and a merry christmas to you too!

Hello everyone!

I've emerged from the land of Dial Up to the prosperous nation of Faster Than Dial Up but Not High Speed. Thus, another blog post is upon us.

Christmas was eventful--with all the snow and everything, we managed to get to Brandon's folks' house in 9 hours (it usually takes us about 7 or so), which is pretty good, considering half the drive was compact snow and ice and we almost died. Just kidding.

But not really.

Don't ask.

But we got to Longview, alive and in one piece. My brother and sister in law came up the next day with their cutie pie Butter Bean (she is a chunk of a baby!) and Birdy and Butter Bean had good times pulling hair, giving open mouth kisses, and stealing toys from each other. The girls are adorable together. I think Birdy is missing her little friend now that she's all alone up here at my parent's house.

Birdy's first Christmas was...eventful. She looked super cute in her little dress (photos coming soon), and had fun with paper and boxes. She was very spoiled by her Grammie and Grandpa, but that's to be expected. Her favorite toy (shudder) is a Noah's ark that makes all kinds of music and sounds. With no "off" setting. And all at full volume. I thought I could be creative and dim the noise, but 8 layers of tissue and packing tape has done nothing. And, the "silencer" I crafted actually looks pretty good. You can't really tell I did anything unless you knew I did something. Or something.

Christmas with my side of the family happens on the first, and Christmas with my dad's side of the family happens on the third. Wish us luck.


ah. mah. gahd.

Let me tell you a story about Wee Heather.

I've always loved swimming, and I've always been good at it. This was the case when I was four or five, and swam up a few levels in swim lessons. We were mostly in the deep end, and it made me feel like a big girl.

Then something terrible happened.

One day, before swim lessons, I was hanging out and watching some cartoons. Popeye was on, and in this episode Popeye is at the pool. Swimming, splashing, having a good time. Then, that meanie Bluto let...um...uh...oh man, this is tough. He let SHARKS into the pool. That messed me up.

When you are Wee, you can't see over the kickboard you are using to see the bottom of the pool. Also, because it is swim lessons, you can't use goggles, also hindering your ability to see the bottom and to investigate a shark situation.

Needless to say, I developed a huge fear of swimming in the deep end. I was only safe on the walls, so I got to be pretty fast. I didn't want to get eaten.

I did get over my fear of sharks in the pool eventually. However, it's still really hard for me to swim in a lake, pond, or the ocean. You don't know what might be swimming by ready to touch you or eat you. Yucky.

So you will imagine my surprise and SHOCK when I saw this yesterday. The good news is that the shark died, and cannot share the secret of swimming pools with her friends. And I honestly can tell you that I don't think I can go to Atlantis resort now.

it's a pennypincher! it's a miser! NO! it's frugal frannie!

That's right, she's back.

Last night I made my friend April a holiday card using awesome papers and embellishments from ScrapArtist (that's for you, Angela). April had found some inspiration cards, sent me some photos, and away I went.

I'm also painfully aware this project should have taken me less time than it did. I will admit it went faster than the first two I made. The picture of the whole family was taken when Patrick was chosen as the Cougar Kid or something like that (sorry, April). They got to go down on the field, see the press box, and Patrick got to be on the jumbo screen. There were other exciting things that happened, but you'll have to ask April about those.

So here it is...the finished product:

On a less awesome note, we at Rural State University are snowed in to our side of the state. The coastal areas are going to be experiencing "blizzard-like conditions," "high winds," "one foot of snow" and most importantly "lots of foul language due to weather."

These things are unheard of...especially in an area of the country where 1-2 inches shut down entire metropolitan areas. Ugh.

So, here we are at RSU, with students thinking they are going to get home (keep dreaming those dreams!), while we KNOW we aren't going home. Yet.


all i want for christmas


help save handmade

This is reposted from Cool Mom Picks, a blog dedicated to helping cool moms pick cool things. As a cool mom and a lover of cool things, it only makes sense that I would be a reader. The following is something important for all lovers of handmade items--especially toys.
So many of you have written to us out of concern regarding the new Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act, that we created this page as a source of information, resources and breaking news.

If you want to help spread the word, you can post this button on your blog or website. It's our hope that together, we can encourage Congress to amend the act so that we can both keep our children safe and protect the handmade toys and clothing that we love so much.

Adorable handmade bear image courtesy of
Bumblebird--a true artist worth saving! And design by Laurie Smithwick of LEAP Design.

We're all for strengthening the safety standards of mass-produced toys, clothes, and accessories made in China, and banning toxins like phthalates and lead. But this year, congress passed the ill-conceived Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act, a law 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. The very same ones that we often feature here and in our yearly special edition gift guides.

With this act going into effect February 10 2009 so many people we love will be affected: Moms who sew beautiful handmade waldorf dolls out of home, artists who have spent decades hand-carving trucks and cars out of natural woods, that guy at the craft show who sold you the cute handmade puzzle--even larger US companies who employ local workers and have not once had any sort of safety issue will no longer be able to sell their goods. Not without investing tens of thousands of dollars into third-party testing and labeling, just to prove that toys that never had a single toxic chemical in them still don't have a single toxic chemical in them.

How to Get Involved -- it only takes 5 minutes of your time!
-Find your
congress personand senators and write a letter like the sample here.Particularly if they serve on the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection or the House Committee on Small Business.

-Send an email directly to the
CPSC or contact chairperson Nancy Nord at 301-504-7923

-Vote for amending the law on
Change.org, digg style: With enough votes it will be presented to President Obama in January!

