Thursday, July 29, 2010

Come on, next week! I'll be on vacation (from work), but staying at home. My Dad and Step-Mom will be in town for a couple days, they'll take the older 2 to Kansas with them for a week.

I'll be:

. . . sleeping in . . .

. . . dragging the family around Chicago while they're in town . . .

. . . sleeping in some more after they're gone . . .

. . . sewing . . .

. . . reading . . .

. . . visiting fabric stores to daydream . . .

. . . going out to a goodbye party for a couple work friends . . .

. . . and generally doing nothing that I don't want to do. Of course, things always come up that you don't plan for, but I'll deal with those things when they happen.


Friday, July 23, 2010

My baby is growing up

Today is my toddler's birthday - he's 3!

Last night as I held him and "stole" kisses and hugs from him, I told him, "You have to let me kiss you! You're almost not my baby anymore!" And it's true . . . he's *thisclose* to being completely potty-trained (we're lazy trainers), finally enjoying books and "reading" them, doing all the things a just-turned-three-year-old should be doing. His baby fat is almost melted away.

But there's good news! I have 2 older kids (just-turned 9 and almost 11) and I am happy to report that it took many years for me to stop seeing "baby" in them. I mean, I still do - I can instantly see the way they looked as babies . . . and when they sleep I get a little verklempt looking at them. They'll all always be my babies.

But this one . . . he's my BABY. For a while, at least.

My oldest, Kori:



  kori summer

She and her brother really are best friends and have been since the beginning.  (Of course they fight like crazy as well).





Here’s Bennett, the middle child.


ben mohawk ben summer

And now, the reason I started this post in the first place!

Rian . . . not even due for 3 months!  DANG.


rian turtle  rian tattoo

Happy Birthday, Rian!  We’re so glad you’re a part of our family.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

oh, hipsters

Are you like me? Do you come across a new musician or band, and fall in love with them and have to find ALL of their music? And sometimes listen to it strictly in chronological order (release date) or sometimes just mix it up? And you listen to the same song 30 times in a row which makes your office mate throw things at you? Or maybe she just does that in her mind but she's too polite to do it really? Ok, so really you dont listen to it 30 times in a row because you're not THAT inconsiderate, but every time she leaves the office you put it on? And you also sneak it into your playlist rotation every few songs thinking maybe she won't notice?


I'm the only one who does that?

I can't help it.

New obsession!!!! Love this band (Fleet Foxes). I told a friend yesterday that they sound like Brian Wilson had a baby with an Appalachian cave, with the moonlight making everything all silver and blue.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

How Time Flies

8 years ago (May, 2002) my husband and I took our 2 oldest kids (the only 2 we had at the time) into these "photo" booths during a trip to the mall. Your photo was taken and then made to look as though someone had done a pencil or charcoal sketch instead of a photo.

Unpacking a box last night we opened a folder and found these "sketches" and were blown away by the way we all looked back then. So young!

Vincent, age 24. Bennett, age 10 months.

Me, age 24. Kori, age 2 years, 8 months.

We were all just babies!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Summer in Kansas

I know the last few posts have been ALL ETSY, ALL THE TIME . . . but I promise I will write something again soon. :)

In the meantime, here's the beginning of a beautiful (if I do say so myself) treasury I put together featuring other Etsy sellers. It's full of things that remind me of my time growing up in Kansas, and especially spending time outdoors and at my Grandparents' farm in Central Kansas.

I hope you'll enjoy, and view the other items in the treasury. Maybe it will even make it to Etsy's front page! That would be a treat.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Etsy Milestone

Last night, a friend of mine placed a wholesale order in my Etsy shop and this order pushed me over 100 sales!

It feels pretty awesome to have had a successful shop - sure there are many shops with many more sales and many more fans, but you know what? 100 sales is a big deal. I listed my first item in November 2009 so I would say that's pretty good, especially since I pretty much ignored the shop this spring. I was just too busy with work, home, school - LIFE - to pour myself into the shop.

Anyway - I'm throwing a party in my shop in honor of my 100th sale, and all items are HALF OFF. Come take a look!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Yeehaw! Treasury Feature


Woot!  My bandana cozy was selected for another Etsy treasury.  If you’d be so kind as to go to the treasury and “heart” any items you really like, we might make it to Etsy’s front page.


