Oh my how much time do we have to talk? I have so many questions...how do you get past the fear of inadequacy that I listed above, how do you become a morning person, can you recommend a really good devotional, when you journal do you just write free form or do your daily entries follow the same format, how do you keep yourself on track with an early morning rising time, are you legalistic about your quiet time, how do you organize and format your quiet time, do you have quiet time every day, if/when you miss your quiet time how do you feel? I think that covers most of my questions.
Cathy left a comment the other day after I put up those quotes on prayer, and I think she has a good question:
Hi! But what happens when you do pray, and pray HARD, only to find that the answer is not what you wanted. How do you get over that? That is the place I'm in now, and it sucks.
What is your favorite recipe (I am always looking for good ones and the minestrone soup one you had was great)?
I got this recipe from my friend Marla--and I always keep it on hand for enchiladas, tacos, and burritos.
Put as many frozen chicken breasts into your crockpot as can fit. (Nope, I don't thaw them first, though I suppose you could fit more if you did.) Pour a big thing of Pace picante sauce over them and cook on low all day long. Shred the chicken with two forks.
I freeze the chicken in small batches and thaw as needed for a quick weeknight supper. My favorite is enchiladas.
Fill tortillas with mexican chicken and place into a greased casserole dish. Pour enchilada sauce over the whole thing--I like lots so my enchiladas will be nice and saucy. Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly and hot. Remove from oven and cover with grated cheddar. Put back in the oven until the cheese is just melted. Enjoy!
How [do] you manage to find time for your sewing and other craft projects...what is your daily schedule like? How do you get 'it all done'?
When your girls where younger...did you have time for all for wonderful cafts/sewing etc.? (Please say no...I'll feel so much better!)
How do you schedule your days to get everything done? You probably have a really great schedule and diligently stick to it to accomplish everything. Is that how you fit everything in?
So...schedules. I do have one that I live by.
Here's my favorite weekly schedule from Little House in the Big Woods:
Wash on Monday,
Iron on Tuesday,
Mend on Wednesday,
Churn on Thursday,
Clean on Friday,
Bake on Saturday,
Rest on Sunday.
Since I don't churn my own butter or have much mending, I've modified it a little bit:
Laundry and clean the house on Monday,
Bible study and iron and bake bread on Tuesday,
Whatever comes up on Wednesday,
Prayer group on Thursday with Audrey's eye therapy after school,
Fun on Friday,
Plan menus on Saturday,
Rest on Sunday.
And on the first and third weeks of the month, I add Brownies on Mondays and Junior Girl Scouts on Wednesdays.
So that's my weekly schedule. All my tasks are in my computer (and on my Palm) as recurring tasks and show up each week on the day they need to be done. I LOVE my Palm Pilot (I've just gone back to using one); it's wonderful to have all my lists and tasks and contacts and appointments all in one place.
I enter everything on my computer--including menu plans and grocery lists and every little thing I can think of that needs to be done--and sync it to my Palm. I add errands and random tasks on days when there's not much else going on. After being so sick, I'm trying to keep my schedule more open on those days when there's not a weekly commitment--I really need time at home--to tackle random tasks and to have time to be crafty and do fun things.
Because of my schedule, I never make plans on Mondays--because there's NEVER time on Monday to get anything else done without the rest of the week slipping. And I plan easy menus on days when we have Girl Scouts--something in the crock pot I can do before I leave for school, or something quick like hamburgers.
As to a daily schedule--
I get up at 5:30 and have my quiet time until 6:45 when I wake the girls up for school.
We sit down to breakfast from 7 until 7:30--it's nice to have time to chat and to read (right now we're readingThe Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo; we read at breakfast because I get sleepy at night!).
Toben takes the girls to school at 7:45 and I get ready for my day.
The girls come home from school at around 3--we have a snack and play until it's time to do homework at 5.
Audrey does homework until 6; we eat dinner at 6:30.
Then it's time for the girls to take baths and for Audrey and I to do her vision therapy homework. The girls get in bed around 7:30 to read; lights go out at 8.
Toben usually heads to bed soon after; I've been staying up to read or sew until 9 or 10.
Then it's time to go to sleep until the alarm goes off again!
