San Antonio Trip

I think I mentioned a while back on the blog that I would be taking a work trip in early January.  Well, the time had come for the trip!  I was given the enormous task of planning all the major (and minor) details and we were just a few days away and then I received this news.  Needless to say, the trip had a dark cloud looming overhead, but I had done too much planning and I was anticipating this adventure way too much to just let it all go away.  Thankfully it was a nice distraction and quality time spent with Chad.  Let’s recap:

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Wednesday evening we flew out.  We flew Southwest, which in our experience was a very enjoyable airline.  Two short flights and we reached our destination.  In fact, when we landed in Dallas, we were able to get on a earlier flight that had enough space for our group.  What a blessing!  We arrived in San Antonio around 9PM and grabbed a taxi to our hotel (what an adventure).

After we arrived and got checked in, and were incredibly tired and hungry.  Asked the front desk of places to eat and they didn’t have many great suggestions, so we settled (which was excellent) for room service.  It was kinda crazy for Chad to pick up the phone to call and for them to call him Mr. Hershberger.  We just don’t get treated like that everyday.

IMG_1217Thursday morning Chad and I grabbed Starbucks, which was just across the street from our hotel.  In fact, Chad was treating me so well that anytime I asked for Starbucks over the trip, he always answered with yes.  (He knew that he would crack down once we got back home)  After breakfast, I started in on my work obligations.  While the meetings would not officially start until the afternoon, I was there early to help prepare last minute details and coordinate with the office if we needed anything.  I put finishing touches on powerpoints, crafted final numbers and graphs, and coordinated final details with the hotel staff.

Lunch for me was at Texas Land and Cattle on the Riverwalk.  YUM!  I had brisket tacos and they were delicious.  Chad had a friend from his college football days that lives down there so, he met up with a buddy for lunch at Rosarios.  He said it was the best Tacos he’s ever eaten!!

Thursday afternoon for me was all about rolling with the punches.  Never in a million years would I have thought that San Antonio would provide so many travel issues (airplane) for the rest of my co-workers to arrive in TX.  There was thick fog over the city and it provided a few obstacles for everyone to get in on time.  We ended up going on the fly and switching the schedule around just a bit to accommodate all the delays.  While I was in meetings, Chad went out exploring.  He walked along the Riverwalk, found Market Square, located the mall, and a few other attractions that he knew I would want to hit when we could explore together on Saturday.

Thursday evening we had a mexican buffet at Iron Cactus on the river walk.  Again, excellent food and time spent getting to know my co-worker’s spouses (since we don’t all work in the same office)  Chad thrives in those kinds of situations and he had fun making his rounds in the room.

Friday, again was a full day of meetings for me, and another fun day for Chad.  Chad even got to go see The Hobbit again.  And I was just thankful that he got to see it without me for a 2nd time!  For lunch, Chad met up with another college football buddy and they went to a local hamburger joint.  Chad said the burger hit his top 5….ever!

Friday evening was our dinner and awards ceremony.  We ate at The Palm which was just down the street from our Hotel.  Chad and I both had Filet Mignon and it was out of this world.  Wow, so delicious.  We had green beans, and Potatoes Au Gratin and the largest slice of cheesecake I’ve ever seen for dessert.  We spent time recognizing the accomplishments of the company and those within the company that were top achievers.  We even had a quiz for spouses (which Chad won a giftcard) and a quiz for the admin staff (where I won a gift card) after which Chad planted a huge kiss on me in front of everybody.  I was embarrassed and Chad loved every minute of it! 🙂

Saturday was our day to explore!  Chad, again, had more friends that lived in the city and they came and picked us up for breakfast.  We stopped on the way to their house to pick up breakfast tacos at a joint that is known for them (Taco Haven).  In fact, Tommy Lee Jones is known to frequent this spot.  They were delicious.  On the way to their house, we also drove past San Antonio Mennonite church where I spent a week one summer in High School on a church youth group trip.  Wow, the memories came flooding back – we packed 150 youth in to a small church to sleep and shower in the heat of a San Antonio summer.  During the day we went out on service projects (I worked at a homeless shelter) and in the evenings we gathered for devotions and worship.  ANY-way.  We gathered around the table at our friends house and caught up on life and then they dropped us off at the Tower of Americas.  Chad wanted to go up in the tower and see the view of the whole city.  It was neat, but Chad really loves to look at layouts and figure out where things are.  Naturally, while on the elevator ride up, there is a man with a Kansas City shirt on.  Chad asked him where he was from, and come to find out that he works for the same company as the guy that shares office space with my company.  Small world.

