Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

We are going to celebrate the new year like good tired parents of an infant and two kiddos. A toast and bed as early as we can fall into it! We are making a little sparkling juice for the kids, and are actually going to have a glass of champagne thanks to a gift from good friends of ours, to toast each other.

My wish for you all is a good old Irish Blessing:

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

All of the very best to you and yours, and we'll speak again in the new year.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Nicknames for Baby O.

Henry: Storm pooper
Henry: Oliveraptor (on account of the scream he makes in the morning sounding just like a velociraptor!)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Let's Stay Home and MAKE things!

We've been a bit house bound since before Christmas due to our "Arctic Blast 2008". I'm not kidding. That is what the news channels were calling it. My husband and I are always making up names for little things like this: Family Ski Trip 2007, or Visiting Family STORM 2005... I even threw a shower for my friend one year and the whole thing was "Sinsel Baby Shower 2006". I couldn't wait to hear what they would call this, "Arctic Blast" 2008 was SO great - much better than the "Snow Storm 2008" I was expecting.

I'm from Alaska, but I still wasn't interested in driving in the mess of our streets. Where I grew up the streets were plowed before we woke up in the morning, and my dad would plow our driveway while we were getting ready and before we left the house. Here a dusting of snow causes people to freak out. We had 19". NINETEEN INCHES. i think they make a big gulp that tall. We did have some pretty amazing drifts from the snow, and there seems to be no system for clearing the streets here as it is basically NEVER necessary. We've lived here over 12 years and have only seen it snow a couple of times, and it is almost always gone by morning. Our nineteen inches of snow basically shut down the city. People were driving down the streets the wrong way, driving down the MIDDLE of the streets, blowing through red lights, WALKING down the middle of the road with cars stopped behind them, then later driving 50 on the freeway with their CHAINS ON. For REALS.

We stayed in and made things! Cookies, ornaments, Christmas presents, cards... We had family with us, lots of bustle and hustle and NOISE and fun and love. Here are a few of the things we made. The cookies were SO good. They are from my all time favorite cookbook The New Basics Cookbook
Everything I've made from this cook book over the last 20 years has turned out perfectly. I'm obsessed (yes, I'm sick of hearing people say they are obsessed with things, too, but it is late and I can't think of a better way to describe it) with refrigerator cookies right now. How great is it to have a roll of dough in the fridge all ready to slice and pop in the oven? I don't have to spend the whole afternoon baking, I can just bake one sheet and be done. I also made these a couple of weeks ago, and rolled them in candied ginger, brightly colored sugars, and rolled them out and layered them with yummy jam.
We also used Martha's instructions for making Cinnamon Applesauce ornaments. As we were decorating the tree, my 3 year old daughter was reading the names on the ornaments, and there were a disproportionate amount with H names to the M names. H made some of these in his preschool class two years ago, so we made lots more, had a great time doing it, and Miss Mae will have lots of ornaments made by her on our tree! Obviously we didn't use the bird templates.We'll run some ribbon through them and have them ready to hang on the tree next year. They were very easy to make and smell wonderful! The instructions say to roll them to 1/4" thick, but I think 1/2" would have been better. And make sure you keep flattening them as they tend to curl!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snow Days

Why is it that when we are snowed in, and I'm forced to stay home, I seem to get LESS done? The kids don't have school today due to the winter STORM... And I feel like I'm chasing my tail trying to keep up with the house. I finally sent them downstairs so I could work on the main floor. On Monday they were home, too, and I let them go play outside by THEMSELVES. My son is 6 for crap sake, he should be able to play outside alone, but it scares me to death. I just think about all the horrible things that could happen to them with out me by their side. The freezing cold weather helped me overcome my fears. Too cold for me! I grew up in Alaska where I would wear miniskirts in the winter, and was mortified to have to wear boots with them (uggs were SO not cool then. wait, are they now??), but now, the snow is only fun if i have skis strapped to my feet!

Because of the crappy economy, and baby number three in our household, our Christmas is being WAAAAY scaled back this year. I've decided to MAKE gifts for my parents and the kids. The kids main gifts from Santa are going to be bean bag chairs that I'm making from Simply Sewing with a French Twist. They are sort of squarish instead of a big circle. At our house, Santa's gifts are not wrapped, but set around under and on the tree. This means the kids can't know I'm making them, and I have to work on them after bedtime and when they are in school. DID I MENTION THE SNOW DAYS WE ARE HAVING?? ugh. Christmas is getting close!
I'll take pictures as i go and post them. I've had this book forever and never made anything out of it. It'll be fun to see if I can make something from her notes and tiny drawings. I've never made anything from instructions without a pattern. And I'm going to try REALLY hard to just follow her directions. I usually get caught when I try to change everything and then don't have the directions to get me out of the hole I've dug myself!

Okay, back to cleaning my house!!

Another Holiday Giveaway!

wahoooo! Another Christmas time giveaway! This one is at 2modern I adore this site, and they are giving things away! Definitely go enter!

Friday, December 12, 2008

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas...

My true love gave to me:
Eleven Pipers Piping,

Ten Lords A-Leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Fiiiive gooolden riiiings,
Fo-our calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two-ooo turtle doves,
and a partri-idge in a pear treeeeee!

The pipers represent either the faithful apostles, or more entertaining for the feast. Soooome feast, right?

I'm a bit behind, so we are going to extend our donations through the weekend. Our day eleven charity is Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital. DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital was founded in 1973 by Mr. A.B. Lewis, in cooperation with the Portland Veterinary Medical Association, and in memory of Mr. Lewis' late wife, Dove.
Dove Lewis and A.B. were breeders of standard poodles, Yorkshire terriers, and shitzus.
If you've ever had an emergency with a pet in Portland, as I have, you've been to Dove Lewis. The people are wonderful and they take the very best care of animals.
If you would like 15% of your purchase at www.catinanapron.com to go to Dove Lewis, just email me at marne@catinanapron.com after you check out, and I'll take care of it.

Save Handmade

I know I'm terribly late on my posting. I'm trying to put together a holiday party for this weekend, and it has been pretty crazy around here.

This is just SO important!! Please read it and write to your local officials!!!! Obviously we have to be safe. We can't be making things in our homes loaded with lead or make things that would harm our children. "But this year, the CPSC passed the ill-conceived Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act which goes into effect in two months and will absolutely decimate the small toy manufacturers, independent artisans, and crafters who have already earned the public trust." This is from Cool Mom Picks. Apparently this could also affect all of us who make ANY children's products.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

On the Tenth Day of Christmas

My true love gave to me:
TEN Lords A-Leaping,

Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Fiiiive gooolden riiiings,
Fo-our calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two-ooo turtle doves,
and a partri-idge in a pear treeeeee!

