Calling all scrapbookers and stampers – helpin’ out another mama

To make a long story short, my sister-in-law Debbie has fallen on some very hard times (both financially and emotionally lately). Her husband filed for divorce and then pursued an ugly custody battle in which he ended up winning custody of their two boys. I don’t know a lot of the details, but it sounded to me like an unfair/unjust trial. It all went down in Tulsa County, OK, where a fathers’ advocacy group has a stronghold on the judicial system – bulldogging the courts and spoonfeeding the dads information to manipulate the system. Her ex-husband is also asking for child support from her (when she was formerly a SAHM and he knows she doesn’t have the money).

In order to handle the financial burden of court costs, plus the loss of an income for herself and her older daughter, AND make money for child support, Debbie is doing everything she can to get her online stamping and scrapbooking business (Stampin’ Up!) going full force. She’s also attending school in the fall to complete her family life education degree.

If you are a scrapbooker or stamper or into crafts, please give Debbie’s Stampin’ Up website a look (click on the “Online Catalog” to see the products she has available). If you know others who are into scrapbooking, please feel free to forward her site onto them or post a link to her site on your blog. Every little bit helps. :)

Even though Debbie has been dealing with Rheumatoid Arthritis for most of her life, has undergone several operations, and has been in an electric wheelchair for the past several years, she is a very independent and determined woman. I am quite confident that she can accomplish anything she puts her mind to – whether that be making this business a success or regaining custody of her sons one day.

Thanks for reading and thank you to those of you who can help out in whatever way that may be. :) I appreciate it and I know Debbie does too!

Don’t ya just hate it when…

You can’t get your checkbook to balance and you are off by a LARGE amount and not in your favor (of course!)???
Since Jody wiped out my computer last week, he didn’t have time to reinstall ALL of the programs that I use regularly, just the majority of them. As a result, I haven’t had Xcel on my computer for a week or so, and I hadn’t updated our checkbook ledger for a little while before that.
So, here I sit, trying to play catch up and get it all to balance now and I’m off by what started off as over $300, though now I’ve got it whittled down to $226, but I can’t figure out anything else to subtract! Arg! It’s so frustrating.
I am usually quite good about staying on top of these things. If I’m off a bit, it’s never by much and I usually can figure it out, which is why this is making me want to tear my hair out. Blah. Maybe if I let it sit for a while and come back to it, it will jump out at me. :)

Anyway, we’re having a pretty lazy weekend around here, which has been nice for all. The Lupus Foundation never came to pick up our bags and bags of donations on Friday, so we took them to a local charity in town yesterday. Honestly, that’s what I had hoped to do before the LF called to schedule the pick up anyway (though I was excited to have someone coming to get them rather than us having to cart them somewhere), so I’m glad it all worked out the way it did. We also dropped off some cardboard at the recycling center. It might sound cheesy, but it always warms my heart to go there and see so many other people recycling their things as well. Call me a sentimental (i.e. hormonal) sap, but I got teary-eyed thinking about it yesterday. ;)
After that, we went to the Super Target across town (since they closed “our” Target down while they build a Super Target in it’s place) to pick up dog food and a few other things.

We were actually supposed to go camping this weekend with two other families, but we backed out a couple weeks ago thinking it would be too much for us to do right after Jody’s trip and the week before we go to MI. I’m glad we decided that then, because one of my friends got sick (the one who’s cabin we were all supposed to stay at), so they didn’t end up going anyway.

Jody has the day off tomorrow and I have my first acupuncture appointment. I’m SOOOOO looking forward to it. I’ve never been before, but I know people who have and who swear it helps them a lot. My midwife suggested acupuncture (and possibly Chinese herbs) as a preventative measure to treat my liver proactively so that I don’t develop HELLP syndrome again with this pregnancy. I’m highly in favor of anything I can do now to minimize my chances because I’d hate to have to go through that again. Anyway, since I found an acupuncturist who’s also an M.D. AND accepts insurance (hooray for a $10 copay), I plan to go semi-regularly and have her work on some other issues (physical and emotional) of mine as well as the HELLP issue. I’m sure I will be blogging about it to say how it all goes.

Just me and my girl

I started out this week a little apprehensive because Jody would be out of town (at Siggraph in Boston) for the whole week and I would be taking on the single parent role. I had several things planned for Ava and I to do during the week, but I still worried about naps (since she hadn’t been napping on a regular basis for the past few weeks). I know she still needs a nap because she gets quite cranky and out of sorts if she doesn’t get one. And I know *I* still need her to nap because I get quite cranky and out of sorts if she doesn’t get one too! ;) Seriously though, I look forward to that two hours or so every day when I have some time to myself – to read, blog, work on decluttering the house (a project that I will blog about another day), make dinner, clean up the house, or take a nap if I need one. It’s valuable time that mommy needs to unwind. :)

I’m happy to say that my apprehensiveness was quite unfounded because Ava and I (although we definitely missed Jody) have had a great week together AND…she’s napped every day! :)

On Monday, we went grocery shopping and made banana muffins together. I used whole wheat flour this time instead of white flour and they were even more tasty.

On Tuesday, we went to a play group (open gym at Kangaroo Kingdom) in the morning. Then in the evening, I dropped Ava off with my friend’s husband Dax and son Creed (who’s 7 months older than Ava) and I got to go out to dinner with my friends. :) Dax took the kids for a ride in the Burley (bike trailer) up to a pond where they fed the fish and turtles and played and then, a couple hours later, brought them all back to the restaurant where we were still sitting outside on the patio gabbing. It was a pleasant surprise to see them pull up. Ava and Creed looked so cute just hanging out in the Burley together. Ava’s helmet (which was borrowed) kept falling over her eyes, so she was holding it up to peek out at us. My friend Brandy took pics and is going to send them to me, but I don’t have them yet. Anyway, I’m so thankful that Dax was able to watch the kids. I felt good about leaving Ava with someone I totally trust and was able to have a nice evening out. And Ava had so much fun with them. She keeps talking about feeding the turtles and, when I asked her about riding in the Burley, she said, “I told Creed – ‘this is fun.'” My little girl is growing up.

