Friday, December 10, 2010

Hooray for Winners!

First of all, I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to participate. :) I wish I could afford to send you all a free item! Since I can't - here are the four lucky ones who won the drawing:

K is for Calligraphy

I'll be in contact shortly!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My Etsy Shop Is Turning FOUR!

On December 10th, Right As Rain Creations will celebrate four years of selling on Etsy! I want to thank all my totally rockin' awesome customers for the 1100-plus sales that have allowed me to do something I absolutely love and make a little fun money on the side.

I also want to thank Etsy, for providing such an amazing place for me to reach the world-wide online community. I love being able to send my products all over the globe. I love the friends I've made on Etsy. I told someone the other day that Etsy wasn't a business, it was a lifestyle!

So... are you wondering how I'm going to celebrate this year?
(drumroll please)

I'm having A SALE and A GIVEAWAY! 

Check out my Etsy shop at and search "4 YEARS on ETSY SALE" to find all my discounted items. Here's a few selections from my personal favorites!

4 oz Peppermint Foot Cream
Root Beer Lip Balm
Lavender Skin Salve

Browse my shop. Post a comment here with a link to an item you like. Make sure I have a way to contact you if you win (email address, Etsy username, or Twitter username). 

On December 10th, sometime after noon, I will randomly pick FOUR winners who will get to choose ANY ONE ITEM in my shop as their prize! (note: it doesn't have to be the item you post in your comment)

I will pick four individual winners, so you can only win once. However, you may post as many comments with links as you like and each one will get you an entry, increasing your odds of winning!

BONUS! I'll also pick one person who "likes" my page on facebook to win an item as well! This person CAN be one of the blog winners, so you have a chance to win two items!

Now, GO! Look, Link, SHOP! :) 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Flashback Friday - Trimming the Tree

My blogger friend Tia has inspired me to flashback on Fridays (when I remember) and this Friday her flashback inspired mine as well.

Since getting married, my husband and I have established the tradition of getting our tree the day after Thanksgiving. Now that Aaron works on that Friday serving a huge Thanksgiving feast to the homeless community, we've pushed our tree expedition back to Saturday or Sunday dependent on weather, but we like to get our tree as soon as possible so we can enjoy it for as long as we can.

Getting a real tree is a must for both of us. It is what we grew up with, and living where we do, I can't imagine celebrating Christmas without the crisp heady aroma of a real tree scenting the air! Last year was our first Christmas in our new home, and my husband managed to catch the sweetest photos of the kids as we started to decorate the tree.

Isaac was six last year, and took the task of decorating very seriously. You can see how intent he is upon his job.

Thaddeus has some developmental delay and is very sensitive about getting his hair cut, so in order to get through the ordeal as quickly as possible, my husband completely buzzes it twice a year. Last year he did it for the first time just before Christmas. So Thad looks like a recovering cancer patient in all his photos - but apart from choking on a bit of hair and throwing up, it was the least painful haircut he'd had in four years.

Also, see how he put all the jingle bells on the end of one branch? That was his decorating style last year. We had four very over-laden branches where he'd chosen to decorate. I left them like that because it was too cute!

Miriam was 21 months and this was the first year she was aware of the hoopla surrounding Christmas. She saw her older brother sniff the tree, so of course she had to as well.

This set of three photos makes my heart swell with love, and maybe with a touch of sadness because already the kids have grown up more since this time last year and have left these stages behind, and I just want to gather those moments up and hide them inside me, where I can keep my kids safe and no one can ever ever hurt them.

Of course, that's not possible, and I wouldn't be where I am today if my mom had done the same to me, after all. So as I look back over this past year, all our ups and downs, all the tears cried (many by me), all the stress, worry, fear, angst over my children (it's been a hard year), and even the laughter too - I realize that my kids will grow up no matter what I do, so I'd better just do the best I can and take lots of pictures along the way.

Flashback Friday Button

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Give the Gift of Luxury!

I created a treasury at Etsy - a collection of 16 items that I focused around the theme of giving luxury to your friends and family, because you know they deserve it (well, some of them anyway, ha).

Of course, you can always find luxe gifts for body, bath, and home by searching for "teamluxe" on Etsy!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Flashback Friday - Oh Where Oh Where Did the Sippy Cup Go?

