Sunday, November 30, 2008
While I'm not going to make that many pillowcases again this year (fabric was specially chosen for EACH one . . . I think I was truly out of my mind!), we did decide that the bulk of the gifts will be homemade. The others will be as locally-purchased or experience-based as possible. If you are a family member reading this, please STOP reading NOW and move on to your regularly scheduled life - email reading, dusting, vacuuming, playing with the dog, walking on the beach - WHATEVER . . . just GO!!!
What are you still doing here, Mom? Pat? Get out of here! I love you, but NO PEEKING!
OK, I think they're gone. *whew!*
I mentioned a week or so ago that I'd really like our gifts to be environmentally and budget friendly. I think we've go it: Homemade reusable bags (similar to these)! My husband and I cranked out the prototypes last night while the kids were at my parents' house for a sleepover. Here's the rundown:
- We're using fabric from the stash I've been building for the last 10 years (some fabric I bought in Italy before we were married!). I'm also reusing some old curtains that I made years ago that are still in good shape but don't fit our windows in this house. I'll be using thread from my stash, too. Random colors of thread will add to the eclectic feel of the bags!
- For the more "masculine" bags (no fru-fru stuff for the manly men in our families!) we DID get some navy striped sheets on sale to cut up and use (budget friendly, not AS environmentally friendly). That was the ONLY shopping we had to do.
- We figured out how to make the bags like the reusable canvas bags from the PCC Natural Markets out here, so they are quick and easy! All it will take is sewing 2 rectangles of fabric together (the bags are lined to make them more durable since we're NOT using canvas), making the tuck to give the bags a bottom, and then attaching straps.
- We'll use the bags as wrapping paper for a few little goodies to send. That's right - no wrapping paper needed! I can feel some trees smiling about that one.
- Even with the little goodies, everything should fit in a flat envelope for cheap mailing and limited "Post Office package juggling dances" while managing 2 small children in line.
- If we make 2 bags/night, I can have 20 made in 10 nights, which means that all the packages can be mailed well in advance of the Christmas rush!
- Since the idea was truly my husband's, he has agreed to man the iron. This really will be a fast project with two of us on deck!
Since I was able to run at the YMCA after my son's swimming lesson yesterday and I started my morning with the first workout of Week 5 in the 6 week Bounce Your Body Beautiful plan, I'm feeling quite energetic. I'll put that energy to good use for tonight's sewing session! I'll be sure to get some photos of the process to post while we're at it.
Friday, November 28, 2008
7. My husband is happy. This is a delicate balance of leaving him alone for awhile (he's an introvert, I'm an extrovert) to let him do his own thing on the computer or in the garage/garden/guitar/whatever and doing things with him like watching a movie/working in the yard/etc. Sometimes this just involves me taking the kids for a walk so they stop climbing Daddy Mountain. Other times it involves getting the kids into the kitchen to work with us to make a big breakfast as a family.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Congratulations on this amazing first novel, Stacy! I wish you great success and look forward to reading your future books and celebrating them with you.
As you search for the perfect books for the people on your holiday gift list, take a minute or two to look beyond the best sellers lists! There are treasures awaiting you between the covers of independently published books, too.
Next on my to-review list: A pair of books by Lizzy Rockwell, The Busy Body Book and Good Enough to Eat: A Kid's Guide to Food and Nutrition.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
1) Find the kitchen sink
2) Catch up on my emails
3) Send out more press releases
4) Start getting the house ready for Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends
5) Get laundry done
Hmmm . . . I don't think my friend is prepared to take on two kids for as long as it will take me to accomplish all of those tasks (days, perhaps). I guess I'll just have to make do with the 2.5 remaining hours until their return.
I'm happy to report:
1) I'll have not one, but two, guest blog posts out in the world in the next few weeks. Yes, folks, these are definitely more formal than what you'll find here. They are starting to inspire me to tighten up my posts here, but I'm not ready for that adjustment until the new year. Hang with me until then, though, won't you?!
2) I've officially been named as a Contributor on Bookieboo, a "Fitness Hangout for Moms"! You can find my women's and children's fitness/health book reviews there. Strange name, but the social site is truly filled with great bits of wisdom and insight about pregnancy, childbirth, parenting . . . and FITNESS. My fellow contributors are experts in fitness, nutrition, childbirth, etc. Stop by - it is definitely worth checking out!
3) As of next Monday I should be one degree closer to Kevin Bacon. I'll be on Chat with Women, a radio show that also hosted Whoopi Goldberg as part of the book launch tour for the book series Sugar Plum Ballerinas. You can listen to the show live Monday, December 1st at 8AM PST (I believe), and it will be available on the website for you to listen at your leisure!
