operation love zimbabwe

***update 02feb2009***
mozie esme has posted helpful background information on the state of zimbabwe. please click here.
if you haven't noticed already, there is a new button on the sidebar promoting operation love zimbabwe. this event runs from Feb. 1 - 14 and has been put together by mozi esme's mama in order to draw awareness to zimbabwe's tragic situation...it is truly devastating.

over the next two weeks, there will be african-themed giveaways coupled informative posts about zimbabwe and ideas on how we can help change their current situation.

i encourage you to head over there and check it out. if you have a blog, grab the button while you're over there and help spread the word.


a small victory

the CPSC has voted to suspend mandatory testing and certification of all children's products 12 years and under for 1 year. it is a small victory, but i hope the 1 year suspension will give the commission more time to re-evaluate some of their testing and ceritfication regulations. more details on the latest CPSIA news here, here, and here.

it's great to see democracy at work :).

walking in a winter wonderland

that song makes walking out in the snow sound so pleasant and appealing..but it neglects to mention the fact that your fingers start to freeze and your nose starts running and all you really want to do is get inside as quickly as possible to warm up.

since my unreliable car decided to be unreliable the other day, instead of doing some grocery shopping, emma and i took a walk down to the library just so that we can get out of the house for a bit.

now if it was just me, i would be power walking all the way to my destination to minimize the time spent outside in the cold. my intent was to try and get the both of us to walk quickly, but of course trying to rush a toddler to do anything only results in frustration. and because i love her so (have i already mentioned that i'm not a cold weather person?), i let her take her sweet time.

i admit, it was fun to see her enjoy herself...

...drawing pictures in the snow with her little stick, stomping on all the little snow balls on the sidewalk, dipping her gloved hands in the snow and then shaking them to watch all the little snowflakes fly away.


wordless wednesday::loyal companion

more wordless wednesday here and here.


snow exploration

though the snow today was not conducive for brick molding or snow man building, emma managed to have a little fun outside anyway.

resting her head on her snow pillow for a little nap.

gathering sticks to make a stick fence.

discovering a miniature snow ball.

as i've mentioned a few times before, i am not a fan of cold weather and it quickly loses its novelty (with me) as soon as christmas is over. but between the layers of clothes and the sunshine warming us as we played, i didn't notice the cool 20 degree weather at all.


new listing::valentine's day!

in anticipation for valentine's day, i just listed these hand-embroidered cards on etsy.

i think i like embroidering on paper. certainly a more sturdy medium than cloth...definitely a different experience.


stewardship::remaining faithful through the tough times

i am sure we can all agree that 2009 looks to be a rather glum economic period for those of us residing in the states. i don't think there has been a week this past month where i haven't heard of people losing their jobs. it has been especially prevalent here in the cleveland area (or so it seems to me). and coupled with the high rate of foreclosures in this area, it can seem rather bleak for a lot of clevelanders.

on a personal level, we have also been affected by the recession (yes! i have decided to accept the fact that we are indeed in an economic recession). aaron received a 5% pay cut starting this year, with raises and pensions frozen, and no bonuses until the economy begins to improve. since we are pretty much on a single income, this will of course impact how we spend our money.

though it may seem like a downer to get any form of pay cut, i have realized that it has actually been a blessing. the experience has been personally convicting, forcing me to really examine how we can be better stewards of the money and the things God has provided for us. he has provided for us so many times over, and a lot of the times we end up taking his generosity for granted by wishing and longing for more (or better) stuff! what we have, we have from God. and financially, the way we spend our money (which is really God's money anyway) is a reflection of where our hearts truly are.

so for us personally, how do we continue to be faithful stewards of God's money?
  1. remain faithful that God will provide EVERYTHING that we need (he has before).
  2. continue to tithe the same amount if not more (decreasing the amount of money we tithe would be a reflection of our faith, or lack thereof).
  3. re-examine our needs and wants (what can we live without? is a certain item, subscription, etc. a necessity or a luxury?).
  4. being content with his provisions.
  5. pray.
  6. live our life simply, humbly and always for God's glory.
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (philippians 4:6-7)


new blog discovery

just had to share with you a new blog i found via rocks in my dryer's saturday linkage. check it out: simple mom.

i just read a very helpful post there on tips for thrift store shopping. it looks like the site has some wonderful resources in regards to home management (for all you folks in the home management career field).

have fun!



emma and i stopped by the lakewood public library today to check out their family story time. every week they have what's called the family weekend wonders program which involves stories, activities, and a craft that revolve around a specific theme.

this week's theme: owls.

all the children gathered around the floor to listen to the librarian read stories about owls, do the owl-pokey together, and the owl version of simon says. afterwards, the kids gathered around the craft tables to make their own little owls. emma did an excellent job putting most of it together. she even managed to cut out the eyes and beak by herself (as long as i held the paper). i also realized just how much more independent and "grown-up" she is now. she didn't need to sit by mama for the stories or songs, or look at me for guidance as how to follow the librarian's directions. and she even manouvered her way to her own seat without looking for help from me. *sigh*

one of the things i really appreciate about the lakewood public library are their free, educational outreach programs for children. the story time programs, family weekend wonders, and homework e.r. to name a few are some of the programs offered for kids from babes to middle schoolers. another library offering similar programs for kids in the cleveland area is the cuyahoga county public library. they have multiple branches spread out through out the cleveland area since this library system through the county.

if you live in the cleveland area, i encourage you to take advantage of all the free, helpful, and educational resources the libraries here have to offer.


wordless wednesday::little mommy

for more wordless wednesday go here and here.


to fathers of little girls

something to look forward to for all you daddies with daughters...

i actually rescued this video from my old computer's hard drive, so it's about a year old. i just can't stop chuckling to myself every time i watch it.


