Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas mania!!!

I haven't posted for a while; I apologize. I (like all of you) have been occupied with the holiday season.

We have a small family; I shouldn't be overwhelmed; but........I CAN'T GET IT EVEN!!!!!.

Oh, all of you know what I mean. You're all done shopping....your list is lay the gifts out for wrapping; but wait. Oh no, Alex has one more gift than Cole; he will be brokenhearted. Quickly, back to the stores!!!!! Thank God, I noticed the inequality in time!!!!!

So it begins. I buy the extra gift for Cole; but find something I know Stef would love......on to find sometime nice for Doug. While picking up for Doug; Ohhhhhhh, Alex would love this!!!!

I'm sure there's a support group for this affliction. (Hello, my name is Sandy, help me stop).

Truth is, I love it. Love the looks on the faces of the ones I love. It doesn't get better that.

Merry Christmas!!!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks

I love Thanksgiving day. Even though our small family is together a lot; this day is still special. I enjoy having the meal at my house; planning the menu, hoping the new recipes turn out right, praying everything will done at the same time; I want to serve a special meal to the most important people in my life.

Sounds dumb - right? Who cares - just another meal; like the many we share throughout the year? Why is this one so different?

This is my time reflect.

When I became a mother, the world changed.
When I became a grandmother, I changed.

The moment I became a parent, I viewed the world differently. Everything revolved around "what would be the effect" on my child. A person is sometimes overwhelmed by the responsibility of raising another human being. You want to do everything right (whatever that is). I wanted to give her the world, but at the same time, to teach her morals, the benefits of hard work, kindness, empathy; the list goes on and on.

Well, I lucked out. Stef grew up to be a wonderful person, in spite of me. Then, she and our son-in-law, Doug, gave us our first grandchild, Alexandria Grace.

I was in a position to babysit our grandchild full time. Stef was grateful, knowing the care I would give. But, she had also heard horror stories from her friends on "Grandma" taking over the raising of their children. She shared her concerns with me once in a tactful way; hoping I would never take Alex to get her "first" haircut, etc. I said "Stef, I already have a daughter". She knew what I meant. (See, I told you I lucked out.)

So, why is the love for grandchildren different?

For one, we didn't know until they appeared, there is another place in the heart for them. Also, we grandparents are in a more secured place in life. But I think the reason is the responsibility. We can just enjoy them. We can spoil; we can indulge; we can play.

Life is good. Give thanks.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What would Alex and Cole look like with an 'Animal Tail'?

Since Mom was busy fighting with some screen printing issues today, of which I am no help, I offered to be her substitute blogger for the day.

As many of you know, we've added 'Animal Tails' to the Rubi J line. Finally my kids will get to do a little modeling on this blog. (C'mon Mom, Lucy and Cliff made their debuts before Alex and Cole?) Anyway, these t-shirts are sublime! Not only are they soft, adorable, ethically-made, but they also teach our children about endangered species. Each t-shirt comes with a message from the animal. Cole received a note from a gentle (yes, gentle) Siamese Crocodile and Alex heard from a wonderfully 'memorable' Asian Elephant.

I'm so excited about this business venture. While it will take some time to build an inventory of products that Mom and I believe in, we are enjoying the mission. Never did we realize how much reward there would be in finding products that increase the social consciousness of our consumers, especially the children. How many of you sit down with your children after a day of shopping to discuss the global impact of your purchases? Well, when I sat down with Alex and Cole to read our 'Animal Tails' cards, I explained how a portion of the proceeds will go to the Africat Foundation. Their wondrous reactions sent a warmth through my spine and reminded me how important little lessons can be to the development of our posterity.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Animal Tails

On one of Stef's and my brainstorming sessions about products for Rubi J; we came up with the idea of t-shirts screen-printed with endangered species. We thought it would be a way to educate through fashion (two of our favorite things). We made a list of endangered animals and started our research. At the same time, I was looking for organic t-shirts for the screen printing.

I was guided from above.

I have found the perfect company for our vision. In fact, our vision and philosophy are the same: organic cotton, trade ethically and improve all livelihoods. Animal Tails is are our new partners in this venture. Their children's t-shirts are better than we could have ever produced. The graphic design of the animals are so imaginative. This company is amazing. A portion of all sales are donated to their favorite charity, The AfriCat Foundation. Please read more about this foundation.

We are the earth's caretakers; we must take responsibility.

On a personal note, I have the added bonus on finding a new friend. Although many miles apart, the president of Animal Tails, Annette, and I have formed a bond. We are both mothers - a wonderful and tight knit organization - and we want to make a different. Life is good.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"Dog People"

I wanted to tell everyone about the new and exciting product we are adding to our line; but since there is a thunder storm outside and I have a 35 pound quivering mass on my lap; it is very hard to concentrate. So.....let's talk dog.

