Friday, February 29, 2008

The Big Spring Etsy Update ... # 1 & # 2


I am still get so excited for my Big "Spring" Etsy Update this coming Monday :) BUT, I am little sad to find out that a few of my items will not be available for posting yet - as they are still at the printers. Ugh. That just means I will have to have 2 big Etsy Updates!

So, mark your calendars for March 10th as well (please)!
Enjoy the weekend,
Jodi



Thursday, February 28, 2008

An Open Letter to Family & Friends:


Dear Family & Friends,

As some of you know, Halis and I have decided to unschool (similar to homeschooling but not quite) our son and any subsequent children. We are very secure in this decision and are quite excited about it. However, we recognize that many of our loved ones are going to have questions about whether or not this is "right" for our child. We know that concern comes from Love ... but we don't feel the need to defend our decision just as we don't expect others to defend their choice to send their kids to public or private schools. Yet, we fully understand that some of our family members may simply not have any knowledge about the subject, and we are certainly willing to share information and dispel any myths.

I recently came across a couple of things that I thought I would share with you all - in case anyone has a desire to learn more about our choice. Here is an excellent resource on the subject: http://www.unschoolingamerica.com/. Click anywhere and you will find the info you need to any questions you may have (and that way you won't feel awkward asking us:) And better yet, you can check out some real life familes as they unschool their children by visiting the various blogs found here: http://www.nearcircle.com/viewCircle?name=unschooling.

Here are some great YouTube videos on the subject as well: http://www.youtube.com/user/DaynaLeighMartin.
Dayna Martin's Family Blog is also a great insight into the unschooling life: http://thesparklingmartins.blogspot.com/ (Their family is sure to surprise you in how they just don't fit into anyone's stereotype of an unschooling family. I love it!) As well as Soule Mama's blog: http://soulemama.typepad.com/ (MY PERSONAL FAVORITE).

Also, I recently came across this FUNNY article that I thought I would share as well. Please remember that it is meant to be funny and eye-opening ... not to be offensive. And in all truth, I would like to carry it around in my pocket, and hand it to anyone that has a negative comment about homeschooling or unschooling: http://www.secular-homeschooling.com/001/bitter_homeschooler.html.

Well, we hope these resources help. And if you do have any questions, we are happy to answer them - so long as they are asked with respect for our decision. And if you are thinking, "Ummm... I really don't care what you do with your kid...." Well, we welcome that too :)

Lots of Love,

Jodi, Halis & Isaac

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Highly Recommended Book:

I bought this sweet book for Isaac before he came home to us. I just new it contained a message that I wanted him to hear over and over again.

Little Raccoon is forever asking his Mom WHEN it is that she loves him the most. Is it when he cleans up his room? Is it when he does well at his swimming lessons? Is it when he can climb a tree very well? And Mother keeps telling him that though she loves when he does all of those things, that is not when she loves him MOST. Finally, after several attempts to find out when it is that Mom loves him most of all, Little Raccoon gets exasperated, and asks, "Is it now?" To which Mother replies, "Yes, it is NOW. Now is the time that I love you most of all. Do you know why? ... Because there is no special time. I love you all the time. So, whatever time it happens to be - day or night - that's the time I love you most Little Raccoon."

"You mean right now?" asks Little Raccoon.
"Yes, right now," said his Mother. "It is always right now."

(Gives me a chill every time I read it :)

Though I think this book is great for any child & parent to read together, I especially believe that is is most beneficial to children who were adopted at an older age ... and may have some serious doubts as to whether they are truly loved just for being who they are ... or whether they have to continue to prove themselves to be lovable. This book speaks to that so well, and can be used as a catalyst for some wonderful discussion. The illustrations contained are sure to keep your child interested ... they're full of whimsy ... and the raccoon is so darn cute.

If you are interested in learning more about the book, please click here. And for the sake of full disclosure, if you purchase this book through the link provided, my family will receive a small but useful referral fee.