-Place the
Save Handmade! button on your blog or website to help spread the word to everyone you know who cares about protecting the little guy and preserving beautiful items made with love for our children.
Fantastic Resources

The Handmade Toy Alliance (check out their proposed changes, a lot of which make a whole lot of sense)

CPSIA Facebook Group

CPSIA information group on ning

Z Recommends: Five steps you can take to save natural toys (excellent reading)

Handcrafivist Channel on youtube with updated news stories and videos

Fashion Incubator

The Smart Mama

Etsy business forums (including this specific thread on local media coverage

-Twitter: Search using the
#CPSIA hashtag

Endangered Whimsy - a blog gallery of handmade products endangered by the CPSIA. Feel free to submit yours.

Video: Handmade Portraits

-Excellent letter from
Rick Woldenberg, Chairman of Learning Resources, to CPSC on improvements to the act. Also see the You Tube videos in which he addresses the CPSC panel in November. Well worth a watch. (1 of 3)

Press, related posts and late-breaking news
Fantastic response from Senator Majority Leader Patrick Leahy (D-VT): I am hopeful that the CPSC will take the needs of small, American manufacturers into consideration as they continue to develop new testing policies. In the next session of Congress, I will continue to work towards a solution that both ensures the safety of our children and allows small businesses in Vermont to stay competitive. (Other Senators, take note!)

Celebrity Baby Blog - with great sample letter to Congress
WSMV 4 Nashville news segment (inspired in part by our post, yay!)

Digital Journal article: "New child product safety law threatens all US homecraft businesses" (with great mentions about how reselling items on Ebay and Craig's List will also be illegal)

Boston Herald: "Small toy stores fear new US regulations" (Promising quote: according to Brin Frazier, spokesman for Congressman John Dingell (D-Mich.), chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce... “Manufacturers and distributors already selling safe toys that comply with the new standards should not have to incur prohibitive costs for compliance.”)

Activism alert: Etsy artists band together and
send handmade toys to Congressman Rush

Patriot Ledger Editorial: "New law to put thousands of out work"

Boing Boing: "Consumer safety rule could drive crafters out of business"

Mothering.com: "Good intentions lead to catastrophic results for the natural toy industry"

Wall Street Journal: "Vendors urge relaxed lead safety rule" (despite the misleading headline)

DaddyTypes: "Is CPSC's new lead regulation going to wipe out the baby non-industrial complex next February?"

Eco Child's Play: "New consumer safety laws will make handmade, natural toys illegal"

Mom-101: "In support of work-at-home moms and other reasons to defeat the CPSIA act"

ETSY open letter on CPSIA

Startup Nation: Will CPSIA affect you? Have some news for us or want more info?
Contact Liz and Kristen at info@coolmompicks.com with SAVE HANDMADE in the subject.
This page is protected by copyright. You are welcome to reprint an excerpt with attribution and a link to the full post



You ever have those conversations when something totally random like "whispering unicorn" is a topic?

Well that happened today at work. And this whispering unicorn is for you, HM, to help soothe your burning wounds.


christmas cheer courtesy of the heathers

the festival of lights

Remember the Seinfeld episode where George wanted to be Jewish for the jokes? I'm kinda like that, except for the jokes part. I want to be Jewish for the remembrances.

My godmother, who is a librarian, gave me the book Girl Meets God as a high school graduation present. It's the memoir of Lauren Winner, the daughter of a Jew and an Episcopalian who chooses to become an Orthodox Jew. Complications arise when she begins graduate work at Oxford and explores Christianity and begins attending an Anglican church. The resulting book discusses her eventual conversion to Christianity and her struggles to reconcile her Jewish past with her Christian future.

It's fascinating. She talks about the parts of Judaism that she loves the most, and I agree with her on many points. Notably, we Christians spend hardly any time remembering. Lauren talks about that, and how Judaism is about remembering all the time--through ritual, dress, and food.

Too often, in Christianity, we focus only on the New Testament; and really, only with the Gospels. While they are the foundation of Christianity, we forget to remember what God was before there was Jesus. People's knowledge of the Old Testament falls under one of a four stories: Adam and Eve, Moses, Noah, David and Goliath. And really, all of David's story people might know about was when he fought Goliath, and maybe something about a woman named Jezebel.
As a people, we've forgotten where we came from. I find my life is strangely like that.

I think this has been preying on my mind for the last few weeks because of my uncanny ability to forget large parts of my life. The biggest part I've forgotten (through limited brain space or other psychological issues) is college. For the most part, I remember what I paid to learn, but I've forgotten much of what I did during those three years. I find that unsettling and disturbing. What was I thinking? I ask that question in horror as well as introspection.

The more I think about it, the more I feel like perhaps I was, in a way, mourning the death of who and what I was before I left home. In my life before college, I was very outgoing, confident, and so sure of myself all the time. When I came to college I was a nobody--no one knew who I was or where I was from. Many people revel in something like that...having the opportunity to re-make themselves and be what they've always wanted to be. I didn't feel that way. I liked who I was. I missed my family, and my friends were a poor approximation of what I missed in my familial relationships. For some reason, I felt like I couldn't be (or shouldn't be?) who I was when I was at home.

So much of what I do remember from college was going through the motions of being a student, a friend, or a girlfriend, and it all seemed to be in avoidance of losing something, or a failure of creating and discovering who I was (am) as an adult.

I think my present to myself this year will be to be unashamed with what I like and dislike, and embracing myself for who I am. That, and I'm starting a journal. I want to start remembering, so I can start living purposely again.


this one's for brandon and david

I can't remember laughing this hard in a long time.

dear eva

A while ago, I mentioned a project I've been working on for Birdy's baby book. I asked family members to write a letter to her with things they want her to know and things they hope she does. The only page (gah) that is completed has the letters from my budder David and Brandon's dad Jerry. It happens to be my favorite (and not just because it's the only one that's done. Really.) so far.

I'm excited that Birdy is going to be growing up with a family who loves her and loves each other. Family is the most important thing that we have on earth, and I consider it a blessing that we truly enjoy each other's company and love spending time with each other. This is more precious to me as I get older and see that many people don't get to share that joy.