Sarah, no, I wasn't as crafty when the girls were smaller. I did read lots of books, though. Mostly because everyday we had quiet time from 1 until 4, while the girls napped. I turned the ringer off the phone and gave myself at least the first hour of quiet time to do whatever I wanted to do before tackling any chores that had to be done.
Part of the reason I'm able to do lots of crafty stuff is because I'm in a season when the girls are both at school--and when they're at home, they like to be crafty with me. Plus, Toben works at home, so he hangs out with them a lot. This past week, he took the week off for Spring Break too and took them swimming and golfing a bunch, which meant that I had lots of time at home alone to sew.
I don't know how long this season will last, but I'm enjoying it while it does!
Saw this over at Meredith's and thought I'd be a copycat...
What time did you get up this morning? 6:45--late for me, I know!
Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds, diamonds, diamonds--unless, do the pearls come WITH diamonds?
Last movie you saw in the theater? 27 Dresses
What is your favorite TV show? M*A*S*H
What did you eat for Breakfast? Haven't had breakfast yet, but I'm thinking about a bagel
What is your middle name? Marie
What food do you dislike? Black-eyed peas
What is your favorite CD at the moment? Hmm...I've got a praise mix on my ipod
What kind of car do you drive? Ford Expedition named the Brownie Bus
Favorite sandwich? Toasted bagel with cream cheese, sunflower seeds, cucumber, avocado, tomato, carrot, and alfalfa sprouts--with a pickle on the side
What characteristics do you despise? Lies
Favorite item of clothing? Embroidered and patchworked Miss Me jeans
If you could go anywhere in the world for a vacation, where would you go? Prince Edward Island, Yorkshire, or Paris
What color is your bathroom? pale yellow-y/taupe with red towels
Favorite brand of clothing? anything from Anthropologie
Where would you retire? Carmel, California
Most memorable birthday? 30--went to Paris for a week with my girlfriends
Favorite sport to watch? No, thanks
When is your birthday? March 15
Are you a morning or a night person? Morning, but this week I've stayed up until 10 every night
What is your shoe size? 10
What did you want to be when you were little? Nurse, teacher, fashion model
What are you today? Wife, mom, author, speaker, Girl Scout leader
What is your favorite candy? Kit Kat
Your favorite flower? Hydrangea
What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? May 1--Heidi is coming for a visit and to see Beth Moore
What are you listening to right now? Daisy licking her paws
What was the last thing you ate? Fajitas at Los Arcos
Do you wish on stars? No
If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Red
What is your pet peeve? When people say "wala" instead of "voila"--it starts with a V!
Last person you spoke to on the phone? Toben
Favorite soft drink? Fresca, though not often
Favorite restaurant? In the world? Beaujolais d'Auteuil in Paris; For everyday? Chipotle
Hair Color? Red/auburn
Favorite day of the year? Christmas
What was your favorite toy as a child? Speak and Spell
Summer or winter? Summer
Hugs or kisses? Hugs
Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate
When was the last time you cried? A week ago--Easter music gets me
What is under your bed? Dust bunnies? Haven't looked in a while
Who is the friend you’ve had the longest? That I keep in touch with? Heidi
What did you do last night? Had dinner with my parents, then hung out with Audrey and Emma and worked on some embroidery/applique
Favorite smell? Rain
What are you afraid of? Snakes, airplanes
How many keys on your key ring? 4
Favorite day of the week? Saturday mornings
How many states have you lived in? Four--California, Colorado, Alabama, Washington, But one twice--California; And one four times--Colorado
Do you make friends easily? Yes
How many words did spell check have to correct? None. I self-correct as I go.
Happy Saturday, everyone!
Since you asked... Favorite Bible verse currently and as you have grown up. At different times in my journey I have focused on different verses but I have always had a few that I have relied on. Is that true for you?
Absolutely! Like Meredith, I often focus on a few verses during different seasons of my life. When Emma was a baby and Audrey was a toddler, a friend gave me a shepherd's pie for dinner with Isaiah 40:11 written on the card: "He gently leads those with young." It was one I quickly learned and held on to during sleepless nights and days of managing two small children.
And just recently, I learned that the original Hebrew word for lead is nahal, which means to give rest, to lead with care to guide to a watering place; to cause to rest, refresh; to journey by stations or stages.