Thank you & Enjoy!
Love,
Jodi

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Fever.


The moment that I met my son - he was lethargic with a high fever. And I sobbed. First because I was so excited and overwhelmed to meet my baby, then because I was so afraid that there was something wrong with him. I kept turning to the director of the orphanage with pleas of "What is wrong with my baby?" ... "What do you have to relieve his fever?" ... "How long has he been like this?", etc. I would later learn that they did not have any medicines to relieve his fever - just antibiotics that they were injecting into his little body in case he had an infection. I was frantic with worry. I had just met my baby and it took only seconds for me to become his Mommy. I immediately felt the heavy weight of all that intense love and concern a Mommy feels for her child.... The endless concern, the endless worry, and the eternal and boundless love.

I spent that whole first night with my son - back at the hotel - trying to cool his burning fever. Thank God a fellow traveller gave us a bottle of Infant Tynelol ... which brought Isaac nearly instant relief. We administered it to him throughout our brief weekend stay and were thus able to enjoy our bright and cheerful boy.

Once we returned to the states, we were able to secure a very generous donation to the orphanage of about 30 bottles of both Infant & Children's Tylenol by a local doctor. We shipped these out right away and felt some peace that our son would find relief from fever when needed.

So, why I am telling you all this story now? Because I think it has something to do with the fact that my husband and I both shed some tears this evening as we held our feverish child. Poor Isaac is having a hard time getting over the flu. Yet I think his parents may be having an even harder time of it. Though we certainly have the medicines to reduce his fever, and we have the means to get him medical attention if necessary, and we live in a world of 24-hour pharmacies ... Vapo-Rub ... humidifiers... etc. I think we still share some PTSD regarding the helplessness we felt over Isaac's well being from the time he was first placed in our arms until the moment he finally came home to us (a 9-month span). While he was in Haiti, we had no control over his health care, his nourishment, his comfort ... anything. It was Hell. I promise you. Imagine giving birth to your child and then having him/her taken away from you for 9-months and put into the care of strangers. That is the only way I can describe it. And even that doesn't sum it up.

Anyway, I don't think those feelings go away ... even after your child comes home. The pain is still there ... somewhere ... and sometimes it leaks out. And when our Isaac has a fever ... Halis and I get very emotional ... to the point of tears. Tonight we both stared at our baby boy as he struggled to sleep ... and then we looked at one another ... and we both knew that if we dug underneath the surface of our sadness ... we might fall apart. So we didn't. And instead, we prepared for a long night of taking turns nursing our boy.

Sleep well baby Isaac. Mommy and Daddy are here to comfort you... always.


Love,

Mommy & Daddy

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Just to Prove ...

... that I am keeping my word ... OR ... that I am crazy....

See, I promised myself when I became a Mom that my child would never go a day without spending at least part of it out of doors. I call it, the "No Child Left Inside" program. And when I made this promise, I must have failed to take into consideration that I live in Northern Maine. I mean, February is **cold**, really ***cold***. And even though European and Canadian blood flows trough my veins, I must have also failed to consider that my son is Haitian... and his people have never felt a -20 degree wind chill in their lives.

But a promise is a promise. And I truly do see the benefits of daily fresh air and sunshine. So, Isaac and I venture out every day. Sometimes Daddy joins us. Always the dogs do. And on a rare occasion, we might see a neighbor. Sometimes we venture till we are hungry and tired. Other times we might make it to the mailbox and back.

And some days I take my camera with me, just to prove (though I don't know to who) that we really are crazy.... I mean, committed!

Love,
Jodi

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Friday, February 15, 2008

Happy 35th Birthday, Halis.

To think that I met you 23 years ago! And I thought you were the most annoying guy in 7th grade. You have certainly "grown up" well. You have gotten sweeter, sexier, and slightly less annoying with age.

We love you SO much. May this be the best year of your life ... until the next one.

Love,
All of Us

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day Bliss.

