do something good
Over the last few months I have been participating in a fundraising effort through sixdegrees.org. The contest is coming to an end this Saturday at 11:59pm. Currently my badge is in first place, but the competition is really heating up as we near the end. Today, I want to invite you to join me in this effort to raise funds for Autism Speaks. A minimum $10 donation is all that is needed to make a difference. The contest will be won by the top 6 badges with the most number of individual donations. To donate, simply click the donate button on the blue badge located on the right side of my blog.The response so far has been amazing. Over 1300 people have donated. As a thank you for all those who have donated (and encouraged others to do the same), I posted a workshop-project download on my blog last week. You can access that here. In addition, today, tomorrow and Saturday I will be doing a giveaway from comments left on my blog - look for another surprise this evening as well. Thank you for your time and your continued support. -Ali Edwards
Quote republished with permission from Ali Edwards.
and she has all these pairs of shoes. I do not even want to think about what we are going to have to face down the road when she actually becomes aware of "things" and accumulating them for one reason or another, (remember those teen years when you just had to have what so and so had). And, I just want to add that Ethan and I are responsible for purchasing ONE of these pairs of shoes...ONE. It's not that they aren't cute and everything...we love them, she LOVES them...it's just that, well... it's a lot of shoes for one little girl.
This afternoon we drove up to Mellen, Wisconsin, (about an hour and a half drive for us from home), and visited Copper Falls State Park for the first time. Very beautiful, though the trails were a bit slick yet for hiking so we're thinking that it will definitely be a place worth visiting again in the late spring or this summer for sure to get the full benefit of viewing everything there is to see. Zoesie was very much in awe of the falls and kept saying over and over that this was a magical place, and I would have to agree with her on this one. You can see more pictures of the falls by clicking here.
Also wanted to share an incredible show that aired on WPR yesterday. A woman was on speaking about being alone and being a woman, investigated the difference of being lonely and the actual state of being alone. And, how we as women often times feel pressure to sacrifice our sense of self in always caring for others first, (i.e. letting others get fancy haircuts before yourself - okay, just had to throw that in there!), but really, we often cater to others needs before our own or before even recognizing our own. It's that whole nurture thing that we have going on. Anyways, it was a beautiful hour of talk radio and I got a lot from it and just thought I'd share, and I have to add that Ethan was listening too and nodding his head many times throughout the segment. :) I think there are so many women that neglect their call of self or belittle it's importance. I know that this is something that I struggled with after first being married and then being a mama for the first time. There was a part of me that thought I was supposed to be absolutely selfless with caring for my husband and for my child and I can honestly say that it was the loneliest time in my life. And it's interesting, because right now in my life I feel as though I am craving alone time with such incredible passion...I am really starting to hear my voice and am starting to realize my needs and I am addressing them! And because of it my whole family is happier. The speaker's name was Florence Falk, she is a psychotherapist and teacher and author of, “On My Own: The Art of Being A Woman Alone. Her website is here and you can listen to the hour long show here.
Women are conditioned to think about others before they think about themselves—whether their partner, husband, family, even friends—so they always stand at the back of the line when it comes to taking time for themselves. And I don't just mean time for a manicure or bubble bath—though that's great, too. I'm talking about time for a woman to focus on herself and pay attention to her deeper needs. This can be anything from time to take unwind, to mourning the departure of a loved one, to reflecting on a new career, to practicing the flute. Any one of these choices is restorative. What's more, everyone benefits. A woman in a relationship can return to it refreshed; a woman alone can discover that she is more resilient and stronger than she ever realized. - Florence Falk
And a question and answer taken from her website:
Q: Can you describe some of the benefits that await a woman who has learned how to be on her own?
A: Having learned through solitude how to listen to what her own voice is telling her, a woman can begin to connect to herself and step into the fullness of selfhood. Self-awareness allows us to change our perspective; we step out of old ways of behaving and begin to live life fully and creatively. We also discover that embracing aloneness does not preclude intimate romantic relationships; on the contrary, the gains of solitude can enhance all our relationships in a new, vital, and more intimate way—from partners to friends to the larger community of women and men of which we are a part.
I think this is powerful stuff!
Ethan's Mom left this morning for home and we are slowly getting back in to the routine of things again, but not too much so, as now it is Ethan's Spring Break! (Such is the life of being married to a family of educators!) We've got lots of things planned for this week, mostly just things that need doing, and appointments that can be made now that we will be able to meet and go together with Ethan being home for the week. With so many responsibilities, it kind of sucks the "Break" out of Spring Break, but I guess we should be thankful for the time that we do have to get the necessary things accomplished and out of the way.
