November 29, 2008

November 26, 2008

Snowman bites the dust; Prime suspect cleared of charges

Somerset Center, MI (AP) - Today, the Snowman Building Regulation Board (SBRB) came to a unanimous agreement that Jackson William Luke, of Somerset Center, Michigan, will be cleared of all charges brought against him for Monday's untimely demise of the snowman in his front yard.

Jackson (known as Jack to his friends), and his mother Sara, built the snowman just prior to naptime on Monday. Allegedly, while posing for pictures, Jackson accidentally tipped his frosty friend and sent him to his icy ruin. This incriminating photo caused the SBRB to get involved.

The SBRB questioned Jack and determined that it was, in fact, an accident. Their decision was confirmed by the release of the photo below, showing his quivering lip and total remorse over his lost friend. Jack was able to keep his composure, but barely.

When asked for a statement, Jack simply said, "Snowmeen. Bootball."

November 24, 2008

I'm on a call

Who has two thumbs and still hasn't seen last night's episode of 24? This girl. Yeah, that really has to be done in person for it to make sense, huh?

Jack had a hard time getting to sleep last night. By the time he was sleeping and we were ready to sit down and watch it, we were both exhausted. So, I don't get to watch it in HD. But at least I get to watch it tonight. Hopefully.

I can't be too mad at Jack for keeping us from it, because he does things like this:

Jack working from home. from Sara on Vimeo.

Oh, Jack . . . how I love your courtesy laugh!

November 23, 2008

A different kind of holiday

I know that Thanksgiving isn't until Thursday, but today is a special day for Kyle and I. A day that we have been looking forward to for over a year. A day that makes me emotional every time I think about it.

Today, after 18 months of being off the air, 24 returns with a 2-hour special. I was 9 1/2 months pregnant when we saw the season finale of the last season. I remember playing out in my head how disappointed I'd be if I went into labor and had to watch it on tivo instead of in HD. It's been gone way too long.

The 2-hour special tonight is actually a part of what would have been last season if it hadn't been for the writer's strike. In an interview, Keifer Sutherland said that it kind of worked out for the best because it takes place in South Africa and the writers were struggling with how to get him back to the US in real time (hmmm . . . maybe they should have been planning ahead).

Anyway, episodes resume in January, but tonight is supposed to give background information so that next season makes sense.

I can barely contain my excitement.

November 22, 2008

A welcome lull

I only had 9 10 sales today in the shop, so I'm enjoying this little lull.

Kyle, Jack and I went to Ann Arbor tonight to commiserate with the rest of the depressed Michigan fans to shop. We finally got Jack a winter coat that fits AND didn't break the bank (finally, after two weeks of freezing temperatures . . . we're awesome parents).

We also got his first Christmas present from Tree Town toy store. It's probably a little too advanced for him, but I like getting him gifts he'll grown into. And, I love Melissa & Doug toys. We were going to get him Lands' End boots as his second Christmas gift, but Sears didn't have them in his size. I think I might order them online.

I don't think I've mentioned this, but on top of all of the card craziness, I have been sick this week. Or maybe the sickness is because of all the craziness and my 2 AM bedtimes. I don't know. But I've had a fever, achiness and the worst sore throat that I can remember. Perfect timing, huh? I'm finally starting to get over that today.

So, with a slower day, why am I not in bed at 9:30? Because I have extra time to do things like process my own personal photos that have been sitting on my memory card for a month and go through video clips. I haven't updated the photo blog in 18 days. Yikes. Do you know that last year in October I started the photo blog and made it to February without ever missing a day? Seriously, I had so much time back then.

Anyway, you gain from my unwise decision to not go to bed because I'm hoping to post video clips from this month sometime this week. You can thank me later.

November 21, 2008

Think warm thoughts . . .

Do you remember a little more than two weeks ago when it was in the mid-seventies outside? That's how November should be. The Hammonds lucked out and their session was on one of those warm days! They were actually hot in the sweaters they had planned on wearing!

