Saturday, February 25, 2012

A sick day review

Don't you just love how things just don't always go as planned? haha... NOT! This "vacation" has been far from what we had planned so we had to make a new plan.... don't make any plans and just make the best of each day! Tada! :)

With all of us being sick at some point (other than lucky Opa- knock on wood!) we've spent a good amount of time at home in the last three weeks watching movies (Lady and the Tramp to be clear... over and over and over....) reading books and just trying to rest in between bouts of sneezing, and coughing fits! Boy am I ever glad to have gotten out to JoAnn Fabrics before all the sickness set in... I originally bought this shrinky dinks set thinking it would be good for a cold snowy/rainy day, as we've sure had those on this trip too, but as it worked out it has been the perfect activity for a run of crappy sick days too! :) One bright spot in a long run of sick was a welcomed diversion!

It's not often that I write a review that was totally unsolicited but I really can't praise this kit enough and thought others might like to know how great it is too! The girls colored on these things for days!!!  In between naps and sluggish times, they were able to color a little bit here and there and after a few days they had a ton of little flowers, fairies and critters to magically shrink in the oven!! They were amazed to watch thru the oven and I must admit I enjoyed seeing the magic of it all too!!

 I can't say enough good things about this kit. The girls loved decorating the cardboard tree house that came with it and have spent hours playing with it!! This is one of those kits that I think every mom should have in their closet for a rainy day... sick day... or just an unexpected fun day! :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A different kind of holiday

 This Valentine's has turned out much different than I would have ever expected. It is the first holiday that we have not been with my husband, and while I know it's not a major holiday and we have been very lucky to have been together for so many, I was still dreading it just a little bit. I think it's just the knowing that everyone else is together with their loved ones that makes it all the harder.... and to be honest, we have never really done much but you know... it's still Valentine's and lets face it... I've been missing him terribly anyways- it really doesn't matter what the day is! :)
 Yesterday was really the start of the holiday for us. It started with getting a beautiful little bracelet that I will cherish always, from a family member.... and then coming home from visiting to find roses waiting for me from my loving husband!! 
The real joy of today tho was going to the nursing home where my Gram lives now. The girls and I had purchased these little boxes back at Christmas time in the ornament section and then added some Valentine's stickers and this little poem...
We took them around to all the residents and had to read the poem for many of them. I can't put into words how amazing this experience was. We went into it wanting to make the day of some old folks but I feel so blessed by the experience that it was more like they gave us a gift really.
This is a very special gift

That you can never see

The reason it's so special is

It's just for you from me.

Whenever you are lonely

Or are ever feeling blue

You only have to hold this gift

And know I'm hugging you.

You never can unwrap it

Please leave the ribbon tied

Just hold the box close to your heart

It's filled with hugs inside.
  Many of the people seemed so pleased my our gesture but it was a few in particular that really touched me. As I was reading the poem to one lady, I wasn't even sure if she was hearing me. It's so hard in that kind of setting to see the people in various stages of life, but still... I read the poem to her and when I was done it was if a switch went off... she smiled the nicest smile and told me that I made her day! I was choking back tears as I left her room. I don't even know her name but she will stick with me for a very long time....
Another one that really stuck with me was this tiny old lady sitting in a recliner. She too had me read the poem to her and I had to say parts of it a few times before she understood as she was VERY hard of hearing. As I was reading it, she made the comment "I have some of those to give". I thought she was just being cute but when I stood up to leave she said again "I have some of those to give" and put her hands up, much like a small child would that wanted to be picked up. I bent down to give her a hug and she held on to me so tight and told me she loved me..... A few days later I found out that Myrtle was turning 103 years old! My girls and I went back and took her a card. She didn't remember us from the week before but I felt so blessed to have given her that hug and to celebrate her 103 years on this earth. I don't know anything about this woman or her life and yet I feel so blessed by a short encounter on a holiday that I was otherwise dreading... it's amazing the power of a hug isn't it?
Later that day, my mom and my two girls and I were at the Dollar General ( a new obsession for the girls as we don't have these stores at home) and yet again, God gave me the chance to help someone in need but really gave me the gift of showing my girls how to bring more kindness into the world around us. There was another old lady struggling to get out the double doors of the store with a cart full of bulky paper towels and other bags while also struggling with her walker. At first I just held the door for her but then realized the trouble she was going to have getting those items into her car. I offered to help but she assured me that she was fine and I just didn't feel good about walking away so I tried again. This time she let me... I loaded her groceries into the back seat and folded her walker up for her. I was on a natural high. Most of the time I am so consumed by my own two girls and keeping them safe in a parking lot, that I probably miss a lot of opportunities like this to help someone else but today I had the luxury of having my mom there and knowing the girls were cared for. Not only did I do a good thing for that lady but I got to show my girls an example of how we, as Christians, should show kindness at every chance we get.
I am not telling you this story to toot my own horn but to show how easy it is to give and receive blessings in even the smallest of actions....

