and I to have him home more often.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Ella's first post

Hi, this is Ella and this is a picture of me and my daddy.

Tomorrow there is a very special election in the 46th district in Alexandria, VA and my daddy is running. Please go out tomorrow and cast your vote for my daddy for the Virginia House of Delegates. Thank you.

Love, Ella

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Ella Update

I know it has been a while since I updated, but I caught the Murray Cold from Christmas, and have spent the past few days getting over that. I am much better today, but I still can’t breathe through my nose. Lets just keep our fingers crossed that Ella and Joe don’t get it.

On Tuesday we took Ella for her 18 month appointment. This gave us both good news and bad news. The good news is that she’s grown 1 ½ inches, which explains why her 18 month pants are getting short. The bad news is that she’s lost almost 1 lb. Of course this was not the news we wanted to hear, but I am convinced that the loss is due to all of the Christmas hustle. With so many new people around and so much activity, Ella was easily distracted when it came to eating, and I already mentioned in my previous post that eating in Colorado was much worse than typical, ie pumpkin bread and chocolate chip cookies. Now that she’s back in the comfort of her own home, we are all hopeful that Ella’s weight will pick back up. Please just pray for her weight. Of course the worst case scenario was the first thing that went through my mind. A lot of kids with Ella’s type of EB end up having to get a G-Tube (Gastric Feeding Tube) because they can’t eat enough calories for their bodies to grow and heal at the same time. So, being the worrying mom that I am, I of course started thinking about that having to happen. I honestly don’t think we’re to that point yet because I really do think that all of the activity around the holidays was our main problem, but I’m going to keep shoving food at Ella until our follow up appointment in 6 weeks where we’ll have her weighed again.

Of course the best news of all was that the doctor said to me, and this is a quote, “Typically girls advance faster than boys do verbally, but Ella is even advanced for girls her age.” See…I told you she was a genius. She is really into 2 word sentences and is even testing out 3 word sentences like “Bless you, mommy” when I sneeze, and “Thank you mommy.” And she repeats EVERYTHING! The cutest is that she has this dog and when you press its nose it sneezes, so she presses it and it will sneeze, then she repeats “choo” followed by “bless you.” She has also really started to figure out the power of tears, which is cute, but bad in the long run. When she wants to watch Elmo she will put both of her hands on my cheeks and turn my face to hers, then she’ll say, “Elmo” (she’s advanced to the full word now, not just Mo). When I say no she gets a sad face and says “Please.” When I still say no (because there is only so much Elmo a mom can handle) she starts crying and says “Elmo please. Movie. TV. Barney. Doggie. BOTTLE!” Then I get her some yogurt and we’re usually good…for awhile.

I can’t let the day pass without giving a shout out to my boyfriend, Elvis. Yes, today is his birthday and I hope you all go out tonight and celebrate in his honor. As soon as I get home I’m putting on my Elvis t-shirt.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Home Sweet Home

I hope you all had a terrific Christmas and a very Happy New Year. We have been extremely busy around here, but having a great holiday season nonetheless.

Christmas Eve we went to the service at our church. It was beautiful and Ella even sat through it all. That was very impressive for a 1 year old! I think the music is what kept her quiet…as you all know, she loves her mui. After the service our friends and neighbors, the Dunaway’s, came over for dinner. No, I didn’t make a turkey with all the trimmings, we had chicken. Right before bed we did the traditional Alexander gift opening. Everyone gets to open one gift and every year it’s the same thing…a new pair of pajamas. This way you always have something new to sleep in on Christmas Eve. Joe got new pajama bottoms, I got a new sleep shirt (that I picked out myself so of course I love it) and Ella got flannel Dora the Explorer pajamas. She held them up to her face and said “soft.”

Christmas morning was a lot of fun. Ella doesn’t really grasp the concept of Santa yet, all she knew was that she came downstairs and saw Elmo! What more could a little girl ask for? In fact, her Christmas was full of Elmo. Santa left an Elmo couch and two Elmo videos in her stocking. Mom and dad gave her an Elmo doll and an Elmo cell phone. Joe’s favorite gift was probably his new 2-way radios for hunting that Ella gave him. My favorite gift is the new digital camera that Joe gave me! Our old camera was on its last leg and was using batteries like they were nothing. I was so excited!

Just after we opened gifts, we started packing up to head out to Colorado. We left Christmas afternoon and arrived Christmas evening. We got to Denver that night and met up with Joe’s sisters Jenny, Maureen, Katie and Tricia, and his brother Billy and all of their families. We had so much fun at the hotel and during dinner. The next morning we all woke up bright and early (mainly because we were all on east coast time) and headed out for Grand Lake, CO which is a beautiful mountain community. There we met up with Sue and her husband, Brian, Janet (the mom of the bunch) and soon Joe’s sister Ellen and her family joined us.

The Murray’s are such a great family, but when we all get together things are a bit chaotic, to say the least. With Janet, 8 kids, 7 spouses and 10 grandkids, that makes for a whopping 26 people. That’s a lot of people in one house (we slept in 2 houses but got together for most dinners). I think Ella was pretty overwhelmed at first, but she soon adjusted and even started saying some people’s names. She especially liked Grammy and would call for her constantly.

The week was so much fun. Joe got to go ice fishing, skiing, ride a snowmobile and play football in the snow (which of course caked ice on his jeans because he wouldn’t wear snow pants…something about not being able to move enough for football…it’s all about the sports). I went to the Grand Lake Holiday Melodrama, and we all went on a horse drawn sleigh ride (which Ella fell asleep during). Ella wasn’t really sure what to think of the snow. She did learn the word “cold” while we were there. And she HATED her snow suit and coat. She would cry and wiggle every time we put it on her. The only thing she didn’t seem to mind, and actually enjoyed, was her hat.

I can’t mention a Murray get-together without mentioning the food. Janet is an incredible cook, and she didn’t disappoint this week. The only problem is that Ella learned how good chocolate chip cookies are and she stopped eating her cheerios in lieu of Grammy’s pumpkin bread. Ella would look at me with those blue eyes and say, “cookie.” As a mom and fellow cookie lover, how can I deny her the joy of the chocolate chip cookie…especially Grammy’s chocolate chip cookies? So I would get her a small piece, but no, Ella wanted a whole cookie…and she always finished it. The only thing that made me feel better was that Ella’s cousin, Edie, ate a little container of cream cheese for breakfast one morning. At least my kid isn’t alone.

We got home on New Years Day and I’ve been running around frantically cleaning and doing laundry ever since. I think I almost have things under control. Joe has been back on the campaign trail walking through neighborhoods and meeting people. I have uploaded a few more pictures in the December folder, and added our Colorado pictures in the Christmas folder. I was still learning how to use my new camera, but I can already tell that the pictures are much higher quality.

I would like to add just a little note asking you all for prayer for some people I know, and some people I don’t. Due to the rough economy, the ADA had to lay off over 60 people. Luckily I still have my job, but my heart goes out to all the people who are out there looking for a new job.

Murray Christmas and Happy New Year!