Raelee assures me that Santa needs cookies. I am not sure about that, but when I asked her a bit more about it, she described them; Santa loves cookies that have designs on them. He loves yummy cookies and he loves colorful cookies. So we set about making them.
Today, mommy and granny mixed the sugar cookie dough and rolled it out. The girls took care of the rest with mommy and granny decorating too. One said that it was perfect family time - it sure warmed my heart. This is what I needed... a couple cute little girls:
It takes lots of cutting:
With lots of concentration:
From kids of all ages:
Add some creativity:
And soon you have piles of cookies for Santa:
And probably enough for his elves too!
And then, of course, you rest:
And watch your friends rest too :-)
Soon the day is done - and it was good.
Santa will be happy. He might gain a few pounds like we did too!
I have had issues with getting my body turned around to this side of the world. I sleep for 7 or 8 hours every night, take a 4 hour nap and am ready to do it all over again the next day.
Am I getting old? Don't say it!
Steve and I have looked and looked for the Christmas spirit around our house. We decided to go to THAT store and buy a cheap $30 tree and ornaments to try to help it along. What is Christmas without a Christmas tree? When we came home, we put Raelee to work decorating. We started out looking like this:
And soon thanks to Raelee's hard work we had this:
What is it about a puny Christmas tree, a kid and a few decorations that make it grand?
Finally having some of the holiday spirit in our lives, we set about making a Gingerbread House. Well, Raelee set about it anyway. I gave her the tools and she went to town making the house come to life - just as she did the tree! I don't do things for kids - I give them the tools to do it and hang around for questions and tads of help - they do great all by themselves.
I love giving kids the tools and let them make the decisions - I am never disappointed! :-)
She built the foundation and walls, then added the roof:
We think some people give up on patience.
Raelee has patience for most things - she held the roof just fine until it 'stuck'. Some people have trouble waiting on that... and without a good foundation... well things can crumble.. lol...
Hers didn't... so she started decorating it:
Taking care to make it just right:
And she followed the directions to a "T":
Paying very careful attention to detail:
And soon she had made this:
How do you describe the satisfaction of a job well done?
By taking a picture of the girl and her house:
Didn't she do a great job for a 6 year old?
We found Elfie up to his old antics. We were sure glad too, we thought he had given up - but he was just tired like the rest of us! It took him a bit to get back in his groove. Elfie definitely has his groove on now! He was hiding in the medicine cabinet!
What is it about a child during Christmas to bring out the holiday spirit?
Could it be it is because Christmas is about a child born on Christmas Day? It seems that an adult can try and try, but a child brings in the spirit of the holiday by adding just a few cheerful touches, some decorations and laughter. Soon, they can make the magic suddenly appear - and just as quick as that, holiday has begun.
♪ ♫ It is beginning to feel... ♫ ♪ ...a lot like Christmas!♪ ♫
8 years ago, I started my first blog. It was started because I was going through so much crap with settling in with my three nieces and nephew (4 kids) living here, our son was moving back home from Japan and we were going through the foster care/court system to get through our placement. (remember that adventure?) At times I felt like I was alone. I cried on people's shoulders until I could see everyone was weary from listening to me. So, in order to stay sane, I started a blog to vent, cry, celebrate, and sound off on those who actually did care. Thank you all for being there for me.
When I started my expat experience, I started this blog, again to get through the frustrations of all of the changes going on in my life. Most of you are still here cheering me on. Thank you for that. Some of you send me 'kick in the last' messages that makes me get my head out of my rear and look ahead again and some of you just hug me. I need it all.
Thank you for that.
Last night I was overtired, overwhelmed and oversensitive. Yes, all of those things happened. Yes, it is frustrating, but it is not frustrating to the point of harming relationships. The water bill got paid thanks to a dear friend who read my blog.
Thank you for that.
None of this is any particular person's fault. It is just sh#! I am dealing with - another predicament, same life. It is crap that gets overlooked and it is not intentional - and I know that. I am whittling through it trying to come up with an answer. Until then, I am looking forward again and I know I will figure it out.
After much contemplation, I realized I am in a great life; I have a home in the US, I have a home in Singapore, my hubby has a job, and I have people who love me and are willing to put up with my crap and rants and raves - and they support me through them and still love me on the flip side.
Thank you for that.
While sitting in the Drs office, someone asked me where I got my purse. I told them I didn't remember because I was ashamed to say I think I got it in Malaysia last week while shopping - for $3.50. How many people can say that? Yes, I am lucky. And I am ashamed that I let this little crap get me down.
