Attention homeschoolers and book lovers: your dream bookseller has arrived! I just saw this company Better World Books featured on CNN. They sell all sorts of books, including tons of text books. Their books are new or used. Their used selection is, for the most part, dirt cheap. I was about to pay $70 for a copy of the 5th edition of Astronomy Today, a college Astronomy textbook for my daughter Ashley. After seeing the CNN story, I went to Better World Books, searched and found a copy of the same book in good used condition for (get this) $10.98. In addition to great deals, they offer free shipping (yes, free shipping on books!) and are committed to eco-friendly business practices. Any books removed from their stock are recycled, instead of going into landfills. You can learn more, and SAVE TONS, at their website.
Ever since she started talking, Aspen has had some very cute ways of expressing herself verbally. Over the last two years I've put together a couple of posts featuring some of her more memorable comments, descriptions and phrases. Lately she's come out with some really charming ones, so I decided it was about time to share some more of them.
Ashc'mon My daughter Ashley is Aspen's favorite playmate, because she'll play with her for long periods of time and is a great sport about playing pretty much whatever silly games Aspen can come up with. "Ash c'mon!" is a phrase that is frequently heard (sometimes every five minutes) when they're playing together. Just tonight Ashley commented that Ashc'mon should just be her name, instead of Ashley.
Keeeeeeeeeeleeee! Instead of just addressing her biggest sister by her name, Kelly...Aspen adds a good deal of emotion to it, stretching the 5-letter, one syllable name out into eternity and punctuating it with either intense adoration or annoyance, depending on the circumstances.
Let's play chest! Aspen is learning to play chess. For a four-year-old, she's pretty good at it. She can identify all the pieces by their proper names and tell you how they can move, but to save our lives we can't convince her that the game is called chess, not chest.
Last but not least is a phrase she came out with just tonight that had me and Ashley laughing hysterically. A little background. We have two cats. Normally they are the laziest animals ever to walk the Earth, but every now and then they get hyper and start running around the house chasing each other like they're possessed. When they come barreling down the stairs together it sounds like a pack of elephants. Tonight while we were downstairs my oldest came running down the stairs in a similar manner, and Aspen said to her, "Oh it's you Kel. I thought it was a rush of cats!"
This is a wonderful meme from The Simple Woman. If you haven't visited Peggy's site I highly recommend it. Her philosophy is just what the stressed-out mama needs to slow down and appreciate the simple things.
For today....March 23, 2009
Outside My Window...sunny and warm, a beautiful Spring day.
I am thinking....I can't wait for every day to be warm.
From the learning rooms....Biology is moving along quite well and Ashley is doing in independently. She's enjoying it and learning a lot. I have to get going on her Spring testing, required by our state every school year. Searching for a good Astronomy book for our summer curriculum.
I am thankful for...moments of peace and quite, days when we can open the windows, friends who just listen and don't judge or preach.
From the kitchen...trying to decide what to make for supper, craving something light like grilled chicken salad.
I am wearing...maternity jeans, t-shirt, socks and shoes.
I am creating...a baby! As of this past Saturday I am twenty-one weeks. I am also working on completing a scrapbook of Aspen's first year.
I am going...nowhere today, yay!
I am reading... the latest issue of Creating Keepsakes Magazine.
I am hoping...my current auctions on eBay will do well and give us a little more cash for things we need to take care of.
I am hearing...the TV, Aspen is watching Scooby Doo.
Around the house...there is a sink full of dishes and a basket of clean laundry that need attention, but getting out in the sunshine was a higher priority for us today.
One of my favorite things...is watching my daughter Ashley play with Aspen. She is such a kind and giving big sister.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Grocery shopping, lots of time for outdoor play, some scrapbooking.
It was a beautiful Spring day here in the Carolinas today and Aspen and I decided this would be the day to start our gardening for the season. After a trip to the garden shop at Ace Hardware to pick up potting soil and some other goodies, we spent the afternoon sowing seeds for our container garden. We are hoping to grow some for ourselves and maybe even sell some of the seedlings for a little pocket money in a few weeks. We planted: radishes, cucumbers, sugar baby watermelons, regular watermelons, broccoli, lima beans, sweet corn, purple coneflowers, pumpkins, squash, onions, carrots, strawberries, green peppers, lupine flowers and purple coneflowers.
