Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...

...Navidad!


Or Christmas...

When you live in a Latin culture (like Spanish speaking Puerto Rico, like me), the holiday greetings can be quite different. Traditions can also be very different, but are definitely new and exciting.

For instance, all the Christmas parties, that we've been invited to, are scheduled between December 28-January 12...after Christmas...hmmm, a bit out of OUR norm. I'm sure this happens because the people celebrate Three Kings Day (Dia de Reyes), and that celebration is usually bigger than Christmas Day.

But alas, because we are traveling back to Kansas for the holidays, we will miss out on most of the festivities in Puerto Rico. Though, we have tried to participate in a few activities before we leave, like:

-Mall walking: we went to Plaza Las Americas (the really big mall here) to walk around and look at decorations.

To our surprise, in towards the middle of the mall (near Santa) it snows...faux snow of course (think almost bubbles), but fun anyway.

 
-Santa: speaking of the mall, Widget had the chance to sit on Santa's lap. When I asked Widget what she wanted for Christmas about a month ago, I was pleasantly surprised that her want list was almost identical to my previously purchased/shopping list...I had thought I must be an awesome Mom to have anticipated her four year-old 'needs.' I think I even gave myself a pat on the back for a job well done. However, over this last week, her requests to Santa have morphed...she now wants a Barbie, stickers and a Teddy Bear-only those three items. The Teddy Bear was on her prior list (the only one of the three on the prior list), but I had re-directed her focusses elsewhere (for a limited time, apparently). She might be rather disappointed on Christmas Day when Santa does not bring her a Barbie (and most likely not a Teddy Bear either). We are pretty sure she'll be excited for the gifts she will receive, but she has surprised us in the past ;)

-Play dough: the other day, Widget had the opportunity to play with play dough after completing her school work. She had been chatting to herself about making a baby Jesus, then it transformed into an Angel when she decided the figure must have wings. Her idea inspired me, so I pulled up a chair and created this nativity. It is made with brighter colors than I would have normally used, but it's what we had on hand...and the color scheme is very fitting to Puerto Rico.


-Wrapping packages: I've been prepping gifts for travel (both for snail mail and suitcase trips) the last couple of days. These are the most recent presents I've been working on: gifts for my sis-in-law and her family in Utah. The packages just looked so pretty, I had to take a picture. The only gift not shown is the one for my bro-in-law...because it is an odd shape, and I hadn't figured out how to wrap it yet. When looking under the tree (at my in-laws and our house) you can tell which packages are from me (or the Hubs or Widget) because I always buy metallic, usually silver, and/or black and white prints. I still have some awesome  black and white hounds-tooth paper (super heavy thick, from HobLob) at home in Missouri, and some tone on tone silver polka-dots too. But here in PR I have silver and black hounds-tooth...the best of both worlds, right?!?!

-Decorating: we have decorated the house a bit...but only a bit. This is the full extent of our Christmas decorating this year. I didn't want to go to all the fuss when we wouldn't be here to enjoy it, or not be able take any new decorations back with us to Missouri. So, we settled on mini trees (about $6 each at HomeDepot), mini train ($2.99 at CVS), glitter ornaments ($1 each at Walmart), and glitter bows ($1 each at Capri).



And what about shopping? Is your shopping complete for the season? Or is your shopping not finalized until the stores close on Christmas Eve?


Thanks for stopping by!


 


Friday, December 7, 2012

Faithful Friday



This is a funny picture that is no way related to this post, other than it's a picture of Widget and Widget is in my story.

Quick story:

My Hubs and I were singing in our Sacrament meeting at church a few Sundays back. On the way to church, we were warming up our voices in the car. I had discovered that it was almost impossible to sing with my current posture, knees to my chest due to low seat and high heels, but was trying to keep the vocal chords warm anyway. My sweet Hubs made a comment about how 'un-supported' I sounded (think breathy high-pitched singing) which I quickly countered with something like, "I know. Sitting like this makes my singing sound extra awful...I realize I sound bad."

Widget piped up with her own quick wit, "It can't get any worse-er!"


***********************************************

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am here to testify that 'out of the mouths of babes' are given many anecdotes to life. They see things differently than you and I, and even though my 4 yr-old often fights with me tooth and nail about the laws of physics, I am truly grateful for her refreshing view point (mostly).

"It can't get any worse-er!"

How true this statement rings at many points in our lives. Fighting back tears or anguish while trudging through the mires of self-doubt and pity, shrouded in a coat of pain while the horizon only reflects uncertainty; is an experience most of us have felt at one time or another..

"It can't get any worse-er."

I've been taught throughout my life to endure to the end, and for the most part have yet to find any other way to 'ride out' trials and hardships...even good times need to be forged, continually pushing forward. But there have only been a handful of times (you could actually count on one hand) when I've longed to give-up...even if I didn't truly understand how that would be possible.

"It can't get any worse-er?"

These past 4 weeks would have become a blur if it weren't for the blood tests I've had to attend to like clockwork (every 3-4 days). I really have been measuring time by number of blood draws made since finding out I was pregnant with an ectopic pregnancy for the second time. Because of pregnancy hormones, ectopic craziness and the lovely shot given to me to terminate the pregnancy, my body has been all out of sorts. To say I've been uncomfortable is quite an understatement.

And possibly worse than the physical aspect, the emotional pain, I'll admit, has been devastating...which includes my motivation, creative ingenuity, want to craft or blog, and desires to take care of my family and home (I guess that is also physical) all dropping to nearly immeasurable levels. My sweet Hubs has been a great help and blessing to our family as I've struggled to come to terms, as well as a couple other close friends (that have stayed at our house during this time) who were willing to give me priesthood blessings. And it pains me to say, at one point in this journey I wept while pleading to have this trial removed from me. Fully knowing that this was not possible and that all hardships are custom made for us, I have prayed for peace and faith instead and for the willingness to hand my life over to God.

"It can't get any worse-er..."

How can you really give up (short of dying) on these mortal experiences? You may throw your hands up in surrender, but very rarely do trials or hardships take no prisoners. You could possibly turn and run, but consequences are like shadows...and unless you are like Peter Pan before meeting Wendy, you cannot lose your shadow. It trails you no matter where you go.

So how can you give up or choose not to endure to the end...it boggles my brain.

"It can't get any worse-er."

So instead of giving up, we have been asked of God to not only endure to the end, but to endure it well.

"It can't get any worse-er!"

I have made the decisions to push forward with faith, and lean on the Lord for strength (along with my family and friends, which have been a great support system). Today I choose to smile, even if my smile may droop from time to time, and I choose to stretch myself to endure the day well. Even if I can only take one day at a time, things will improve--not on my time of course, I've tried--and no matter what, the Lord loves me.

My friends and stalkers, It can't get any worse-er, it can only get better(-er)!


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

From Chistmas Past and Present

Here is a list of all my Christmas projects (so far) here at How Do U Like Them Apples. Click on the links to take you directly to the original post(s).

Advent Calendars




2011







2012






Wreaths












 2011









D├ęcor




Paper Strip Ornaments







Tiny Bit of Cheer: Gallery Wall







Gifts



Personalized Photo Bottle Cap Magnets








Personalized Necklace








Wood Nativity Set