I love that last part and have been thinking about it a lot lately--that God leads me through each stage of childhood--early elementary school for Emma and coming into that preteen phase with Audrey. It's a good reminder that I don't need to live in fear of some of the stages that are coming (aaaah! teenagers!) because he will lead me through each stage as he has in the past. We made it through the terrible twos (though I think three was harder than two) and we'll make it through whatever comes next!
Recently I've spent some time in Psalm 23--a familiar passage that I love. It always makes me think of spring for some reason. I've enjoyed going back to the Hebrew and seeing the definitions for the words (you can do this at blueletterbible.org). Seeing the definitions in depth has made the psalm come alive in a whole new way.
I have lots of other favorite verses underlined and marked in my Bible. I'm a huge fan of writing in my Bible--to put names and dates next to verses so I can go back and see how God has kept his Word, answered prayer, and been faithful to me. If I don't mark them, it's all too easy to forget how God has acted on my behalf. This way, just flipping through I see evidence of his goodness and praise him all the more.
Here's an example. Psalm 77:13-14 is underlined: "Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God? You are th God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples." Next to it is written "3/04 for Toben." I wrote that during a time in our lives when we desperately needed a miracle, when we needed God to display his power in a tangible way. Toben had just been diagnosed as being bipolar and our lives had flipped upside down. Each morning, the thought of just getting through the day with some sort of normalcy seemed impossible. I was choked by bitterness and anger and hope seemed just out of reach.
A year later, I was in Bible study when we were told to turn to Psalm 77:13-14. God had indeed displayed his power in our life and I was thrilled to share with my group, "God has done this for us!" The doctors had figured out a good combination of medicines and we could see light at the end of the tunnel of darkness we'd been living in for so long. God had uprooted bitterness from my heart and tenderness was slowly becoming more natural with his help. The women in my group praised God with me and a new entry is penned next to the verse: "3/05, How God has kept his promise!"
Every time I flip past those verses I'm reminded that God hears my prayers and acts on our behalf.
While I've often wished for one verse to be my favorite, I can't choose just one. The great thing about God's Word is that it's always new and fresh and applies to whatever is going on in life. I love it all!
I have...2 questions! 1) What should every knitting/sewing/crocheting person have in her craft basket/kit? 2) What do you do when you have a day to yourself? As in, a day where your chores are all done and you're free to do anything you want. For example, knit and have tea? Something like that...
1. Well, to knit or crochet, it's good to have a couple of sizes of needles and hooks, including a circular needle and double-pointed needles for knitting. Plus some stitch markers, a tape measure, and a clicker counter to keep track of rows on your pattern. And a selection of yarn. My kit has been built up over the years--as patterns have called for different sized needles and hooks I've added to it. And extra yarn gets put into my yarn trunk--great for checking gauge or small projects using what's on hand.
If you're just beginning, I usually suggest making a scarf. And all you need for that is needles and a skein of yarn!
For a sewing or mending basket, I think you need needles, a thimble, and a few spools of neutral thread. Plus a sharp pair of scissors. If you're sewing on a machine, add bobbins and a greater assortment of thread colors, plus good, long pins. And some spare machine needles for when you hit a pin and break one. I also like to have a cutting mat and a rotary cutter with a pinking blade for cutting any straight lines. Plus a good iron and ironing board. And, of course, I like to have a fabric stash for whenever the sewing mood strikes!
Anyone else have anything they think is essential for a knitting/crochet kit or a sewing kit?
2. Hmm...when I have a day all to myself with nothing else to do? If I'm in the middle of a great book, I like to sit and read all day long. Or if I'm feeling crafty, I like to sew--which means being in the basement and listening to music or something on my ipod. I also like to watch a favorite movie--which usually involves knitting, crocheting, or embroidery. One thing I rarely do is nap. I'm just not very good at it! I'll lay down for ten minutes or so, but I don't fall asleep quickly so I end up getting up again.
If I'm feeling social, I think it's fun to call my mom or sister and go wander through an antique shop or two. But my favorite thing is to stay home.
Joanne, How do you stay in such good shape and maintain your weight? Since you are such a great cook! I find this is always a battle for me - especially since I love to cook and bake.
Well, that's a funny one, since my latest past time seems to be eating Cadbury chocolate eggs. One right after the other, after the other, after the other...
