Friday, December 29, 2006

Testing AGAIN

Blogger has been fighting with my ISP. I wonder if it is due to the cable problems under the China Sea after the Earthquake in Taiwan on 12/26/06. I hope this post goes through. If it does we are back in Business baby!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


My last post went into never never land, lets see if this one works.

Bad Blogger

So, things are really busy with work and personal life, but I wanted to post a picture of the toys the kids gave away on 12/24. These totally fit within the 7 things goal I have and I am sure we tossed probably 20+ of the "McDonald" type toys that the kids pick up, are given to them at Birthday parties in goody bags or other junk.

In the donation pile are

1. A toy "Sport" set carried with us from the States as a gift from Aunt Trudy. The kids played with this for a while but have more than outgrown it.

2. A Toddler wagon with Lego attachment on the back side. Came from taiwan and was still used, but it was time to share it with others.

3. A toddler bowling game from Christmas last year or year before.

4. A really cool Lamaze toy car that the kids still played with but wanted some other kids to have.

6. A toy we got for Declan that had fun little toys in side like a dog/bowl etc.

7. A similar toy given as a gift one christmas.

8. Other toys that just needed new homes!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

A new Christmas tradition

so, the week before Christmas and for the second year in a row I was traveling. It sucked. I had to go to Shanghai last Saturday, turn around and return to Singapore Tuesday for a quick overnight and a 5am return to the airport for a 6:30 flight to KL. Got home on Friday, tired, coming down with a bit of a cold and a hurking cold sore on my lip. Ah, the stress of the holidays coupled with travel, what can get better than that? Well, almost everything.

But, we as a family started a new tradition today. The kids are just bursting with excitement about Christmas. First off, Santa hasn't even come and there are far too many presents under the tree. Jeff and I really only got two presents for each child and a few books and stocking stuffers. Next year, I plan on making the gifts and only getting one for each child, but that is not for this post.

This post I wanted to tell you how proud I was of my munchkins. Today, as I looked at the number of presents under the tree I told the kids that they were very lucky. They were lucky to have a mom and dad who both had jobs. They are lucky to have cousins and aunts and uncles who sent them gifts. They are lucky that they have grandparents who send gifts. I told them that other children in the world were not as lucky. Other children don't have all of these toys and that because Santa was coming tomorrow, we should go through our toys and give away the "baby" toys and the toys that they don't play with any more.

The kids came and sat down with me and we went through the toy boxes, getting rid of all the broken toys, and getting rid of toys they no longer play with. We donated two full bags of toys to the Salvation army this morning. The kids were fully active and proud to be giving toys to children who didn't have any. They were very excited to share-in part I know because they get more tomorrow- but I was excited because I was so very proud of them. They helped start a new tradition in our home. From today forward, every year, before Christmas the kids will review the toys they have, toss the broken ones and donate those that are still good to the children who need them more than we do.

It was a good day. I know that I am passing the right values one to my children. My children had joy in the act of giving. It is good, it is right, it is a joyous holiday.

Peace on Earth be with you all.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Far From Perfect

I read today on Consumer Disobediance about the struggles and the slippery slope of being on the "Compact". Ali slipped when she bought a coffee press. Subsisquent purchases, while few, were easier.

I think that is key. Once you break a promise or pledge, it is easier to rationalize the later purchases, it is easier to do it again. I was on a weight loss program, I felt pretty good about it, I lost almost 20 pounds, but when I started to travel-I went off the diet. I have not gained the weight back, but I haven't continued to loose either. When not on the diet, I find myself snacking on candy... not eating whole foods- I feel guilty about the first candy bar. The second, not so much.

So, in the area of scaling back, cutting out purchases, I have not been as good as I wish. I found that I did purchase a few items new- and I saw my husband purchase the kids Christmas gifts (even though they are only getting two gifts each)... I still consider that breaking the pledge.

What did I learn. First, I hate Christmas Shopping. Second, I have renewed goals to do better next year. I have the intent to move forward and NOT buy anything while traveling the next week. This is my big challenge for the rest of the week, not to buy any "gifts, trinkets or chochkies" while in Shanghai and KL next week.

I'll let you know how I do.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas Gifts

Well, we went shopping for gifts for the kids. We have had the list for quite a while, and this is probably not an "authorized" purchase in my own personal compact pledge, but I am not going to beat my self up. The long story short is... I am starting in July next year and every member of the family will get something made or purchased second hand. I am not doing that again!

Declan and Kiera are getting 2 "presents" this year from us. Declan is getting a hot wheel track and battery train. Kiera is getting a new baby doll and a play kitchen. The family is getting some games we can all play together. The games I feel are totally within the Compact goals.

I have also gotten Kathy her last gift and if you are reading sis... it will be in the mail tomorrow :-)

So, now more in line with what I want my life to be, living simply, deliberatly and honestly... we are making gifts for our friends that are coming over for Christmas day and for our friends we hope to see on Boxing Day... For HH and Jen, a bottle of homemade Lemoncello. For Faye and Dean... well.. you may be reading this so lets just say I am grinding it...