Denim, Bandana & Gingham

the picnic scarf in red and white. Recycled Tshirt Yarn-Blue Jeans-35 ydsBandana - Red, Black and White Bandana Cup Cozy

Up-cycled Denim RugRed Gingham Cupcake Liners Designer Baking Cups (50)Patriotic denim skirt

The Strapped Big Bag in blue denimRuffle Bloomers Denim and RedVintage Denim Belt


20 Padded Red and White Gingham Heart AppliquesThe Modern Messenger - Dark Denim with Black Canvas LiningLittle Suitcase Coinbag - Red Checked

Saturday, July 10, 2010

you should see inside my mind right now.
on the outside i am an american, middle class, working, married, mother of 3, enjoying cute shoes and coca cola and netflix . . . . . . but on the inside i am nationless and my only responsibility is to feeding the poor and healing the sick and sharing the good news of christ and forcing people (including myself) to look at how their selfishness and self-indulgence is experienced at the same time that so many are literally dying because they can't even get rice or beans to put in their stomachs, can't get a $5 shot for malaria or tuberculosis. a $5 shot i could pay for if my outside self didn't buy that mocha frappucino. a $5 shot my outside self doesn't think is my reponsibility to provide because the person who needs it wasn't born in the same country as me, isn't the same religion as me, has darker skin than me.
will these 2 selves ever be able to co-exist peacefully?
remember at the end of schindler's list when the jews he is able to "buy" from the concentration camp present him with the gold ring as a token of their appreciation for what he did for them? and he breaks down, realizing that he could have sold his car and "bought out" more from the concentration camp so they wouldn't have had to die. i imagine that he looks back over the years that he made so much money, all the fine-dining, all the tailored suits, the cars, the mansions. and he realizes that at the end of the day, those things are gone, they mean nothing, but there are people who could have been saved with the money he spent on those things . . . and he didn't save them. as much good as he did by helping the people he DID help -- he could have done more.
it is very easy for us to make excuses and say, "think about the good things we have done" so that we can go to bed at night. we say, "it will never change, there will always be the poor, you can't save the entire world yourself."
how can we justify living the lifestyles that we do when there are humans on this planet who are dying like this?

Friday, July 9, 2010


A while back I was lamenting having lost a picture of myself that was very special to me. It was this awesomely dorky pic of myself from 4th or 5th grade, posed in a wicker chair for school portraits.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

a while back on the bus i was reading harry potter. this young hipster looking dude was near me and when he was getting off the bus, he said to me, "you know, muggles shouldn't read on the bus. it makes them sick."

i smiled and said, "what if i'm not a muggle?" he said, "oh, YOU ARE."

we laughed & then he said "have a good evening" and i said "you too" and he got off the bus.


also i wonder if he thought to say that at the last moment or if he had been thinking of it ever since we were at the bus stop together. i only wonder because this is the sort of geeky stuff i do.

it just occurred to me that i need a harry potter avatar. and then i thought, NO I PROMISED MYSELF I WOULD NOT GO THERE. and then i thought of the scary peoples who go all sexual on HP and i'm all EWWW.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Take away disclaimers of how poverty will never be fully eradicated from this world, and tell me:

What do you think is the best way to go about reducing/eradicating poverty?

Tell me what you think even if you don't have all the answers!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence from America

it's the little things that are said that make me not want to talk about money.

people will be talking about doing their nursery really cute, because "a baby HAS to have a nursery" or upgrading to a new house so that each of their kids can have their own room, because "kids NEED their own space."

or someone will be talking about their maternity leave and saying "why would anyone EVER go back to work before 3 months?"

it's all these "have to/never/must" terms that TEACH ME that my lifestyle is seen as unacceptable - at least by my peers.

i could go on & on with the examples, but i hear it all day long. my whole life i have tended to be a lower-middle-class kid who was surrounded by middle & upper-middle class (some downright wealthy) peers, i have ALWAYS felt the scrutiny and confusion others have towards the way i live.

"why don't you just . . . ?" as if "just" doing something is so simple. "just put it on your credit card." "just get a loan." "just dip into your savings."

at some point, though, i had to realllllly examine what was most important to me, and whether or not i felt like american standards of lifestyle held water. there are many people who would look at my family & consider us poor, from our lack of certain resources to where we live to the condition of our car to countless other things. but i have come to the belief that these trappings do not hold some magic happy ending or satisfaction. i enjoy my life. even as "poor" as i am, i live a luxurious lifestyle compared to most in the world. i have access to LOTS of resources. i have an able body & mind. i have good health coverage. i have a job. i have a roof over my head that has working heat & cool air. good plumbing. a washer & dryer that takes quarters but is right outside my backdoor. my car isn't pretty but it runs. i have money for the gas in it. i even (finally) have money to insure it. i have enough money to feed my family and enough to splurge every once in a while on eating out, treats, inexpensive trips to see family, a few birthday & christmas presents and hobbies.

i make use of the free resources around me like the zoo and the library and the forest preserve and the lake and if someone wants to look down on me because i plan my visits to museums on free days, or can't go because i don't have the gas to get into the city & don't have enough for the bus, then so be it.

i live a full life and i am working hard to come to terms with the fact that it isn't the american dream. i am working to examine the american dream and its FALSE promises of happiness and satisfaction.