We're dog people. There has been very few times in my life I have been without a dog. They are a part of what is me.

Then there are the no-dog people; never had one---never will. Two completely different types. We are both very nice; but do not understand each other. One of my best friends told me once she was appalled when learning my dog slept with me. "I don't even allow my children in my bed."

See what I mean.

We "dog people" feel sorry for them; and they question our sanity.

We currently have two in our household; Lucy and Clifford. Lucy is our dog from the shelter that everyone loves and she loves them back. Clifford is our rat terrier that is hard to love; but we do. The joy we receive from them is second only to our "human" family.

Though the years, my husband and I have had the privilege to share our lives with the most amazing dogs. When we had to say goodbye; I always swear I would never go through this most horrible pain again. But; I do.


I guess only other dog people would know. We know we are setting ourselves up for heartbreak. We know we will say "Never again." We know; we will again.

It's hard to break the addiction of love.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

My "Retirement"

I have so many wonderful friends of my generation counting the days to their retirement. In fact, I am often asked "How many days do you have left?" I have an answer; but not the one they mean.

I have one.

One more day has been given to me. Thank you.

I hope and pray I use it wisely.

This week I'll be turning 62. Big deal. People say they don't feel their age. What does that mean? I just feel like me; no matter what my age. I don't feel any age. I know I am wiser and more comfortable with myself than twenty years ago. I'm starting a new business and every day is full of new challenges and opportunities; it doesn't get better than that. I have a husband whose company I enjoy better than any one else I know; a family I couldn't love more and two dogs who keep our house lively and entertaining (besides the grandkids, of course).

So......I guess I'll enjoy my "retirement"----as long as there is mayhem.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The evolution of a "Grandma"

I was born in 1946; the first year of the "baby boomers". All of you "boomers" out there know what a visit to the grandparents was like - sit on the sofa and stare at the African Violets.

We didn't visit our grandparents very often. My father was the black sheep on both sides. I was terrified of my maternal grandmother. I found out, years later from my cousins, she was terrifying to all. My paternal grandmother was a doll. We didn't see her much; but I remember she was the only one who ever touched me. She would pat my check and say how good it was to see me. It was obvious, of course, she couldn't remember my name; but I still cherish her loving, warm hands on my face and the glow surrounding her. I think we would have been great friends.
Mom wasn't the most loving mother when I was growing up. She had 4 kids in 5 1/2 years - no running water - no help - a demanding husband. Of course now, I understand how difficult motherhood must have been for her, so she has since been excused. That being said; I couldn't love her more as a grandmother. I had to take my daughter to daycare when I worked because Mom also worked. But if I ever needed her in a pinch (sickness, overnighter), she was there. She adored my little Stefanie. It brings tears to my eyes when I think back to the memories of Mom and Stef together. Grandma Ruby played and played with Stef; something unheard of a generation before.

Fast forward to Stef's daughter, Alex, and Grandma Sandy. Today, Alex and I go in the dressing room together to try on clothes; "oohing & ahing" over our selections. We hug each other (Grandson, Cole, too) all the time; say "Love you" and laugh over the same silly jokes. (She even asked me to accompany her to the Jonas Brothers' concert, sensing her Dad might not enjoy it as much.)

Do the different generations love their grandchildren any more or any less? I don't think so. We just have more freedom to express it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

O Baby, I love babies!!!

Stef and I have been working on website development and today was dedicated to delivering all our information and pictures to our website designer. It's been tiring and fulfilling work. Fulfilling because we love what we are doing; and double fulfilling because of our baby models. How can anyone look at a baby picture and NOT smile?

We screen printed for our models' onesies their names and meanings to promote our customizing. The surprise bonus was the joy they gave us with their innocent and totally natural expressions.

It's true children are our future, but it's our responsibility to protect and provide for them, to be good role models and teach them to become good citizens. We forget they are always watching and learning from us.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Onesies Have Arrived!!!

We're in it now. Our first shipment of onesies have arrived and they are everything I hoped they would be. At times, I thought we may have set our standards too high and wouldn't find the product we wanted to offer our customers.

I'll have to admit when my daughter, Stef, and I opened the first box, I was apprehensive about our endeavor. We had not gone to any shows. Everything has been by research, research and more research. We finally had all the certification we wanted. The only thing left was "Would we like it?".

The answer: YES!!!!

A SIDENOTE: I love working with my daughter. To share the same excitement and dreams with her has been a gift from above. I know many of my friends who couldn't, under any circumstances, work with their offspring, parents or siblings; no matter how deep the love. We have been blessed with our compatibility, mutual respect and same off beat humor. Add in the factor she has given her father and me an outstanding son-in-law and two beautiful grandchilden. (Grandchildren, by the way, open a separate part of your heart.)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Why read????