At the request of the grandparents we went to get Zoey a studio portrait done at a local photo studio and we were pleasantly surprised with the whole experience. Our first attempt at getting photos of her at a studio setting was a complete disaster, (will not share everything but picture 20+ kids in a waiting room with parents primping and scolding and us trying to keep our 1 year old "happy" while waiting 45 minutes past our original appointment time for a picture that we weren't even sure we wanted!). Errrrr! Anyways, this time was SO different! Couldn't hurt that there were live baby chicks and bunnies at this studio for their Easter photo package! :) Zoesie absolutely had us floored, usually she is so cautious in new situations and it takes her a while to warm up to people, noises, different surroundings, etc. We walked in and right away she wanted to know if she could hold the bunnies. The photographer brought over a bunny and I was just waiting for Zoey to freak out and instead Zoey reached out and grabbed the bunny and held it close to her chest just as though it was the most normal thing in the world. None of us could believe it, as I am typing this I am smiling and shaking my head just thinking about it. So many surprises this little one gives us, I love it! Now I just hope that the pictures turned out! :)
Also went to a Steering Meeting, (my first), for MOP's to see if I would be interested in joining the committee as the Arts and Crafts Coordinator next year and I have to say that I am seriously thinking that I may take this on. It was so nice to be out with other women, in the evening, without our kids and talking about fun stuff and taking part in something larger than just me. They really made me feel welcome and I wasn't intimidated at all with what was proposed as far as what my responsibilities would be for next year's meetings. We'll see, I haven't committed myself yet, but am definitely thinking about it seriously now.
Lots of good things to think about now and lots to do to get ready for this coming week...one of which will begetting our taxes done! This is the first year that I haven't done them myself so I'm a bit nervous getting things all together for someone else to take a look at, but I'm figuring that it will be a good thing to pass the torch on this one as I am slowly learning that it is okay to not be in control of absolutely everything in our life. Whew! A good thing to learn, I know! :)
Today I am doing something very exciting...I am packing up one of my scrapbook layouts, being very careful in the process (as it is being sent out to another state!) and filling out artist release forms and then I will be going to the post office to send it out to the offices of Memory Makers Magazine for publication in their upcoming book that is to be published this coming Fall, titled 601 Great Scrapbook Ideas! Woo..hoo! (Last year's book that they put out was this one). I only found out just yesterday that they were interested in one of my pages for their book and I couldn't be more thrilled than I am right now. Really feels good to have been recognized in this way and means even more to me to be rewarded on a personal level, as this is something that really means so much to me. I love creating with my hands and my heart. Often times when I speak I feel like my words are too harshly spoken, my voice too loud or the words that come out of my mouth are not the words that I would have ideally chosen had I taken the time to carefully choose and with scrapbooking I feel like I can communicate with incredible accuracy the things that are on my mind and that I want to say, the feelings I want to share and the memories that I want to hold dear. To me, this hobby is so much more. It is a voice of reassurance, a probe to go further, a written record of history. A form of therapy, a cleansing, if you will of my heart and soul.
To add to the things that are good in my life right now, Zoey is having successful potty chair visits! :) We've been taking a very laid back approach and it just may be paying off....a couple of "I PEED!" moments where we missed the actually moment of success, but we're having some hits thrown in with the misses now too. Just had to share!
And now, I'm off to clean the bathtub, such is the life of a SAHM! There is no other job that I hate doing more than this task of cleaning the bathtub, but I'm figuring that it will help to release a bit of my nervous excitement! :) Life goes on as they say and for right now I am enjoying it, even while cleaning the tub!
Happy Birthday to You...Happy Birthday to You...Happy Birthday Dear Cherity...Happy Birthday to You!
I've known this girl since the beginning of fourth grade, my Mom knocked on her front door after our first move because there were bikes in the front yard, (thus there must be kids that live there!), there were and Cherity ended up being my very best friend some eight years later and is still some twenty years later! From dinosaur jogging suits and tinted eye-glasses to Prom formals, (see picture, she's the blonde), to cool and carefree college attire, wedding dresses and the Mama days of feeling the frump...we've seen each other through not only the changing of styles but so much more. Came to terms with responsibility for the first time together as young adults, experienced the heartache that first loves can only bring, we faced and tested friendships, the pain of loyalty lost and the strength of trust gained, forgiveness, came in and out of faith with this girl, spent mucho time reflecting on life and discovering dreams together, laughed SO much and cried perhaps even more. She's the first person, (other than family) that I experienced the discovery of those little annoying quirks that we all possess and came to the realization that I loved her anyways and could live with her regardless, (despite the extremely deliberate way she eats her yogurt - she's SO quiet it's actually LOUD!!!!...drove me nutso when we were roommates). ;) All those times shared in River Falls...having fun with our new found freedom, playing, figuring out who we were and then in Platteville, starting out fresh, really coming to terms with our adulthood. To have been there through it all, I am so thankful that it was you by my side.
Just wanted to say thanks and pay tribute to you on your special day! Love you and thanks for always going the extra mile for me. Jen
p.s. And just so you know I haven't forgotten our roots and just how cool we are, or were rather, this is for you! ;) Cherity's favorite band of all time is this.
And then this morning I discovered that my Easter layout is featured on the Designer Notes website as the Designer Layout of the Month! :) Maybe I can do this.
On a different note, (keeping theme with the "moving on")...we went to a Dr. Seuss celebration on Saturday which we all had lots of fun at. Lots of music, stories and games were sung, listened to and played. Afterwards we came home and discovered that Zoey got some AWESOME music in the mail from her SUPER-D-DUPER Grannie Annie! :) So, we had to put on our dancing clothes and dance, dance, dance! Got lots of fun pictures of this, but this for some reason is my favorite.
So, here's to moving on and dancing the grumpies away! :) Click HERE and then scroll down and listen to the song titled Tickle Time to get your groove on, (or back, in my case!).