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After the tower, we walked over to the mall, to the Alamo, and through some of the shops near there.  We had lunch on the river walk at Casa Rio, and then went back to the mall to catch a movie (my one request for the weekend – it had been over a year since I had seen a movie in a movie theater.  Life as a momma to a small kiddo) Have you ever been to an AMC movie theater?  This one had recliners!  It was amazing.  You press a button and the feat come up and your whole seat reclines.  I definitely think our local theater needs to get those!  I was hoping to see Catching Fire, but it had already made its way out of the theater, so we settled for American Hustle.  I wouldn’t recommend it, the story was ok, kinda drug on and I was wishing it was over way sooner that it was!

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After the movie we walked back to our hotel and relaxed a little while before meeting up with a few co-workers (who had also stuck around) for supper.  When we got back to the hotel we hopped on the elevator at the bottom level.  We went up one floor to the lobby and the doors open, and who walks in??  Brad Womack (and his twin) from the Bachelor season (i don’t even know)  As he stepped on to the elevator I got a strange feeling that I knew him from somewhere and it all clicked in my head.  Unfortunately, I was so in shock I was unable to utter a single sound.  Chad made small talk with them, but it was a silent 20 seconds until we arrived at our floor, got off the elevator and I looked at Chad with the widest eyes.  Do ou know who that was?!  Of course, he had no idea.  I told him and then he was upset that I didn’t say anything.  Oh well, I have a small story at least! That evening we ate at the restaurant connected to our hotel called Acenar.  It was fabulous!  I had shrimp tacos and I licked my plate clean!  After dinner we attempted to walk some of it off up and down the river walk, before retiring early to the hotel room as we had an early flight out the next morning.

Whew!  It was a fun trip! And seriously awesome to see all of my planning come together.  So thankful to my company for allowing me not only the immense responsibility, but also the opportunity to even take the trip in the first place.  The generosity that my company shows is simply overwhelming.  I am thankful to work for the company that I do!

Kohen (and me) survived time away.  It was the longest I’d ever left him before.  And in light of the events preceeding the trip, I wasn’t so sure how I’d be feeling.  But it was great to spend quality time with Chad and to not have to worry about every little detail for Ko.  Plus, the gparents loved spending so much time with him.  They may have both texted me the next day to check in on him.  They were missing him like crazy!

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January Challenges

I’ve had the words for this post swirling around in my mind for the last week.  I knew that to adequately describe the adventures of Tara Shae (and company) this post needed to be written.  The hard part is that for one who tends not to over share, it is difficult to put this in writing.  But, alas, this is part of my story, and the journey that God has me on here on earth.

Last Monday, I had my first OB appointment.  Yes, we were on the journey in my 2nd pregnancy.  The anticipation was building and this would be the appointment where we would see the little bean on the screen, hear the heartbeat, get confirmation of what I had been feeling for the past few weeks and then slowly start to share with family and close friends.

Since we moved, it was mostly necessary that I find a new doctor instead of traveling back to the previous town where I had delivered Kohen.  As most of you know, this was a difficult task for me.  I dislike doctor appointments to the max.  I created huge anxiety over each appointment, and I generally have elevated blood pressure due to nervousness.  Heck, at my last doctor they even labeled me with “severe white coat syndrome”  I won’t even act like it’s not true.  I get sweaty palms when I have to take Ko in for routine check ups.  Somewhere in my brain, I equate the doctor with something being wrong.  I can’t wrap my brain around going to the doctor when things are fine.  It’s a sickness really, and exceptionally stupid considering how much you have to visit the doctor when you are pregnant and with children.  Ugh.

Fortunately, I had found a doctor I felt good about and there we were, sitting in the room waiting to meet her.  She came in and was very pleasant.  Answered all my questions, took time to get to know us a little and calm my nerves and then sent us down to the sonogram room.