So, I am looking up and looking out again. I am going to make good of this predicament. I will celebrate the friendships I have made and those who have helped us through it all - my gosh what would I do without each of you?
Thank you for that. I love you.
We don't know anything from today's physicals obviously, but I do have some ideas to go to my GP with. I will let you know more later. No, my blood pressure was not better, but I know why. Tomorrow, after rest and relaxation, it will be better. The sun will be out and I will be smiling. Because I am loved, and because I am truly ok again.
Merry Christmas everyone - and thanks for being there. You are terrific - I didn't get any bashing e-mails from yesterday's blog; only love and support. What a great group of friends you are.
Thank you for that.
And thank God for this blog - I don't think I could navigate this life without it. Writing pulls all the strings together and helps it make sense. You all are the final threads that make my life whole.
Thank you for that.
Gosh, I have a lot to be thankful for - what was I complaining about?
We made it! What a horrible, long, miserable trip, 29 hour trip - but we are back.
Walking in our house, I expected to breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy our 'new' place. We left in such a rush that we didn't really get to relish the fact that our house was indeed remodeled and enjoy the newness of it. In fact, it is so new that it still smells of all the new paint, varnish and appliances. It didn't quite happen that way.
Walking in, our house echoes of its loneliness. There is a bare minimum of furniture here - and nothing to make it sound like home anymore. It simply echoes. Don't get me wrong, it is beautiful, but it is no longer our home. It is indeed someone else's - but they have not found it yet. All of our precious 'stuff' is still in storage, and this is still just a shell of what it used to be. The laughter is not the same and the warmth is simply not here. And the reality is, I don't feel at home anywhere now. It is a sad and unnerving feeling. I have not felt this way in many, many years - and certainly not since I have been with Steve. How do people live like this?
From this point on - this is nothing but a huge rant - you may want to check out now...
On the divider a large stack of mail greeted me. In the mail box another huge amount of mail greeted me. I have done my best to pay the bills blindfolded online. I *thought* I had it under control. Yesterday, I was merely trying to survive the trip so I didn't touch either pile. Finally, last night, after collecting the last basket of mail from our daughter's house, I got busy. The first stack on the divider greeted me with a cut off notice of the water bill. The FINAL CUTOFF NOTICE (marked in big letters) on the notice was December 5th - obviously past. Never, in all the years I have been married has that happened. I have a knot build in my tummy - the water office is closed and I cannot get it straight with them first thing in the morning because I will be at the Dr over an hour away. So will we have water tomorrow night?
Digging through my billpay online, I find that I did pay the actual amount in October, but in November, in desperation, I paid $100 because no one had let me know what my bill is and Steph, who normally catches the ooopies was in Singapore. Thinking it was in her stack of mail, I realized there was no one home to check. Our bills always run between $40-$50 so I thought that the $100 would be plenty. Not so. The November bill, when I found it was $111.73 and the cut off bill is another $100+. If I only sent $100 in, then we still owe hugely - hence the cutoff notice. Now all of this is going some where.
I am a responsible person, but if I cannot see it, I cannot pay it. If I have to stay up until midnight to call the source from Singapore - it won't happen. I am long asleep by that time - and if I was awake I wouldn't be coherent enough to figure it all out. So I depend on those that stay here to let me know if they notice something awry.
The bill that had the cut off date was on the top of the stack on the divider. Not in the midst of the stack but on the very, very top :-( A red bill with FINAL CUTOFF NOTICE on top of the mail stack should be a red flag... no? It did not get mentioned, paid or even noticed I suppose. Am I upset? Yep. No one is paying a cent to stay in our house. Not one red cent. We are paying all the bills - or not - in this case. Yes, yes, I KNOW they are doing US a favor, but darn it - give me a freaking break. Don't let our utilities get cut off please? I don't even like paying LATE payments. Flip through the mail that was not supposed to even be coming here! (That should have been their first clue something was amiss)
Let me back up a bit. The night we come in, we are dead beat. I had e-mailed ahead and asked all the parties living here for a few things to be in the house when I came home. It was. Exactly what we asked was here. I really appreciate that - but here is the kicker - I didn't ask for Dove soap. Heck when we got here, I didn't have ANY soap. I left with 8 bars here. The receipt is here even, so I know I did buy it and it was not a dream. Did I have soap when I came home? Nada. The bathrooms were bone dry. I wanted a shower. We were 29 hours in transit. I wanted a shower. My car is locked in the shop, no battery. I would have had to walk to Wal-Mart at 2am to get soap. I didn't.
