Ringing in 2012

Happy New Year, everyone!

i found this random image, but it could be hawaii!

After the whirlwind and chaos of Christmas, the Duggs and I had a totally chill and awesome New Year’s weekend.  He surprised me with plans and a dinner rez, and it was just an awesome, quiet, cozy way for us to re-set, refresh and get ready to face a brand new year.

First, we went boating!  On Friday of the long weekend, we took out a Boston Whaler and went boating out on K-bay.

leaving the wake behind us like it's 2011. (is that cheesy enough?)

It was so sunny when we first went out, a totally gorgeous day.

 

i heart k-bay, and the 360 pretty views

Being out in the sun, swimming, playing with the pooch (because it was low tide and he could gallop/prance around like an antelope) – it was all so calming.  I’m so ocean-oriented, that just being out on the water seems to always cure what ails me.

It was just the antithesis of Christmas-craziness, and it felt so good.

When we got home, a bouquet of flowers was waiting for me! Thank you, Duggs, you’re such a thoughtful husband.

special delivery

The next night, New Year’s Eve, we went out to Roy’s in Waikiki.  They had a set menu, with special fare just for New Years and it was SO. GOOD.  Just amazing.  We ate crab, lobster, freshly baked lavosh, I had butterfish and mahi for my entre, Duggs had lamb, and for dessert they had fresh strawberry malasadas, strawberry mochi balls with sweet basil ice cream in the middle, and ginger soda with champagne sorbet floats.  I mean, it was so good. I love food.

Oh.  AND they had funny hats and tiaras for everyone to wear.  It was so cute! We had such a nice time on our dinner date, talking about our favorite 2011 moments.

After dinner, we headed over to The Tanner’s house, where some people were celebrating.  We literally walked in the door at 11:58, and just made the countdown!  I shared a happy New Year’s smooch with Duggs, and we had a toast with a ton of pals!

It was an awesome weekend.  HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!

 

as always, thanks for reading! oxox, hhr

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christmas 2011 rundown

I’m trying to figure out how to post about Christmas:

  • do I talk about being homesick (because I was, I missed my family and the East Coast so very much)? That could be a whole post right there, if I let it be.
  •  Do I talk about how much fun Duggs and I had carving out our own Christmas memories, in our first-ever just the two of us Christmas?
  • I’d like to thank everyone for the beautiful and perfect gifts I received.  Some very lovely and well-wanted things were sent my way.
  • I also want to talk about how CRAZY it was, turning our house, here on base, into a Christmastime factory that even Santa’s elves would respect.

So here’s my rundown: Stats, the Good, the Bad, and even the Ugly. 

Stats:

  • 10 boxes and big puffy envelopes were sent to family across the country
  • 62 (and counting) Christmas cards were mailed out
  • 40+ cards were handmade and hand delivered!
  • Six service projectes were participated in
  • One all-nighter was required to pull it off
  • ZERO parcels arrived late! hahaha, take that Post Office on base who said it’d never happen! 
  • Probably a dozen boxes were shipped to us
  • And the Christmas cards are still coming in (oh, I love cards!!)

The Good

Matthew and I really did have a nice time together this year.  It was so fun waking up Christmas morning and going down to see presents under the tree, gifts from our families back on the mainland, as well as presents that we were able to exchange with each other.

The gifts I recieved were just AMAZING.  The things people gift you say a lot about you, and this year’s message was loud and clear: we love you, you silly hippie!

Duggs  got me a Tamagotchi, like an original from 1996.  That’s a whole story in itself.  He bought me a beautiful necklace.  I was gifted a scarf that I love from Aunt Heather and Uncle Joe, my Mother-in-law knows me SO WELL, and sent an amazing package of pretty things for me (like a set of floral gilden notebooks, love!) as well as more food from Omaha Steaks than anyone could eat in a month.   I won’t sit here and brag and brag and brag (even though I want to)… but I was very blessed this year.  Gift cards, hand made cards, a new handbag, new make up and new make up brushes, scratch-off lotto tickets. cute Christmas ornaments – so many things that I love are filling my living room.

It’s a weird time of year, ya know.  I try so hard to not be materialistic, but that’s not honest.  I do love things.  I love pretty, cute, fun, lovely things.  And to have been gifted so many, especially in a year that’s been economically hard – well, I do feel so happy.  And spoiled!

So, thank you.  I am grateful.  I’ll stop reveling in my presents now.

I had an even better time with the giving!  I know I’ve already blogged about a lot of the giving projects Duggs and I got into.  I’m so proud of us for making a big focus of this season, giving to others.  That’s def a good thing about this Christmas.

So, to speak on giving:  I did gift Duggs a humidor for his cigars, some handmade coupons (the kind where I’ll watch a movie he picks out without whining, or he can play video games all day guilt-free, those kinds, hahah).  I bought a couple Jets shirts and a keychain/beer opener.   I got him some video games (which is another funny story I’ll have to blog about later on).

did i mention duggs got booze, too? he did. plenty!

Church was a blast!  We went on Christmas Eve and it was such a joyous, happy celebration.  I really did enjoy myself.  Duggs and I sang Christmas carols with everyone in the Sanctuary, and it was just happy and fun.  The energy was amazing, I LOVED being there.