I do love to walk outside in the mornings with my ipod on full blast--but that can get tricky here in Denver where it's COLD in the morning all winter long--and on those days when I have something to do as soon as the girls go to school. (Somehow I always feel like I have to exercise first thing in the morning--or not at all. Weird, I know. But I can't seem to walk at lunch time or in the afternoon or evening.)
In the summer, I'm much more consistent with walking and playing tennis with Toben. In the winter, I just try to watch what I eat (until Easter, apparently!) and not snack between meals. Funnily enough, it helps to knit or sew--it's hard to eat and do those things at the same time!
When we lived in California, I took a ballet fitness class twice a week that I miss like crazy. I'd love to find a class here--but so many classes are at night, and it doesn't work for our family for me to be gone at night.
So to be honest, I'm not in great shape at the moment, but I'm lucky to be tall (5'10"), which hides a multitude of chocolate eggs.
What do the rest of you do--that you actually LIKE to do?
Would you mind sharing your Easter traditions? I'm struggling to stress the importance of Easter with my kids. Christmas provides lots of opportunities, but Easter isn't so easy. love, jen
In the past few years, our Easter traditions have changed quite a bit. As a person who tends to go overboard (I know, you're shocked!) I used to hide zillions of eggs for my two tiny girls. Which meant hyper girls and throwing away perfectly good jelly beans after a week because the sight of them started to make my stomach hurt after eating too many.
So one Easter, I decided to hide only the 12 resurrection eggs. That's it. Each girl got to find six. I was a little unsure of how they'd react, but it was wonderful. Yes, they found the eggs in about 39 seconds flat, but then they sat on the floor with them and worked together to put them in order, telling and retelling the Easter story for at least an hour.
I could hardly believe it.
We also read the book Benjamin's Box that goes along with the eggs to hear the story from a child's perspective. And, one year, we made our own boxes--collecting things that reminded us of the Easter story.
This year, being sick put a crimp in my Lent/Easter plans. I totally got off track with my own Lenten devotional reading and have struggled with feeling like I missed out on some of the things I'd wanted to do.
But we are doing our big Easter tradition tonight. This is our third year of celebrating Good Friday with a Seder. The meal is really for Passover, but Passover and Easter don't always match on our calendars. So we've just decided to do it each year on Good Friday.
This is a long meal and involves lots of reading, so it's really better for children who are a little bit older. (Though I suppose you could just do the Seder plate with smaller children without also having a meal with it. It takes several hours altogether and that's a long time for little ones to sit at the table.)
I have this marvelous book--A Family Guide to Biblical Holidays--that includes a booklet walking you through the meal in a family friendly way. It also includes some recipes and all kinds of other ideas for celebrating Passover.
The thing I also like about this book is that it very clearly shows how Jesus fulfilled each element of the feast.
Having this meal together, more than anything we've done for Easter--has taught my children the significance of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. And because it looks back to Israel's captivity and freedom from Egypt in a tangible way, they also see that all of Scripture points to Jesus.
So this morning, Emma's going to bake a cake so we can assemble a trifle for our dessert later; I'm going to roast the lamb shank for the Seder plate; we need to get out the china and crystal to set the table, chop apples to make the haroset that represents the mortar the Israelites used to make bricks in Egypt, get the roast in the crock pot (Audrey and Emma can't bring themselves to eat lamb--so we've improvised). All that said, I'd better get going!
Joanne, What did you like/dislike about growing up in a military family? My husband is in the Navy and we move often. My kids do ok with the changes, but I've always wanted to know a grown up perspective. Thanks!
I grew up as an Air Force brat. Which, by the way, isn't really a very nice expression. So, let's try that again: I grew up as an Air Force kid. My dad was in the Air Force and stationed in California when I was born. My parents were in Los Angeles for 10 years--their longest assignment. Since I was born four years into it, I lived there for six years--the longest I lived anywhere until after I graduated from college.
At six, we moved to Colorado Springs, where my dad was promoted to captain and taught at the Air Force Academy. That's the only time I remember getting to go to work with my dad. He had an office that we could visit with a huge drafting table, rulers, and good markers. I seem to remember that he also had a chalkboard and this really cool metal thing that held the chalk so you could draw without getting dusty fingers.
