on the needles

Friday, February 27, 2009

Aww Cripes!

Spoke too soon. Kid number 2 just yacked.

This is the kid that can never tell that the puke is on the way until it's actually there. So I am expecting a "clean up intensive" experience.

I'm going to have a FUN weekend.


Meet Nyslin

Nyslin's photo from 2007 when I began to sponsor her. I couldn't resist that toothless grin!

Little Nyslin is another of my sponsor kids currently featured over at Aura's House. Nyslin is seven and a half and lives in Guatemala.

Here she is outside of her house:

Nyslin is the little girl in the brown dress on the left. Her mother is in the back holding baby Carlos. Miriam is her older sister and Marvin is the little boy in the middle. Of Nyslin's siblings, only Marvin has a sponsor. There is also a new baby boy named Angel that was born after this photo was taken.

Nyslin is just full of sunshine. She doesn't write her own letters to me yet. Usually a relative writes them for her. But she always ends her letters with a "strong hug and many kisses". She addresses me as her "dear Godmother". Nyslin is a typical little girl who loves dolls and playing with her friends.

Nyslin and her family outside of their home in Guatemala. A typical huge Nyslin smile!

Nyslin's family gets by on only about $115 dollars a month. Her father Carlos is a daily laborer which means that his income is probably inconsistent. Their family home has one bedroom and a kitchen where they cook over an open fire. They are lucky in that their home is constructed of concrete and has a concrete floor. The roof is of corrugated metal. They also have running water and a toilet - something that many of my sponsor kids don't have.

Nyslin 11-08
Nyslin with some photos and postcards that we sent her last year.

It's obvious though that Nyslin doesn't have much in the way of personal possessions. She is almost always wearing her brown dress in the pictures I have of her.

Nyslin 11-08

Nyslin really enjoyed getting the postcards of animals that we sent her and a Spanish language book about animal that I found.

The next two photos are of Nyslin on her birthday last year with the things that we sent her. It's obvious that the clothes are way too big for her. (Drat! But at least her older sister will wear them and then Nyslin will get them as hand me downs later on.) I had no idea how tiny Nyslin is until I saw these photos. It's so cute how they sat her on the table like a little doll!

The teddy bear we sent is almost as big as Nyslin herself!

Nyslin's Income Project is for her mother Vicenta, to raise chickens. She has some experience with this in the past so she thinks that she can make a success of it. It will also enable her to work in the home and not have to leave her children unattended.

Another bright smile from my little Nyslin.

And now an update on the project totals from Aura's House!

Ana's Project: $456/2770
Nyslin's Project: $135/550
Zoila's Project: $60/824
Joey's Project: $117/723
Lesly's Project: $75/393

All of the totals have gone up this week! Thank you!!!!!

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A Wee Bit of Complaining...

I'm feeling like an exhausted - but happy survivor today.

The past three weeks have been like this:

1. Little One has the flu. Some puking. Lots of high fever. Many days home from school. I get little sleep.

2. As soon as the Little One gets better my Mom has her heart attack. I get little sleep from worrying.

3. As soon as Mom gets out of the hospital the Little One gets a stomach bug. This time much puking and only a little fever. Lots of days home from school. I get little sleep.

Today has been good because I slept pretty much the whole day. Little One had a good day back at school. So I am happy. :)

The only problem is my Mom. (Thanks to everyone who expressed concern or sympathy - I appreciate it!) But I just don't know what to do with this woman.

She had a heart attack and about 5 days later I called up to check on her and found out that she was at her new house supervising the movers unloading the furniture! WTF?! Seriously - who the hell has a heart attack and then moves house 5 days later? Her excuse was that the doctor said she can do normal activity as long as she avoids physical strain. In my opinion moving house is not a normal activity for anyone - ever. Moving house is stressful. Very stressful when you are a perfectionist like my Mom.

So I called my step-dad and bitched him out for allowing my Mom to be doing this. What the hell is the use of him being out there to babysit her if he can't make her take care?

I lost my mind (as politely as I could without beating around the bush) and I left it at that. I obviously can't control what my Mom does. But at least I voiced my opinion.

