Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Easter Egg Bunnies

We are nearing Easter!

I love Easter. The whole reason behind it: Jesus has Risen!

But I also enjoy the other parts: bunnies, candy, colored eggs...

So, I'm going to share a pretty simple craft that I learned when I was probably around 10 or 12. Not sure what to call them, so I'll call them Easter Egg Bunnies!


I made some for my kids yesterday and they loved them! They thought they were fun to play with and unfortunately the dog thought they were for her to play with too. The 2 bunnies I made for Will and Lana are now sort of brown colored from the dirt outside. Oops!

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SUPPLIES
  • white wash cloths (at Target I found an 8 pack for less than $3)
  • Glue gun w/ glue sticks
  • scissors
  • rubberbands
  • plastic Easter eggs
  • small googly eyes
  • tiny pink pompoms
  • medium sized white or colored pompoms
  • 5/8" or smaller coordinating colored ribbon
  • OPTIONAL: tiny bows (in coordinating colors)


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DIRECTIONS:

Lay washcloth out flat. Cut off tag if you prefer.
Fold wash cloth in half to make a triangle
begin rolling wash cloth from the small point of the triangle to the long side
complete roll all the way to the top of the triangle

fold rolled wash cloth in half
(yuck my hand looks really fat in this picture... I swear they really aren't!)

take the 2 loose ends and fold them up over the roll so the points can touch the rounded fold of the wash cloth

place fingers about an 1-2 inches from that fold over -- this will be the head of the bunny

place rubber band tightly around the area your fingers were holding -- this is your basic bunny

take your ribbon, cut to desired length, and hot glue to the bottom of the bunny to cover your rubberband. It would have worked better if I used a smaller ribbon, but it's all good.

I also glued a little bit of the top of the ribbon to the rubberband to help hold in place

glue on the eyes

glue on the nose

glue the tail on the back
I used colored pompoms but white also works

place plastic egg inside the bunny body
I usually put the rounded side down to help the bunny stay flat


And there you go... Don't they just look happy and cute?! I think so!




I've done other options where tiny bows are placed on the top of the bunny head centered on the ribbon. I've also done ribbons color coordinated with the eggs (like how I did the tails). This time I kept things simple and found a ribbon containing all the colors I wanted and went that route.

Once I had my supplies out it took maybe 5 minutes to complete 1 bunny so it really is not hard or time consuming.

Oh, and I should add that recently I saw somebody do a similar craft but they just had the basic bunny with no decoration and used it to soothe owies for their little ones. They placed ice in the body part or just chilled the whole wash cloth to use. I'd never seen that before, nor have I done it so I'm not sure how well it works.

Anyway, let me know if you try out the craft and what you thought of it!


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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

the dry, gorgeous land

It was today I looked at the calendar... and counted. 1... 2... 3... 4... 5... 6... ?!?!

Six.

We have 6 weeks left in Albuquerque (give or take a day or two).

I must admit that I am very excited about our new adventure in Ohio but I am sad to be leaving behind this wonderful place.

That's likely what many of my fellow military people experience -- Bring on the new base! But I will miss my friends and life I've created here. It's more than the friends for me though. I love just living here.

Albuquerque is an amazing place. The Land of Enchantment has enchanted me. I told Ryan I wouldn't mind returning here and staying forever... he also wouldn't mind returning for a tour or longer but doesn't want to retire here. (put in pouty face here)

You can't beat the beautiful weather, the big blue skies with amazing sunsets, seeing hot air balloons floating over the city nearly every morning, watching the Sandias turn pink and almost red in the evening sun, the graphic lightning storms, the old, old history, the culture... I could go on. It is such a BIG city, but it feels more intimate, more like a smaller town in some ways (though not without big city crime). There are always things to find and do. And that's just Albuquerque! New Mexico in general is full of breath-taking sights, rich history, and activities for any person.

People have complained about the brown. That it looks dead and boring. It's just a bunch of dirt.

But it is so much more than that! It is amazing.

Maybe it is because I'm accustomed to the green, trees, forest, water, wetness of the Pacific Northwest that I find such awe in this high desert.

