My Nana (great-grandma) died right around Thanksgiving of '92. In order to try to get me in the spirit and out of my haze, Stacy (roommate), Brian and I went out, got a tree and went ornament and light shopping after my mom told me (yes, I am the queen of distraction, stuffing feelings and pretending shit isn't happening and I'm fine with everything). Stacy and I were all psyched because it was our first tree as "adults" (we were 20 and living on our own for all of 2 months at that point LOL) and I was psyched because it was Brian and I's first Christmas (newly engaged, in love, blah blah blah, blech). Well, we found "the perfect tree". It was gorgeous, it was huge, it was PERFECT! Then we got it home to our 12'x54' trailer.... It was too tall. So, I grabbed a saw from my Grandparents' house and Brian cut it so it would fit without making a skylight for us. Well, we were so in love with the tree and how pretty it was, we didn't pay attention that a few inches above where it was cut originally, the trunk was crooked and wonky. We were so excited that it fit after Brian cut it that we just tossed it in the stand and made it straight using the screws in the stand that holds it.... Crooked trunk that causes big tree to lean being screwed in at an angle into a plastic tree stand with water in it....... That fucker fell over at least 10 times that night, the floor was soaked because we didn't want it to die so we kept filling the stand with water every time it dumped out, all 3 of us had to be rescued from it while trying to put the lights on because if it got bumped it fell.... It was a nightmare!!!! I think we finally got it cut at an angle big enough that we managed to have it only leaning a little (and we used the wall for it to lean on) the next night. And I swear Brian had to have tried sawing it off at least 10 different times.... And Brian was 18 years old, 5'8" 145 lb and a scrawny little thing using a hand saw on a tree trunk (and the trunk was at least 6" across)... the evil looks he gave me everytime I asked if I could help (all 5'2" 105 lbs that I was) were priceless! We joked then that if we could make it through the tree debacle that we could make it through anything. Little did we realize that December 17th our lives would change forever, I found out I was pregnant, and the experience with the tree really DID help us get through many of the rough times. In the 24 hours of trying to keep the tree upright, we fought, tantrumed, brainstormed, and worked together to solve the problem. Since we'd only been together for 4 months at that point, it was a learning experience for both of us on how we each deal with problem solving and boy were we polar opposites!!!! 15 years later and we're finally working well together on projects!
The next year, I suggested getting a real tree and Brian looked at me, laughed hysterically and then we bought a $20 tree at Walmart that we used until '98.
Through Mom Central, I was sent this wonderful book to review. Having been through the baby stage many moons ago with my kids, Crawling brought all the feelings of joy, horror, contentment and insanity flooding back to me. Crawling is the story of Elisha Cooper's first year of parenthood; the good, the bad and the hysterical.
Being like many guys I know, Elisha like being around kids or want them (which is funny considering he's a children's author!). The fear of his world becoming ruled by a tiny tyrant and filled with kid friendly restaurants fueled his desire to avoid parenthood. Some of that changed once Zoe arrived and then became more than a fashion accessory wrapped in a blanket. Being a father was great, but he still held onto wanting Zoe to fit in his world instead of him giving it up. As Zoe grows and develops in her first year, so does Elisha's view on blending his adult world with that of his daughter's. Elisha gives humor and insight on the thoughts and feelings of fathers (actually mothers have many of the same thoughts and feelings!) wading through exploding diapers, tears (baby and adult), frustrations, dangers, new experiences and meals of the first year with a little one. Crawling is filled with moments that will have you laughing out loud, feeling his frustration with trying to do it all right and understanding that there is no "right" way to raise a child and is a great read for rookie parents and experienced parents alike. I highly recommend grabbing this book! It's a great read, whether it's done while wondering if your baby is ever going to just give in and go to sleep or while waiting in the car for your teen to come out of practice.
In the last few months, I've started submitting things for publication and for design team calls. This week I had 3 things get picked to be in the Holiday Sampler from Ready, Set, Create! WOO HOO!!! Both the Holiday Sampler and the Dec/Jan issue are packed with great ideas, beautiful projects and wonderful designers. I'm honored to be included in with them!
