Saturday, March 31, 2007

And we're back!

From sunny Florida. What a dose of reality to come back to cold, grey, Michigan. I can't even begin to tell you what a DOWNER that is. I'm not sure I'll ever get warm again. I vowed before I left for warmer climes that I would wear flip-flops every day from now on. Now that I hear that snow is predicted for next week, I've had to rethink the wisdom of said plan.

Here are the highlights of the trip:

Disney is so magical. And seeing that magic through Jenna's eyes, well, that was amazing.

The magic of Disney extend to the convenience. Everyone is so kind, and there is so much to see. And the way they get you through the rides, your meals, and into the parks . . . I marvel at all of the planning that goes into this.

Weather was BEAUTIFUL every single day. Warm and beyond in the p.m., so we spent the afternoons in the pool (after a nap, of course!)

The family we traveled with was amazing. Everyone got along, and the girls put up with Jenna so well.

The place that we stayed was great! There was a pool (lanai) in the home, as well as a community pool with an awesome slide. In the clubhouse was a small movie theater, a gym, and an arcade/gameroom. There was also a play area, as well as volleyball, tennis, and basketball courts. I was skepical staying off Disney property for the first time, but it was well worth the five-minute drives to the park. I didn't feel as trapped as I did on the resort itself.

I got to see my good friend Maddy and her adorable kiddos. She made a long drive and we had dinner and went back to our place so the kids could play and swim. The time went too quickly, and poor Mads had to go to work the next day, but it was definitely a highlight for me. Love you, girl!

The lowlights:

My first reaction in Disney was of sadness. I missed Emily. It was my first time in Disney without her, and I felt that loss the whole trip. I would say, "Emily would love this!" Some day, my girl, we'll go back.

The sun. Not to sound contradictory, but the warmth of the burning sun got a smidge annoying. I'm not sure the burn on my head (the part) will ever heal. I swear I haven't had this much pain before. Note to self, BUY A HAT! I also got a nice case of hives from overexposure.

I dropped my camera. And not a slow, graceful fall, but a crash onto the pavement. That broke my lens. I can't even tell you the level of sick I felt. Serious pain. I realized that I have an unhealthy attachment to my camera. The camera itself works, so I really can't complain. And I had another lens with me, so I didn't miss a shot.

The screaming kids in the park, and the parents snapping at each other. It cracked me up, how we spend all of this time preparing for the perfect trip, then spend it cranky, hot, and snapping at each other. Such is the fun of travel! (Think National Lampoon Vacation. How true is this?)

Jenna got a migraine yesterday. I'm sure that's what it is. And I can't tell you the sick feeling I get in my stomach that she will need to deal with these too. She laid on the couch first thing in the morning, writhing in pain. She then threw up in the rental car on the way to the airport, then fell asleep all the way to the airport. When she woke up she was fine.

As we got on the shuttle from the rental car place to the airport, I realized Jenna's carry-on bag was missing. Bill took care of the loading of the bags while Jen was sick. OOPS! So I called the complex where we were staying, only to find out they couldn't get into the house where we were staying. Twenty minutes and three calls later, it is being shipped via UPS. Should be a hefty little charge.

Our flight appeared to be taking off on time (1:30 p.m.) and first-class loaded the plane. Then the dreaded announcement. "Maintenance problem. Could be up to four hours before it's fixed." Oh great. After about an hour, we noticed everyone on the phone, and a family near us suggested we call NWA and try to get on another flight. We could get Jenna and I on one flight, (6:00), and Bill on another (8:00). After much hagling, we all got seats on the 6:00 flight, with no promise of luggage since the other flight was rescheduled for 7:00 a.m. today. When we showed up at that gate after an entire day at the airport, we found that this flight was also delayed. By an hour and a half. Then we had a two-hour drive home from the airport. I thought I was going to have a breakdown. But we made it home at 12:30 a.m. Barely.

All in all, it was an amazing trip. Now I have three days of laundry to do. Good times!

See pictures of the trip on the photo blog.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

It's almost here!

Our vacation, that is. I took the day off to take Jenna on a field trip to a butterfly exhibit. I wish I would have had more time to walk around and take pictures, but with 15+ preschoolers, it was a tad crazy. I was reminded once again why I teach high school. Jenna was the butterfly whisperer. She walked around with this little guy for a while.

So now I get to finish prepping/packing for the trip. Jenna's Gymboree box arrived today (thank goodness), so we're almost ready. And it is unseasonably warm right now, which is a blessing after the winter. I am reminded on days like today why I live in Michigan.

It looks like I'll get to see my friend Maddy while on vacation, which I am so happy about. I love this girl, and it's been way too long!

Emily got accepted into the college of education at State. That's good news! I just wish the teaching market was looking better. It's a bleak picture for Michigan schools.

In scrapbooking news, I was approached to be a guest designer for a few months on a kit club called A Million Memories, and I gladly said yes! I've been missing my kit work, and could use a shot in the arm to get me going. Without deadlines, I don't make the time to scrap. So this will be cool!

Peace out, peeps!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Busy Busy Busy.

Trying to get ready for our trip. It was a crazy weekend. I started yesterday a.m. with a pedicure. Bill always gets me one for xmas, and I use it before our spring break. Then I worked all day on my ProvoCraft layouts. Once I finished them, I needed to scan, send them, and upload all directions on the website. Next I had to package them up to send out, as well as fill out the FedEx forms. I also got all of the paperwork done on the MM layouts, and got those ready to drop off at the post office tomorrow.

