Thursday, July 31, 2008

No, David

There is a wonderful book called No, David that Asher just loves. A friend gave it to us just a couple of months ago and we have loved it so much already that almost every page is taped back together. Not from abuse, but from use. I think Asher can just relate on so many levels. He IS David. The book is very simple. It starts with "David's Mom always said..." and then every page has some variation of "No, David" with a great illustration. Asher and Naomi can both quote the entire book. When I am trying to snap Asher out of a funk I sometimes start saying "No, David!" instead of "No, Asher!". Asher says "No, Dabid." with a sweet little shake of his head. The book ends with David's Mom saying "I love you, David." And that is when I can relate to the book on the same level as Asher.

I've been trying for a couple of months to get Asher reading the book on video. I hope it's not against copyright law or something (if it is somebody tell me!). Turn up the sound so you can hear Asher's sweet words, too. I repeat what he says for translation.

video

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Jumping Beans

A while back the kids discovered some new fun available to them in the family room - jumping from the ottoman to the chair and back. The day they discovered this happened to be one where I was too tired to care. But now it's become a habit. And while I don't really like it, I'm not sure there's much I can do about it at this point since I've been letting them do it for a good month now. And besides, it is pretty cute and they do have a really good time doing it.

Anyway, here is a cute video of them from yesterday. Naomi and Asher had been playing together nicely for a while at this point (which is rare). I hadn't been paying much attention to them and when I turned around I saw this huge mess. The video shows my "interrogation" about what was going on.


video

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bitten

The kids and I spent nearly two hours in the backyard yesterday afternoon. It had been a while since I let them play in the pool and on the swings. And while they played I got a start on digging the hole for the sandbox. We even ate dinner out there. As soon as we came in it was bedtime and the kids fell into bed since they'd worked so hard playing.

This morning when they woke up I was shocked. Asher and Isaiah both look like they've got the chicken pox practically! They each have at least a dozen huge, red bites on their bodies. Poor Asher has like 6 all in one lump on his forehead.

I need to do some research online to see if there is any "natural" way to relieve some of their pain. Both boys have been kinda crabby and I wonder if that is why. Maybe an oatmeal bath or something?


Monday, July 28, 2008

Survey says...

Earlier I put up a giveaway opportunity for a bracelet and earrings set on Bloggy Giveaways. But I forgot one pivotal part! I forgot to put a description of the giveaway in the link! So it just lists my giveaway as "Chic Made" instead of "Chic Made - jewelry". I think I'm loosing a lot of traffic that way. Because if people are at all like me they are drawn to that word like my baby is to the open dishwasher. So I thought I needed a second giveaway, to draw more people in.

In addition to that, in my first giveaway I asked for feedback on my Etsy shop. It was suggested that it would be nice to see the jewelry on human models. But here is my question... isn't that kinda yucky? Do you really want to buy a pair of earrings that you just saw IN SOMEONE ELSE'S EAR??? The thought totally grosses me out - but maybe I'm just weird. So you tell me. For your opinion I offer you this pair of earrings (which have never been in anyone's ears!). They are made from Amethyst chips. I love them so much that I have a pair just like them.

Would you buy earrings that you saw in someone else's ear?

Only comments where the above question is answered will be entered in the drawing. I'll choose a winner Friday at 1:30pm. International entrants welcome. Be sure to leave me some way to contact you if you win.

And go back and check out my other giveaway too. And my Etsy shop, Chic Made. And my blog. Man - you're busy! Get crackin'!

Comments now closed for this giveaway. See post The Winners!

Bloggy Giveaways Carnival

It's that time of year again - time for the Bloggy Giveaway's Carnival! I host a giveaway here on my blog, then I link to their site and they link to mine. The carnival always brings loads of new visitors, so let's all welcome them and help them feel at home!

This is a family blog mostly, but it is also largely about my new-found love of jewelry making. I give a lot of the jewelry I make away to friends and family (or, honestly, keep it for myself!) but some of it I sell in my Etsy shop, Chic Made! That's where my giveaway this round will come from.

To enter yourself in the giveaway, cruise over to Chic Made and shop around a little. Then come back here and leave me some feedback about the shop or the things in it. Any kind of feedback would really help me. What's your favorite item, do you like this or dislike that, are you confused about this, do you wish there was more of something, etc. You must leave me some feedback to be entered in the giveaway. I'll close the giveaway Friday, August 1 at 2pm.

I'm giving away this bracelet and earrings set.