Daddy had to go in late to work today as he needed to meet a repair man here this morning. So, Isaac and I took it as an opportunity to give Daddy a special Valentine's Day treat ... a homemade triple-chocolate brownie breakfast! What bliss --- to have Daddy enjoy a weekday morning with us --- to warm our bellies with gooey brownies and hot coffee --- to exchange gifts of love --- and to simply enjoy one another. These moments are all too rare.
As for the gift exchanges... Daddy spoiled us this year! Isaac got some great Maine-made jam and a Lightning McQueen card that sings a tune when opened. Mommy got a Mr. Rogers book (my fave), a Digital Photography book that I have been wanting, and a beeswax skin-healing bar. Daddy got a homemade card and a picture collage for him to hang up at work.

No roses, no jewelry boxes ... just the practical & the appreciated. Just the way we like it :)

Enjoy your Valentine's Day.
Love,
Jodi

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Thriller.

Everyone here is feeling the full effects of a Flu right now :(

But - What better remedy for all that ails you than to cuddle up with your son in bed, lap-top laying across your chest, searching for wild, wacky and hilarious videos on YouTube?

Well it seems that the Michael Jackson Thriller Album is celebrating its 25th Anniversary (the new 25th Anniversary album debuted yesterday - click here to see the new album & listen to some of the remixes). I grew up on Michael ... totally convinced that I was going to marry him one day. I am sure glad that didn't happen ... but I am still enamored by his music, his dancing and his lyrics. And so are people from around the world ... Here are some of our finds:

(To begin viewing the following goodies, you may want to revist the original Thriller video here first).






Fun, huh??? And there are so many more. So, do yourself a favor and take some time out to surf YouTube. It brings so much joy :) We are feeling better already!

Some of the "Surprise" Wedding Dances will have you in stitches... here, here and here. They make me want to re-do my boring wedding dance over again (Michael Bolton's Soul Provider. Go ahead - feel sorry for me - but it was a sign of the times).

Enjoy the Day,
Jodi

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Playing With Adobe Photoshop CS3.

A friend of ours introduced us to this intense Photoshop program and I am pretty sure that once I installed it, I could hear my photographs cheering . It is simply amazing! I didn't know that a computer program was capable of "magic", but this program proves it. You can literally take the world's worst photograph, and turn it into a thing of beauty (or something like that). But it takes ALOT of learning to even master 1/4 of what this program can do.

I grabbed a couple of highly reviewd books on the subject: The Photoshop CS Book For Digital Photographers and Adobe Photoshop CS3 One-on-One. From these two books, I have been giving myself nightly lessons on the program. And I have made some progress. I was able to make a new header for this blog (a week ago) and for my Etsy shop (last night).

I also learned a thing or two about "Curves" and was able to enhance the following photos:

BEFORE:


AFTER:


BEFORE:


AFTER:

Of course, there is SO much more I need to learn. But this is a great start. Lots of fun, too.

Enjoy the day,

Jodi

Monday, February 11, 2008

Wee Wonderfuls & 30 Days of Yesteryear.

Several moons ago, I purchased this so-sweet pattern from Wee Wonderfuls:

... and I finally got around to making a Spaceboy for Isaac:



... though some have called him "El Nacho Libre" and others thought he was a Ninja.

I think he is adorable though. And the pattern was SO easy to follow. Very well written and user friendly. I was highly impressed ... and am certain that I will purchase more of Hillary Lang's patterns in the future.

Also, today is Day 1 of my "30 Days of Yesteryear" Flickr project. Click here to see today's photo. It is probably my favorite photo of all time. Enjoy :)

(If anyone would like to join me in this project - I would be thrilled to see your yesteryear pics a well!)

Enjoy the Day.
~ Jodi

Friday, February 8, 2008

A Few Things...

