Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ill Cuddlebugs

OH my little darlings have been at it again, poor chicklets. Yesterday morning Mira had a headache - a rare thing indeed. She napped through lunch. That was quite productive for me actually, up until 1 p.m. when I had to wake her because Sarah had early out. OH was Mira not happy. Usually when we drive by the preschool she wants to know if her teacher is there and can she go. Even if she knows it's not a preschool day.

Not yesterday. We sat at the preschool corner at 1 p.m. waiting for the light to change while she SCREAMED that she didn't want to pick Sarah up, she just wanted to go home and nap. How I avoided a headache I'll never know, though it could have been the giggling. I couldn't help it - they get so out of sorts it's FUNNY, and when you are driving and they are strapped in, there's nothing else you CAN do. I know my mother is probably laughing as she reads this. I was such a little angel... Mira was bubbly and bouncing off the walls by 4 p.m.

So we went to church for dinner. Sarah and Natasha had bell choir practices, Sarah regular choir and Natasha confirmation class. Mira picked at her food and was quite the social butterfly, chatting it up with Bill and Tory and Bill who sat at our table. Sarah picked at her food, didn't even want her cupcake, claimed a headache and lost all her usual sparkle in short order. She tried to go to bells and didn't even last 10 minutes -came back looking like a grey rag doll with big sad eyes. We skipped choir. (Rich retrieved Natasha when she was finished).

This morning Sarah managed to eat 3 pieces of French toast despite a nasty headache and a warning to take it easy. That landed her back on the couch all wrapped up and looking ill whenever Mira jumped on her or the couch. Because that's what little sisters do and because big sisters who are not in school are supposed to play with them. Napping on the couch indeed, harumph! Sarah was quite relieved when I took Mira off to preschool and was 100% by dinnertime. At least this thing is short lived.

However by the time I picked Natasha up from the middleschool this afternoon, she'd had a headache for most of the day and the food service loose meat/sloppy Joe wasn't agreeing with her either. (Bad mommy for not making a Bento today). Having her best friend slap her ice cold hand to her forehead didn't help much and neither did my dragging her to the grocery store where Mira - still obviously a little worn down after being ill and a full afternoon of playing - screamed the whole time because I wouldn't buy her frosting loaded heart cookies. Hey, don't take her side now, we have a cookie jar full of homemade cookies at home, along with a few Christmas Lebkuchen and buckets of frozen softball fundraising cookie dough. We don't NEED more cookies. But we did need groceries as you can plainly see that I was unable to go on Wednesday...Poor Natasha. She will be staying home tomorrow. Unfortunately for her Mira does not go to preschool on Fridays. If it's warm enough I'll be nice and take Mira to the skating rink in the afternoon for some more torture, um, I mean fun so Tasha can rest.

Thank goodness I didn't line up any Friday playdates or sleepovers. But maybe, if Natasha is better by the afternoon she can work on cleaning her room after she finishes her math homework. hey - I can dream...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More CPSIA information

Check out and this page at Etsy for recent updates on this Act.

I think this article articulates the difficulties much better than I tried to yesterday. I love this summary at the end of the article: If the goal is to really protect children, then Gold believes the CPSIA will need to be rewritten. "The law focuses on lowering the amount of lead and phthalates, not eliminating them," said Gold. "I want to produce products that don't have any of those harmful substances, and I'm being put out of business," concluded Gold.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


That would be the proposed Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act which is scheduled to take effect February 10. Ok, so I am a bit late on the bandwagon. I love Etsy and shopping homemade items, buying unique items as much as I like creating them. I prefer to give gifts that aren't made by the millions, full of breakable plastic parts, need replacement batteries every month and are quickly tossed out to make room for next years Christmas overload. Yes, we have millions of legos in this house, but we PLAY with them. We collect them, we add to them, we imagine. Rarely rarely does one break and batteries are not neccesary. All the things I like in a handmade toy, whether purchased from Etsy or elsewhere. I even have a notebook in my side table full of ideas and items I can actually make that would sell great on Etsy. Someday. Gardening aprons, doll clothes, dollhouse bedding - if I make these for my girls, certainly I can make them to sell, right? But if this law passes, not only will *I* not have a chance to do this, but many people will lose income, some small shops may lose their whole business, which leads to more bad economic news. Local doll sellers at craft shows, quilters of baby blankets, etc. - well, they can forget it.

