Thursday, July 24, 2008

Autumn Asks: Are you a 'night before' or a 'morning of' packer?

I'm a night before packer. My husband is a morning of packer. The car is loaded, except for blankies, pillows and bathroom bags. Drinks are chillin' in the garage fridge. Extra ice is bagged for the cooler.

But what is all this mess, you ask? Well, we see a bolt of fabric...leftovers from making Mighty Mouses bedspread...that will now make a trip to Arkansas to be magically transformed into a matching valance for said room. Sticky note attached with measurements I was instructed to bring. We have favorite blankies that my girls don't travel without. Toy backpacks...or, er, excuse me, toy and teenage stuff backpacks. Road food and drinks...this crazy diet makes it very necessary. And no that is NOT a 6 pack of coke...its a trick of the light, really, it is. Super duper camera backpack that can even survive 18 hour plane trips to China and every other imaginable trip with hands free, extra space for extra's and a safe and sound zoom lens that I am very attached to. And a digital fits in there to...after all there has to be a camera I can download pictures to my blog to! Also, you will notice the ultra cool quilt with the Chinese writing on the backing material. This is a quilt in the making for Mighty Mouse that my mother is working on. I needed it to make pictures of the squares on the front so I can start the "100 Wishes" scrapbook with all the wishes that came with the material from friends and family. I'll have to do a separate post on that some day -- it is incredible.

So I pulled my busy day off with grace! It was a God thing!! I got Songbird and two others to the lake. We have friends that just got transfered here from Nebraska. The brother/sister pair are going into 7th grade so we took them along for Lake Day...they don't know a soul yet. I was worried that they might be bored or feel left out, but it appears they fit right in and both had a fantastic time. Thank you Highland Youth leaders, kids and parents for welcoming them in. How great is this church?

And I actually got done with my errands with a hour to spare so Mighty Mouse got to play on the playground and in the sand for a bit. But there were a few things I just dropped off my list. They can wait...a couple of projects that are left all over the living room. DH actually told me to just leave it since he'd be gone also and wouldn't be bothered by it. That made a huge difference.

So now its time to settle down, relax and get some sleep. DH has to be up at 6am so we are probably just going to get up and head out when we are ready after all. Thanks to all for the travel prayers and wishes. Will miss everyone!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Autumn asks: What kind of a vacation preparer are you?

It's crazy around here! Songbird is in the middle of Youth Week for church - where they do something every day. I'm trying to get everything together for a 2 week vacation. My errands outnumber the hours I have left to prepare! Ugh.

Things never go as planned. Who knew I'd end up being the only parent on a family vacation? Actually, I should have known. Funny how I was told things would be different here. Well, the gas prices are higher, the food prices are higher, there are no Whole Foods or Wild Oats markets, no ethnic grocery stores of any kind (other than Mexican food) that I can find. So there, it is different. But in the wrong way. Okay - pity party over.

I turned our scheduled 6 day family vacation into a 13 day girl fest. Might as well do it up! So we will be heading out of here Friday to the state of Arkansas to see grandparents. And after a couple of days we will leave there and go see my sister in Kansas City. And after a couple of days we will leave there and go to Omaha and stay for awhile. Then when I feel like coming home I will hit the road early as it is a good 14-16 hour drive home. But its a drive I've made so many times I can do it in my sleep. It's all good.

So why am I still going alone? Our adoption agency has a picnic every year that I get to see my friends at! That includes our travel mates from our trip to China. The girls come from the same orphanage so its almost like going to visit close relatives...even though they really aren't related.

But my planning keeps getting messed up. And today the girls had their yearly well visit checks. I was informed that Mighty Mouse needs 5 shots. And I explained I would return after my vacation to start working on those. Can you see me putting a 4 year old in the car for this kind of a trip after 5 shots?? I think not. I like to travel with healthy kids -- not tortured, sick, and don't even get me started on what I think about vaccinations.

