Sunday, May 28, 2006

Caris' Clifford Party

Caris had such a nice party! She had chosen a Clifford theme months ago, but when I went to buy party supplies on Thursday, no one in town carried Clifford! Shoot - we went with red instead, and got yellow, red & purple balloons, black confetti, and I had ribbon with pawprints on it. Lynette let me borrow some Clifford books to set around also. It was cute. She came over early to help me set up and did an excellent job frosting the pawprint cake and all the extra cupcakes. THANKS LYNETTE! We had a smaller party this year and it really was nice. It was a big enough crowd to feel festive, but not so big as to be overwhelming. We ate Subway sandwiches and chips and drank soda. Simple as can be. After lunch it was present time! I set Caris in a lawn chair and uh-oh, it tipped over and she landed on her face! She bled a lot but it turned out to be a tiny little cut in her lip. It's swollen today but thank God it wasn't worse. She received so many nice gifts! We have such generous family and friends. Our gift to her was a bike - oh, and Graham chose one of those ponies-on-a-stick for her. How cute! After presents we brought out the adorable bone-shaped sugar cookies Mom made (many compliments to my Mom on those, of course!) and the cake/cupcakes. We couldn't get the candle to stay lit because it was such a breezy day, but it stayed *almost* lit until time for her to blow it out. I don't think she was the wiser. LOL Graham was pretty concerned that she didn't get to actually blow her candle. After that the kids played, I handed out goodie bags (cellophane bags with pawprints on them with kool-aid playdough and bubbles inside, tied with the pawprint ribbon) and we all just visited for a bit longer. Morning parties are a hassle because of not having the whole day to get ready for them, but the relaxing afternoon after the party is so worth it. We napped and hung out and then went to Fred & Juanita's for dinner. Really all in all a wonderful day!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The new allergist rocks . . . so far

We took Caris to an allergy & immunology specialist on Monday at Cedars-Sinai. Now my little town has its fair share of good doctors, but our local allergy specialist (the one recommended to us, anyway) just could not get Caris' situation under control. Her eczema was causing us all grief on a daily, even hourly, basis. So off we went. The new allergist (we'll call him Dr. A) was absolutely wonderful. His office is hip and fun (though the front office girls are decidedly snotty) and Dr. A is just who we needed. He talked to the whole family respectfully, then did a quite thorough examination. He found, in fact, an ear infection we didn't know was there, and he said her constant itchiness is probably blocking her from feeling pain. We then did a second round of skin tests (the first having been performed by our local guy), and while we waited the 20 minutes for the results, the nurse brought in a portable dvd player for her to watch Elmo. Nice touch! Guess what? She came back highly allergic to peanuts, questionable for cats & dairy, and absolutely negative for bermuda, tree nuts, dogs and strawberries! Woo hoo!! We then went back into his consultation room and he explained the course of action he would like to take and made sure we understood every bit of it down to the smallest detail. (For example, I asked where exactly do I apply a certain medication, and he got up and physically showed us, "I would put it here, here, here . . . ") We are on day 3 of the new medications and her skin, nose and eyes are VASTLY improved already. I'm still a bit skeptical since we had great results in the past with other medications, but four days into each one the symptoms would all come back fiercely. For now, I'm holding out hope and enjoying the peace my daughter can have without scratching herself all day.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Mother's Day

What an absolutely perfect Mother's Day! We got up and walked to Fred & Juanita's as a family for breakfast, then walked home and tidied up a bit, then put kids down for naps. I laid down as well, then showered and Mom & Rod came over. Mom loved her bracelet and she got me the Betty Crocker Cooky Book and a Cuisinart electric tea kettle! Mom used that Cooky Book all while we were growing up, and like Alif said, "Your Mom sure knows her cookies!" That book will be a treasure to me and to my family!! The second I saw the tea kettle I burst into tears. When we were visiting Megan and Jason, Megan told us about her electric tea kettle and how essential it is. Actually, she said, "I can't imagine not having it!" I've been wanting a tea kettle for some time, and this was just perfect timing and the perfect one!!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Home from Scotland