On Wednesday, we met friends at the Rec Center pool for swimming. Ava had a great time and I enjoyed soaking in the water for a while since my back was killing me the night before. I’m glad to see her getting more and more comfortable in the water since we’ve been swimming a few times this summer. I’d still like her to go to swimming classes (maybe this winter so she and Jody have something fun to do while I stay home w/ baby boy) so she can learn to stay afloat if she ever fell in and all of that. There have been too many stories on the news about little kids drowning in lakes, ponds, pools, etc. :( It definitely makes you worry about your own child’s safety. After all the swimming fun, we both took a long nap yesterday evening. It was very much needed.

Today we went for a walk (which just about did me in. Even though it wasn’t that far and wasn’t *that* hot, I needed to lie down for a bit after we got home – blah), did some playing in the yard, cleaned up the house a bit, did laundry, went to the grocery store, and I finished getting together about five bags of clothes, household items, and other things to donate to the Lupus Foundation tomorrow when they come to pick it up. It was funny because I’d been in the process of gathering things up to get rid of (i.e. donate) and trying to figure out where to drop them all off and with what charity when the LF called last week and asked if we had anything. So since their timing was right on, I said YES and they are getting a ton of stuff from us. :)

Jody gets home late tonight then has to go into work tomorrow so we won’t actually see him until tomorrow night. I will be glad to have my hubby home and I know Ava will be thrilled to see daddy. She’s talked to him every night on the phone and has told me she misses him (and his coworker Tommy, who’s also out there – hehe). She keeps saying “Daddy’s still at Boston?”

I feel like this week together with just Ava has been especially good for us, because in a few short months, our lives will change dramatically with the addition of another family member. Ava will no longer get mommy’s undivided attention whenever she wants it and I will miss that special time with my girl. So this week has made me really appreciate what a wonderful child she is and how much I love her. And now that I’m about in tears, I will wrap this entry up.

The pic above is from Ava’s birthday – June 22, 2006.

World Breastfeeding Week : Aug. 1-7

Just a quick post (for now)…
I don’t know how I nearly overlooked it, but this week – Aug. 1-7 – is World Breastfeeding Week.

Thanks to Mama C-ta for bringing WBW to my attention with this post about “Vogue magazine proudly showing model Angela Lindvall even more proudly (and quite fashionably) breastfeeding her 14 month old son.” Props to Vogue!! :)

Also, how cool is this? The Celebrity Baby Blog Breastfeeding Gallery – “We present to you these beautiful images of our readers breastfeeding their children. We hope that if you are a breastfeeding mother, it will empower you, if you are someone who has not been exposed to breastfeeding that you will be inspired, and that if you are someone who doesn’t understand breastfeeding that you will open your mind.” I haven’t submitted any pics myself yet, but I very well may if I can find the time to dig some up or maybe I’ll take some new ones. :)

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

Inspired by others

Two of my regular blog reads (Dawn and Leigh – a new one to me) have recently written about positive changes they’ve made in their and their families’ lives.

On Dawn’s blog, she mentioned natural dish soaps and laundry soaps. I’d been wanting to switch from Joy dish soap to something more natural for a while now (especially after learning about the link between petroleum-based cleaning products and cancer [and more here]), but figured it would be too expensive or something and I never researched it. (I know, shame on me.) Dawn’s post inspired me to check out prices on Seventh Generation dish soap (a vegetable-based product) and it’s not that much more than what I was paying for Joy, so I got some this week and have been very happy with it so far. I feel better knowing the dishes, cups and utensils we eat and drink off of haven’t been washed with chemicals and petroleum. When I stopped to think about it, it didn’t make much sense to me that here I was, buying organic and free-range *to better our health) whenever possible, yet the things I was cooking with and we were eating off of could have chemical residue on them. I’m happy that it’s a small change, with a good impact, that won’t break the bank.

Also, I learned something interesting from Seventh Generation’s web site (which is also printed on the dish soap bottle itself): “If every household in the U.S. replaced just one 25 oz. bottle of petroleum based dishwashing liquid with our vegetable based product, we could save 118,700 barrels of oil, enough to heat and cool 6,800 U.S. homes for a year!” Amazing! Every little bit really does help make a difference. :)

And on Leigh’s blog, she gave recipes for a variety of natural, inexpensive cleaning products, including one for making your own laundry soap, which I’d like to try in the near future. I’ve made glass, all-purpose and wood cleaners in the past, but never laundry soap. I’d like to try it, because for one reason, laundry soap is expensive. For two, I’ve been buying All Free and Clear which I’m sure isn’t environmentally-friendly. And for three, I think I have soap build-up on my cloth diapers which is making them stink. Pee-eww. I’m a little daunted by the fact that the recipe makes 4 1/2 gallons of soap, but I think if I picked up some of those frosting tubs from the bakery at the grocery store, I’d have a good place to store it. Now I just need to figure out where to buy Fels Naptha soap and get motivated enough to just do it.

I commend both Dawn and Leigh for making positive changes for the health of their families and the earth. It’s inspiring to read about others interested in doing what they can to make a difference. :)

=============================================
On an unrelated note, I’ve been extremely busy this week, which has been nice, but is why I haven’t been blogging. I’m hoping to play catch up a bit tomorrow and fill you in on what we’ve been up to.