Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday's To Do List

We have a very extensive to-do list today. I doubt we can get everything done, but we are going to slowly work our way down this list. Now, I must inform you...I am not the one who created this list. Chloe did. I told her yesterday that today would be a Mama and Chloe day. A very important day for a four year old. Aside from cooking our meals and making this blog post, the entire rest of the day will be spent working down Chloe's very own to-do list.


Here is her list.

~ Play blocks
~ Mario Party 8 (on the WII)
~ Color
~ Play with the kitties
~ dress up
~ play kitchen
~ play in the bedroom with toys
~ dolls
~ paint
~ play with farm animals
~ puzzles
~ set up a fort (maybe)

Chloe pointed to every single item on the list, one by one, saying, "Play, play, play, play..." Can you tell that this is important to her? Yes, and she gets to do everything on her list with Mama! We are going to have a blast. And I will try to take photos of the day to show you all at another time. I hope you all have a blast today with your kids! Have them create a Mama and me list. (or even a Dadddy and me one) It might surprise you what your kids love doing with you.

Fair Faces

This week saw another journey to a fair, only this time we headed to the state fair. I shall now present you with our many fair faces. Our tale begins with a $2 hot dog face.

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(She clearly did NOT want her photo taken while eating her hot dog)

We stopped by the animal pen for the watching a goat face.

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So, its the back of her head and not her face...oh well. Its cute.

And next, is it possibly a farm-girl wannabe face?

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Yes, that is what is must be. She crashed her tractor into another tractor and you can just see the determination on her little face to get herself out of the wreckage. Yes...she, indeed, is a farm-girl in the making.

What fair is complete without a pig-racing fan face?

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Chloe raised her hand in an effort to be the chosen cheerleader for our section of bleachers. Her efforts paid off and she was awarded the honor of cheering for Pig Number 1. Lo and behold, Pig Number 1 won! Our little cheerleader proudly stood to receive her prize. Thus we have our winning pig face.

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The pigs raced for an Oreo cookie on a silver platter. No. I am dead serious. They did. So, Chloe received a whole package of Oreo cookies in addition to her pig snout for helping her pig.

We walked over to the race track to see some horse racing. Sort of like the pig racing, only on a much larger scale. (and a greater time between heats too) We have our waiting for the horse race face.

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We only saw one race before a torrential rain poured down upon our heads and sent us scurrying under cover. When I heard someone mention the words "hurricane" and "this afternoon" and "hit us", I made the difficult decision to finish our fair face adventure and drive home. I sure didn't want to have a caught in the hurricane face to show you all.

I got one better. A tuckered out, end of the day face.

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So, we will try to visit the fair again next week so we can ride a couple of rides and see the handmade goodies. Have a fun weekend everyone and don't get wet! (or Do get wet...that could be fun too!)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Can You Tell Me How to Get...to Sesame Street?

No? Well, that's okay, because I found the way there myself. Or, to be more truthful, my girlfriend found the way and her family took us this week.

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What a delightful place for the littles. Sesame Place! Everything in this amusement park is smallerized especially for them. Even the roller coaster...age 3 and above could ride with an adult. (and let me tell you...it scared me the first time. These are some very brave littles we have.)

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My favorite part of the day had to be the parade. Where else could you see ALL the characters I grew up knowing and loving? Of course, it is sometimes extremely difficult to wait.

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But the waiting proved its worth.

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Chloe has a special connection with Elmo now after watching the video of Elmo's Daddy's deployment. I couldn't get a good picture of him though since he didn't come close enough to Chloe.

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She is so cute. She informed me after the day was over in her excited tone that "Elmo is not real but he is!!!"

The whole thing brought tears to my eyes. Okay, so I am the sentimental type. I know this. But come'on. Crying over Sesame Street? Are you serious? Yes...I am. I actually had tears in my eyes. I try to say that it was mostly for Chloe's sake, but I think deep down, somewhere in the depths of my being, I was crying for myself.

I miss James.