Christmas evening we went over to the Tanner’s house and we had an amazing prime rib dinner with them.  It was great.  They are such wonderful friends, so spending the holiday with them, out here, was really awesome.

Overall, there is SO MUCH GOOD that came along with this Christmas, that’s for sure.

Props: Please check out Chaos To Art – the store that Duggs bought some BEAUTIFUL up-cycled sachets and change purses from.  I’m so in love!!

chaos to art = amazing, love all of these repurposed gifts!

 

The Bad: 

I was homesick.  I missed my family.  Sure I made lasagna on Christmas Eve, as did everyone else in my family – but we all ate it separately, so far away from each other.   I’m really hoping that we’re all together next year.

And I missed Matthew’s family too.  It’s been so long since I’ve seen them, and Matthew has hardly spent any time with them at all these past five and half years.  I know they miss him so much too.  So again, next year I’m just hoping for more family time.

 

The Ugly

Oh boy.   I was bad this Christmas.  Real bad.  I try to live in an eco-friendly way, I’m a “green” person.  (this is the happy HIPPIE rose blog, ya know).  This Christmas was so un-green, I’m mortified to be honest.

We sent packages.  We got packages.  I won’t even admit the amount of packing materials, tape, and paper that’s coming in and out of this house.  Not to mention the cross-Pacific and cross-Continental shipping of everything.

I’m getting sick just thinking of it.

I indulged.  I know I did, and it wasn’t very nice to good ole Mother Earth.

So to my planent, and my fellow greenies: I heartily apologize.  I plan to do better in the future.  More gift cards, more digital gifts, less shipping.  And hopefully, I’ll live close enough the in-person gift exchanges will be possible.

But man, did we waste a lot.

I didn’t even make my own (recycled) gift wrap this year, like I usually do.  Just, eeks.

(Saving grace: I was gifted a reusable bag (love those), Duggs bought be some local tea, and I was gifted cruelty-free make up! So at least I have those few eco-friendly aspects on my side.)

Another thing going in the “ugly” list, I didn’t really do anything for Hanukkah this year. I didn’t make any latkes or even so much as light the candles with my dad/step-mom over the phone.  That’s something I do every year, and this year it all just got lost in the shuffle.  So I’m sad about that for sure.  Next year, it will be a better effort next year – for sure.

So there you have it: the good, the bad, and the ugly – and all of it coming together to make one memorable holiday season.

 

And now…. the photos!  In no particular order, enjoy:

Most of all, I hope everyone of my reader had a very Happy Holiday.  Wishing you all a wonder New Year!  

Thanks for reading! xoxo, hhr

christmas crafting!! care packs, con’t; cards and more cards (and a CUTE lil’ surprise)

Here’s the final rundown of the rest of our Christmas Crafting.  Enjoy!

More Christmas Care Packs!

So, I posted a pre-Christmas look at one of the boxes we sent out.  Now, that all of the gifts have been shipped and opened, and the big day is over: here dear readers, are the rest of the beautiful boxes we sent out to our families.

The McKay Box – sent to Long Island!

ta-daa! the mckay box

The other McKay box, sent to Tennessee!!

my christmas vertical poem, a real treasure (haha)

it got all bleached out by the lighting - but i sketched and colored in the ko'olau mountains for the hawaii and then drew some granite and pine tree kinda mountains for tennessee!

And the last care pack to show off, the Gioia box – that went to a whole ton of fam down in Florida:

Now… here’s the surprise I mentioned in the title.  So after we’d decorated all these boxes, to my great happy surprise, I open up one of the boxes sent to us from family, and what do I find?  A decorated box!! From my cousin (my differently aged twin), Nicole!

She is SO SWEET and ADORABLE:

I started opening it and saw the decor and i just squeeed with excitement!

she did such an awesome job!!

Nicole drew tie dye and a drawing of JJ.  Oh man, what an awesome gift.  Turns out that when she saw the box I sent to her and her fam (the Florida box), she opened it and said, “Hey! Rose stole my idea!”  hahaha.

She didn’t even KNOW I had decorated her box. How cool is that?!?! She and I are such twins, it’s almost freaky.  We always do stuff like that.

Cards!

We had SO MUCH FUN making the care packs, that we decided to crank up our hand-made card production.  I know I mentioned in an earlier post that we were making cards to bring/send to a VA hospital.  Well, that ended up not working out (not our fault, just logistics with the hospital) – so we decided to find another great place that some handmade cards could deliver smiles:  the local assisted living facility, Aloha Rehab Center.

On our way to Church on Christmas Eve, we dropped off the cards.  Hopefully, they spread some smiles.  We made Christmas, Hanukkah, and Happy Holiday Cards.

Our Cards:

these are the fronts, they look so great, yeah?

the backs - duggs did 100% of these,. by hand. amazing, yeah????

just a diff pic of some of them!

Sorry the photos are kinda crummy, I was rushing.   We crafted right up until the last minute!

Duggs started out just being the guy who cut out everything (my cut man).  But once the volume started ramping up, he started helping out so much more!  Thank you so much, honey, it was so fun to work on these with you – and for such a nice purpose.  I think we ended up making 30+ cards.  I never got a final count, as we were working down to the last minute.   (We want to make more cards for Aloha Rehab, and our next goal is 100 cards!).