Our leaping lords, can represent the 10 commandments, or point to the dances men did to whip themselves into a lather before war. Our true love is offering protection. OR, if we are keeping with the feasting theme, they jumping boys could be referring to Morris Dancers who would entertain between courses.
Today's charity is The Portland Rescue Mission. It was founded in 1949 they believe in taking care of all of God's people. This is more than a soup kitchen or a shelter; it is a new life for people. They offer classes and training to get people on their feet and to help them be self sufficient. These people are really doing this work for all the right reasons, and we should support them.

I will donate 15% of your order at http://www.catinanapron.com/ - just email me at marne@catinanapron.com after you check out, and i will take care of it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

On The Ninth Day of Christmas...

My true love gave to meeeee:

NINE ladies dancing,

Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Fiiiive gooolden riiiings,
Fo-our calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two-ooo turtle doves,
and a partri-idge in a pear treeeeee!

The ladies represent the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit (although the Catholic Church lists 12...) or simply ladies dancing!
Today's charity is Shepherd's Door and is very close to my heart. When I was newly out of school, I was blessed enough to work on the Portland Rescue Mission's new venture called Shepherd's Door: a facility to house and care for single women and their children. Then years later, I was blessed to work on it again! This time it was built and it is gorgeous. It truly is a home, not just a shelter, for women who are in need. There are classrooms for the women and a full facility for the children on site. Women are taught life skills to be able to support their families while knowing their children are safe and learning themselves.

When I first moved to Portland and for the next almost 10 years, I worked downtown. I struggled with how many homeless people there are! I didn't know how to help, and I didn't understand why there were so many. You can learn ways to help here. And you can carry these coupons, and hand them to people you meet to offer them a way to get help.

I've only been lucky enough to have met a few people like Jan Marshall in my life. She is the Director of Women's Ministries, and is truly inspirational. So many of the things we hoped for the site, but thought wouldn't be possible due to financial constraints, were not only included but our hopes were FAR exceeded. She said "believe", we did, and it all came through. She has her arms wrapped around Shepherd's Door in a giant hug, and we are all the better for it.

Again, I'll send 15% of any purchases to the Shepherd's Door - just email me after checkout, and I'll take care of it.

Giveaway at POSH LITTLE


I'm going to give away a Flipside Hat to one person - drawn at random - who comments to the Win it Wednesday page at Posh Little. You can choose the hat and the size. These hats are SO cute! They are reversible, so they are really two hats in one! The contest goes for one week, so be sure to post! I'll get it in the mail next wednesday, so it should ship out in time for Christmas!

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Ups and Downs of Being a Mompreneur / Found Angel

I had a table selling Cat in an Apron wares at two different shows this past weekend. I'm not a HUGE sales person, but I love to show off the gorgeous things I carry that are made by OTHER people.

The first show was only an hour and a half long, so my husband took the kids for a drive and a milkshake while I stayed at the show. Baby O. apparently cried the whole time. When they came to get me, he couldn't have been happier! Smiling hugely and he actually laughed for the first time, as if nothing had bothered him for the last hour.

The second show I had help from friends, so my husband stayed home with H. and Miss Mae, and I took baby O. with me. He has had a little "witching hour" crying fits for the first couple of months of his life, but he seemed to be over them. And I thought he'd hang out with us while we manned the table. WELL. He decided to have the worst screaming fit of his short LIFE while we were setting up. Then he decided to be happy DURING the show and take a nap, and then as soon as I put him down to start loading everything, he thought he'd try to beat the original screaming fit. SERIOUSLY. UGH. When he cries I completely lose it - I can't concentrate, I can't understand what people are saying, I just want to hold him. I was battling with myself: I needed to get set up, and out of there and out of everyone's way, I didn't want to bother people with the screaming, I didn't want my friend, who came to help me, have to do EVERYTHING while I held my baby, and I was mortified that I couldn't calm my own baby! Thank God my friend Shannon DID come with me. I do not know what I would have done with out her!! It was very difficult. I didn't leave him with my husband, because I'm nursing him often enough that I couldn't be away from him that long, and we haven't gotten the whole pumping and bottles thing down yet.

While we were setting up and I was freaking out and trying to calm my body so that baby O wouldn't feel how tense I was, and this angel woman appeared out of nowhere and offered to hold him. Should I hand my baby to a stranger? Would she just walk out the door with him?? And mostly I really thought he wouldn't calm down with her because I'M the only one he calms down with. "I'm a doula," she said. What did I do? I hand him to her. What did HE do? He STOPPED CRYING. I was able to set everything up and he was happy with her. She even LOOKED like an angel. Then during the clean up and put everything away phase, and screaming bout number TWO, she appeared AGAIN! And off he went with his angel to wait for me to finish.

I can't thank her enough. If you need an angel, check her out: http://www.pamperedmomma.net/ . She is calm and lovely and obviously has a way with babies!! and mamas!!

The PROs of owning my own business, are that I could lay on the couch when I was ill from morning sickness, and let the business take a back seat to pregnancy, and be able to lay low for a couple of months when baby O. came home with us. I can work when I CAN - when the kids are asleep, or my husband is home.

The Cons?? The shows this weekend, and the horrible guilt I can load on myself when my poor baby is screaming and I can't just walk away with him to hold him.

On the Eighth Day of Christmas...

My true love gave to me:

Eight Maids A-Milking,

Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
fiiiive gooolden riiiings,
fo-our calling birds,
three french hens,
two-ooo turtle doves,
and a partri-idge in a pear treeeeee!

I am sure going to have this song down by the time these twelve days are over! Maids a-milking could refer to the eight beatitudes, romance, or proposals of marriage.

We are going to focus on St. Jude's Children's' Research Hospital for day eight of our Twelve Days of Christmas. St. Jude's is a medical center and it is a research hospital. Some of the greatest research in cancers, some acquired and inherited immunodeficiencies, sickle cell disease, infectious diseases and genetic disorders, is happening here. And every child is accepted for treatment with out regard to their ability to pay. I cry just thinking about it - how sad i am for those sick kids, how beautiful it is that they can be helped no matter how much money they have, how beautiful those people are who are accepting them and not caring about money. My mom is named after St. Jude - her mother was always very close to St. Jude. We can make a difference by donating to them. And of course, I will send 15% of any purchase to them - just email me if they are your choice after check out, and I will take care of it.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

On The Seventh Day of Christmas...

My true love gave to me:
Seven Swans A-Swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Fiiiive goooolden riiiiings,
Fo-ur calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a paaaartri-idge in a pear treeeee.

Our seven swans can represent the seven Blessed Sacraments, royalty, or, again, a tasty part of a feast, although in England, no one EATS the swans anymore, thank goodness. Today is the last of the birds from the song. If our true love were really to gift us this many birds, we'd have TWENTY EIGHT birds!! That is quite a feast!!

I had a table at two shows this weekend, and got some great donations to our charities! I'm going to be so happy to send off those checks! The shows wiped me out, and I took a long nap this morning (after not being able to sleep past 4 am, ugh) so I'm finally getting this up today.
Today's charity is Autism Society of America. Here is their statement:
  • ASA, the nation’s leading grassroots autism organization, exists to improve the lives of all affected by autism. We do this by increasing public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the spectrum, advocating for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and providing the latest information regarding treatment, education, research and advocacy.