Today also wrapped up the last of our 8 Great Dates at church. We used our Jason's Deli gift card (last weeks winnings). The food was great. Well, as great as a salad bar can be. Eating on this vacation will be a challenge...

So tomorrow I have to get Songbird and 2 others to the lake for Lake Day. Plus I have a million errands to run because Mighty Mouse left her stuffed dog and purse at the doctors, Songbird just HAS TO HAVE the new Hannah Montana CD (and has the money) for the trip, plus she needs prescriptions filled from today's appointment (which was supposed to be a WELL visit - she didn't get the memo.), return library books that I forgot when we were out today, go to the bank because I forgot the checks I needed cashed today and a trip to the post office to shut off our mail which I didn't even think of until tonight. When exactly did I become so scattered???

Oh, and a sprinkler head broke off so we have to shut down the sprinkler system in the front yard for the 2 weeks we are gone. In Texas. So much for curb appeal. By the time we get back the yard should be a nice crispy brown. Hope the toad survives. I wonder how much water they get from eating spiders.

So I might not be around for a few days. Then again I might. I will have my laptop with me but I'm not sure I'll have an internet connection in all my locations. I'm really looking forward to the trip.

To my Monday Morning friends I'd like to say see you in the fall! I'm sad to miss our last meeting of the summer!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Autumn asks: Do you have someone in your family that sews?

We do! My mom has been at it again. She sent Mighty Mouse a new dress and outfit that she made...just in time for our family (not) vacation.

The last few years she has been doing smocking. This little dress is smocked with little flowers. The ties in the back have little ladybugs on them. Even Songbird thought this one was cute and wants one to match!

So for the rest of this post I am going to put pictures of Songbird and Mighty Mouse in their Nano Fashions. I realized I don't have good pictures for all of the dresses...and it would take way too long to load that many! But this is your warning that this will be a lengthy picture post!

The Ladybug is my favorite! But the flowers are awful cool!

Love the little pedal pushers

Songbirds "apron"

Easter Dress

Last Christmas - wish I had a better picture.

Halloween Witch on smocking

Easter Dress with smocking

Sundress with smocking

Songbird Easter Dress

Fall dress

Easter Dress

Already scrapped pages. The background on the Easter one is the pattern of the dress.

Springtime Dress - Hi Bones!





Winter jumper

Friday, July 18, 2008

Scrapbook challenge: Use all black and white

I'm trying to use supplies that I have had for ages and not buy a single new thing beyond the basics of adhesives and maybe cardstock. So the challenge on Creative crafts and Stickers earlier this week was use a black and white photo and all black and white on the page. That one was hard as I found I have almost nothing in those colors. So it was back to basics in more than one way. This picture is one from when DH was little and his dad had not remarried yet. Cute.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Autumn asks: Have you ever won twice in one day?

Whoooo hhoooooo! I NEVER win anything! And today I won 2 things! How did that happen???

This morning when I settled in with my tea in front of the computer and started hitting my blog list, I found out that I won the June drawing at Creative Crafts and Stickers. That is the blog that I do the scrap challenges for and email in. Each layout is worth getting your name in the drawing once. I think I sent in about 4 layouts last month. Anyways, I have no idea what I won, and I don't even care....but I WON.

And tonight,at the end of our 8 Great Dates date, we won a Jason's Deli gift card. Can you guess what our date will be next week?? This week we went and let a friend's dogs out and fed them. They are out of town (the friends, not the dogs). Not what most people would think of as a date. But we sat at the table while the dogs were outside and went through our questionnaire.

Tonight we also went up on the stage and were interviewed about how we kept up the prayer and questions while DH was out of town. I thought I would be nervous but I really wasn't. It was actually kind of fun...and I didn't even embarrass my husband.