Oh, I'm sure Ohio has its own beauty, but I am going to miss this dry, gorgeous land.


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Monday, March 26, 2012

Girl's Night Out

As if you didn't know... there was a major blockbuster released in the theaters this weekend.

And like many, many others, I went to see it!

The Hunger Games

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Yes, I read the books in January and finished them within days. They were so good! I couldn't wait until the movie came out.

I got a couple friends together and we decided to go. It was our Girl's Night Out! Because of schedules, children, and husbands we decided to go to a LATE showing on Sunday night. That way commitments could be kept, husbands could do what they needed to do, children could be put to bed, and hopefully the squealy teenagers would not be in attendance because it was a school night.

So... we went to the XD showing at 10:35 pm. To see a 2.5 hour movie.

And there was barely ANYBODY there!

Movie was good. The 7 month old with us was really good. It was so nice to spend time with my friends.

Since I drank 2 full medium ICEES I had to pee SUPER bad. I ran out quickly during the last part of the interview with Katniss and returned before the end of Peta's interview so I didn't miss much of anything.

Best part of my night??? My jumpy friend Angel screaming when one of the dog creatures jumped out of the woods. Like, full out scream. Made me jump more than the film. Awesome.

The movie didn't follow the book exactly and glazed over parts that I liked in the book, but I realize a movie is NOT "the book" and I appreciate it for what it is. Saying that, The Hunger Games was well done and I enjoyed it.

I returned home after 1:30 in the morning and went to bed shortly thereafter.

Then at 3:30 the kids were up. Why?! Oh why?!?!

I reminded them, somewhat harshly, that "We do not get up until the sun is awake! If the sun is asleep, we are asleep!" Thankfully they quickly went back to bed and nodded off in no time.

This morning called for a stop at Starbucks after taking Will to school. Decaf, but it still has some caffeine in it. Now I'm off to a PWOC board meeting.

I think I will nap during the kids' quiet time today. It is official, Alanna no longer naps.


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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Just because

I've been trying not to post on weekends but I remembered this pic I took of my kids a couple days ago when we were walking back home from our neighborhood park. I thought it was precious and wanted to share.

Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend. Mine has been good and Sunday night me and some friends are catching a late "Hunger Games" showing! Have you seen it yet??

Friday, March 23, 2012

Will's Frustrating World

I still have a few more openings for guest bloggers. Go HERE for more information.

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Yesterday William had his follow-up appointment with the Developmental Pediatrician. We last saw her about 6 months ago. Still the same diagnosis: apraxia and some sensory processing issues.

I'm happy to share that she was pleased with the overall progress Will has been making with his motor planning and attempts at speech. On the other hand, she was very disappointed with the lack of intelligible speech Will has and the fact that TriCare has DENIED private speech therapy on several occasions on the basis that there is nothing in his records that indicates a need for such services.

It's crap, I know.

He gets 1 hour of group speech a week at pre-school. He desperately needs individual, intense speech therapy. (Other therapies William gets are Occupational Therapy for 1 hour every week and Feeding Therapy which is now only once a month).

Thing is, the therapist that has been treating Will for feeding therapy is a speech therapist. Insurance has decided Will is already seeing an SLP, there's no reason for additional treatment. What they have failed to understand is that FEEDING therapy is not addressing SPEECH.

It was good to talk with the Developmental Pediatrician and get advice on things to pursue when we move to Ohio. She agrees that there's no reason to fight for things right now with only about 2 months left before the move. Feeding therapy will not continue once we PCS so there should not be any issue with getting insurance to approve private speech therapy at that time.

I also mentioned that we are planning to get Will into gymnastics (and likely Alanna as well). It should help with his coordination and balance. It will also be a benefit to be among normal developing peers. The doctor was in agreement stating that dance, gymnastics, and karate would be of the best benefit for him. Trying soccer, T-ball, and other such sports are not the activities that he needs to help with his development. I'm okay with that for now. We discussed swimming and although she doesn't see as much benefit I told her how well he progressed with his movement and body control when his early intervention occupational therapist worked with him at the pool. I hope to find swimming lessons for the kids at our next base.