Yes, that is my kitchen floor in the upper right hand corner. No, I don't have a better place to take pictures at night. Yes, that is my handwriting. No, Anita, I haven't made it into a font yet. :-)


omfg peeps!

I just made my first blog banner.

That's it.

I think I'm never going to bed at a reasonable time again. This is addictive.


I just realized something. Everyone is asleep and I am awake. And it's quiet. And peaceful.

It's also way too late, but a little taste of no noise but the aquarium is really quite relaxing.

frugal frannie strikes again

So. I spent the last four hours figuring out more about my Photoshop Elements program. I learned many things, like how to add a drop shadow and just how complicated it is to erase something, and how far I will go to pay more attention to my computer screen than mah sweet bebe. The answer to that one is a little embarrassing. Moving on to better things. Seriously, move on. Stop dwelling on the baby comment. It wasn't bad. But it did involve an Exersaucer and some stuffed animals.

So ask me, Dear Reader, how cheap your pal Heather is. Come on. Ask.

Oh, you twisted my arm! Okay, I'm so cheap that I am making my own photo cards this year. Paying upwards of $.50 a card is ludicrous. So, I'm using my Photoshop to make my own 4x6 cards and will get them developed at Costco for [I'm going to need your best drum roll here, please] $.13!!!!!!!! That's right. For $6.50 I'm getting photo cards. This will come in handy, because I'm already planning on giving my left arm in exchange for stamps.

I cannot tell you how proud of myself I am. What a Frugal Frannie I am! Best of all, all of the elements used in the card are free downloads over at Shabby Princess, who happens to rock my face off. I used two of her holiday downloads, and I think it was quite nice of her to use the same colors for her free holiday download two years and a row. Kudos to you SB!

I think it paid off--this is the photo card I made for this year:
All you need to do is imagine a nice festive picture of Birdy in that large blue space and wah-lah: Christmas Cheer. For 13 cents.


we need to talk

Have I mentioned that I love Today's Creative Blog? No? Well I do. A lot. And there are some blogs that I follow now that I didn't before Anita told me about TCB.

The newest one is Susie Can Stitch. Susie is awesome. I want to make what Susie makes. I want the fabrics Susie has. I want the sewing machine Susie's daughter uses. One problem though...I don't sew. But that's okay! Because I embroider! And so does Susie! She also has an Etsy shop [stay tuned for a post about my other other other love affair...ETSY.] so I can order her things and pretend that I could have made them.

And I'm sure I could. In the same way that a room full of monkeys could type one of Shakespeare's plays.

For more felty, Susie Stitchy goodness, check out her Flickr photostream.


harrison john, or why i can't wait until birdy talks

So we went to dinner with our friends as the mama of the house was out of town. Brandon and I had the privilege of sitting near Harrison, who can spell his name with both eyes closed. No fooling. He did it for us just to prove it. And then, just to show off, he did it with only one eye open.

Harrison is in kindergarten, and is learning lots everyday. He also says some of the greatest things I've ever heard. Here are two examples from dinner:

"Bwandon, it's time to shave, holy jeez!"

"Birdy looks like a little fat woman."

In what I believe was an effort to get back at him for that last comment, Birdy grabbed his hair and pulled out some strands when I wasn't looking. A little fat woman has to stand up for herself, you know.

He also always asks several times during the evening if Birdy is a boy or a girl. I'm not quite sure why he can't remember, or doesn't connect the fact that she is wearing something pink every time he sees her. [People who get hand-me-downs like ourselves are not choosers. Hence, most of Birdy's clothes are pink.]


fanksgiving amendment

So you know how I went to go see James Bond a few weeks ago? Well I went to see it with Tater and Brandon. And I was all psyched and junk because last time I had to sit in the front of the theatre. And it was uncomfortable. And I didn't like it.

So this past Friday we went again. And instead of sitting in the third row from the front like the first time, we had to sit in the very front row. I saw less of the movie than the first time. Boo. People are supposed to be at home the day after Thanksgiving, sorting the presents they bought and eating turkey sammies. Not going to lunch at Red Robin and getting the blackened bayou burger with a Boca patty and then going to see a movie.

That's all.


Highlights from the past week:

Seeing parents times 2: We are so blessed to have parents who are still married and like each other! Plus, it makes holidays easier. I don't want four sets of each holiday. Blech.

Grandma Eva finished my blanket! Wee!

Seeing Joe, Brittany (and I'm still not certain how to correctly spell it--I'm sorry!) and Brenna.

We got to see Portland AND visit with an old professor of ours and his sweet boys. Chez Jose East, you have my eternal allegiance due to your margaritas and lime chicken enchiladas.

Good down time.

Snuggles with Birdy Bean.

I got the Best. Pants. Ever. They are green. They are also awesome.

We got to see mah BFFFFFFF (there are a lot of forevers in there) Jessica TWICE. Take that suckas. Plus, those two times were for a concert and for XXX Root Beer in Issaquah. AND we got to see her daughter, the Mak Attack.

I went to Stuffy's. Twice. And had their Stuff. Twice. Suckas times 2.

Hot tub at mah parent's. I could marry that thing. AND DON'T THINK I HAVEN'T THOUGHT ABOUT IT.

Making pumpkin pies with Birdy and mah Tater (my dad. Long story for that name). We have good pictures of it, they are coming as soon as he sends them to me. It might be a while.

Christmas tree hunting at the tree farm mah brudder works at. We had him, Tim Tim and Gwen help us find a tree. Now THAT'S service. That's our friend Rylie on the home page.

And believe me, I could have put more links in this post. I just didn't want to hurt your clicking finger. And I'm all about preserving your clicking finger.


nerd alert

Hi, my name is Heather and I luuuurve Twilight.

OMG guys...I'm super stoked for this. But...I'm not seeing it
until I get back from Thanksgiving break. Thankfully, I have a great friend who has very graciously agreed to see it with me. Thanks Jaclyn!

