Random Thanksgiving

We had a very different Thanksgiving this year. Ryan was working so Charlie and I spent the day watching the parade (which he loved), cleaning the house and doing laundry. Ryan was able to sneak out of the hospital a little earlier than usual and we all celebrated by taking a nap and then going to Cracker Barrel for turkey and pecan pie. Sadly, Cracker Barrel was packed ?

BUT the week-end was great as my sister Anna, brother-in-law David and nephew Tyson (6 months older than Charlie) arrived late Thursday night. In addition to shopping and just hanging out, we made a trip to Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC. Charlie was thrilled - he pitched a major fit after we left the first three exhibits, apparently not catching on AT ALL that we were off to see more animals. But thankfully, about 20 or so minutes into it, he caught on and was excited to see "more anmals." He is not scared of animals (or much of anything, for that matter) AT ALL so he touched and fed every available creature. He are some of my favorite shots.

Notice my face in this last picture. By this point, I was fed up with giraffe slobber. It was very cool to be be so close to a giraffe (they are HUGE in real life! Look at that head!) but really, we were on our 20th piece of lettuce!

Charlie loves Tyson. He's actually obsessed with him - he does not go one day-or really one hour-without mentioning "Tyse." And could Charlie look anymore like his Dad? :)

In other news, I'm suddenly feeling very pregnant. Twenty-eight weeks today. Yikes. This one is sneaking up on me! I'm tired, lots of things hurt and bending over to pick things up is a fate worse than death. I don't remember feeling such random pains with Charlie but then again, I didn't do the human pretzel every day to keep up with a wild and crazy 20 month old. That probably has something to do with it.

Anyway, by popular demand...a photo, taken last Sunday...Anna, also pregnant, is 20 weeks.

Thanks so my growing mid-section, Charlie has finally realized that something is going on. The other day he randomly looked at me, looked down at my stomach and said "baby." We told him there was a baby in there a few weeks ago and he was like, "um, OK, whatever." But I guess he remembered! Occasionally he'll remember the baby's name and say, "Baby. Eyat!" with a huge smile but most often, it's just "Baby." At least he's getting the memo that something is about to change!

In other news, we (well, me, Ryan has been working like crazy!) have really started looking at houses. For you Savannahians, our top choice at this point is a new house in one of the new neighborhoods in the Isle of Hope area. I'm so excited at the thought, I can barely stand it!




The Proof is in the Pictures

I have been busy, busy, busy at my sewing machine in recent weeks and finally - some proof! Last Thursday I put the finishing touches on stockings for Ryan and me. His is forest green with plaid trim and silver buttons on the cuff...mine is winter-white with black grosgrain ribbon trim and vintage-jewelry-esque black jewel buttons on the cuff (wouldn't Jackie O. be proud?). I'm extremely proud of the results at I have been wanting to make homemade stockings for about four years now.

The Proof

The fabric for Charlie's stocking has been selected, purchased and is ready to be cut and sewn. But it might have to wait until after Turkey day, though that would be putting myself slightly behind my self-imposed holiday schedule. :)

And tonight I turned out a little fold-up crayon pouch for one of Charlie's friends who has a birthday this week. It turned out well and was actually a very encouraging project for me...I've made four of these little guys and the first one nearly pushed me over the edge. I thought it was SO hard and it took me about five hours to cut and sew the fabric...and it didn't even look very good! But this one...the lines are straight and in the right place and the corners are actually squared! Not to mention the fact that I was able to make the thing in a reasonable amount of time. I think I'm making progress! Who knows, by the time we move, I might be ready to sew some curtains...


Closet Environmentalist?

While in Chicago, I was assaulted hourly by environmental activists and nearly run over several times by fast-moving taxis in attempt to save myself by dodging my assailants. After spending some time thinking about the constant attacks, I realized that these passionate individuals probably took one look at me and sized me up as an environmental nuclear bomb, someone with a huge carbon footprint who couldn't care less about the environment. And while I'm certainly not an environmental activist, I certainly do believe that we as Christians should make care for the earth and all the living creatures living in it (people included and above all other "resources") a real priority.

