Pocketfuls of Sunshine

Archive for October 2008

That’s what I have been telling myself since my last blog update from a week ago yesterday.  “I’ll update the blog tomorrow.”  And just as someone I know predicted, it’s hard to keep up when you have two little ones on your heels (or legs as the case may be).  So here’s the week in review.

Last weekend we had the opportunity to see Disney Playhouse Live thanks to the wonderful people at Variety; The Children’s Charity.  You see, The Bean has been a big part of their efforts to raise awareness and money lately, and they so graciously offered us suite tickets to see the grand show.  Both The Bean and Bubs were wildly entertained and it was great day out as a family.  Thank you Variety!

I also attended a Variety charity event at a nearby theater to raise money to buy bikes for children in need.  What’s even better is that the charity is presenting those children with special needs with bikes that have been outfitted specifically to their needs.  Fabulous!  There were restaurants with amazing dishes at the theater and we even saw a movie, complete with a pop and popcorn.  And I had my first taste of popcorn made with olive oil.  I must say, it was very delicious!  There was a silent auction as well and I am now the proud owner of a fantastic giraffe clock that will hang in Bubby’s room to match his animal decor.  Thanks to my mom for outbidding the lady that had her eye on it!

Then I was asked to speak today at a local children’s hospital to a wonderful group of doctors and therapists about The Bean’s story.  They were very welcoming and, like teachers, I’m sure they know why they chose their profession.  But it is nice to be able to remind people that their efforts are appreciated and their attitudes can make all the difference to a family in need of help.

On another not-so-great note, I may end up needing surgery shortly for an ovarian cyst.  If you know me, you know that I am not a fan of hospital stays since my own long stay almost two years ago in the battle against pancreatitis.  So we are monitoring the cyst in the meantime and hoping it shrinks on its own.  We’ll see.

And finally, tomorrow is Halloween.  What are my kids, you ask?  The Birds and the Bees.  And no, I didn’t intend that when I picked their costumes from the cute little thumbnail pictures on ebay, although it is kind of funny since they are only thirteen months apart.  The Bean will be a red macaw and I’m going to desperately try to stick Bubby in a bee costume.  I say I am going to try because he is growing by the day and it looks like it may be a snug fit–over his head anyway.

So thanks for patiently waiting for the Bloggerista to update.  I promise I’ll do better!

Time for another edition of Works For Me Wednesday from Rocks in My Dryer.

With the end of the economic crunch no where in sight, coupons have become more valuable to the consumer than ever.  And, I’ve noticed, they seem to be more valuable to stores, too.  In the last couple of weeks, I have been receiving “generous” coupons nearly every day.  Free candles, free stuffed animals, free digital cameras.  The list goes on and on!  I’ve even received back to back coupons for $15 off a $40 purchase at Macy’s.  Obviously, stores are realizing the value of a coupon.  And I do too!

The problem with all these wonderful coupons is organizing them in a way that allows you to use them effectively.  My previous organizational tactic was to throw them (quite literally) in a coupon drawer.  Then, when it came time to use them, I had to dig and dig to see what I had.  More often than not, I ended up buying something and then realizing later that I found a coupon in the bottom of the drawer. Not really the most effective way to save money.

So, I grabbed some trusty mailing envelopes and a Sharpie.  I sorted all of my coupons by theme.  Retail (i.e. mall stores and Babies R Us), grocery, food (as in restaurants), formula (which I will no longer need in another few months), and Bed, Bath, and Beyond (since they are bigger than my car).  After sorting them, I put them in the appropriate envelope and labeled them.  I am happy to say that this is a neater and more effective way of organizing coupons.  It isn’t so daunting to go through an envelope to see what I have for a particular outing, and I can easily throw away ones that have expired.

So take back your drawers.  Invest in some envelopes.  Save some money.  Sounds good to me.