Thirty may not sound like much.  But all of those little trees are hand painted, samesies with the snow flakes.  Yeah, they took longer than expected, but I’m so proud of the final products.

After all the Christmas crafting we did, I can easily say that making snowflakes is my most favorite to do! I think I got pretty durn good at it by the last one I made.

Finally, our card for this year: 

Merry Christmas, everyone! 

As always, thanks for reading!!  xoxo, hhr

Okay, okay.  One more surprise… here’s the card Duggs made for me!!

it's a christmas tree, made out of glitter paper. i found it on top of all my presents!

post-thanksgiving catch up

Hi everyone!!  I’m here, I’m doing okay.  Let me catch everyone up on the holidays, my health, and just my overall happyhippiness.

I’ve missed you dear bloggy-readers, (all seven of you, ha).  To those who’ve missed me and checked in on me, thank you.  And to those who just read, I’m thankful for you too!  (((hugs)))

Today’s post is a long one, but I think it’s a real gem.  Enjoy!

Post-Thanksgiving Catch Up

Thanksgiving!

We had a lovely Thanksgiving.

Duggs and I woke up, put on the parade and got to cooking, baking and smooching.  Yeah. We smooch a lot. I love watching the parade, just so I can get all annoyed at it’s cheesiness and weirdness, it’s so so so commercialized it’s just like a two mile long inflatable advertisement.  Bee tee dubs, when I just wrote advertisement, I totes pronounced it the Brirtish way in my head, so please do so while reading.  It’s much more sophisticated.  Ad-vert-is-ment.

Moving along…  So ole Duggs and I baked and cooked, and it was fun.  Christmas music was playing and I was just so happy.  I LOVE the holidays.  I miss my family, but to celebrate the entire holiday season with my husband: amazing!! what a gift!!

We spent the day with some great friends, here on base.  The Tanners (of course, we heart the Tanners so hard!), our friend Chiffon came and our friend Dana. So six people total.  Luckily, we cooked for about thirty, so the leftovers abounded! Score!

me and ole stinky duggs at thanksgiving dinner and he made a weird face to ruin my photo. thanks a lot duggs.

duggs and his man-friend, jed, at turkey day

the spread of amazing food. such a bountiful feast.

ashley was kind enough to purchase special doggie thanksgiving dinners for the pooches. they went totally nuts. it was great!

dana and chiffon were our other guests. this isn't a great photo bc chiffon isn't looking, but i didn't want to leave them out of my recap!

On Being Thankful

I have so much to be thankful for now. It would take up shifty-five blog posts to even list it all.  I try so hard to focus my daily prayer on thanksgiving year-round.  This season is a great opportunity to reflect on our blessings, to immerse in gratefulness for what we already have.

Also coming along with this season: the temptation to want want want, to shop, to desire things.  The temptation to become materialistic is immense.   In order to shop for others, we see many other things we want.  I’m going to write another blog about gift-giving and my process and etc.

But to summarize the concept of being thankful on Thanksgiving: I am.

  • Thank you God, for life, for your Grace, for everything.
  • Thank you family, thank you friends, for your love.  I need you all so much.
  • Thank you kind strangers, the little random angels that were at the right place at the right time to just get me through.
  • Thank you people who have allowed me to learn, facilitated the improvement of my health, offered me comfort.
  • Thank you United States Marine Corps for training my husband, bringing hom home safely, for putting a roof over our heads and food in our bellies, for taking care of our medical needs.
  • Thank you Hawaii for being beautiful.
  • Thank you church family for loving me, fostering my faith, giving me chances to love on my community and do good works, teach children, help those in need.
  • Thank you tie dye customers for your support and belief in me.
  • Thank you Cletus, for teaching me a special kind of love I never knew.  I miss you greatly  and severely.
  • Thank you JJ, how would I have ever survived this year without you?
  • Thank you Matthew Duggan, your relentless love, patience, care, charm, wit, strength, protection and devotion keep me alive in every literal and metaphorical way. I love you so much.
  • I am so thankful for TV, giggles, my warm and safe home, snacks, cold clean water, hot clean water, the Bible, Scentsy warmers, baked goods, art, music, I could go on and on and on…

Catching Up

So after Thanksgiving, we spent Saturday watching the MICHIGAN/ohiostateblah game at my pal Trish’s house.  Since the game came on at 7:00am here, we had a breakfast party!

trish and me on gameday

a rather sassy photo of me with like one third of duggs back there.

Thanksgiving weekend was a mix of awesomeness and awfulness.

Awesome, because Duggs got a 96 from work (four days off!).  I really wanted to hike one day, maybe snorkel. The weather wasn’t suited for it though, it was rainy and dreary most of the time.  I prefer exploring Hawaii on super sunny days!

It was awful because of how I was feeling.  My ear and thus my face/under-eye-area/cheekbone all started hurting.  All the plans we had for the long weekend were dumped and we spent the whole time, sans Thanksgiving Day and the Michigan game, planted in front of the TV.   We actually went on a huge movie streak and I did some Christmas-crafts, card designing, and present planning.

So… I just had to take it easy.  Rest.  Lay down.  All of which I really don’t care for.  I’m a mover and a shaker, a dancer and prancer.  I was in a lot of pain, and just really not doing well.

