Monday, January 30, 2012

Once Upon A Time, in a Local Library . . .

Anyone that knows me knows that I love to read.  (Anyone that's been to my house knows that neither my husband nor I can pass up a library book sale!)  Today was another step of my daughter's journey to loving to read.  Or at, least I hope it that's what it was for her!

I've been wanting to bring her to a storytime for a while, but we kept running into trouble.  There was just so much going on--I think we had plans for Monday mornings for the past month.  Plus, there is the whole only having one car thing.  (It's not too bad, just takes a little more planning.)

This morning things finally worked out and we were able to attend . . .

Storytime at the Library!

Catherine was very good, maybe even a tad subdued.  I think that being in a roomful of her peers was a little overwhelming at first.  She sat on my lap, or stayed in our little space on the floor without any trouble.  She listened to "Where's Spot?" with rapt attention.  She danced along to the "Baby Hokey Pokey" gleefully.  She seemed a little apprehensive when the librarian got out a bubble machine but once she saw the other kids popping bubbles she relaxed.  Some of the other stories the librarian read didn't grab her attention, so we quietly read about seeds and sunflowers from a book that I had grabbed just in case.  Overall, I think it was a fun and worthwhile experience and I think we will be going again!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Favorite Moments at the March for Life

I still have some things that I would like to share about this year's March for Life.  There was a massiveness about the March--with so many people it can be easy to be overwhelmed.  However, there were a few little things that I found touching.

I thought that this Pro-Life couple was adorable.  

These guys were wearing bright orange sweatshirts with a sweet Pro-Life message.

Here are some signs with a sense of humor, but laced with harsh reality.

I love this picture that has my Alma Mater's banner passing the front of the Supreme Court.

Special thanks to Sarah, for all of her wonderful photos! 

Who Was at the March for Life?

I've heard it before . . . "Only the middle-aged and old people go to the March."  "Only white people are at the March."  "Only men are at the March."  "Only extreme religious are at the March."

Yeah, right.

(Did you pick up on my sarcasm?  Good.  Just checking.)

Here is just a TINY sampling of the size of the March.  Notice how the people
FILL the street.  Notice how the end of the March is nowhere in sight.  Notice how
 the front of the March is also nowhere in sight.  Notice the filled sidewalks.  
First of all, there were thousands and thousands of people there.  A couple hundred of thousand. 

I personally did not see ANY protesters.  Oh, I know that there were a few present.  But VERY few. And yet the media was confused.  CBS had a small slide show that only showed the handful of protesters.  They somehow missed the THOUSANDS of Pro-Lifers!  Although, I suppose that is better than the New York Times, which totally missed the entire March for Life! This blogger had some things to say about that.  The Washington Post found the same people as CBS.  Maybe we are all really Ninjas, like this guy posits. Another great article showing the senseless lack of coverage can be found here.  

Secondly, the March is filled with youth.  Check out these pictures and tell me what you see.  

Youth Group from Chicago--250 strong.
Read more about them here

My Alma Mater, Christendom College led the March.
See more of Christendom College's pictures here.

Some of my sister's group--from Kentucky.
(Thanks for the picture, Sarah!  See more here.)

Thirdly, the Pro-Life movement is a very diverse group.

Here we have a (somewhat) local High School with a group
at the March.  The Youth of America.
While abortion is not a religious issue--it is a human issue--
there were many different religions that wanted to be heard.

College groups from all across the
country came to share their voice.

I saw signs that said "Gays and Lesbians for Life", "Atheists for Life", "Jews for Life", "African Americans for Life", and so many more!  Those are just the people with signs!  Also, did you notice the number of WOMEN in the pictures?  

I guess I would like to say something to the world--

We are here, and you can't ignore our message.  ALL life is beautiful.  All life should be protected.

I am Pro-Life.

I am Pro-Life

I firmly, one hundred percent, unwaveringly believe in the Right to Life of all people.  Man. Woman. Child. Black. White. Yellow. Green. Purple.  Christian.  Jew.  Muslim.  Atheist.  Old.  Young.  Born.  Unborn.

As such, I believe that abortion is never the answer.

The Annual March for Life is a time when hundreds of thousand of us "abortion protesters", or Pro-Lifers, come together to make a visible stance against abortion at our nation's capital--Washington, DC.  I was able to participate in yet another one this year--both a blessing that I was capable and curse that it needed to be done--this past Monday.

I have so many thoughts, feelings, impressions, and emotions that I would like to share about my experience--to the point that it is almost difficult to know where to start!

Let me set the scene for you . . .

Monday was a dreary day.  The sun barely made an appearance.  The rain, while never pouring, rarely stopping completely.  It wasn't freezing, but it wasn't warm either.  It really was more of a cuddle up by the fireplace with a blanket and good book type of day.

I got to the Mall early to meet up with my sister.  The weather put some kinks into the pre-March events, but people started trickling in by 10 am, and a couple of hours later the Mall and surrounding streets were full.  I went with my sister to the Students for Life Rally and then marched up the street to the Supreme Court.  Because of the Rally's location we ended up pretty close to the front of the line.  This allowed us to finish marching and watch the rest of the people come past the Court building.  They just kept coming, and coming, and coming . . .