I don't know where to even start in describing my trip to Scotland. I'm still trying to process it all, honestly. Maybe I'll do a tiny bit of a summary here and then go into more detail another time.
* Scotland is absolutely a beautiful, amazing place to be. The oldness of the country is astounding, and it's hard to understand from the pictures that it's not just that way in certain places, it's simply that way everywhere. How can the buildings be gorgeous and old everywhere you look? Incomprehensible for a country as new as ours. Time almost seems to stand still in Scotland, because life in general isn't quite as hustly-bustly. That may not be true for everyone, but just generally comparing Scotland to America, I find a much more leisurely pace there. It was refreshing in a way I'm not ready to give up, and yet here I am, back in the hustle-bustle of life in the US.
* My sister and her husband are doing just great. It is so nice to be around them! They're transparent and genuine and very, very sweet. I miss Megan so much already, and I've only been gone from her for a day. When I heard that she was going into missions, I thought time would heal all wounds when it came to being apart from her, but it honestly gets worse as time goes by. Going to see their home and their life and living with them for a week was so amazing, and at the same time, it was such a reminder of what all we're missing out on by not being part of each other's daily lives. I hate that part of it.
* I knew I'd love seeing Megan's life and being with her, but I really didn't expect to hear so much from God while I was there. That is the part I'm spending most of my time processing, actually. So many things about my life that I've been wanting to change, I saw played out while I was in Scotland. Mainly three things: health (eating and activity level), ministry and time online. I know those things sound so generic, but when they dominate a good part of my mind and physical life, it's huge for me to be so convicted about so many things, and encouraged seeing others live the way I aim to live. I keep asking God what it is that he wants me to do specifically, but I'm not hearing anything yet, so I will have to keep asking and keep listening. I know that his purpose for my life is a lot bigger than hours online every day and a physical lack of health that affects me tremendously.
* The kids and Alif did GREAT while I was gone! God did cool things in Alif while I was away, and the kids have adjusted back to having me at home nicely. They were busy and happy and secure, and that's all I could ask for!
* It IS really great to be home. I'm still adjusting (doesn't that sound weird, after only a week away??) and I'm still exhausted, but life is continuing on like usual, for the most part, and I am sure in a week I'll feel like a new woman.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Friday, May 5

It's so odd that it's Friday already! We left LAX at 3:30 on Wednesday and arrived here in Glasgow at 1:15 pm Thursday. Mom & I did not sleep on the plane, which shocked me! Our flights were otherwise great though, and our trip so far has been totally charming. Megan & Jason treated us to a Black Cab ride back to their flat, which was adorable, and then we sat around and talked for a while. Then we headed out to dinner at a pub/restaurant called Waxy O'Connor's. It was absolutely beautiful there and the food was great. We had such a nice time talking! Just before we left there, it started to rain and that made this really feel like the Scotland experience. The neighborhood where M & J live is 200 years old and beautiful and the rain on top of that was amazing. Not only was it rain but a massive lightning storm too. Impressive! We had ridden the train downtown so luckily we didn't have to actually walk through much rain. Anyway, we woke up at 5:52 this morning (why did we wake up so early??) and we have a NieuCommunities team breakfast at 9:30. Later we'll go to a Bible group, then to a Scottish folk dance called a Ceilidh (KAY-lee) where we will hear live Scottish music, dance, and eat Mexican food. How enjoyable! I totally love that I can blog while I'm here!

Monday, May 01, 2006

We're leaving in 2 days!

TWO DAYS! I can't "bweeve" it! (As Caris would say). It's hot here, and boy is that heat draining my energy! We actually are running our air conditioner for the first time this year. I have it set on 80ยบ and it's coming on every so often. Well, off to do more packing & preparation!