Today I got up early and headed out to WalMart. I wanted to get some things for our vacation, and was out of almost all cleaning products. Doesn't take long for that grocery bill to add up! Got some sunscreen, and a cute luggage set for Jenna. Also a new 2 Gig Compact Flash card for my camera. Plus enough food to last for the week, without wasting any. Yeah, it was an expensive little trip.

When I got home, I put away the groceries. And then realized I have far too many unidentifiable leftovers in the refrigerator. While rinsing them out I realized the dishwasher was full, OF COURSE. So I got the kitchen done, and moved on to some packing.

First, I did Jenna's suitcase. I made a list of the last minute additions, and have a sizable order coming from Gymboree. I had some Gymbucks to use up, and feel compelled to order away. It's a sickness, really.

Then off to my room. I packed what I could in the small carry-on (shampoo, sunscreen, etc.) and made ANOTHER list of what I need to add. Then I started in on my summer clothes. And as I got into it, I realized I need to switch over my closet anyway, so why not just do that now? Two hours, and 6 huge garbage bags full of stuff to donate to Salvation Army later, I started washing the stuff I need to pack.

When I realized I couldn't find a particular pair of shoes, I went after the coat closet. WHAT A MESS. But after an hour of work, it looks pretty good. And no, I never did find the shoes that got me into that mess.

Next I paid the bills, and bought our Disney World tickets online. I also looked at confirming our reservations.

And now, I'm pooped. Really worn out. But I made great strides in getting ready for this trip. It's so hard for me to get anything done during the school week. Mondays are staff meetings, Tuesdays are tap lessons for Jen, and Thursdays are Grey's night.

OK, enough of this boring post. If you made it this far, I applaud you.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

More Pub news . . .

after a long, dry spell, I just got a request for 4 more layouts for the upcoming Memory Makers 601 layouts. That makes NINE. Which just about knocks out my "Book of 10" layouts that haven't been seen. Which means I have more work to do! I do hate holding back layouts though. Drives me nuts. Sharing is the fun part for me. But I have to say nine requests feels pretty darn good, especially after my mojo-less spell. Busy week. Deadlines, and no time. Hopefully I'll get something done this weekend, when I can finally catch my breath. Off to bed. I'm pooped!

Friday, March 09, 2007

A Sad Week, Indeed.

There was a shooting at a neighboring school this week. Our town has two Class A high schools, and it happened at the one across town. Very high socioeconomic status. Not high risk in the least, and still it happened. A young man shot his girlfriend, then himself. It was such a shocking announcement at school. Before all of the details were known, the only info we had was that a girl was shot. And all I could think of was, what if Emily was a student there? How worried would I be? It turns out that the girl will recover, thank God. I think the thing that is sticking with me this long is how quickly the incident has been forgotten. And that's sad for me. It didn't seem to phase the students at all. And that will keep me up at night for a very long time.

Then parent-teacher conferences last night. Plus we visited the kindergarten classroom where Jen will go to school next year. She had fun, and knew quite a few of the kids from preschool/summer school and the neighborhood. And her teacher seems AMAZING. The perfect kindergarten teacher. What a relief.

In the scrapping world, I got a request for 5 layouts for an upcoming idea book from Memory Makers. It has been a long time since I have submitted anything for pub, so I'm glad I took the time. And I really like some of my pages I got done last weekend at the all-day crop. I hope to do a little shopping tomorrow for some new goodies. That ought to help the mojo.

I hope you have a great Friday night. I plan on hitting the hay by 9:00 p.m. I'm emotionally drained.

Peace out.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

A little story.

One of Emily. She's a lovely girl, no?

You see, Em is having a hard time finding a man. I cannot for the life of me figure out why?

She seems healthy enough.

Just look at that sparkle in her eyes.

And you know how they determine the health of a horse, right?

Her fun, carefree spirit just shines right through!

I think this is the perfect shot for her personal ad, don't you?

We have been laughing ALL DAY. This is the program "Photo Booth" that's on my new Mac. My new baby. Have I mentioned how much I love these machines? I can see years of these photos to keep me giggling. As Em was posing, she said to me, "Mom, I think I've found my calling!" That you have, my beautiful girl!

Friday, March 02, 2007

What? Another snow day?

It just seems too good to be true. Yesterday I was hoping for a day off. We got storm warnings all day Wednesday, and I had high hopes the bad weather would create a cancellation. But alas, when I woke up yesterday a.m. there was nothing. No sign of a storm. It all hit when we were at school, causing us to leave school 25 minutes early. But after a day of snow, wind, sleet, rain, (including thunderstorms), the roads were so bad they called it today. And being my usual mature self I was jumping up and down with joy!

So I've been working on laundry, organizing for a crop I am attending tomorrow, and even cranked out a few layouts. That's because both Jenna and Em are sick. I mean really sick. We are seriously running low on Kleenex between the two of them. As you can see from the picture, Jen is just not herself. And I think Em would do great physical harm to me if I posted what she looks like right now.

The best news of all is that Bill GUARANTEED ME he was bringing me home a white mocha. Which just makes me so happy I could cry. Simple pleasures.

I'm still waiting on my new Mac. I can't wait until I get it! This computer freezes about every 10 minutes which is BEYOND frustrating. I was hoping to get it today, and have been relentlessly tracking the shipment online. So far, no go. I'll take a picture of her when I get it. I'm THAT excited. And have you seen THIS? I must have it. No joke.

Enjoy your Friday!