For my friends in Monday Morning on the Simple Mom blog (see my blog list) there was a post on The Benefits of Imperfection. It kind of follows the conversation we had last Monday on opening up and sharing ourselves. You should read it. For a brief rundown here are the titles:

1. Flaws help people relate to you.
2. Making mistakes teaches your children that they can make mistakes too.
3. Imperfections make you more authentic.
4. Admitting your mistakes strengthens your relationships.
5. Overlooking shortcomings shows your family that they are more important than things or agendas.
6. Mistakes give you something to laugh about later.
7. Inadequacies can inspire.

Go check out the is a good one.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Autumn asks: How does your garden grow?

I am proud of myself! I got 2 of my 3 beds weeded and mulched. Oh, I was supposed to get that done in the spring when everyone else did it? Hmmm. Maybe I'm a little behind. I did have to wait to have the gutters put in. Our beds were flooded every time it rained because of the way the roof is. But that is now done. And the reason I still have one bed to do is because I am using the rubber mulch out front and its $10 per bag. Ouch. Need another paycheck to do the other side.

Anyways, the light was all green and cool looking Sunday before it rained so I snapped some pictures because its perfect picture taking light.

The sky was a funny color. It almost looks like this is a black and white photo - but its not. The sky was all orangy.

Purple is Mighty Mouses favorite color. Grasshoppers and snails are eating the monkey grass. How do you get rid of those????
If you look, you can see Mr. Toad down there in his house. My sister-in-law thinks its very funny that I have a house for Mr. Toad. I like Mr. Toad, he eats spiders off the front entryway. Unfortunately he also craps on the front entryway.
My Knock-out Roses went nuts this year. I keep having to cut them back. Not that that is a bad thing...but they were overgrowing the walk to the front door and attacking all those brave enough to approach.

And then it started to rain and we ran inside.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Autumn asks: Do you need a little help with your interior decorating?

Apparently I do. Now, I'm not saying I'm much of a decorator...because I'm not. My mother passed that gene on down to my sister and just skipped right over me. But, I have never had a 4 year old try and improve on my efforts before...

Mighty Mouse took a sudden interest in the sofa table. She pointed to the Terra Cota soldiers and asked, "Chinese"? I said yes. Then she studied the rest of the table. I couldn't figure out what she was doing.

A little while later I look over and find a whole new set-up. I guess the soldiers needed a Chinese drum, and where 1 horse was good, 3 was much better. And what is even funnier to me is that her additions probably costs more than mine! LOL!

Terra cota soldiers: $2 each
Bamboo plant: free from FreeCycle
Tang horse: $3 from antique mall in Hot Springs Arkansas

4 year old's first interior decorating job: Priceless

Nobody can say kids are boring.

And since I have mentioned FreeCycle I need to put in a plug. If you haven't heard of FreeCycle you are missing out. It is a Yahoo group you will find for most cities in America. The point is to list the things you no longer want or to post for things you need. It is to keep things out of our landfills. Oh, and its all free.

In Nebraska we got a nice rocking chair, crib and changing table when we adopted. I picked up several (20+) 3 ring binders for a project. Other finds have included different plants, gourds for a Girl Scout project, flashlights for a Girl Scout project, a toaster oven, roaster, George Foreman grill for a single mother whose stove went out and had no funds to replace it, a very large corkboard for our "school room" and some maps, a sleeping bag for camping, organic vegetables for a child sick with cancer, and various kids clothes, baby clothes and toys.

I have gifted loads of books, a Little Tykes sandbox, bikes, couch & love seat that I didn't want to move, shelving units I did not want to move, a pool, expensive curtains and rods for a girl's room, a gas stove, a nice living room chair, lots of craft supplies for a church after school program, an antique sewing machine, a tool box, clothing and toys and that same rocking chair, crib and changing table.

And there are always people needing and giving loads of moving boxes. I've done both of those.

So if you are someone that has a few things you want to get rid of you might do a Google search for "Freecycle____________(whatever city you live in) and see if you have one around. And if you so choose, you have the person come and get it at your house and don't have to do a thing to haul it -- that is why I use it more than anything. Sure I could haul it to Goodwill - but why when gas is $4 per gallon? And when I'm looking for something and someone has it, I don't mind driving to get it.