We got situated in the room and I took a deep breath – anticipating a similar situation to when we first viewed the little bean that was Kohen back in November of 2011.  The sono tech was very quiet, searching around and not really saying anything.  Chad was watching on the screen and finally just blurted out “are there two?!” and she calmly and with no emotion confirmed what he asked.  My mind swirled.  Two babies?!  Twins didn’t run in our family AT ALL.  Thoughts of buying two of everything jumped through my brain.  Could I handle it?  Of course I could.  Ok, relax, just stay calm.  I was there waiting for her to turn on the monitor so that we could hear the heartbeats, but she never got that far.  She continued taking measurements and recording things and then finally said, “There are two babies in there, but I can’t find a heartbeat for either one”.  I think she asked if I was ok, and then told us we would go back upstairs to meet with the doctor.

Details after details of stuff that I don’t want to remember and I can’t really remember everything that went on, but the doctor told us how sorry she was and gave us options for the future.  We decided upon a plan of action and left the doctor’s office.

I was strong.  It was typical Tara in action.  Strong in public…mostly because I was in shock…the tears would come later in private.  Not realizing all the ramifications of the news we had just received and I was doing ok, until I had to call somebody.  I sat in the car, quiet.  Chad asked me if I was ok.  And I responded by saying that I was ok, but that I didn’t even know who to call first.  Slowly the news got out.  I made phone call after phone call.  Text after text and let the people closest to me know the news of which I was anticipating a very different delivery for just a few hours earlier.

A little joke that Chad and I started with Kohen was calling our children Chad/Tara Combos.  In fact, when I let Chad know that I was pregnant, I wrote that Chad/Tara Combo #2 was on its way.  Little did I know that it was actually #2 & #3, but that God took them early to heaven.  Two little hershyberger babies in heaven.

Do you know why I get so nervous at the doctor?  It’s because I’m anticipating the worst.  I’ve had too many people close to me and have read too many blogs of people that I don’t even know with stories from all along the spectrum during pregnancy.  Some have a miscarriage on their own, some go to that first appointment and there is no heartbeat, some get further along with complications, heart issues, development issues, cord issues, delivery issues.  Seriously, the list goes on and on and on.  And with each story, I am overwhelmed with the miracle of life.  Seriously.  I used to just shove it off when my mom told me that she was just thankful that we were healthy.  And, now, after carrying Kohen and giving birth, I TOTALLY understand what she means.  It is an insane miracle, one that only could be orchestrated by a huge God.  So, while I still get incredibly nervous, with a mind that wanders to every possible worst case scenario, the one thing that gets me through is prayer and a relationship with a HUGE God that knows me and my struggles and tells me boldly that He’s Got This. 1 Peter 5:7 “Cast your burdens (anxiety) on Jesus, because he cares for you”

Trusting God for the future of our family, the strength to rebound from this heartache, and the opportunity to use this situation to bring glory to Him.

To all who have checked in on us and who have been praying, thank you.  Family and friends who show up in the darkest times, are true blessings.

We will get through this, no doubt.  It just takes time to work through it all.

Holiday Wrap Up

Instead of breaking it out into each little celebration, I will attempt to have an all inclusive post about our holidays.

Monday the 23rd we went over to Chad’s moms and had the best dang BBQ around.  It was sooo delicious.  And I was super stuffed the entire night.  We went to Newton right after Chad got off work (of course the time we need to leave as early as possible, he had to stay late b/c they were running behind)  They got BBQ from Hog Wild and we filled in with side dishes.  Brenda makes this amazing mac, cheese, and corn casserole, Sarah brought some great coleslaw, and Paul’s daughter whipped up some of her famous guacamole.  There were 17 of us, so we make quite the crowd.  After dinner, we settled in the living room to open presents.  Ko was pretty content playing with all of gma’s regular toys, but he quickly caught on to the whole “opening presents” thing and kept repeating “opie” for open.   The adult kids participated in a girls and boys gift exchange, there was only minor gift stealing.  It was a fun night!  We were finally smart enough to remember jammies for K, and he fell asleep on the way home and transferred nicely to his bed!