Autism seems to be on such a rise today. Are there really more cases? Are the cases just document better? And the spectrum is SO huge! I've read articles about adults being diagnosed for the first time when their children were diagnosed. I think we all know people who are affected by autism. Let's support them. Here is a way to get involved. You can donate here.

And as always, with every purchase you make at http://www.catinanapron.com/, I'll donate 15% to the charity of your choice from our list. Just email me at marne@catinanapron.com and I'll take care of it.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

On The Sixth Day of Christmas....

My true love gave to meeee:

SIX Geese a-laying

fiiiiive goooolden riiiiings,
fo-ur calling birds,
three french hens,
two-oo turtle doves,
and a partri-idge in a pear treeee....

Our gift of geese can either represent the 6 days of creation, or the fact that geese mate for life (although the males seem to mate with MANY girl geese for life - lifetime POLYgamy instead of monogamy...), or 6 sturdy egg laying domesticated animals providing us a good supply of food in eggs as well as potentially more males for eating, OR even protection as some considered them early security systems with all of their honking at strangers.
We celebrate day six with The Children's Aids Fund located in Washington DC. This group supports children and families living with AIDS. "Since the beginning of the epidemic, many have rightfully focused on research to find treatments, vaccines, and hopefully a cure. To complement that effort and provide tangible immediate assistance for those dealing with HIV, the Children's AIDS Fund (CAF) focuses on meeting practical needs of HIV-impacted children and families. Programs have emerged from working with families for more than 15 years that include:
Emergency financial assistance
Holiday gifts
Counseling regarding such issues as:
Treatment & care
Community support
Permanency planning
Bereavement
Technical assistance and networking with care providers
International partnerships addressing such needs as:
Education for orphaned children
Establishing group homes for orphaned children
Developing pilot programs for treatment & care
Providing technical assistance for indigenous care providers and support networks"

Here is the mission statement: "The Children's AIDS Fund works to limit suffering of children and their families caused by HIV disease by providing care, services, resources, referrals, and education."

Their website has tons of really great information on AIDS. If ever you have a question this is the place to look. Refresh the front page and every new page shows how many adults, women, children, and orphans are infected with AIDS in each country. Heavy. What can you do in your community? Check here.
As always, 15% of every sale will be donated to the charity from our list of your choice - just email me after check out at marne@catinanapron.com and I'll take care of it.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

On the Fifth Day of Christmas...

My true love gave to me:
FIIIVE GOOOOLDEN RIIIIIINGS
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two-oo turtle doves,
and a PARTRI-IDGE in a pear treeeee.

The theological translation is the first Five Books of the Old Testament which recounts the history of man’s fall from grace, or they can be MORE birds, namely ring necked pheasants. I'm beginning to think whoever wrote this was just really hungry and into poultry.

SO I was thinking five rings would be the five circles of the Olympics logo, but much closer to my heart is the Special Olympics. And wouldn't you know it, their logo is FIVE little guys, too!
When I was growing up in little Valdez, Alaska, my parents got me involved in volunteering with the Special Olympics. I remember being so overwhelmed by the pride and intensity of the athletes. They had so much determination and drive to win while at the same time being such good sports and supporting each other. I think we could learn a lot from them.

The Special Olympics provides training and athletic competition, year round, to over 2.5 million athletes in over 180 countries! But, according to their website, the movement is still affecting just a small percentage of the up to 190 million people worldwide with intellectual disabilities around the world.

I've been supporting them for years, just email me once you've checked out at marne@catinanapron.com, telling me they are your choice for donation, and I'll send 15% of your purchase to help support them, too.

Don't Dress Your Cat in an Apron!

Well said little guy!!

Run You Mother!

ISN'T THIS INSPIRING!?!
I got the http://www.seemommyrun.com/ newsletter this morning and I HONESTLY wish i could go out for a run! I used to run before I got pregnant, continued as long as I could DURING the pregnancy, and then slowed down to walking. I got right back on the treadmill after Baby O. joined us, but the last month or so I have been so busy and tired, that getting up an extra hour earlier has been too much. I'm going to print out this hat and some ladies running, post them on my bulletin board, and get inspired!!
They are having a 50% off sale on some of their featured products, too, so RUN U MOTHER!!

On The Fourth Day of Christmas

My true love gave to me:
Four Calling Birds,
three french hens,
two-oo turtle doves,
and a PARtri-idge in a pear treeeeeee.

This can represent the four gospels, the four evangalists, 'colly' birds which were black birds (and eaten), or just really cute birds for the whole BIRD theme of the first part of the song. Okay, i have to interject here. I'm a total etymology nerd, and this series is just fascinating!! check it out here. I'm going to keep pointing to these post throughout these twelve days. Another interjection: I sing to my kids when we are done reading books at night and they are falling asleep. One of the songs in our rotation is Hush Little Baby. Every time I sing "papa's gonna buy you a mocking bird", my daughter corrects me and says, "no mama. it is ROCKING bird!" She just won't believe me when I try to explain what a mocking bird is, and why that is part of the song. Why do 3 year olds and 6 year old argue about things like this? I'm sure I have NO idea where they get it - must be their father...

ON TO OUR CHARITY of the day. World Vision - www.worldvision.org - does so much, there is no way I can get it all into one post. Through World Vision, you can sponsor a child, buy supplies for emergency relief, even buy things like goats and ducks and clothing for families in need.

We can help them with as little as $10.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Booking Airline Tickets Online

I am so angry, I have to vent! We have been trying to book my niece a flight out here from Rochester, New York. I looked up the price on www.travelocity.com and it came to about $250. I emailed my mom and said, "book the tickets!" She logs on and says, "What are you talking about? They are $600!!" I've been checking all day long every day since then, and the prices haven't dropped below $500. Today I got another $260, did a celebration dance, and quickly click the button to buy the tickets. Here is what i get:

SORRY, the price has increased since your search.

......
Are you kidding me?? It has increased in the last 30 seconds?? I think that is called BAIT AND SWITCH, no?? What is the deal with the airline companies that there is no PRICE for anything? It is a constant freaking bouncing scale that you have to some how pounce on at the exact right time. The very same seat is $200 one minute and $800 the next?!?!? Makes me so angry!!

I LOVE Kindergarten Projects!

My son brought this home from school. You've probably read something like this a million times, but I am new to the whole SCHOOL PROJECT thing, and I just ADORE this!! These are the sorts of things parents should do if they knew about them - there should be a BOOK. Here is what it says:

Each evening when goodnights are said,
Take off one link, and hop into bed.
When only the star is left to shine,
Then you will know it is Christmas time!

I love that my son made it. I love that it helps them be aware of how much time is left until Christmas. I love that it is part of our evening routine now. I love that Christmas Eve we'll be able to take that last link off and the kids will go to sleep knowing Santa will have been there when they wake up! I love Christmas time!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

On The Third Day of Christmas....

