Friday, December 26, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Gingerbread Confusion

So, my brother, a faithful reader of this blog, came over this weekend, and at one point he asked where the gingerbread house was. I informed him that it was right next to his elbow. "Oh, that's tiny," he said. And I reminded him that it only cost $2.99. So, for full disclosure, since I realize that my photography might have exaggerated the proportions of my 2nd house, here are the photos again, with some clarification.
Note the size relative to the snowman bowl in the background. Also, the first gingerbread house is on a glass platter.
Now, note the size relative to the snowman bowl in the background (different bowl, but same size.) This gingerbread house is on a plastic appetizer/desert plate.

He's here! and we're sick again...

Brad is supposed to be the one with jet lag, so why am I the one who was wide awake at 4:30 am? The good news is I'm caught up on the blogs that I haven't read in a couple days and there's an apple-raisin french toast casserole in the oven.

This week the twins and I were finally over the cold that we picked up in Doha before we left. Brad came home with a stuffy nose and clogged ears. Yesterday, Nicky started it up again, and last night he woke himself up coughing at 10 and was nearly inconsolable. We ended up doing a middle of the night bed switch so that the twins could sleep in the basement, where, ironically, it's at least 10 degrees warmer than the rest of the house. After the initial upset, he seemed to sleep better the rest of the night. I'm tempted to take him to the doctor, but I know what he will say. It's better not to give toddlers cold medicine, it doesn't seem to be an infection, and we just need to wait it out and keep him comfortable. So, anyone have any ideas for keeping him comfortable, especially at night?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Productivity, Santa Claus, and other random things

First, I must begin with the sad tale of my gingerbread house. As I mentioned, I wasn't particularly happy with it to begin with. The candy was too modern and it didn't allow for much creativity. So, on Sunday when half of the roof fell off and the other half fell off when I touched it, I was disappointed, but not really. We tried the gingerbread. It was nasty. And we sent it into the trashcan. So, on Monday, when I spotted this adorable little gingerbread kit for $2.99 at Michaels, I decided to give it one more try. I don't think we'll be eating this one; it's basically a big sugar cube. But, I love the little wreath and the tree. While I was at Michaels, I spotted this project. Since stores seem to be determined to sell all their Christmas stuff before Christmas, it was 50% off, which made it $3.99. Of course, I had to spend $4 on paint, $2 on a set of brushes, and $2 for a gold pen. :) It was supposed to keep me busy this week (ie help me in my pursuit to put off writing Christmas cards as long as possible), however, I had so much fun painting it, that I think I finished it in about 3 hours.
Something else it felt like I was putting off was going to see Santa. Really, though, I have good excuses. The second time we went to see him, he was going on break and we would have had to wait at least an hour in line. The third time we went the line was so long it was completely out of the queue and down the hall. So, on Monday morning, when it was so cold and icy that no one in their right mind would go to the mall, we visited Santa with only one kid in line in front of us. This is the result:

The photographer asked if we wanted to come back. I said, "This is our second time coming back. I'm going to buy this terrible photo and in 20 years we're going to laugh like crazy." I think he thought I was crazy now.
In other news, I couldn't put off my Christmas cards any longer, and they're almost ready to send. I just have to pick up the twins pictures from Penney's today. I'm not including a letter this year, because I feel like this blog is a year-long Christmas letter. Instead I'll post a year in review sometime soon on here. :)
Brad will be here Sunday afternoon. I'll try to keep up with the blog in the next few weeks, but no promises. :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

So True!

This song is hilarious. I have a confession to make, though. When I give a gift to my kids, I undo all the packaging, then put the toy back in the box and wrap it up. When they unwrap it, all I have to do it is help them open the box. I've avoided a lot of meltdowns that way. If it weren't for the fact that we might want to return the gift, I wish everyone would do it that way. Better yet, couldn't the toy manufacturers come up with something easier?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

God's timing is perfect*

*This is exactly the same as the email that I sent out, but I wanted to post it on here too, just in case.

Wouldn't it be nice if God's timing wasn't so just in the nick of time? I'd love it if he could be early once in a while. This fall, soon after we came back to Doha after our trip to the States, we found out that Brad wasn't going to be able to stay in Doha until the spring like we had planned. It wasn't our choice, and it was difficult to leave, especially for me since it meant that I had to leave the MOPS year unfinished. We had no idea where we were going to go next, and we were watching news reports out of the US about the terrible economy and all the people who were losing jobs. We wondered at the timing of it, coming back into the US now when life outside the US was looking so much more stable. Brad applied for many jobs, but news was slow, and much of it was not good. He was too qualified; he was not qualified enough. Through it all, we hoped and dreamed of the long-term oil job in Anchorage, Alaska. When Brad and I were dating, Brad lived in Anchorage and loved it. I went to visit him one summer and loved it too. We've always talked about moving there someday. The days and weeks dragged on and we never heard a word from the Anchorage job. So, when it was getting down to the wire, we were offered a TDY position in Abu Dhabi. I should say, Brad was offered the position. It wouldn't be family status, which would mean that I would have to stay with my parents during this time, and maybe they would let him bring his family over after the 3 months were over if they wanted him to stay. Brad verbally accepted, and we were relieved to have a job. The next day, he got a call from Anchorage asking for an interview. We thought maybe Brad would still go to Abu Dhabi for three months and then we would move to Alaska. With a heavy heart, I flew to Chicago with my parents and the twins, knowing that Brad and I would be separated this Christmas. Two days ago, Brad received his assignment letter/contract from Abu Dhabi, but he didn't sign it. Yesterday, he had his interview, and they want him mid-January. Sooo.... Brad is coming home on December 21st, we'll spend a couple weeks with family, and then we'll move to Anchorage. In the middle of the winter. :) This whole experience has been a test of my faith. Is the growth that I experienced in Doha real and lasting? I pray that the Lord has found us faithful. I know that He has been faithful to us.