So on Tuesdays over at 5 Minutes for Books, bloggers all around review the books that their children are currently reading.  The Bean loves her book stash.  She will sit in her chair next to her bookshelf and look at her books for the longest time, pulling them one by one out of the shelves, leafing through them carefully, and finally letting them fall to the ground below her.  Lately, she has a new favorite.

She loves Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans.  She just discovered it recently, and she can’t get enough of it.  In it, the little girl who lives in an orphanage gets sick and has to have her appendix removed.  By the end of the book, all the little girls want their appendices out too.  (I actually had to look up the plural of appendix and am somewhat surprised.  I thought it would be something like appendi!  Silly me.)

I find the general premise behind the book a little odd, but The Bean loves the illustrations and she loves to say Madeline.  Only, it comes out more like, “Ma a win”.  I love it.   And I love that she loves books.  Even ones where kids dream about unnecessary surgery.

Or should I say, START THE PRESSES!

After much thought and time writing and revising, my children’s picture book is finished! And it sits in a large envelope near the door awaiting the trip to the post office. When the kids wake up from a much needed nap, we will bid the manuscript a fond farewell and see if anybody over at Houghton Mifflin likes it as much I do.

It’s a long shot. I know this. But I must start somewhere, and I think the story is a good one. I keep wondering what it would look like with actual illustrations. You see, the most I could ever draw was a simple picture of Snoopy’s head. Everything else is mere lines and sticks.

Ah, I hear the cooing of a well-rested infant. One up, one to go. Then we’ll brave the crazy place where the mail never stops.

Wish me luck. And if you know anyone with connections over at Houghton Mifflin in Boston, definitely leave me a comment. I need all the help I can get.

It’s time for another edition of Works for Me Wednesday over at Rocks in My Dryer. Check it out for some practical solutions to picky problems. On to my scrapbooking idea for the week!

Suddenly, in the late nineties, scrapbooking became popular. Of course, I jumped on the bandwagon and started buying pretty paper to fill pretty albums and overly adorn them with pretty stickers. I convinced myself that photos look better when displayed that way. So much so that I spent HOURS making a “page”. I would move the little flower embellishment fifty times before settling on the corner of a photo and tell myself that is the only place where it really works. Then I would pick up a fairy embellishment and repeat the process of finding the one perfect spot for it to flutter over.

Don’t get me wrong. I loved it. There was a certain satisfaction to designing a page, and I was convinced I would look at these scrapbooks for years to come. The last complete album I made was our wedding album (over 5 years ago!) and then I dabbled here and there with it but never completed another one.

So, almost two years ago when Lori over at Barefoot in High Heels turned me on to photo books, I was super excited to see I could still be creative and crafty, but all I needed was a computer and an Internet connection.

You see, there is just no way that I can sit and fuss with the stickers, eyelets, ribbon, and paper anymore. I find myself instead rearranging clothes in the closet after only three months of wear from my little ones. I can barely keep up with putting my digital pictures on the computer, much less get them printed and arranged on trendy paper. So Shutterfly has become my new best friend.

They offer a photo book that allows me to design pages and add all the captions I want, and I don’t even have to use glue! Just click the mouse, and wallah! A scrapbook that is coffee table quality is shipped right to my door. I can work on it for minutes at a time (which reminds me that I need to start now since the kids are turning 1 and 2) and I can print as many copies as I want!

It is the answer to a mommy’s prayers. Because as much as I don’t really mind that I can’t scrapbook the “old-fashioned” way, I don’t want to miss a moment of those memories with my children.

And here’s a bonus: when I linked over to Shutterfly, I noticed they are giving 30% off photobooks! What more could you ask for?

Yes, I know the song actually goes, “Everybody’s got their something…” and I was going to use it as the title of the post. But I can’t. I just can’t. Because you see, “their” is plural and “everybody” is actually singular. So it should be “everybody’s got HER something”. Sure, you can use “his”, but since I’m the bloggerista, and I’m a female, I’m sticking with my own kind.