It's been quite a week this week. Last Friday, as we left our ultrasound appointment, we got a check engine light on the dash of our van. We drove over to the shop where we get oil changes and had them do a diagnostic on it. The prognosis? Internal computer failure in the main computer. The solution? Replace it. So, we did without our car all week long until Thursday when we took it to a Chrysler dealership to be fixed. They also gave us a long list of other needed repairs. The most urgent was to replace the belt that runs the alternator and other vital parts. Without it we're dead in the water, and it was severely cracked. We had them do that too. $950 later we left there, back on the road and $1000 deeper in debt to my hubby's parents, from whom we're buying this van to begin with. I am grateful though, because it's not too many people who would borrow that much money to help us.
The car repair issue had the same effect most emergencies involving the need for money have. DH and I had a huge money fight. It's always the same story. He uses these situations as a weapon to try and force me into getting a job, and I always counter with our need for an emergency savings fund that he always poo poos on. We go around and around until we're tired and our feelings are hurt and then there is about a day of silence and then the issue goes away until it comes up again. Come to think of it, that is the way most issues we have a conflict about end up.
Other than that it's been an uneventful week. I find that I have been sleeping much better and that is a blessing. My sickies have subsided again, probably due to eating better again. I find that I cannot eat anything greasy or sugary and I can't drink anything carbonated or with high fructose corn syrup in it. This is good as it's helped me kick my soda habit. I've actually lost a few pounds in the last couple weeks. The baby is right on track for her growth so that means the weight is coming off me, which is great! Yay!
My quest for bargain baby gear continues. We had planned to spend a good chunk of our $1200 state tax refund on baby furniture and gear, but now that we have the car debt, that is just about cut in half. We have agreed to pay the IL's $500 out of the state check and then add $50 a check to our car payments. So, buying anything brand new is pretty much down the tubes. The only thing we plan to buy new is the car seat and a crib, but we're open to a second hand crib if we find one we like. I'm a little disappointed but I do love bargain hunting so that will be a fun challenge. So far I've save close to $300 on a few items. I have a buddy from my online pregnancy group who will be coming to Charlotte in a few weeks and she has a bunch of stuff for us, so I am excited about that. If any one you ladies have baby gear you need to get rid of, drop me an email!
Little miss Abby is very active and I am really enjoying feeling her movement. So is the rest of the family, including Aspen. She thinks it's really neat to feel the kicks and today she actually saw a kick and was excited. I'm still practicing my relaxation and so forth for labor, but I have relaxed my expectations as far as getting any support for the natural birth I want. My hubby has made it clear that he's not pro on that idea, so I am just continuing to prepare and when the time comes I will do the best I can and do what I feel like is best for me and Abby.
Not much else to tell really. I'm still doing some organizing and I've been doing lots of scrapbooking. Aspen's baby album is nearly done and I'll be starting Abby's as soon as it's finished. I'll try to post some pages here when I can.
It's a good thing I'm pregnant again, or I might be feeling a bit melancholy today. Four years ago today my sweet little Aspen came into the world. I thought that she would be my last baby, so I drank in all of the love and sweetness that was her as much as I could. In her first few weeks of life, I rarely put her down. Entire days passed blissfully away as I cuddled her and marveled over the tiniest details of her small form. I played with little fingers, kissed tiny toes, and stroked her round, delicate face for hours at a time, unaware of the rest of the world around me. I wouldn't trade those days for anything in the world. These days, I still love to study her while she sleeps and observe her when she doesn't think I am looking, and I am no less in awe of her beauty and her loving, gentle, intelligent personality. She is four years old today, and although she is still very attached to me, she is getting more and more independent each day. I am still her best buddy and the one she runs to first for everything, but she's quickly growing into her own person. She has very distinct likes and dislikes and her own ideas about everything. After her birthday party today she cuddled up in my lap in the rocking chair and I held her and reflected on how much she's grown and just how obvious it is that she is no longer a baby. Watching my babies grow into little girls and then big girls and even young women has been a bittersweet journey every time. Each milestone brings joy and each birthday is a celebration, but each also represents my girls becoming a little less mine, and a little more their own. There are always special moments though, gifts that will stay with me forever, and today we had one of those. Aspen and I were outside enjoying the Spring weather and she was watching the clouds. Out of the blue she says to me, "Mommy did you know that clouds travel around and pick up love and joy from God and rain it down on people?"
No, sweetie I didn't know that, but I do know that that is what you have done for me. Happy Birthday, my little angel.
I am really touched by those of you who left comments or dropped me emails about my blog and how much you enjoy it. I have been really blessed and uplifted by your words today! In light of all of that, I'm planning to continue to try to post about once a week.
