Thursday, September 27, 2012

Relinquishing Control :: Laundry

As Emilia gets older, I have tried to give her additional (age appropriate) responsibilities.  Now, with the weeks counting down to the arrival of our 2nd kiddo, I am looking for any and all chores I can have Emilia start helping with.  Lucky for me, she LOVEs to help!

My latest chore started as just somewhat appeasing her by letting her "help" while I fold clothes (then refold hers when she is off playing...)  But then I decided to fully relinquish control.  Emilia now proudly folds and puts away all her own clothes!
Honestly, I still cringe a little because my OCD tendencies take over.  Everything has a place and organization is key.  This is what her shirt drawer and shorts drawer look like since she has taken over putting the clothes away:
...not exactly as orderly as I once had them, but they are still put away!  And she is SO proud of herself.
Not to mention, it cuts down on the laundry *I* have to put away each day.  That will be wonderful once Titus is born.  I am still working on my desire to sort them back out as they once were...but, the feeling fades each day.  (O:

Sometimes little ones just need to feel important and needed.  Emilia taking pride in this chore is worth a little chaos in her dresser.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Forever Young Infininty Scarf Tutorial

I love the song "Forever Young" by Bob Dylan.

But, I have a confession...I never actually knew this song until the TV show Parenthood used it as their opening theme song.

Nonetheless, love is love.  I love it.

So much so, that I decided to incorporate it into one of my handmade Christmas items this year.

Enter:  The Forever Young Infinity Scarf

Yes, infinity scarves have been done before and will continue to be done forever, I'm sure.  I didn't say this was a brand-spankin' new idea here folks.  But I did take two ideas previous pinned here and here (Thanks again, Pinterest) and meshed them into my own creation.

I have somewhat of a list going of friends and family for whom I want to make some sort of Infinity Scarf- whether the Kid Art one posted previously, or one with writing like today's scarf.  So, last night while catching up on the most recent episode of Parenthood (thank you Hulu for keeping this island girl up with the times!), it hit me!  I knew I wanted to use the lyrics from the song "Forever Young" for one of the scarves.  I even knew exactly who I wanted to give it to.  (She doesn't read blogs, or Pin anything, so I'm safe in posting...mwahaha!)

The steps are super easy, as you probably already know:

Cut your shirt to the desired width (I chose a thinner width for this scarf and *still* fit the lyrics to the song twice!), put a piece of cardboard inside to prevent bleeding and get to writing:
*I think I have decided that it is best to turn the shirt inside out before writing.  Both the scarves I have done this week seem to curl to where you cannot see the side you draw/write on.  I'm going to test this on my next one, but just something to think about*

Once you are finished writing, stretch the heck out it.  The longer you stretch it out, the skinnier it will be.

I really like the skinny look for this scarf.  I think a bulky scarf with this much wording would be too over powering.  But now, it is the perfect accessory to complete an outfit.  I can't say we wear many scarves on Saipan, but my friend doesn't live here and I can see her using this to dress up a tee, go casual with a cardigan or anything this fall.

I really love to give thought out, hand made gifts.  I hope you are inspired to start working on a creation of your own!

"Forever Young"

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Kid Art Infinity Scarf Tutorial

Christmas has been on my mind a lot lately.  It may seem early (even for me), but when you add in shipping time from Saipan, as well as the shopping and shipping time from my Mom/Sister when I need certain craft items, it's really not that bad.  Also, I have this unrealistic hope of having most (if not ALL) Christmas gifts ready before Titus comes at the end of next month.

This year (as much as it pains me since I love gift giving), we are going minimal on gifts.  The reasons for this are pretty basic--Saipan has very little to offer as far as gifts go (except for extremely touristy items, which no one wants), we have limited funds with which to purchase gifts, and I have way too many Pinterest craft ideas on my "Want to do" list.

So, Emilia and I have been working on the projects that involve her.  She LOVES to help on a project and she is getting to the age where she actually IS a help.  ;-)  Originally I saw this idea on Pinterest for personalized handwritten scarves.  I loved the idea right away because they aren't completely legible when worn, but they would have special meaning to the giver and the recipient. 

My next challenge was finding a way that Emilia could help make them for certain family members.  Some of my family members are more crafty/artsy than others, so I knew they would appreciate (and actually *use*) this gift.  Since Emilia cannot write yet (except for her name), I decided to lay out all our colorful permanent markers and let her go to town.  She had a blast!


1 Plain White T-Shirt (we used XL)
Permanent Markers of your choice

Step One:  Cut your shirt just below the armpits

Step Two:  Let your kid go to town!  *Important suggestion which I didn't initially do...lay down a piece of card board, or you'll end up with this:
Step Two Redo:  Lay down a big piece of cardboard on the floor, and let your kid go to town! 

Step Three:  Cut the bottom hem of the shirt off:

Step Four:  Stretch, stretch, stretch!  I had a 3-year-old helper, but if you don't, but one end around a chair or your feet or whatever works for you.


She wanted to test it out..I think it got her approval! ;-)


This type of gift might not suit the taste of everyone (or anyone) on your list, but I know it is going to be very well received by the family members we are giving them to.  (Sorry for being so vague...they don't usually read this blog, but just in case!)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

My Newest Nemesis

You know how in the states, if you see a few ants in your house, you're a little grossed out but you just clean or spray them and go on with life.  Life in Saipan has taken the gross-factor out for me.  They. Are. Everywhere.

But our ants aren't big, fat and noticeable...they are sneaky little guys, small and hard to detect.  That is, until you find the line of them across a wall, in the trash can, in your sink, the list goes on.