I can see next years gifts already

1. Family History Pictures for Trish
2. A scrapbook of Mom's history for Mom
3. Recipes and foodstuff from SE Asia for Dad and Linda
4. Family Recipe Book for Kathy with our favorite foods from Growing up.

So not a surprise perhaps, but then again, I may change my mind. Just ideas for fun gifts from the heart, not from the pocket.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Update on Boxes

So, I went to the store... intending to buy 2 boxes, which would I think take care of the rest of the photos that have no home. The store did not have any yet... they are still on route from Australia. So, I walked out, went down to my favorite scrapbooking store to say hi to my friends and thought again about the boxes. So, I got home took a look at the photos I have and thought, you know. This is the excuse I need to get off my butt and scrapbook some of these pictures and get them out of the boxes!

I have lots of reasons to scrapbook and lots of pages that need to be done for my pending book. Maybe when I am done with the scrapbook pages I won't need those boxes after all!

Shopping averted and I feel good about it.

Photo Boxes

Ok, I am a scrapbooker and I want to keep pictures in an acid free and as humidity controled enviroment as possible. To that end I have already taken all of my pictures out of acid filed "magnetic" albums and scrapbook them when I can. But I have a class I really want to take this winter. I am going to ask Jeff for the class as my Christmas present. In the class you take 12 weeks to organize your photos (which would be a good thing as I have at least 5000-7000 hard copies and around 3000 digi pictures). One of the needed items in the class is photoboxes and "three" up albums. I already have about 6 boxes, but will really need 4-5 more to do this correctly. Acid Free photoboxes are not really something you can find "used" or free. Shoeboxes aren't acid free otherwise I would use those (And DID for years until I knew better). I looked for acid free boxes for about a month before I started the Compact, but could not find any...

SO here is my challenge. I am only on day 7 of the compact and I am considering purchasing something new. I can't really determine if this is a need or a want. Do I need to put these pictures away? Do I need to take the class? If I purge my pictures will I have enough room in the boxes I already have? Part of the class I want to take also talks about purging, which as you know dear readers, I have a problem with letting go. Even of the three copies of the same picture from my wedding of some guest I don't really know... You know, I might give that picture to a family member someday that wants it.

I love my scrapbooking hobby, it is in part a part-time job for me. I could come up with all sorts of rationalizations for why I need the boxes. They are finally available at the craft store again. They are on sale. So, what am I going to do?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Stuff out the door.

Today I am purging more stuff. getting rid of a few things that have been sitting around our very small apartment.

Today, someone is going to come pick up the bed rail that we had for the kids. They are bigger now and don't need a bedrail. I am also listing my old artifical Christmas Tree on Freecycle. I imagine it will be picked up soon.

I need to also take a look at the Kids stuff and see what else can go. We have so much kids stuff... it is almost a shame to see stuff hardly worn, maybe I should try to sell some on Ebay Singapore... make a few dollars? Hum, it is a thought no? Get rid of some of the stuff I don't need and earn a few bukaroos on the side!

Declan is doing well with his new smile. He took his tooth fairy money and got himself a Thumper (from Thomas the train) at our "Good" toy store. While this is techincally a purchase, as I said from the start, the kids were not held to the same standard and this is money he he was given as a gift from the tooth fairy. In one way it is kind of fun to watch him look at this money and try to chose a train. He knew he had $10 but how to equate that to the toys on the wall he wasn't quite sure yet. Hey, he is only 5... but he would pick up two toys (the trains Ben and Bill) and I told him he didn't have enough money he could only get one. Either Bill or Ben. That made him think, the next train he picked up was a big engine with a coal car. Again, more than his budget by a long shot (Wooden toys are a bit spendy here) so we talked about the fact that the little trains would probably be cheaper and he could find one he liked. Well, once he found Thumper he was happy. He has wanted Thumper since this summer but the store did not carry it. They must have gotten a few in for Christmas, so this was a treat!

So, now it is back to normal around here, Mommy is adjusting to the fact that her son has a gap toothed smile, Declan is doing well without his teeth and I am working hard on books, Christmas gifts, organizing and all that my normal routine covers.

Monday, December 04, 2006

A new day

So, it is better around here today. Declan got a visit from the tooth fairy and today he will get to chose a prize for his Tooth Fairy money. Probably about 2 years earlier than we wanted to go down this path, but I felt it was important to make a positive thing about losing your teeth. He did fine for most of the day, but at Dinner it was a bit tramatic when he realized he could not bite down on things with his "front" teeth. The good news, as my sister says, that at the age of 5 his classmates will start losing teeth soon too so he won't be totally out of place.