This sort of brings me to another saying that makes me want to shout out the correct grammatical structure cringe. “To each their own.” Shudder. Again, the problem of singular and plural appears. Each is actually singular, so it must be “her”. To each HER own. Ah, much better.

Now what was I going to write about? Honestly, this is not what I sat down at 10:28 on a Tuesday to write about. Ah, the something. That’s it.

The something of which I speak is a lovey. A special stuffed animal or toy. I still have my teddy bear on my bed. His nose is falling off, surely the result of incessant tugging and pulling on him as I went to sleep. I should take a picture of him and immortalize his fuzzy brown fur, because one day that cute button nose of his will fall off, and I won’t like it. Maybe tomorrow.

One of my more memorable lovey’s was a baby doll. Her name is Sara. Say hi.

Now, Sara says lots of small words. Specifically, they are “ni mama. Yip yipe. Wahhh! Wahhh!” And repeat. She talks until you lay her down on her tummy. So when I was in the basement changing the laundry the other day, The Bean knocked Sara off a shelf. Immediately, Sara started with the yipping, and Beanie was fascinated. Sara then made her way out of the basement laundry room in Beanie’s arms, and she’s been around in the living room since.

This reminds me of the time that I did something wrong as a child. I don’t know what. I can’t remember. What I do remember was my dad coming in to my room and taking Sara out of it. That was quite the punishment for me. I LOVED Sara. A few minutes later, he said I could have her back. Ah, victory! Except, when I took her in my arms and started moving her around, she was silent. I shook her. Really shook her. All I could hear was the clicking of her eyelids as they flapped up and down. No mama. No yips. No yipes.

I’m pretty sure my exact words to my dad at that point were, “You killed her!”

And I’m pretty sure that he felt bad for me. So he took Sara back and performed “back surgery” where he replaced the batteries that he so cunningly had removed minutes before.

I was telling The Husband about this memory that other night, and he topped mine with a story about how his dad ripped apart his Cookie Monster doll in front of him. Stuffing was flying everywhere. I cracked up when he told me this, and then I gave thanks that The Bean’s favorite lovey doesn’t have batteries (although it does have stuffing. Yikes!)

Meet Bunny.

Bunny doesn’t talk. I don’t even know if it is a boy or a girl. (Yes, people have asked me. We just call it Bunny.) I do know that it doesn’t need batteries and the only stuffing we’ll see flying from it will be from all the hugs and loving that The Bean does with it.

Over at 5 Minutes for Special Needs, there is a new Friday theme called “Me Time”. When I first read about it, I thought it would be a great thing to include here at Pocketfuls. I had these grand ideas about what I would do and how I would elegantly detail this wonderful solitary experience that should invigorate and renew my soul.

And here I sit, at nearly eleven on a Friday night, having just folded four loads of laundry. And I haven’t even updated the blog all week. There hasn’t been a lot of “me time” lately, although I did attend a dinner and salsa dancing lesson last evening. It was fun, and it was something for me, so I suppose it counts in a way. But “me time” according to 5 Minutes means time to be by oneself, and I haven’t done any of that in awhile.

What I have done is spend time with some fantastic people at Variety. I had the opportunity to speak at their annual board meeting, and everyone heard The Bean’s story and our journey to finding a “helping hand”. I must admit, I had to practice my speech several times. And I am proud to say that I held it together until the final three words of the speech. I wasn’t alone in my tears by the time I finished. I was overwhelmed to find a room full of people standing, clapping, and crying for all we have learned and how far we have come. It was amazing moment and I’ve been excited about it all week. I hope to have more opportunities like that to raise awareness and say a personal thank you to the people who make The Variety Myoelectric Center possible.

So that was our highlight of the week. And there was so much more that happened this week, but I think I may take that “me time” I was hoping to find earlier right now. All is quiet in the house, the lights are low, and I am going to sit down and just be.