That being said, I want to start off by asking all of you to take a minute to participate in the Be Heard Project. President Obama is planning to rescind the Conscience Clause. The Conscience Clause was implemented by former President George W. Bush to give physicians and nurses the choice to act according to their conscience — to not participate in abortion procedures if it conflicts with their personal convictions. If President Obama makes this damaging move, if he reverses the Conscience Clause, pro-life doctors and nurses will be forced into performing abortion procedures, despite their individual beliefs.
No matter what your stand on abortion, it's not hard to see that this is totally inappropriate. It is a violation of the constitutional rights of Christian and other pro-life doctors and nurses across the country. There are plenty of doctors and staff out there perfectly willing to perform abortions as it is, there is no need to force people into it who have moral, conscious and religious objections.
I signed the petition this morning and I hope all of you will take the time to do so. Obama opened comments for 30 days before he rescinds the act. Please tell him how you feel about this today.
And again, thank you so much to all of you who gave me such a warm and wonderful batch of emails this morning.
With this milestone I want to announce that I will be taking an extended break from blogging, possibly permanently. Since I've cut back my computer time drastically, I've come to see a real need to cut it back even more. There are so many other things that need my attention and it seems things get a little better each time I cut back computer time and refocus on my family.
Those of you who have been my regular readers here are more than welcome to email me anytime. I'd love to keep in touch and will include those of you I've come to know so well when it's time to send out our baby announcements.
In the meantime you will all be in my thoughts and prayers daily. My the Lord bless and keep each and every one of you.
Here we go again. More products we've come to trust may be putting our children at risk, this time for cancer. You can read more about this discovery here and view a list of the products here. The actual report itself is found here.
What I personally find most alarming about this is that we even have what are called "safe levels" of these and other kinds of harmful chemicals. How can there be a safe level of something harmful? Seriously? If it's bad for you, it's bad for you folks. And with this latest group of products, we're looking at daily use of probably more than one of the affected soaps, shampoos, even toothpastes. How can we say it's ok to put a certain amount of formaldehyde in your body every single day? The other disturbing part of this is that a lot of these are products for babies and children that are being marketed as "pure" and "gentle". Nothing gentle about formaldehyde, I promise you that.
I certainly won't be buying any Baby Magic or Johnson and Johnson for little Abby when she's born, and I'll be taking the time to let Congress know how I feel about this issue. I hope you other Moms out there will do the same.
We had our ultrasound today and our new little blessing is a baby girl, girl #4 for us. I guess my hubby and I are girl makers. I am thrilled to be honest. I thought I would be disappointed if it wasn't a boy, because I've had boy vibes for most of the pregnancy, but I'm not. I am delighted to imagine another sweet cuddly baby girl and thrilled to know that she is healthy. She was very active during the scan and moved away from the scanner every chance she got. The technician did manage to get some great shots, including the one here of her little face. As of tomorrow we are halfway through this pregnancy. It seems hard to believe that we've gone 20 weeks already, and I'm looking forward to enjoying the rest of this adventure, my last pregnancy, over the warmth of Spring and Summer and welcoming little Abby Rose into our family at the end of July.
Lately Aspen has been really showing an interest in ballet and anything related to it gets her attention. For her birthday coming up in just a few days I've been thinking about getting her some ballet clothing, something frilly and pink that she could dress up in to dance around and "practice". I've been browsing around a little bit from something she might like and I'm amazed at the variety of things available. Did you know you can order Custom Ballet Slippers? Who knew? Capezio Dance offers these and literally tons of other neat gear for just about any ballerina, from a professional all the way down to an eager beginner like Aspen. I don't think she needs anything custom just yet, but you never know!
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With several birthdays for family and friends coming up throughout March and April, I've been doing a lot of browsing for unique gifts. I love the look of original novelty art pieces and I found some really adorable ones today. Check out these Novelty Lanyards. Are these cute or what? I especially love the peace sign one. At this same website I also found some cute Beaded Lanyards. I especially like the one called Glass Coins. I also like the one called Pink Tiger Strip in their selection of Designer Lanyards.
All of these made me miss making jewelry. The summer right before I was pregnant with Aspen the older girls and I spent lots of long summer days stringing together a variety of beads and making our own designer jewelry. We made necklaces, bracelets, anklets, and even experimented with Sculpy to make our own beads and novelty keychains. Anytime I browse handmade jewelry anywhere it always brings back great memories of that time. Kelly, my oldest is still really into jewelry making and has a huge supply of beads and other supplies that she pulls out from time to time when she's feeling creative.