So quiz time. What is one book/movie/musical group you are embarrassed to like?

I feel like I'm at least 10 years too old for the book. And I don't care. Also, I like Britney Spears. And I'm not too proud to admit it.


it's funny because it's true

there is no substitute

The holiday season is a time for friends, family, generosity, and GRAVY.

There are few things in this world more sublime than a little flour and some meat drippings. For that, dear Lord, we are truly thankful for. Or at least I am.

I joke that I would drink gravy if there were no social faux pas about such things. And, as much as I love gravy, I love not gaining weight even more.

Most of the time.


i guess tosca isn't for everyone

I just saw the new James Bond movie. Ugh.

I seriously can't get over how incredibly attractive Daniel Craig is in a suit. Or in partially singed clothes. Or not in clothes. Uugh.

I'll be spending the next two hours watching Casino Royale. You'll find me on the couch if you need me.

P.S. Daniel Craig's middle name is Wroughton. I just...I just...ugh. That's hot.

P.P.S. His dad was a merchant seaman. That makes me giggle.


flickr mosaic and short quiz

1. My Sweet Heather, 2. Jack Black - Nacho Libre, 3. mount rainier, 4. [60/365] What (used to be) In My Bag, 5. Daniel Craig as James Bond, 6. 365.115 Tiptoe Through the Tulips, 7. Amsterdam, Holland 075 - The Venice of Northern Europe, 8. Crayons Taste Yummy.....And Are Good For You, Too!, 9. Call of the Raven (formerly Nature's Special Effects), 10. Camping in Shimoda, 11. When Waves Collide, 12. What Am I?

questions, and answers
1. What is your first name? Heather
2. What is your favorite food? Nachos
3. What high school did you attend? Tahoma Senior High School
4. What is your favorite color? Green
5. Who is your celebrity crush? Daniel Craig
6. Favorite drink? Diet Coke
7. Dream vacation? Amsterdam
8. Favorite dessert? Creme Brulee
9. What do you want to be when you grow up? Happy
10.What do you love most in life? My family
11. One word to describe you. Nuts
12. Your Flickr name. Birdybebe


meet: my brudder

My brother David is awesome. But really, what else could you expect from someone who spent so much time with me in his formative years? Besides the mental and physical (no joke) scars?

Thus, I give you my brudder (he's the one on the left, eligible ladies):

H: Well hey Dave, thanks for stopping by and talking to us at A Bird in the Heather. Let's get on to the meat of the issue. What's your favorite food?

D: Pizza reigns supreme over any other food ever invented. I can eat more than anyone I know, despite claims to the contrary.

H: What would you say your favorite color is?

D: It used to be green when I was a kid, but I'd say it's more along the lines of blue.

H: I believe it. Next question...what do you want to do when you grow up?

D: Something in the field of medicine, or involving medicine and athletics.

H: Right...I remember you mentioning something about liking sports a few years ago. If my memory serves me correctly, you played football for a while. What would you consider your favorite football moment?

D: I have hella. I used to play fullback in 7th grade and my first game I broke like, a 60 yard run but then got taken down from behind by a kid who weighed half my size...and then I didn't even get to score the touchdown later on in the drive! In high school. beating Auburn who was top 10 in the state in OT, and coming from behind against Marysville-Pilchuck and also winning in OT to go on to State. But my most favorite moment was just the experience of playing with good friends for 6 years and having awesome coaches in high school.

H: Wow...long winded answer. Following the sports theme, what is your favorite Seattle sports team moment?

D: Tough question. I'd have to say the early Apple Cups in the 2000s and in '06. Going to my first Supersonics game with Dad when I was in 3rd grade was awesome, as was seeing Nate Robinson dunk on the Arizona Wildcats in 2004. Then having the Dawgs being to win in basketball. On a not-really-Seattle moment, winning 3rd place in the Renton softball league during my first year playing with the MVPC team was pretty great too.

H: Hmm...interesting. On to indoor activities. What would you say your favorite video game is?

D: Rock Band 1 & 2, NCAA Football.

H: Wow. Didn't see the football game coming. We just went to a wedding last weekend...what would you say is your most embarrassing wedding introduction?

D: Well Heath, that would be when Tru (our godmother) introduced me to her single niece by saying "So, David's here alone too!" It was pretty much all over after that. You can't recover from that type of a first impression any time soon. Also, I had like 4 beers in half an hour, so I didn't really care at that point.

H: That sounds rough. Oh wait, I was there, and it was HI-larious. Eva looked pretty cute though. Is she your favorite niece?

D: She's my favorite niece until you have a boy.

H: Jerk.

D: You asked.

H: Whatev. Moving on. What's your favorite way to spend an evening, since you are so hot-to-trot on meeting the ladies?

D: Depends on my mood. Watching TV, playing video games, or going out with friends.

H: The first two will totally get you in with the ladies. Rock on. Now, why do you always wear shorts? To show off those great gams to the eligible women in the audience? (Editor's note: David wears pants less than 10 times a year. Except when work demands it.)

D: Pants are too restricting, and get me too hot (Editor's note: That's what she said! Zing!). Shorts are usually stretchy and keep me cool--just like my personality.

H. Riiiight. To end this interview on a high note, what would you say your favorite Heather/David moment is?

D: Going to Minnesota during the summer of 2000, and the past -4-5 years becoming better brother and sister!

H: I liked that roadtrip too! Remember the crazy AM radio? And Glacier National Park? And mom breaking the lock on my door? And her being convinced bears would eat us? And that crappy Potholes place in Moses Lake? And how we could put up and take down the tent trailer like pros?

D: Uh, yes. I was there too.

H: Whatev.

I hope you enjoyed this edition of Meet:. I'll be scouting the peeps I know for forthcoming installments.


a love affair

I'm looking at houses, and for no particular reason. When browsing a local real estate site, I found this gem. I love it. It makes me feel like Anne of Green Gables and Laura Ingalls all at once.