/rant. :)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

10 bits of ashley weirdness

1. i only chew up blue m&ms, i never suck on them because blue dye in candy will stain your teeth. i prefer to suck on all other m&ms because by the time you've dissolved the candy shell, the inside chocolate is all soft & gooey. i prefer peanut m&ms and dark chocolate m&ms.

2. i am not flexible. i danced for years and no matter how much stretching and splitting and leaping i did, i am still the way god made me -- with short tight muscles. i'm strong, though, so on switch-leaps i am able to get a nice split going on in the air, because my legs are strong enough to force the split. same with kicks.

3. i twitch when i'm falling asleep. actually it's more violent than a twitch. i kick. it wakes me up for a second . . . only once though. right after i've dozed off, i kick and it wakes me up for a second. this is the signal to my husband and i that i am now about to go to sleepytime, so leave me alone.

4. i MUST MUST MUST open my work outlook first before i open anything else, because on my toolbar at the bottom, my outlook must be on the far left right next to the start bar. i don't care what order i open up other programs but outlook is first. i will shut everything down, even complicated programs if somehow they are open first and on the far left.

5. i will not write with pencils unless i'm in an urgent situation and that is all that is available. i prefer a click-top gel pen in blue or black. sarasa makes a great one. writing with a dull pencil on something soft, like a stack of recycled paper, makes me feel gross.

6. i stare a lot. i have freaked people out before. usually they were attractive people -- i just can't seem to get enough of looking at some people. i'm not sexually attracted to them or anything -- i just enjoy looking at how beautiful they are.

7. i have been told i do a little dance when i eat chips (to my new friends: I LOVE CHIPS). i still have never caught myself doing this but once someone told me i asked my other friends and they confirmed. this baffles me!

8. i choke on something i'm drinking on a daily basis.

9. just about once a month, i have 2-3 days where i desparately want to homeschool my kids on a ranch in colorado. hormonal?

10. most of the foods that other people think are gross because they are processed or fake or whatever -- i like all those foods. i am always finding myself commenting on how yummy something is while everyone else sits there with un-touched plates, silently planning to go eat at a nice restaurant after they leave whatever banquet we're at.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Our “garden”

Ok. So . . . I can raise kids. Keep them fed. Tend to their injuries. Teach them things. But plants? Yeah, I just kill them. But – I finally have a bit of a yard, including a small patch that is just perfect for a small garden.

My 2 older kids and I walked to a nearby Menard’s (it’s a Chicagoland Home Depot sort of place) just to see what they had – I expected super high prices which would discourage me from jumping into gardening. I was so excited to find that everything was . . . DIRT cheap. *snort*

Now – I realize that I should have done some research, figured out what the best plants and planting techniques were. But I was just in the mood to DO, so we DID.


Everything in this cart – around 10 plants, a bag of soil, a bag of rocks and a little hand shovel – all came to about $13!

Now I’ll show you my next-door neighbor’s setup, which has me GREEN with envy. *snort*



They also have a pretty hanging plant in a basket from their porch roof, and a nice little add-on patio which extends their small porch over to behind their little garden. You can see a bit of those patio blocks at the top left corner of the 1st pic above.

And now for our “before” pics:


Yucky dirt patch with old plastic lining which is no longer covered, and the straggling rocks which hung around. No idea what this looked like when it was first landscaped, this was the condition when we moved in a month ago. UGLY!


Dirt patch to the side of our small porch. This is the area where our neighbors put down pavers to extend their porch. We may or may not do the same – we really like hanging out in front on breezy evenings, but our porch is tiny.


First attempt to fill in the rockbed. I thought I might want to use this area to plant, but after pulling out the plastic, I could tell that this area wasn’t going to be great for planting. I think I’d rather make it look pretty and low, low maintenance. So I went with rocks – Western Sunset, to be exact. This is one bag’s worth – thankfully they’re only $3 a bag.


After 2 more bags worth of rocks. I want to get one more bag to fill in all the thin spots, like around the edges. I’ll likely put down a potted plant or two, copying the neighbors. And I even have an idea of what I’d like – some striking grass, like this:

Or this:

There’s a low potted plant just like this at Menards that I could go buy a couple of. I think they’d stand out really nicely against the red rocks.

Moving on! Here’s what has been planted so far, following the line where our grass meets the dirt section next to our porch. Don’t ask me what plants these are – some are Salvia, some are Zinnia, the others . . . I forget. I know, bad plant mommy!





There's some empty spaces on the left - flowers were planted but they have no blooms right now, hopefully they'll turn into something pretty soon.


So! Hopefully I won't kill them. I was smart enough to tell the kids they need to water the plants every day . . . they're eager and don't forget. I have to remind them not to drown the poor things.

I'll post updates once things begin growing . . . or not.

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