Overall, we had a wonderful day; extreme heat, dehydration (with a headache the next day), long lines and masses of people aside. It was a fun adventure. (and I am so thankful for the water park rides)

More Inspired Pages

Just a quick post to show you more pages inspired by my new scrapbooking book. I have to tell you, I love this book. I look through it for about 10 minutes and I am inspired to create pages for the rest of the day. Its not that I copy what I see...it just inspires me to try new things.

One of the things I have noticed in this book is that they combine different things you wouldn't neccessarily think of putting together. Like two different patterns of pretty paper. Or an embellishment that doesn't exactly match. But when you combine all these different elements, they somehow look fantastic together. Here are some of my favorites.

For this page, I finally broke out my Close to My Heart stamps and did some rubber stamping in a scrapbook. I've never done stamping in an album before and this added a special touch, I believe.

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This next page took quite a bit of work. I "antiqued" all the little word boxes to attach to each picture. It was my take on journaling. I get tired of slapping square journaling boxes on each page so this time I just created a phrase describing each picture. To antique the paper, I took a sponge and dabbed it onto a brown ink pad and then sort of scrapped it along the edge of the paper, putting a little extra emphasis on the corners. I found a bag of lace at a yard sale last week which included a small amount of vintage crocheted lace. I had to put it on this page. I think it adds the finishing touch.

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Here is another fun page. I cut the floral paper in a swirl motion and then used a Creative Memories flower punch to cut out tons of those little blue flowers to edge the swirl. The word "play" was made using a stencil and some scissors. Made for a very sore hand by the end of the day...and also made is neccessary for an item I will show you in another post. (its a surprise!)

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And now for my favorite page. This page is my favorite for so many different reason. For one...I love the paper. It has a kind of sheen to it. For two...I love fowers. For three...I just love how everything came together. The buttons. The handmade tag (which, again, is antiqued). The rub on sticker. I've never used those before and found it quite fun. It came with rhinestones to add too. What a delightful touch.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Recent Chloe-isms

My daughter brings laughter into our home and my life every day. I thought I would share with you some of her more recent Chloe-isms that brighten my moods.

~ "Can I have this candy because I love you?" she asks.

~ (looking at her reflection in the china cabinet doors and singing to softly to herself as she gazes at her image) "We have two bathrooms. One is in the basement. One is upstairs." It really was pricless to watch her sing in her lovely voice to herself about the number of bathrooms we have.

~ (doubling over, clutching her tummy as if in pain) "Ohhhh, Mama...my tummy hurts! I need some candy!!"

~ (holding her forehead in the same manner as her tummy) "Mama! My head hurts. I need some more cheerios!"

~ (after I have asked her if she wants to do something) "I want to "blank" BUT I don't want to." (now blank can be anything from cuddling to playing...


She really is my gift from God and I treasure each moment that passes and each little quirk that makes her my Chloe.

Monday, August 24, 2009

New Scrapbooking Tricks

I am not too old to learn new tricks. I just need some inspiration sometimes. My scrapbooks have become boring to me. The last one I completed in a one month time span and it reflects that in its pages. You can tell that I simply put the pictures into a book. That was my goal.

This past week I needed something more, but felt myself stuck in a rut. Patterned paper background. Each photo matted in matching cardstock. A journaling box on the page. A couple of well-placed sticker and I was done.

Then last week I splurged on myself and bought a scrapbooking book, The Amazing Page. It has helped me out of my slump tremendously. Check out some of the pages I created before my splurge for Chloe's birthday album.

Here is a page of her second birthday decor. I couldn't find any strawberry shortcake scrapbooking supplies so I printed some images off the internet onto pink cardstock. To embellish them, I placed rhinestones in strategic places on them to add a bit of pizzaz and sparkle.

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Here we have her third birthday cake.

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To introduce each year's birthday, I created a page to hold her birthday cards and placed an 8x10 photo of Chloe on the opposite page. I thought this might be a good transition between each year.

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But do you see what I mean about "blah"? I can get these pages done quickly, but they just don't have that artistic balance I so desperately desire. Check out the "after inspiration book" creations.

Here is a page from her Candyland party. I hand cut the lollipops and candies for this page.