It's...um...a little out of the way, but I mean...it's got CHARacter! We tried finding it on the way to my parent's house last weekend, but turned down the wrong road. My brother David was with us, and I wanted to show him what I had found.

I sent him the above link.

His reply?

"that shit has to be haunted."


you know what i hate?

Real Simple magazine. No joke.

Everything within their pages looks so clean and easy to take care of. Unlike my home, which looks like a tasmanian devil just passed through.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Please notice the picture in Exhibit B has a "before" label. If my kitchen looked like that, I wouldn't be redoing it.

The root of my household issues are fourfold:

1. Eva. That fricken kid makes a huge mess and doesn't help clean up.
2. Eva. Taking care of her and making sure she doesn't kill herself takes up time I could be cleaning.
3. Time management. Brandon and I need a better system for who is watching Eva and who is cleaning.
4. I'm not good at cleaning. I'm good at it for a couple days, and then the wheels fall off the wagon and I think spending the evening watching TV on my butt is a better use of my time. That throws the whole system off.

I've been halfway okay at the hour of cleaning a night thing, but I could be better. Plus, there's the issue that I live in university housing. You can only get things so clean. I've learned to let go of that, but it still can be depressing. Also, you can only fit so many things into our apartment. Those that have witnessed the amount of stuff in our little space are constantly amazed. My mother is one of those people.


love love lost

Who's a Lost fan? Anyone out there?

I got hooked when Brandon and Ben and I spent Christmas at my parent's house two years ago. There was a huge storm that knocked out power in the region for over a week.

Lemme tell ya somthin': there isn't much to do in winter when the power is out and you live in the north part of the northern hemisphere. That means short days. Long nights. And a generator that can power the basics plus a TV and DVD player.

We chose Lost because it was the most entertainment for our buck, so to speak. Movies only last so long, but Lost's episodes are an hour long each. That gives you 20+ hours of chilly distraction.

And I love love it so. Lost. Sigh. Sawyer. You know you like him. It's silly to deny it. Really, stop embarrassing yourself.

I found this to tide you over until "early 2009" when the best show on TV comes back for another season of no repeats. If you are curious, I'm Prince Charles. I'm sure he has his reasons. And if you are curious as to the location of the island and other mappy information? This site is for you.

An aside: "No repeats" was awesome when it was just me and Brandon and I wasn't too busy. Now, with no repeats, I have to be committed to the relationship my butt has with our couch each week for Lost. Oh, we don't have DVR or TIVO (are they the same thing? I have no idea), so there's no watching at our convenience.


happy halloween!

I love Halloween. For realsies.

People at work dress up, and we have a witch, a spiderweb, a jedi, and a cook. At Student Accounts they have a jailbird, a witch, a John McCain and a Sarah Palin.

And Birdy? I'll give you a hint:


and one more thing

It's outrageous that people feel they have to make others live in fear because of the people they love, or the thoughts they have, or the choices they make.

I hate that I live in a society dominated and governed by fear.

pardon me while i dust off my soapbox

We've had some attacks recently on gay men at Rural State U. Yesterday, a rally was held on campus to raise awareness and show solidarity for the victims. I think it's great that people are organizing and taking action for the prejudices that led to the attacks. Moreover, I think it's even better that a community is showing support for a group of people who, just even 10 years ago, wouldn't be given support. It makes me glad for the time I am living in.

Ahem. This is where the soapbox comes in.

Safety precautions are something all people should be taught, regardless of their gender. Unfortunately, ours is a society of (white) male dominance, and males (especially white ones) rarely fear for their safety if they are walking after dark.

Women are raised and taught to fear for their safety more than (white) men. Women are taught to walk in well-lit areas, walk in groups, and if not with a person, walk while on your cell phone so people know where you are. Women, in theory, "know better."

(white) Men are not taught these things, as they are rarely the ones attacked.

Expecting to be in a completely safe environment all the time is ludicrous and something that we come to expect should be given to us with little or no effort on our own. No where is completely safe. You need to take precautions to ensure your safety. You also need to understand that no matter what you do to keep yourself protected and safe, that isn't a guarantee either.

Again, this is coming from the point of view of me, a woman, who's mother made her watch the Oprah shows on kidnapping and keeping yourself safe. I hated it then, but it's made me more aware when I'm out and about. This is coming from the woman who leaves her door locked at home and at work at all times. This is coming from the woman who has been chased across RSU's campus as an undergraduate the one time I chose to walk by myself late at night.

The point: take care of yourself. Realize that all you do isn't going to make sure something doesn't happen to you.

The last point: thank you, RSU community, for supporting the victims. Thank you for recognizing the fear members of the GLBTQ community face everyday simply for the people they love. Thank you for striving to make the world safer for all of us.


oh, ikea!

Longtime readers of this blog (ha) might remember a post from May about my love of Ikea.

This blog might triple that love.

five reasons to freak out and five committments

My good pal AC is going through a time, and I can sympathize. In the spirit of her post, I'm listing my five reasons to freak out and then five commttments I want to make.


1. Money. My student loans are going into repayment soon (thank you grad school for THAT little treat), plus we have a car payment, daycare, credit card payments, and need to start saving for Eva's college, our general savings, and for a down payment on a house. Any and all financial advice welcome.
2. I have/will most likely always have to deal with clinical depression. It's a combination of a chemical imbalance (which I can't help) and a tendency for me to get over-emotional (which I can help, to an extent). It's frightening to feel it always creeping in the back of my mind, and I hope everyday that it's something that Eva will never have to deal with.
3. Holy cow people! The economy! I couldn't imagine being 60 and planning to retire this year. I hope we can find jobs/Brandon can find a job after his contract is up at Rural State U this May.
4. My grandpa is in the hospital for an intestinal problem. My grandma Lorraine (the one with depression and the Lorraine in Eva Lorraine) passed away a few years ago, and while I'm not as close with my dad's parents as I would like, I know they are a rock for my cousins. I hope everything works out and he's discharged and in good health.
5. Worrying if I'm doing the right thing. I can never really tell. The constant fear that I'm not doing what I'm supposed to be doing or that I'm not in the right place or doing what's best for Eva is very frightening for me. My mom never seemed to be scared or second guess herself. It's hard having such a good role model sometimes.

