Saturday, November 21, 2009

Holiday Homecoming

We made it "home", alive and well. And to top it all off, I have the most WONDERFUL news to share with you. Apparantly my insomnia doesn't affect me outside my own house. I've had two nights of delightful sleep. The first night from my hotel back home (where they gave me a free shuttle ride to the airport at 4:00 am) and last night in my dear sister-in-law's house. Could it possibly be I've been trying to sleep in the wrong time zone? I think I just need to move back to the west coast.

So, the flight proceeded well. We cruised through the security check point and I didn't even need to pull my liquids out of the carry-on. Hmmm...I am not sure how "secure" that makes me feel but to be honest, it was nice to just walk right through with no hassles.

Sadly, our early wake-up cause the attention span of my four year old to diminish substantially. New toys? Didn't work. All she wanted to do was watch a movie. "But you packed movies, right?" you ask? Yes, I did.

Travel Tip #10 - Charge the dvd player.

But, those travel size etch-a-sketces are pretty nifty. That held her attention the longest.

I arrived last night to a little party! Woo Hoo. It totally slipped my mind that our nephew's birthday was today and so we had cake and presents last night. What a wonderful suprise...for me. We rarely are able to spend birthdays with our family so it was a very special treat.

I am off today to find more adventures. Renting a car, visiting my sister and who knows what else. I have pictures I will try to get up later. For now, I hear breakfast calling my name. Have a delightful day, all day long.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Anna's Packing Tips 101

We travel a fair bit as a family. There are those who travel more, mind you, but we do fly on airplanes often enough. So, I have come up with some helpful tips and suggestions to keep in mind the next time you wish to travel through the skies. Bear in mind that what works for some families won't work for others. Also keep in mind that I've been blessed with a child possessing an abnormally long attention span (or so I've recently been told.)

Tip Number 1 ~ Do NOT wait until the night before to pack and clean. This is never a good idea. (I don't really want to tell you how I know this, but just trust me on this one)

Tip Number 2 ~ Movies. Take movies and a portable dvd player. This truly saves your life. (Don't forget the earphones because not everyone on the plane wants to listen to Mickey Mouse's squeaky voice.)

Tip Number 3 ~ New toys are a huge hit. Keep them small and rotate them throughout the trip. Don't give them to the kids all at once. A new toy holds the attention of a child much longer than an old toy. Trust me on this.

Tip Number 4 ~ Pack light. I am trying to get everything into two carry-ons for a week. For myself I have packed 3 skirts and 5 shirts which I can mix and match plus a larger sweater and those unmentionables. My coat will ride on my back or my arm, depending on the weather. We will have to borrow my mother's washing machine twice while we are there but that's okay. It beats paying $30 for that first checked bag (round trip).

Tip Number 5 ~ Spend the bucks on those portable liquid bottles. I use them for my shampoos and hair gels and such. They even sell small plastic jars with screw on lids for face soaps and lotions and such. These are allowed in your carry-ons as long as they are smaller than 3oz. Don't bother buying those expensive travel size shampoos. Fork over the money for the bottles and fill them up with your own stuff from home. Much cheaper in the long run, let me tell you. You can find them in the same location you find the travel sized soaps and things and they cost less than the already filled bottles.

Tip Number 6 ~ Snacks. Snacks are allowed on flights. They must be individually wrapped in factory seals. This means you cannot buy a bulk size bag of pretzels and fill little ziplock bags with them. No-no! But fruit snacks? Yes. While not a normal staple in our diet, they are a unique and special treat when we are on the airplane and don't want to pay $9 for crackers and cheese. Oh...and those little Lunchables? Those work great, since the $9 cracker and cheese trays they sell on the airplanes taste like cardboard and glue with a hint of hairball. (I thought I was starving...okay? And since we just paid $9 for it, I HAD to eat it all.) Just make sure everything is factory sealed and does NOT contain liquid. (some Lunchables have water bottles or jello in them...don't take those)

Tip Number 7 ~ After paying several times for an airport water bottle which we fill up with water at the drinking fountain, I came up with a brilliant idea last night. Why don't I just take my empty water bottle with me and fill it up myself? Ah-ha! It only took me 6 years to figure this one out. I will see if it works Friday and let you know.