If you have kids, you've probably been introduced to Jumpstart computer games before. I bought my daughter her first computer game when she was 4 and it was Jumpstart Kindergarten. Now at 14, she has fond memories of the fun she had playing it. We've owned many of the Jumpstart titles though the last 10 years and when Mom Central gave me the opportunity to review this new software, Jumpstart World: 1st Grade, offered by Knowledge Adventure, I jumped at it!
I used 2 different kids to test out this game. The first was my son (8 and in 2nd grade) and the other was my niece (4.9 years and in pre-k). The kids and I all loved it!
My son enjoyed the games and missions, I noticed him paying close attention to things that he's started to take for granted that he already knows and it was a fun way for him to have concepts and skills he already has reinforced. At least once a day he asks about playing Jumpstart World so he can finish all the missions. Once he finishes all the missions offered on the cd, we'll move on to the subscription packets offered. As he played, I was impressed by the quality of games, graphics and fun that was offered. I also like seeing the pride he felt after completeing the missions and being able to track his progress and mastery of different skills. With all the curriculum changes in schools due to standardized testing numbers, having to cover so much more in each grade than ever before and the fact that teachers are human and don't always catch or have extra time when a child has a basic idea of a concept, but needs more practice for it to be ingrained in them. This software helps with that and most kids don't even realize they are learning!
My niece and I played Jumpstart World on Thanksgiving (and she played more with my daughter and son last weekend) and although it's above her grade level, she had a blast! She took her time on the games and missions she tried, didn't get discouraged by wrong answers because she knew she could try it again and shocked her parents when they saw just how much she already knows in the progress report. I always bought the next level up for my own kids (ex: in 1st grade, I bought the 2nd grade Jumpstart for my daughter) and they've always enjoyed playing from the beginning when it was challenging until long after they moved on to the next levels. I see the Jumpstart World software continuing to support that practice.
All in all, Knowledge Adventure has come up with another great product to support educational learning and fun. Jumpstart World: 1st Grade is a bridge between game time and brain time that kids won't even realize they are crossing.
Or should I say chair? I don't think a saddle would be very comfortable to sit on while typing! I got a bit side tracked with life, kids, scrapping page calls and DT entries, making cards, the impending doom of a holiday dinner at my house in a week... Ya know, the usual!
Since I'm feeling very overwhelmed today with deadlines, kids (I have an 18 month old and a 2 year old for the day) and general "I have so much to get done and so little time" syndrome, I'm going to use the 2Peas blog challenge from the general scrapping board as something to write about. A little mental break from my life for me...
If I were a flower, I'd be a...
Dahlia like this one from my garden this summer. Bright, vibrant, multi-colored and lots of layers.
I'm off to work on 2 DT entries I need to have done by Friday... Why do I procrastinate??? AH!
Fancy Simple challenged: Today, do a completely random act of kindness. Do something nice (big or small) for someone you don't really know.
I've been RAKing off and on for the last week (I gave 4 bags of Ninja Turtle figures and accessories and 3 bags of clothes to a family that is facing money challenges), but today I did some "fun" RAKs vs "needed" RAKS. I made gift baggies of embellishments and pattern paper squares for the women I'm cropping with tomorrow (I only know 2 out of the 6 that will be there), sent a Thank You note to Fiskars for all the wonderful things they do (I've received many products and goodies as a Fiskateer) and tonight I'm making some cards to send out tomorrow to military personnel in Iraq for Thanksgiving.
It's a crazy day over here! I'm hangin' out over at the Fisk-a-teers board today for the online Round- Up crop, working on challenges for the crop, working on getting everything I need to go crop tomorrow with my Sis and SIL, chasing Spidey-baby out of my scrapping stuff, Photoshopping pics to scrap with, deciding if I'm going to do any page calls or DT entries (I'm a bit bummed after my first DT try and rejection this week) and trying to get a head start on cleaning up the house before I'm gone tomorrow and it all gets trashed by the kids and hubster...