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And next is another page from her candyland party.

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I plan to spend the next week scrappin' so you will most likely be seeing more pages. I feel so inspired after browsing through this book. It is definitely what I needed. Have a great day and go be inspired. Check out a book from the library to browse through. Stop by the magazine stand at your local craft store. You might be amazed at the help it can bring to a creative slump.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Banana Pancakes

Chloe asked me to make banana pancakes for breakfast a couple of times this week. I finally obliged. For one, its one of my favorite songs. For two, how can I deny such a simple request from my blue-eyed, freckle-nosed little bundle of joy? She deserves banana pancakes...but only after she sings for them.



She sang the entire song and earned her well-deserved banana pancakes.

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We ate them slathered in butter. Delicious. They needed no sryup. Of course, we found out the hard way that banana pancakes do not keep for the next day. They turned to mush and the bananas inside the pancakes turned brown. Yuck! We sure enjoyed them hot off the griddle though.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Stop the Ringing, Please!

There we were, quietly eating our delightful breakfast (more on that in my next post) when out of the blue, an infernal ringing noise took over our kitchen. I immediately looked up to see where the smoke was coming from because I sure couldn't smell it. Nope. No smoke. I soon realized this ringing was not the sound of our fire alarm. (I've set that one off enough times to recognize its sound quite quickly.) Nope...this infernal ringing was coming from the ceiling in the kitchen. Above the refrigerator to be exact.

I began to investigate. This is what I found.

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Some random boxes on my wall above the fridge. Why they are there, I haven't a clue. (maybe the alarm system?) Anyways, I ventured downstairs to our grand central wire location (the place underneath the joists of the kitchen floor where all the wires for our entire house hang out...and when I say "hang", I do mean "hang") and after searching for a few minutes I saw a plug which had been pulled out from the socket. Ah-ha, I thought to myself. That must be it. I plugged it back in and headed upstairs with a grin that would rival a five year old at Christmas.

To my utter dismay, I found that not only was the first squeal still squealing, but a second one had been added. I hastily ran back downstairs to unplug the dreadful plug and decided to just get my ears accustomed to the infernal noise. Easier said than done.

We left the house.

Upon arriving home 3 hours later, (which I thought was ample time for the ringing box to wear itself out) we walked into the dreadful greeting once more. Ugggg. It hadn't worn itself out. That's okay, I thought. Maybe I can just become acclimated to it. No such luck. Right before I reached up to pull out my hair, I thought maybe I would grab a hammer and just bash the thing in. It HAS to stop, right? (There are no buttons on the thing. No knobs. Nothing. I couldn't even pull it off the wall.)

I couldn't find the hammer. It was nowhere to be found. (God sure does have a sense of humor, right?)

Well, maybe it would be better if I didn't bash the box in with a hammer. I have no idea what that box is up there for and, after all, I could have been electrocuted. Nope. Better just get the screwdriver and unscrew the thing from the wall. Maybe that would help.

I stood on my kitchen chair and reached up with the screwdriver to begin loosening one of the screws when I realized, the sound was bouncing off the ceiling. I placed my ear as close to the box as I could and sure enough...no sounds were being emitted from the box at all.

Goodness gracious...where is James when you need him, right? (that's the thought that crossed my mind at that moment in time)

There I stood, on my kitchen chair, looking around in desperation. I contemplated renting a hotel room for the next 6 months. Seriously, though. As I circled the chair, something on the side of the fridge caught my eye. I moved in for a closer sound test. Yup! The culprit. I finally located the origin of the awful noise.

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My kitchen timer. I pushed the off button and hopped down from chair with a giggle. Oh silly me. I am so thankful I did NOT take my dear hubby's advice from halfway around the world and call one of our friends over. Do you know how embarrassing that would have been? (substantially more than writing it for the world to see on my blog, I must say.) And I am equally thankful I didn't find the hammer. Now peace and quiet reign in my house and I shall sleep well tonight.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Rambling Along

I've just finished the last pink, lazy daisy stitch on my lovely little lady pillowcase set. Yahoo! That thing was almost the same as knitting two socks, I swear. You finally finish the first one only to figure out that you have an identical one to make. I suppose I could have switched the colors up on the second pillowcase, but then that would have meant they wouldn't match and I, therefore, could not have placed them on the same bed at the same time together. (yah...I'm that one.) So, I stitched them both the same. I will have pictures tomorrow for you, I hope. Alas, the sun set before the last stitch was sewn tonight or else I could have photographed it for this post.