My true love gave to me:
Three French Hens,
Two Turtle Doves,
and a Partridge in a Pear Treeeeeeeeee.

Once again, this can mean either the three theological virtues: faith, hope and charity, or it can just be ANOTHER reference to all of the eating people used to do during the celebration from Christmas to Epiphany. Or, I guess it could just sound really great with the short syllables and conjure images of nice fat little chickens.

So today, since we've been talking about feasts, our most deserving charity is Loaves and Fishes / Meals on Wheels. The name is obviously taken from the miracle of the loaves and fish where Jesus fed the masses with one boy's lunch. There seem to be a Loaves and Fishes groups all over the country. Here in Portland the focus is on seniors and disabled people who live independently. When I was pregnant with my daughter, my son and I delivered Meals on Wheels. It was such a profound experience. It was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. Little H charmed everyone he met, and we would stay and chat a little with most of the people. It doesn't seem like a big deal, delivering meals to people, but what it is really providing them is independence. They are able to live on their own and not have to worry about fixing three meals a day.

As always, during our 12 Days of Christmas, donate 15% of any sales from Cat in an Apron to the Portland Loaves and Fishes - just email me at marne@catinanapron.com and I will take care of it. If you would like to do more, check out these options.

Two Events This Weekend

Cat in an Apron will have a booth at TWO events this weekend. On Friday we'll be at the AMAA Handmade Holiday Craft Show:
December 5th
4:30 pm
Ankrom Moisan Associated Architects
SW Macadam, Ste 150

then on Saturday we'll be at the Holiday Shopping Soiree:
Saturday December 6th,
4 - 7pm
Me Too Cafe
16755 Baseline Road in Beaverton
come shop, sip wine and enjoy tasty treats!

We'll have everything marked down for both shows!

Poinsettia Brooches Finished

I finished these. They were so fun to make! I wish I would have made more. I wasn't sure how time intensive they would be, and I needed 25 for swag bags for the Holiday Shopping Soiree where we'll have a booth on Saturday, so I only made 30. I'm definitely going to make some different flowers for after the holidays, as well.

On the Second Day of Christmas...

My true love gave to me:

Two Turtle Doves
and a partridge in a pear tree.

The doves are supposed to represent the old and new testament, or as doves mate for life, fidelity, faithfulness, and forever love. Pretty nice.

Today's charity is Habitat for Humanity

"Habitat for Humanity seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action."

Habitat has built nearly 300,000 houses around the world, providing more than 1.5 million people in more than 3,000 communities with safe, decent, affordable shelter. That is just amazing. They are a "teach a man to fish" kind of organization. People who are blessed with a Habitat home must work a certain number of hours on the construction and take classes on home ownership. They aren't just handed a free house.

If you would like to know more, go to their website. You can donate money or volunteer your time. How lucky are we who own our own homes - let's help those who need it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

On The First Day of Christmas....

Oh! This makes me so happy! I am SO glad to be researching and discussing charities! Cat in an Apron will donate 15% of every sale to one of the charities I'll be profiling - you choose which one - for the first 12 days of December.

Now, the whole twelve days of Christmas song seems to have all kinds of history associated with it - it seems no one can agree. One truth for sure, is that it counts down the days from Christmas to Epiphany. We are going to visit them BEFORE Christmas, so we can get lovely gifts to you in time for gift giving, and so the money we are donating gets in the right hands before Christmas.

On the FIRST day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: A partridge in a pear tree!
This should not conjure an image of a redheaded little boy in bell bottoms climbing a fruit tree, but peace, or Jesus, or MUCH more you can find here if you are so inclined. Very interesting!

Our first charity I'll be profiling is Casa Cards. Casa cards produces cards featuring artwork by children. They are just beautiful. (click on the image above to order the cards.) They contain that purity and heart that we adults are always trying to get back to. The sale of these cards funds their goal: "to raise awareness and funding for Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) programs, which provide individual advocacy for children who have been abused." Here is their statement:

  • Founded in 1989 by board members of then Multnomah County CASA, the project is currently operated by CASA for Children, serving Multnomah and Washington Counties in Oregon. Over the past 1 9 years, more than 5. 5 million CASA Cards have been sold from our office in Portland and through participating CASA programs nationwide. Proceeds from the sale of our products directly fund the training and support of volunteers who advocate within the juvenile court and child welfare systems. In Multnomah and Washington Counties, every $1500 that CASA Cards generates provides a full year of advocacy for one child. The more cards we sell, the more kids we can help.

This started here in Portland, but there is a national casa, too.

You can also help by buying cards, or by becoming a volunteer advocate. If every child had an advocate looking out for them, I'm sure the system would work so much better! I really want to do this when my kids are a little older.

Remember, we'll give 15% of every sale during these first 12 days of December to one of our 12 charities. If you'd like it to be Casa for Children / Casa Cards, just email me at marne@catinanapron.com and I will take care of it.

If we are feeling this economy as much as we are, I can only imagine the charities are feeling it more, let's support them. I wish you the very best this season!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Coming Soon! Twelve Days of Christmas


Starting December 1st, I am going to be showcasing a different charity a day for 12 days. If you make a purchase at catinanapron.com, I will donate 15% of your purchase to the charity you choose from my list. I know this holiday season is difficult for many of us, and I'm afraid the charities will also be taking a hit. This way, you can buy a great gift for someone you love (or yourself!) and know that you are supporting a wonderful charity during this difficult time. However you celebrate this season, I hope it is warm and filled with people you love!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Poinsettia Pins



Here they are! I'm so happy with how they turned out! They were really easy to make - well, I'm not finished yet, but putting the first bits together went pretty fast! I was setting aside a LOT of time to make these! I cut out squares of red and green, then cut them into the shapes, then felted them together. Now I'm going to sew some gold beads in the middle, and sew on the pin backing, and they'll be done! I think they'll look just lovely on a warm coat, or a crisp white shirt. I'm going to attach one of these to one of our poem cards with a 15% off coupon for the swag bags for the show I'm doing December 6th.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

New Christmas Tree Ornaments

I've been making felted bags for a couple of years now. I LOVE FELTING! It is like painting and sculpture only faster. I make little hand bags that are lined with cotton and are bigger, so I thought smaller ones would be great for the tree. The body is a recycled wool sweater that I felted, and the designs are needle felted on. I gave them as gifts last year filled with cellophane bags of candy that I made. They also fit a gift card perfectly. When I was growing up, my parents always put special gifts ON the tree, and these are a lovely little holder for them.