I went to half of first grade at the public school down the street from our house, and then went to second, third, and fourth grade at a Christian school.
Then we moved to Montgomery, Alabama, for fifth grade while dad went to War College. I seem to remember rolling into town just days before school began, and then leaving the minute school was over the next summer.
So at age 11, we moved to Harrogate, which is in North Yorkshire, England. I went to British school for sixth, seventh, and eighth grades (or first, second, and third form--think Harry Potter!).
The summer between eighth and ninth grade, we moved back to the States--and back to Colorado Springs. We moved into our same house (which we'd rented to other military couples for the four years we were gone), which seemed much smaller now that I was bigger. I went back to that same Christian school for ninth and tenth grades, which also seemed much smaller now that I was bigger.
By that time, my dad retired from the Air Force.
My junior year in high school, I transferred to public school for academic reasons and graduated from Air Academy High School.
So growing up Air Force meant lots of moves, lots of schools, lots of first days of school when I didn't know anyone. It was hard--but it was the only thing I knew and I survived. And as an adult, I think I adapt pretty easily to new situations and make friends quickly because I learned how to do that as a child. While I've always felt a little envy for those people I know who've been friends through kindergarten and the rest of life, that just wasn't my life.
Other positives? As an Air Force family who moved a lot, I've travelled a lot. Especially living in Europe means that I've travelled to all kinds of places: Greece, Switzerland, Austria, Norway, France, Liechtenstein, Belgium, (West) Germany, Scotland, Wales, Italy... So even though I don't love to travel these days, I'm comfortable finding my way around new places.
One other huge positive is that I have a close family. Because we moved a lot, we never really lived near any extended family. While we did visit from time to time, family to me always meant my family of four--Dad, Mom, Kristen, and me. We developed our own traditions, our own routines. And we had to get along, because we were all we had! (Of course, we had community wherever we lived, but there was very much a sense of us sticking together.)
And speaking of community, the other thing I learned as a military kid was to make friends quickly as I said, but also to take advantage of the time we had in a place. Even though we lived in Alabama for only 10 months--and we knew the whole time we'd only be there 10 months and probably would never come back--I had a wonderful best friend there (hi Janet!). We were involved at church, involved at school. When I think back, we really put down roots in each place we lived--even if only for a short time.
Yes, it meant that leaving was hard, but our lives were so much richer because we did.
All in all, growing up military was great. At the same time, I'm excited to think that we might live here in Denver for a long, long time and that the girls may go to one school for most of their lives. Not because it's better than how my life was, but it's different. And there are advantages to both. I guess what I'm trying to say is that every living situation, every growing up experience has its pros and cons. We live the lives we've been given and make the best of it.
I thought of one more question for you! I certainly hope I'm not wearing out my welcome! Does your family read your blog? By family I mean your husband, your parents, your sister, your in-laws, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc?
My sister has always read my blog and was one of my first commenters.
My mom has been reading my blog since Christmas--when she got her first computer.
I don't know about my dad. As to aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, and so on...I'm not sure. If they do, they don't comment.
All in all, I'm always amazed at the people who read my blog. Sometimes there are people I think would (friends especially), but don't; other times, I'm surprised when someone says they read it every day. I guess it all comes down to comments--that's how I know who reads!
When and how did you become "The Simple Wife"? When did simplicity become something you crave, and how did you put it into action?
Well, I became The Simple Wife when I started blogging two years ago because I was in the process of writing Living Simply--a book whose working title was The Simple Wife. The title changed (which is good, because I really like the simplicity of Living Simply and hear from readers all the time that they were drawn in by the title) but the blog was already in place.
Simplicity became a huge issue for me when we moved to Southern California and when Audrey started school. I felt overwhelmed by the excess of life in a super wealthy community and overwhelmed by all the activities I saw the five-year-olds in Audrey's class involved in. Especially since I still had a toddler at home (Emma was two years old at the time and still napping), I couldn't do everything I saw others doing with their kids--theater, music lessons, dance, sports, and so on. It didn't feel right for our family to pursue those things, but I still struggled with feeling like I was a "bad" mom for not giving her those opportunities.
(I will say that part of what helped me get over that guilt was my mother's best advice: "Do what's best for your family." And that might look different for different families.)