I purchased something special for myself at Joann's today when I picked up the embroidery floss to finish my little ladies. What's that, you ask? I'm so glad you did. I don't have a picture of it, but I splurged and bought myself a knitting magazine. I saw, on the cover, this gorgeously pink hat...and not just any shade of pink either...a nice, dusty rose pink. Oh, if I could get my hands on that yarn, I would knit myself that hat in a jiffy.

But hold yourself, Anna. There are other projects to be completed first.

I thought I should mention to you all that I have a list upstairs on my wall of projects that need completed. (some of which need started and then completed) To give myself a kick in the rear for motivation's sake, I added a "free project" for every five projects I complete. What are those "free projects"? Anything I feel like at the moment. Yes, I will fly by the seat of my pants for those freebies.

I am two projects away from my next freebie.

So, what should I create for my free project? I have a few ideas floating around in my head. That pink hat, for starters. I also have a library book for some knitted animal finger puppets. (how darling would they be for Chloe? She's already picked out an elephant, tiger, teddy bear, and something kind of disturbingly weird looking) And don't forget my crochet pattern for a rubber chicken. I've been dying to make that for a while now and sadly, it did not make it on my project list. (I must have forgotten about it momentarily while writing up my list)

Hmmm...so many decisions. It hurts my brain to think so hard. I better go get some sleep and think on this issue a bit more in the morning. Have a great night everyone.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Fair

I love the fair. I remember, as a child, we always entered our "wares" into the fair. I can still remember the elation of joy I felt when my very first attempt at baking cookies took first place. I was 10 years old and I had entered snickerdoodles and one other kind of cookie, which only took second place so I can't remember what they were. Snickerdoodles then became "my" cookie for the next few years. I believe I sickened my family with snickerdoodles...or at least myself because I have not made them again in years.

Through the years I entered various things into the fair. It slowly grew from cookies to pressed flower arrangements, shell wreaths (the shells were picked up from our summer vacation to the beach) and other mixed media art forms. The biggest motivation for entering items into the fair growing up was not only the fact that if you entered something your addmission into the fair was free, but if you received the coveted first place ribbon you won money. Yes, I typed that correctly. Talk about motivation, right? I have no idea if fairs still do this anymore or not.

Today I took Chloe to her first fair. We had a blast. Here are our pictures to share with you.

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Farmgirl already? (I dream)

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A steam tractor. I wish I could have seen it run.

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Chloe enjoyed getting her face painted from the Child Evangelism Fellowship booth. She asked for a flower and it looks more like a red and pink star to me, but she loves it. (you can't tell from the picture though)

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I had to take this picture. These toilets made me chuckle because I can't imagine what kind of person would find this a fulfilling hobby. Kind of weird to me, but hey...we all gotta earn a living, right? (I just wonder who buys this sort of art)

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Yum! We missed out on funnel cake because it was just to plain hot to eat it. The ice cream felt so good. (sweat was literally dripping off my forehead by the time I found the ice cream vendor)

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What a wonderful day. We have another fair visit scheduled for next week with Miss Karen. I will NOT pass by the funnel cake next time. (and I am hoping to see some doilies there or anything crocheted for that matter. There was not a stitch at this fair. Not even a quilt.) Have a fun evening and enjoy a nice cup of iced tea for me. Summer is almost over and fall is around the corner. Drink in the sunshine while it remains.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tea Time for Two Ladies

I love tea time.

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And I love sharing tea time with my precious daughter. Today, we had "goose tea" instead of "milk tea". Chloe has yet to acquire a taste for real tea so usually I serve her milk in a teacup. (which she calls "milk tea".) And in case you aren't familiar with Chloean, "goose tea" translates into English as "juice tea".