All this week I have had various topics that I've wanted to blog about, but with my new "less computer time" pledge, I just haven't gotten around to it. This week I've been contemplating such things as my pregnancy and it's progress, the joy of these first few really warm days we've had, family issues, and my most recent round of heavy-duty homesickness.
As of yesterday I am 19 weeks pregnant. Friday is the day we find out the sex of the baby and the following Saturday I officially hit the halfway mark. It seems like the time has gone by both quickly and slowly. I experience this with every pregnancy. It seems like it's gone by quickly when I look back over my progress, but then it still seems like an eternity until the baby will be here. We've been doing some more shopping here and there. We're waiting for our state tax refund to make most of our big purchases, but we have picked up some of the smaller items on sale. Yesterday my hubby graciously drove me all the way over to our old stomping ground so I could shop at my favorite kids consignment stores. I was thrilled to find the stroller I want gently used for $50. Brand new at Babies R Us it's $179. I also got one of those handy Boppy pillows with a slipcover for $8.50, a Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Mobile for $15, and several gender neutral outfits for $2-$3 each. All together I figured out I saved about $200 over new retail prices. The bargain hunter in me is terribly excited.
As far as other pregnancy matters go, my belly has expanded, I've been feeling lots of movement, and my sickness seems to have temporarily returned. I am a bundle of hormones and much more emotional than I've been with any of my other pregnancies. Everything, literally everything, makes me cry. It's getting old fast. I can't wait to feel "normal" again.
I find that I've been sort of hit with a reality check about this pregnancy lately, about what life will really be like once the little bundle of joy arrives. This brings me around to the family issues I mentioned above. As a family we don't always function very well as a team. In fact more often than not a team effort becomes a conflict. This is usually because one party doesn't feel like being a team player and whines in such a way that it makes everyone else angry. Sometimes the offending party is one of my older girls, sometimes the toddler, and sometimes my hubby. I am the only one in the household it seems who does not have the luxury of whining and getting out of responsibilities. When everyone else refuses to do something that needs to be done, it falls to me, and usually it's not something I can really let go. It's always something important. It seems the philosophy of late is, "if I make a big enough pain of myself, they'll just leave me out of it". It's driving me crazy. To her credit, my DD#2 Ashley only pulls this stunt every now and then. She is typically the one I can count on to help me when no one else will. I'd lose my mind if it weren't for her. Anyway, in light of this I've been just quietly doing some reorganizing of our home, altering the way I go through my day and take care of chores, etc to make things easier on myself. My hope is that after the little one comes, I'll still be able to keep up with most everything in those times when I am the only adult in the house.
On other subjects, it has been blessedly warm and beautiful here the past two days: 80 degrees outside, sun shining bright, a cool breeze, beautiful wispy clouds drifting by now and then. There are signs of spring everywhere. Our cherry trees are blooming, bees are flying around, and more. I could not be more thrilled. I love Spring. More and more I am a warm weather person and it seems that each year, the winter is a little bit harder for me to handle. Every winter I seem to get cold more easily and I seem to be less able to function well (both physically and emotionally)on cold, dreary days. I told my hubby, just as I do at the end of every winter now, that we need to move to a tropical climate.
Which brings me around to my last topic, my recent longing for the beach. Not any particular beach really, just the whole beach atmosphere and culture. I grew up in both Wilmington and Virginia Beach so the beach has been a part of my life for most of my life. Ever since we left Virginia for Colorado in 1999, I've had a persistent longing to return to the coast. It's a deep yearning sort of desire, and during certain times of the year it becomes almost more than I can stand. Spring, naturally is one of those times. The warm weather and reawakening of nature makes me literally ache to be at the shore. I still hope to someday return to the coast.
That's about it around here. I'm off to finish up one of the organization projects I mentioned above, get Aspen into the bath and ready for bed, and hopefully, find some time to take it easy and read.
I should have known. Last night we were having one of those rare, peaceful moments in the house. You know the kind I mean, where everyone is content doing their own thing and things are peaceful and quiet? After 20 years of parenting I should have known that it was the calm before a storm.
I was in the dining room working on a scrapbook page and Aspen was in there with me, playing happily with her Play Wonder play kitchen. Some of my regular readers might recall that she got this gorgeous, all wood play set last Christmas and loves it. Anyway, out of the blue she says "Mama, I think I have my finger stuck in this hole."
So I go over and check and lo and behold she does have her left forefinger wedged pretty well into a small hole that a removable piece of the set fits into. The kitchen features a play microwave with a turntable that she can turn, and the turntable comes out. She's had this kitchen for well over a year now and as far as I know has never gotten stuck. And I have to admit, I never noticed this hazard.