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Tuesday the 24th, Chad and I both worked short days and then we hung out in the afternoon before the Christmas Eve service at our church at 4:30.  K has started crying every time we pull into the church parking lot because he knows that he is going to the nursery.  We decided that for this night, we would try and keep him with us in the sanctuary.  He did really well the whole time except for the last 15 minutes where Chad had to take him out.  We had the car all packed up so we left straight from church to head over to my Gma Unrau’s for the traditional snacks and shrimp.  En route out-of-town, Chad and I realized how hungry we were, and with an hour drive in front of us, we figured we needed to stop for something.  Ah!  Yes!  Taco Bell!  Only to pull into the parking lot, realizing it’s Christmas Eve and the place is pitch black.  Whoops.  But, who saves the day?  McDonald’s.  Trust me, not my first choice of food…well, EVER.  And to be honest, K has never set foot in the play place.  But, anyway, it provided a little snack so we could make it out to my Gma’s.  We met my parents, brothers, and Aunts, Uncles and Cousins out on the farm and enjoyed catching up and a little gift exchange.  K even got a visit from Santa (my Uncle)!  He wasn’t quite so sure about him, so mommy stayed very close.

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It is always a very late night on the 24th, but K was a trooper.  We had also decided to stay the night at my parent’s house so we weren’t making the trip back and forth.  Ty and Trey also stayed over so it was just like when we were little (sorta)  The boys slept upstairs by the christmas tree and Trey graciously gave up his room so Chad, K and I could sleep in there.  I was so tired after I got K to bed, and I begged Chad to come to sleep as well, but he insisted that he wasn’t tired.  Whatever, I wasn’t waiting for him…sleep was too important!

Christmas morning I was the first to wake up at 6:30.  Gotta love that internal alarm clock.  It was kinda nice to sit in a quiet, dark house by myself for a bit before everyone else woke up.  K and Chad followed shortly after around 7:30 and we trekked upstairs to try to coerce the Uncle’s into some present opening.  Ty and Trey were just a tad crabby from the late night before, so we dove into delicious coffee and cinnamon rolls while the boys slept a little longer.  Thankfully, the breakfast casserole and bacon cooking calmed the crabby boys down just a tad and we were able to enjoy some present-opening mid morning.  K enjoyed helping everyone open their gifts.  Chad pulled a surprise gift from the christmas tree after most of the presents were opened (we got a big family gift this year, so he and I weren’t exchanging anything)  He knows how much I enjoy gifts, so he got my some new blue KU sweats, with a condition attached…I had to get rid of my other KU sweats that I’ve had since college and they have been worn to death!  This was why he insisted he wasn’t tired the night before, he had to wrap my gift and stick it under the tree!  My dad made chicken wings for lunch and we continued the eating fest by heading out to my Gma Unrau’s again that afternoon for a mid afternoon lunch/supper.  We stayed out there until later evening and then headed back home.

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The 26th, Chad worked another short day, and then we went to his Dad’s house that afternoon after K’s nap.  We enjoyed some delicious ham and mashed potatoes and quality time around the table.  The cousins enjoyed playing together and opening a few gifts from gma and gpa.  K got a semi (with monster truck wheels) and semi trailer to hold a tractor.  It was definitely the year of tractors, construction equipment, and trucks!

The Sunday after Christmas, we concluded our holiday festivities out at my mom’s brother’s house in Newton.  A few from her family gathered over there for a light evening supper and a traditional White Elephant Exchange.  Always lots of laughs enjoyed during those gift exchanges.

New Year’s Eve, Chad worked a shorter day, but I worked in Hesston a full day.  So, Chad got the goodies ready for the small NYE party we attended over at Adam & Gina’s.  Chad made jalapeño poppers and marinated a flat iron steak. Both were delicious.  The kids played and the adults chatted and we actually didn’t make it very long at the party.  I was tired from working a full day (plus commute) and K had been fighting some sickness, so we were home and in bed by 10.  Party. Animals.  Chad actually stayed up because he had some Mt. Dew to drink, so he was ready to roll!  Apparently there were fire works at midnight, but I slept soundly through them.

New Year’s day we went back out to my parent’s house for some New Year’s cookies and Chili.  K got to play with the tractors and meow-meows, and fill gma and gpa’s love tank.  We unfortunately stayed just long enough for a minor winter storm to move in with blowing snow.  We drove home in limited visibility and very white knuckles from an unnamed passenger.  Adverse weather conditions make me crazy.  Chad maneuvered them well, I was just a stressed out mess.

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Whew!  We survived the two weeks of craziness.  With limited time off from Chad’s work, it made getting together kind of tricky, but we are so thankful for his job!  And, understanding family that are willing to get together whenever it works!

We are ready for you 2014, and all that you have in store!

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The Christmas Card I designed this year!