Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Happy Birthday little sister...(I do not even know if you read this!!!)

Birthdays & December traditions...

Today is my little sister's birthday. For the next 3 weeks, I will hear the traditional "I am only 2 years younger than you....." something that started long long ago when the math made sense and she was too young to understand the concept of a calendar year....sometimes over time things simply take on a life on their own. That, I guess is where tradition starts.

Dawna, may your day be all that you hope it will be. I am thankful that you are not only my sister but my friend as well. (We worked hard at getting to that place! It was well worth it!) My life is richer and I am a better person because you are part of it. Take time to celebrate with style, like only you can. Love you.

Growing up, December was always an exciting time in our house.

Birthdays & Christmas both to be celebrated. How many people get that much excitement in one month, toss in New years eve and it all ends with a bang too.

My sister's birthday is today (December 2nd) mine follows in 3 weeks. Growing up it was not uncommon to be woken up by the other jumping on our bed. Now it is simply trying to get a phone call in early enough to actually wake the other up. Something that I failed at this year. (I did think of calling at 1:30 am as I was heading to bed.. but that would just be rude!) So I did the next best thing, left messages on all possible phones, message boards and email. Quantity - making up for early!

Dinner was always the choice of the birthday girl - a tradition we carry out in our house today. In between was a frenzy of birthday parties, with friends and family (several of my cousins have birthdays late in November or December) shopping, hiding and wrapping gifts. (only one year of snooping.... never again - it really is no fun on Christmas morning knowing what is in the special packages) and always the traditional trip downtown to visit Santa at Woodwards. Woodwards had the best window displays EVER! I wish I had photo's of those. The best thing for me having a birthday 2 days before Christmas was that I never recall being at school on my birthday! I always had a holiday for my birthday. Pretty cool if you ask me.

One of the biggies in our house was that the Christmas tree never went up until Christmas Eve. My Mom & Dad's way of keeping everything separate. Think about that for a moment... we put the tree up on Christmas eve, it was always a fresh tree, it was often bought that day too. Now if you have ever visited a Christmas Tree lot on Christmas eve, you will know that the pickings are slim. The best trees have been picked and have likely been decorated and in living rooms for weeks. One of our favorite stories is that one year we went LATE on Christmas Eve to pick our tree, probably around 5 ish, but to a young girl dark meant midnight. I think the guy at the tree lot felt sorry for us, he was probably getting ready to go home and in we walk. Dad, Dawna and I. We looked at every tree that was there, maybe 12, and sticks or twigs were a more accurate description than TREE. WE eventually chose one and when we went to pay for it, the guy said he could not take any money from us and let us take the tree home for free. He probably thought we were poor and could not afford a tree. When the truth was we were just sticking to tradition.

The other thing that my mom was firm about was that Birthday gifts were just that birthday gifts and she never wrapped them in Christmas wrap. Nor did I ever receive a combined gift from a member of my family. I have only EVER received one combined gift.... (that is a story for another day.. lets just say it only happened one time and it was a great gift and that my hubby is a very fast learner!) Birthdays were birthdays and Christmas in our house came 2 sleeps after my birthday. Where in your house you would have had to count way more sleeps if you ever kept track.

Happy Birthday Dawna! And to the rest of you out there, Happy December! Enjoy your day!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Stress thy name is travel...listen to the little voices in your head!!!

I have done a fair bit of traveling, I love it. I love planning, I love the airport, I love the anticipation of a new adventure. However today I was not loving the travel agency location I had been working with.

We are planning a trip! It is something we have talked about for years, but decided 3 weeks before we were to leave that this is the time to do it. A little last minute, but not a problem I am assured from the travel agent. Great, we find a package and booked it and paid for it, and were waiting for the travel documents to arrive. Which should have been this week some time. So today I was going to place a friendly touch base email....... here is how it went from there

4:05 - Send email just asking for an update and when I could come in and pick up my documents.

4:15 - Receive a "bounce message" email is not able to be delivered (strange I know the email address is correct I simply hit reply to one of their earlier emails)

4:15:30 - I tried to phone, and get a " we are sorry the number you have dialed is not in service" My stomach knots. I try a few more times just to confirm I dialed correctly.

4:22 - Teryn and I are in the car heading to the mall where the agency is located... maybe they are having phone issues / Internet issues... I am feeling like I want to vomit. I have one child on the way, driving with friends we are to meet up with them on Saturday when we FLY in!

4:45 - We arrive at the mall.... head up the escalator, I look to my right, and notice that the agency office has no lights on..... I am shaking... this is not good. We walk up to the door and there is a sign that reads " This ______ travel agency location is now closed. Please contact your CC company for any services not provided." Now what?????? My hands are shaking, I am close to tears, thankfully Teryn was with me.... I have to stay strong for her....

4:47 - We are back in the car, with a little plan. I get on the phone and call a few people to pray and head to the other mall where this particular agency has an office. Hoping they will be able to help me.

5:10 - Arrive at the second mall - I say to Teryn... lets see what will happen.. remember our God is bigger than this! Inside I am thinking.. what if this does not work out what are we going to do. Shanna is in the US, with no ticket home (I know I was not quite thinking rationally at this point because Shanna would just end up having a long drive home that was un-planned. She would be happy and safe...) I was feeling ripped right off! A mini pity party was going on in my little head. What would I tell Ashlynn and Teryn.... how would I deal with it! I was a mini mess!

5:12 - I see the agency and breath a small sigh of relief the lights were ON and the doors were open! The agent was busy and on the phone but they were open!

5:20 - I sit down with Nancy and ask her if there is any way she can help me. I explained my dilemma. She smiles and says, oh this is all I have been doing ALL DAY! Poor thing, I can only imagine the frustration she dealt with today. I am so thankful that we booked on the Credit Card and did not pay cash. Nancy was telling me of others who paid cash, and the packages were not booked - yikes! So sad and maddening for those people.....

5:25 - 5:55 Thankfully I had printed off and brought with me the emails I received from the first agency. For the next 1/2 hour Nancy made phone calls, trying to figure out what had happened, and IF (big IF) the package had actually been booked. I sat and prayed, tried to think of a positive outcome, all the while thinking about how we could fix it and salvage the vacation. Pretty stressful...... HOWEVER our Angel Nancy was able to find and confirm that everything was booked, and I now have all the documents in my hot little hands. WHEW! Stress like that is not fun! God truly is bigger than it all and things worked out.... I feel blessed!

The strange thing is last Friday when we dropped Shanna of in Langley with our friends I made a comment about not having the documents in hand and the possibility of something going wrong and Shanna having to remain with them for the remainder of their family vacation..... I should have listened to my gut and followed through, I should have listened to the little voice in my head....
Why is it that we do not listen to the small voice in our head... the niggley feeling that things are just not right? You would think I would learn, it is not like this is the first time....

Should have Could Have.... didn't
But SO VERY GLAD it all worked out.

California here we come.... if you are ready or not (We are!!!)