Also, we got rid of a lot of stuff before moving to California (we just couldn't afford a house as big!) and yet, even with so much less stuff, life still felt too full. I realized that simplicity was about more than just stuff. I really wrote Living Simply as part of my journey toward simplicity.
For me, simplicity is primarily about having a simple focus. About pursuing the kingdom of God first--and letting everything else fall into place behind that. As I strive to keep my focus simple, things like our calendar, our closets, and our clutter start to fall into their proper places.
What are the best and worst things about living in Colorado (I've always wondered if I'd love living there)?
Hands down, the best thing about living in Denver is living near my family. My parents are just minutes away, and my sister and her family are about 15 minutes away. I love that. It means lots of last-minute phone calls like "Hey, I'm on my way to the antique store, wanna come along?" or "I made too much food for dinner, wanna come help us eat it?"
It also means when we need a babysitter, the girls are with family.
Other good things? It's beautiful here. We have white Christmases. I look at the mountains every day on the way to school in the morning. It's sunny a lot--even if it's freezing cold. Direct flights to just about anywhere from DIA. Heading to Vail or Breckenridge just for lunch. I have friends here.
Old snow that gets yucky and brown. This time of year when you discover two crocuses blooming in the backyard and then you see the forecast for 5 inches of snow tonight. Wearing a heavy, heavy coat and snow boots with your Easter dress--or worse, a turtleneck underneath your Easter dress. No ocean.
So the good far outweighs the bad--I pretty much LOVE living here!
My dad just emailed me this picture from Saturday morning...see what I mean?
Hey Joanne, How fun... I love favorites and put favorites on my blog from time to time so... Favorite book(s)... Favorite devotional... Favorite Bible Translation... Favorite book to read over and over... Favorite movie(s)... Okay, that's more than one or two...
I love this because it makes me think of Maria singing about a few of her favorite things in The Sound of Music, one of my favorite movies. Yep, I know ALL the words to ALL the songs by heart. And I can't watch the movie without singing along.
So hard to answer! I love to read, and have since I was a child. My dad and I had a deal, for every five books I'd read, he'd take me to Denny's for breakfast before school and buy me a new book. That didn't last too long before it was every ten books!
So, as a child, I loved to read mystery books: Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, The Three Investigators.
As an adult, I still love to read children's books, as well as historical fiction. But I am very careful about what I read. For years, I read lots and lots of romance novels--something I cannot read any more. As a young girl, they made me aware of things I shouldn't have known quite yet, and as a young married woman, they made me discontent with my life and my marriage. Life just isn't like a romance novel!
A couple of years ago, I gave up fiction for an entire year. It was hard, but taught me to read great works of nonfiction and to enjoy them too. That was the year I discovered Mark Buchanan's The Holy Wild, Madeleine L'Engle's Walking on Water, and Robert Benson's Living Prayer--all books I read at least once a year now.
There are two that I use: Robert Benson's Venite and A Guide to Prayer for All God's People. I LOVE these books.
Favorite Bible translation
I use an NIV Study Bible every day--so it's my preferred one. But I also love reading The Message. Toben was the publisher for The Message for a while and so I'm fortunate to have met Eugene and been involved some in the process of The Message. In addition, I use Blue Letter Bible almost every day as part of studying.
Favorite books to read over and over
Well, I spend more time reading my Bible than any other book.
But in terms of reading for entertainment, I read all of the Chronicles of Narnia every year, all of the Anne of Green Gables books every year. I also read The Secret Garden just about every year. I do read The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy every other year or so too. I also read the Mallory Towers books by Enid Blyton every year too. Oh, and all the Little House on the Prairie books get read almost every year too!
A lot, I know, but they are all old friends and I need to spend time with them!
The Sound of Music, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, You've Got Mail, The Robe, Gigi, Funny Face, Paris When it Sizzles
I could probably think of more, but it's time to make some dinner for my family!
What would be one of you favorites places to visit and what sights would you have to go see? Also, who would you take? Finally, what souvenier (sp?) would you bring home?
Here's the thing. Though I've had the opportunity to travel a lot (my family lived in England when I was in middle school, so we traveled to Europe every school holiday), I don't much like to travel. I'd rather stay home!
That said, my favorite places to visit are places that feel familiar: Carmel (we honeymooned there and went every year for years), Paris (lived there for a summer after college and know my way around, plus I speak French), England (having lived there, it was home for years). I'd go to any one of those places just about any time!