So to some extent I have mentally washed my hands of it. What else can I do? Does anyone else have parents that are this stubborn?


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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Meet Ana

Meet Ana!

I know that my regular blog readers have already been introduced to Ana, one of my sponsor children from Ecuador. But I thought I would post little "features" on each of the children (Ana, Nyslin, Joey, Zoila and Lesly) who I am raising funds for at Aura's House. I have lots of pictures you haven't yet seen! :)

Ana's Income Generating Project is the largest one on Aura's House right now. We are trying to raise funds so that her father Luis (who is disabled) can work from home. Luis has skills as an electrician so the money raised will be used to set up an in home workshop where he will be able to repair small electronics.

Ana - in the pink top - stands outside her home in Ecuador with her siblings Jennifer (13), Adriana (7) and Daniel (5). Adriana still needs a sponsor.

One of the key elements that we are raising funds for is a special chair for Ana's father. This chair will accommodate his handicap and make it possible for him to sit comfortably while working. Having a way to support his family will be a huge self-esteem booster for Luis. We estimate that his work will be able to double the family income.

Ana with her siblings and her father Luis.

Ana's family currently has about $100 a month on which to live. Her mother works as a maid so she has to spend long hours away from home. She is the only wage earner in the family.

Ana looks like this photo caught her by surprise! :)

Ana is truly like a daughter to me. I have high hopes for her future. She is so smart and works so hard at her studies! Recently Ana was rewarded for her good grades - she was chosen to be the standard bearer for her school at a festival. It's clear that Ana is well aware that a good education is her best pathway to a brighter future. I do all I can to encourage her to dream big and work towards her goals.

Doesn't Ana have just the brightest smile?

I am so thrilled that Ana's project has launched at Aura's House! I often think about the day when she will receive word that the money has been raised. She doesn't even know that it is happening now! What a great surprise it will be for her whole family. I know how thankful she will be and how excited.

I want to say a huge huge thank you to anyone who has donated to any of the projects!

Here is an update on the fund raising progress (current funds first and goal funds second):

Ana's Project: $396/$2770
Nyslin' Project: $115/550
Zoila's Project: $15/824
Joey's Project: $97/723
Lesly's Project: $55/393

I also wanted to mention that the totals are updated about once a week. So if you do donate and don't see your donation reflected right away - don't worry! Just check back in at Aura's House in a few days or right here and you will see the numbers go up. :)


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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Catching Up & Finally an Announcement!

Oy. We've been having a rough time at Chez Needles.

The bad news is that my Mom had a heart attack.

The good news is that she is out of the hospital & only requires medication (so far) in order to deal with the problem. The doctors say that the radiation she had when she went through her first round of breast cancer probably damaged that section of her heart and made it more vulnerable. Luckily they think whatever further damage she suffered during the heart attack may be able to heal. But as of now she is pretty weak and has lots of medicines she will have to take.

It really sucks to be so far away & not to be able to help - even though she does have other family members there. All I can do from here is try to stay positive and help my Mom feel more cheerful.

I don't really like to discuss depressing health stuff on the blog so I'll just leave it at that. My Mom has really had more than her fair share of trouble this past year!

Better news is that I have been doing tons of crafting. I've finished my nine patch quilt top & now just have to decide on the borders. I'm halfway through a second needlepoint piece (even though I still owe you guys pictures of the first one!). And *gasp* I actually picked up my knitting again! I haven't knit in probably 8 months or so. Luckily I haven't forgotten how. :) So I am nearing the finish of the mitred square blanket that I worked on last year.

I'll try to get photos ASAP so my blog posts won't be so boring. :)

And now....

The best news I have is that I finally have a moment to tell you all about the "project" I've been working on and semi-mysteriously mentioning off and on. :)

A charity group called Aura's House has agreed to raise funds to help five of my sponsor children. Aura's House has launched fund raising for Income Generating Projects for four of my sponsor children, specifically Ana in Ecuador, Nyslin in Guatemala, Zoila in Honduras, and Joey in the Philippines. The fifth project is to help Lesly in Guatemala with some special needs. Aura's House website will tell you all about each of the projects and has lots of pictures of each child and their background story. There's even a picture of me (unfortunately taken before my weight loss - 27 pounds now!) and some words about my sponsorship. You can also read more about each of the kids by searching their names in the tags on my blog.