Ug. I read over what I have written and it makes my son sound like he has all these awful issues and is "abnormal." Thing is, most people recognize him as a normal child around other kids. He's quiet though and still parallel plays or goes off by himself to play. With the right kids around he will be cooperative in his playing. It isn't until he tries talking that people realize he can't communicate as well.

That's the thing about Will. He understands everything. He loves to be social. He likes to play. He enjoys music and animals. What makes him different is his inability to verbally communicate like most people do.

While talking with the doctor today she explained that with all the testing and everything else, Will seems NORMAL -- no genetic disorder, no weird blood issues, no medical conditions. It is just that all of our brains are wired differently. Some people process math and science well. Others are more talented with language and arts. Some people have an innate ability to control their body and movements (athletic ability). Every brain is different.

The issue is that Will's brain doesn't communicate well with motor functions or processing well what input comes his way. He has the language in his brain. He knows what he wants to say... but actually forming the words with his mouth and tongue just don't work right. In the same way he knows what his arms and hands SHOULD be doing, but making them actually do that is another problem. He literally has to train his hands how to manipulate what he wants to do. These processing issues are also evident in some of his fine motor planning (holding a pencil, counting on fingers), some awkward movements (like running), and problems with feeding/food textures. It is a frustrating world my little boy lives in.

At least I can understand him most of the time! For now I am his interpreter until he fully finds his voice.


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Thursday, March 22, 2012

7 years

Monday was Ryan and I's 7th wedding anniversary.

We made it to the "hump" I've heard about. Yay!

In the end our anniversary turned out alright. Hubby sent me a dozen beautiful red roses. Later we dropped off the kids with friends (hooray for free babysitters) and then went to dinner at a restaurant on Nob Hill I'd heard about and wanted to try out.

Turns out the food was just okay. Ryan got the chicken fettuccine and I got the veal and spaghetti noodles. Not a fan of the white wine sauce the noodles were in so that made me sad, but the veal was good.

A fun part was looking out the window and seeing the daffodils blooming! Spring has arrived!


It was good to sit in a quiet area (who knew restaurants are nearly empty on Monday nights?!). We were able to talk about our upcoming move and discuss what things are going on between then and now. Also? We chatted about the rental homes we've been looking at online. And of course we talked about us!

Simple and sweet. Happy Anniversary to us! Here's to many, many more!

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and if you're interested in being a guest blogger, go HERE and find out how.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Call for Guest Bloggers!

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I'm moving.

Not a surprise.

Any-hoo... I'd like to line up some (uh-hum SEVERAL) gust posts so that there's something to read and I keep my blog active. It's no fun to be a follower and then the writer doesn't post for a month.

I'm not sure exactly how much I'll be up for blogging during the pack out, driving across several states, rental house-hunting, living in TLF, and moving into a new home.

So, if you'd be up for writing a guest post let me know. I'm leaving the topics open so you have plenty of freedom to choose what you feel you should share. If I am in direct disagreement or your post is offensive I will not publish it, just so you know. I do have a sort of quality control here.

Share the news! If you have a friend willing to write or who wants to get their work "out there" send them my way. Blog about it to share the news. Put it on Facebook! You don't have to have a blog to guest post... just the desire to write and share something. You also don't have to be a follower of mine, but I hope you would become one. And depending on the response for this I may ask some people to guest post more than once!

Please contact me by leaving a comment and include someway of contacting you back. Once I've gotten back to you, feel free to start preparing your post. I need all posts submitted to me by e-mail no later than April 28, 2012. I will let you know when your post is scheduled to be published. These posts will take place between May and June of this year.

And I think that's all! Thanks!


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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Blogs I've been diggin'

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I'm not the best blog hopper. I get caught up reading back stories and what not...and then don't actually participate. Lame.

But, I thought I'd share a couple blogs that I've been really enjoying lately. Some are new (to me) and others are not. I'm always on the search for interesting blogs to follow so if you have suggestions let me know!