The area we are in right now has a group. Our Omaha group was much bigger and more active, but since I use it more to pass on supplies than to find them, it is still great. Really great help for anyone with more needs than income or someone moving that is over the allowable poundage limit!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Autumns asks why kids get sick at the same time...even when they aren't around each other?

Songbird has returned from a fun week at church camp. First thing I noticed was that she is sick. They were giving her Tylenol for the headaches and she had been running a fever for a few days. After hearing about her fun on the inflatables on the lake...a giant iceberg looking thing that you slide off of and smash into the water...and water shoots up your nose. No brainer. Looks like a trip to the Ped for a sinus infection. High impact lake water up your nose will do it every time.

And Saturday morning Mighty Mouse was up very early. She sat in the kitchen and cried. Didn't come to wake us up or anything. And that's about the way the whole day went. She too was running a fever - which I discovered at her friend's birthday party that morning - and had a flushed, swollen face and black under her eyes. Another sinus infection? Maybe just a cold. I don't know where she picked it up from.

Either way MM was not very fun at her friends party. She hasn't been that big of a stick-in-the-mud for some time. I must say I love Madi, she is so patience when MM decides not to talk or play. The kid has a really great heart and it will be neat to see how that grows as she does.

Needless to say I'll be calling for appointments on Monday. How does it happen that they both get sick at the same time? I mean its a little convenient that I can make 1 trip into the ped's office, but give me a break! Oh well, its not like its puke or poop so I can't really complain.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Autumn Asks: Do you have great Daddy and Kiddo pictures?

Heather at Wanting What You Have has another great picture post going on today. She posted pictures of her husband with the kids. Now I have to say I love those kinds of pictures. One of my favorite things about my husband is how he is such an involved father. Although he is away too often, when he is home he really enjoys his kids. So this was a hard task for me - paring down my favorite daddy and kid pictures. But here is a rundown through the years....

Bones LOVED Ninja turtles! Here dad is home on mid-tour leave (stationed a year overseas without us) playing Ninja Turtles.

Football with Bones in the backyard. You'd think we were living somewhere in the north...but this was actually in Austin, Tx. We must have had really thin blood back then!

Daddy's first dance with his daughter. Songbird was not yet 6 months old. Bones is dancing with his grandmother in the background. She really did try and teach him how.

Bones learns to drive the boat. My guys were always so tan when we lived in Florida. I hid under t-shirts and hats. It must be nice.

Hiking in Iceland. Songbird being so small while we were in Iceland did not slow us down much. We brought a backpack carrier with us that made her very portable. Now, this stick that was supposed to be a bridge was almost my undoing. It's not bad enough that I don't like heights, but watching DH cross that with my baby on his back almost gave me a heart attack!

Daddy and bones before their marathon in Reykjavik, Iceland. It was a beautiful day. I really miss Iceland.

Songbird with Daddy on 4th of July weekend. We were outside playing baseball and having a picnic with others in our apartment stairwell.

Christmas in Iceland. Songbird is wearing one of the outfits her grandmother made her. I don't know what it is with my girls and only wanting to wear dresses. I was such a tom boy growing up!

Yes, there is a story behind this one! Bones had to bring a cake to the Scout cake auction to raise money for their troop. So, with the help of a neighbor they made a tank cake. It was the most popular cake at the auction. Kids CRIED when they didn't win it. And who was the happy winner of a $40 homemade box cake? Why that would be the parents that made it. Bones HAD to have it. And let me tell you, it was GROSS.

Songbirds 6th birthday. Finally back in the states in Nebraska. What a goofy dad.

Less than a year after this picture was taken Bones was 2 inches taller than his father. I've never seen anyone take off in growth like he did. I'm really surprised he did not have serious growing pains.