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Q-t pie- Sharing some goodness

Why is it that  people think it's ok to take their own frustrations out on other people who are just working hard to do their job at the best of their ability?

Whether it is Walmart workers during the holidays, toll booth workers on the turnpikes or flight attendants on airplanes, just to name a few.... These people work hard at their job and too often enough take the brunt of the negative attitudes people think they need to expel into the universe! lol

SOOO... we thought we would reenact the random act of kindness that we started a few years ago...

The girls worked on these little creations for a week before we left on our trip!! They handed them out to all the airline workers we can in contact with on both flights... and we were sure to thank the TSA workers too.... I think it is so important for our girls to know how lucky we are to be able to fly to see our family, and how greatful we should be for the TSA workers that keep us safe. I hear too many people complain about the inconveniences of going thru metal detectors and having their bags searched, but I know that we had nothing to hide. :) If they are checking our bags, then that means they are also checking the bags of people with less than honorable intentions!! I am greatful to live in a country that is free and will always let them know how thankful we are... I hope my girls will always be that way too!!

That being said... I am very glad that I could bring knitting needles in my carry on! :) I am attempting my first sweater with the yarn we have been dying! :) More on that later...

Blast off!

We've been counting down the days till our big adventure.... This adventure was the first of its kind and a bit nerve racking for me but pure adrenaline for the girls! lol

A few days ago, we made the trip by plane from Washington to Pennsylvania with a short stop in Dallas. This was a first of its kind because not only had the girls never flown (or at least not that they remembered) but we had never done it without Daddy!! Boy what a difference that makes! I wasn't really worried about the trip part of it , but have been dreading being away from hubby for so long. I have never been the one to leave and it is a bit weird but we're dealing with lots of texts and nightly phone calls. The girls are doing really much better than I thought they would be. Modern technology helps so much!

In preparation for the trip tho, I tried to be prepared with little things that I thought would make the trip easier. We are not ones to carry dvd players or gaming systems with us everywhere we go (just our own personal choice- nor do we own them) so I had to think of other things to keep them occupied during the air time we had ahead of us. We had the usual coloring book, crayons and drawing pad... mixed in with new word searches, wipe off books and knitting for J and sewing cards for R. My secret weapon was a little collection of wooden peg dolls that I made "just incase" the trip turned ugly....

 Well, I hate to brag... ok maybe I don't... lol I am sooooo proud of how well the girls did!! There was not even a nano second of ugly on our trip. I am reminded daily how wonderful our girls are but somehow it always seems to surprise me at the goodness they are capable of. They did so good on the trip that I was even able to snooze for about 20 minutes (after having only 2 hours sleep the night before!) and they played with this set  for over an hour... only putting it away when they absolutely had to for landing! :)

Please excuse the crappy pictures... cell phones and bad lighting don't mix! :)

I love how the girls can entertain themselves. They have always been so good at that and I have to think that it comes from always offering them open ended toys and limiting the ones that stifle creativity... sometimes I just like to sit back and watch their playtime unfold! :) Even now that we have landed, they are still playing with this set!  They dug out the wooden farm set that Oma has and the stories have exploded with a new adventure!

***Dr Quinn has become such a blessing in our house. It is a good family friendly show that we can watch together with the girls and yet we still enjoy it too!! While there have a been a few shows that we have skipped over due to topic, (Matthew dating a gal from Hanks saloon) there have been other shows that opened up conversations that I otherwise wouldn't have known how to (race topics)... There has been so many historical things that we have researched because of this show (Custer and Walt Whitman) and I will be so sad when we are finished with all 6 seasons....

We so love introducing the girls to shows we loved as kids and that are family friendly.... I don't know what made me think to make them into peg dolls and now I'm excited to think of the other sets I can make for even more extended play and adventures for them. What were some of your favorite shows, movies or characters? I think we'll start watching the Walton's next!

I've also linked up with KeepCalmCraftOn... be sure to stop by and check out the other goodness listed there! :)