For a great example of the ridiculousness, click here My mother used to make wonderful stuffed cats from quilting material, a little felt, embroidery thread and stuffing. She sold them at local craft shows. I've used the pattern and given many as gifts myself. When this law goes into effect, she also would have to pay for testing if she were still in business. Think about that a second. Quilting purchased off a bolt at a local fabric shop, felt, sewing and embroidery thread, cotton stuffing or fiberfill - all purchased from someplace else where it should already have been tested... (edited to shorten and add that last night I read cotton cloth had been exempted. That's a start).

But that's not all. I have read here & there that this has the potential to apply to books in libraries, schools, etc. Can you imagine? "No children under age 12 allowed in libraries." Now, I can't say this IS so, because I haven't read the whole act and all the answers to questions posted, etc. But it is being talked about as possible, and you know libraries can't afford to test each and every book. And school libraries? Forget it.

I have read a few of the questions - for instance regarding ball point pens. One comment mentions lead in the ball point of some pens. However since these products are not typically marketed to children 12 and under, they are exempt. Interesting since my 11 year old uses ball point pens and I see some of her friends chewing on them. How about the fact that phthalate limits for toys do not apply to childrens shoes or socks. No, they are not toys, but I know of many children, 3 girls in particular, who went through a chewing on socks and shoes phase. I'm not saying that pens or shoes and socks SHOULD be required to be tested** - just that some areas of this Act have been well thought out, while there are inconsistencies and what seems to be almost no thought considering others. It just isn't ready.

It is neccesary to protect our children. But there are smarter ways to go about it. Please click on the teddybear link to the right and read more about the Act in its current form, what you can do, and who is proposing sound changes that could make this law helpful and useful without being hurtful. With current economic issues, this is not the time to stomp on the little guy, or even the middle guy who is trying to provide a service to make some money to pay the bank to feed a family.

** Edited to add, after thinking a little while - I'd rather have shoes and socks, and maybe footy-pajamas with those plastic feet tested. Though my children are old enough to know not to chew on their shoes and sock, and often run around the house barefoot - even in nasty winter weather - I could certainly choose organic cotton socks or buy them slippers made from organic materials so whatever they put in their mouth is safe. Well as long as you don't mind the dirt. But many people can't afford that choice. Hand-me-downs and whatever is on sale is the theme these days for many more families than usual. Personally I love hand-me-downs between the girls or from friends. Change the rules to random testing with strict penalties and exempt organic items... well. Don't get me started again. Just go read and make up your own mind, then write or call your representative. Thanks.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Recent scrap pages

The LO I made based on my word for the year, Flourish.

We found Peter munching on lettuces, beans, radishes and parsley among other things in our garden last summer. Yes, I did create the page last fall, but added the journalling straight from Beatrix Potters Peter Rabbit last night.

Mira's preschool photo, plus a few facts about her and the things she loves about preschool.And here she is cuddling her "New Puppy*". This little guy goes everywhere and I am always worried he'll get lost. Mira used to have a stuffed puppy that she rescued from the under-the-bed stuffed animal box. He also went everywhere with her, until one day when he just disappeared between the car in the driveway and the house. We looked everywhere for weeks - he has to be here but just isn't. She didn't mention him much, so we tried not to bring it up. Fast forward to our trip to New York where of course we had to visit FAO Schwartz. Mira hugged every stuffed animal in sight - until she saw this puppy. "I need this puppy because I lost my other puppy." (Mom and Dad's heart broke just then). Jack Water** is still a favorite, but I think puppy is #1 in Mira's book.

*Oops. I was reminded this Monday morning that puppy's name is Sage. All morning I have been heaing "My New brown puppy Sage did this." or "My new brown puppy Sage is lost again." Don't worry - he was only left behind in Mira's bed when she vacated it to snuggle with me.

**Jack Water is her stuffed grey cat. I have a page to go with the story, but must never have posted it? I'll tell that story another time.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Successful Skating

Mira was actually excited to go. It's very windy and the temp is dropping, so we waited until we had just enough time to get there and skate for a little bit before the middle school let out.

She was excited because I found a pair of cousin Jennys hand-me-down skates that were double bladed. Even though they were a size too long they were rather tough to get on. We managed, but I think her feet are a little wider than Jennys were.

We were the only two out on the ice which was nice. She clung to me, and clung to the side, scooting along while I did a few laps. She skated a bit with me and then started to fret. We warmed up inside and then went back out.