As I stated before, Rubi J will offer a line of onesies that will contribute to one of our greatest passions -- reading. Our "Read Collection" will encourage reading in many ways, including donating to a wonderful charity called First Book ( which gives books to disadvantaged children. I personally know how important books can be to a young life. Through books, I found that I was not so different because of my social status; there were other young girls who felt like me, who had the same dreams as me--I wasn't alone.

Some of my non-reading friends (who I love) have told me "I'll just wait until the movie comes out." That's well and good - if you want to limit yourself. I have no objections to movies; I love them. Truly some movies provide interesting perspectives to storylines (i.e., The Devil Wears Prada). And there are times when I can't wait for a book to be made into a movie. (I'm counting down the days until The Secret Life of Bees open.) Then there are the books too meaningful for me to diffuse with any other medium. For example, I never want anything to disrupt my connection with The Kite Runner.

The difference between "reading" and "watching" is the imagination. When watching a story, all the characters are there for your viewing. Much is interpreted for you. However, reading a story forces your brain to create images of the characters. You travel from "watching" the story to "feeling" the story.

Reading is the most accessible way for children to stretch their imagination and provide a stepping stone for hope. All children deserve this privilege. Rubi J is proud to take part in this important cause.

For more information on how you can help this cause, go to

Saturday, September 20, 2008


After some very dark hours and almost lost of hope, we have been blessed. Frank is recovering from his emergency surgery and the hospital staff is very encouraging. He is still very ill, but we have good reports that he should make a full recovery.
I'm a firm believer something good always appears from crisis. I met three of Frank's family who traveled to see their brother. Through the many hours sitting in the hospital, we got to know each other and discovered how much we all liked each other. Though from totally different back grounds and traditions, we connected with each other immediately.
I don't know about you, but one of the life's joys is new friends. I love all my old ones, but a person can never have enough new friends. Your world is broaden and your heart grows bigger with each one.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Family Crisis

Things are on put on hold. We have a family medical crisis. My Stepfather-in-law is very ill and awaiting surgery. All of our energy is concertized on his recovery. You never know how much a person means to you until you are faced with the prospect of not having that person in your life. His name is Frank and we love him.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Organic Cotton

Rubi J's first line of clothing will feature organic cotton pieces for babies and toddlers. Why organic?

  • Conventionally grown cotton is the 2nd most pesticide-laden crop in the world; after corn.
  • Conventionally grown cotton consumes 25% of insecticides and more than 10% of pesticides used worldwide.
  • Organic cotton is grown in soil that has been certified from pesticides, herbicides and other cytotoxins for at least three years.
  • Organic farming uses 50% less fossil fuels than conventional farming.
  • Certified organic cotton farming also prohibits use of genetic engineering, irradiation, sewage sludge, toxic and persistent synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.
  • As a baby's skin has a natural sensitivity and an undeveloped derma, the health risk is especially high.
Those are some of the reasons we have decided to offer only organic cotton in our baby line. We have set our standards high. We have been researching and researching; and then researching some more. Therefore, when we open our online store, we will be offering only onesies at first. We found a company that meets our criteria: Certified organic cotton using only low impact dyes (azo-free).

The colors are vibrant and we will be offering custom printing: "Future fireman", "I have my father's eyes", "Grandma's favorite", etc.....

We are avid readers and realize how books can inspire (Books saved my life). We will have some onesies with "reading to your child" references imprinted on them. We will be donating part of the sales from those to a very special charity. More on that charity later.

Stef & Sandy

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"The Vision"

My daughter and I have always dreamed about starting our own business. The most natural business with our mindset was fashion and world causes (yes, I know, it's a strange combo). We wanted quality, trendy clothes for all ages; and, we wanted to make a difference.
The research began.
We have been studying organic cotton. Although not all of our products will be 100% certified cotton; we are most certain that our baby line will be. That is what we are starting with, as we feel it is the most important.
Studies have shown that children today are exposed to 35 percent of their lifetime dose of carcinogens by age five. When considering how sensitive a young child's health can be, it is imperative to minimize their exposure to prevent them from developing complications later in life.
I do believe knowledge and education equals better health and longer life. Perfect example: ME.
I'm from the generation that put our infants in that horrible plastic baby seat and placed my most precious cargo in the front seat (no seat belt) beside me. We, of the hippy mentality, still put our arm out to catch our toddler from falling under the dashboard when we come to a stop. (I shudder to think of it now.)
After many weeks of researching, we have finally found one product. More on that later.

For more information on organic cotton, check out this website

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

See us at the Shelby County Women's Conference on Sept 8th

Come and check out some samples of our merchandise on September 8th, 2008 at the Therkildsen Center in Harlan, Iowa. The conference will open at 3:30 in the afternoon and be filled with networking opportunities and great motivational speakers! Contact Stef Kramer at 712.579.5936 for more details.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Welcome to the Rubi J Store!

Soon you will be able to view organic merchandise for your baby and children!