I'm making some great pins in the poinsettia design, too. Right now I'm focusing on getting them done for the swag bags for the Holiday Shopping Soiree that I'm doing on December 6th. Hopefully I'll get enough done that I can put them on here, as well.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Truth About Santa

When I was 4 or so, we lived in an A-Frame that was totally under construction out in the woods in Alaska. My dad was the contractor and the entire construction team. It was at the 10 mile post on the road out of town, so it was called "10 mile". We lived at "10 mile"... In fact, though, it was more than 10 miles from out of town, because the mileposts were never changed after Valdez was moved after the 1964 earthquake. Even while typing this - my past, and total consciousness - it seems so STRANGE! I'm not sure how finished the house was when we moved in, but i remember just framed walls that we could walk through, rollerskating on the plywood floor in the living room, sleeping in a little nest i made between joists in the attic that i crawled up a ladder to get to, and playing in the giant piles of sawdust my dad made from cutting down trees and cutting the lumber for the house. I remember the chemical 'toilet', hauling water from friends' houses in giant square soft plastic containers with little spouts at the bottom, doing laundry at their houses, and even showering there. I LOVED every second of it as a child, but i can only imagine how my mom felt about it!! i would HATE to live that way now! She had to get my brother to school every day in town, i have NO idea how she cooked out there, and i don't know HOW many times she got the truck stuck in snow on the tiny little road that led to our house.
ANYWAY, when we were living in this wonderland of a house, I found a box and inside this box, was a little mirror. It was one of those mirrors that seemed prevalent in the 70's: a little squarish mirror in a flowered plastic frame with a little handle. I remember wanting one of these mirrors SO badly! (I hope that doesn't say anything about my vanity...) I took it excitedly to my mom and said "MOM!!! Where did this come from?? Is it for ME??" She whisked it away and said something about snooping through boxes and "go play outside". Christmas morning (yes, i imagine we were sitting around on the plywood floor in the living room) there was my shiny, perfect mirror IN MY STOCKING. FROM SANTA. I asked my 5 years older brother if mom and dad were Santa, and he said "yep." without a pause. I didn't have the heart to tell my parents that i knew, so for YEARS i played along on drives looking for Rudolph in the sky, and thanking Santa for the AWESOME barbies he left for me. I'm not sure how old I was when they finally sat me down to tell me most teenagers don't believe in Santa anymore... i wanted them to think they were doing a good job!
If you need some help, click here for great ideas to keep Santa alive for your kids.

Computer dies, but customer service at DELL rocks!

My computer has died. I had a mini breakdown when my husband told me - got a little dizzy and everything. I couldn't think about it, so i just "unplugged" myself for the weekend. It was wonderful, but at the same time, this nagging at the back of my head about what could be lost, and what i SHOULD be doing was pretty horrible. I called DELL, and they sent out a tech yesterday who replaced the motherboard, and for about 2 minutes i saw my DESKTOP!! Thank you GOD, my hard drive is happy and safe - just inaccessible. Turns out the NEW motherboard might be a 'lemon' so they are going to replace it again today. I'm just so happy the hard drive is okay! and I'm so impressed with dell for coming to ME - i don't have to mail it anywhere or take it anywhere - just great.
Now, however, I'm typing on our OTHER machine. We set up my old tower computer for our kids to play games on. The keyboard is VERY old, and doesn't type "W's" very well! so i have to hit the damn w key THREE times to get it to type one!! very frustrating. And when i read what I've written, it is filled with hens, and hys, and hats!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

On A More Worthy Note

And this is what we should all REALLY be doing this holiday season. What an easy way to make a huge difference in a person's life!

I'm donating 2 pairs of shoes right now.

DWR: Limited

I'm sure you are already huge fans of Design Within Reach like I am. My dream home would be walking into the pages of one of their magazines. I don't even care which one, or which page! They are doing the coolest countdown of goreousness right now. Some of the things are vintage and selling at auction, some are just for sale, but OH, are they all amazing. Today is The Flocks Aran Rug:

It sells for a mere $9000. I'm thinking of getting one for each room. If I had the kind of money to spend $9000 on a 7' x 5' rug, would I? I'm not sure. I'd like to think I would feed the hungry first, but it really is a peice of art. And the quantities seem to be limited, so you need to act fast to get yours.

Make sure, though, to check out their daily variety of the ultimate in COOLNESS.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Costume Contest Winner


What a great costume! and great photos! She is who we voted for, too, and she won! And what did she win? She won one of my very favorite Flipside Hats from Cat in an Apron! I've been talking to the very cool mama of the little bride, and I could NOT be happier that the hat is going to her. Check out HER blog, as well, Scrappin' Hillbilly. Makes me happy.

New Blankets!

YAY! I have a new batch of blankets finished! I'll try to get them up on the website today. They are so incredibly soft - I'm really happy with how they turned out. I could just swim in these lovely prints.

Hunger Monster Cure

What a fantastic idea! I don't know how many times I'd run out the door thinking I couldn't eat another bite, and then as soon as I drove out of the driveway, I'd be STARVING. In nine months of being pregnant, I never did get the whole "eating small meals all day long" thing down. The idea of having these in my purse and just grabbing a container of milk whenever that hunger monter hits is SO GREAT!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

AAAHHH caffeine!

My husband had to go back to work last night. He is so awesome (yes i SAID it, AWESOME) that he comes home after work, eats dinner with us, gives the kids a bath, gets them ready for bed, reads them books, THEN goes back to work. I hate that he has to work so late, so often, and I hate the architecture industry for making it necessary, and for paying SHIT wages, but I love that his priority is us.
Anyway, he went back to work, which means that I don't go to bed until he gets home. It makes no sense, but it is the way it is. He got home around 12:30, we got baby o. ready for bed, talked a little, etc., and before i knew it it was 2 a.m. Baby O. woke up to eat at 5:30ish, the kids woke up and went downstairs, only to start screaming "DAAAAD" 10 minutes later, and then we were all up for good. I was sitting at the kitchen table with my head in my hands trying to get up the energy to get in the shower, and Marc's cell phone rang. Now, when someone calls us after 9 pm or before 9 am, I always assume the WORST. Marc is fumbling around looking for his cell phone, and I'm thinking "Who died THIS time?? How am I going to explain it to the kids? What do I have to wear to a funeral??" And I'm running through the list of people who it could possibly be.
Turns out it is our neighbor. He is calling to ask if he can BRING. US. STARBUCKS. because he is walking over anyway. Seriously?!? How fantastic is that?! It completely turned my day around. I stepped out of the shower to my husbands hand jutting into the bathroom holding the beautiful drink! And the cups are the snowflake holiday design!! I felt like bundling everyone up and going for a walk in the SNOW to sing Christmas carols. I'm this easy to please.
I tried to avoid Starbucks for a long time while I was working. I was trying to go the whole "Starbucks is too corporate, and a sell out, etc. etc." In my old age I've accepted that some things just work, you know? and i LIKE them! Starbucks makes me happy. Maybe it isn't GOOD coffee to a connoisseur. Maybe they are more marketing than service or product. and yes there is one on every corner, and i should be supporting the local shops (i do this, too). But, OH, how Starbucks can make me happy! The steaming, creamy chai tea latte warms me and seriously makes my day!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sew Mama Sew - Handmade Holidays!


