Tuesday, September 22, 2009

We’re all set for baby!

Well…sort of.  Today we made our last major purchase in preparation for baby’s arrival – a stroller.  It is a major purchase that didn’t cost us a major amount.  For several weeks I have been watching the Craigslist ads for a stroller in good condition at a reasonable price.  Today I went and bought this stroller for $20.  It hardly has any wear, the colors are neutral, and the price was fantastic!

Baby's Stroller

A couple of weeks ago we received a wonderful gift from Ben’s Aunt Paula, Aunt Jennifer, and Grandma Hamilton – the car seat!  We were able to find an extra car seat base on Craigslist for $5 to leave in the second car.  Things will be much easier if we don’t have to move the base!  Since we already had the car seat, I was searching for a stroller that would be compatible.  The car seat easily snaps into the stroller to form a travel system.

Baby's Stroller

When I brought the stroller home I pulled all of the pads off and washed them.  Ben helped me reassemble the stroller.  Then we opened the car seat and put it all together.  I am pleased with several features of the stroller:

  • The baby tray doesn’t scrape the ground when you collapse the stroller.  I had read many reviews and this was a common complaint.
  • The basket is easily accessible.
  • It folds down with one hand – very easy!
  • The child seat folds all the way flat, instead of just reclining.  This was another complaint in many reviews.
  • The sun-shade is adjustable to shade from the front or the back.
  • It is a full-size stroller, and it is compatible with our car seat.

Baby's Stroller

Ben sarcastically asked if I was going to put a baby doll in the car seat and practice carrying it around.  Just because he didn’t think I would, I went and got my Molly doll and strapped her in!  (Don’t worry…I’m not going to carry her around for practice!)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

We Marched on Washington, D.C.!!!

9-12 Taxpayer March on Washington, D.C.On Saturday , 9/12/09 Ben and I left at 3 a.m. to drive to Washington, D.C. as part of the taxpayer protest on Capitol Hill.  Ben’s mom & brother, Evan, drove down from Massachusetts and we met at the WWII Memorial. 

The people were supposed to gather at Freedom Plaza around 9:00 a.m., and the March would commence around 11:30 a.m.  We were three hours early, and the amount of people congregating was phenomenal!  There were signs, flags, and colonial costumes .  We were there to 9-12 Taxpayer March on Washington, D.C.protest big government, out-of-control government spending, congressmen & senators who aren’t listening to the people, and the proposed government takeover of healthcare.  We were also defending the Constitution.  At first I was disappointed that I had not taken the initiative to make a sign.  Then as the crowd became larger and navigation became harder, I was relieved that I didn’t have a sign to deal with.

The March on Capitol Hill had police permission to go down Pennsylvania Avenue from 14th St. to the Capitol lawn.  We had to begin early, around 10 or 10:30 a.m. because Freedom Plaza could no longer contain the amount of people arriving to protest.  We arrived at the Capitol lawn and spent a lot of time working to get to a place on the lawn.  The police had to extend the barricade because of the volume of people.  They had been prepared for a crown of 100,000 at best.  We far exceeded estimations.  The mass of people filled in the Capitol lawn and spread out to the side lawns.  We overtook the statues and memorials surrounding the fountain in front of the Capitol.  And we stretched a full mile from the Capitol back to the Washington Memorial – the same space and more that was filled by the Million March March many years ago.  While most news stations are reporting the crowd size at tens of thousands, it was definitely at least hundreds of thousands, and more likely a million.  One website I read said that the police estimated the crowd at 1.2 million, another said that the police refused to estimate. 

It was not a riot.  It was a peaceful demonstration.  It was American people uniting to say to their government, “We’ve had enough!”  It was a request to Congress to listen to the people.  It was Americans who are concerned about the direction which their country is headed.  Chants rang out of “U-S-A”.  It was very American and I was proud to be there.  I was proud of my country, and I was inspired to not give up hope just yet.

We met people from Texas, Ohio, Florida, Maine, Colorado, Arizona, California, Georgia, Virginia, West Virginia, Michigan, Indiana, North Carolina, and South Carolina.  The group from Ohio was over 4,000 people that chartered buses to come down.  The goal was to have every state represented, but I’m not sure if it happened.  We heard a lady from Hawaii interviewed on the news.