Yesterday was a fairly exciting day for me. It was my first visit to "the printers" (Bacon Printing to be exact). And this wise and wonderful man showed me all the possibilites of going further with some of my art work. We discussed making quality prints of some of my pieces ... making notecards/calendars/stickers of my photography ... designing and publishing some of my work in book form... etc. I am now SO excited about the possibilites.

I went ahead and ordered limited copies of my piece "...and he gazed in wild wonder." (see below) They will soon be available on Etsy as 8" x 10" prints - signed, numbered and ready for framing.

Also exciting is my husband's wish for me to go ahead and buy myself the camera of my dreams. He said... and I quote... "Babe, because I love you so much, go ahead and buy the new camera you want. It will be so much fun for you." To which I said, "Naaa... I want to save our money." (see the difference between us?) But now I'm thinking about it. It WOULD be so MUCH fun!

I am looking at all the Nikon DSLRs ... and am getting fond of the D70 & D200. Any advice? The D200 sure is a beauty:

And lastly, we actually went out AGAIN. the whole family. To eat. In the city. Again. I love it! We laughed, we smiled, we ate, we talked, and we were courted by the Ground Round balloon man :) It was kids night at the Ground Round, and though I prefer privately owned, "Mom & Pop" restaurants, this was just right for a Thursday night.


Halis thinks that Isaac will hate us later on for all the dorky pics we take of him. I like to think that he will be so impressed at how much of his life I have documented in photos. Dorky or not.

Enjoy the day.

Love,

Jodi

P.S. The "30 Days of the Everyday" project is complete. I love the resulting mosaic. And though I want to begin a dozen more photo projects ... I think I will start with "30 Days of Yesteryear." ... favorite photos from the past 5 years of our lives. I will begin Monday. Anyone want to join?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Finishing What She Started ...

My Mother-in-Law taught me most of what I know about quilting and sewing. She gave me such a gift - one that I am forever grateful for. And when she passed away, I inherited many of her gorgeous quilts, her sewing machine, some of her fabrics, and several of her unfinished projects.

I am currently working on completing some of those projects. It is a bitter-sweet task. Many nights I find myself sitting and hand-sewing in the very same chair that she sat and hand-sewn in as well (we inherited the chair too). And though she and I had a complicated relationship, I feel at peace with her when I settle into working on some of her handiwork. And I wonder if she can see me ... and whether she has now come to a better understanding of who I really am ... in the same way that I have come to a better understanding of her. I wonder if she is happy to see that her work is being completed and enjoyed. I sincerely hope so.

Love,
Jodi

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I'm Gonna Do It All ... Someday.

When I first saw the following video, I cried ... remembering myself as a young girl...

When I saw it a second time, I smiled ... knowing she never left me...

May we all get back to the hope, curiosity and unwavering belief in ourselves that we had as little girls. And may we nurture it in each other and in all the children around us...



Love,
Jodi

P.S. This Cd can be purchased here.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Some Valentine's Day Paper Garland.

So simple. Just paint some paper (both sides) ... cut it into the shapes that you want ... tie them together with ribbon ... and hang them up for all to enjoy.

The snowflakes are from this book . Enjoy!
Love,
Jodi

Sunday, February 3, 2008

More Etsy Goodies:

CHECK OUT MY FLICKR PAGE FOR MUCH BETTER PICTURES OF THESE GUYS!

Hand-Sketched, Screenprinted & Appliqued. One-of-a-kind bags. Perfect for passing out Valentines :) Or just for showing how much you love owls. And Whoooo doesn't? (I couldn't resist).

www.thishandmadelife.etsy.com


Enjoy!
Love,
Jodi

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Are You Serious? Did We Really Just Have a Night "On the Town"?

Amen! We needed that.
We are planning our next one with the help of this website. Just another reason to be thankful for moving to the "city".
Love,
Jodi

Friday, February 1, 2008

Day 25: Some Chicken Love.

I have been neglecting the beauty of my feathered friends ... so thought I would dedicate a post to a few chicken photos. Enjoy!

Love,

Jodi