I'd love to take an extended trip to Yorkshire and rent a house in the dales. We've talked about ALL going--Mom and Dad; Wade, Kristen, and their kids; and our family. I would love that...hiking through the dales, taking the girls horseback riding at the stables where Kristen and I took lessons, picking strawberries, picnicking at Fountains Abbey. But we need to wait until Ava and Tyson are a bit older.
A place I've never been that I'd like to visit? Prince Edward Island. I'm a huge Anne of Green Gables fan, and would love to visit there. The scenery in the movies takes my breath away. I think I'd want to visit in spring or fall, and I'd take my family. But not until the girls have read the books and love Anne as much as they should!
I'd want to see the lighthouse that's featured so prominently in the movies, the bridge where Gilbert proposes and Anne accepts, and just wander through the countryside.
What souvenir to bring home? A set of Anne books and a charm for my bracelet. I do have a Nova Scotia charm--one of my first, that my grandmother gave me after visiting PEI along with my very first copy of Anne of Green Gables.
(And, only four more years until I get to take this trip! Because Toben and I made a deal: For my 40th, we're going to PEI; for Toben's 40th, we're off to Carmel so he can play a round at Pebble Beach. Of course, he's older than me, so we'll be going to Carmel first.)
Okay, Joanne, I'll go first. :) If you had had boys instead of two girls, what boy names would you have chosen? And one more--how/when did you learn to sew?
Hmm...Well, I just knew that Audrey was going to be a girl from the very start. And Toben and I both knew that she was Audrey. We didn't really talk about names very much--just one conversation the night I told Toben I was pregnant.
Audrey was a little bit of a surprise, and I found out I was pregnant because I had a bladder infection. The nurse at the doctor's office said, "Oh by the way, did you know you're pregnant?" Well, I didn't! Toben was out of town in New York on a business trip, and we'd already planned for me to meet him. So I kept it a total secret for four or five days, and then flew to New York.
We got totally lost leaving the airport, got stuck in awful traffic, then drove down to Spring Lake, New Jersey, in a bad snowstorm. By the time we arrived, we were late for dinner at some friends' house. "When are you going to have kids?" my friend Ann asked us at dinner. I kept my mouth shut.
Finally, we got back to our hotel (a great Victorian place called The Chateau if you're ever there and need a place to stay) and I handed Toben a "Happy I Love You Day" present. He opened it to find binkies. And that's how I told him.
We stayed up for hours talking and dreaming and I think that's the night we decided she would be Audrey.
Now with Emma, I had a boy feeling. Not sure why, but I did. So Emma was going to be Charles (Charley, for short) after my dad. Until we went in for the ultrasound. There in the room we discovered she was Emma. Again, no other names, she was just Emma.
So I don't have another boy name. Or even another girl name that we almost chose. Though we said if we ever had a third girl, she'd be Jane. People often ask Toben if he ever wanted a boy, and the answer's no every time. And a third? Once Emma arrived, our family just felt complete.
I learned to sew when I was a little girl. My mom taught me on her Singer Featherweight machine that she took to college. My mother majored in home economics and is a wonderful seamstress. She always made her clothes, and our clothes too.
I made my first outfit when I was about seven years old--a skirt and blouse from a lovely pale green fabric. I was so proud of it! I continued to sew and can remember spending spring breaks in high school sewing for the entire week and starting school with a new wardrobe.
Dad always told Mom that she could spend as much as she wanted at the fabric store--because it used to be so much cheaper than buying our clothes. (Unfortunately, that's not true anymore so Toben's never given me that carte blanche!)
I do still sew clothes--for the girls and sometimes for myself. But I only choose patterns that have clean lines and are very simple. It's too heartbreaking when something doesn't fit or look right after all that time and money.
But mostly, I like to sew for the home--curtains, bags, pillows--stuff I can make without a pattern. I like to make it up as I go--that way there's no picture to compare it to and it usually turns out right!
My friend Jen left a comment asking about Easter traditions around our house...I'll blog about it in the next few days. It reminded me of the Q & A trend that I've seen going around blogland.
So...anything you want to know about? Ask away and I'll do my best to answer. And, remember, there's no such thing as a silly question!