Soon after returning from that trip, I saw a segment on The Today show entitled, "It’s easy being green! 7 ways to help the planet" and subtitled "Lowering your family’s carbon footprint is simpler than you’d expect" and I was intrigued. Here are the suggestions, from Chip Giller, president of Grist.org:

Day 1: Turn down the heat
Here’s a quick, easy solution that will save money and energy: Turn down your thermostat. Lowering your heat in winter by just 2 degrees can cut your energy bill by 10 percent. Get an automatic or programmable thermostat to make it easy to save on heating; set it to turn down when you’re away from home or sleeping, and to turn back up half an hour before you’ll be up and around.

Day 2: Unplug gadgets
Electronic equipment and appliances suck up energy even when they’re turned off — they’ve even earned the nickname “vampires.” Americans waste $1 billion a year powering items like TVs and DVD players while they’re turned off. So unplug your TV, stereo, computer, microwave and other electronics when you’re not using them — or use a power strip that you keep turned off unless you’re using one of the items. And make sure to unplug your cell phone and MP3 player chargers as soon as the devices are powered up.

Day 3: Wash clothes efficiently
When it comes to laundry, there’s lots of room for savings. Ninety percent of the energy used in clothes washing goes to heat the water, so washing cold is a simple way to cut energy use drastically. Plus, make sure to wash full loads. When it’s time to dry, make sure to check the lint screen before every load, and clean it afterward. And if you want to take efficiency a step further, hang some items and let them air-dry instead of running them through the dryer.

Day 4: Eat less meat
Meat production takes a lot more energy and resources than growing vegetables or grains, and 18 percent of human-generated greenhouse gases come from the livestock industry. You don’t have to be a vegetarian to make a difference in this area: Try skipping meat just one day a week. If every American had one meat-free day per week, it would reduce emissions as much as taking 8 million cars off the roads.

Day 5: Put the brakes on driving
Vehicles consume half of the world’s oil, and spew a quarter of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions. Leaving your car at home even one day a week can save a lot of gas and emissions over a year. Try walking, biking, car pooling or taking the bus or subway to get where you need to go — or see if you could telecommute to work one day a week. When you do drive, make sure your tires are properly inflated — under-inflated tires can cut your gas mileage by 5 percent.

Day 6: Go green in the home
Pick a small project you can do around the house to cut energy use. Here are a few ideas: Replace six regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs use about one-fifth as much energy as regular bulbs, and last about 12 times longer). Install a low-flow shower head, which will save on water heating and use. Lower the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees and insulate the tank. If you’re feeling ambitious, undertake a home energy audit to identify projects for the future.

Day 7: Write a letter
While it’s true that small changes at home can make a big difference, one of the most important things you can do when it comes to climate and energy is to let business and political leaders know that you care about these issues. Take some time to write a letter to a store, a manufacturer, or your representative to thank them for their good work — or to encourage them to do better. Look at their Web sites for contact info. You don’t have to be an expert on the issues to speak up. And if we all put in our two cents, it will add up to some positive planetary change.

When I look at this list, I realize that in spite of the stereotypes about conservative voters and suburban housewives, I am not such an environmental liability after all! We follow a nearly-vegetarian diet (thanks to my meat aversion), our hot water barely qualifies as hot, our home is an icebox in the winter, I unplug most of our appliances when they are not in use and I only ever wash full loads of clothes. And since I have so much opinion and am prone to fire off letters to almost anyone, Step 7 could become a reality for me any day!

However, I do admit that we could do a better job of caring for the environment and thinking about ways to reduce the impact our carbon footprints. And demonstrating an appropriate level of concern for the environment should be a priority for us as Christians and an opportunity to witness to the world. But don't lose heart...you don't have to switch to all-natural deodorant and toothpaste and start wearing an exclusively-hemp wardrobe to make an impact.


Politcs again? I can't seem to help myself...

I'm in the middle of my early morning routine, just finished devotions and am on to my second cup of coffee and a healthy dose of Today, and couldn't resist posting on the latest '08 election news:


Not that Pat Robertson is my example or political go-to guy by any means, but this is an interesting turn of events: "...there they were Wednesday morning, Robertson endorsing Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, as "an acceptable" Republican "who can win the general election" for president."

And in other news, Sam Brownback publically endorsed John McCain on Wednesday.

Interesting read on this topic:


Who knows if any of this will be significant but I had to share.