On the home front, DH is traveling again today. He was gone over the weekend for a company party in Bali. Now he is off to Taiwan for a 3 day business trip. I hope that he is able to catch up with some of his old pals while he is there. I will have to travel in 2 weeks to Shanghai. I may try to catch up with some buddies while there, but it means all of the Christmas plans must be in place and ready before I fly out. I only get back on the 22nd. That is really ok though as I think Christmas will just be family this year. Small gifts and small dinner. I am really just ok with that!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Today I feel

Like crap. That horrible parent type crap when something happens to your child that you can't control. Declan has been sick recently and it sucks because he is pretty much a trooper, but sometimes it just gets him down. Last weekend, when he said his face hurt we went through the "is it his teeth?" routine. (For those who don't know Declan has had major dental issues for a 5 year old that stems back to more bad parenting and bottle mouth, followed by knocking out part of his teeth) So, we looked in his mouth and didn't see anything, but he still had gunky eyes which and a stuffy nose which to me spelt sinuses.

So, we took him to the doctor, who also looked at his ears, eyes, and nose. He also looked in his mouth when I told him Declan said it was his face that hurt... but we didn't see anything wrong with his mouth. So, we got a weeks worth of antibiotics, eye drops, nose drops, anti-inflammatory and general sinus medicine to get rid of the gunky eyes and sinus problem. Last night after a week of antibiotics, I looked in his mouth and saw the tell tale signs of an abscessed tooth. Probably the antibiotics made it better, not worse, but the only option on a Sunday in Singapore is to pack up the kid and camp outside of a dentist's office until they open.

Suspicions confirmed a tooth, in fact both front teeth which we have worked so hard to save over the last 3 years were both loose and one was abscessed. The teeth were both dead already, but it is just so hard to look at my beautiful boy and know those teeth have to come out. Of course this goes right into my own personal issues with dentistry and my own issues with losing teeth....(LONG STORY). SO, out they came. I feel like such a failure as a mother. I know there is nothing we could do. We took him for regular checkups, he brushes 2 times a day and we are trying really hard to keep his teeth clean. But, I guess the damage was done long ago.

Declan was such a trooper though, hardly a cry when they pulled his teeth. But I am crying. I feel like I failed my boy. I know that is not the truth, he hardly seems worse for the wear, within a half hour he was back to normal watching a movie (Happy Feet), but I wonder as he grows, how I am going to deal with the other knocks, breaks and bruises he goes through.

hard day today.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

7 things for the week of 12-1-2006


So, here is a picture of a few of the "7" things that went out the door. What you don't see pictured is the 4 packages of file folders I listed on Freecycle... they are just plain folders folks... also two pairs of girls sandles that will go to the Phillipines in Nancy's next package for her Brother's baby girl.

What you do see is a sweater set. It got dyed a funny color last year and I don't ever wear it in Singapore...out the door it goes (why did it take me a year to do this???)

7 pairs of Childrens shoes that the kids have outgrown.
A shirt I bought that never fit right
A pair of my old glasses (circa 1995)
Another one of those "TI" notebooks that I keep finding around my house.

That brings this weeks total to 17. (NOT including the separate file folders....)

Total for 4 weeks... 43 things that have gone on to better homes. In one way I feel like I could clean out this whole house in one fell swoop, but it is kinda fun to do it bit by bit. And, frankly I am probably actually getting rid of more stuff this way.

Day two of the Compact

So, here it is day two and I sort of have a confession. Ok, it is a .79 cent confession. Today, Declan had a birthday party to attend, we ran out of ribbon for the package and while the gift was new (purchased pre-compact) it was the end of the wrapping paper. So, we cut and pasted and made it work. But no ribbon. Nada. And with the cut and paste job on the wrapping paper, we needed something. So, we bought a ribbon. .79 cents. Ah, but the thing is, I wondered to myself as I purchased the said ribbon (actually Nancy bought it... so my compact pledge is still honored....) What could we have used instead? I thought about the next birthday party we will attend and what could we use? Could we make our own wrapping paper. Would that be fun for the kids? Could we make due with the TONNES (spelled the proper British way) of yarn we have in the house? How about a fabric ribbon. What can we do next time rather than purchase a .79 ribbon for a package.

Off to compile my 7 things for the day, but know for sure that I am going to freecycle some file folders that I purchased. I can't return them, so someone else hopefully can use them. I am also going to get rid of some more clothing in my closet. Maybe some shoes I don't wear... Ah, ok, time to purge some more stuff.

I am also working on a Christmas journal. Taking 15 minutes (minimum) a day to record my feelings, hopes and dreams this holiday season. Last year I took it Way too serious and felt I had to try to compete.. do awesome art. This year, it is all for me. You can check out the pages here

Friday, December 01, 2006

Day One of the Compact

So, 365 days from now I can hopefully say that I have passed a year taking a serious step back from conspicous consumption and buying items that I "wanted" but perhaps did not need. I admitt the last few days have been spent well spending. Not more than ususal perhaps, but for sure I paid attention to it. I purchased most of the "christmas gifts" that family will get and while they were purchases, I tried very hard to think about the gifts I was giving. My parents and the inlaws will also get a handmade gift in time for Christmas as well. I plan on gifting handmade gifts to both of my sisters for birthdays.

So, today starts this path. Again, it is not going to be easy. I am sure that I will not "succeed" without a few misteps along the way, but there is no punishment for falling off the path. Only learning. And at the end of the year I hope that my experiment has left me fulfilled and happy, with more money in my pocket and less unneeded consumer goods in my house.
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