On Sunday night I got ambitious.  I know know know I’m not supposed to so much as touch a drop of alcohol.  And while I don’t really mind being dry, every now and then I just miss it.  That missing it has become harder around the holidays.  Spiced wine.  Eggnog. New Year’s champagne.  I cannot partake in any of it and it’s bumming me out.

Sunday night I told Duggs that I wanted to try some wine.

Sweet Duggs went out and picked up a bottle of red.  A nice pinot noir.  I had about half a glass, was enjoying it.  Then bam! All of a sudden it hit me and it was all over from there.  My throat was burning.  My tongue, swelling.  I was getting hot and clammy and I was so incredibly nauseous I couldn’t move.  We busted out the saltines and ginger ale, and I just held on.  We prayed. We prayed so hard.  And eventually, it came to pass.

Because of the porphyria, my liver just cannot metabolize ETOH like a normal liver could or would.   My doctor suggested it may have been the red wine, and that if I’d like, I can try something different.  However, that risk of feeling  acutely crappy is pretty impressive.  I felt MISERABLE.  Like, downright awful.

On Monday morning, I woke up feeling better.  I went on a decorating and cleaning rampage.  I gave this house the deepest cleaning I have since Homecoming!  I was on hand and knee scrubbing out every nook and cranny.  This place is sparkling. Seriously.

look at the shine off that floor! and this was taken a day later, even.

I cleaned so hard I was sore the next day and I chipped my nail polish, *gasp*, the horror, I know.  Don’t worry, I fixed them on Tuesday.  Monday night I started slowing down and the pain started creeping back.   I assume I pushed myself a bit too hard on Monday.

i stole this idea from my friend trish and i think it's so cute. i'll opine on gift wrap at a later time.

kitchen table, set for xmas

Tuesday.  I woke up feeling okay again.  My ear was hurting a bit, but I decided to push through and go for a run.  Post-workout I felt amazing!  Runner’s high, endorphines, it’s all good and they really do make me feel better.  It’s natural pain relief.

i fixed the nails i chipped on monday

After lunch my friend Lynnie called, and as we were chatting I decorated the Christmas Tree, lights, ornaments and all.  I’m so proud that I cranked it out in like two hours!  I had a lovely catch-up with my darling pal (thanks for calling, Lynn, I love you!).

this year's tree!

my fav ornament, courtesy of my friend krista! LOVE!

winnie-a-pooh (how i used to say it, so it's my family name for sweet ole winnie)

i like my own reflection in the ornaments. sigh. my vanity is an issue i need to work on.

Then… it hit me.  A wave of pain came over me that was so incredible all I could was just lay on the couch and text. I was texting Duggs explicatives.  We discussed going to the E.R.  I didn’t know what to do.

I realized my super tight sports bra was still on from my run.  The straps pull hard on my shoulder, which then trigger neck and ear pain.  It sounds weak, or maybe bizarre.  But this whole area of my body is so tender, inflamed, wacky, that even a simple touch like a shoulder squeeze can set me off into barrels of pain.  Hours of uber tight sports bra = crazy amounts of ouch.

I just layed out on the couch.  I cried.  I packed myself with ice. And I just hoped and hoped it would go away.

here i am, tuesday late afternoon, icing and praying ... laying in the worst pain it's been in a long time.

It was bad.  We (Duggs and I) discussed going to the E.R.  My two main docs are both out on holiday leave though, and I so hate to go to the ER blind, without someone who knows the particulars of my case to be there to help out.  (And that’s not snotty… someone unfamiliar with porphyria could accidentally make me super ill, or even kill me; also, explaining my whole medical history takes an hour, the meds I’m on are staggering and I hate explaining them all, and I just get stressed out dealing with new hands in the mix – which I know is inevitable – but it is what it is).

Tuesday evening I felt the worst, strongest, most direct pain I’d felt in a long, long time.  I could have sworn an ice pick was being jabbed into my ear and going through to my cheekbone and under my eye. Just miserable.  I couldn’t concentrate, think, do anything.

I decided to stay home, to ride it out.   I posted this on FB the next day:

it’s been a really rough week/ten days. i was miserable on thanksgiving – but i was having such a nice time with my friends – i didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. the whole long weekend was ROUGH. it’s just been crappy lately.

i’m staying positive and optimistic, and my faith is really getting me through. my lovely amazing husband helps a lot too ♥

but, i’m being honest: it’s been rough. i’m not well, and i’m not sure what we’ll try next, what there is to try next. all my docs are on holiday leave till next week =(

….

[thank you miles!!] i know i’m known for being so cheerful and upbeat, but there comes a time when i have to just be honest and admit that’s it’s been harder than i make it seem.

something HAS to give, i just know it. God has brought me through many many challenges before, and i just know He’ll do it again. and through every struggle i’ve endured, amazing good has come from it. so my hubs and i just keep examining and seeking… looking for the good that will come out of this, the lessons we can learn, the path this is leading us down. and well, we have ideas, but we’re still in the weeds. hindsight is always 20/20, so once we’re out of this, i’m sure we’ll have gained much from it. it’s just no fun going through it!