It's one of my favorite items on Chic Made right now (of course, I'll have to remove it from Chic Made now since I'm giving it away!). I love the simplicity of each bead being on it's own link. I love the color purple. And I hope you'll love it too!

I'd also love it if you cruised around my blog and got to know me a little better (but that's not required to enter the giveaway). I love making new bloggy friends. Let me tell you a little about myself. I'm a stay-at-home Mom in Virginia. But, honestly, I don't really stay home much. My three children and I prefer to be out and about just about every day. We go to playgroup at our church, run errands, play with friends, go to the gym - any excuse to leave the house. My children are Naomi (4), Asher (2) and Isaiah (1). The boys are just 13 months apart and give me a lot of trouble. It's a good thing they both have angel faces or they'd be in big trouble! And it's a good thing I have my perfect Naomi to help (OK, fine...she's not perfect. But I'm fond of her). My husband, Richard, is a computer programmer. (I'm rather fond of him, too.)

So go check out Chic Made, cruise the archives on the blog, pull up a chair and make yourself at home. Just don't forget to enter the giveaway before you go!

Comments for this post now closed. See The Winners! post.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tickling the trouble out

My family doesn't believe me since Asher was so well behaved when we visited in Texas, but Asher is a humongous trouble-maker. He really does seek out trouble after trouble after trouble sometimes. Other times, he's an angel. I think some of that trouble-seeking is just his personality. He's just a mischievous little boy. But I think a big chunk of that trouble-seeking is his feeling neglected and therefore seeking attention. He was, after all, replaced as "the baby" at the ripe age of 13 months. So he's got a chip on his shoulder for a good reason.

I've really struggled with how to deal with him, as any reader of this blog knows. In the last few months I have focused on not reacting too large when he misbehaves and on giving extra attention. One thing that really seems to be working for both of us is "tickling the trouble out". Instead of freaking out and being upset, I go tickle Asher for a good minute. He gets totally distracted from whatever trouble he was making, he gets one minute of one-on-one-Mommy-time, and he uses some energy rolling around and laughing. I get to see his wonderful smile that melts my hard heart to goo, and I get a little physical frustration out too. By the end of that minute we're both feeling better and we can move on with life.

I wonder if this would work with a spouse, too?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A neck

I finally got a neck! A neck to display my Chic Made jewelry on, that is. Ever since I started making jewelry I've wanted a neck form. It seems like the earrings and bracelets can be photographed good enough without any fancy things, but the necklaces are different. It just seemed hard to really capture their beauty when they were laying flat. So I finally broke down and bought a neck form. I love it!


Totally professional looking, right? And, just as a side note, this necklace is available for sale on Chic Made for $10.
The Bloggy Giveaways Carnival is coming up next week and I plan to host a giveaway, so I'm working hard to get some new inventory ready. Keep your eyes on Chic Made for new things to come!


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Test Driving

Or should it be "test exercising"? Today I went to two gym's and talked to people at two others. My sister, Angela, and I went to a Gold's Gym in Texas while we were both visiting my parents and I kinda really like it a lot. So I started investigating here. What I really loved about the Gold's Gym in Texas was the "cardio theatre" which is a big, dark, cool room with a movie screen and a bunch of cardio machines. Movies just play non-stop. I loved it in there. I hardly even noticed that I was working up a sweat. But Gold's Gym is more expensive here, and, come to find out, they don't have a cardio theatre! Bummer! Plus, the one in Texas was all big and airy and nice and the one here is kinda dingy and squished and manly feeling. So I also checked out LA Fitness today. I really like the Kids Klub there. They have a thingy that you climb around in and slides and stuff and coloring and lots of space. The highlight is that the funnest thing in the room is not the TV. I hate it when I take my kids to the gym and all they do is watch TV. Then I feel like I have to choose between my own fitness and the kids'. LA Fitness also has Racquetball courts and a pool. I also spoke with 2 other gyms that just didn't feel like a good fit for one reason or another. So, in the end, LA Fitness wins. And they cut a lot off their price for me. In the end, Richard and I and the three kids can all enjoy the gym for just under $100 per month. My sister pays $15 per month. Sheesh. The cost of living here is killing me. But I'm excited to start working out again.

If you're going to join a gym anytime soon I highly recommend shopping around. I had Gold's Gym talked down to nearly half what they originally quoted me before I told them I chose the other one. And LA Fitness dropped their price too when I looked worried about the price. They'll do whatever they've got to to get you.

Richard and I have a little wager going about who can loose the most weight before the Worth reunion in mid-August. We've lost about the same amount of weight so far and I'm counting on this gym to help me pull ahead! Here's to hoping.