Tip Number 8 ~ A new coloring book and small box of crayons work wonders. What little girl doesn't love a new box of pointy crayons? They just need to be broken in. And you might also want to fork over the dough for the jumbo coloring book. Hey! They need to color a picture for everyone you are going to be seeing when you arrive, right? It wouldn't be fair to leave anyone out...

Tip Number 9 ~ If you like to read to your children (and they like to be read to) consider bringing along a couple of chapter books to read aloud. This trip I have packed Raggedy Ann and Crackle Creek. Some other ideas are Anne of Green Gables or any Laura Ingalls book. Paddington Bear would be fun too. Who knows, but maybe there would be some adults on the plane who would love a good storytelling too.

So, that's all my tips for tonight. I am off to tackle more on the to-do list. Or else I might veg in front of an Audrey Hepburn tonight. Hmmmm...that's a tough choice. Do I listen to my conscious or my heart?

Monday, November 16, 2009

From James

James sent me a video tonight that he uses to describe himself. I thought I would share it with you all.



We do this for you, dear readers. It is not easy but it is our job. As a family. As Americans. We believe in what we do and we do it for you. James is my husband. James is Chloe's father. James is our hero! We miss you Daddy and we love you.

Precious Thought

Chloe is sick. Poor dear. What doesn't help is that Mama is sick too. Its hard to care for a sick child alone with no energy to even lift your pinky finger. God gives strength to the weary and for that I am grateful. He keeps His promises too. He is GOOD!

Chloe had a temperature before going to bed last night. I gave her some tylenol and sent her to lullaby land. I climbed into bed with my dear little one about 1:30 this morning (yes, I still suffer insomnia even while sick) and when she grabbed my hand in her sleep, I noticed her skin felt like it was on fire. Immediately, my Mommy radar flashed and I jumped out of bed to take her temperature. Yup. High. Even while suffering from lack of sleep and lack of energy and lack of brain cells, I still stayed up with my precious one to get that temp back down. There is no way I could have gone to sleep with her body on fire like it was.

I tried the cool washcloths. She fought that. I took her in the bathtub (which she though was great fun at 2:00 in the morning, let me tell you) and all that managed to do was wake her up further and get her all excited. Its not often Mama wakes you up for an impromptu bath at 2 am. She was NOT going to go back to sleep soon and miss anything else Mama might want to do. Eventually we got the fever down and I drifted off to sleep.

7:00 am and she was on fire again. This time it was worse. I tried to take her temperature again and it registered 102.5 before she yanked it out of her mouth. More than likely, it was higher than that. We worked hard to get it back down again. She is fine now, but boy...that makes for a tired Mama.

During my nursing this morning, a thought flitted through my mind. This is how God feels about us when we are "sick". Okay, probably literally sick too but that's not what I was referring to here. I am talking about those times when we experience spiritual sickness. Depression. Guilt ridden. Down trodden. Sad. Lonely. All those things and more.

So often I picture God as shaking his head and rolling his eyes at me and thinking to himself, "Oh no...here we go again." But you know what? While I was quietly rocking Chloe and telling her the story of the dinosaur shopping for orange juice in the supermarket to get her to calm down, I could see God doing that very same thing with me. He knows when we are sick. He loves us, more than I love my little Chloe. He is patient with us, even when we are screaming our heads off because we don't want to take the medicine He offers us. When I stop jerking my body around, I realize His touch is gentle and kind. He holds me in His arms and whispers His Words into my ear to calm me down.

This morning I realized I need my Savior's nursing. I need His healing in my heart. I need His comfort and His soothing touch. And He is here, ready to administer whatever it is I need. He doesn't get sick. He doesn't get tired. Hey! I am not even keeping Him up too late past His bedtime. My God is good! and kind! and gentle! Have you experienced His healing touch lately?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Cornucopia

Photobucket

I am blessed. I truly am. The cornucopia of my life is full.

