Friday, April 18

A Sweet sweet gift

My sweet birthday gift from my sweet boy was yes, a pile of Reese's cups.  But that's not the sweetest part.  On each one, he (with his cousin's help) wrote something that I have done for him that he is thankful for: making is birthday cake, waking him up in the morning, taking him to baseball practice. She helped with some of the writing, but they were all his ideas and words.   And there aren't just a few of these people: there are a whole pile of them.  Because I am a whole pile of years old now.  More on that in a few days!
Because speaking of things he is thankful for, I have always made his birthday cakes.  And he challenges me each year too!  These few things from the store are to become a Minecraft cake this afternoon. 

Whether this ends up in the "win" column or becomes one of my "DIY Fails" posts is still to be determined. 
Stay tuned. 

Wednesday, April 16

SO not Pinterest worthy

Birthdays around here are fun.  Like treasure hunts and balloons in the washer kind of fun.

Cards that say exactly what is most important.

And cakes with sprinkles.

I won't be pinning anything, but boy are we going to have fun! 

De-stress, forget about making it pin-able, blog-able or gorgeous-photo-able. 

Have fun.

Tuesday, April 15

"We are the world's charity cases!" and other conversations

I enjoyed many conversations on our cruise from people from so many other countries.  Part of the fun of travelling is being exposed to different ideas and expanding your horizons, right?  Mostly, these conversations just made me laugh! 

Louise, from Ireland, who gave me an awesome haircut while on board, had me giggling for days after she cut my hair.  She took about 4 inches off my whole head, and told me "You'll just feel a stone lightah, you will, with all this hair gone" in her beautiful Irish tongue!  Carter says I didn't sound Irish at all trying to repeat it, and they got tired of me saying it day after day.  It still cracks me up.

Our hostess one night, a very, very dark skinned gentleman from Africa, who as always, asked how my day was.  I said it was great, but that I would pay for the sun tomorrow, and explained that as hard as I tried to prevent it, I still got too much sun.  With a puzzled expression on his face, he said "But you're still SO white!"  We had a good laugh over that one! 

And the only other Irish gal on the ship (Louise told me there were only two), whom I happened to meet a few days later, whose name I wish I could remember.  She was having a slow day in the jewelry store, and let me try on $3,000 earrings and $6,000 rings, and we had the best conversation about all the nationalities on board the ship.  There are over 70 countries represented in the 1,000 person crew, and I was saying how all of their English was so amazing, and we (Americans) are generally so lazy at having a second language, and just expect people to talk English.  She said " and us both....we're like the world's charity cases!" 

I also talked to many of the crew about life on board ship as well as life at home.  They work on the ship for 7 months, every day (EVERY day) and then go home for 2.5 months.  Some enjoy the work; our waiter Sandip from India said some people get addicted to ship life; others work it for a while then go home to have a family.  Most, our waitress Inina said, have families at home, and this is just the way they have to support them.  When wage at home is $7 a day, this is an option for them to support their families that isn't there for them at home.   Inina said she does plan to go home to Ukraine one day to have a family, because well, home is...home. 

Our room steward Canon from Jamaica said while he doesn't necessarily love his work (which didn't show in the way he cared for us for our 8 day trip), he does it for his three kids.  His oldest, who is 11, wants to be a doctor.  He said he would do whatever he has to to make that a reality for him.

I told him with a role model like him, I was sure he would do just fine.

Tuesday, April 8

Are we too wired?

I love Kate's weekend reading list at her blog CentsationalGirl, and this link jumped out at me today (catching up after vacation!). 

"Does Facebook make us unhappy?"

How interesting and timely. 

I came home from vacation, 8 glorious days of being unplugged (yes, phone, internet, ipad...all of it) and guess what? I didn't miss it.  Yes it was odd not being in touch with family, but they knew how to contact us if there was an emergency.  Otherwise, we were engaged, entertained, together and in the moment, not each with our "electronic devices" to our faces as can happen at home.  I do love my internet surfing, and am in no way giving it up, but I am going to use it with more awareness.  It's great when I can't sleep at night, or want to catch up with family or read something interesting or answer a question we have, but mindless surfing has to go.  I'll see how I do. 

(Yes, I am surfing today, but I have a good excuse! I'm taking care of my niece who had 3 wisdom teeth extracted just this morning, so I'm hanging close by!)

The question in the article is does Facebook makes us happier, or unhappier?  For an introvert like me, being able to keep up with friends and family that are far away is really a bonus.  I know what is going on in my cousins' lives that I would never be able to keep up with if it was up to me to pick up a phone and chat for an hour...oh how I hate the phone!  But there have been times that I've learned something on Facebook that I wish had been a little more personal. 

And this line is what concerns me with raising a pre-teen:
In ongoing research, the psychologist Timothy Wilson has learned, as he put it to me, that college students start going “crazy” after just a few minutes in a room without their phones or a computer. “One would think we could spend the time mentally entertaining ourselves,” he said. “But we can’t. We’ve forgotten how.”

I don't want him to forget how to entertain himself without a phone to his face. 

And it's up to me to teach him how to do that.

Monday, April 7

We're back, and where we're headed....

We're back from a beautiful 8 day cruise in the Caribbean with many memories and laughs, a little sunburn , a LOT of dirty laundry, and many reminders to be thankful for our home, our jobs and family and friends readily around us.   Every vacation is fun, and we enjoy the quality time together and the experiences we get to put in our memories together, but home is always home, and we're glad to be back.
But yes, this was a great view to wake up to every morning!
I have a lot of thoughts to share, and stories from crew we met on board that became like family to us our short time there (compared to their time on board). 
I also will be sharing a bit of a blog change I've had in mind for a little while now, since this month holds a lot of excitement in our house and includes a bit of a milestone for this mom with nails. 

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