The Texas pics

Here are a smattering of the long awaited Texas pics.

This is Naomi and her soul-mate/cousin Haley. They play together perfectly and love each other so much.
Here is Asher and his cousin Jesse who were born days apart. I'm sure that someday they'll be soul-mates like Naomi and Haley. But for now they just steal each other's toys and generally antagonize each other as much a possible.

Here are our Cowgirls on their way to the rodeo. Naomi, Winter, Haley and Ginger.

And here are our Cowboys: Roscoe, Christopher, Logan, Sterling, Levi. (Asher, Isaiah and Jesse stayed home with a sitter)

Here's a solo of my little Cowgirl. She loved the rodeo. But she mostly enjoyed a chance to dress up.

Here is my cousin, Christopher, at the rodeo. He lives near us here in Virginia and joined us for this trip. Since he is a generation apart from his real cousins he doesn't get many chances like this to hang out with loads of kids.

Here is some random fun in the backyard. You see Naomi, Sterling, and Levi's back.

Here is my mother holding baby Roko. My sister-in-law Kelly and Roko joined us for one weekend and we were so glad to see them!
When we first arrived in Texas I tried really hard to keep Isaiah away from the stairs since he didn't know how to go down them yet. But keeping something blocking the stairs or keeping your eye on a crawly baby constantly is a little hard when there are 11 other kids in the house. So I finally gave in and let him learn how to crawl down them. He only took a few tumbles and only has one huge bruise to show for it.
This is me and my nephew Jesse. I just think he's too cute. We joke that Jesse and Asher played a trick on us in heaven by switching hair. Jesse stole Asher's red hair!
And here is some random moments of cousin cuteness. Here are Haley, Jesse, Asher and Naomi.
Posers. Haley, Jesse and Naomi.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Home

We made it home with little event (other than being exhausted). It's so nice to be home. The kids are glad to be back with their own stuff, but I can tell they miss all those cousins.

When I'm a little more awake I'll post some photos, until then...

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Life in Texas

I guess I'd better keep blogging little by little while I'm here or I'll get way too behind to ever catch up. But I don't want to spend too long sitting at the computer because there is much fun to be had! So I'll give you the highlights.

I mentioned before that we had a "Girl's Night Out". All my female relatives are here so we thought this was really a must. We decided to go to Bennigan's (because who doesn't love a Monte Cristo?) then to a craft store to stock up, then back home to make jewelry. Dinner was great, and shopping for beads with so many girls was very fun. Everyone has such unique style that it was really fun to see what people picked out and what they paired it with. Then, at the last minute, it was decided that we had to stop at the grocery store for Margarita supplies (I don't think I've flat out said that these are Virgin Margarita's I'm talking about here - just OJ and Limeade) just like my jewelry making party. So we all made beautiful things until we were so tired we couldn't see straight. Which took about an hour - we were tired. It was a great night of girl bonding.

On Sunday we took up two entire pews at church. The Primary had to be warned in advance that all our kids were coming. We added three to the Nursery and three to the 4-year old's class and then several other's dispersed throughout. My mother was in charge of the lesson in Relief Society this week so she divided up the lesson between all us girls and we each taught one piece. That way Mom didn't have to stress about the lesson while we were here. I think it turned out really well. After that it was a huge dinner/lunch of Roast Beef and all the fixings. And then much Sunday relaxing. Ahhhh.

Yesterday turned out to be a little bit of a bummer, but good at the same time. We had big plans for spending the day out at my brother's farm and were all ready to go when we realized the keys to the big Suburban were in my mother's purse. And she was at work an hour away already. So half of us had to stay home. So I stayed home with my three kids plus little Haley who is the same age as my Naomi. We played in a kiddie pool in the yard instead of the big pool at the farm and the closest we got to animals was Dad's hive of bees in the yard, but it really was OK. It was nice to have some relative calm.

We really don't have any big plans until Friday when we're going to the rodeo, but that's OK. With 12 kids, mobilizing isn't easy. We're splitting them up and doing "small group" activities as much as possible.

I'll try to get some pictures eventually, until then you'll have to just go on my descriptions. Have a good week!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

It never strikes twice

We're in Texas! And we were swooped up into a whirlwind of people and activities the second we arrived. It's great! There are 12 children in this house. The oldest just turned 13.