Darn, I'm down to 2.25 hours before the kids return. I'll just leave THAT as my big Trial for the day - and head off to see how many of those items from the first list I can accomplish!
Wishing you the best as you tackle your trials and celebrate your achievements this week - and be sure to leave a comment so I can pass along some extra words of encouragement for those bumps in the road or celebrate something wonderful with you!
Saturday, November 22, 2008
1. I sent out over a dozen press releases announcing the award for We Are Girls Who Love to Run. Which leads me to an important question for YOU, dear reader: Did you know that Her Sports + Fitness is now Women's Running Magazine? Be sure to check it out!
2. I've been working on some meaty guest blog posts for some BIG blogs out there. I'll let you know where to go when they're posted!
3. I just put the final touches on our Christmas letter - and it isn't even Thanksgiving. While I really enjoy Christmas cards, I usually get stressed about this aspect of the holidays. I write the letters from the kids' points of view, so they're not a typical blah-blah-blah letter - and they're also SHORT! Well, tonight the inspiration hit and it is DONE (in the voice of Little Miss Fireball). I even got the wallet-sized photos ordered to include with the letter. BTW: this is MUCH more budget-friendly than photo cards and the leftovers can go in my wallet so that I actually have photos of my kids with me.
4. My husband and I have been spending our spare moments cleaning out junk. You know the stuff - the pile of old Runner's World magazines, the rubber bands from the heads of lettuce we bought at the farmer's market in June, the thousands upon thousands of kid art projects, scraps of fabric from quilts I made two years ago . . . I feel so liberated with all of it sorted into the appropriate bins: garbage, recycle, mail.
5. The Fireball's horrid cold is nearly gone now, so we squeezed in a trip to the park while the sun was out for a bit this afternoon. We almost didn't get it in, though, as Mr. Music is going through one hum-dinger of a growth spurt and is back on track with nearly daily naps. It's no wonder I can't get myself on a schedule!!!
Now that the Christmas cards are under control, I'm off to have that yearly sit-down with the husband (who after a year of blogging, should have a nick-name - I'll work on that) to figure out a healthy balance for Christmas gifts. Things to consider for balance:
- environmental impact
- time involvement (last year I made about 30 personalized pillow cases for family members - BIG hit all around, but BIG time sucker on my end . . . and I have some quilts to finish!)
- personal significance of gift (I like gifts to have some sort of important connection and meaning)
- do we consider donations in our family members' names through a reputable charity?
Does anyone have experiences with the charitable donation approach to gifts? Did you receive one? Have you given one? I'd love to get your insight!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
So, I'll stick with my usual Monday post because I can't think of a better way to celebrate the start of a new life.
Today I am thankful for:
1. The safe arrival of dear, little Nate. Well, okay, he's not SO little, weighing in at 9lbs. 6 oz., but he's just a few hours old, so that makes him little!
2. The closeness of my husband's family to one another. The phone was going for at least an hour as we all called one another and celebrated Nate (and his lovely mother who is likely feeling relieved to not be pregnant anymore and tired after a full day of bringing him into the world, and his lovely father who is likely just exhausted from the sheer intensity of it all and cheering on his wife).
3. Little Sister's snuggles this afternoon. She's fighting some sort of bug, so she's been quite snuggly - usually she's wiggly and will only let you get a quick hug and kiss. Today she fell asleep in my lap. There is something powerful about having parents close to help you feel better. I remember that from when I was still small enough to climb into my parents' laps/bed when I was sick.
4. The fact that my parents are squeezing in a bit of a date night for us even though their week is remarkably full.
5. The safe arrival of dear, little Nate. I think that news deserves mentioning at least twice, don't you? Happy Birthday, Nephew!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
1. After DAYS of rain and gloom, the sky cleared and the day is AMAZINGLY bright and wonderful.
2. My husband is home from work today to help me celebrate the day - he took the kids away from the house for the morning so I could enjoy some peace and quiet.
3. Our daughter greeted me with "Happy Mama!" as she climbed on top of me in bed this morning . . . and then scrambled off the bed and pitter pattered away to do whatever it is she had in mind to do (under her dad's supervision, I got to go back to sleep!).
4. The first words out of Mr. Music's mouth this morning when I saw him were "Happy Birthday, Mom!" and then I got one of his amazing bear hugs.
5. Before they headed out, the family gave me one of my birthday presents - a fabulous pair of gloves/mittens - you know the kind - they have glove fingers (cut off at the top), but also have mitten parts that can cover the gloves if needed. I love them!
6. When Albus, our wonder dog, saw that I was in my yellow hat, running skirt and running shoes, he did a happy dog dance and went to sit by the door to wait for us to go for a run (I'm choosing to assume that his dance also meant "Happy Birthday!").