…it’s tough. but when bad things happen, when times get rough, He pulls me out and dusts me off and shows me some good that has come of it. even cancer.

loss is hard to understand. death, pain, suffering…

but i trust Him. that was my prayer last night. i was literally ailing, just tears rolling down my face from the pain and the anguish and frustration of being in so much pain for so long. and i just prayed, “i trust You. now, get me through this, please.”

so we’ll see. cancer made me a better person, times a million. i was just rotten beforehand. mean, bitchy, bitter, jealous, etc. cancer slowed me down, gave me appreciation – made me NICE. i’m tellin ya… i wasn’t always sugary sweet.

Wednesday was much better.  Still in pain, but it was calming down.  I was starting to rope it in and get ahead of it.

hi, wednesday morning!

I worked on some crafts, took it easy, and just tried to focus on feeling good and calm, asking peace into my body.  Inviting Grace to just come in and soothe.  And it started working a little bit. Thank God.

a cup of tea is oh so nice.

Wednesday afternoon Duggs and I had doctor’s appointments and errands.  During and afterwards my ear was just aching.

my fun outfit for rainy cool wednesday

We came home and had a veg out night, and I just had to ice and take it easy.  It’s just been a rocky road lately.

Thursday. 

Today is Thursday.  I woke up feeling alright and I’m trying to be productive.  I’m doing lots of chores, working on a romantical surprise for Duggs, sprinkling some more Christmas flavor around the house.

this me and the pooch right now. hi!

I have a lot I want to talk about, but I don’t want to have this textual diarrhea and blurt it all out in an unthoughtful manner.  I need to write and edit before I post.  I’m thinking about opening up the floodgates to some feelings I’ve been plastering in for a while.

Losing my health is something worth grieving.  I’ve been really emotional lately whenever I think of past memories that highlight my vitality and strength, like my English Channel Expedition, for example.   On a related note, I actually went swimming recently and I was so slow.  It left me sad and longing for when I was quick, sure of my physical self, toned and in shape.

But, it’s not a total wash. Not by a long shot.  I’m still so very able-bodied and well in many many ways.  I must keep that in mind, be grateful for the many parts that do work, and the oddles of things I can do.

On the worst of days, this medical malady of mine is debilitating. Sure.  But I have okay days, good days and wonderful days on which I’m able to do quite a lot.

I have no idea how I could maintain a work schedule while I’m in this condition.  My docs don’t consider me stable enough to work, and it’s hard taking criticism from people for not having a job.  It’s been really hurting my feelings lately.  I WISH I was working right now, I WISH I was doing what a normal, healthy person of my age would be doing.

Similarly, we want to start a family soon.  But with my meds, it is out of the question.  And there’s no end in sight.  I have no idea, no clue, how long I’ll be on these meds or when something will work.  Family planning is 100% on hold now.  And after the miscarriage, it’s hard to have zero clue when we can try again.  It’s very painful, and I don’t think many people realize how that feels.

So yeah, I have more to say, but I want to say it carefully and tactfully.  In the meantime, at least I’ve come this far in opening up my vulnerability and being honest about what’s really going on.  I am happy, and positive, optimistic.  I do smile.  But I also cringe and cry, I worry and I get upset.  I feel loss and sadness, and most often: physical pain.  There’s two sides to this whole thing, and I think I can show both now.

As always – thank you for reading !! xoxo, hhr 

P.S.  I totally have so many blog posts I’m just dying to type out and put up! More fun stuff, less heavy stuff, too.  Like: Holiday craft and gift ideas, more cruelty-free product reviews! Christmas tie dye, Making your own giftwrap (a fave of mine for years now!), etc.  I want to post about giving, and what orgs Duggs and I are giving to this year.  So, I’ll try and get back on a more regular blogging schedule, I mean it.

operation christmas child part 2: seven new awesomely crafted care packs

I asked and y’all answered!

OCC Part 2 – Seven More Boxes Made With Love, Thanks To You!

My Church, Hope Chapel Kaneohe Bay, participated in this year’s Operation Christmas Child project, a drive to send shoes boxes stuffed with toys, gifts, candy and what-not to underprivileged kids world-wide.  The church’s goal was 3,000 boxes.  Matthew and I made two on our own.  When we turned them in, our church was well under it’s goal.  I solicited an offer – if anyone funded the cost of a box, I would do all the legwork to create, shop and fill a box.

I wrote this blog about OCC a couple weeks ago.

Seven more boxes were funded, packed with love and turned in – thanks to y’all!  My friends and family came together to help us with this amazing project. And ultimately… our church reached it’s goal!  3,002 total boxes are being sent to kids in need.

AMEN!

How awesome is that?!?!?

Thank you: Miss Alice (my wonderful mother-in-law), Viper and Anna (my Dad and step-mom), Claire and the Williams Family, Kayla and the Hayes Family, Staci and the Ostrowski Family, and my lovely friend Ariana!  With all of your love and funding we were able to make SEVEN boxes to go out and send some love to seven more children.  How amazing is that?

I’m so appreciative.  I love this project and just believe in it so much!

So, because I’m too lazy to sort through all these pics… here’s a big mishmash of the assembly and turn in process, including what the inside of each box looks like.  Check ’em out:

Just to mention, every box got a hand-written note from me… I finished them so late on Saturday night though, I was too tired to snap any pics.  I used some nice stationary I had, and I just kept the letters simple and sweet.  For those of you who OK’ed it, I included your name, photos and address!   I basically just said that God loves them (the kids) and that we’re thinking of them.  And for each of you, I gave a couple generic/simple sentences about what you like to do… “We like going to the beach” or “I live in New York!”  etc.