Inspired by a fellow mommy blogger, I'm posting my very first Flashback Friday blog post!

A few years ago, I was attempting to teach my kids to start picking up after themselves (ha, moms get some crazy ideas in their heads sometimes). So I was busy with the baby and told my 2nd son, age three, to put his sippy cup in the kitchen.

Later, I went into the kitchen to make lunch and was annoyed to see that his sippy wasn't anywhere to be seen. I had to grab a clean one from the cupboard and make a mental note to hunt down the morning one so we didn't find it someday with 3 weeks-worth of nasty chocolate milk inside.

Sure enough, after lunch I found it.

You know, I mentioned the kitchen sink - I just didn't specify which one! That is the blue play kitchen that Santa brought for our two boys for Christmas the year before. It was a huge hit!

And here is the culprit, age three. It is almost as if he is remembering the sippy cup incident and saying to me, "But I did put the sippy in the kitchen!"

Share your flashback here!
Flashback Friday Button

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Brrrr! It is cold and rainy and I love it!

I know the world is full of sun-lovers. Thus the popularity of the Caribbean, Florida, and Mexico, to name a few. However, I also know that hiding beneath the branches of towering cedars and fir trees, there are the rain-lovers like me. We love a drizzly day, so we can curl up by the window with a good book and alternately read and watch the rain drops race down the panes. We love a windy rain storm that batters the house and howls through the trees. We love the green that the rain brings afterward, and how fresh and clean the air smells once it stops.

Here are some of my favorite photos, all possible because of the rain!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My Love/Hate Relationship with the Berenstein Bears

Are you familiar with the Berenstein Bears? The books were popular during my childhood years and my mother-in-law saved all of her boys' Berenstein Bears books. For those in the dark, it is a storyline created by Jan and Stan Berenstein about a family of bears who live in a tree house in Bear Country. Papa Bear, Mama Bear, Brother Bear and Sister Bear (and I think there was a baby born into the family in later years).

Now, from what I remember of the books when I was younger, the stories all had a good message about life, family, etc. Brother and Sister learn to share, going to the dentist isn't scary, going to school is fun, and so on.

Recently my kids have discovered my mother-in-law's stash of books and subsequently we've discovered there is a cartoon series too. Here is where the love/hate part enters. I do love the lessons they insert into most of their episodes, just like in the books. My kids love watching the Berenstein Bears so this is added-value in my opinion, as I've found that children do pick up on the subtleties presented in what they watch. However, the message that the Berenstein Bears videos presents is somewhat erratic and varied.

In my experience of these videos, Papa Bear is the wise head-of-the-family figure one moment and in the next episode, he's a complete idiot. In one episode he's teaching the cubs an important lesson on taking care of responsibility first so that you can enjoy the rewards afterward. The next episode he's obsessed with growing the biggest pumpkin in the country (and acting embarrassingly stupid about it) and when the cubs teach him a lesson in humility, he doesn't even get it.

Now, I know that we as parents are not infallible and in reality we sometimes act like good parents one moment and the like complete idiots the next but I really don't need a cartoon to drive this fact home to my own children, thank you very much. It makes teaching my kids to respect their father that much harder (for we all have an in-born tendency to push against authority, do we not?) when the show they love to watch sets the father up for ridicule and contempt. What is worse, is that he isn't contemptible all the time, so you can't write him off as an undesirable character or a joke. Since the series does present him in a serious light as a wise figure in some episodes, it frustrates me because inevitably the children watching are going to be confused in how to view him. Is he a role model or a dunce? Should they take what he says seriously or ignore it as silliness? I give young children enough credit for them to tell the difference between these two, for my kids know that VeggieTales  stories are based on real stories from the Bible but that Spongebob Squarepants is just plain silliness. However, if the ridiculous (and indeed, duncelike) behavior and the upstanding and admirable behavior are presented by one and the same character, how are they to tell what to take to heart and what to slough off as so much nonsense?

