Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Consider This Our Christmas Card












Wise men still seek Him
(and some wise guys too)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

the joys of living with Papa

My stepfather just drew a mustache on my daughter's face with permanent marker. Now he's calling her Speedy Gonzalez. Ughhhhhhh . . . .

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Wonder P

Okay, maybe I don't try to avoid this type of post after all. Here is another video of Little P. In this one she identifies a few basic shapes.
video

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Proof

Not that I needed it, because you all trust me implicitly and know I would never lie. . . but I took this video of Paige this evening and thought that I'd post it because, well, it illustrates my previous post so well. Enjoy.
video

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"I show you where Daddy is!"

That is what Paige said to me this morning when we walked past the globe in my parents' room.

Me: What?

Paige: I show you where Daddy is!

Me: Um, okay. . .

Paige squirms out of my arms, runs to the globe, and gives it a good spin. She even winds up as if she's spinning the wheel on the Price is Right. I watch as she stops the globe with both hands, backs it up a little, and then points her little finger right to Afghanistan.

Paige: See, Mama! Daddy right dere (there)!

My mouth hung open for a second before exclaiming, "You're exactly right! Daddy is in Afghanistan. Can you say Afghanistan?"

Paige: AssghanikSTAN!

Okay, I know every parent thinks their kid is exceptional, so I try to refrain from this type of post, but COME ON! That's crazy, right? I have shown her where Afghanistan is on the globe a couple of times, so I guess it's not THAT crazy. But I never expected her to find it all on her own. (And she's found it at least 7 or 8 times since, so I know it wasn't a fluke).

The kid never ceases to amaze me.

I love being her mother.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The One Where Ben Meets the President

When I called Bridget this morning I told her that I had met someone that I had never met before. She asked who, my reply--George W. Bush. Obviously she was surprised. In the military they don't actually tell you who is showing up; it's a VIP, that's all you know. So they told us when to show up where and what to be wearing. Unfortunately for us it was 3 AM on the other side of camp. Afghanistan is not like Iraq; winter is cold here. No snow yet, but it's very cold that early in the morning. So dutifully, we went and waited. It was quite a long wait, but you're used to that in the Army.

They had some military vehicles set up for a backdrop and some sandbags next to the podium; I guess to make it look more "in harm's way". It all looked nice. We cheered thunderously when he finally showed up. For as many times as I've heard "Hail to the Chief" it's quite surreal when it's for the actual President. There were probably only about 300 or so of us in the room when he arrived. He thanked us, wished us well, passed on regards from Laura, and thanked us again. I was less than 10 feet away from him as he spoke. It's also surreal to physically see the face of someone that you recognize so very well. I think it's a bit different for those of us in the military because to us he's not just the President, but our Commander in Chief. It's a whole different level of respect and admiration.

One interesting thing he asked us to do was to call our spouses and families and to thank them from him for their sacrifice in supporting us as we leave them to defend this nation. There was not the slightest hint of patronizing or disingenuousness. We all felt he was truly and deeply concerned for us and our families. He concluded his remarks and began shaking hands with everyone that was within reach. He didn't seem in any hurry to leave and it was obvious that he tried very hard to shake as many hands as he could. He was even giving some of our guys hugs. Which to me seemed a bit unusual, but I think that's just the kind of person he is. I think he understands because he served as well.

As we watched him leave everyone cheered, even the foreign soldiers that were standing next to us. As he left, I felt gratitude for having served under someone as honorable as him, and I wondered when or if America will see another President as dedicated and humble as he was. It was something I won't forget and a fitting way to conclude my time here in Afghanistan.

-Ben

Sunday, December 14, 2008

And the WINNERS are . . .

Wow. Thirty-two comments. That IS a record (for me).

I don't think it's fair to pick winners based on comment content (that's WAY too subjective for me), so to choose my winners I used a random number generator. Here are the winning comment numbers:

18 11 9

So, the lucky winner of the half-dozen little birdie card set is:
Kurt and Jordan
Congratulations!!! Please email me with your address.

