Pocketfuls of Sunshine

Archive for November 2008

This holiday season, several people have asked for information
about donating to Variety and the Myoelectric Center that is
helping to provide The Bean with her myoelectric prosthesis and
her therapy sessions.  The Husband and I wanted to pass along some
information to those who might be interested.

We know times are hard for many people right now, and it is the
season to be thankful for our blessings.   We are so very lucky
to have found Variety and its Myoelectric Center.  It has made such
a difference in Beanie's life, and she is mastering her myoelectric
hand so quickly.  We are so proud to see her do everyday tasks
spontaneously with two hands, and her determination and will to
use her hand effectively brings tears to our eyes.  We will be forever
grateful to those involved with Variety and our little girl's success.

This Christmas, many people consider donating to charities or those
in need.  If your family, or someone you know, is looking to make a
difference in a local children's charity, consider Variety; The
Children's Charity and its Myoelectric Center. We have been working
closely with Variety to raise awareness about this program, speaking
at meetings and schools, and Beanie has become an integral part of
their campaign to acquire funding.  She is the subject of their annual
giving letter, and we would be happy to share that letter with you.

If your family is interested in making a donation, big or small,
leave a comment here and I will send you a copy of the giving card
by which you can make a tax deductible private donation.  Every penny
helps children like Beanie receive prostheses and vitally important
therapy to help them use their new hands. It is our Christmas wish
that you consider "lending a hand" to Variety this holiday season.
Please pass this information along to any friends or family that might
be interested and let me know if I may provide any additional information.
Additionally, if your employer or a company you know might be interested
in such a charitable donation, please leave a comment and I will contact
you.

Our sincerest gratitude and wishes for a wonderful holiday season!

The Bloggerista
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I don’t remember all that much about the third grade, except that it was my first year at a new elementary school. I do remember walking in single file lines and being in the same classroom all day long.

So it was a great reminder for me when, this past Friday, I took the Bean and her brother to a local elementary school to speak to 56 third graders about adopting a charity, specifically Variety. The goal was for the students to meet Beanie and learn about her story and how they could help Variety throughout the school year.

When we were taken to the multi-purpose room, for a moment I wondered where all the tables and chairs were. Then the children walked in, single file, and they just sat down. I laughed inside. I forgot that, at this age, kids just pop a squat in the middle of a gym floor. So instead of using a microphone and standing behind a podium, I asked if I could walk around and talk to them up close and personal. So that’s what we did.

I told about how the Bean was born with only her right hand, and how her daddy and I had to make decisions about how we would help her. So we found Variety and its Myolectric Center, and now she wears a prosthesis. Of course, I did this in kid terms and they were amazed by her story and what she can do. Luckily, The Bean was feeling generous and showed them how her hand opens and closes as she walked back and forth carrying little note cards all over the place.

Then we opened up the floor for questions. Some were typical, some were surprising, but all of them were respectful. I was so proud of those children for, well, being good children. They would ask how she does something, I would explain, and they would say, “Oh, wow. Ok.” And move on. They didn’t whisper or snicker. They were so wonderful to us. And The Bean got a kick out of the group “awwing” and waving at her.

What did they ask, you wonder? Atop of the questions about how she does something or if she wears her arm while she swims, they asked some interesting questions.

What’s her favorite color? Purple, for sure.

How does she write? Well, like you do. With one hand, although she mostly scribbles with crayons. Purple ones.

Does she go to a special school? No. In fact, she doesn’t go to school. She turned 2 last Thursday. But when she does, it will be in a classroom just like yours. (How endearing that they don’t realize 2 year olds are not in school.)

Is she scared of clowns? Um, no. I don’t think so. Although she probably wouldn’t run up and hug one. She didn’t seem to mind them when we went to the circus.

And the list goes on. These two classes will be adopting Variety for the school year and hope to do some service projects to help out. I’m just glad that they were able to meet the Bean and know the value of lending a “helping hand” to charities that need it.