I LOVE to read about all the lovely things they are making over at Sew Mama Sew. I don't see any time to actually try any of them in my near future, but in a couple of years, when the kiddos are a little older, i'll be ALL over them!
And I LOVE their fabric, too!

Pilates post pregnancy

I'm looking for a good POST preggo pilates dvd. I did this one through my whole pregnancy this time: Pilates for Pregnancy. It was very NOT challenging, but I was proud of myself for doing it at all as I did not work out at ALL with my first two babies. Now I would like to find one that is specific to getting a post preggo body back into shape. I'm terribly worried the third one did the final damage that I won't be able to recover from!! I worked out around 2 weeks after baby O. was born, and it was pretty easy - I was happy that I had worked out throughout, but now we are at SIX weeks, and I've been so sleep deprived that I've totally slacked off. I'm starting again.
Here's a whole list on amazon.
I'll check them out AFTER I do my regular pilates dvd... ugh.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Thank You Gifts

The sweet kids in Mr. H's class made a beautiful poster when Baby O. was born. Each one signed it, and I know it will be a real treasure when they are older and look back at their kindergarten scrawlings. We have it hanging in Baby O.'s bedroom (even though he has yet to sleep in there...). We were so touched we decided to put together a little thank you gift for the kids. Each one of these little bundles has two tulip bulbs in it. I used tissue paper I already had cut into squares from Miss Mae's birthday party, ribbon from Patty's baby shower, and stickers I bought on a whim and hadn't used yet. I'm happy with how they turned out, and I hope the kiddos all go home and plant the bulbs so that next spring they'll remember Baby O.'s birth!


Vote for one of the great costumes!

One of these darling kiddos will win a bloggeritaville prize for best costume - including a Flipside Hat from Cat in an Apron! Hurry and vote today:
Tales from Bloggeritaville

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hormonal Emotional Tides.

I'm having the craziest moments of incredible joy and sadness due the great tides of my post preggo hormones. I thought I'd keep a few for posterity....

First "it brings me to tears":

The idea of my daughter trick or treating, walking up to a house and selecting the perfect candy out of the giant bowl of brightly colored boxes. She chooses RED, because it is her favorite color, but has no idea it is a box of RED HOTS, because she can't read.

When I found the red hots in her candy bag this morning, I actually cried.

Yay! A new Lord England webisode!

And Lady England smacks the Lord.

Lord England opening lyrics

He's not English, he's an anglophile,
and he calls his mommy mum,
He converts his dollars into pounds,
and he beats his redcoat drum,
Lord, Lord, Lord, Lord England!

Just in case it is stuck in your head, too, and you need ALL of the words...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Lego Party


I'm still recovering from the weekend of events and company. YES, I know it is Friday! Everything is taking 3 times as long these days. We had Mr. H's party here on Saturday and what a great success! The boys from his class are freaking adorable, and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute with them. I kept seeing every little moment as snapshots that we would look back on in 12 years of these men as babies. We have pictures of my brother and his friends as little guys and their round baby faces I knew so well as adults. My mom said "you are going to turn around and these little guys will be here for their prom!" Probably don't have to mention the tears that came along with that conversation!
We handed the boys their little take-out box of legos as they walked in the door. They grabbed them, plopped themselves down on the floor and started making really great cars! I thought they would need some help, but not one of them asked for any help at all. Here are some shots of the race track Marc made.
I had imagined each race would have a winner, who would get a prize, and then we would discuss WHY that car was the winner, and "which tires go faster?", and "why do you think that car won??" yeah, NO. It was so incredibly loud with their screams, and they were jumping up and down and racing each other to get back to the head of the track. It was great! He made the whole track out of scrap pieces we had around, and propped it on a plastic shelving unit from the basement.
Want to see the pictures of my awesome lego cake with fondant icing?? Yeah, I chickened out AGAIN, and ordered cupcakes from my favorite place in town - St. Cupcake (or St. Crackcake, as I like to call them), and OOOOOOh were they delicious. Thank goodness I decided to do that as Baby O. decided to stay up most of the night before, and I was practically delirious by the time the party rolled around anyway.

GREAT list

Safer Toy Guide 2008
This is a really great, great list of beautiful toys that I wish my kids had grown up playing with. We tried really hard to go the "no plastic" route, but failed pretty miserably! If you are doing any holiday shopping for little ones, you should definitely check out this site first!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Lord England

LOOOVE this! I could watch it over and over and over. It is too freaking funny. OH MY!

I grew up with this guy, and adore him and his lovely wife!

Friday, October 17, 2008

LEGO birthday party!

My sweet little baby Henry is turning SIX YEARS OLD next week. How can this possibly be?? We usually have pretty huge birthday parties for the kids - I'm not talking about pony rides and hired musicians and that sort of nonsense, but we usually invite all of our friends, and really 'do it up' as I've heard they say in the South. I'll post some of the parties we've done later as they were great fun! This year we are having a Lego party for Mr. H., and limiting the guest list to family and the boys in his class. It is always hard having a birthday at the beginning of the year - the big friendships haven't been formed yet, and it is awful to exclude anyone. Luckily, there are 8 boys in his class, and we can invite them all.
We went to the Lego store and bought a package of a million wheels and axles and such, along with tons of loose Legos. Each little guy (and Miss Mae, she keeps reminding me) will get the same amount of Legos and wheels from which to fashion some sort of vehicle with which we will have races! My husband (a self proclaimed 'gear head') spent most of last weekend making a ramp with three lanes, complete with giant numbers shouting out the lanes, for the boys to race their Lego cars. It looks fantastic, and I hope the kids love it as much as Marc does! The boys can then take home their car and leftover Legos, as well as any 'prizes' they win during the races, as their party favors.
As I am NOT a baker, and I usually am focused on the other components of the kids' parties, I've never even attempted to make their cakes. Every year I toy with the idea, then think, "Hell, people do this for a LIVING. Let's buy one." We've had gorgeous ones in the past, including cupcakes with cherry blossoms, a volcano oozing with melted redhots and covered with dinosaurs, and a treasure chest with candy necklaces and gold coins spilling out... But I'm really excited about the idea of actually making a cake this year! I'm not going to go crazy and actually make the cake from SCRATCH or anything, but I'm going to stack pieces into the shape of a couple of giant Legos, and MAKE FONDANT FROSTING! YES!! I've always wanted to, and I think this is a nice baby step - just a big rectangle with a couple of cylinders on top, right?? My friend is coming to the rescue with all of the cake pans and expertise. Plus I've been searching the internet for instructions on fondant. This is a great tutorial: Joe Pastry -scroll down a bit to get to the layer cake instructions.
I looked up a million other Lego cakes, but they are almost always made with a spread cream frosting, and just look messy! I love buttercream frosting, but a Lego should really be completely smooth i think. I'm going to give it a try. if it turns out terribly, I'll run to the store, get a sheet cake, and make a Lego vignette on top!!

Isn't it funny?

