Wednesday, December 12, 2012

WYPW: Two Down, One To Go

Grace Upon Grace

Multiple Children Close in Age 101:  If one gets sick, they all will. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but eventually, it is going to happen.  And the moment you think you've dodged the bullet, you find you have not.

Asher threw up Sunday night.  He was fine Monday--played, ate, a little tired, but overall it seemed as though he was back to his old self.  We assumed it was something he ate since there were no other symptoms.

Last night, I was driving home from meeting Cheryl and I called Kris to see if he needed anything (I'm incredibly thoughtful.)  He informs me that Simeon had thrown up four times after I left.  But he let me enjoy my time away (He, too, is incredibly thoughtful.)

My point:  I am waiting for Jude.  It will happen.  He will wait til all the sheets are clean and floors have been mopped and everything has been Clorox-wiped.  But it will come.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Yours, Mine, and Ours

About two years ago, Cheryl and I went to our first (and one of the first I'm pretty sure) Noonday trunk show which was being held to raise funds for the adoption of Missy's daughter from Ethiopia.  We were really excited to find out what Noonday Collection was all about and for the chance to support two great causes--the artisans in developing countries and adoption.

I don't remember when I began learning more about the concept of "fair trade" and the impact that our dollars can make, for better or worse.  I knew Noonday Collection would be something I would love because I was (and still am!) in love with the "not-just-for-profit" business model.  I have no background in business but this merger of capitalism and compassion excite me to no end.  The idea that a company will just say, "Yes, we want to make money, preferably a lot of it.  But we will only be as successful as we are responsible" is just so inspiring.

I toyed with the idea of becoming an ambassador for Noonday from the beginning.  But I had three kids three and under and launching a business just didn't seem feasible.  About a year later, I explored the possibility again.  I hosted a trunk show (and I used my hostess rewards to buy this little beauty)

This necklace will change your life.  I kid you not.

I decided I still wasn't in a place to commit to being an ambassador.  The boys were a little older but it still felt like too much to take on.

Fast-forward one more year.  Our family was going through a lot of personal and professional changes.  We started homeschooling.  I started teaching a class for our homeschool group.  I had a 5, 4, and 2 year old.  So I picked THEN to become an ambassador.  Makes total sense.  But it has been a great decision.  I absolutely love that I get to combine so many of my interests into one role as an ambassador.  

That's my story.  And it overlaps with their story--the artisans around the world that have found sustainable income because we sell the products they create.  I put on my beautiful salmon-colored Cascading Falls necklace from Ecuador and all of a sudden, it becomes our story.  I wear it--not just on me, but in me.

As the picture above states, when you give a gift from Noonday Collection, you really do give twice.  Your friend, sister, wife, or daughter receives a beautiful piece of jewelry or a fun new accessory, and the artisan who made it receives dignity, hope, and--let's not over-romanticize this--a paycheck!  Do you like pay day? Yeah, me too.  Them, too.  Universal happy dance.

And just in case you need a few suggestions, here are some of my favorites.  The above necklace of course. A little pricey BUT you will wear that thing non-stop.  So divide $138 by a million to arrive at the price-per-wear and you will find that it's practically free.

Also, the Bethe Rope necklace and Organica necklace (both shown here) are lovely and versatile.
The Bethe is made in Ethiopia out of recycled artillery.  What's it called when you take something with a history of pain and sorrow and make something beautiful out of it?...oh yeah--REDEMPTION.  Now available in necklace form.

This one is sort of the quintessential Noonday piece.  It is well-made, well-priced, and goes with everything.

 The Beaded Statement bracelet is made in Uganda.  Oh the amazing stories coming out of Uganda. 

Another favorite, go-to, wear all the time with everything piece is the Angelica Infinity Scarf.

The infinity scarf is my favorite because it is such a no-brainer to wear.  You throw it on and it looks cute with no complicated tying or arranging.  

Ok, just one more.  Tea towels!  The absolute perfect gift.  If you have a kitchen, you need a tea towel. It says, "I'm cute but I don't try too hard."

This is the set of three but you can order them individually.  

I could go on.  But I won't.  You have until Sunday, the 16th to order.  So go ahead--give twice.

PS--There are a LOT of companies out there with the same heart and goals as Noonday.  If this isn't quite your aesthtic or products that fit your needs, I encourage you to look around until you find one that resonates with you.  A few places I can recommend are Trade As One, Ten Thousand Villages, and Krochet Kids

Monday, December 10, 2012

My new year's resolution...

will NOT be to blog more. That would be so 2009 of me. But life is going so fast now that I am in my late early thirties. I'm going to try to capture just a bit of our life and make it stand still in this blog. I mean, my newborn is 2 1/2. THAT is absurd.

