Monday, January 26, 2009

More Jamaica Photos

So I just thought I'd add a couple of photos. Matt on the beach with the kids. Jasper playing with the snorkel equipment and all 17 of us at a reception at the Great House on the plantation that we stayed. Our wonderful staff and Mika doing her best mermaid impression.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

"Take a deep breath.....Inhale the surroundings....and exhale the stress..." Jamaica, 2009

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

I going to open this post with a sincere thank you to my big sister for such an amazing week. You've provided us with such a perfect model of giving, I can only hope that one day I may bestow such a gift to another.

Take a deep breath.....Inhale the surroundings....and exhale the stress...

And thus began our long awaited and much anticipated Jamaican vacation.

That being said.. statistically on the top 100 list of most stressful experiences in life.. vacation comes in at #42.. smack in the middle of 'Christmas' (#43) and 'Change in Eating Habits' (#41) .. which ironically enough, were both played a major role in said vacation. Now, I'm fairly confident the author of that list never factored in the "international, post 9/11, holiday travel with a 2 and 4 year old" multiplier in his/her highly scientific stress study.. In doing so, my math has 'vacation' being promoted into the top twenty...somewhere betweeeeeen... foreclosure and pregnancy.

OK, so I fabricated a little comical drama for the lead in to make the obligatory vacation blog post a bit more fresh.. sue me. Honestly though, Mika and Jasper did great. They slept amazingly well considering they had to share a hard as granite day bed cushion, were in strange surroundings, and were relentlessly serenaded by tree frogs throughout the night.

But I'm getting ahead of myself here. We spent a week at the Eight Rivers Villa, Prospect Plantation near Ocho Rios (click on the link, go to "The Villas" and chose "Eight Rivers". )
360 video below

A truly visceral experience in the sense that the week evoked an elemental level of relaxation unlike any vacation I've been on. It may of been the thick prehistoric like jungle surrounding, the sound of the surf, the smell of good food, or the feeling of never wanting... But what made it really special was that we were there with family. (my side at least! ... poor wife). The Horn's of Marshall, my sister, my brother and is family and my dad. Along with Bob (My sister's beau) and his family...14 of us in all.

Is it possible to get too relaxed? I don't know.. all I can say is I felt as if I had been lobotomized the entire first week back at work.

The villas, (there were 2 actually) came fully staffed with cooks, maids and rum punch toting butlers. But the sweet old ladies of the kitchen were something special.. "There are hundreds of languages in the world, but a smile speaks them all" best sums up Lorna and Madge. ( I can't believe I didn't get a picture of them.../palm to forehead x 10) They cooked from their hearts and smiled from their souls. Angels of cheer.

Ahh hell, I could go on for pages relating all the experiences of the week but I think I just let the pictures tell you the rest of the story.

(click on each to enlarge)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Homemade gifts

Well I spent a bunch of time this year making gifts. Matt jokes that my poor little sewing machine has been sitting there for 6 years barely seeing the light of day and then WHAM! out of no where it gets the beating of a lifetime! True. I've gone through spools of thread. What am I doing sewing? It's crazy--and I want to do more. I haven't scrap booked in ages. I will again. Just have to what is pushing my creative button at the moment, right? People ask me if I have some fancy machine, but it's just the basic Sears Kenmore one. The nice thing is, is that my sister has the same exact one so if we have problems we can call each other up and try to figure stuff out. Now one of us just has to tackle the zipper. It's a handed down fear. I even have a site bookmarked on how to do them easily so at least I know we're not the only ones with the fear. Now that I think of our zipper fear and Mikas button fears, maybe this family has some obscure fear of notions. Ha! Just joking, my sister and I only fear sewing zippers whereas my dear daughter fears buttons on clothing. Ok, tangent. Pictured here are some of the gifts I made. I did a reverse applique on the t-shirt (but didn't make the shirt) and I made 2 skirts, just one smaller for a friend, 3 total fish games, and 3 crayon/colored pencil rolls. I also made a stocking with embroidery but didn't photograph it since I finished it as we drove to Minneapolis. Oh, I also made 4 tote-able towels but I guess I forgot to photograph those. Now I just need to finish the quilt. (Special thanks to for the crayon roll tutorial!)