But before we get too far into that let's take a minute a reminisce about the trip here. It was all grand right up until our layover in Atlanta. We only had a 45 minute layover planned and we had to go from terminal A to E so that was really just enough time. We herded the kids that direction as quickly as possible, boarded the plane the second we arrived at the right gate, sat down and got re-situated in our carefully orchestrated order of kid, adult, kid, aisle, kid, adult, kid, noticed it had started raining outside and were notified that we would be waiting until the lightning storm passed before we could take off. So we settled in for a little wait on the tarmac. Fine. And then there was an earth-shatteringly loud boom and a jolt. Our plane was hit by lightning. We suspected this right away, but patiently waited for "they" to tell us what to do. About 10 minutes later they confirmed that the plane had been hit and told us to sit tight while they figured out if this plane was operational. Of course, it wasn't. So they herded us out of the plane. Then they told us we had 30 minutes to get from terminal E to terminal B. So we booked it back across the airport and got there just in time to... wait more. Our plane wasn't ready. Anyway, we waited about 30 minutes more before we were allowed to board the plane then we waited another 10 minutes while they fixed some paperwork problem and then we were finally airborn. The only perk was that this new plane had TV's in the head rests of each seat and TV or movies to choose from. And they weren't charging for it's use since they had just jerked us around like a pack of marionettes. So the kids vegged out in front of TV's and we arrived in Texas (that part is all a blur of HGTV on my TV and Nickelodean on Asher's TV mixed with loud comments from my cousin Christopher and I'm trying to block it out). The point is now we're here and having fun. Sigh.

More details later. I'm exhausted just re-living that day through words. I'm gonna go sit down, watch a movie with my sisters and eat Oreo's. But remind me to tell you all about our fun girl's night out and jewelry making party.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Trippin

Tomorrow the kids, Ruth, my cousin Christopher (who is 10) and I fly together to Texas for a week and half long visit. (I don't usually give warnings as to when I'll be out of the house, but since Richard will still be home I feel OK saying that.) My sister Angela, her 5 kids, and my sis-in-law Kelly and her new baby will also be there. My brother lives nearby with his 3 kids. It should be a really fun trip since all the women of the family and all the grandkids will be there.

This week has been a blur of checking responsibilities off a list, laundry, planning and packing.

Today I went out and bought a "child restraint harness". Otherwise known as a leash. I feel like it is a necessity, and at the same time I feel guilty. When I talked to my sister, Angela, about my guilt she helped me feel better. Essentially she said "Why should you feel guilty for restraining your child with a leash when the alternative is for him to be restrained in a stroller? We restrain our children all the time for their own safety, why is a leash different?" It's true. And the reason I chose to get a leash is that Asher is happier walking than riding in the stroller. And Naomi is happier riding in the stroller than walking. But Asher isn't responsible enough to walk next to me and stay there. I turn my head for 1.4 seconds and he is half way across the room. And when the "room" is a huge airport, that worries me. So I bought a leash. It's really just a strap that goes around his wrist.

Am I the only one who stresses out like nothing else leading up to traveling? It doesn't matter how much I plan and do stuff ahead of time. It's one of those things where what you've got to do is going to take up as much time as you've got. I always end up stressed out to the max and usually crying the night before the trip. I know everything is going to get done. I know if I forget something it's no big deal - we'll just buy another one probably. I know no catastrophe is going to happen. I'm not worried about the actual being high in the sky part of flying at all (just the keeping four kids entertained in one place for four hours part). It doesn't matter how much I tell myself that I don't really need to stress. I still do it. I'm a wreck. Am I alone in my craziness or is this one of those things that everybody does but nobody talks about so you think you're the only one?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The ball lover

Isaiah is really at the age where personality starts to shine through. Earlier in his life I thought he was going to take after Asher in that his one true love would be cars. But now I think that maybe his first true love will be balls. He chases after them, holds them, smashes his face into them, throws them, bangs them on things, and eats them. You know, all the things that a baby does to show love. He is actually better at throwing balls than Asher is because Asher has never taken the time to learn the proper release technique. He'd rather vroom a car.

Here is a video of Isaiah playing with a ball this morning. Also notable in this video: how he scrunches his face up when he smiles or laughs, how talented he is at crawling with things in his hands, and "mom" at the end. He often follows me around the house chanting "ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma".