First meeting with Mighty Mouse. The rush of emotions that these pictures bring still take my breath away. Adoption is such an incredible miracle. Not to say my older two aren't miracles, its just so very different.

Home six months and finally growing hair. Mighty Mouse was still very afraid of her surroundings but we got laughs and smiles out of her at this event -- parent day at Songbird's Horse Camp.

Daddy and Mighty Mouse. Nebraska. Settling in.

Daddy and his girls. South Dakota vacation. Look! MM has hair!

Daddy and his kids. Spearfish Canyon, South Dakota. Bones...what's up with the hair? Oh, that's right. Dad was gone overseas and you decided you had to have a Mohawk. Mom let you. But you were smart enough to shave it off before dad got home! And I do mean shave.
Our most recent shot. Songbird helps out with the car. Not by choice. You'd be surprised how many different shots/kids I have this one of. Slave labor is good when you like clean cars.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Autumns asks: Are any of your kids going away to summer camp?

Last night at 11:30 pm Songbird boarded the bus to Summer Camp. It's about a 9-10 hour drive from here. This is the first time she has gone without me along as a chaperon.

Songbird has been on other trips overnight without me. It's not a first. She spent 4 days in Chicago when she was about 10 with the Nebraska State Choir. That was nerve wracking, but I lived through it.

So what's eating me this time? I think its the number 13. As in age. Co-ed camp. So I tried to comfort myself with the thought that at least this is a Christian camp. But no. The ladies in our Monday morning Bible Study were kind enough to let me know that their first kiss was on a church bus to or from camp (one with dad driving!). And it wasn't just one of them. Hmmmmm.

I'm sorry to be missing the fun as a chaperon. That is good times! Sweaty times, but good. But I won't miss the sunburns. Or the bug bites. Or the bad camp food. Or screaming girls that find bugs in their cabins. Or the smelly bus ride.

I do hope they all have the greatest time. I never went to camp as a kid so we try and make sure our kids get the chance to experience it at least once or twice. I'm curious to see if Mighty Mouse will do it when she's old enough. Bones was in Boy Scouts and camped all the time. I worried more about him burning down the forest than coming to harm. And I was mortified the time I found out he de-pantsed someone for being ugly to him. A young Scout. And they made the new kids drink the hot dog water. Eww.

I wish it wasn't too hot to go camping!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Autumn asks: What activity did you do this weekend just for your kids?

It was a nice quiet 4th weekend here. I suppose I should wax poetic on freedom and patriotism and such. Sorry. 8 years of deployments has pretty much stomped it out of me. Thank the Lord we are now where we are...because I really don't think I would have made it another year. I don't know exactly what that means...but I was at the end of the end of the end of my rope. (No lectures please, my kids are the 3rd generation in a row to be born to career military, in military hospitals - nobody understands freedom and sacrifice more than my entire family.)

ANYWAYS! It was an FCC (Families With Children From China) weekend for us also. We had a Jumping Jumping Party. I had never been. It's a bunch of inflatables, inside, for the kiddos to jump and run and be crazy on. Then we had some time in a party room with crafts and fun.

We got to see one of Mighty Mouses favorite people - Little Miss Sunshine. MM and LMS are actually from the same orphanage and are 3-4 months apart in age. They favor each other quite a bit (in person, not so much on film) and you can tell they come from the same area. LMS is the most outgoing, friendliest, sweetest kid going. You can't help but be all smiles around her.

So we had fun bouncing around (very undignified if you are overweight and rolling around like a Weeble when trying to get into or out of an inflatable) and then I got to watch everyone chow down on munchies I can't touch. DH got the evil eye as he stood next to me tossing down handfuls of things like Pringles and Cheerio Snack Mix. Dog. But I was good. I was even good afterward when we went to one families house for lunch. They were awesome and had brisket, which I can eat until I puke. (No I didn't.)

MM was being a little uncooperative with pics so this is all we got!