And now to five committments:

1. Be better at going to church on a consistent basis. I feel better when I do, and it's important to us for Eva to grow up in a church and have a sense that there is something bigger than herself out there.
2. Be a better wife. I can be a bit of a shrew. Shocking, I know.
3. Be a better mom. I don't think I can ever give Eva what she deserves (but who ever really feels like they can?), but I am going to do better.
4. Get rid of this fricken baby fat/before baby fat. Pregnancy can only be blamed for so much. This committment includes making sure I always have clean clothes to work out in--sorry April.
5. Keep the house cleaner. Eva is crawling, and while I'm not the tidiest person, I like things organized and tidy. Thus, one hour each evening is going to be devoted to housework. Promise. Really. No really, I'm serious on this one. I can hear you laughing, and I don't appriciate it.


i'm that guy you hate

You know that guy...the one who hates surprises of any kind. I barely enjoy getting presents on actual holidays because surprises bother me so much. However, the few times in my life I've actually been surprised, I've enjoyed. There's a psychological mystery for you.

Last night my husband had a surprise birthday party with my work peeps for me. He had help from my work spouse, HM, and our office neighbor, Zeeba. It was totally awesome and made turning 25 feel fun and festive. Considering how whiny I've been about the whole thing, I'm surprised anyone felt like they wanted to come. Or, they came to stop the whining. Regardless, I had a good time, drank beer, ate french fries, and laughed a ton. Thank you all!
I now bring you the window shopping edition of my birthday list if we were independently wealthy and had room for such gifts:


we can't all of us be famous

This is the most famousest I've ever been. And it really only amounts to 1 or 2 people so far telling me they saw me on the College of Education web site. But whatev.

I am 7 months pregnant at the time this picture was taken, and I had to walk across campus here at Rural State University. For those not familiar with this particular school, I liken the terrain to a frozen tundra. A frigid steppe. In short, one of The Coldest Places Known to Mankind.

At least when you are pregnant.

And my face...it's huge! These are the things you don't notice when you are too busy noticing how you can't see your feet. Or your belly button.


wishin', and hopin' and prayin'

You know what I love? Weekends. Do I wish my life away waiting for weekends? Yes. Yes, I do. Do I regret that? Not really.

The prospect of having TWO WHOLE days to do nothing is so...so...exciting. But in that quiet exciting way where you are calculating how you are going to mete out your excitment. You don't (like that guy in Wayne's World) want to get partied out of your weekend on Friday night and leave the rest of the weekend excitingless. It's simply not done.

This weekend I am:
  • Going to Spokane to look at wedding dresses and getting fitted for a bridesmaid dress
  • Going to a bead show
  • Going to Costco (how I lurve thee)
  • Visiting a friend in Lewiston
  • Getting my hair permed (I know!)
It's a lot to fit in, but it's totally do-able. Also, I am joining my crafty friends for some crafty fun with Diet Pepsi (CFWDP). Crafty fun is always directly proportional to the amount of Diet Pepsi on hand.

I'm finishing one scrapbooking project that I am incredibly excited about. I had family members write letters to Eva and I'm putting them in the front of her little baby book. It's turned out really well so far, and here is one from my cousin and her wife for your reading enjoyment:

Dear Eva (Roo) Lorraine,

I am Michel Plemmons, your second cousin, and am very happy to greet you! You are the first child in your generation of the family on the Hosea/Aldrich side. I'm the first in your mom's generation - sometimes it's fun, and sometimes it's a pain. You'll know what I mean.

Amanda and I are really looking forward to getting to know you, and I'm sure Amanda spent a lot of time watching you play with your toes... she's like that. She'll also go with you to explore bugs and animals and rocks, whenever we get to visit. Michel will probably tell you stories and jokes - Michel is like that. We also like sneaking Big Ideas into little jokes, and stretching our thinking skills - we can have more fun that way!

May you have a life with hills worth climbing and views worth the skinned knees. May you listen to the still voice in your heart, and to the voice of hope. Most of us grownups will want you to listen to us, but we'll make mistakes too. Listen to what we want to be for you, and let us know when we're doing a good job.

You see, we believe in you and we love you very, very much. Love isn't something we choose, that you can earn or lose. You're family, and family means belonging.
Always. No matter what. (Even when we're being silly and you wish you didn't
know us!)

May God bless you, Eva Roo -
Love you!
Michel and Amanda
I'll be including pictures of this project when I'm finished.

Have a great weekend!


oh babies!

This is going to be a picture I will forever be showing Eva's friends, boyfriends, boyfriends' friends, and friends' boyfriends. Who does this? I didn't know this could be comfortable.

However, lord only knows how she spent the first 9 months of her life inside of me. I have a feeling she got into much weirder positions than this.


oh, candy

There are a few iconic things that define certain seasons or moments of my childhood. Disney Halloween cartoons are one of those things. The 3-4 hour time between when you got home from school to when you could go out trick-or-treating might as well have been like waiting for the second coming of Chirst. The clock never moved so slow. Dinner never took so long. Parent's never dragged their feet more. People just didn't seem to understand the importance of Halloween: FREE CANDY. Oh, candy. The only decent thing a kid could do was watch Halloween cartoons on Disney, which was the best way to get fully into the holiday spirit as well as freak the living daylights out of you.