kicking cabin fever

the need to escape and do something finally got to us after 2 days of being confined to the house due to excruciatingly cold weather. temperatures were "warming" up by saturday so aaron, emma and i (tyler was MIA. go here for more details.) decided to take advantage of it and get out.

we decided to visit the rocky river nature center down in the metro parks and took the scenic route through the emerald necklace. i wished we had stopped for a moment to take some photos, because the whole park was blanketed with beautiful white snow. and the bare trees, dusted with snow, made beautiful archways over the winding road ahead of us. i'm not a fan of cold weather, but i must say the snow added quite a serenity to the scenery around us. i guess you will have to use your imagination.

the nature center was very spacious and had kind of a "lodge" ambience about it. there was plenty of hands-on activities for the kids, and apparently there are some fantastic trails just outside of the center. but we'll have to save that portion for when the weather warms up. emma had a fantastic time exploring the facility, pressing all sorts of buttons, studying stuffed (as in the taxedermy kind of stuffed) animals, pretending to be a pioneer, and sitting with dad to watch the birds.


time for snow

ever since emma got a brick mold for christmas, she couldn't wait to use it in the snow. every time she would see snowfall she would exclaim, "NOW i can use my snow brick!" sadly (for her, not me), there was never quite enough snow to use her beloved snow brick...until last week.

we had about 6-8 inches of white powder and emma was ready to go outside, snow brick in hand. it seemed that all the kids were out enjoying the snow. so while tyler was at a neighbor's with his sled, we ventured out to have a go at making some snow bricks.

we didn't build anything with the bricks we made since the snow was too powdery. but emma was happy smashing them down with her boots and having her mama make some more (think pregnant lady bending and standing over and over and over again).

just thought i'd add that today is predicted to be a whopping 4 degrees outside, with last evening's temperatures dipping to -24 fahrenheit. so cold that it KILLED my car! i didn't realize we lived in the arctic zone.


pregnancy update: 1

at least i think it's update number 1. i don't think i've blogged much about this pregnancy except for here. and there wasn't much content in that one either.

so here's an update since october!

we had our "major" ultrasound this week...hence the fancy, shmancy ultrasound photo from yesterday. baby stats are right on target (weighed in at 13 oz. or as aaron put it..."it weighs more than a bottle of beer!") and everything seems to be as it should. emma was absolutely fascinated with the experience. i think the 3-D version captured her attention the most, because you could see the baby's features better. i think one of my favorite parts about having the ultrasound is seeing the heartbeat (the 4 chambers are so clear!). it's pretty amazing to think that you are carrying and nurturing another human life inside your own body. talk about a miracle.

but this baby is already different from emma when she was in the womb. this one was so squirmy that the technician did not end up determining the sex (not that we wanted to know)! it already has its own character...and i was reminded of this as i watched this baby kick, roll, and suck its own thumb.


wordless wednesday::the life within

our squirmy, kicking, thumb-sucking babe. we anxiously await for your arrival.

more wordless wednesday here and here.


quirky moments in marriage

with emma napping and tyler out sledding, aaron and i had a little bit of alone time this afternoon.

you would think that we would take advantage of this time together to chat and catch up or do something romantic since we don't get a lot of it. but no. we decided to spend those precious moments measuring our beauty.

and i mean, measuring in the literal sense.

taking our cue from the show "true beauty" (which is one of those shows that you don't plan on watching, but get sucked because of its cheese factor and for some odd reason it's humorous watching other people make a fool of themselves), which we watched the night before, we spent the next 10 minutes measuring each others faces with a measuring tape. the show was rating each person's beauty based on facial measurements and other physical attributes that they measured.

anyway, that's what we did. it was so silly. we laughed at ourselves for doing it in the first place. what a strange sight it would be if someone walked in on us. one person, measuring tape in hand, pressing it against the other person's face. yes. very strange.

but i think that's what makes our relationship unique and why we both get along so well. one of things i love about being married to my husband is that we can let our guards down to the point where we're not afraid to do something weird like that together. it's our inside joke. it's what makes us...us.

do you and your spouse ever have one of those quirky (possibly deemed as strange to outsiders) moments?


things i've done

melissa, over at our suburban homestead, did this fun meme the other day and i thought i'd play along too. if you'd like to participate, copy and paste the list, remove my comments in parentheses, then put any of the things you've done in bold.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band (does being married to someone who played in a band, count?)
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing (just really on a rock wall)
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke (that was mine and aaron's first date!)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business (only if you count my etsy shop...you be the judge)
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies (but i've eaten MANY)
62. Gone whale watching
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar (it wasn't that good)
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life (both my sisters from drowning in the pool)
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person (it has no basement...lol!)
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake (but i've swam in the Dead Sea...which has salt in it)
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee


photo meme

last month i was tagged for a photo meme by my blog friend, sarah. december was so busy that i completely forgot about it until now. so here it is (it's very easy)...
  • open the 4th picture folder in your computer.
  • open the 4th picture folder in that folder and post it on your blog.
  • explain the picture.
  • tag 4 other bloggers to do the same (you can notify them in their comments section).

photo explanation: we went to barnes and noble for a reading of "where the wild things are" and other stories/illustrations by maurice sendak. emma loves "where the wild things are," so it was a special treat to be able to go and hear someone else re-tell the story. she was apprehensive about meeting the wild thing, and preferred to look at him from a far.

here are the 4 bloggers i'm tagging:
1. melissa
2. simply stork
3. connie
4. tabitha


christmas in the new year : I

we spent new year's day at gram and paps since we did not make it down for christmas.

since tyler was away for christmas this year, he got to open his gifts from gram, pap and aunt corrie during our visit. emma managed to score a few as well. and even aaron and i made out with a few wonderful gifts.
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