So I've found myself trying to wean my kids off the series, because seeing Papa Bear go from wise and instructional to a bumbling idiot is just too painful for me to watch and I find myself cringing inside. I wonder if Jan and Stan Berenstein are cringing inside too.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Losing My Cool

There comes a time in every mother's life when her child's level of cool outstrips her own. This usually happens around the child's thirteenth birthday, give or take a year or two. In my third child's instance, this happened about 11 years early.

Sunglasses and a cell phone? AND they both match her jammies? I just can't compete with that.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Artistic Ability Runs in the Family

My husband is an amazing artist. It is the first thing that drew me to him, in fact, as he wasn't my usual type. My mom was trying to set me up with his best friend, in fact.

I'm a very creative person, but unfortunately my artistic talents lag behind my creativity. Thankfully between the two of us, we passed on both creativity and talent to our children. Well, 2 1/2 year-old Miriam is still an unknown, but our boys both spend hours (hours!) each day drawing. I go through a 750-sheet pack of copy paper a month, no joke. (Yay for Target and their cheap paper!)

Thaddeus just turned five early this month. He has outstripped his older brother in love of drawing, I think, and easily churns out two to three times the artwork. His favorite thing to do is draw scenes from cartoons that he watches. He'll copy out scenes off DVD cases and inserts, or just from memory.

Here is one he drew of Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner.

 Although I prefer the creativity of his made-up pieces, like this one of a train driving off a broken bridge into the water with an alligator jumping up to scare it, while two floating rubber duckies look on. Is it just me, or is that the most awesome alligator you've ever seen?

I'll have to dig out some of my favorites from Isaac too! One of these days, I might even get around to showing you some of Aaron's awesome artwork. After all, my house is completely decorated with it. :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Working for the Weekend?

After the weekend we've had, I couldn't help but think of the expression "working for the weekend" and laugh. I swear around here, when Monday morning comes, I breathe a sigh of relief!

We managed to pack tons of fun into this past weekend, but with three little kids, sometimes that fun involves lots and lots of work on our part.

First off, the wedding on Saturday went really well as far as Thad was involved. He only had three melt-downs and all three were over the fact that the wedding couple wasn't going to open their presents at the party (really, who could blame him? The only parties involving presents he's ever been to have been birthday parties so the concept of seeing a table of gifts and not seeing them opened is mystifying!) The first time we broke the news to him, I wasn't sure he'd be able to recover, the poor guy was heartbroken. He cried a couple other times when he'd spot the table of gifts, but reminding him that the presents contained boring things like sheets and toasters helped. No Scooby-Doo videos, Thad! (although I'd have loved getting Scooby-Doo videos for my wedding, ha!)

The wedding was outside, though, and it was FREAKIN' HOT! I think it hit 90 degrees, which is very rare for around here, and having to sit in the heat for nearly 45 minutes waiting for the wedding to start was brutal on the kids. In fact, I missed the last third of the ceremony, because I had to take two-year-old Miriam for a walk through the shaded, wooded paths nearby to get her out of the sun.

I think yesterday was even hotter. We skipped church and the kids played in the little blow-up pool all morning, which Daddy had filled with fresh cold water for them. Then we spent the afternoon at my folks' house since it was the last day my brother was here visiting from Colorado. Mostly we lounged around watching Tom and Jerry cartoons with the kids, because it was too hot to do anything else. The problem with living where it only gets over 80 degrees a handful of days per year is that no one has air conditioning.

Finally, after dinner we all converged on my in-laws' house. They live on the lake - and it is a very clean, clear, refreshing lake too! We jumped in and there was a collective sigh of relief.

I must say, though, I am glad it is Monday and we are back to normal. It is still hotter than Hades out, but at least I have nothing to do but keep the kids from melting. A cool pool and a freezer full of popsicles should do the trick nicely!

I have to say, reading over what I just wrote, that my life looks entirely different now than it did seven years ago. Of course, it isn't surprising considering that then I was child-free with a full-time office job and now I'm a stay-home mother of three! I wouldn't have it any other way (even when I complain that my brain is slowly sizzling away like baking soda doused in vinegar).

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Ghost of Fear

We are going to a wedding tomorrow. It is 1 1/2 hours away and we are taking the kids with us as we've been informed by relatives that we don't dare show up without them.