Next week we head to some company meetings to speak briefly about Workplace Giving. Think of the United Way initiatives but for Variety instead.

If you or your family is looking for a charity this holiday season, leave a comment here and I’ll provide more details. The Bean is actually on the cover of the annual giving card this year and, well, once you see her with her bunny in one hand and a brochure in the other, you won’t be able to resist pulling out your checkbook.

Happy Giving!

This whole blogging thing is a big first for me.  I’m sure you can tell, I’m not all up on the gadget-y things that are out there for blogs.  I have yet to add video to a post.  I can barely figure out how to add pictures.  But I’m learning.

And now tonight I can say that I conquered something else.  Ebay!

We’ve sold a handful of things on ebay in the past.  Basically, it’s just been enough to sustain any purchases we might make through ebay.  Usually, the conversation goes something like this:

Me:  Honey, why don’t we sell x on ebay?

Hubs:  Meh, are people buying that stuff?  Are people bidding on similar listings?

Me:  I don’t know.  Sure.  It’s good stuff. Someone will want it.

Hubs:  Ok, give me the info and I’ll list it.

Wallah.  He lists it, it sells, and I take the money and go buy something else we don’t need.

But tonight, I felt the urge to take control and list something ALL BY MYSELF!  Two things, for that matter.  Both are Toddler Special Occasion Dresses NWT, which is Ebay-speak for brand new kid’s Christmas dresses.  Last year, we purchased several.  They were so cute.  We couldn’t pass them up.  (When I saw we, I mean me…and my mom.  It’s hereditary apparently.)  But she only wore a few of them and now they are too small for her ever to wear them.  I could save them for some possible little sister for her, but let’s face it…if there is a little sis in Beanie’s future, she will probably get her own little stash of twirly dresses and these will be long forgotten in the bottom of a Space Saver Bag.

So with the holiday season upon us, I decided to put two of them up for grabs on Ebay.  I determinedly sat down, reading all the choices to make my listing irresistible to some other mother like me who is looking to buy something she probably doesn’t need.  I picked a category, a background, took pictures myself (so Anna Wintour of me),  and wrote a stellar description.  And it only took an hour!  Seriously.  But now I know what I am doing and I’m sure the Husband would be pleased if I would try to sell some other random items that are taking up space in our small modest home.

I’m hoping the one dress really brings in the big bucks!  I’m only half-joking.  I’ll be bummed if I get a whole .97 for one of these dresses.  We’ll see how the bids roll.

Do you remember when you played Frozen Tag? And you had to stay frozen until somebody “unfroze” you? (Why didn’t they say you had to stay frozen until you melted? That seems better than “unfrozen”, doesn’t it?)

Well, I’ve been tagged by Lori at Barefoot in High Heels to reveal six juicy, tantalizing, scrumptious details about my life. I know, you are salivating in anticipation. Here goes:

1. I have a secret not so secret list of, let’s say, distinguished men that I find attractive and worthy of batting my eyelashes. In plain English, I have an “old man” crush list. And just so I don’t offend any distinguished gentleman readers, these people aren’t really OLD men. They are just older than me. 🙂 Are you ready?

A. James Stewart. I just love Jimmy. Especially when he plays George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life, which happens to be my favorite movie. He is the iconic gentleman and there’s not to many of those around lately. “You want the Moon, Mary?” Yes, I do please. I like to think things like the moon and fancy bridges are mine. It’s romantic and I’m always up for a romantic gesture.

B. Pierce Brosnan. Ok, so I’m sure most people agree that Sean Connery was the original and best Bond…but if there is a close second, it is my man Pierce. He is devastatingly handsome and the accent is more than a little endearing. This new Bond guy, Daniel Craig, doesn’t hold a candle to Pierce Brosnan. I’ll see any movie just because he is in it.