Isn't it funny that when you have your first child it seems SO incredibly overwhelming, and you can't fit in a shower, and you are SOOOO tired you think you won't be able to make it?? Then have your THIRD, and you think "why on earth was it so difficult with ONE? If only I didn't have to take care of the other two, I would have HOURS of free time to gaze at my lovely baby!"

I hardly left the house after Henry was born! He was SO happy at home, he hated his carseat, and there was the whole FEEDING issue we had (read previous posts...). Plus i couldn't bring myself to sitting around with a bunch of other women and their infants singing songs and pretending our babies were listening to the woman reading stories!! NOW I know this is much more for the bonding of the moms, and that those girls all made great friends while they sang the silly songs, but i just sort of skipped that whole thing. Now I have to get 2 kids ready for school, feed them both SO many times a day, try to give them the attention they are craving, AND take care of this little perfect bundle who poops 4,000 times a day.

This morning, both of my kids are at school, and I've done pilates already, and hope to have the kitchen cleaned (after TWO days of not doing dishes - did I mention we DON'T have a dishwasher?? what year is this, 1945??), the laundry all put away, and more loads going. Oh, and I'm hoping to be dressed and presentable before I walk over to get Miss Mae from school.

Here is another GIANT milestone: Maggie runs into school, totally happy to be there and waves goodbye to Marc through the window!! No tears, no tearing her out of his arms... She was even happy all morning getting ready today - usually she is very nervous and talking about how she doesn't want to go to school for three hours every morning. GIGANTIC sigh of relief. This was the biggest thing she had to learn at preschool, and I knew she could do it. And I'm so glad the kids at school will get to see her amazing sparkling personality! Now what do I do about the fact that she can already easily finish all of Henry's kindergarten homework?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Great Day!

We are settling in with Baby O. He's a pretty great sleeper, still, we are praying that he keeps it up as his awake periods start to stretch out. He is perfect and healthy, and besides me crying at the drop of a hat - over good news or silly thoughts - things are great. My husband has to go back to work tomorrow. That, for lack of a better term, SUCKS. Sometimes, that is just the best description, i think. It SUCKS. I'm sure I'll spend a good bit of time in the morning crying about it.
My plan is to start back exercising tomorrow, as well. Hopefully that will help my mood swings - some good old endorphins. And holy crap, when did I put on all this weight?? I guess my preggo belly either confused me, tricked me, or somehow balanced out the weight I was gaining to the REAR of me. NOT so cute now on a not preggo body. I know it has only been 2 weeks, but I mean, REALLY, this is frightening.

SO THE BIG NEWS!!!! My sweet, perfect, adorable son was named student of the month!!! He was one of three chosen out of his kindergarten class! My amazing friend called me after the morning assembly at his school and told us, so we had time to get balloons and make cookies, and really do it up for him. He is so proud of himself, and we could NOT be more proud of him. I'd love to send a copy of his certificate to his past teachers who tried to either diagnose him, or battle wills with him, or tell me about all of the problems he was going to have once he got to school!!! The three of them were chosen for following the "Super Bee Rules", which are kindness, caring, honesty, and safety. What a great little guy he is. I can't tell you what a relief it is to hear him talk about how much he loves school and all he is learning. There is no better way for him to start his school career than with a lovely woman who is encouraging him in his curiosity and helping instill this love of school. GREAT PLACE. GREAT KIDS!! GREAT DAY!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cool Mom Picks

Our super cool Flipside Hats have been chosen as a Cool Mom Picks!! They are even having a contest to win two of them! Hint: the answer is on our About Us Page.
Cool Mom Picks
Check out their site, and woohoo Flipside hats!!

We Did It!

We did it! Baby O. is HERE!! He was born on Tuesday the 23rd at 7:52 in the morning - Just 45 minutes after checking into the hospital! This one went fast, and we were lucky enough to have a great support team at the hospital who helped us deliver completely naturally! just as I was beginning to think I might be pregnant for the rest of my life.....

Isn't it amazing how you can be SO in love with such a tiny little thing that you've only just met?

His big brother and sister are head over heels for him, of course. Henry was telling the nurses to "stop touching him! you are making him CRY!" It was too cute.

I'm staying here at the hospital until they kick me out. I adore my time in the hospital where I can nap all day and just stare at this perfect little human being!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Oh Happy Day!

Oh! My life just got BETTER! I found this blog yesterday and it was like sinking into one of the giant bags of candy my brother and I used to get every once in a BLUE moon (my mother being of the wheat bread, no sugar cereal, no candy persuasion when I was a kid).

Cybele May blogs about C.A.N.D.Y!!! Gummi candy, chocolate candy, sour candy, licorice candy, marshmallow candy - EVERYTHING is covered. She has a very organized scoring system and reviews every candy in great detail from the packaging, to the smell, to the texture, to the overall pleasure of the experience. I could get lost in this blog, and maybe never come back. I've decided she should be crowned Queen of all Confection. Queen of all Sweet? Didn't Michael Jackson coin himself "King of Pop" and then Howard Stern followed with "King of all Media"? I think if they can label THEMSELVES, I certainly can refer to a MUCH more deserving woman with such a title.

Do you really need another way to find MORE candy you ask? What happened to the "once the baby comes, I'm done gorging myself on candy and losing this baby weight" you ask?? WELL, now I can swim in her lovely descriptions and pick the PERFECT something to reward myself with as the pounds melt away. Yes, I'm holding on to the belief that these pounds are going to MELT AWAY.

FIRST, though, I need to find a couple of choice pieces from Mrs. May's list, enjoy them to the fullest, and then evict this baby!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

An Architect's Kid

Here's what happens when you ask your dad to make a house, and your dad is an architect. I was listening to them working on it, and hearing Henry say it needed a fence, and those "pipes" -the downspouts, and imagining this house in my head, and THIS is what they created! so cool. Henry actually made an airplane to park in the driveway. Maybe he'll be like John Travolta when he is older?? Right now he says he wants to be an archaeologist when he grows up, and Indiana Jones during the summers. Sounds pretty great to me.

1 Day and Counting

I am due tomorrow. My son came 3 days before his due date - my daughter 1 day before her due date. WHERE IS MY BABY?! He seems to be happily hunkered down in there - no rush to head anywhere. I know I was telling him to hold on until we got everything done that we needed to, but NOW we are done. So where is he?

I am SO looking forward to the couple of days in the hospital! My hospital is like a little hotel, and I adore being there. My baby blues with both children were centered around wishing I could be back at the hospital with everyone taking care of me, and me being able to sleep when the babies slept.

For some reason my usual schedule of dishes, laundry, cooking, WORK, keeping the house clean, etc. are completely and totally exhausting today, and I want to go in to labor so I can take a break in the hospital!

Pretty sad when my idea of a vacation is labor and delivery in a hospital, NO??