Please go visit the website and check it out!

Aura's House has been absolutely wonderful to work with and I am so grateful to them for agreeing to help me! They have been doing this work for several years now and have helped lots of needy children in many ways. You can read all about their past projects and the history of Aura's House on their site. If you donate you will get a letter from Children International acknowledging your donation (at least I did) and it is tax deductible.

I'd like to give some random gifts/prizes as a thank you to my blog friends for donating so if you do - please leave a comment and let me know! Every little bit will help and maybe you'll get something yarny as well. :)

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Plans for Valentine's Day?

Just a bit of Valentine's Day advice from Luca the Love Doctor.

If you want to get anywhere with the ladies Luca suggests that you dress up and do your best to look spiffy.

Be on your best behavior and maybe your sweetie will let you give her a kiss!

Libby tried to follow Luca's tips...She got dressed up.

And now she's plumb tuckered out.

Happy Valentine's Day all. :)

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Sunday, February 08, 2009

Zoila - New Yearly Photo

I also recently got an updated photo of my other child in Honduras - Zoila.

Here she is last year age 10.

And now this year at age 11. Her birthday is also in December.

She looks a little taller but not as much difference in her photos as there was in Flor's.

Zoila has six siblings, just like Flor. Here she is at home with her family. Zoila is in the pink shirt in these photos.

The little girl in the yellow skirt is Zoila's sister Glendy. Zoila and Glendy are the only two sponsored children in her family. All of her other siblings are boys. Children International makes a point of signing up more female children than males. This helps to address the imbalance that usually exists in the educational and other opportunities for boys vs. girls. Children International tries to encourage families to seek education for girls and to keep them in school rather than marrying early.

Zoila's family has about $137 a month. Her father works as a day laborer which means they don't always have a steady income. Their home is made of concrete with a concrete floor and a tin roof. There is one bedroom and a kitchen. They are lucky to have a wood burning stove.

Unfortunately they have to use a community well for water and one of Zoila's chores is to carry the water every day. They do have wooden beds - many of my sponsored children sleep on the floor. Last year when we sent Zoila her special gift she bought a mattress for her bed. I'm told that is a typical first purchase for many families when they receive a special gift. I wonder what she will get this year! I'll post the photos as soon as I get them.

Zoila does go to school but she doesn't write her own letters to me yet. I'm hoping that she will soon! :)

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Saturday, February 07, 2009

Flor - New Yearly Photo

I love getting the new yearly photos of my sponsor kids. Even though I usually have had several photos in between, it is comparing the yearly photos that really helps me see just how much the kids have grown and changed. I recently got new yearly photos for both of my kids in Honduras.

This is Flor last year at age 8. I love her slightly chubby cheeks, big eyes and shy smile.

This is Flor now at age 9.

She's in what I call a stretching out phase. She is getting taller and losing some of her roundness. I don't know why she didn't smile for this picture - she usually does. I think she is such a pretty little thing.

Flor loves going to school and she helps her Mom at home - sweeping and doing dishes. She has six siblings and her family gets by on around $158 a month. That is actually alot of money compared to most of my sponsor kids!

These are the photos I have of Flor at home with her family.

Their home has adobe walls (mud brick), a dirt floor and a corrugated tin roof.

You can see Flor (in pigtails) and her little five year old sister Mirsa in this picture. Mirsa doesn't have a sponsor as far as I know. Two of Flor's older siblings do though and one has graduated from the Children International program. Her family is of a typical size for Honduras.

It looks like all of Flor's brothers were not home when these photos were taken. They were probably off working.

Flor's home does have running water - which is lucky! But they use an earthen stove for cooking and a latrine for their sanitary facilities.

I'm so glad that Flor is going to school. I'm hoping that she will soon be able to write her own letters to me but for now it is usually her mother or one of her brothers who help her to write.

Flor turned 9 in December and we sent her a special gift. I'll post the photos we received as soon as I get the chance.

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