Photobucket


What would I do without this little girl who makes me laugh every single day. My dear mother pointed out one of the ways I am blessed the other day and that is financially. I am able to afford some different hobbies and the upkeep they require. How God has blessed me in this regard. While having one child was never my dream (more like 20...) I have been blessed with one child and plenty of time to teach her things I would otherwise be unable to if I mothered an entire brood of children.

Today I taught her how to stamp a card with MY stamps. (she's stamped things before with her cheap stamps, but never with mine.) This was a special treat. She used my paper trimmer...

Photobucket


...and picked out her very own supplies. I let her choose whatever she wanted. Try as I might to direct her color choices, she would hear nothing of the sort. In the end, I can see that her choices reflect her personality and they coordinate quite well together. She even place the items on the card where she wanted, while I helped her a bit with the actual adherence.

Photobucket


Every hobbiest knows that they must keep their tools clean. So, I taught Chloe how to properly clean my stamps.

Photobucket


I am blessed in many ways. Maybe not with the multitude of children that I long for, but I truly am blessed. I am thankful for the different ways God has chosen to bless me.

A couple of weeks ago, I came to James with an idea I've been toying around with in my head for about a year now. I fell in love with Close to My Heart stamps the moment I first laid eyes on them. My idea was that I could be a consultant and sell these stamps along with the scrapbook albums and embellishments to myself and earn the consultant discount. This would definitely come in handy if we were to move overseas because CTMH is the only company that will ship to an APO address. This could quite possibly be the only method for getting my hands on my much loved hobby supplies.

He agreed to allowing me to join this company. Little did I know when I joined, however, that I would fall so deeply in love with it. I have learned so much about stamping and card-making and scrapbooking in the past two weeks, I feel as though I could jump on the bed from excitement. Literally. Its quite amazing how much I didn't know from my ten years scrapbooking experience.

Here are some cards I made today.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket


I made these cards using CTMH stamps. Everything else on these cards are from the local craft store. My girlfriend makes thanksgiving cards to include in the baskets our church hands out to needy families for the holiday. I am trying to help her out by making a few cards to also include. My joy over finding this company and being able to teach my friends some new tips and techniques for card-making and scrapbooking overflows. I am elated. I am blessed. The cornucopia of my life is full. Thank you Jesus for all your wonderful blessings. You know best!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Monster Gouging Tools

I must apologize for my lack of posts recently.

Life happened.

Chaotic. Tumultuous. Disquieted. Life.

This disruption into my tranquil lifestyle could quite possibly be what stemmed the following decision on my part. A superb decision, mind you...yet curious, none-the-less.

A new friend came over last night for an evening of knitting, tea and pumpkin butterscotch cookies. I splurged and purchased a box of PG Tips tea from the local higher end grocery store for this distinguished occasion. I ventured into the local yarn store to pick up some yarn and needles for a special project.

This project surfaced a time or two on my blog a couple of years ago. (I don't really care to spend the time right now searching through the 600 and some posts to find its location at this moment) I dreamed of the day in the far off future when I would feel comfortable enough with my knitting abilities to tackle such a project. (I see some of you are starting to nod your heads as you recall a couple of knitting projects I mentioned previously...trying to guess which one I am referring to today.) The future arrived yesterday. I decided to start a coat/jacket for myself.

When I inquired about the knitting needles to the clerk her eyes widened. Without a word, she led me over to the wall of needles and placed the largest knitting needles I've ever laid eyes on in my hand. I choked. Size 17! And the sad news is, they didn't carry size 19, which I also needed.

I started said project last night. I envisioned myself gouging the eyes out of a three headed monster as I carefully welded these needles in and out of the chunky yarn. And they recommend these things for beginners?

I actually succeeded in knitting the back last night.

Photobucket


I am not 100% sold on this yarn. I paid $16.25 per ball. The first two balls I round were disconnected at the end, leaving about 10 ft of a yarn scrap left over. BOTH SKEINS. Not what you would expect after paying that much for the yarn in the first place. Oh well. Its a textured wool yarn from Italy. Pretty muted jewel colors which are almost fall like, and yet will still looks decent on me. (I can't wear fall colors, even though I would LOVE to.)

So, I hope to start on the sleeves tomorrow. Pray I don't stab myself...or my daughter. These needles are dangerous.