Ok, I'll admit it - I bribed her. She wanted a Laffy Taffy (ick). I said she could have one AFTER she went out to skate again. So she grabbed my hand saying "Let's go skate!" We did. She scooted along the side trying to catch me, finally catching on that I was slowly skating backwards. "I think I want you to stop moving now Mom." Then she held onto me with just one hand and allowed me to slowly pull her across the rink a few times, smiling and giggling the whole time.

Short and sweet, but a success. I think we'll try again next week.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Have a Heart

One more lil thing - click on the Heart Class gadget over there on the right. I took Wilna's Valentines Class last year and I'm taking it again this year. Join me and we'll do it together:). She's got some great ideas.

Oh I know- anyone can make Valentines. But last years project were SO sweet and crafty and surprising. You can save the directions and reuse them later. I'm using last years ideas for friends since I've used them on family already.

And she's so darn happy and cheerful and full of sunshine. You really can't beat 14 days of exuberance leading up to Valentines Day. Can you? The only thing better is daily hugs and kisses and cuddles with my girls and I'm not sharing that :).

In Control

Aaaaah. Hi everyone :). I have been out flourishing {laugh}. And taking care of all manner of little and big things that were cluttering up my ability to have fun, in between everything else. So now I do feel in control again - yeah!
The iffy stuff: (keep reading for the Good stuff!)
  • Playing with my mini laptop, the store to recognize they sold it and try to get the battery to charge, and then trying to get through to the manufacturer to get a replacement for that or the cord. (Twice someone has come on to take my name and say the wait was long, someone will call me back. Not falling for that again. I think they all went home.) If I ever get through I'll probably have to send the whole thing in. Drat. But I still love my lil EEE.
  • A lovely day spent on the phone stressing about Health Insurance and getting things straightened out. I knew we were covered (and we are), but when you receive a certificate/proof of prior insurance in the mail and then the website says "Your coverage ended on x/x/xx", well, you freak. At least I did. And now they won't cover an injectable form of a med I've already been taking. What's up with that? It's supposed to be more effective, which is what I need.
  • Sick. The girls & I have had a bug this week. Not fun, no-siree. HOWEVER, there are people I know who have been ill since before we started passing this around, and they are still ill. So we're good.
  • Sarah deciding she doesn't want to play competitive Softball. Dang. I was really getting into that. But she's still playing rec ball. Mainly because I've already paid for it, but we did buy her a new mitt last year and she IS a good player, and I know she'll have fun. Her not playing competitively is probably good for me as I could see myself becoming a rabid fan. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Now I just have to tell the coach. Should I make her do it?
The good stuff:
  • Sarah wants to be an Olympic Swimmer and also learn golf this summer. She thinks swim team sounds fun!
  • Recent playdates galore. I love having other kids here.
  • Painting dollhouses. The Birthday Candle Pink and Green Grape houses have white trim. And the warm yellow house will have a nice blue trim. Sorry I can't remember those color names at the moment.
  • RIF: Try organizing activities & volunteers right after the school holidays. I think we're there :) Just two more half days to go. So much fun watching the students choose their books.
  • Other volunteer work, calls, meetings.
  • Occupational Therapy. I have a friend who is an OT who is on my insurance plan. Whee. She's great. Now I have all sorts of exercises, adaptive devices, splints and wraps for my lil fingers. I had greater range of motion in my elbows today!
  • Sledding. Photos to come. So much fun. It has been too darn cold lately, but we are enjoying all the snow!
  • Climbing the snowplow piles and making new trails in the yard with Mira whenever there is fresh snow. Or whenever we have our boots on :).
  • Ice Skating. Mira hates it. {laugh}. I'll be working on that. She doesn't realize just she & I are going tomorrow afternoon while the girls are in school. It will be less crowded. Natasha & Sarah are getting better. Easier for Natasha who has done a bit of roller skating. I'll take photos when they take lessons in February. Do I sign Mira up or not? She might hate me if I do.
  • I actually scrapped a page!
What have you been up to lately?

Friday, January 9, 2009


One little word 2009.

to be in a vigorous state; thrive;
to be in its or in one's prime;
to be successful; prosper;
to grow luxuriantly, or thrive in growth, as a plant.
a trumpet call or fanfare.
a condition or period of thriving: in full flourish.

Flourish is the perfect word for me. It's not one of those many "tasks" or "to do's" on my list for 2009, but something I can apply to each and every thing I do this year, whether decluttering, playing with my girls, or canning the harvest from our garden.