THANK YOU SO MUCH EVERYONE!

fall holidays

Fall Holidays 2011

So this year I didn’t really get pumped for Halloween at all, I’m having a tough time feeling autumnal in general.  I do admit: I’m starting to get pumped for Christmas.  (But that’s no surprise, I’m a Christmas fanatic! I wish it was Christmas all year long).  In an effort to go through the seasons chronologically and not just jump into Christmas-mode, I’m kinda squeezing out some participation for fall festivities.   Fake it till you make it, right?

Look, I made a festive workout log for the month of November:

nice!

I usually get crazy excited for Halloween.  This year, I hardly cared about it at all.  We didn’t dress up or go to any parties (and I’ve been saying for years I’m gonna go as Naughty DMV Employee or Naughty Cafeteria Worker, so it’s not for lack of costume ideas).  I made some Halloween-y cupcakes and I put them on a cute haunted house cupcake stand.

scary sweets

the scariest part is the calories!

Duggs and I did go to PCC”s “Haunted Lagoon” because our friends, the Tanners, invited us.  We also went to their house on actual Halloween night to pass out candy.   I’m glad that they helped force us into doing something and getting into the spirit just a bit.  They’re so much fun to hang out with anyways!

here's our group at haunted lagoon, waiting to go into the dinner buffet

me and duggs at haunted lagoon

me, a spooky monster, and ashley!

jj (dressed in tie dye) and bailey (in her adorable halloween sweater) hanging out while we handed out candy!

I think there’s a few factors.  I grew up in Florida, and while it’s not a place really known for it’s dynamic seasons, the four different seasons do exist.  Hawaii on the other hand… Now Hawaii is literally the land of eternal summer.

i snapped this photo at haunted lagoon... gorgeous, but not what you think of when you imagine "autumn" or "halloween"

It’s hard to get into fall without sweaters or leaves or anything fall-related other than the names of the months.

But, I’m trying.

I have put out a couple fall-themed decor items.  The kitchen looks seasonal.  So that’s nice.

our fall hand towels

seasonal pot holders

festive table settings

lovely!

And I am looking forward to Thanksgiving.  I LOVE Thanksgiving, it’s such a nice holiday.  No presents or stress, no madness.  Just people eating a dinner of epic proportions (love love love turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie and the cranberry sauce out of the can that still has the can lines) and being thankful.  I love that part.  Every year my mom used to make us say three things we were thankful for.

It was cheesy, but really nice.  I’m totes gonna make my kids do that one day.

But food aside, I really love Thanksgiving.  It’s meaning, the traditions, how it’s something that brings Americans together.  I don’t care if it’s 90 degrees and sunny, I’ll totally get into the spirit of Turkey Day.

operation christmas child: cute crafts that bring big blessings, you can help too!

Operation Christmas Child

I’ve totally found the most perfect charitable project for my skill set: Operation Christmas Child!  The important part is that it’s an awesome project, delivering gifts to children in serious need.  The fun part is that I get to make care packs, and not just regular care packs, Christmas care packs!  How perfectly rad is that?!?!

And there’s more… you can help me! 

christmas care packs for an amazing cause

Samaritan’s Purse is a world-wide ministry that brings food, medicine, clothes, vocational education, supplies, and love to the world’s most vulnerable populations.  Operation Christmas Child (OCC) is a project that delivers hand-packed boxes of small toys, candy, clothes, toiletries, personal letters, and The Gospel to children in 130 different countries.

My church, Hope Chapel Kaneohe Bay (HCKB), is participating in OCC this year with a pledge of 3,000 boxes!  National collection week is later this month, and our boxes are due by November 20.  (Boxes are actually collected year-round at Samaritan’s Purse HQ, but HCKB’s 2011 drive has a hard deadline).

the OCC pod at church, handing out empty shoe boxes and then collecting the full care packs

so much empty space that needs to be filled with OCC boxes - this whole pod needs to be packed!

This video moved me to tears when they played it during our Sunday service a couple weeks ago: 

So how can you help?  My church is shy of their goal.  We haven’t turned in 3,000 boxes yet.  Duggs and I made two, and while we wish we could make a million boxes, we have financial limitations of our own.  Here’s where I’m asking people for help:  if you would like to fund a box and send me some cash money, I’ll do all the legwork and handicrafting! I’ll shop, decorate, pack and pray over a box that will have your name, contact info and any personal touches you’d like me to include (if you want I can put pics of you in there, we have a photo printer, and if you give contact info some children will write back as pen pals).

It’s up to you how much you’d like to spend per box, and you can pick if you’d like it to be for a boy or a girl, and what age group.

you decide!

Samaritan’s Purse does ask that $7 be included with every box to help cover the shipping and handling, so please keep that donation in mind as well.

If you’d like to just donate directly to the organization, you can always just do that.  Go to http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/occ/ and you can give money online to help kids get boxes that way.