I also want to blog more about issues that matter to me during December. I have a few posts rolling around in my head tentatively titled "My Santa Manifesta: You Do Know Where Liars Go, Right?" and "Every Day is Christmas If You Live in America, You Fat, Ungrateful Slob." I'd hate for you all to think I've gone completely holly jolly. I have my limits.

My shopping is almost done. We have found the four gift model of "something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read" to be a great fit for us, so all of four my guys have a little something from each category ready to go under the tree. I would place them under the tree now, but hello--Simeon.

I'm wrapping up a great first season with Noonday Collection. I have learned a lot! I'm looking forward to starting the spring season with a better grasp on everything but I'm really pleased with and grateful for how things have gone. (By the way, delivery by Christmas is guaranteed until the 16th if you need a few AMAZING gifts for loved ones. Or yourself. No judgement here.)

Asher threw up last night. No fever, no chills, just puke. So I drug out the "sick mattress" (a baby bed mattress we keep under the bunk beds for the ill among us to lay on. It's vinyl.) I was just waiting for the next wave to hit. Jude was still awake for some unknown reason (it was about 10:30.) He was wired and kept commenting on how he always manages to make it to the toilet when he needs to throw up and how Asher is kind of a baby in that regard. I had to agree. One of the best things about Jude is that boy holds it until he is standing over the potty. That in itself covers a multitude of sins.

So Asher is awake, Jude is awake, and I'm incredibly sleepy because I had just taken a benedryl for my horrific allergy attack. We all finally dozed off in the living room and then sometime in the middle of the night, Simeon wakes me up. Not for any good reason. Just because. I'm so groggy at this point, I don't recall what happened after that.  All I know is that Kris woke me up around 6 and told me to go get in bed and all 3 boys were laying on the floor near me.  Around 8, I  woke up with the eldest and the youngest in bed next to me. Sleep in heavenly peace, we did not. But no one has thrown up again at the time of this writing.  That, my friends, is a Christmas miracle.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Viva La Blog

I went back to the original title of this blog.  My cynical side (which composes approximately 88% of me) thought that maybe if I proceeded under the assumption that no one was reading this, I would be more likely to post.  Its really hard to use reverse psychology on yourself.  You see right through you.  You don't buy you for a minute.  You're not fooling anyyou.

So back to Grace Upon Grace.  I got the title from a Sandra McCracken song which I now commend to you.  The chorus says, "Grace upon grace every sin repaired, every void restored, you will find him there,in every turning he will prepare you with grace upon grace."  I add my hearty amen.

It's comin' on Christmas.  I'm embracing it all a little more this year.  We got our tree while it was still November.  Who ARE you, Jamie Rives?

I like to get my money's worth out of clothing, ok?

My holiday aversions are well documented here but this year I'm feeling a little more open to figuring out a way to create a special experience for my children without compromising what we value and without emphasizing what we don't.  I know I hold back because one thing I hate is to be disappointed.  So I live in this space of cautious distance from anything that might not meet my expectations.  My "all or nothing" syndrome is well-documented here too and I think that plays a big role in my hesitancy to get caught up in the holidays.

But it's like eating strawberries.  I think the goal of strawberry season is to eat so many strawberries that by the end of strawberry season, you are so contentedly full of strawberries that you don't have any regrets about your strawberry consumption, or lack there of.  You surrender to the berry.  You eat your fill so that when it's all over, you're OK with it.  You aren't longing for more or wishing it could all last a little longer.  It's done.  And that's just fine.

So I want to take a strawberry approach to my life--holidays, babies, education, age--anything for which there is a season.  Go big then go home.  I hold back far too much and too often.  But it would be better to risk.  I'm living my story.  It might as well be a good one.

Towards that end, I am doing a "countdown to Christmas" activity calendar.  Each day, the boys get to remove from a line of twine I strung up, one slip of festive green and red paper on which I have written something fun to do that day.  Some of them are your basic Christmas activities--go see lights, go to a Christmas festival at a church, etc, some of them are things to do for others, some of them are incredibly lame and were it not for me setting the bar so low in past years, may not even be considered fun.  But they are loving it.  And I am loving them loving it.

And just by way of updating you ALL, here are the Brothers Rives.  My how they've grown.
Asher is 5. And a male model.

Jude is 4. And a caffeine addict.
Simeon is 2. And a scholar.

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