While the sound system was good, the “jumbo-trons” seemed minute and were not visible (and we were on the lawn, not all the way down at the Washington Memorial).  We couldn’t see the speaker or the podium.  The walkways through the crowd shrank until some places could accommodate only a single file line.  For about 100 port-o-potties, there were as many as 100 people in line at each one.  People waited in line for more than an hour to use the Starbucks restroom (they were nice enough to let me skip to the front because I was pregnant).

My pictures cannot do justice to the feeling of being there – part of a movement, making history, surprising Washington with our volume and our voice.  The speakers focused on “cleaning the House and Senate” in 2010 if they refused to hear our voice, not allowing the government to run our healthcare, and being thankful that “the cavalry has arrived.”

Though speeches were still taking place, we left around 1:00 to find some lunch.  There was a Subway sandwich shop off the beaten path with a short line and a clean restroom.  After lunch we made our way back to the Capitol grounds and listened to Senator Jim Demint and Mike Pence from Indiana.  We decided to leave around 3:00 pm to avoid the swell at the Metro station.  At this point we had walked about 5 miles for the day, my feet were blistered and my joints were exhausted.  We arrived at the Metro and despite being early, we waited for several trains before finding one that would allow us to board.  We said our goodbyes, and Mom & Evan headed back to Mass. and we headed back to Virginia Beach.  It was a long day, but worth the effort. 

9-12 Taxpayer March on Washington, D.C. 
Andrea (& Baby), Ben, Mom, & Evan in front of the Capitol Building

9-12 Taxpayer March on Washington, D.C.
Evan & Mom

9-12 Taxpayer March on Washington, D.C. 
Our Family – Andrea, Baby, & Ben in front of the Capitol.

Photo courtesy of Michelle Malkin.  It’s not very clear because it comes from a time-lapse camera, but it give an idea of the volume of people involved in this march.  You can barely make out the Capitol building at the top left of the picture.

9-12 Taxpayer March on Washington, D.C.
This hearse was painted with “Official Pace Car of Obamacare” and “No government takeover of healthcare”

9-12 Taxpayer March on Washington, D.C.9-12 Taxpayer March on Washington, D.C.
Two of my favorites: Nancy Pelosi “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire! Botox Can’t Keep the Brain Young!” and the Michael Vick comparison.

9-12 Taxpayer March on Washington, D.C.

9-12 Taxpayer March on Washington, D.C. 

9-12 Taxpayer March on Washington, D.C. 9-12 Taxpayer March on Washington, D.C.
The cut-off sign in the left pictures reads “Kill Healthcare Not Grandma”.  The right signs say “Honk if I bought you a NEW car!” and “No Nanny State!”

9-12 Taxpayer March on Washington, D.C. 9-12 Taxpayer March on Washington, D.C.
“I charge you, Barack Hussein Obama, With Conspiracy to Overthrow the Constitution” and the gentleman’s shirt has a picture of Obama and reads, “NRA Firearm & Ammunition Salesman of the Year”

9-12 Taxpayer March on Washington, D.C.
The Economy Terminator

9-12 Taxpayer March on Washington, D.C.9-12 Taxpayer March on Washington, D.C.In these two pictures  I was trying to give an idea of the size of the crowd, but it was just impossible.

9-12 Taxpayer March on Washington, D.C.I thought this was a great sign also!

9-12 Taxpayer March on Washington, D.C.
“Hey Congress, This Czarbage Reeks of B.O.”

I also saw a sign that read, “Grow your own dope.  Plant a Democrat.”  Another sign said “Fire Tim Geithner.  Hire Dave Ramsey.”  That one is for you, Dad!

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”  ~Galatians 6:9

We cannot give up on our country and our freedoms yet!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The 9/12 Project

912 projectThis Saturday, on 9/12/09 there is a national march in Washington, D.C. against big government.  It is referred to as the 9/12 Project, with events all over the country, and it is spearheaded by Glenn Beck.  The goal is to return our country to the spirit on 9/12/01 – the day after the 9/11 terrorist attack in New York City.  On that day it was not about Democratic or Republic, red state or blue state, but it was about America.  The 9/12 Project is based upon 9 Principles and 12 Values, outlined at www.912project.com as follows:

The 9 Principles

1.  America Is Good.

2.  I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.

God “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.” from George Washington’s first Inaugural address.