I know there are so many charitable organizations to work with, and there are so many projects this time of year.  I know that so many of you are tapped out and pulled in many directions.  Please don’t feel like I’m panhandling… I’m just putting the offer out there: if you’d like to fund a box, I’d love to put it together for you.   Matthew and I had such a great time making our boxes this past weekend, we’d be honored to keep it going.  Something about OCC has seriously touched my heart and I just feel so compelled to do as much as I can.  If even just one more child gets a box, that’s a great thing to me.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve picked some kind of service project to do at the holidays. It used to be because my Mom made me… but the tradition stuck and I’ve kept it up as an adult, happily!  Since being married, my hubs has gladly jumped on board (thank you Duggs, for sharing your hard-earned money with those less fortunate than us). This year, making the boxes and having such a hand in the actual gift the kids will get, felt so special to me.

I love how personal OCC is.  I like actually selecting the items, the possibility of being pen-pals, that every single box will be unique.  OCC is specialized, it’s different, and I really know and believe in my heart that these boxes will have a great impact on the children who receive them.  Based on the religious nature of the project, I know it’s not for everyone.

I’m so pumped to work on the boxes, to give these kids a smile, and to offer them the hope and peace that is the love of God.   In the darkest of places, God’s Light is needed the most!

….

Check out the boxes we already made: 

i busted out the glitter glue, of course!

our boxes are going to mongolia, so i looked up how to write "merry christmas and happy new year" in mongolian cyrillic!

tie dye was included!

all the goodies we packed on in

costume jewelry!

we wrote personal little notes and included pics of our lil fam

packing it all in there was no easy feat. but i mean, i am a care pack expert.

i used every inch of space i had

As always, thanks for reading and looking at my photos.  If you are interested in funding a box, we have just less than two weeks to get it done!  Email me: happyhippierose@gmail.com or just comment here.  THANK YOU!!

my 2011 awesome easter!

I had such a fun Easter this year, full of egg dying, face painting, bouncehousing, sunrises and surprises.  It wasn’t just one day, but almost the whole month of April.  And since I feel that Easter is by far the best candy holiday (Easter candy >Halloween), I wasn’t complaining about it being drawn out a little this year.

(Think about it, Robin Eggs, jellybeans, peeps!!! Easter has such good candy.  It’s the best.  And prettiest.   Christmas has the best decorations, but Easter colors are so sweet.  I love pastels so much).

The Easter Fun Fair at Hope Chapel

My “Easter” started a few weeks ago when my church had it’s Easter Fun Fair.  I volunteered to help set-up the Fair and to paint faces all day.  The event was a huge success, and a really good way to get me all in the Easter mood.

I wanted to do a whole blog post about the Fun Fair… but since I was at the face painting booth the whole time, my perspective was pretty limited. Therefore, I just decided to include it with my Easter Post.

I got the Fair a few hours before it started tio help decorate and set up.  A bunch of us were there, and I had so much fun being giddy and silly with everyone as we were turning the church into an Easter Fun zone.

all bright n early, ready to help set up

yeah, face painting (the booth i worked at all day) was located right by the crafts and the shave ice. score!!

at one point during the pre-fair set up, i hitched a ride on a golf cart and i was quite unruly.

The egg hunt was inside the church, and the theme was “under the sea.”   The entire sanctuary was converted to the ocean floor through the work of some amazing volunteers.  They hand-crafted all kinds of elements to make the look complete.  Fish, seaweed, a giant whale – it was all there.   Timo let Joy and I sneak in and get a look before the hunting kids were able to wreak havoc on the space.

See all those hoops and what-not on the floor?  That’s all part of the egg hunt for the kids.   An entire obstacle course was set up for the kids to have to crawl and jump through, so cute and fun!

i stole this pic from joy's fb album: me, cardboard ariel, and joy - fun!

does anything about this photo surprise you? (joy took this one too!)

Then of course there’s my mad face painting skills, haha.  I tried my best!  Face painting with real paints and brushes is pretty hard, so I kept it pretty simple with the designs.   The kids seemed happy though, and that’s the important part.

Here’s the best part of the Easter Fun Fair: WAFFLE DOGS!  Do you even know what a waffle dog is?  It’s a hot dog who lives in a waffle.  It’s so delish.  These guys come out and set up a booth and they have these giant waffle irons and they make the waffle dogs fresh to order.  I had one and it was awesome!

mmm... the waffle dog irons. the smell was awesome.

What better way to celebrate a day of hard work painting faces?  Shave ice!

me with bow, after a day of facepainting awesomeness!

Dying Eggs with Friends

On Good Friday, Carly, Sydney and I went up to the army post on island to hang out with our friends The Colemans; we ate pizza,  dyes eggs with Matthew and Jason, and had a really awesome afternoon.  There may have also been some bouncehouse action involved! The lil guys are so cute and hilarious, we had a blast.

The Colemans doggysat JJ for me when I went home in March, and the boys love JayJers, so I took the pooch with me to say hi.  There was so much fun stuff going on at once, it was such an awesome day!

oooh, pretty dye colors!

curious??

carmela and sydney, dying eggs

those little wire things you're supposed to dip the eggs with are for chumps. why bother with them when you have hands?!?!

matthew getting some assistance from auntie carly, who wore her rad earth day shirt on actual earth day. love!

so bright and purty!!

we got the royal treatment - we got to play in the castle bouncehouse, with the hose attached to make the slide a water slide (probably a pretty inappropriate activity for earth day, but a super fun activity nonetheless)

my lil pooch was going nuts while i was in the bounce house, he kept running around trying to figure out where i went

it's kinda hard to tell through the mesh - but that's me, upside down on the waterslide. i LOVE this bouncehouse. it's the most fun thing ever. i wish i had one of my own!

matthew's photoshoot with the pooch- so much cuteness!

of course jason wanted to do whatever matthew was doing, so they asked to both have their photo taken with jj. aww, i love how much they love my doggie! he gets so much sweet attention from these boys, it's great!

all tuckered out on the way home

Easter Sunday

The Protestant Church on Base was advertising all over the place about doing a sunrise service.  The bleachers were set up facing Ft. Hase Beach, the beach barely two blocks from my house.  Carly and I love to watch the sunrise, so we decided to go check it out!