Okay, so let's get this going:
  • Hot, Holy, & Humorous - Wow! I L.O.V.E. this blog! It isn't often you can find blatant, informative, funny, and interesting information on sex within marriage with a Godly, biblical center. I'll be honest that I've learned several things from this woman and hope her writings may help others! 
  • Momastery - a friend introduced me to this blog with some amazing posts and I'm hooked. Glennon (the woman who writes Momastery) writes on motherhood and faith in God. There's a lot more but I can't contain it in a little blurb. So I give you THIS LINK to get her synopsis on what it's all about. 
  • NieNie Dialogues - okay, this one has definitely been around for awhile, but that doesn't change the fact that I'm really into her writings lately. For those that don't know, several years ago Stephanie and her husband Christian were in a horrible plane crash, leaving over 80% of Stephanie's body burned. She survived and has LIVED! She writes on pleasures of her life, mostly her family. AND -- in a very short time they will be welcoming a new baby girl! Their 5th child and 1st since the accident. I'm thrilled for them. 
  • Kayla Aimee, Only Slightly Neurotic - another blog that I've known for quite some time. Still love her skill though. KA is funny, insightful, eclectic, and entertaining. I started following shortly before her daughter, Scarlette, was born at 15 weeks premature (that's 25 weeks along for those that aren't great at math) and followed through the NICU stays, coming home, and her thriving growth. It is awesome. KA is also a scrapbooker (though I am not) and has beautiful work that she shares. Oh, and have I said she's funny?! The girl cracks me up with nearly every post!
  • My Camo Kids - if there's a blogger who is kind of my hero I could put down Lora. I wish I could meet this woman! She's the wife of an Army man. She's the mother to 4 kids and has JUST adopted a little girl from Ukraine. Her husband recently returned from his second year long deployment and they have now been informed of a surprise deployment coming much too soon. She's got a lot of strength. She's got her belief in God. And I love that she is dedicated to her family.  
Yeah, I could keep going but I'll stop at 5 blogs. Let them know that I sent ya over!




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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Book Review: Outlaw Platoon by Sean Parnell

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Outlaw Platoon: Heroes, Renegades, Infidels, and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan by Sean Parnell with John R. Bruning

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This was an amazing book! Sean Parnell (with John R. Bruning) has written this fantastic story so well it reads like a novel, not non-fiction. It would not surprise me if Outlaw Platoon is eventually made into a movie – it is THAT vivid, emotional, and action-packed. I felt like I was there in the chaos with these men fighting heated battles in Afghanistan. Parnell gives wonderful, intimate details on what goes on in the mind of a young commander and how the men relate to one another in the field. These men really did become closer than brothers after what they went through.

What I enjoyed is that Parnell kept things real. He did not sugar coat the hell his men went through, the injuries they sustained or the feeling of injustice from the actions of our Pakistani “allies”. He honestly portrays the obvious gulf between those who are in or experienced active combat and those who have not. Most important, I think, is enlightening the reader on issues with our American politics and the very obvious cultural differences that dictate how this war is being waged. Parnell is candid in his assessment of the situations: rules of engagement, men unwilling to fight, dealing with Afghan leaders who actually play both sides of the war.

I have been reading plenty of military books lately and so far this is my favorite. It is dramatic. It is real. I hope more people read it not just for the story, but for understanding what our men are going through over there. Thankfully it is not completely intense and there are ample amounts of humor to keep you moving along. This was one book I could not put down and devoured all 300+ pages in a day. As a warning to more sensitive readers the language can be foul at times. The images of war can be graphic. Subject matter is really for those who are more mature and I do not recommend this for young teens.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255



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Friday, March 16, 2012

You've Got Snail Mail!

Who doesn't love getting "real" mail? I know I do. Anything beats getting bills and junk mail and the never ending stream of store coupons. In fact, I even love SENDING real mail! Anybody want a pen pal?? Or at least a Postcard Pal??




Jessica over at Jessica Lynn Writes hosted a super fun postcard swap. I had a the lovely Casey from We Took the Road Less Traveled By as my postcard buddy.

And yesterday my postcard arrived!


That's right! Casey is an Air Force wife living in Germany. Lucky girl. I can't be too bitter... I've lived overseas once with the military (in Japan). Turns out Casey has never been further West than Kansas... and I've never been further East that I am now! Well, that's only partially true. I spent a not-so-great weekend in Chicago once.