Monday, September 15, 2008

Willy Nilly ADHD "Diagnosis"

Thinking about my son doing so well in kindergarten got me all excited again thinking about his first preschool experience. Let me start by explaining Henry a little. He is not like any child I've ever met before. He's never met a stranger, and can talk to ANYone. He has the most amazing ideas and usually thinks he is right, no matter who he is talking to. This morning on the way in to school he was arguing with me about the spelling of a word. The kid can't READ. He is incredibly stubborn, and usually thinks he knows how to run whatEVER show is happening around him better than whoever is in charge. Does this make him an easy student to have in school? Absolutely not. Does that make him have ADHD?? NO.

Here's what happened. My son started preschool at 3 years old - turned 4 the next month - and was an excited, rambunctious little boy who couldn't WAIT to meet all these great new friends and learn great new things. Everything started off great, until I started getting held after for "discussions" about him. He wasn't interested in the art area. He only wanted to play in the area with the blocks, but he wanted to build his "contraptions" (which he first called "confections" - loved that) with a little bit of everything from all of the different areas in the school. Henry usually has a little posse of kids around him, so when he would build a contraption, everyone would start to get in on it, and soon it was out of control and too big to handle. Was a teacher there BEFORE it got too big? A parent helper? No, of course not. No one would pay any attention to these kids until the tower toppled over, or another little person would try to take away some of the pieces of it crying "you can't have ALL the (fill in the blank)!!!" Then Henry would get in "trouble" - alone of course - because if you take down the leader, you crush the whole army.
The teacher was worried that he had ADHD because she had just taken a seminar and Henry showed MANY of the signs of the disorder. Here are the typical signs of ADHD:

  • Often does not give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.
  • Often has trouble keeping attention on tasks or play activities.
  • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
  • Often does not follow instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions).
  • Often has trouble organizing activities.
  • Often avoids, dislikes, or doesn't want to do things that take a lot of mental effort for a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework).
  • Often loses things needed for tasks and activities (e.g. toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools).
  • Is often easily distracted.
  • Is often forgetful in daily activities.

Now let's remember that we are talking about a barely 4 year old little boy here. Does spending 1/2 hour building the perfect tower sound like someone who has trouble organizing or focusing?? Was he focusing on what the teacher wanted him to focus on? NO. I went sobbing to his pediatrician, and she said "every child his age would test positive for ADHD! He does. not. have. it." The other "symptom" that is very common with this disorder is aggression, or inability to control one's emotions. This is absolutely out of Henry's scope. he's never hit in anger ONCE. Not one time in almost 6 years. Even when his little sister is driving him crazy, he has never hit her.

We didn't finish out the year at this school, needless to say, nor did I get Henry in counseling or, God forbid on medication, for his "disorder". There were a few larger incidents that happened that helped us make our decision that he would be better off at home than with this sort of labeling on him every day. We didn't want him to associate school with getting in trouble all the time. When I was explaining this to his teacher over the phone, she said, "Marne, what is he going to do when he is in kindergarten, and has to sit at his desk with 35 other kids and listen to his teacher all day??!" Very upset by now, I just answered, "well I hope he isn't IN that situation!"

I knew so little at the time. Henry was my first child; my first experience with any kind of school that I wasn't enrolled in. I had trouble telling the teacher what was best for my child because I felt like she was the expert, not me. Boy was I WRONG. We are our kids best and only advocates!

It just makes me laugh now when I listen to Henry's kindergarten teacher talk about their curriculum. They don't do anything focused for more than EIGHT MINUTES. Because kindergartners can't focus longer than that. There are not 35 kids sitting in desks facing the front from 8:30 to 3:00 every day. All of those years of worrying were just a waste of time! Does Henry still talk out in class because he is so excited? Probably. Does he want to run the class? Probably. Is he learning how to read? YES! Does he adore his teacher and tell us everything she has said all day? YES!! Is she in complete control of her classroom? YES.

Boppy Cover is here!


I received my darling boppy cover in the mail a few days ago, and the sweet woman who made it included a really great looking bib and Congratulations card! Thank you so much! I love the boppy cover! I thought as I was putting it on that there was NO way that giant pillow would fit into that tiny cover, but it fits perfectly. And no more silly bright red boppy with giant alphabet letters all over it. I can nurse in STYLE. Be sure to check out her etsy store - if only she lived in the Northwest we would ask her to carry her lovely things on Cat in an Apron!

School Starts = Emotional Wreck

Today I am 5 days from my due date. 5 days and counting... FIVE more days...
FIIIIIVE DAAAAAYS...
My other kids came a few days early, so I've been sort of thinking I'll go into labor on Wednesday, but REALLY, I could have 2 more weeks, right? Let's not think about that.
We've been so busy trying to get this house in order and we have been saying "NOT YET" for so long, it is strange to say "okay. I'm ready. Any time now..." !!
My son's kindergarten teacher, and my daughter's preschool teacher both told us to be prepared for all of the emotional turmoil our kids would experience these past two weeks - that they would be SO busy during the day and trying so hard to keep everything under control, that when they came home we should really expect the worst! My kids? Happy as larks. ME? Crying just about every single day. I can blame a bit of it on the preggo hormones, but holy cow was everything overwhelming! Not only did I have BUCKETS of paper work to fill out for them both, new schedules to adhere to - times to remember, backpacks to be packed every morning, etc. etc., but my baby boy is at school EVERY SINGLE DAY! And he hasn't even looked back! He is so happy at school, and so proud of himself. And of course I'm completely proud of him as well, but not even one "I missed you today, mama" has escaped his lips. The closest he's come to this is asking if he really had to go to school "every SINGLE day?!" And when I confirmed this, he said "for how long, like, 2 years??" After that sunk in a little, he said "I'd really like to stay home and play with my Lego's some days!" He's actually been making his good byes further and further from the door of his classroom every day. He is in his SECOND week of KINDERGARTEN. He actually asked if he could say good bye on the playground and just head into school on his own last week. what???
The worst part is that my sweet funny happy daughter is NOT liking her first days of preschool. I've left her twice screaming and reaching for me. I usually make it to the car before I break down sobbing.
I thought it was difficult being the mom of the most social guy in the class, fielding the crappy "class clown" comments, and being held after EVERY SINGLE CLASS my son has ever taken (except kindergarten - YES!) to hear about how he has trouble listening in class. I'll tell you it is VERY much harder pulling up to my daughter's school to see her playing ALONE in the play area outside. She was extremely shy when she was younger - my friends would say they knew she could talk because they heard her in the background when they talked to me on the phone, but she would never speak in front of them. We have made HUGE headway since she turned 3 in April. The idea of her gorgeous bright personality being locked inside and her just getting through the morning at school absolutely breaks my heart. She has grown up with her ice breaking brother leading the way and her following happily behind him. Now there is no Mr. H. to meet people so she can play with them. Before bed the other night as we finished up reading books and she was snuggling down to sleep, she bolted upright and said, "I know KATIE!!! THAT'S a friend!!" ugh. Like she only has that one friend at school, and she was celebrating in her own little way. Twist the fork deeper. I'm sure she will get used to it all, and make tons of friends eventually, but ugh.