7. Except for a few slippery leafy patches, it was a glorious morning for a run. The blue sky, fresh air, and warm sun all seem to be indicators that it is okay to be 30, that the world has much more in store for me.
8. Since the kids are off with their dad for the morning, I was able to follow-up my run with some strength training. My mom borrowed my balance ball book, so I tried out "The Smart Workout" from November 2008's Redbook Magazine. It is 6 moves that REALLY challenge your body.
9. I even get to enjoy a shower without interruption this morning.
All that, and it isn't even 11AM yet!
I think that this is going to be a great birthday and that I'll find some new strength and adventure in this new decade. Thank you, kind readers, for coming along for the ride!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
- hosting a lunch play date for Mr. Music's little friend and her mom on this beautiful, sunny November Monday (the motivation for all the cleaning this morning!)
- everyone's enjoyment of swimming lessons
- my husband taking off work on Thursday to celebrate my birthday (he knows I'm feeling sensitive about turning 30, so he's making it extra special and fun for me)
- a fun weekend with the family
- my mom's discovery of a local company that recycles "old" home knit sweaters and finds them new homes (Running Knitter, this made me think of YOU!). The kids have some beautiful "new" sweaters to enjoy this fall/winter.
Have a great week, everyone!
Sunday, November 9, 2008
How about YOU? Are you making any new healthy changes to your life routine? Have you found a simple change that has a significant impact on your family's health and life quality?
Friday, November 7, 2008
1. Drop the kids at the YMCA child care.
2. Try a Zumba class.
How'd it go?
1. My son loved it. Two of his closest friends from school were there, so he was set. Little Sister didn't share his feelings. At all.
2. I reserve my review of the Zumba class for a time when I can do more than 10 minutes of it. That's when the child care staff came looking for me. Nothing like having to walk all the way across the front of the class (twice even, as I had to retrieve my water and key) to go console a sad kid. *sigh* So far I'm still interested in going back, assuming we can get Little Sister to take to the child care.
I'm excited at the opportunities our new YMCA (or YNCJ, as Mr. Music called it earlier) membership gives us. Swimming class went VERY well on Tuesday for Little Sister (perhaps that's why she wasn't interested in playing - she wanted to be in the pool!) and Mr. Music is excited about his first class tomorrow. I'm also hoping that my dear husband will be able to take advantage of the open lanes for some swimming from time to time, too. As for me . . . we'll just keep trying the child care stuff so that I can enjoy what the Y has to offer. It shouldn't take TOO many more partial classes, right??? I have these grand visions of classes and time in the weight room . . . and how those will help me run faster!
Does anyone have advice for how I can help my 21 month-old take to the child care?
Monday, November 3, 2008
1. The new potty seat for Little Sister that has her interested and ASKING to go potty. We've got 3 success stories since yesterday. I'll take 'em!
2. Hooray for Big 5 Sports. Not generally my favorite store, but they came through for me today when it mattered - I needed a swimsuit for ME for Little Sister's swim lessons (they start tomorrow morning and I haven't gotten a swim suit in YEARS) and they had one in my size - in November, no less!
3. Mr. Music's interest in writing. Between his new science observation notebook and card-making for family and friends, it consumes 1-2 hours of each day. Guess he's following in his mama's footsteps. :)
4. Two heart-warming reviews of We Are Girls Who Love to Run from readers from my high school hometown (remember, I was an Air Force Brat!). One from my best friend from those days, another from a teacher at my school (who bought 3 copies!). I'm truly honored that they took the time to let me know what they thought in the midst of motherhood/teaching/taking classes, etc.
5. Pediatric Dentists. Who knew that my 4 year-old wouldn't need me for an entire appointment (x-rays and all!)?
I hope your week started out smoothly. Have a great one!
Sunday, November 2, 2008
- There's just something fun about the discovery of Halloween through a not-quite-two year-old's eyes . . . "NANDY!" Little Sister cried over and over again while clutching bags of Skittles and M&M's. I was thrilled that she remembered her manners when people tucked new goodies into the bag I made her as we went from shop to shop in our town's Downtown Trick or Treat experience.
- We only got 8 trick or treater's (not a type-o, just 8 little souls), BUT, we were also pleased to have three middle schooler's stop by on a food bank collecting mission. We were happy to donate some canned goods to the local food bank . . . and they were happy to get a few containers of playdoh - "Sweet!" they chimed together when I offered them the goodies. It warmed my heart to see their excitement over playdoh!
Check out our little "Swamp Monster" and his muddy coat. I think his tag-a-long might need a rear fender. You think?
- I'll be turning the big 3-0 in a little over a week. That weekend I'll be signing books at a race. I think that's a fun way to kick off a new decade - full of positive energy and a good run.