I just love all the delicate trimmings that adorn a ladies tea setting.

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This is the most peaceful time of my day. (that and naptime) I hope you all had as lovely an afternoon as we did.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Busy Daze

I walk in the midst of a busy daze. Life, at this point, is survival. The fog in my brain hinders me from remembering anything previous to the past 10 minutes. All I know is that I have an insatiable need to keep busy. As long as I have a project or chore to get done or somewhere I need to be, I don't even think about being lonely. That is my key to survival at this point. I am assured that it will eventually get easier as the days/weeks progress, but for now, I am quite happy walking about in my hazy stupor.

I do have plans to keep myself plenty busy for the next several months. Here are some of those plans...

~ Homeschool - and I can delve into this as deeply as I please...I mean...goodness gracious, but I could have a field trip every day if I so wished.
~ Ballet - Chloe is enrolled and once ballet starts, it will be a once a week thing. COOL!
~ Prayer group - meets once a week...and the coolest thing is, my prayer group meets for dinner with dessert too.
~ Choir - I plan to have Chloe participate in the children choir at church.
~ Awanas - Oh how Chloe loved awanas last year...so this year I have volunteered to help out too...give us both something to do at the same time.
~ YMCA - Yes, we joined the local YMCA. Whenever the next session opens up, I will enroll Chloe in the swim classes there. Oh...and she is begging me to enroll her in soccer too. We'll see, we'll see.

And then, of course, what would busy-ness be without some crafty type goals? So, here are some goals for the next 6 months.

~ finish the never-ending tablecloth (yes...that one)
~ sew Chloe's winter wardrobe
~ crochet a new design for Chloe's Christmas dress (has it really been a year and a half since I have crocheted her a dress???)
~ finish the knitted afghan (which could be James Christmas present, if I get it done in time. I won't so maybe next years Christmas present?)
~ sew a minky blanket for our king size bed (because James loves the blanket my Great Aunt Ida made for me when I was 12 years old and it only fits a double bed. We still used it on our queen size bed but the thing looks awfully piddly on our king...so a new one is in order)
~ get our family scrapbook completely up-to-date and also get all of James memorabilia from his Iraq deployment last year into a scrapbook.
~ crochet some outfits for the newest mini-members of our family. (who have yet to receive anything from their auntie. Shame on me!)
~ sew a new quilt for Chloe (maybe two...one to hang on the wall in her room)

And that is all I feel like listing at the moment. I have an extensive list upstairs but feel too lazy at the moment to go get it for you. (that, and I am sure you all would be bored to tears reading it because when I say extensive, I do mean extensive.)

In between babysitting some precious little girls today, making a meal and taking it to a family in our Sunday School class who just had a baby, and attending an information meeting for the upcoming Awana year, I was able to sit down and get a bit of stitching done on my lovely lady pillowcases. I should have the second one finished tomorrow, if I can make it to Joann's for some floss. (I ran out of pink) I hope you all have a lovely finish to your Monday and I will hopefully have a finished project to show you tomorrow. Good night everyone!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Back into Embroidery

Gosh, it has been so long since I have worked on any sort of project of any kind. I can't believe how busy our summer has been. Not a single crochet hook has been picked up. Not a single inch of thread has passed through the sewing machine. I think I am suffering withdrawals or something, yet I can't seem to get myself motivated to pull anything out.

There is one project I have been working on for the past two months, a little unsteadily, mind you, but when I feel the urge to stitch, I pull it out. I took it to Spokane with us last month as my project to work on while my mother and I visited. We like to keep busy while sit on the couch and visit. She usually thumbs through some magazines while I work on a project.

I purchased these pillowcases from Herrschners about a year or two ago. Its the perfect project to sit and stitch on while watching a baseball game or listening to a bit of Jack Johnson in the evening.

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She's a beaut! I can't wait to get her done. Well...then I have an identical one to do and...that is sort of like knitting the second sock, I suppose.