The adorable blingy binkie clippie goes to:
Jill Fellow
Yay! Now, aren't you glad you entered?! Please email me and let me know if you'd like a girly binkie holder or one for a boy. I can also personalize it with the baby's name, or a saying like 'oh boy' or 'sweet girl', etc. if you want. Have any other specific requests like colors, themes, etc? Just let me know!

And the super duper awesome interchangeable watch band with watch face goes to:
That Girl in Brazil
WoooWhooo! Here's what I need for you to email to me: your address, whether you'd like a square, oval, or rectangular watch face, your wrist measurement in inches (measure just up your arm from your wrist bone), and which watch band you'd like (or if you have a different color preference I'd be happy to accommodate that and make something totally different for you).

Winners, please get back to me within 48 hours so I can get these to you before Christmas.

Thanks for entering everyone!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

GiveAway Mania!

Okay, so my Giveaway ends Sunday at midnight. You already know that. If you haven't entered yet, DO IT! I mean, why not? If you don't want the prizes for yourself, I'm sure there's someone you know that would!

And just so you know, there are many many more giveaways going on in the blogging world right now.

Check these out (some are big; some are small; all are fun!):

http://seriouslysoblessed.blogspot.com/2008/12/on-1rst-day-of-christmas-my-moprah-gave.html

http://giveawaytoday.blogspot.com/

http://cally-cruze.blogspot.com/2008/12/giveaway-not-really-because-its-12th.html

http://justaddcharm.blogspot.com/2008/12/twelfth-day-of-christmas-giveaway.html

http://www.donttrythisathome.typepad.com/bloggy_giveaways/

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My Very Own GIVEAWAY!

I feel like Oprah already.

Okay, so ever since I won Smitten Blog Designs' day #4 'Give Oh Giveaway', I've been wanting to spread some Christmas cheer and do a giveaway myself. I know I don't have thousands or hundreds or even tens of followers like others that do giveaways, but hey, why not? I can make some cute stuff, right? Besides, I can't possibly use up all of the stuff I've been crafting all by myself! By the way, thanks for all the nice comments about the stuff I've made this year. It's really just been a fun way to pass the time.

So if you want to win one of the totally awesome prizes below, all handmade by me, then just enter a comment below in response to this post. Only one entry per person, please.

Your chances of winning are AWESOME, because there will be 3 winners, and, let's be honest, the max amount of comments I've ever gotten on a post was like maybe 10. You have until Sunday, December 14th, at midnight to enter; the winners will be announced on Monday, December 15th. Good Luck!

The first lucky winner will be the recipient of a half dozen little birdie cards like these:

A second lucky winner will receive an adorable beaded binkie holder:

And the third lucky winner will get an interchangable watch band with a watch face:

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Happy Birthday to Ben!

Today is Ben's 32nd birthday! Happy Birthday, Sweetheart! I hope you are enjoying all that stuff I sent in your package. There's just one more thing; Paige wanted to give you this:

video

(she is usually a little bit more cooperative than this)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Keeping Busy

The best piece of advice I have to give to anyone whose husband may leave for any length of time, be it for a weekend or a year, is to find something fun to do. For me this has meant completing a few projects and picking up a new hobby. Here are a few of the things I've done this year:

I wanted some pictures of Ben that were durable and portable, so Paige would be able to see him wherever we went. My mom helped me to come up with these:We refer to these as our "daddy books", they are simply photos pasted to both sides of chipboard with mod podge. Papa helped by drilling holes through the corners so we could put them on rings. Paige loves them.

This spring while flipping through a pottery barn kids catalog, I fell in love with this, but not with the $279 price tag. So I decided to make it myself. Here is my version:It was so easy and fun that I plan to round out my collection and do Rapunzel and Cinderella (they're for Paige's room).

A couple of times a year my friend Melinda organizes a card exchange. This is where everyone who participates makes a certain amount of cards and then you all get together to exchange them and you end up with the same amount of cards you made, but they're all different. My mom came up with the design and actually did most of the work, but we made these to exchange:The best part about these cards is that we didn't have to buy any new paper. We just used scraps left over from other projects.