A couple minutes before 6:00am, as we were just sitting down

a hula ministry that blessed us all with a really awesome performance. they were super professional and talented!

the gorgeous sun rise. just amazing.

me y carlita at the end of the service in the morning sunshine!

After the sunrise service on base, we both went back home to chill out and get ready for Hope Chapel’s 10:00am service.  Yeah, we were so pumped for Easter, we were going to church services back-to-back!   I mean, I do joke about candy and eggs – but of course I know that He’s the reason for the season.  And He is Risen!  Easter is such a happy, magnanimous time.

self-portrait of my awesome big white happy. i was so happy to go with such a southern motif for my easter outfit this year. just wait till you see the dress though (lol)

Hope Chapel put out this awesome spread of food.  It was a welcome table, for new or visiting people who were there for Easter service.  It’s really cool that they did a lot of special things to make new church goers feel welcome.  Easter is always the highest-attended service all year long, Christmas is second place.  Instead of making Easter-only church goers feel awkward and judged, it’s cool the HCKB is all open arms about it.  Obviously the desire is to encourage Easter attendees to come back and join the church – but more importantly is feeling that even if Easter is the only time you ever come to church, you are welcome and we’re glad to have you, as you are.

the welcome table, chock full of awesome treats!

trevor getting ready to lead worship

the easter bunny didn't bring our husbands home. the usmc will bring them home soon though! from left to right: lauren, sydney, carly, and me!

me prancing in my lawn, showing off my purty dress! i found it at ross - check out the bedazzled butterfly. i almost didn't buy it because of the butterfly... but i'm so glad i did. it kinda grew on me!

i'm such an easter ham

oh my, the hat is my most favorite part!

happy easter y'all

 Surprise Announcement! 

I started a small tie dye business a couple weeks ago, and on Easter I decided to announce my new line of tie dye: “i52.”  Named after Isaiah 52, that reads, “clothes yourself in your beautiful garments!” (NASB).  Tie dye is beautiful garments, at least I think it is!

Here are a few items from the i52 line.  If you’re interested in finding out about the i52 line, email me at happyhippierose@gmail.com – or my facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/happyhippierose

happy st. patty’s day to my deployed husband! (CARE PACK)

To my Matthew, HAPPY SAINT PATTY’S DAY!!  I love you so much, I miss you, and I can’t wait ’till we can have some green beers together and celebrate united, as a family.

My husband is Irish-American and has to miss one of his favorite holidays while he’s deployed in Afghanistan.   So y’all know I had to do my damnedest to package up a box o’ irish cheer.  In the spirit of going totally nuts with my decorative care packs, I went all out with a St. Patty’s Day box for him.  Check it out and enjoy!

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He called me Tuesday night (the 15th), and said he had just received it (I mailed it out a few weeks ago) – and he was so excited!  There was some shiny clover garland I threw in there amongst all his treats, and he said he put it up in his hooch to have some St. Patty’s cheer up in there.  Aww, yay!  Decorations in the tent!

I wrote my own limericks as part of the theme and decor.  Personally, I think they’re hilarious. But they’re bawdy  – and I warn you now, if you’re easily offended, don’t keep reading.   They’re rated at least PG-13.

If you want to read them, just scroll on down!

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the limericks:

There was a nice chap named Duggan,
His arms would tire from all his tuggin’
Then he met a sweet Rose
And he married her so
Now his arms rest while she’s suckin’ !!

There is a sweet pooch named Jay,
He gives kisses and snuggles all day,
He’s mild and meek
His favorite color is pink,
Turns out our boy dog is gay!

i’m the care pack queen

There’s at least one aspect of deployments both my hubs and I sure do love: CARE PACKS!

I kinda go nuts.  But they make Matthew smile, and they keep me busy.  I love coming up with cute or silly ways to send him some love. I basically just scrap book the inside of flat rate boxes, and then stuff them with whatever goodies, treats, or necessities he’s asked for.

Here’s a run down of the care packs I’ve made so far this deployment.

Thanksgiving 2010 – the little acorn cards say “I’m thankful for…” and then I filled in the blanks with messages.

Then I made two different Christmas care packs.  The first theme was, “I’ll Have a Blue Christmas Without You,” and then the second was just a red and green glittery fun mess.

After the holidays I made a silly, brightly colored (obnoxious) “I’m crazy for you” care pack.  The photos don’t do the brightness justice, it was downright painful looking at that neon cluster.  I made some handmade Valentine’s and included them in the box, but I didn’t do a whole box just for V-day.

 

I still have half a deployment to go… so as I crank out more, I’ll be sure to post pics. I have some pretty good ideas up my sleeve that I cannot wait to execute!