Have a fabulous day everyone and a gorgeous weekend.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Goodbye Isn't Forever

I asked James today why this deployment seems to hit me harder than the last one. I mean, last year I didn't cry as much as I have cried yesterday and today. Last year, we didn't bicker with each other. Last year I wasn't as stressed out nor did I suffer any anxiety attacks.

This year is different. I was a complete basket case today...all day long. I gazed into Chloe eyes and felt something of a loss for James. I glimpsed, in part, what he will be missing for the next 6 months and it broke me up inside.

James replied to my question by saying three things. One, this deployment lasts longer. Two, we know what to expect this time and we know it won't be easy. Three, we are much closer this time around. Our relationship has improved dramatically this past year. Not that we had a terrible one before, mind you...but we both can see many positive changes in our relationship over the past several months and that makes it harder when it comes time to say goodbye for a long while.

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We recently watched an Elmo video with Chloe to prepare her for the deployment. In this video, Elmo's Daddy leaves for a long, long time and we were able to relate so well to everything in the show. (they did a phenomenal job, by the way) One of the things they portrayed in this show that we felt held special meaning was right before the Daddy left, he gave Elmo his trumpet to take care of while he was away. Elmo, in turn, gave his Daddy his special toy to take with him. We decided this would be a good idea to do with Chloe.

This afternoon, James handed Chloe his watch...the only thing he really wears and uses on a consistent basis and Chloe loves playing with this watch. So James gave it to her with the instruction to take good care of it until he returns. I sent Chloe upstairs to pick something special from her room for Daddy to take with him. She chose her stuffed chipmunk whom she regularly sleeps with. We were all in tears at this point but it all helps to solidify the fact that James IS returning home to us and that he loves us very much. (this is important to tell Chloe over and over...so that she understands he has not left us...but that he has a job to do and when he is done, he will return home)

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James didn't feel comfortable taking his wedding ring with him, so he left it with me. That was my special gift. I am now wearing it around my neck with my own wedding band to symbolize the fact that we are always together in our hearts. I will wear our rings until he returns.

Today we said goodbye but goodbye is not forever when our hearts are joined in Christ. I pray that James returns to us in 6 months time. I miss him already.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

One Great Daddy

As we prepare for James upcoming deployment, we try to find as many little moments together as possible. Special moments that we can pull up in our memory during the inevitably lonely months spread before us. Moments of laughter. Moments of joy. Sometimes those moments are captured at the times we least expect them. Sitting on the couch together while we wait for Chloe to finish putting on her shoes as we head out the door for one last shopping trip. Saying our prayers together as we tuck Chloe into bed at night. Driving in the car to a friend's house for dinner. These little moments of time can produce some of the most precious memories during these last few days we have together.

Its during these little moments I am reminded of just how great a daddy (and husband) James is. I pull out my camera and try to capture this on film...a very difficult feat, mind you. Here are some of our moments from yesterday.

A kitty cat pose moment...

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A beep-beep moment...

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A king of the mountain moment...

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A swinging moment...

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A family moment...

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That picture just might be our Christmas picture this year. I doubt we will get another one taken before James heads out. He took me out to dinner last night to a fancy restaurant inside a mansion. This place was spiffy. Okay...the ambiance could have been a bit better considering the cost of the meal, but the actual food was the best I have ever tasted in my life. I ordered the fillet Mignon wrapped in bacon. Delicious! Absolutely scrumptious! James ordered lamb sausage wrapped in veal. It was okay...not quite as good as a medium rare fillet Mignon though. A nice Peanut butter mousse dessert with whipped cream and chocolate cookies and a delicate chocolate drizzle completed the meal with finesse.

Today we are trying to capture some moments too. We had a "hunt for the missing game" moment for about 3 hours this morning. We also had a "pack some clothes for Daddy" moment and a "fix all laptop issues" moment. We will be having a "Mario Party 8" moment and a "learn to upload video to the internet" moment as well. Hopefully these moments will be filled with smiles and laughter. No tears. Not today. I want this to be a happy memory day for all of us.

What happy moments have you been able to capture with your loved ones this week?