I've wanted to learn how to sew from a pattern for awhile, so when I found a cute apron pattern at the Quilt Festival this year, I bought it. With my mom's guidance I made this (using Heather Bailey fabics): It's called a "Friday Night Apron". Oh, la, la.

While at the quilt show we were inspired by these ladies. My sisters, cousins, aunt, mother, niece and I made spiders with felt and glass beads for Halloween. These are the ones I made:Very cute versions of something I HATE in real life.

And then the new hobby I've picked up this year is beading. I've made bracelets,

and more bracelets: The top bracelet is supposed to look like a pumpkin vine, and the bottom bracelet has dangling cherries (I made both of these for my mom and similar ones for my aunt).

A pretty floral bracelet for me:


And several bracelets for Paige:


I've made beaded binkie clips like these for quite a few babies:
And my latest beading project has been interchangeable watch bands:

As you can see, having your husband deploy leaves you with a little extra time on your hands. Especially if you live with your parents and they like your kid :)

It's a MIRACLE. . .

I WON a blog giveaway!!! I was so excited this morning to check my google reader and see MY name listed as the #4 day winner on smittenblogdesigns.blogspot.com's 12 days of Christmas 'Give oh Giveaway'! WooooWhooo!

Click here to see what I won
.

And everyday the prize is something different. There are 8 days of giveaways left and you can still enter for all 8 to win! All you have to do is comment on each day of the giveaway (and they are already all up so you can to it all at once) and put a link to their site on your blog or subscribe to their blog. SO easy and your chances of winning are good because there are 8 left and only like 30 comments per giveaway. Do it now :)

Maybe I shouldn't have told all you all that, 'cause if you take my advice then my chances of winning again will go down. Hmmmm . . .

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

All Girls

Paige was introduced to the Disney princesses on our September trip to Disneyland and has since familiarized herself with all 7 of them. She plays with the little beauty queens quite frequently and if you ask her what her princesses are doing, she will wave them about through the air and shout, "DANCING!". Some other less frequent answers to this question include, "singing", and, although rare, my personal favorite, "looking pretty".

I didn't plan on being one of those moms whose 21 - month - old owns 7 princess figurines, a princess crown, a princess wand, is potty training on a princess potty seat, and knows all 7 of the princesses names. But, it happened, and you know what? I think it's pretty dang cute.*

So sometimes when Paige is playing with Aurora, I'll sing the words to my favorite song from the Disney movie Sleeping Beauty: "I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream..." And now, of course, being the little sponge that she is, Paige has picked up these words.

This morning, on Skype, she sang the words for her daddy while vigorously waving Aurora through the air, making her "dance". However, Paige's version of the song is a little different: "I know you . . . I walk you . . . I know you . . . I walk you . . . ", you get the picture. Ben, to my surprise, didn't roll his eyes, sigh, berate me for doing this to Paige, or anything like it. He smiled, laughed, and, like me, thought it was the cutest thing ever.

Tonight, Ben called me while he was taking a break during his work shift (there's an 11 1/2 hour time difference) and we had the following conversation:

Ben: That was really cute when Paige was singing with the princesses this morning.

Me: Yeah, she's so funny.

Ben: I guess I'm going to get to know a lot about princesses since I have all girls.

Me: Um, you have one girl.

Ben: Yeah, but you know we're probably gonna have all girls . . . at least 4 more. And you know, I don't think I'd mind.

I was speechless.

Those of you in my family and those who know Ben well, will probably find this as amazing as I did. Hey, maybe this is amazing to those of you who don't know Ben well, since, you know, he doesn't usually try to conceal his opinions. And let's just say that before we had Paige, his opinions on having girls vs. boys were, um, strong.

Oh yeah, and please notice the poll at the top. I'd love to see what you think.

*Lest you think I am ruining my daughter with all this princess stuff, the only princess movie she's actually seen is Cinderella, and her favorite toy right now is in fact Thomas the Tank Engine. But that's another topic for another day to be addressed in it's own post. It definitely deserves it; she's obsessed.