video

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Independance Day 2008

We had a grand Independance Day this year. I really think the 4th of July is one of the just-plain-fun holiday's. You don't have to do it big - there's no obligation or guilt if you don't - but if you do it's a blast. This year we did some of the same things we did last year. We started the day at a small-town parade in nearby Leesburg. Then we let the kids picnic at a playground to kill some time. Ruth joined us for both of those outings. It was great. The parade is just the right size for our little family and the kids always love the park. After that it was naptime for the kids and Ruth stayed home while Richard and I went out for lunch. As soon as we got back from that Ruth and I took off for D.C. I had tried and tried to get a babysitter so that Richard could come with too, but it just wasn't in the cards this year I guess. So Richard (very, very sweetly) let Ruth and I go and he stayed home with the kids. We left at like 3pm so he really had the kids for a large chunk of the day. What a great guy. Ruth and I had no trouble driving into D.C. We parked at the Kennedy Center since she has a parking pass there and then walked onto the mall. After doing some loops to avoid road-blocks (and side trips to see Lincoln and the WWII memorial) we eventually made it to her group of friends. They had staked out a great place right in front of the Washington Monument. A great place to see the fireworks. We were there by 4pm and the fireworks don't start until 9pm so we had a little waiting to do. But Ruth had fun with her friends from church (she even joined in on some frisbee playing!) and I relaxed with no kids clambering for my attention. It was totally weird hanging out with a bunch of single people. My goal was to be as un-anti-social as possible while still not really being social. I didn't want anybody wasting their time getting to know me much. But they were all very sweet and I didn't ever feel unwelcome or uncomfortable. Anyway - there was rain. And then we dried off. And then there was rain again. And did I mention we had no umbrellas or jackets or anything? Yep. That part was lots of fun. But in the end the fireworks were so worth it. Everybody kept saying "you just have to see the D.C. fireworks" and I really thought it was more for the glory of being able to say you have done it. But they were amazing. Seriously breath-takingly amazing. First off, we were so close that they were huge. You sometimes had to turn your head to be able to see the whole picture in front of you. And they just seemed to keep going and going. It was like 20 minutes of non-stop amazingness. And really cool. Just really, really cool fireworks. I definitely want to do it again next year. With my hubby instead of random single people (no offense, Ruth). Getting home wasn't even a total disaster. We were still pretty wet when we got home, but we didn't even care. It was really a very memorable and fun day.

The Parade




The Playground / Picnic


Ruth and I hit the National Mall and the Fireworks






The view from where we sat

A close up of the Lincoln Memorial because we thought it was cool how the crowd looked red, white and blue. How very patriotic of them all!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Jewelry Making Party

The jewelry making party, last night, was a total success. Only 4 people came (10 RSVPed yes) but the small group was still a blast. Much pretty jewelry was made, laughs were had, margarita's were drank (drunk? drinked?), etc. I spent most of my time helping other people, but I did have time to make a bracelet and earrings. But then one of the ladies bought that, too! So I am itching to make some more jewelry even though I technically spent three hours doing it last night. The Dining Room looked fabulous. It was all a total success. I just posted a video tour of the house before this post so go check that out. And here are a few pictures, too.

Below is the view from the living room into the dining room.
A close-up of my cool plates.
My jewelry display. It was neat to see all the jewelry I've made, displayed all together. One lady bought something I'd already made (the blue/green and gold bracelet kind of in the middle and slightly right)
The "margarita's" were a total hit. Fun drinks always add atmosphere, right?

Video Tour of my house

Here is a video tour of the main floor of my house. It is all staged for my jewelry making party, so there are a few things that aren't in their usual places, but it's close enough.

video

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Excitement

Tonight is my jewelry making party. It looks like about 10 people will be here. I am super excited about it. We're going to drink "margaritas" (OK, fine, orange juice, Limeade, and Sprite mixed and served in sugar-rimmed glasses), eat munchies, and make beautiful things. What could be better?

I've been to the craft store(s) every day this week, repeatedly using a coupon for 50% off one item. (You can print multiples of the same coupon online and then use one every day! And since there are two craft stores in town and they take each other's coupons I can get 50% off two items each day.) I think the people there are starting to recognize me. Oh well. I've gotten some great deals to pass along to the people at the party. They'll be paying for the jewelry they make on a per-bead basis. The beads range from one to 70 cents each. Several people are bringing their own beads, too. It's killing me to not use these fab new beads that I've gotten yet. I always gets excited when I get new stuff. I spent nearly an hour yesterday figuring the exact cost of each kind of bead or finding (what they call all the little parts, hooks, wires, etc. in jewelry making) and putting them in their own little slot of ice cube trays with a little price tag. I think it turned out really cute.

My day today is filled with errands and cleaning - but it'll be fun! I love a good party/excuse to clean the house. We'll see how my enthusiasm is doing after I drag the kids to 4 stores today though.

Stay tuned for pictures of the Dining Room in it's newly-remodeled state. (Plate hangers are holding me up. I'm having trouble finding ones big enough for the dinner plates I bought.)