If only it were that warm out all winter long . . .

See all of their pictures here.

November 20, 2008

The fine line

There is a fine line between cute and, well, not cute. And Jack has been walking that line. There have been so many recent situations that are equal parts annoying and funny. Here are some case studies:

Ok, this isn't very funny, but it is mildly amusing. On Sunday evening, Jack climbed out of his crib. Just climbed on out. He wacked his head on the way down, so he was crying by the time we got in there. What can I do? Is it time for a real bed already? He's not even 18 months yet. I don't think I could get him to stay in a real bed . . . . shoot, I can't even get him to stay in his crib. His legs are pretty long and his upper body strength rivals mine! He can climb into his crib now too. We're hoping that the experience was traumatic enough to keep him from doing it again.

We struggle getting Jack to help with picking up his toys. I know he's not old enough to clean up everything himself, but he literally pulls everything off of his toy shelves at once and scatters it around the house. So, we've started making him put toys he's not playing with away before pulling something new out. I do about 9/10 of the picking up, but I make him "help."

Last Saturday, he was refusing to pick up his blocks and put them back in the bag. He had never done this before. I gave him a warning and then had him sit in his time out chair until he was ready to help. He sat there quietly and about a minute later he said, "Reaby! Reaby!" So, I led him by the hand back to the living room and he picked up two of the blocks, held them over the bag, pulled them back and then DROPPED THEM ON THE FLOOR. I kid you not . . . he knew EXACTLY what he was doing. I know that he was willfully disobeying, but I was trying so hard not to laugh.

So, I calmly led him back to the chair, only this time he was not sitting quietly. He was wailing. After he calmed down, I heard him say, "Reaby." And he came back out and picked up the remaining blocks. He's been doing pretty well at picking up every since.

Saturday morning, my cell phone rang. It was in my bedroom, and as I was walking in to answer it, Jack came running out. Seriously, he was booking it. I thought to myself, "I need to see what he was into when I get off the phone."


"This is Hillsdale County 911. A call was just placed to us from your cell phone."

Gulp. "I'm so sorry."

"Yeah, we think a little girl might have called us from your phone."

"I am SO sorry."


I tried to put him down for a nap a little before noon yesterday. His babysitter came at noon and he was still awake, so I just decided to get him up and try when I got back from my meeting. I went in to get him, picked him up and took him out to her. At that point, I realized he didn't have a diaper on.

We laughed about it, and I took him back to his room, picked his dry diaper up off the floor and laid him down to put it back on him. That's when I noticed one of his socks was damp. I was still totally clueless and wondered if it had been too hot in there (we have a small space heater in there). I felt his other sock and it was soaked. That's right. He peed in his crib with no diaper on.

And I have no idea how he got pee in so many places other than to wonder if he was spinning and peeing at the same time. It was on the wall, it was on the dust ruffle on the crib, it was on his book shelf and on the carpet. All of those things are fairly close to his crib, but they are in all different directions from it. I didn't think he could hold enough to do that much spraying. Needless to say, I was late for my meeting.

This one isn't so much annoying as it is plain ol' cute. While Jack is most often heard saying "no" to anything he is asked, a close second for most used phrase is, "un mo?" which translates to "one more?" During every book we read, we get to the last page or two and he starts asking "un mo? un mo?" before I'm even done reading. When I scratch his back and stop, he asks "un mo?" When I pretend to chase, catch and tickle him, he'll run away shrieking "un mo!" The sweetest thing he's ever said this to was last week. I got him up from his nap and changed his diaper. As I was picking him up, I kissed him on the cheek and he said, "un mo?" So I kissed him again and he said, "un mo?" This went on until we were both laughing.

Jack has x-ray vision when it comes to anything with footballs, football players, football fields or anything football related on it. He wants his football blanket when he naps. He hands me the remote control for the television and says, "bootball?" The kid is obsessed. There was a tiny little football in the corner of a sign while he was grocery shopping with Kyle last night, and from far away he saw it and started pointing and saying "bootball, bootball." He tore through the entire newspaper on Monday pointing out every football related thing there was.

And all I can think is, "Please don't grow up to be a football player. Please, please, please." It's my absolute least favorite sport to watch.

November 19, 2008

Living freely

Here are some excerpts from an e-mail I received last week:

“I'm going through an extreme growth period in my faith but I still feel lost in knowing how to find god's will for me. Maybe I'm just thinking too much but how do you know god's guidance? . . . on many things I know his answers but when I seek him on a specific issue it is then when I tend to get lost. How do you know when he is answering?”

What is God’s will for me?

I hate trying to answer that question. Not because it’s a bad question, or because it shouldn’t be asked. It’s just that sometimes, I think that question holds us back. Of course living in God’s will is the only way to really live, but sometimes the question of what His will really is leaves us fearful that one wrong step, or one faulty interpretation of what God is “saying to me” could DESTORY. MY. LIFE.

God wants us to know Him and his will. He wants us to study the scriptures and become familiar with his nature. There are things that obviously are or are not God’s will. I read another blog recently that said something like, “As we do the things which are clearly in God’s will, we slowly become the kind of people who can discern the things that aren’t so clear.” Forgive me for not remembering who it was or where I saw it! If it was you, let me know and I’ll add a link!

I know . . . when we’re faced with issues like what job to take or what house to buy, there isn’t specific instruction to be found in the Bible on these things. But I think sometimes, outside of the specific commands that he gives us, we’re given the freedom to choose our own path. He tells us to love Him and to love people. This is what is important. Everything else falls into place as we follow him and seek his guidance. During my senior year of college, I was considering many different options for the following year. All of them were good choices. All of them had positive and negative points. I could have defended any of them as God’s will. I chose camp. Was it God’s will? I think so. I thought I’d work here for a year, and then move on, but I ended up meeting and marrying a wonderful man and having a beautiful child. It’s easy for me to say that this was God’s will. Does that mean that one of those other options have been out of God’s will? Not necessarily. My life certainly would have turned out differently, but I believe that God would have used me for his purposes in those situations, too.

I think that often (not always, but often) it’s more about how you’re serving God and honoring Him where you are and with what you’re doing than it is about being in a specific place at a specific time.

Be free!

One whole year

As of today, my etsy shop has been open for an entire year. A year ago on this day, I spent the evening writing descriptions, posting photos, designing a banner . . . all while nursing a 5 1/2 month old.

Time flies.

November 17, 2008


I literally feel like I'm drowning in a sea of cards to design and pictures to edit. An e-mail made me cry about an hour ago. However, I'm learning a lot and will be making several changes in my listings when things slow down after Christmas. I'll just leave it at that for now. I really am SO thankful for the business and I have the coolest customers ever (with some of the most beautiful children I've ever seen).

I have a new sympathy for our web designer that I worked with on the new look to the camp website in the fall. I wonder if I ever made her cry.

So, that's why I've been slow to update. While blogging (and blog-reading) used to be a nice break, now I try to take breaks away from the computer. At camp, I'm working on the youth camp brochure for summer 2009 . . . which is coming along quite nicely. And then at home, I'm designing more, so I have to get away from the computer before I start talking to her it like she's it's a friend.

I'll update soon! Cross my heart.

November 15, 2008

A great response to a hot topic

I've followed my doctor's recommended plan for Jack's vaccinations. I discussed the issue with both doctors in the practice when Jack was first born and I felt comfortable with their responses. I still do. Sort of.

Over the weekend, I sold a card to a mom who had a blog link in her signature. Naturally, I checked it out. The top post was one on the issue over whether or not autism and vaccines are at all related . . . which, unless you've been living under a rock, you know is a hot issue among parents right now.

When completing her sale, she had mentioned that one of her boys is autistic, and because I have issues with staying inside what are regarded as normal personal boundaries, I sent her an e-mail asking her if I could know more about her story with her oldest son. Her response was really educational, and not at all like the typical fanatic response that you might get from either end of the autisum/vaccine spectrum (did anyone see Matt Lauer's interview with Nancy Snyderman?).

Anyway, I asked her if I could post a portion of her note here, and she was very willing. Her oldest son Tom, was diagnosed with autism at 2 years, 10 months. Her youngest son is Hank.

She send some .pdf files with alternative vaccination schedules and I'll be discussing them with my doctor at Jack's 18 month check-up in December. If you'd like copies, contact me and I'm happy to forward them to you.
Keep in mind, this is kind of a soapbox issue for me - I've completely changed my mind about all of this, and ultimately I think we all just have to pray and punt!

My dad is a doctor, and I've never been an "alternative" kind of person before. I've always been all for air-conditioning, Diet Coke, preservatives, etc..... ;)

Tom is fully vaccinated - at least vaccinated up 'til about age 4. No more, though. My 2nd son, Hank, was vaccinated on a regular schedule, but our pediatrician (who's actually old friends w/ my dad, and is probably one of the top pediatrician's in Dallas) actually said to me, before the MMR, without me even asking.... "I don't think vaccines and/or the MMR have anything to do with autism - but, having said that - there's no reason we can't delay the MMR for Hank - especially since he has a brother with autism."

I was actually sort of surprised, because I'd always thought all those crazy moms who thought that vaccines caused their children's autism were just looking for something to blame, and probably a little crazy. :) Tom never had an obvious regression, like so many kids I know now, and he didn't have chronic poop issues, ear infections, or rashes, which can all be early indicators of vaccine reactions.

Tom had been diagnosed for 2 years before I really bought into a lot of the vaccine argument. We did stop vaccinating Hank just before his MMR, and we haven't started up again, although we will.

The science now says that some people are able to detoxify better than others - that's a genetic thing. It's like a bucket. If our bodies were all buckets, we'd maybe have 3 holes in the bottom for drainage. So as we throw in vaccines, preservatives in our foods, junk in the air, aluminum cans, mercury fillings, etc.... normal people can drain all that gunk out pretty well. But for some kids, like Tom, we found out that he only has the equivalent of one hole in his bucket. So at some point, as we slosh all that gunk in (gunk being a technical term, of course!) at some point, the bucket's going to overflow. That's what a lot of autism researchers are now calling our toxic "tipping point." The problem is, there's not really a way to test babies to see how well they detoxify ahead of time - and we vaccinate all kids the same way at the same time.

My personal belief is that first, Tom was created exactly who he was meant to be -and that he is precious and created for a purpose. Having said that, I also think that there were many things stacked against him from the beginning which may have pushed him down in to autism. I have ADD, and now chronic fatigue syndrome (I know, sounds like Debbie Downer!), but I only had the 10 or so vaccines they were giving in the early 70's. My goal is just to remove as many obstacles for Tom as I can so he can be the best precious little Tom he can be!

I do think there is a purely genetic version of autism - but that it's more the 1 in 50,000 it was 20 years ago. I think all the autism we see now is a combination of genetics and environment. The 1 in 150 number the CDC quotes all the time is for 14 year olds - 8 year olds in 2002. The number now is more like 1 in 67, and it's 4:1 boys to girls. Scary!!

When I was pregnant, I had (and still have) 4 amalgam fillings, which are 50% mercury, I had a flu shot in my first trimester of pregnancy (not thimerosol-free, even though it was available), Tom then had 3 flu shots (with Thimerosol) in his first 3 years of life, and his DTaP had mercury in it. Plus, having so many vaccines in such a short period of time is making a lot of kids, including Tom, have some autoimmune problems.

It was Tom's labs I finally did, 2 years after he was diagnosed, that convinced me. He had porphyrin tests (a measure of heavy metal body burden in the kidneys, brain, etc.) that came back saying he had toxic levels of mercury, lead, and this specific pesticide built up in his brain. Ugh. Even my old-school plastic-surgeon dad was shocked. Tom also had major brain inflammation and oxidative stress, which are all inter-related. So we started doing some alternative things, like IV chelation (which gets rid of metals) and he started getting significantly better. Lots of his therapists were shocked and wondered what he'd been doing since the change was so dramatic.

He still has a long way to go, but he's getting close, and closing the gap!

My feeling is that he might have had ADD or something like that, but that all the crud that got to him so early pushed him down into autism. But I don't think I'll ever know for sure!

But the thing is, I think there's a happy medium. I do believe our current vaccine schedule is wayyyyy too many, wayyyyy too soon. There are not very hard ways of just spacing them out, even, and kids can be funny immunized by kindergarten but not take quite as much of a risk. Do I think that will help? Who knows. But, there's no harm, except the inconvenience, so if I had it to do all over again, I'd probably do Dr. Cave's version, which is on that blog I posted. [This is one of the links she sent me . . . let me know if you'd like it.]

I've been to conferences around the country, I'm on all kinds of websites and blogs, keeping up with all the research, and I think you'll see much much more come out in the next few years.

There's tons of interesting info on the website. Like vaccinated vs. unvaccinated studies (autism risk a jillion times higher in vacc.). All those people who get on the news saying that there's no controversy about vaccines and autism are simply wrong. It's still controversial, there are valid points on both sides, but there's enough real science now to convince me that it's definitely at least a factor.

Hope that wasn't too preachy!! I've just seen so many sad stories - we're one of the lucky ones since Tom is so high-functioning now. But I know so many moms whose kids regressed right before their very eyes.

November 12, 2008

In five minutes or less . . .

JUNK MAIL. I hate spam. I get so much of it. I'm not just talking about advertisements from places from which I've made purchases. I'm talking about the people trying to sell me questionable drugs, or the guy who wants me to think that I've inherited a large sum from a long lost relative overseas. I can't imagine what I would get if I didn't have a spam filter. I think it's fair to make a general assumption that e-mail from anyone named "Virgil" is probably junk mail.

REGRESSION. Jack crawled around the house all afternoon a few days ago, only standing up to reach things that he couldn't from his hands and knees. Every so often, he'd just roll over on his back and lay there laughing. He's been walking for 7 months. And I suppose he just thought it would be fun to crawl. Please tell me that this is normal.

CHRISTMAS. Last week was such a down week, and playing Christmas music this week has REALLY helped to lift my spirits. It's amazing how much it helps. It doesn't hurt that Jack now tries to sing along . . . and it melts my heart every time I hear him. Also, I made my first Christmas gift purchases and I'm so excited to get them! The girls who will be receiving them are not yet old enough to read my blog, so I feel safe posting this! 1 3/4 gifts down . . . a bajillion more to go. There's a good chance that many of you who receive gifts from me will receive etsy gifts this year. So if you see something you like out there, send me the link! I'm compiling a list of my favorite sellers items to share a little bit closer to Thanksgiving for those of you looking to give awesome, handmade gifts this year.

CLEAN. Last Thursday and Friday, Kyle picked up and cleaned the entire house. This meant more to me than anyone could imagine. He knows that I function much better in a clean house than I do in a messy one and I was just not in the frame of mind to get it done! I am so grateful for how he takes care of me.

FOUR HUNDRED. I hit 400 sales on Monday. I'm thrilled! I'm seriously questioning whether or not Kyle and I will send out a Christmas card this year. Ironically enough, I have no one to take a family picture. Joy took a few when she was here, but . . . well, let's just say that I wasn't looking my best. Also, I don't know when I'll have time to design one. There are a lot of designs in my shop that I would send from us, but when you work with them every day they all start to get kind of old. You know what I mean? So I'd want something that I don't do every day . . . but every time I design something new, I like it so much that post it in my shop. It's a vicious cycle.

That's all my time . . . don't forget to tip your waitress.

November 11, 2008

Worth watching . . .

You may have seen the video by the students at the Ron Clark Academy called "You can vote however you want." My sister teaches in Chicago (um, let's just say she's not in the suburbs) and she follows a lot of Ron Clark's principles. So, her class learned the song too. You can read the lyrics here. You can see an interview about the song with the students at RCA here.

November 10, 2008

Worth reading . . .

The pastor of our church wrote a post today about the election. It's worth reading.

November 8, 2008

Buckle up

I spent a lot of time working on a video to show at our fellowship dinner that we had at camp tonight for our donors. Throughout this week, entire video interviews with people disappeared, my program crashed a bajillion times and I had to restrain myself from chucking it out the window. Finally, I had it done, and we played it at the dinner. And it stopped about 60 seconds from the end. Just ended. It didn't burn correctly. I burned two copies and the other one played fine, so I didn't even bother checking this one. This project gave me so much trouble over the last week and that was a disappointing end to the whole thing. It's uploading as I type, but will be available for viewing here soon.

It's been a roller coaster week. And I feel like I've been riding the roller coaster without a seatbelt. There's been so much to do and so much going on . . . and Thursday I had a huge disappointment that has left me . . . well, down. I might share about that here someday if I ever feel the urge, but for now, just know that it's left me feeling a little defeated.

Lately, it feels like all I ever do is complain and whine, and I don't mean to be a donna downer (Debbie prefers that I not use the phrase "Debbie Downer" so we changed it a few years ago). I guess it's just one of those off times.

I have a lot to be grateful for. Jack has been in a great mood the last two days. He's slept through the night the last two nights (at least we think he did - he dropped his monitor in his water table when he was playing outside this week and it didn't survive - and our room is at the opposite end of the house than his is - we slept through the night anyway). This upcoming week should prove to be fairly relaxed, compared to the last two weeks.

Oh, speaking of Jack . . . last night when I was working on the video, Kyle dropped him off for me to watching him in my office for a while so that Kyle could attend to one of our guest groups. After pulling everything down from every surface that he could possibly reach, he directed his attention to what I was doing. The opening song in the video is "Wish you Well' by Thousand Foot Crutch. You know the one, right?

Anyway, he started trying to sing along and it was precious. I just checked the video that I took of him and it's not really that great, but maybe I'll try to get another and post it.

November 5, 2008

Dear Jack, Month 17

Dear Jack,

Socks. Poopy. Diaper. Cup. Waffle. Stop. Oatmeal. Football. Baseball. Basketball. Volleyball. Hot. Ball. Uh oh. Book. Murphy. Mommy. Daddy. Grandma. Grandpa. Emma. Nose. Ear. Eye. Eyebrow. Teeth. Fish. Dog. Bath. Shhhh. Shoe. Brush. Bu-bye. Tractor. Car. Choo choo. Truck. Duck. Dance. Downstairs. Up. Stroller. More. Thank you. Please. Flower. Tree. Computer. Hat. Keys. Zipper. Phone. Yeah. Jack. Yes. No. Juice. Cookie. Jacket. Jeff. TV. Baby. Cheese. Trash. Stuck. Deer Geese. Bible. Cheerio. Plane. Yummy. Button. Swing.

Your dad and I made a list of the words that you say, and this is it. Not the words that you'll repeat, or the words that you know. As of two weeks ago, these were the words that you'll use . . . unprompted. Let's say that we forgot a couple. That makes it about 75. And you probably learned 10 - 15 or so over the last two weeks. That's 90 words.

Of course, many of the words are only discernible by your dad and I, but you're enunciation is improving every day. Talking has kind of been the theme of this month. Well, talking and WAKING UP FIVE OR SIX TIMES A NIGHT BECAUSE OF THE MOLARS WORKING THEIR WAY THROUGH YOUR GUMS. As your talking skills have improved, so has your sense of humor. We catch you walking around with one of our cell phones to your face and pretend-laughing . . . which is far funnier than real laughing. We'll hear you say "grandma" and "tractor" and "bu-bye" and "Murphy" as you have your imaginary conversations. I can't wait until we can have real conversations.

You'll hear me say time and time again that when we leave a place we want to leave it better than it was when we found it. Which means that we might pick up trash we see rolling around in a parking lot or wipe off a wet counter in a public bathroom before we leave. In fact, when I see a piece of trash somewhere or a small mess that can easily be cleaned up, there's a little voice in my head that always says, "Are you just going to pretend you didn't see that?"

As I'm writing your letter, I'm watching coverage the national election for our next president. I voted today and I'm going to be honest with you Jack . . . I left the township offices feeling a little helpless. The fact of the matter is that no matter who wins, we'll have a president with flawed policies and gaping holes in their plans for achieving the ideals set forth by their parties.

But I voted anyway. Partly because everyone told me to. Voting has kind of become a fad. You know . . . the cool thing to do. But it's also a right and a privilege as a citizen of this country. We're afforded many opportunities by the country in which we live. Apathy and indifference toward voting is disrespectful and lacks appreciation for what we've been given. When I'm tempted to feel like my vote doesn't count, there's a little voice inside me head that says, "Are you just going to pretend you don't have an opinion? What if a million people decide not to vote because they don't think their vote will count for much?" We need to do what we can leave this country a better place than when we got here . . . even if it's just in a small way.

Tonight, when I put you to bed, we prayed. You folded your hands and shoved your forearms up over your eyes. I started praying and at the end I said, "We love you, Jesus." And you repeated after me. You said Jesus so clearly and it was a such a blessing to hear you pray out loud with me. I don't know the right words for you at this age to explain who Jesus is, or how much God loves you, but I try. And somehow, I know that you understand it in a way that only a child can. Sometimes, I think you understand better than I do.

I love you so much.


I'm in the wrong state.

It's November. And it's 70 DEGREES OUTSIDE.

And all I can think is, "If I lived down south, this would be normal."

November 4, 2008

The sincerest form of flattery?


I just had an entire post written with links to a new seller's cards that are IDENTICAL to mine. She didn't even bother changing the names. On one of them she changed the fonts . . . but that's about it. Plus, even the descriptions are word for word mine on all of her listings. I deleted the links to her shop from this post because I'm not sure linking to her shop is the right thing to do. In fact, I know that it's not the right thing to do.

Hopefully, she'll do the right thing and remove the listings. Here's the abridged version of what I sent:
Dear (insert seller's name here),

Another seller brought to my attention that you've copied three of my designs and I need to ask you to take them down immediately. It is unlawful to reproduce the designs or artwork of another without expressed written consent.

It is not only illegal, but is also immoral to copy someone else's work.

Thanks for your prompt attention to this matter!


I feel violated.

On doing my civic duty

"Don't forget to vote." Seriously?! I've been reminded every day for the last two years that I needed to vote on November 4, 2008. And now today, there are people and signs everywhere reminding me. How forgetful do you have to be to have forgotten to vote today? Um, no offense to you if you forgot . . .

I voted this morning. Walked right in and voted. No line. No wait. It's the beauty of living in a township with only a few thousand registered voters. As I was watching lines more than two hours long in some parts of the country, I was thinking that if I lived there, I might find someone voting for the candidate opposing the one I was voting for and asking her if she would want to leave with me. You know . . . our votes would cancel each other out anyway, and we wouldn't have to wait in line. Hmmm? Makes sense, right? No?

I showed up at the wrong precinct. Again. Four years ago, we were living in our apartment and I went to the address on my voter registration card, waited in line for close to an hour and then was told that the card was misprinted and I was supposed to vote at a different precinct. Today, I went to the right building and got into the line for precinct 2 . . . which is the precinct that my card said I was in. Turns out that this card was wrong too. Someone needs to be double checking the cards the the voter registration people send out.

As I've read blogs of people who won't share who they're voting for, I usually assume who their candidate is based on their choice of words. You know, whether they say things like "I think the guy I voted for will make a great president" OR "I think the guy I voted for could make a great president." Obama supporters talk as if he's already been elected. McCain supporters are more tentative. But it's just a theory.

I think the voting lines would move much faster if the people working would, um, move faster. The ladies looking up my name in their big binders today (both times, actually) took a really long time. Don't get me wrong . . . I wasn't in any hurry. My morning was pretty open. But it seems that there are a lot of people in the news talking about how long voters are having to wait, so I just thought I'd put that out there as a suggestion. You know, for all of the election officials who frequent my blog.

November 1, 2008

What I don't like about Halloween . . .

I've read several posts over the last few weeks dealing with the "issue" of Halloween. There are those that equate trick or treating with devil worship. And there are those who see it as a holiday to be celebrated on the same level as Christmas. I agree with those of you who like to stay away from the scary/crude things that are often a part of this day. I also think that it's a fun thing for kids to look forward to and there are so many things for families to do together on this day and leading up to it.

However, I am not without Halloween pet peeves.

First, I cannot believe some of the costumes that teenage (and pre-teen) girls wear. I'm reminded of the scene in Mean Girls where they explain that Halloween is the opportunity for girls to wear lingerie and some sort of animal ears and be able to call it a costume. It's ridiculous. I guess Walmart lets their cashiers wear costumes and the cashier that helped me was dressed so inappropriately. It took everything in me not to make a rude remark about what she was supposed to be dressed up as. Ugh. And the fact that it was so nice out (70 DEGREES! YAY!) last night made it worse because no one had an issue showing skin.

Second, it's so irritating when you see two 19 year old guys running from door to door collecting candy. Seriously? There should be an age limit on these things. We were at Trunk or Treat so we didn't hand out any candy this year, but on my way home I saw several "kids" that were way too old to be trick or treating. Maybe the rule should be that if you're old enough to drive, you're way past the point of being young enough to trick or treat. The real issue here is that if you were to deny these older kids candy, they're old enough to drive back later and toilet paper or egg your house.
Ok, now that I have that out of the way . . . Jack and I had fun at his first trick or treat experience! Kyle went to his brother's football game, but Katie was there at Trunk or Treat with us. Jack seemed a little overwhelmed by all of the people at first, but he warmed up and was soon saying "tr-treat" to everyone . . . even people without candy. When people saw him coming, they often searched through their candy to find something that he would be able to eat . . . like tootsie rolls, or suckers. Which really sucks because there is no way on earth he'll be eating any of that candy. I will. So I wanted to object every time they handed him Smarties or Dum Dum suckers in lieu of Baby Ruth bars or Laffy Taffy. Oh well.

Here are a couple more pictures, but you can see the rest here.

The closest we'll get

If you can't take your child to the orchard, bring the orchard to your child.

My friend Joy's parents own an orchard in Piegon, Michigan. It's close to Bad Axe, Michigan. That really doesn't mean anything, but I think it's a fantastic name for a town.

Anyway, when she comes to visit in late summer/fall/early winter, she always brings treats. Which results in me eating way too many donuts. She brought apples, caramel, jelly (they were out of the apple butter which was crushing news), licorice, and other goodies.

We've had lots of apples sliced like french fries (I like dipping them in caramel better that way) and apple cobbler this week. It was the first time I had ever attempted apple cobbler and it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Except the recipe called for cutting butter into flour. I HATE cutting butter into things. I thought having a tool for it would help, but it doesn't. I still hate it.

Last year at this time, Jack had an allergic reaction to raw apples, but they don't seem to bother him now. The apples are in a bag at the bottom of our pantry and one day this week, Jack just strolled into our living room eating one like he was a teenage boy who had just found himself a snack.