3.  I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.

Honesty “I hope that I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider to be the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.” George Washington

4.  The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.

Marriage/Family “It is in the love of one’s family only that heartfelt happiness is known. By a law of our nature, we cannot be happy without the endearing connections of a family.” Thomas Jefferson

5.  If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.

Justice “I deem one of the essential principles of our government… equal and exact justice to all men of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political.” Thomas Jefferson

6.  I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.

Life, Liberty, & The Pursuit of Happiness “Everyone has a natural right to choose that vocation in life which he thinks most likely to give him comfortable subsistence.” Thomas Jefferson

7.  I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.

Charity “It is not everyone who asketh that deserveth charity; all however, are worth of the inquiry or the deserving may suffer.” George Washington

8.  It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.

On your right to disagree “In a free and republican government, you cannot restrain the voice of the multitude; every man will speak as he thinks, or more properly without thinking.” George Washington

9.  The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.

Who works for whom? “I consider the people who constitute a society or a nation as the source of all authority in that nation.” Thomas Jefferson

The 12 Values
* Honesty
* Reverence
* Hope
* Thrift
* Humility
* Charity
* Sincerity
* Moderation
* Hard Work
* Courage
* Personal Responsibility
* Gratitude

Ben was able to get the day off and we are driving to Washington, D.C. on Saturday morning to participate in the march against big government.  I will write an update after the event.  Visit this link and click on “Find a 9/12 event near you” on the right sidebar to find events in your area.  More information is available at the following websites:


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Completed but Unfinished Crib

We spent last weekend in NC working on the baby crib.  We left Thursday night after Ben got off of work, and we drove to Kenny’s new house in Newland, NC.  We stayed with Kenny and commuted an hour and a half into Shelby everyday.  During college Ben worked with Mike Greene, a custom furniture maker in Shelby, NC.  Mr. Greene graciously allowed us to use the shop this weekend to complete the crib.  (In May when we attended Kenny’s graduation Ben had cut out all of the spindles & parts of the crib).

Building the Baby CribOn Friday we had a short day at the shop.  We slept in since we had driven through the night and arrived at Kenny’s at 3 am.   We also had a dinner engagement with Ben & Carrissa Stalcup – our friends from college.  Ben routed the edges of the spindles and finished drilling holes.  I sanded.  And sanded.  And sanded.  I think that Ben secretly enjoyed delegated most of the sanding to me because during college Ben did a lot of sanding.

Saturday morning found us at the shop bright and early.  We  Building the Baby Cribfinished up some sanding and then tested all of the holes to make sure they were deep enough for the spindles.  Then we glued the four sides together, checked to be sure they were square, and left them overnight to dry.  It’s a short sentence to describe a day’s worth of work.

On Monday we experienced some setbacks, but we were still able to finish the crib before heading back to Virginia Beach.  Ben had to install the hardware to hold the crib together, and there was more sanding to remove excess glue.  The hardware installation was Building the Baby Crib difficult and ended up taking us five hours.   I had not planned to be needed in the shop on Monday, but I ended up spending most of the day there helping Ben.  We had to put the crib together and make sure that all of the screws were set in the proper place.  We experienced some more difficulties, and ended up repairing a crack, but it all came out okay.  Mr. Greene suggested that Ben install stoppers for the folding rail.  Since Ben had not anticipated doing that it took us extra time.  Then we had to cut the board to hold the mattress and install side rails.  It is incredible how many times I had to sand those pieces!  I definitely had no concept of what “sanding” really means!

We completed the crib and left it for Mr. Greene to “finish” and stain.  We were given the curly maple wood, and the grain is very beautiful.  We are going to have it stained a mahogany color, but light enough to allow the grain to show through.  Ben asked to see the pictures of the crib several times on the way home, so I know he is happy with the finished product.  Next step…a baby to go into the crib!

Building the Baby Crib This is the completed crib.  The top rail folds down to allow easy access to baby.

Building the Baby Crib

Building the Baby Crib

Building the Baby Crib 

I think the grain is so beautiful on the crib!  And after all of that sanding…it was very soft too!