The cartoons, which I'm sure you remember, ranged from innocent fun little ditties to ones that would scare the bejesus out of your little 6 year old mind. Case in point: Night on Bald Mountain from Fantasia. I remember sitting on our couch, dressed like Tinkerbell and being scared of going out into the dark. Only the promise of candy got me to go out like the big girl I was. Oh, candy.

Thus, in celebration of the impending holiday, I give you my favorite scary Halloween cartoon, Night on Bald Mountain.

If you need, you can come find me and I'll give you candy to make the rest of your day fine and scare free. Oh, candy.


mrs. dietrich, can i be excused?

Today is a day when I feel like a third grader. I read somewhere (was it Shel Silverstien, or the Economist?) about a child turning 11, and how he was 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 all at once. I still feel that way on certain days, and today is a day when I feel like I'm 8. I want to ask Mrs. Dietrich in her Philidelphia Fliers jersey if I can go home sick and be 8...color with crayons, think simple thoughts, eat chicken ramen, and watch The Gnome Mobile.

But no, I'm at work today, and I have to pretend to be an adult, while my 8 year old self wants to have a temper tantrum. And even at 8, you know a temper tantrum is something babies do. Sigh.

I think my baby is why I feel this way. You know how when you spend a lot of time with someone and you pick up their mannerisms, patterns of speech, and things like that? Sometimes, I feel like I pick up Birdy-isms. Like wanting to cry when I drop something, or just wanting to take a nap, or have someone take care of me like we take care of Birdy. I think though, that these thoughts take over when I'm tired.

Like, for example, I've only gotten 6 hours of sleep the night before. Like, for example, last night.

Perhaps I'm having a quarter-life crisis. I'm going to be 25 next week, and I feel old for 24, let alone 25. Most of my friends are not my age, and the ones that are aren't very 25ish either. Someone last week guessed that I was "30 or 35." That doesn't offend me, or make me think I look so much older due to sleep deprivation or whatever it is that makes people look 35. I just don't feel like that much of an adult. Mainly, I don't feel like I should be as young as I am.

I did a Google search for the poem I was talking about, but found this one from Billy Collins (who is someone you should know, or at least introduce your children to through this book.) about a boy mourning the loss of childhood as he turns the ripe old age of 10. It made me smile, if only for my mourning the loss of jumping into leaf piles and eating chicken ramen; because really, haven't we all thought these things at some point during our childhood?

On Turning Ten

The whole idea of it makes me feel
like I'm coming down with something,
something worse than any stomach ache
or the headaches I get from reading in bad light--
a kind of measles of the spirit,
a mumps of the psyche,
a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.

You tell me it is too early to be looking back,
but that is because you have forgotten
the perfect simplicity of being one
and the beautiful complexity introduced by two.
But I can lie on my bed and remember every digit.
At four I was an Arabian wizard.
I could make myself invisible
by drinking a glass of milk a certain way.
At seven I was a soldier,
at nine a prince.

But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned against the garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.

This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.
It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine.
But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
I skin my knees. I bleed.

Billy Collins


and one more

This one is my favorite! My friend Diana made the hat, and I put it on her at every opportunity. She gets tons of compliments on it, and it displays her noble Scandinavian heritage.

6 month pictures taken 1 month ago

We had these taken by the Amazing Kari at Purple Bumblebee in Longview, WA. I highly recommend her services--she loves kids, has great prices, and takes amazing shots...hence, the Amazing Kari.

I love this picture, but most of all, I love that she has a Trogdor the Burninator onesie on underneath. It will always be my little joke.

Sometimes, a girl's gotta eat her cousin's ear.

This hat was made by one of the doctors my mom works with.

Little known fact: the most relaxing baths are taken not in water, but in yards of fabric.


cough cough hack hack blech

You wonder why there were no updates after my "I'm-a-fearless-mom-with-no-diaper-bag-who-put-her-friend's-9-year-old-daughter-in-the-front-seat-because-I-don't-have-kids-that-old-and-don't-know-they-belong-in-the-backseat" post? Well, Dear Reader, there is a good reason for that.

We had The Sickness this weekend. Everything was fine and dandy for the most part on Saturday, but Sunday...oh Sunday. We were awash in a sea of germs and bodily fluids. Not a pretty picture (verbally or physically), let me tell you. We did manage to time out the sicky periods--Eva was sick on Sunday, Brandon was sick Sunday night, and I was sick Monday morning. And also Tuesday. Boo. BUT--we are better. And Brandon and I lost a combined 20 pounds! The flu diet is the way to go, ladies. :-) And gentlemen too, I suppose.

Anyhoo...did you know that Martha Stewart has a blog? She does! Like I need one more reason to look around at my standard issue university apartment in disgust. Oh well. That is why, like Anne, I have an imagination.

I discovered this through another blog I love, Grace Violet who also seems to have such fun crafty fun-nes. And I found HER blog through another favorite (by way of Anita), Today's Creative Blog. Do you sense a theme in blogs I love? It's not rocket surgery, peeps. This is why I could go home every night and spend tons of time in front of the computer while bouncing a baby on my knee. But I limit that to about 20 minutes since she is this small and adorable for such a short time. Sigh.

Sweet babies...I could have 10 babies just for the sweet baby phase. And if I had enough money to do so. And a huge garden to feed those people. And if I wanted a uterus that would be permanently the size of a football. But other than that, I'm totally there with my mini bus and baseball team plus one.


ode to my brudder

My little brother just turned (ha...I originally typed turded...subliminal message?) the Big Two Two, and will be graduating this May from Washington State University with a degree in Kinesology. For all of his great accomplishments, I give you, MY DORKY BROTHER, DAVID:

-When David was a wee David, we had a secret language. This was before he could talk and we lived in the Wisconsin house (so I was younger than three, making him less than one). Looking back, I'm not entirely sure if we could communicate, or if I just really loved my new little brother. The only think I remember was "avah" was "hot."