I didn't ask for toilet paper either. I had bought the HUGE pack of Charmin 3 days before I left. Did we have toilet paper? Just the teeny bit on the roll in each bathroom. Enough for not 'dripping dry' so to say. I did find out later that some (2 rolls) had been placed in a door, not where I put it, but I hadn't looked in the right place. Never mind someone knew where to find the 20+ rolls they had used - yes I had bought the HUGE 24 pack (it is on the same receipt) - but they didn't know where to replace those two rolls - one in each bathroom would have been handy... So I did have toilet paper - I just needed to know where to look.
I know, no one uses this stuff - I have been told that in no uncertain terms. One uses their own body wash and the other brings their own soap.
That is the only way this stuff got used because neither party used it, right? I know that is not what happened, and I know neither party is single handedly guilty - or not guilty! Is it too difficult to buy more when they see it has been used? Or call me and tell me my water is getting turned off if I don't pay? Does everyone honestly think I can see those bills from Singapore? Someone brought them in. Someone HAD to see it - it was on top of the pile! And please don't make me remember to say, "I need toilet paper and soap." Aren't those bare necessities in anyone's house?
Before I left, our new toilet ran after I flushed it and I let everyone know that. With a water bill like that it did run while we were gone. I thought it would get better as it was new. It didn't happen and apparently ran. And ran. And ran. Hence the over $100 water bill three months straight. In a dozen times of flushing since I have been home - it has continued to run a dozen times. It is not fixed. Our water bill is huge and not paid now :-(
And it is getting turned off.
I guess what I am saying is that it is time to sell the house. We don't live here and it no longer even 'feels' like our home. No one cares if the bills get paid - or if our name gets tarnished if they don't, or if our mail gets brought in, or if it doesn't. It is time for us to quit depending on others to take care of our business. We don't need to pay the house note simply for a dream to come home - or as it is for others to enjoy; we don't need to pay the utilities for others to use, we don't need to pay the cable bill so others can lounge and (not) watch tv, or pay the internet bill so others can check business e-mail or game, and we don't need to pay the phone bill to keep the number we have had since the beginning of time (Rod R, I am thinking of you right now - you found us when no one else tried) or pay the insurance so our nothings are insured - they aren't even here! We don't need to put groceries in the house every time we come home to go to waste when we leave and we certainly don't need to pay the lawn guy to mow a yard we seldom get to enjoy.
I am 10,000 miles away and I can't do it all. The realization has slapped me in the face.
Our house needs to sell. I feel used. I feel beaten. I am angry. I am super sad. I am overwhelmed. I am done. I sit here re-reading this with my jaw hanging open. Is it really too much to ask? And yes, I am tired. 3 years of keeping up and trying to make it stay peaceful and keep everyone happy is no longer working. I am done. No, we don't owe any one anything - nor do they owe us. It needs to get over as soon as it can for all of us.
Yeah, I guess it is too much to hope for coming home and actually getting to move back into our beautiful house - which has honestly been in the back of my mind for quite some time. I have learned to appreciate the small things that I didn't appreciate before. Living close to one of my grandkids was nice. I had pretty much decided I love where we live in the states - we just needed to get back to it. I love this house now that it is all fixed up. It is breathtakingly beautiful! With our belongings back in it, it could easily go right back to being our home.
Now, I realize I can't keep trying to keep up with our home here and our home there. There is no end in sight for our dilemma. I just need to let it go and quit trying to make it back. It hurts too much in too many ways. It breaks my heart every return trip, so I just need to let it go and try to get through the mess we are in. Getting through Singapore is difficult enough (HELL yes it is difficult) (HELL yes it is amazing) (but it is still DIFFICULT folks!) without having to deal with getting our utilities turned off here.
So coming home was not all it was cracked up to be. It again has been an emotional roller coaster. I am tired of amusement park rides that I get no enjoyment out of. I am a foreigner in my own land. My island is on the other side of the world - but it is not my country. My country is here but it can't keep track of me, and our home is now a super free vacation resort for others.
This house is a shell of what it once was and obviously a thorn in every one's side. It is not our home; it is other people's problem to deal with. I need to get over it and get on with it. I cannot make it right again and I cannot be all things to all people and I can not pay my utilities if I have to depend on others to see the bill.
I want my house, my stuff, my friends, my family, my scrapbooks and my life back. I am so done with this life. So very done. I am ready to be in charge of my own life again - and in possession of everything I love and miss. I want to caress my precious belongings, sit for hours and relive our memories with my scrap booking and pay my own bills in a timely manner, know it is getting done and that I can take a shower tonight and not worry about that water getting turned off while I am at the Drs office.