Eventually, my sister and I threaded through the crowd to the packed-to-the-gills Union Station for some food and good conversation.  We waited in line for the bathroom with about a hundred other Pro-Lifers before walking to the bus station.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Sippy Cup Conundrum

This cup retails for $29.99.
You know you're a Mom when you spend hours looking through reviews and research on the best sippy cup.  (Or potty seat, or magnetic letters, or some other seemingly mundane thing that costs less than ten bucks . . . )  There is a  blog out there named The Best Sippy Cup.  There are various recommendations.  There are cups that cost thirty bucks apiece!  There are also cups that you can pick up at Walmart for a buck or two.

But seriously!

There are so many options, each one touting its superiority to all the rest-- but all seem to have their drawbacks.

Catherine's is identical to the left--
Pink and Purple
Catherine's current cup isn't too bad.  She has the Playtex First Sipster Cup.  It does come pretty highly recommended.  It has roughly four stars on Amazon (well, at least one of the many listings) and I heard good things from some other Moms that I know.  It wasn't too expensive.  (Of course, I waited and lucked out with a sale and a rare coupon!)  Until recently all she drank out of it was water and it seemed pretty perfect.  Now that she is drinking milk from the cup it has become increasingly apparent how difficult it is to wash.  The lid and spout are so hard to clean--especially when it has milk gunk that has sat  overnight.  Yes, I know . . . the easiest solution is to make sure to wash it ASAP, and NEVER let it sit overnight.  That is all well and good, and even my goal, but let's face it, that just doesn't always happen.  Bedtime has always been rough for Catherine, and thus for Mom and Dad too--although things are getting smoother on that front--and remembering what dishes got washed and which didn't is not a very high priority.  Half the time I'm not even sure where Catherine has placed her sippy!

Growing up my Mom had the Tupperware set--like these that I found on Ebay.  ( I can't believe they consider them vintage!)  They are much simpler than the cup Catherine has--no helpful handles, no flow controlling insert, no fancy click and twist lid.  However, there is something about the simplicity of these older generation sippy cups that I find attractive.  The lids are simple to clean--and you can see immediately if there is something in the spout, unlike Catherine's.  Of course, I would be quite remiss if I said these older ones were perfect!  I seem to remember the spout being chewed to pieces quite easily.  I think by the time my little sister was through needing these there was only one lid/spout that could help reduce the flow of liquid--the others were fairly large gaping holes, err, spouts.  And these weren't good "trainer" cups--Catherine's cup is a great transition from a bottle.  The flow control devise and the soft (but so far durable) spout helped make the switch from sucking to sipping.  Now we don't even use the flow control device.  Although, I stopped putting it in because I didn't feel that the milk was getting cleaned out of it!

Maybe if we had a dishwasher I wouldn't have any difficulties or any complaints or dislikes about sippy cups.  Maybe it wouldn't be so hard to clean.  Maybe.  To be honest, I'm not convinced even a dishwasher would be able to get into all of the crevices.

In the end, it's just a cup.  A cup that Catherine likes and uses.  A cup that she learned to drink from.  A cup that I hope we don't lose.  And a cup that I will continue to wash, because that's my job as Mommy.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Yarn of a Girl

A long time ago, in a 4-H office far, far away a little girl learned how to crochet.

I still remember struggling to get my pink (of course!) yarn to glide around my hook the way the instructor showed me.  Eventually, I managed to produce a workable chain and even the basic single stitch.  It took me almost a week to complete that pink potholder.  It wasn't quite a square and it wasn't quite anything else, but I finished it and got a red ribbon at the county fair.  But, to use a (really) bad pun, I was hooked.  I got books out of the library and had the opportunity to observe a family friend--one of the moms at our homeschool co-op--work magic with a hook and yarn.  As a kid I mostly made baby blankets, pot holders, doll clothes, and a handful of (basic) doilies.  I improved drastically from that first pink potholder.  I even won a couple of trophies.  (I think they are still on a shelf in my (pink) childhood bedroom).  Then I went away for college and got super busy working.  That pretty effectively put a damper on my crocheting time.    I started a handful of projects, but only a couple ever got completed.

Fast forward a number of years to now . . . I am (almost) all grown up, my husband only has a dissertation standing between him and his doctorate, I have a little girl of my own, and once again have a little time on my hands.  (In the midst of the craziness that comes from having a toddler!)  I found one of my old hooks (strangely enough, the only one of my old set I could find was pink!).  I found a couple of half-finished projects and began finishing them.  Once again, I was hooked.

Crocheted Lemon Ruffle Scarf
Currently for sale in my Etsy shop.
It took a couple of projects to get my skills back, but I think I found them.  I received a high quality set of hooks for my birthday and lucked into a couple of really good yarn sales.

Here is my craft fair display after I sold a potholder,
four scarves, and  a handful of cards.
In November, I happened across a notice about a local craft fair and halfheartedly thought about renting a space.  I put the notice in a pile and forgot about it until the week of the fair.  I emailed the contact person and at first it looked like I was too late, but the Wednesday before she emailed me and said there was a cancellation and if I wanted I could participate.  That Friday night before the fair, and the morning of, I was so nervous!  I had never sold any of my things before, would anyone even be interested in what I had for sale?  It would be a shame if I didn't make my deposit back, or even worse, what if none of my items sold?  All my worrying was for naught, as I sold much more than I ever hoped I would.  It was so much fun!

My success there led me to start an Etsy shop, Scarves, Cards, and More.  I also have a Facebook page; (I think I figured out how to add a like button.  It should be to the right of this post.  I'd love it if you "liked" me!)

I am really enjoying learning my craft again.  It is so fascinating to turn a ball of yarn into something usable.  Between the local library and the plethora of internet sources I have hundreds of ideas that I can't wait to try!