No longer can we leave a few dishes in the sink over night.  (This lesson we learned yesterday...the invasion was crazy.)

No longer can I skip wiping down the dining room table or sweeping after a meal.

They even infiltrate our dirty laundry basket.  (Super gross, yes).

When we find a couple walking around in the bottom of the box of cereal, rice, whatever, we seriously evaluate the situation before throwing the food item away.  One, because food is so stinking costly here.  And Two, there are always a few ants in everything-- the number of ants determines whether we pitch it or continue to eat it.

Recently, I asked Jason's mom to ship some of the storage containers we had left with her.  She went above and beyond- sending us all sorts of airtight containers, in all shapes and sizes.  They have helped dramatically- storing our rice, cereal, sugar, flour, snacks, etc.  Basically, everything we haven't already stuck in the fridge or freezer for safe keeping.

I'm not really complaining; we are used to it by now and just go on with life.  But I think it puts into perspective that not everything about island living is "sunshine and oceans".  We are blessed with many great things about Saipan, and we give thanks to God for each and every one of those blessings.  I just wanted to share a quick story about something that's less-than-ideal.  Like I said, we aren't complaining, just sharing a bit of our experience.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Visiting Sugar Dock

We don't post a lot about visiting the beach on Facebook, mostly because some people may think all we do is hang out in the ocean.  This could not be farther from the truth.  In actuality, we have been maybe 5 times since moving here, and at least 2 of those were trips that just Emilia and I took so she could search for shells.  We are too busy with daily life to visit the beach all that often; so when we do, it's a rare and wonderful treat.

Yesterday was one of those treats.  Jason came home from work and asked Emilia if she'd like to go swimming.  You would have thought we had offered her the world she was so excited.  From the moment J asked her, she didn't stop singing and dancing with joy.  Even though I'm in the middle of coming down with the nasty first-weeks-of-school-cold that all the teachers had, I decided to go along.  Nothing beats the joy on Emilia's face when she splashes around in the ocean.

We are also grateful for any family time we can squeeze in.  Jason is still getting into the swing of things with teaching 4th grade, as well as all the extra hours outside of "school hours".  Most days he is completely wiped out by the time he comes home.  So it was nice to get out together, even just for an hour.

There is a section of the beach very near our house called Sugar Dock.  It's not the prettiest beach of the island, but it works for quick visits like yesterday's.

Here is my 33 week preggo belly shot, as also posted on Facebook:

Here are a few other quick shots that I didn't post on FB.  I feel I can trust those who visit my personal blog to know that this is a rare occurrence and you know we are about so much more than "chilling on the beach".


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Update :: 33 Weeks!

I am very sorry for my lack of updates on both the Saipan and pregnancy fronts.  We are still working to make our new apartment into a home and playing with Emilia takes up a lot of time.  (O:

Would you like to know how things are going at 33 weeks?

*I only have 7 weeks to my due date-- WOW!  Time has flown by!

*Baby is roughly the size of a pineapple and growing every day.  I feel him moving all throughout the day and it is so sweet.

*I have only noticed 2 new "stretch dots", as I call them.  Nothing larger than a dot so far, for which I'm very glad.

*My weight is still in check.  In fact, at my check up last week, my doctor actually told me I needed to gain between 4-6 pounds between now and my due date.  Let me tell you- this is the *First* time in my life I have been told to Gain Weight!  His exact works: "Now is not the time to restrict what you eat".  How is that for awesome?  What's funny- I haven't been limiting myself at all since we've been here.  We definitely eat more fresh fruits and veggies daily, as well as drink much more water and walk quite a bit.  But, we also frequent the Shell Gas Station for $1 ice cream and snack on cookies, etc.

*I made it all the way to this week before any of my pre-preggo skirts/shorts/bottoms started getting a little tight.  Lucky for me, Saipan dress doesn't go much past athletic shorts and tanks.  I also have several skirts I made out of over-sized tee shirts.  They have been such a life saver out here!  They keep me from looking totally scrubby every day, but still moderately comfortable.

*Sleeping is becoming a chore.  Rolling from one side the other now involves practically sitting up and switching sides.  Any momma who has gone through pregnancy knows what I'm talking about.  Nothing horrible, but it is getting noticeably annoying.

*The two boxes of baby stuff we shipped from the mainland made it safe and sound last week, thank you Lord!  I have been busy finding places for all the onesies, burp cloths, cloth diapers, toys, etc.  I found a great deal on a baby swing on island and Jason's mom purchased a pack n play and baby care cart for us.  We plan to use the pack n play instead of a crib, to save room.  It fits nicely in our "sleeping room" and surprised me with a cute little giraffe design on it.

*I have asked my doctor all sorts of questions about the hospital care here on the island, as there are several issues currently circulating.  He has assured me that while some conditions are not ideal, I will be safe to deliver here.  There is no risk to me or the baby with a natural deliver, nor if I must have an emergency C-Section.  He did emphasize that the hospital is no where near the comforts of the mainland.  The beds in Labor and Delivery are, in his words, "archaic", but functional. I was also glad to hear that there are nearly no restrictions on how I may labor- as long as it isn't medically dangerous, I am free to walk the halls, use a birthing ball, or even "stand on my head", as my doctor said.  ;-)

*Another pregnancy side effect (haha) is an even worse memory than I cannot think of any other updates right now.

I'm not sure if there will be much else to update over the next few weeks, but if there is, I will do my best to post more timely!  I will also try to post an update belly picture soon.  (O: