Monday, December 31, 2012

Things That Made Me Happy In The Last 365 Days

Getting back in shape.  Again.  Last year at this time I was at the heaviest I had ever been.  2011 was a shitty year and I ate my feelings, smooshing away the grief I felt over losing mom.  I didn’t care.  I ate and ate and ate, half knowing that after the new year I would go on Weight Watchers and get back into shape.  And that’s what happened.  I think that the highest amount I lost this year was 40 pounds.  It didn’t stick, not all of it; I gained back about half of that when I tired of the program and not feeling like I could eat…well, anything.  But what really made me happy was just getting off that unnatural grief weight.  I am happy that I started exercising AND kept exercising.  Now it is part of the routine of life, I do it several times a week and it feels so good.  

I am happy that I feel like I found my natural weight too.  It may not be “skinny”, or the weight I was when I was 25, or what the charts say I’m “supposed” to weigh, but it’s what my body naturally goes back to every time.  After I go off every diet, after I lose all the baby weight after birth, this is the weight my body bounces back to.   I’m not going to fight it anymore; I’m happy with the number, how I look, and the feeling I have –so good for me!  I think what I’m going to do this time, instead of a diet or Weight Watchers, I'm just going to eat healthily and exercise.  I’m pretty much doing that anyway so it’s not big stretch, AND it’s better for my psyche, and better for my kids to see their mama eating good food like it’s no big deal.

Brennan and I ran a 5k last summer!

Going to the YMCA.  I am a huge fan of the Y.  At first we were going to the Bellevue YMCA and it was pretty good.  The facilities were pretty good, but the childcare was only so so.  I didn’t know it at the time, but the Northshore Y in Bothell is so much better!  We went there this summer when the Bellevue facility was shut for yearly maintenance for the week.  We never went back to the Bellevue Y.  The Northshore children’s area is SO GOOD!  They have so many caring teachers in the child’s area, just milling around, playing with the kids, doing crafts with them—the other place only had one mean lady and Megan hated it there.  Now both kids look forward to going and I love it because they do, and I can get a break and exercise while the kids get their goof out. 

Megan and Finn running around the YMCA in their Halloween costumes

Getting my tattoo!  This design was on my mom’s shoulder and last January Sherri and I each got one of our own.  Sherri’s is on her calf and mine is on my wrist.  I love my fairy butterfly lady, and each time I see it I think of my mom.

Right after I got my tattoo--it's still a little swollen

Megan starting preschool!  She loves it!  Now, it started out a little rough, what with there being rules that Megan didn’t understand, and new teachers to enforce those rules—so time outs were had….but I think she’s found her stride.  She loves the class, her little friends, the crafts she makes, the little songs they learn.  I’m happy because she is happy. 

Hawaii!  How could I not be happy about going to Hawaii for a week in June?  It was fabulous!  We relaxed, we played, we did sand and surf-type things, we bonded as a family, and we created some lovely memories.  My favorite moments were sitting in our living room after the kids went to bed and talking with Brennan, my dad and sister Sherri.  It was terrific.

Don't I look relaxed? 

 Finding my happiness again (or for the first time, depending on how you look at it).  I had been in pretty sad shape after my mom died.  It felt miraculous when this happened, but it did and so far I’ve actually been able to maintain quite a bit of that happiness.  I think it’s helped that every day I try to write “things that made me happy in the last 24 hours” posts on Facebook.  My friend Tatiana inspired me to do this and it really helps to stop and recognize the small things that add up to a good day.  Believe me, I could spend all day complaining about something, but it’s the choice to acknowledge the happy things that makes a difference. 

Having my dad over for dinner once a week.  We have made it a habit to have my dad come over on Wednesday evenings and share a meal.  The kids love having their grandpa to play with and I love the company and the help.  We eat dinner and after the kids go to bed, Brennan, dad and I have a super good, deep talk.  It refreshes my outlook on life every single week!  And on that same note, I’m so happy that my dad and I have developed such a good relationship.  It was good before mom died, but it was different.  Mom was always the focus.  Now that’s she’s gone, dad and I have done some good bonding.  So that’s nice.

Me and Dad

Having all kinds of wonderful help from my sister Sherri.  She is the most selfless person I know, and I don't think I'd make it from week to week without her love and support.

Sherri LOVES Finn and Megan so much!  She's a great aunt

Writing.  I am happy that I started this blog.  I sort of hid out from it during the holidays, but I’m back.  I want to keep writing at least once a week.  It’s been a real pleasure to share parts of myself on here.  I have also been happy about developing (but not yet writing) a new story.  I think this year I’m going to find more time to write it out. 

Spending another year with my love—Brennan O’Reilly.  He is my family and my best friend.  We have raised us up some good kids, created multiple blessings, some amazing feats of abundance, and we’ve somehow managed, in the end, to do so with good humor.  I love him.

What an amazing family!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Gratitude Bags

This is a month of being thankful for all of life's blessings, of which I have so many.  Part of showing my gratitude is giving what I can.  This was SO EASY too!  I hope this encourages other people to give what they can as well.

I don't do this enough, but I want to turn a new leaf in this department.  Especially now that I have kids who can learn how to be giving, caring citizens from such an early age.

We found this activity on Pinterest.  They called them Blessings Bags, but for some reason I called them Gratitude Bags and the name instantly stuck.  I don't want it to seem like I think the recipients of these bags need to be grateful to me, but the opposite.  In being able to give to others I feel grateful for all that I have.

We went to Target the other day and loaded our cart with things that we thought people would need if they didn't have a home.  Snacks, toiletries, socks.

This is what we bought for our Gratitude Bags:

Applesauce (and spoon!)
And we also added a dollar bill

We dumped it all on the table and started a (sort of) assembly line.  Toddlers make any sort of assembly line a little like Lucy and Ethel, but it was a fun activity.  We even listened to Christmas carols while we worked.

I added a card with a note of encouragement in each bag too.  This summer I went yard-saling a ton and one of the treasures I found was a huge box of greeting cards.  I got to finally use some of them which was inordinately thrilling to me.  (I'm weird that way).

This is what the bag looks like when it's filled up with goodies.

We loaded the 12 bags into a box to keep in the car.  My plan is that when I see someone in need, I can just pull over and give them one.  Or if there is a homeless person at a freeway entrance I can hand them a bag out the window, instead of loose change.

Maybe it'll brighten someone's day.

I know that this is such a small gesture.  I know that the problems of the world are overwhelming and this is such a tiny bandaid.  But I hope it helps.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today would have been my mom’s 66th birthday.   I started this blog with a post about the pain of losing her to cancer a year and a half ago, but today I want to honor her awesomeness on the occasion of her birthday. 

Easier said than done.  A few days ago I started to go through my photo library for pictures for this post and suddenly plummeted into a deep and gloomy funk.  I miss my mom!  Seeing these beautiful, vibrant photos of her—so full of life, so full of vivacity—happy and alive, well it was hard.  I totally broke down. 

When I get super sad about losing my mom, I also instantly tune into her.  What she said to me as I was crying and carrying on, was that she didn’t lose any of that vitality, but she only gained more of it when she passed, unencumbered by a human body.  She didn’t become any less warm, loving, or funny, she became more of that person.  She is right here with me all of the time, completely still the same awesome mom, but only more.  I am immeasurably comforted by that. 

I want to honor her wonderful life and the amazing person she was.  I wish I had more and better access to photos of her as a child or of her from when I was a child.  I will get a hold of these some day and do another mom post, but for now let's look at some of the cool things about my mom Janette Dean.

This is where she and my dad lived for years before moving to Washington near the end of her life.  They built their dream house on this gorgeous Colorado property.  Brennan and I spent many Christmas vacations up there in the snow and nose-bleed altitudes (nearly 10,000 feet and close to Pike's Peak--my mom was made of hearty mountain-woman stuff).  

This was the used bookstore that my mom and sister Sherri owned in Woodland Park.  It was called Blue Heron Books and was fairly thriving for about 9 years.  It was awesome!  She and Sherri really followed their passion on this one.  I wiled away many an hour perusing the used books while visiting the family in Colorado.  It was also the halfway pit stop from the airport in Colorado Springs up the hill to nose-bleed Victor, so it was always the first place we'd stop when we visited.  Happy memories!

This is a typical Christmas shot of my parents Janette and Bill.  My mom loved her dogs too!  

Here is mom with her mom--my Grandma Mabel, my sister Sherri, and I having lunch on Alki in West Seattle during one of her visits up here.

This is one of my favorite photos of me and my mom.  We're in Hawaii a few days before my wedding and we are so healthy and tanned and relaxed.  This was a really special time for me and having my mom with me made it all so much better.

This is one of my favorite pictures of mom and Megan.  They both had such a funny sense of humor!

I feel very blessed to have spent 37 years with my mom.  She was an amazing woman and today, and every day I celebrate her.  I love you mom!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

My year in Redmond

This last week marked the one year anniversary of moving to the suburb of Seattle that we call Redmond.

We lived in a little, adorable house on Beacon Hill for about seven years.  We had lovely neighbors, an almost view of downtown, and loads of history and culture at our doorstep.  But with the birth of our second child we were running out of room, and Brennan's commute was usually an hour each way.  If we wanted a short commute and a bigger house for our dollar we would have to move across Lake Washington to the 'burbs.

Wasn't it cute?

Brennan and I both lived in Seattle for many years; I moved there when I was 17.  I had a few stints of living in Bellevue or Lake Forest Park, but for the major part of the last 21 year I have considered myself a Seattleite.  It was weird to even consider moving to the Eastside.

We put our house on the market in August and a millisecond later it sold.  We were thrilled to have sold so quickly in a shaky housing market, but knew that we'd have to find a new house fast.  Our realtor Ben Carr was fabulous and showed us a ton of houses in Bellevue, Kirkland, and Redmond.  Two houses really stood out for us, and one was a truly viable option.  We made an offer and it was accepted!

Homeowners again!
Things I have learned from our year in Redmond:

I really like our new, bigger house.
I like having an open floor plan with the kitchen, play area, and family room all rolling into each other.
I really like our bigger yard and deck.
I definitely feel more pressure to keep our yard looking nice.
In Redmond, they collect recycling once a week!  It's awesome!
I love having a bunch of stores (and their big parking lots!) nearby.
There are some great parks on the Eastside.
I LOVE that Brennan's commute is cut in half.
Redmond is super cute and has a lovely little main street/small town feel.
I like the quiet cul-de-sac we live on.

I completely miss Seattle.
I miss the liberals.
I miss the arts, culture, diversity, ragtag-ness, even dirt and garbage of Seattle
I miss our old neighbors.
I miss the smell of coffee roasting from the Tully's coffee plant.
I miss the constant noise of the ships, trains, planes, and cars of nearby I5.
I miss the independent coffee shops.
I miss knowing the city like the back of my hand.
I miss being close to the aquarium, zoo, downtown, Seattle Center, Capitol Hill, West Seattle, Wallingford, Columbia City, the arboretum, Seattle friends, our old park, the Jefferson Community Center...and about a million other little things.

I don't miss the traffic on I5 or the West Seattle bridge.  At all.

I think that when it comes down to it, it's a wash.  The benefits of the new don't necessarily outweigh the old.  There are lots of good things about living in Redmond, and there were lots of good things about living in Seattle.

Will we ever return to Seattle?  Maybe someday.  But for now, my focus for this next year of living in Redmond will be on enjoying every new day.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My Mom's Last Birthday Present

Today is my birthday and I am SO fortunate for all of the loved ones surrounding me today.  That includes my mom, whose presence I feel very strongly right now.  My mom died a year and a half ago, but she is here with me now more than ever.  Two years ago on my 37th birthday she bought me a gift card to Eastwest Bookshop, a new age bookstore in Seattle, and I never used it.  Today I felt a deep calling to go there today and use the money to buy myself a gift.  I think she wanted to give me one last present.

This stood out to me the second I saw it.  It's a sticker decal for your car window, and if a single picture could embody a person, then this picture is my mom.  If you look closely on the bottom it says "Rainbow Mountain".  She loved and lived in the mountains, and she felt a huge connection to rainbows.  I love this sticker.

I also bought the most beautiful little statue of Kuan Yin.  She is a bodhisattva associated with compassion and my mom really loved her.  I remember she had a lovely white statue like this that she kept in her sanctuary, and this purple one (my mom's color) reminds me of her.  When I saw this I knew I had to have it.

Even though this is the last gift my mom will ever "buy" me, I know that the gifts she continues to give me...her love, her positive energy, her support, are constantly felt and appreciated.

My Best Birthday Intentions

As I sit here in a coffee shop by myself, (I KNOW!  What’s next?  Human sacrifice? Dogs and cats living together…mass hysteria!), on my 39th birthday, I want to not just think about what I wish for, but what my intentions are for the last year of my thirties.   After all, intentions are the building blocks to the reality you create. 

I have had a great decade.  My thirties have been a time of growth and prosperity.  I went to college and graduated with a degree in art, I got married to the man of my dreams, I had two awesome kids, we bought two wonderful houses, I traveled.  Sure I had some major losses, the death of my mom is the biggest, but I have had many, many more incredible gains.  I want to round out my thirties with a running momentum-filled leap of prosperity into my forties. 

Right now I’m in a coffee shop called the Wayward Cafe in Seattle.  I love this place, not only because it is the only place I know with a Firefly theme (I KNOW RIGHT?!), but it also has some lovely art on the walls right now.  And that inspires me to make the intention to do more art this year.  I love doing art, but I have barely eeked out so much as a teensy little drawing since graduating from UW with a degree in Interdisciplinary Visual Art.  I think it’s partly because, even though IVA should have been a super fun and creative major, the building block classes that I was required to take were quite mundane and dry.  I think I could only take so much in the still life/figural drawings with charcoal-type practice art, and had to take a long break.  I also think that it’s not that easy to have messy non-kid-friendly art supplies lying around, so I don’t usually bother.  But PISH I say!  I am going to find a way to make art happen this year, and it doesn’t have to be painting if that’s too hard right now, it can be sewing, it can be paper art, it can be more refurbishing of cool furniture.  I just want to be creative.

I want to write more.  It has been so wonderful starting this blog!  I love to write, and I have a lot to say.  I have also been “writing” a book for a while now.  It’s a young adult book that I started writing right before my mom died.  I stopped writing it for the most part because I had the excuse of babies and grief, but I don’t want excuses anymore!  It’s started and I want to continue it (if now finish it).  I think that writing this blog is a great outlet to get me writing more, and I look forward to continuing this as well. 

I want to continue my healing.  I think I’ve done a good job healing from grief after my mom passed, and this happened, which was a major shift for me, but I feel like there is so much to do.  I want to continue to heal any lingering crap that I deal with on a daily basis.  Sometimes it feels like a tornado of crap, sometimes it feels like a light dusting of crap.  But, I think I’m done having crap in my life.  No more!

I want to be a more patient person.  And I am thinking about my kids when I write this.  I am tested a gazillion times a day.  Bajillion, really.  And sometimes I pass with flying colors and do a little happy dance, but a lot of times I look and feel like a tired zombie-meanie-mom who just wants to snap at them for climbing on the counter for the hundredth time or for having a temper tantrum for no actual visible reason.  I think I need the patience of Mother Theresa and have not illusions that that’s how I’ll actually be, but a little more patience for now with suffice. 

I want to continue to have a great relationship with Brennan.  I think that in the last 3 ½ years (hey, isn’t that the same amount of time we’ve had children?  Huh, go figure), we’ve struggled to maintain smoothness in our relating with one another.  It’s been more of a “let’s survive this day of pandemonium so we can get to the next day of pandemonium” thing with us.  I do not want to have the energy of survival in my family and my marriage, I want the uplifting energy of THRIVING.  I want to take a breath, bring some peace to our house, and more connection with us. 

Finally, I want to just learn to BE.  I actually really struggle with that.  I tend to let my internal voice get me down, or let the external (ie: internet, facebook, the latest episode of Who Cares tv), influence me and divert my attention.  I want to stay in the moment, be present, and just be who I am.  That would be lovely. 

SO.  Here’s the list of my birthday intentions (in no particular order):
1   .     Art
2   .     Writing
3   .     Healing
4   .     Patience
5   .     Relationship
6   .     Being

I’m going to do it people!  Happy birthday to me!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

More ebay oddities

More goodies came in the mail!  I said it before, but I LOVE weird stuff found on ebay, and this latest lot doesn't disappoint.

I adore antiques.  Even if I don't know its complete history, just appreciating that something is super old and was made by people whose world was so completely different than it is now is thrilling to me.

These beads are 3000 years old from Egypt!  Imagine who made them, who wore them.

The next item is something I was so excited to get because it has to do with my favorite thing on the planet: Disneyland.  I can't count the number of times I've been to Disneyland.  My grandparents lived in South Pasadena near Anaheim and whenever we visited them, we went to the happiest place on earth.  I have incredible memories from the 70s, and 80s of old school Disneyland, during the era of ticket books.  I'd love to get my hands on a completed book, or even an elusive E ticket, but they are surprisingly pricey. I did get ahold of some fun C tickets from the 60s though.

Anyone up for a ride on the Mike Fink Keel Boats?  Maybe after some Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.  

Moving on, we have a lot of very random postage stamps.  I know, I know.  This buy is really silly.  It actually looked a lot cooler on ebay than when I opened up the tiny envelope they came in.  I doubt they're worth anything, but I didn't pay much and I like having more stamps for my collection.

I really love this next one.  I'm not sure what year this is from but it's a vintage packet of black and white photos from Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland.  When I was twenty I went on a two month backpacking trip around Europe and found this place to be one of my favorites.  This coastal area is filled with over 40,000 hexagonal basalt columns.  The effect is amazing and beautiful.

I still have more birthday bucks to spend and more fun stuff coming in the mail.  Can't wait to share!

Friday, October 19, 2012

My BIG, wonderful boy

I have two kids.  My first is a sassy, gorgeous, smart as a whip little three year old girl named Megan.  She is loud, creative, opinionated...wonderful.

My second child Finn tends to be overshadowed sometimes by his big sister.  He is quiet, and doesn't talk much.  He follows Megan around and mimics her every move.  He isn't half as mischievous as Megan and I think because of our constantly "correcting" her behavior, he gets a little left behind.

But he is TERRIFIC.  He is the best, snuggliest, sweetest, little 19 month old boy you can ever imagine.  Megan never really hugged and snuggled much (sooo independent that girl!), but Finn just melts into you.  He'll hang out in your lap, just chilling, or bury his face into your shoulder with a huge smile.

Like I said, he doesn't talk much.  I think I counted 9 words at his one year old birthday and right now I think he's still at about 9 words.  This is okay with me because he communicates so well in other ways. He points, nods, shakes his head, signs and gestures, and we can always understand what he's saying.  He is so smart...and playful, and pure of heart.  What a kid!

Finn is my big boy.  And I do mean BIG boy.  He was 12 pounds 2 ounces at birth.  Someday I want to write about his birth story, because yes it was natural, and difficult and scary, and if we lived in an earlier century, we might have both actually died.  It's quite a story!  But for now, let me just say that he was and has always been very big for his age.  He wears 3T clothes at 19 months.  Yesterday we were at the park and he didn't fit into the baby swing anymore.

ok, so the swing next to this fit him fine, but he outgrew this model...

Finn is big yes, 99th percentile for height and weight (this means he's bigger than 99% of other kids his age), and he'll certainly be tall all of his life.  My dad is 6'7", and I'm 5'10".  I don't think he'll ever be a jockey as a career.

But what I want for my dear Finn to know is that he is loved just the way he is, because of who he is.  It does not now, nor will it ever matter how big he is, how tall he is, how much he loves basketball (because that kid already breathes basketball), what size clothes he wears, what he fits or doesn't fit--because he is always loved for just being Finn.  Our special, wonderful boy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sometimes life's a f*****g parachute

Today I was at a thing called Kids Gym at our local YMCA with the two children.  This is a weekly group that meets in a big gymnasium filled with fun toys like bouncy houses, balls, tunnels and tricycles-- with the added feature that the teachers lead us in songs at the beginning and the end.  It's a pretty fun way to fill a tuesday morning, or so I thought when I signed up both kids.  Only, the thing is, Megan still doesn't really like it much.

I have to say that I'm pretty surprised by this.  She likes all of the components of the class--bouncy houses, other kids, big space to run around, toys--but for some reason put it all together and she gets completely clingy and crying.  I feel torn by wanting to comfort her on the sidelines and wanting to interact with Finn who's thoroughly enjoying himself.

Today all bets were off though by the mere mention of a parachute being brought out to be played with.  Megan lost her shit.  She screamed and sobbed and everyone stared.  I had to sit with her on the bleachers hugging her and trying to calm her down, but she was inconsolable.  The teachers approached me and said that if I needed to I could take her out or leave early or do what I needed to do, which was nice but I just tried to explain the unexplainable...Megan has a thing with parachutes.

I don't know why.  When she was really little we had her in Little Gym classes and they frequently brought out the parachute to play with.  Megan loved it.  She loved it so much that she started making up stories about the parachute game.  We'd talk about the parachute all of the time.  That's all she thought about.  We'd talk about the things to do with a parachute, (go under, shake it, walk around in a circle, throw balls on it); the parachute became a character in itself, and I dare say, she was obsessed with it.

One day at a yard sale we found an old small parachute and thought we'd buy it for her.  Her very own parachute!  She saw us buying it and was stoked but then she realized we were bringing it home with us and she flipped out big time.  It took weeks of cajoling before she became comfortable playing with it.  But she still wasn't going to have anything to do with that Kids Gym parachute by golly!

I think that Megan had built parachutes up into such mythical proportions that the real thing was just...too crazy, or real or...I don't know.  She can't stand the real thing, only the idea of the thing.


So all of this was happening, and I was trying to put on my game face and keep positive so that Megan didn't feel more like crap than she had to and that Finn could still feel like he could have fun.  A mom approached me and made some small talk.  Our children were the same age with the same difference in age and I found myself slightly losing it.  You could tell she just wanted some light conversation, but the next thing I know I'm tearing up and telling her how freaking hard everything is and how having two toddlers makes me rip my hair out.  I felt like I was rambling on and on and she sort of had a fixed smile and that "I'm going to back away slowly now and talk to a sane person" look on her face, so I let her go and continued to try and keep my cool.

But fuck it!  It's not easy!   Having a 19 month old and a 3 year old is, sometimes, too hard.  How many tantrums a day do I really have to go through?  (Let me tell you, the amount I go through now is TOO MUCH).  I know I should be starting to potty train Finn, but I've barely got Megan potty trained and she's nearly 3 1/2!  Megan had three time outs at preschool the other day and I had to talk to the teacher...and it's all just too much sometimes!  I feel like poor Finn is going to need therapy because he's the neglected one...and I just don't have enough hands to do it all, or functioning brain cells to even think sometimes.  I work really hard to be happy, but some days it just doesn't happen.

So, I guess in a way I can relate to Megan's screaming about the parachute.  If life's like a fucking parachute, I'd want to scream too.  Some big, loud, out of control thing being waved willy nilly in your face.  You know it's supposed to be fun, but sometimes it's just a bit...much.

Monday, October 15, 2012

More ebay adventures! Thrills from the AYPE!

I got another ebay treasure in the mail!  I'm so excited about this one since the subject is near and dear to my heart.  It is a souvenir from the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition of 1909.  And this is a cool souvenir too!

It's a horoscope wheel!  Amaze your friends with the astrological wonders of the heavens!  Impress your family with your powers of prestidigitation!

You turn the wheel until the pointer is on your birthday and then you'll be able to see what sign you are (which is hilarious since nowadays everyone pretty much knows their sign when they're a baby), then you turn it over and read your horoscope.

I'm a Scorpio and this is what it said about me:  "You are heavy set, the weight laying through the thighs".  Well I never!  It just goes to show you that the ladies probably didn't mind being a bit on rounder side back in the day.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The craziest bit of "coincidence" you'll hear today!!!

The most amazing bit of serendipity you will ever hear, at least today:

We were at the Northgate mall play area today with Grandma Wendy.  I saw a kid around Finn's age who was wearing the same shirt as Finn so I commented to his mom "nice shirt!" and she smiled.  A few minutes later I overheard the mom talking to her son saying "Finn, be careful...".  I had to go up to her and share my astonishment that MY kid with the same shirt's name is Finn too!  We were like--WHOA!

THEN... I said, "I have to ask--how old is your Finn?"
"19 months".....(mine too).

"What's his birthday?" I asked, my heart hammering.

"March 10".  Two days before my Finns.

"What's his full name?" she asked amazed.


"Mine toooooo!!!!"

The hair on my arms still stands up just thinking about this!


Exploring ebay: I'm a BILLIONAIRE!!!

I have the best in-laws  For an early birthday gift they all got me gift certificates to ebay.  I love ebay.  I also love old stuff.  I have collections tucked away of a lot of different things... postcards, coins, stamps, toys, neat antiques from the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition (I really should do a post dedicated to my book), and a bunch of cookbooks and housekeeping guides from the 50s.  I'm not a hoarder mind you, I just love having old things, things with wonderful histories.  It makes me happy.

I hadn't really used ebay before now, but I love browsing all the cool things that are for sale.  My favorite search phrase is "weird stuff".  (Try it!  You'll like it!)

That is where I found these:

Three twenty billion dollar bills and one five hundred million dollar bill.  They are from Zimbabwe where there had been hyperinflation from 2003-2009.   It is said that you would have needed a wheelbarrow full of these just to get a bus ticket.  From what wikipedia said on the matter, things are better now but you can still come across this funny money.  I am now a billionaire!

I have since bought more strange and wonderful ebay finds and will share them with you when they arrive.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Things that I'm in love with: David Weisner books

This summer I went yard sale-ing....a LOT.  Every friday I would pack the kids up along with my list of sales I found on Craigslist, and shop until I dropped.  Soon I will dedicate an entire post on all of awesome treasures I found, including a book called The Three Pigs by David Weisner.  I had never heard of the author but it was a kids book and only 25 cents so I added it to my pile of goodies.

I LOVE this re-imagining of the traditional three pigs story.  The pigs escape the book...and explore a bunch of other stories before the wolf can get them.  Completely imaginative.  And M loved it.

Look at those pigs hightailing it out before the wolf blows their house down.  Excellent.

The next one I got was a library book called Flotsam.  It was something my sister Sherri threw into my pile at the last minute and I had no clue what it was.  I got home and read it to Megan and, jaw dropped and my brain exploded into a million pieces of happiness.  I think that this is my favorite kids book EVER.
There are no words in this book, but the story is beautifully written with mini masterpieces on every page.  I won't spoil the plot too much but it's about a boy who discovers an old underwater camera that washes up on the beach and he runs to get the film developed (old school one hour photo style).  The photos show what kinds of wonders lurk beneath the ocean. 

This is one of the most creative books I've seen.  

Of course I had to go to the library website right away and add the rest of Weisner's books to my queue.  I've read two more and they don't disappoint.  

There's Tuesday, another wordless story about the mysterious phenomenon that happens on a tuesday night when every frog around starts to float throughout the countryside.  

The last, book I borrowed from the library is also one of my favorites and is also about unexplained floating phenomena.  June 29, 1999 is about a third grader's science experiment that results in giant flying vegetables.  Not only is the story super cute, but the artwork is grand and sweeping.  

I think that my favorite thing about David Weisner books is how darned creative they are.  In a sea of silly, rhymey nonsense stories, it's so refreshing to come across these unique works of art.