Last year my 'Simple Focus' became a bit one sided as things fell behind. I focused but not always on the right things. It was not an easy summer for me healthwise as I waited for the arthritis flare-up to subside as it always had. Except it didn't. It just kept getting worse and stayed into the fall and winter even with prescription meds, keeping me from doing as much of the things I wanted: exercise, bike rides, laps at the pool, pulling weeds, holding the garage sale after purging & decluttering, canning as much of the garden and orchard fruits as I did every year.

Notice the words and phrases: as much, at the pool, after? Ok, so I didn't finish everything I wanted. But I went. I tried. I started. I DID. I kept thinking and telling everyone the truth of what I still feel now: that I have accepted this is here to stay and not due to some weird virus we all had when this hit: I count myself SO lucky to not be alone, that I have a family who can and will help me, right down to Mira who has learned not to squeeze my hands hard and who cheers me on when I am trying to unbuckle her from her carseat. That although there were days when it felt my whole body hurt, I was lucky my hips and spine are not affected. That I am lucky to live in a time when there are so many options (ah, there's another blow to my interest/obsession with pioneer living).

Sure there were days when I couldn't open the deadbolt to let the cat out in the morning, I got stuck in the bathroom because it hurt too much to turn the doorknob (hey - 1930's house here), and once I didn't even want to attempt to walk to the end of the driveway much less the TWO blocks to the park to watch neighborhood fireworks with my girls. At least I recognized and gave my self credit for having just walked all over the neighborhood during the Fall Festival.

But there were definately negative thoughts creeping in and staying. Those missing bike rides. Dreading long car rides that made me crabby and probably miserable to ride with (it was very uncomfortable to sit for long periods). Perpetual embarrassment about the weeds in the garden, overgrown flower beds. The unraked leaves that you can still see on my lawn when the snow melts. The still-there frozen tomato plants that my neighbors have to look at. Yeah, Rich could have done some of that. He was busy busy busy at work and travelling with us and catching up on work after our travels and then taking over some of my other duties.

Flourish is the perfect word to remind me what I have already decided: that I did and can do those things. I still spent the summer at the pool and having picnics. I have a pantry full of apple and tomato sauces. I made three beautiful dresses for the girls. I lost 15# even without being able to exercise. That's pretty good, dontcha think? I do. This year I will enjoy and celebrate every step in accomplishing my goals, and I will Flourish.

Side note: Treatment is going well. I rarely hurt anywhere besides my fingers and elbows which are being quite difficult despite many medication changes. I no longer have to psych myself up to roll over in bed or take each step down the stairs. I run and dance. That is glorious to me. Just yesterday my Dr. assured me that at some point I will be able to make a complete fist again without my pinkies sticking out. Or more importantly - if you know my family - I will be able to hold a handful of legos without dropping them all over!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Goodbye Christmas

Today the Tree is coming down. I'd like to leave it up until Tuesday - January 6th, the 12th day of Christmas. While that is just a few days away the tree, as you already know, is a bit wobbly. It stopped taking in water shortly after it fell and since it's right next to the fireplace, well, it's time. I will miss it - I do so love sitting in the living room at night, with just the lights of the tree on, snuggling with the girls. So magical.

It will be nice though to have a little more space in the living room and dining room with all the furniture back in place. Or in a new arrangement as is often the case. A fresh assortment of photos, candles, decorations will come out of storage to make sure the house doesn't look empty but fresh and welcoming.

Tomorrow the girls will be back in school, and the realities of 'normal life' are starting to creep into my thoughts. Early mornings, school lunches to pack, book logs to fill out, piano lessons and Kindermusik classes, e-mails to answer, a full work week for Rich - it has been so nice having him home so much. Toss in a few meetings and Dr. appointments already this week and phew, it could be overwhelming. We're trying hard to keep that at bay for one last day though with a little procrastination. The girls are playing with their new dollhouses and Rich & I still working on that 2000 piece Times Square puzzle he gave me for Christmas. We started it New Years Eve and are getting close - maybe just a few hundred pieces remain to put in place!

One Little Word
As part of this years fresh start I have chosen a word for the year - something to live by, to infuse into my everyday life, to think on. Sort of a goal, but more. You can read more here at Ali E.'s website. Then come back and see what I've chosen and why. Won't you join me? My word/phrase last year was Simple Focus - something I worked at early on but much of the simplify part of the equation was left by the wayside between summer sports/travel/dealing with arthritis. That DID simplify things some but only by default. I have tried to keep it in mind but as many of you still have yet to receive your Christmas Card from us, it didn't always stick. I've been thinking hard about this years word, but more about that after the tree is "back in the Tree Garden" as Mira says. I have no intention of spoiling that image for her just yet.