And I want to eat USDA beef every freaking day if I want it.
Complete physical in 4 hours. Wish me luck. Maybe my blood pressure will be back to normal by then... lol...
We got all of our loot packed in the suitcases and even had suitcases to spare - I think. We won't have to hire a personal airplane to tote us and our luggage :-) Now a couple of taxi's - yep, we're gonna need them.
Our flight back to Singapore is on the 11th. I am sure I will be ready to crash when I return.
We are geauxing home... in case you are wondering, geaux in cajun is GO!
We say "Geaux Tigers!" We yell "GEAUX Saints!" The Saints are "13 and EAUX" :-) And we are geauxing home.
December 13, 1982 was a fantastic day. Well it didn't start out that way, but it sure ended that way. After a long day, a cute little boy named Jeremy was born to us.
27 years ago today, a red-head-freckle-faced-green-eyed-boy came into our lives. Little did we know how much he would light up our lives, make us smile and entertain us with his laughter and silly faces. When he was born we knew our lives were whole. We already had our sweet little girl and now our son had made us whole. Our little family of four was complete.
His big sister couldn't be happier. She beamed with pride when he came home. Of course there were some transitions in store for her, but she overcame them and helped mommy with her big brother. She loved him with every part of her being - protecting him and guiding him as he grew older - and doing her best to try to keep him out of trouble - or in trouble, which ever suited her best at the time ;-)
Jeremy was born with a love for music. Doing as we were told was best, we put him to bed with music on so he would sleep through the rest of the commotion in the house. In his bassinet next to us, he squirmed nearly constantly. I would wake when the squirming got so bad I thought he was about to wake. The night we moved him to his own bed he slept the night through. A few days later, I brought him back into the bedroom with us and it was then that I realized he was not squirming - he was rocking himself to the music. Tiny in his bassinet, his toes were pushing him back and forth - hence the 'squirming'. He did that through his toddler years. That was only the beginning to his passion for music and still to this day, he has a huge love for tunes, not only listening to the words, but to each individual instrument in the background music.
When Jeremy was nearly three years old, someone at Sears - yet again - put their hand on his hair, ruffled it and asked him where he got that beautiful red hair. Jeremy didn't miss a beat, without so much as a pause he answered, "It came with my head."
I knew then that I was in big trouble. At three and his wit had already started.
He is indeed quick witted; a little too quick if you ask me, but he still makes me laugh at his humor. It sure got him into a lot of trouble when he was growing up, but often when I was fussing at him for something he did wrong, he was screw up his little face in the funniest faces and it would always make me laugh - he didn't get out of trouble, but he sure lightened the mood greatly. His smiles can light up the world and the twinkle in his eyes let's you know he is on his way to trouble - but his bear hugs make everything all right again when it has gone awry.
Jeremy used to be very good (and literal) listening to directions. When he was 6 and in kindergarten, we had taught him all the rules including don't talk to strangers or anyone he didn't know. One day a friend who was supposed to get him off the bus forgot him. When I came home and found out, I was frantic in my efforts to find him. I raced to my neighbor to get her help and we searched the entire neighborhood. I had gone back home in tears to call his dad, and heard a noise coming from under our huge gardenia bush. When I went to search, sure enough there was our son, playing happily with his Hot Wheels cars in the dirt. When I asked him why he didn't answer when we called, he said "Because you told me not to talk to people I don't know!" I said "Jeremy, you know mommy though, why didn't you answer?" His answer? "Because I couldn't see if you were mommy so I couldn't talk to you!"
He was dead serious. I think he took a few years off my life that day.
Life with Jeremy has been an adventure waiting to happen. He has tested every last rule we had, broken a few dozen, made his own rules and still lives his life at full speed ahead. He has learned some valuable lessons along the way - lessons most adults have yet to learn; but he has grown to be a very loving and caring father of two young boys - one a red-head-tiny freckle-faced-hazel-eyed-boy. He has asked for mercy for raising his red head as he knew what he put his own parents through. I gave no mercy but I did tell him good luck - he would need it :-)
So today, I wish our son a very happy 27th birthday. You have added so much sunshine and giggles to my life, bear hugs that could never be replaced, you calm me when your dad is not near, and you have a good strong head on your shoulders and heck, you even picked a terrific family. We are proud of who you were and who you have become.
You are truly one of a kind. I love you son.
And as a closing statement I will say that surely "the length of this conversation greatly outlasts any interest I (you) ever had in it" - a statement Jeremy used on me often. And I usually said, "what are you saying son?" His answer? "I got the point."