It was not a fun ordeal getting her free. Her finger was fine, but was starting to swell a little and so of course I was concerned about circulation, so my thought process was get it out as fast as possible. I woke up hubby, thinking he's so handy he'll just pop it right out. Not so.
Aspen is my hubby's weakness. When my older girls were younger he was always fairly calm, even detached, during emergencies. But when he came out and saw Aspen stuck and crying, he just freaked out. Ice on her finger (to prevent swelling and make it contract) and liquid soap (to lubricate and slide it out) was not enough for him. He went into panic mode, and was determined to get her free at any cost. The cost turned out to be her kitchen. He punched the back of it out (yes punched, with his fist) and took a saw to the shelf in which the offending hole was drilled. If she was upset at first, she was hysterical once he started sawing. However, once he got the shelf out, her finger slipped right out. I think the change in angle, plus our ice and soap efforts all worked together to get her out.
Afterward she was heart-broken that her kitchen was damaged. Of course, it's fixable. My hubby plans to make a new shelf and then he'll have to disassemble parts of it and then put it back together to get it back in. The rest of the kitchen is fine and she can still play with it, so all is not lost.
It was not a fun experience for any of us. I was really mad at my hubby for freaking out so much and scaring her, and barking orders at the rest of us. I can't sit in judgement, much as I'd like to. Fear brings out the worst in him and he is total jelly where Aspen is concerned. It's all over now and all is well, nobody is any worse for the wear. He has promised Aspen he'll fix her kitchen this weekend.
I've tried to find a way to contact the manufacturer for this toy and let them know about this hazard, but I can't find any contact information for them. The company is Play Wonder and this model is, as far as I know, no longer being made. There is a new model now and I don't think it has the turntable thingy. Target sells this brand, so I am considering contacting them instead.
Have you ever had an incident with your kids and stuck fingers? How does your hubby function during emergencies?
Every day now we read in the headlines about big businesses going under. What we don't read about are all the litte businesses that are dying off every day due to the downturn in this economy. Many smaller businesses have found ways to grow in these tough times though. One of those ways is to process credit cards on site, since more and more people are relying on credit these days to help them get by. Of course an expansion like that requires some additional capitol, which can be hard to come by. OnlineCheck.com offers a "Fast Business Loan" unlike traditional bank loans, has less stringent requirements, faster approval, and no closing costs or fees. It works much like a Merchant Cash Advance and can give your busines the boost it needs to keep on going in these rocky financial times.
I posted a few days ago that I've gotten back into scrapbooking. My hubby has been so sweet and surprised me with a tone of new supplies, including a Cricut Expressions machine and seven cartridges to go with it. I also have two more cartridges on the way. We got a great deal on everything we've bought, so it hasn't cost nearly what it seems like it should, by the way.
Needless to say my creativity has really been revved up and I've been scrapping daily. Here are some recent pages I've done. These are all for Aspen's baby book. It's a scrapbook of her first year, and my goal is to finish it before summer, so that I can start on a baby book for our new addition and a few other projects I have in mind.
These aren't the greatest pictures, since the weather here has been kind of crummy. I stole a few minutes of sunlight today, but I didn't take the time to take the pages out of their plastic sleeves or anything. I was in a hurry because it was cold. I can't wait for Spring!! Anyway, enjoy!
Twenty years ago today, I became a mother for the very first time. Today is my oldest daughter Kelly's 20th birthday. I'm kind of in a bit of shock about it. Twenty years is a long time. Thinking back to her baby days and the years when my older two girls were little, it seems like another lifetime entirely. In a way it was I guess. Looking back over her life from a mother's perspective I sometimes wonder if I did anything right parenting her over the years. The mistakes I made seem so obvious to me now, but back then I was so young and clueless. Those around me who should have taken on mentoring and teaching roles thought the best way to counsel was to criticize. But I did (and still do) love her with all my heart and soul. As I watch her struggle with early adulthood, and try to help her get "unstuck" from where she is right now, I worry a lot and pray a lot. I get frustrated a lot, and even angry more often than I'd like to, but I don't love her any less.
A bit of a winter storm descended on us yesterday, dumping about 5-6 inches of snow. Aspen was thrilled since she has been dying to play in some snow and so far we've only gotten some light dustings of it that melted rapidly. So, as woon as we got up this morning she was begging to go out and play in it. Here are a few of the highlighs. You might notice some bubbles in the background of some of the shots, because my hubby thought it would be fun to take the bubble machine outside and turn it on and watch the wind carry them everywhere.