A Christmas Tour of My (Parents') Home

One of the advantages of being at my parents' house is that I get to decorate their beautiful new home for Christmas. More importantly, I won't be here to put it all away! :) One of the blogs that I like to read regularly is having a little show off your garland thingy, so since my inspiration for the garland on my parents' mantle came from that site, I decided to participate.


So, without further ado, here's my garland: It was so much fun to make. I don't know if I can wait until next year to pull out my own Christmas stuff now. :) One tip: you know those power suction cups, the ones that you "lock" by pulling down the hook? Well, three of those are holding up that garland. That's it. They fell a couple times while I was messing with the garland, but they haven't fallen down since, and it's been about a week.

I love Christmas villages. This one is my mom's, but I have one in storage with like 40 houses. Did I mention I don't think I'll be able to wait until next Christmas to get out my Christmas stuff?
My brother gave this vase to my mom for Christmas several years ago. She usually has marbles in the bottom and tall seasonal flowers in it, but for Christmas we filled it with red and gold balls. I wish it could be sitting next to the fancy fireplace downstairs, but the kids are around that one too much. I think I might have to find a place for this vase in my suitcase. :)
Here's the tree that I decorated. Oh, and I put the garland on the railings too.

One of the first things that I said when we were looking through the ads the first morning I got here was that I wanted to make a gingerbread house. My mom and dad started laughing because they kept thinking about buying one for me but decided that I would want to pick out my own. After much deliberating, I settled on this one from World Market. I like the way the sides are imprinted with bricks. It was still a compromise, though, because I really wanted one with old fashioned candy. That gingerbread house kit doesn't seem to exist, however, and I was unwilling to spend more than $9.99 on a temporary decoration.
So, that's my (parents') house this Christmas. :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Jolly Old Elf

First, I must tell you that I'm sitting here on a comfy couch, surfing my parents' high speed wireless internet, and watching back to back Law and Order on TNT. Ah... God bless America.

We heard that there's a new play area at the mall, so I bundled up the twins and we headed out for some toddler bliss. Of course, mommy can't just go to a mall to play, and I figured there was a 50/50 chance that one or both of them would be upset when it was time to leave the playground, so we walked around for a little while and bought a few presents. (By the way, I found a used stroller on Craig's list for $20. It's great.)

When we walked by Santa, I asked the kids if they wanted to visit him. Catie practically jumped out of the stroller, so after checking to make sure that we could see Santa without getting our pictures taken, we stood in line for a few minutes to see the jolly old elf. He was a very nice man, very understanding that the kids might be scared, and he talked the whole time in a gentle, soothing voice. Nick sat on his lap right away. Catie wasn't so sure, and I ended up sitting next to Santa with Catie on my lap.

We'll keep talking about Santa at home now that we've seen him. Hopefully next time we'll be able to get a picture.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Home

Sorry for the silence the last week or so. I've been busy. :) We had a great time with my parents visiting in Doha. I think we went to almost all the malls, my dad and Brad even went to one that I never got around to. Now, after 30 hours in transit, the twins and I are in the States at my parents' house. The trip itself was uneventful, just tiring. One really stinky thing was that they made us check the double stroller all the way through instead of gate checking it, and then when we got it back in the States it was broken. They say they don't insure strollers because it wasn't protected. Arg! So frustrating. We left it at the airport for them to deal with. On the bright side, I've been wanting a new stroller, but didn't have a good excuse for buying one.

We have news as far as Brad's job. He will be in a TDY position for the next three months in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on a project called Masdar. It's a completely green city, with little or no carbon emissions. It should be really interesting. Tomorrow, he has an interview with a long term project in Anchorage. If that works out, we would be moving up there this spring. If that doesn't work out, there is a good possibility that Brad could stay on in Abu Dhabi, in which case, the twins and I would move out there with him. That's what we know so far. Please continue to keep us in your prayers. We know that God took us out of Doha for a reason, and we're trusting that He has a plan for our future. Sometimes it's just so difficult to wait, but we're resting on our memories of His faithfulness to us in the past.