The Creative Juices

Last week I decided to get creative...I had some cheap "test" fabric hanging around the house and decided to put it to good use, to try my skills before investing in real fabric. So thanks to Amy Claire, I decided to sew a few fold-up crayon pouches to give as gifts; I then decided to sew a fabric tree and a Christmas stocking. Both turned out really well, so well that I decided to go out and buy some "real" fabric. I'm going to make our stockings and a fleet of trees to decorate and give as gifts! I also decided to decorate a few burp rags for Janelle's baby shower gift...

Turned out well, I think. Too bad I don't have an embroidery machine (hint, hint, Ryan!).

Speaking of Janelle's baby shower, we posed for quite a few pictures of our pregnant selves but alas, all turned out to be pretty bad pictures. But here are a couple of them anyway...she's due in late December. We've come along way since college!


A Response

Glenn, a friend from the Charlottesville days, has responded to my previous post on a political blog: http://goodwillhinton.com/must_american_citizens_accept_the_status_quo_when_voting

and because I have a hard time leaving a friendly fight, I thought I'd respond to his comments...


I agree with you on two points, Glenn. First, I do not think that a single individual can "ruin" our great nation. And like you (and distinct from other Christians, I might add), I am quite optimistic about the future and truly believe that God is reigning and in control. But I digress...Clinton, for example, did not ruin the country. In fact, a couple of good things occurred during his time in office - the Defense of Marriage Act and the 1996 Welfare Reform Act immediately come to mind. HOWEVER, taxes were extremely high (my parents with 6 children living at home on >50K/year had to make monthly payments to the IRS, payments which could have instead been used to help me pay for college or the occasional family vacation) and Clinton did take some shots at home schoolers and the right to home school in general...in addition to sickening me and many others with his personal escapades, not to mention lying to the entire world...

Secondly, I agree with your assessment of the cycles of national politics and it is for this reason that I, until the past few months when Hilary really started pushing ahead in the polls, fully expected and had come to terms with the fact that a Democrat would be elected in '08 as I can certainly understand and in some instances agree with, the country's general level of frustration with the Bush administration.

But my agreement with these two points not change the fact that I do NOT want to pay extremely high taxes to a federal government that does not use my funds for causes in which I believe or support; I don't want an already big government to become even bigger; I don’t want socialized medicine (I’ve had way too much exposure to military medicine!); I don't want liberal activist judges appointed to the Supreme Court; I don't want marriage to be redefined. But even more than that, I do not want Hilary to be my president. While Barack Obama or John Edwards would obviously not be my first choice, I am bitterly opposed to the election of HRC to the White House. First and foremost, she is a socialist and while I agree that she cannot single-handedly turn us into a Socialist nation, I am very uncomfortable with and disturbed by her stance on virtually every issue of substance and her assessment of which issues are THE most important (http://www.hillaryclinton.com/feature/10reasons/?sc=8). I also think she lacks the experience and finesse required to run the most powerful nation in the free world and would be somewhat afraid for our national safety under her administration (not deathly afraid, stockpiling-weapons-and-canned goods-afraid, but still slightly unnerved and on edge about the possibility of future terrorist attacks). And lastly, I do not want her to make history by being the first woman elected as president of the United States. As an American—and Christian—woman, I do not want in ANY WAY to be associated with or defined by her personally, professionally or politically. She is not the wife, mother, friend, business woman or politician that I’d want to be and I think that many American women would agree with me. Any woman who would “stand by her man” as Hilary has is not a tolerant and forgiving wife but is instead an insecure and desperate ladder-climber, willing to sacrifice her self-respect and dignity for the privileges afforded by her last name and marital status. In the “real” world, women who stay with their husbands for their handsome faces or large paychecks are considered fools and I simply will never understand why the feminists of this country have adopted her as their role model. If anything, she represents everything we competent, confident and capable women should detest and seek to avoid.
So it is my intense opposition to Hilary that has inspired me to rally behind an electable candidate. And while there is no mandate, moral or otherwise, to support a 2-party system, it is my personal opinion (note: I did not say “educated opinion”) that voting for a 3rd party candidate is a wasted vote and does not contribute overall to the popular election of a new president. I have made the choice to vote against what I consider a “greater evil” (for lack of a better term) and to throw my support and vote behind the reasonable candidate with whom I have the most in common.

Coming soon: a fluffy post with pictures of my recent sewing projects. :)