Spidey-Baby has decided to toss himself off the 1" tall book he was standing on and is tantruming on the floor, so I'm betting it's nap time!
I'm off to try and gain some sanity.... Anyone know where I can get some???
Today over at Fancy Simple Angie has challenged us to find 5 photos that explore our connections. I wonder if I can get this to work better than I did last week!
A love connection 15 years ago (taken about a week after we got engaged and about a week before getting pregnant)
4 genereations of crazy connection (Grandma, Me, TTP and Mom)
an ever changing connection
Best Friend connections
These 2 are tradition connections... The dresser/changing table was originally my uncle's dresser when he was in high school and my grandpa built the top for it when my brother was born in '80. Since then, my bro, sis, TTP, K-Monster, Madster (my niece) and Spidey-baby have had their butts changed on it. I started the tradition of "decorating" it when I got it for TTP and this is it's latest look for in Spidey-baby's room. The bassinet skirt is a tradition my grandma did when I was born (don't know about before that at all) and has done for all the babies in our family and some family friends. This is the first one I did. Spidey-baby and Tadpole (my other nephew) were due 5 days apart, so Grandma did a cradle set for Spidey and I took over the skirt making.
Today is Pop Culture Day over at Fancy Simple, so here's my "finds" for today!
Movie: Just Like Heaven- First I have to say, as much as I expected to dislike this movie just based on the cheese factor of the story, I LOVED IT! K-Monster likes it too (I don't know, he's a weird 8yo). I am a strong believer in the universe connecting you with people (experiences) that you need and it doesn't give up even when you don't "get it". I love that they were supposed to meet, ended up meeting in a messed up way, fell in love with each other's "spirit"/personality (and I loved that they annoyed the hell out of each other but still connected. As I joke with the hubster "Marriage is about finding that one person you can annoy for the rest of your life"), found out that they had people in common and ended up happily ever after....
Book: The Kite Runner- This is a wonderful book, although disturbing in places. It really shows how the connections we make as children can influence and follow us all through out our lives. It also shows the strong connections within ethnic communities in the US.
Gadget: Blogs! Like Barb said about email, blogs aren't a gadget necessarily, but I think just saying the computer doesn't work. I've made many connections with people that I never would have met through their blogs (and now mine!) and I'm very grateful for those connections. My life has been enriched by the women bloggers I've gotten to know and I just wish I could have all of them over for a dinner party sometime!
So, today's challenge is looking at how all our dots are connected... Right now, all I can think about is John Gotti and the Sopranos! Ok... shifting gears and getting my brain in place....
Do you come from a large family? Is your family close in a traditional sense? Nope, not a large family, but big enough! I'd say we were close in a traditional sense when TTP was little, but things have changed (and my sibs have grown up) so we're not quite as close as we used to be.
Do you like to throw parties of strange groupings of people? Yep! Those are my favorite kind!
Where do you make most of your connections? Through my kids and the hubster (since most things that are done outside of family things are usually through them)
If you wanted to make a new friend, where would you look first? Ummm... I don't know... I've been trying to figure this one out for some time now. I am in need of some IRL friends and haven't been able to find any connections that stick.
Who is your most trusted with a secret connection? Teri, my BFF since 7th grade who is now my step-sister!
Who is your connection who knows the most people? Erika, she's a cosmotologist and I swear she knows EVERYONE!
Who is your connection that you have lost touch with but would like to rekindle? Stacy. We were best friends for close to 20 years, but have lost touch in the last 8 years. The sad thing is that we live 5 blocks away from each other now and don't talk.
Do you make a lot of new connections or stick with your older connections? I think I do both depending on what's going on in life.
Have you ever had to move and start over? yep! Twice. The first one I didn't make many new connections and none stuck after leaving and the 2nd time I made a lot of new friends, but due to one being psycho, I cut ties with everyone when I moved away from there.
Do you believe internet connections are as powerful as real life connections? Yes!!! I've been in an email loop with a group of women for 10 years and I can honestly say they are 8 of my closest and deepest friends in the world.