Our 2nd son, who just turned five, is mildly autistic. Well, the two consultants at Children's Hospital in Seattle have refused to label him as such and instead call it Pervasive Developmental Delay, Not Otherwise Specified - which puts it under the same developmental umbrella as Autism and is harder to say, so we just call it Autism.

What does that have to do with the wedding? Well, for years, going anywhere with all our kids was painful. We slowly stopped going out to restaurants because Thad couldn't sit still through a meal. We stopped going to family-friendly church events or friends' BBQs because dealing with Thad's social issues while keeping an eye on the other two children meant that neither my husband nor I ever had the chance to visit, so it was pretty much pointless to go at all. Essentially we found ourselves avoiding any public group activities because it was too stressful for us and the kids.

However, Thad is now five and - thanks to special ed preschool and both speech and occupational private therapy - he's come quite far socially and developmentally. We've started going out as a family again, and sometimes it isn't half bad!

I am still haunted by the ghost of fear, though. Every time we have a family activity planned, my stomach clenches up and anxiety seizes control of my emotional and logical self. Going to events still isn't the carefree get-up-and-go experience that it seems to be for parents of "normal" children.

In fact, I clearly remember watching the kids play on the playground after church one Sunday about a year ago and talking with one of the other moms. She asked if we were going to the church campout the following weekend. I attempted to explain why we were not, and I can clearly see the blank expression on her face - confusion, disbelief, skepticism, and just plain not understanding. She just didn't GET it. At which point, I got something that I hadn't been getting: normal families had completely different experiences of going out than we did.

Now, a year later, we also sometimes have that "normal family" experience when we go out. My husband and I will look at each other while driving home and be astonished that nothing terrible happened. No freak-outs, no scream-fests, no ten-minute struggles trying to get our son to calm down and just eat ONE BITE of dinner. I remember after one memorable family trip to lunch out and a stroll along the beach, I turned to Aaron and said, "So this is what normal families feel like! No wonder they are always going out and doing things. It's FUN!"

So now I'm facing a day-long trip tomorrow, to a wedding - where kids have to sit still and be quiet for large amounts of time - and I'm fighting down that anxiety. Thankfully, the wedding is outdoors, it is "casual and rustic" according to the invite, and we know from experience that these relatives are easy-going and kid-friendly. Plus my in-laws will be along to lend two pairs of extra helping hands! I am tentatively hopeful that it will be a mostly-good day.

Quick note about my to-do list: I did sort through the kids' clothes, but I didn't get to the dishes. I did make dinner, but I didn't mail my order (she said she wasn't in a hurry and I didn't leave the house to drop it off at the post office). I also cleaned the master bath shower, which wasn't on my list and I can't remember how it came about, but there you go.

So today's list: put together some photos and mats for the wedding gift, wash my outfit that I want to wear tomorrow, and mail the order on my way to my mom's (yay for Nana having Fridays off and getting me and the kids out of the house for an afternoon!) I've decided to let my husband tackle the dishes. After all, I don't want to hog ALL the fun, right?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

How to Get Back on the Horse

When I first started my Etsy shop, selling my handmade lotions, I had all sorts of energy. I was fired up about what I did. I loved to craft. I had two little boys. I managed to keep up with them, the house, and still have time to spend online networking and promoting my business.

Fast forward three years or so. We've moved, we had another child, the economy has slumped into the dumpster, and my motivation has slithered underneath like a snake seeking shade amongst the discarded waste.

I don't know how all my good habits morphed into bad ones. I try to change things around, but I find myself standing in various spots of my house, staring at the project I want to tackle and just feeling dejected and useless. The times I don't, one of the kids will invariably find me and need something anyway.

So I'm going to try something a bit new. I'm going to blog about my tasks and to-do lists and goals. I apologize in advance if you follow me and find this utterly boring. Maybe take comfort in the fact that I have "restarted" this blog probably three times and it never lasts. I mean, this post in itself is almost one year, one month after my last one.


Today's goals: 1. sort through the kids' clothes they've outgrown and set aside the fall stuff to take to the consignment store. 2. pack up my Etsy order and get it mailed. 3. empty and reload dishwasher and wipe down the counters. 4. make dinner.

Those seem doable. Most of those I would do anyway, but maybe if I write them down, I'll feel more successful once I've done them. Now to post this and get started!