-When David was in preschool, he loved dinasaurs. I think he still does, on some level. But one of the cutest memories of him was when we were driving to Minnesota and he was listening to his Wee Sing Dinasaurs tape and singing along. He didn't think we could hear him, and he sang horribly, but my mom and dad and I got to share in the secret smug smiles and collectively think "get a load of this kid!?, where did he come from?"

-Since I had to go to David's soccer games, I decided to make the most out of it by trying to embarass him as much as possible by cheering really loudly and saying stupid things. I almost got kicked out of a game by yelling at a kid who was clearly faking being hurt.

-During my senior year, we went on a school overnight leadership retreat. At the end there is all this cheesy "oh you mean so much to me" stuff and hugging. Usually, I don't really go for that kind of thing. But David was there, and he had just started to become an interesting person (instead of the useless dolt he had been since he was 5), and I realized how much I was going to miss him when I was going to college in a few short months. So I succombed to being huggy and told hime that I loved him and hugged him. Sniff. He was a trooper and hugged me back, though he probably thought I was going soft in the head.

living on the edge

Check me out: I'm going to pick up a friend's daughter at piano lessons (something I'm excited to do for Birdy one day) and deposit a check. BUT I'M NOT TAKING A DIAPER BAG FOR BIRDY.

What will happen? Stay tuned.


hold the phone, sister

Delicious, thy name is Haagen Dazs. Behold my new all time favorite ice cream flavor in the whole world (until they come up with a funnel cake flavor).


how to test a grass allergy

1. Get idea to take pictures outside.
2. Decide "almost naked is surely best" in regards to specimen attire.
3. Go outside.
4. Put specimen on grass
5. Take tons of pictures of aforementioned specimen.
6. Go inside.
7. Do not notice any rash until giving specimen a bath.
8. Wonder if they make benadryl for babies.
9. Find no evidence of such medication.
10. Chalk this one up to "lesson learned."

We did get some great pictures of Birdy today, and the tummy rash was worth it. Along with the rash on my forearms.

Brandon and I tripped ourselves on up to Spokane yesterday to spend money on Birdy and visit our friends Shelby and Joel. It was a good time, and our other friends Jason and Randi (The Croyles!) had a good time keeping Birdy company back at home.

I also want to wish my good friend Anita HAPPY BIRTHDAY! :-)


special thanks to the allman brothers band


When you can't find the light
That guides you through a cloudy day
When the stars ain't shining bright
And it feels like you've lost your way
When those candle light of home
Burn so very far away
Well you got to let your soul shine
Just like my daddy used to say

He used to say the soulshine
It's better than sunshine
It's better than moonshine
Damn sure better than rain
Hey now people don't mind
We all get this way sometimes
Got to let your soul shine
Shine 'til the break of day

I grew up thinkin' that i had it made
Gonna make it on my own
Life can take the strongest man
And make him feel so alone
Now and then i feel a cold wind
Blowin' through my aching bones
I think back to what my daddy said
He said, boy, in the darkness before the dawn

He used to say the soulshine
It's better than sunshine
It's better than moonshine
Damn sure better than rain
Hey now people don't mind
We all get this way sometimes
Got to let your soul shine
Shine 'til the break of day

Sometimes a man can feel this emptiness
Like a woman has robbed him of his very soul
A woman too, god knows, she can feel like this
But hey, when your world seems cold
You got to let your spirit take control

He used to say the soulshine
It's better than sunshine
It's better than moonshine
Damn sure better than rain
Hey now people don't mind
We all get this way sometimes
Got to let your soul shine
Shine 'til the break of day

He used to say the soulshine
It's better than sunshine
It's better than moonshine
Damn sure better than rain
Hey now people don't mind
We all get this way sometimes
Got to let your soul shine
Shine 'til the break of day

only 107 days until christmas!

People across the internet have started auctions to raise money and support for Stephanie (Nie) and Christian Nielson, the blogger and her husband who were badly injured in a plane crash on August 16th.

If you would like to support them through buying absolutely fabulous gifties and crafty things, there are several sites organizing and holding auctions. More can be found here at the Benefit Blog.

bird on the lawn
Today's Creative Blog
One More Moore


words of wisdom

If you scoot your eyes over to the right hand side of this blog, you might see a link to Catherine Newman's blog. Prepare to have your mind blown: She has two. The other is on Wondertime.

I love her kids, and mostly I love Ben. Ben is funny, kind, and the kind of quirky you can only be when you are 8. This week's blog on Wondertime has Ben talking about asperations and kids around the world, and it hit especially close to home for me:

We still read Children Just Like Me all the time — that awesome DK book that profiles kids around the world in a really beautiful, non-intrusive way — and Ben is newly amazed by it. Maybe it's because most of the kids are 8 or 9 ("Those children are just like me!" he always cries, comically), and Ben is identifying with them anew. "Wow," he says, "the kids always want to grow up and go into politics, to make the world a better place. They're so amazing. I always picture the page about me in the book, and it would be like, One day Ben wants to own a sandwich shop where he can only serve lunch so he won't have to work too hard." Self-ironizing is a past-time that seems to come early in my house. "I want to want to be president," Ben sighs. "But it just seems so tiring. And like I should probably leave it for someone who really wants it." I like how he makes presidential candidacy sound like it's the last waffle on a plate.

And it's true, at least for me. I want to be the guy that owns a sandwich shop open only for lunch. I like to have lofty goals because they sound so impressive, but in the end I just want to enjoy my life and my family. I feel like hard, demanding work (like the presidency) can really be a drag on my ultimate goal of doing nothing, like Peter in Office Space.

I just re-read that, and it appears that I am a blob who grunts at the slightest thing I need to do, like shower.

And I just re-read that, and I realized that I have said on numerous occasions that I would shower everyday if it didn't take so long.

So please scratch all you just read, and understand that I am 100% on board with Ben's sentiments, and that being who you are is a good thing, even if people have the mistaken impression you are a lazy SOB.