C. Simon Cowell. I’m actually very embarrassed to admit this, but I love Simon! Maybe it’s because his name is SIMON. How cute is that? No but really, I think it’s the fact that he is a good judge of talent and he’s daring enough to tell people they stink. I’m so not daring enough to do that in real life. And again, it’s the accent.

D. Ok, don’t laugh , or do. Steve Martin. Yeah, Cheeburgee Cheeburger Steve Martin. He is so funny! And not just in the movies. I’ve read some of his books and they are hysterical. What can I say? Witty is the new sexy.

E. Harry Connick, Jr. What a voice. And what talent. He doesn’t even have to talk. Just play and sing. And smile.

There’s more on my list but I have to move on to 5 more little known details before I lose all three of my loyal readers.

2. Since we are on the topic of piano playing, I should confess that I have played the piano since I was 5. I gave lessons for awhile and played in competitions. (One of the people I played a duet, trio, and a quartet with one year was actually on Season 1 of the Apprentice. Yes, I know someone that the Donald actually fired. Awesome.) Anyway, for our wedding, my parents tracked down the piano that I first played at when I was just 5, and they bought it back for us. I love that piano and will never ever part with it. I even love the little scratch that was there since I was kid on the E just above Middle C. My only frustration with it right now is that I don’t find enough time to play it, and when I do have a few minutes, I generally have a toddler on my lap hitting the keys. It isn’t exactly conducive to playing Debussey.

3. I have an extreme aversion to all things violent. I detest violent movies, and ever since having kids particularly, I can’t stand to hear about violence against children on the news. I mean, I never liked it before…don’t get me wrong. But now when I hear it, it just makes me feel sick.

4. This one is going to seem like a contradiction to #3, but I have a second degree blackbelt in karate. And no, I don’t do the crane move like Danielson (Anyone who actually did that in the midst of a fight would be on the floor before they made that silly WAH! sound). I miss sparring and competing. But then I remember that to be really good at something, you have to give it your everything. And right now, Beanie and Bubby are my everything.

5. I stink at math. I’m terrible at it! I never understood proofs, and the whole concept of pi (is that how it is even spelled? I swear I blocked it all out.) is just beyond my comprehension. I hated when I would go to school early and asked my geometry teacher for help. She would just stare at me and ask. “Well, what do you think you should do?” Over and over and over. Um, if I knew that I wouldn’t be here at 6:45 am asking for help to solve something that doesn’t exist.

6. I sleep on the side of the bed that is furthest from the window, no matter where I am. In a hotel, in my own room, or visiting people, I instinctively claim the far side of the bed. My hubby pointed this out when he found himself on the opposite side of me one day when we were away from home. Before that, I never realized that I veered away from the window side. I’m weird I guess. But then so are other people because I’ve heard others that do this as well.

And there you have it. Don’t you feel better knowing these trivial tidbits?

And in the spirit of Barefoot in High Heels and the game of tag, I’m passing along the challenge to the following bloggers. Check them out and tell them I sent you.

Ashley.Unscripted…

Born Just Right

Undiscovered Mediocrity

And don’t forget to leave a comment!

If you don’t stop and take a look around once in awhile, you could miss it.

And so two years have passed since Beanie was born.  Happy Birthday Beanie!  At precisely 7:15 am on Monday, November 20, 2006, she came to us and our lives have never been the same.  Even though she has only been here two years, it’s almost as if I can’t remember what life was like before her.  Like any child, she brought with her new possibilities, new experiences, and new vibrancy.  I just can’t help but think that with her, though, she brought real meaning to my purpose.  I have learned more about faith, hope, love, perseverance, and advocacy than I ever expected to know because of her.  And I learned that when the weight of the world is on your shoulders, there is someone there to lift you back up one day at a time.

We are so proud of her and her vivacious spirit.  She is one determined and capable little girl.  She has made remarkable strides with her myolectric hand, and I just never imagined she would be able to do all that she does with her prosthesis.  She is my pint-sized hero.