I was so happy to find the postcard in my mailbox yesterday! When I came back in the house the kids were probably wondering why I was so giddy (I also got a new book to review in the mail so that helped). The pictures on the front just made me long for the day I can go to Europe and actually see these places for myself. Ahh... dreamy.

Thanks so much to Jessica for hosting and to Casey for the fun postcard! Who knew something so simple would truly brighten a day!



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Thursday, March 15, 2012

My 1-Day Escape to Pecos & Santa Fe

I completely neglected to blog about the wonderful trip to Pecos and Santa Fe I took with my friend Tegan! She blogged about it HERE and I think has done a great job of explaining and providing additional information about the places we visited. She also has more pictures. Go check it out, if only to look at the pictures!

This trip had been planned and then rescheduled. It almost was rescheduled again since Will got sick and could not go to the arranged childcare, but Ryan (thankfully) stayed home to watch the kids so I could still go.

First up was Pecos, New Mexico. Tegan had told me there was a Civil War Battlefield that had taken place not far from us, The Battle of Glorieta Pass. Since I'd grown up on the West Coast I'd never experienced true Civil War battle locations... and I was thrilled! Tegan, of course, basically grew up across the street from Civil War battlefields.

We drove up to Pecos National Park and discovered that, yes, there was the battle field but much of it was spread out and mostly accessible by a rather long walking/hiking trail. We didn't exactly have enough time to do all of that and Tegan had baby Daphne with us, so instead at the Park Station we discovered an awesome ancient Pubelo dwelling and 400-year-old Spanish Mission ruins to check out. It was a great paved trail with plenty of additional information provided about the area. The rangers were quite informative as well.

The Spanish Mission ruins in the background with an image of what it used to look like
Pueblo ruins
Tegan going down into a reconstructed kiva... and yes, that is a baby strapped on her chest
the Spanish Mission
Standing about where the alter area would be looking out to the Sangrio de Cristo Mountains
I think I'm ancient Pueblo size!
adjourning rooms to the mission which were the residences of the priests, mission workers, and servants
the Spanish Mission ruins
There were supposed to be wagon ruts from the Old Santa Fe Trail here, but we couldn't see them
Not all was lost though for the Civil War battle field! We saw Pigeon's Ranch and the Civil War Monument. And later this month there will be a re-enactment for the 150th anniversary of the battle -- we might just have to go back.

Pigeon's Ranch
Civil War Monument
After that lovely time we drove south to Santa Fe and to Old Town Plaza where we grabbed lunch at the Burrito Company (blue corn enchiladas, yum!).

I'd been to Santa Fe Plaza a couple times but never had the chance to take my time and enjoy the sites. They were amazing!

We first went to Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis Assisi. Beautiful! The Catholics build some gorgeous churches! I first spend some time out on the grounds walking the labyrinth then joined Tegan inside to admire the building.
the labyrinth

After that we took a short walk to the Loretto Chapel to see the miraculous staircase. My pictures don't do it justice... it is probably the most breath-taking staircase I'd ever seen. No side or center support and no nails used. Two complete 360 degree turns to the loft above. At one point I just sat in a pew and stared at this engineering marvel.


And finally we then walked a couple blocks to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. When I was in 3rd grade I had a teacher who loved art and had many art books for us students to look at. I remember first seeing Ms. O'Keeffe's work then. Over the years I'd gleaned information about the woman and found much of her paintings fascinating. I saw my first original when we went to Roswell, New Mexico the summer after Alanna was born.

I was a bit surprised that I wasn't in awe of many of her paintings. Several of them did stop me and I could stare at them for quite some time. Strange how that happens. Anyway, both Tegan and I loved learning more about this interesting woman, seeing her work, and acknowledging her love of the land around us.

Before we left Santa Fe we had to stop to get some treats at a sweet bakery, the Burro Alley. We split 2 desserts and had a nice chat with our waiter.

It was a wonderful trip! I wish I would have done it much sooner, but oh well. Just gives me more incentive to jump on opportunities wherever the military sends us.



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