If only I could keep her that way.

Yes, it’s an oxymoron, I know.  But it exists.  Just turn on your radio.

For years, the local self-described “Oldies” station has played the Motown sound of Diana Ross and the Supremes, The Four Tops, and The Temptations.  If you turned the dial, you would undoubtedly sings along to songs like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “R-E-S-P-E-C-T”.  Admit it, you might not know all of the words, but you do like to say “Sockittomesockittomesockittomesockittome” when you are alone in the car.  I’m sure you know more than a few songs on the oldie registry.

Only, these songs are likely going to need a new classification.  During the past week, in my efforts to find suitable radio songs for toddlers in the car, I breeze by the current Christmas station as well as the Oldies station.  Imagine my surprise when the hit I hear on the Oldies station is none other than….

Living.La.Vida.Loca.  I kid you not.  Ricky Martin’s publicists must be thrilled.  He’s an OLDIE–from 1999!  Wait, the list gets better.

Last night, Michael Jackson was on.  And no, it wasn’t the Jackson 5’s “ABC”.  It was “Rock With You” from 1979.  Ok, this one technically deserves a pass since it was the 70s, but really…solo Michael Jackson songs should not be considered Oldies.

Then there was Foreigner’s 1984 hit “I Want To Know What Love Is”.  1984 people!

So apparently, the New Oldies are here and they span both the 80s and 90s.  I’m sure they have played Prince’s “1999”.  Out with the 50s and 60s…In with the 80s and 90s.  And yes, the station still proclaims itself the “Oldies” station so it isn’t a programming switch.  Who do they think they are kidding?

So how long before Britney becomes an Oldie?  Any bets?

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Ok, so the penny isn’t the most useful monetary coin around, but….when you add them up, you can actually save some green.

I’ve always been a coupon nut, particularly when it comes to retail stores. I have an envelope that I carry in my purse (or diaper bag as it may be) just in case I need one of those wonderful pieces of cardstock. When it comes to grocery shopping, though, I can’t stand the little pieces of paper that say, “Save .25 when you purchase ten bags of cheese.” First, when can you use ten bags of cheese? Secondly, a quarter is small beans when you just spent fifteen bucks to have piles of cheese molding in your refrigerator.

And even if you find a grocery coupon that you would like to use, good luck to you in your quest for it once you actually hit the stores. My coupons inevitable fall into the crevices of my purse, through the bars of the shopping cart, or just plain fly away in the breeze. Some of them are the size of a mini-pillow, while others are no bigger than an Oreo cookie. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a standard size, say….of a Post-It perhaps…and then you could flip through them easily and not worry about dropping or losing one. Anyway, I digress.

I have been faithful about my coupon cutting, sorting, and organizing in the last several months as the cost of groceries has risen along with everything else. Don’t get me wrong. I am not one of those woman who The Today Show features because she has a binder full of coupons, organized alphabetically and by expiration date. That is beyond me. I do, however, manage to bring a stack with me and still use them conservatively. That is, only if I needed the item in the first place. I’m sure I’m not the only person who has bought something simply because I had a coupon. Nevermind that I just spent a few bucks I didn’t intend to in the first place.

But today, I found a site that eliminates paper coupons! Sounds too good to be true? Check it out for yourself. It’s called Shortcuts.com and it is a paperless coupon site for select stores. My grocer of choice happens to be Kroger. Thankfully, it is one of the stores that is compatible with this site. All you do is sign up (it’s free, don’t worry!) and you enter the number of your savings card associated with a particular store. Then you browse for coupons and add them directly to your card. Wallah! It’s easy! You can even print a shopping list before you head out to remind you which coupons you have stored on your card. And the best part of all? You can combine those card savings with other paper coupons as well! So, yes, still bring that annoying stack of extra coupons, but take comfort that with the swipe of your pre-loaded coupon card, you are not only saving cents but making sense as well.

Shop on!