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Saturday, December 31, 2005

My Grandfather

Since I'm doing sentimental posts, I thought I'd add this short essay my Aunt Cindy wrote about my grandfather. While my grandfather was far far far from a perfect man, this shows that you don't have to be a perfect parent to teach important lessons to your children(and maybe grandchildren).

Ten Things I Learned From My Father
Cindy Eicher

1. Use what you have.
Daddy was always making or fixing things with what he had in his workshop rather than buying something new. His workshop was stuffed with pieces of things he had saved in case they could be used to fix something else. He never threw anything away! That made for an interesting but disorderly workshop! When we were really little and lived in Wydner, his shop was the second floor of the barn! He had these tiny soldier figures we could play with. He had made them when he was a boy! I wonder how many treasures of this sort are squirreled away somewhere among all his paraphernalia.
I never remember my dad wandering around stores looking at new equipment or squandering money on tools and gadgets he would use someday. He always just used the tools he had.
Some of the ways he would fix things were embarrassing to us as children: a brown piece on a white surface, a piece of metal covering a part of something made of wood. His way of thinking and the lesson I learned was not to buy it new if you could manage with something you already had.

2. Be honest.
Daddy was an honest man. He didn't fudge on his income tax. He took a cut in his social security (meager as it is compared to some people) because he wanted to keep working.
I never remember my dad lying; and if we were dishonest, it made him very angry. Honesty was a lesson some of us had to learn the hard way-with the help of his paddle! He wasn't expecting anything of us that he didn't do himself! He taught us honesty by example.
3. Love your work.
Daddy should not have been working on roofs when he was seventy-five, but who could keep him off them?
"What if something happens and you fall off?" Mommy would say.
"Then at least I'll die happy, doing what I want!" Daddy would reply.
Daddy put in a hard day's work and took pride in what he did. When we were little children, he would take the family for rides to show us houses he had worked on. The siding on this one, the painting on another one, Daddy was proud of the job he did. These houses were usually beautiful two or three story homes that looked like mansions to us. I remember that I was proud of my dad that he worked on such spectacular houses.
4. Plant a garden.
When we lived in Hellertown, my dad had a wonderful vegetable garden. There were tomatoes, peppers, green beans, onions, red beets, and more! I remember the fragrance of warm earth, tomato plants, and the incredible taste of tomatoes right off the stalk.
Then there were the sandwiches he made using all those fresh vegetables! They were loaded with grated carrots and red beets, juicy tomatoes and tangy onions, and fresh lettuce.
Each of us kids had a small garden where we could grow flowers: asters, four-o'clocks, zinnias, and marigolds. We planted the seeds and waited for the little sprouts to make their appearance. We watered and weeded and watched for the colorful blooms. Every week Daddy walked the slate pathway through the little gardens checking to see our progress. Had we weeded and watered our plants? I know this is where my love for gardening began!
5. Eat your vegetables!
Daddy's law: two vegetables at every meal and one of them must be green! That was fine, unless one of them was peas! I hated peas. There was no way out of eating them except subterfuge, but we won't go into that in order to protect the guilty parties.
Daddy always showed us his arm muscles which he said were the result of his eating all his vegetables. They were well-rounded mounds that flexed impressively. I remember thinking that Daddy must be related to the real Pop-Eye the Sailor Man. Daddy was strong. He had a wicked swing when he played "hit-the-ball-around-the-pole" with you. He never seemed to get sick. I don't remember my dad ever being home nursing a cold, sneezing or coughing. According to my dad, all this can be credited to his faithful consumption of vegetables.
6. Keep your promises
I don't remember Daddy making us many promises, but there are some that I know he made and faithfully kept. The first was his marriage vow. We just celebrated my parent's fiftieth anniversary. Those fifty years were not easy. You can lay blame wherever you want. The fact is that my parents are still together, and that says something amazing about both of them.
Another promise my dad made was to bring us up in the Catholic Church. In order to marry Mommy with the blessing of the Church, Daddy had to make that promise. Some men might have taken that promise lightly or left the religious training of their children up to their wife. Here again, Daddy's word was as good as gold. He drove us to church, sent us to Catholic school, and attended our first communions and confirmations. He gave me the lovely scented bouquets to carry in the May and October processions at St.Theresa's Church. Mommy and he would come to see us in our lovely white dresses walking nervously in the long straight lines of the procession around the church. I remember how important it was to find where my parents were seated. I would always feel calmer when my eyes settled on their familiar faces. Daddy did carpentry work at St. Theresa's in order to pay our books and tuition. My religious training in those early years made an indelible impression on me. So did my father's example.
7. Jesus is our friend.
Daddy used to hum and sing "What a friend We Have In Jesus." He plunked it out on the piano and told me it was his favorite song. In all my years at Catholic school, I never heard of Jesus being a friend. He was the Son of God and not directly approachable. I never quite understood how Jesus's death on the cross fit into the religious picture. The concept of his love for us was not emphasized in church, at least not enough for me to understand. Daddy's view of Jesus was a new concept that I would come to embrace as my own later.
8. Be sure to relax.
On Sunday Daddy did no work. After work each day, he would sit in his chair with a drink and his pipe, still smelling of roof tar and sweat. There were things needing attention around the house, but the need to be off his feet and enjoy relaxation was sacred. Most of us did not appreciate this as children, but as an adult, I certainly understand it now. We need to relax and take time for ourselves. There was the untouched newspaper to be read, a drink to consume, and of course, there was his pipe to smoke. With seven children, a wife, and house full of repairs to be done, blowing smoke rings was a necessary release.
9. Don't be so scared.
I was always scared about lots of things: big things like the end of the world or air raid drills and little things like giving a speech in class or someone teasing me. One time when I was worrying about something, Daddy said, "Don't worry so much! Nine out of the ten things you're worrying about won't ever happen; and the one that does, won't be nearly as bad as you think it will." He was right! At fifty years of age, I still battle the "scaredy-cat" inside me, but remembering his words helps.
10. No matter how tough things get, you keep trying.
When Daddy was hospitalized after the fire in a house he was working on, he pushed himself back to work. It was the same story after he fell off a three-story roof, breaking his pelvis and ankles. A lesser man would have spent the rest of his working years on disability. Not my dad! He forces the issue of pain everyday. I never hear him moaning about his aches and pains either. If I hadn't asked, I wouldn't know. This has been a powerful example to all of us. None of his children are quitters!
When I was growing up, I foolishly wished for a dad like Robert Young in "Father Knows Best" or Fred MacMurray in "My Three Sons" I thought a dad should sit calmly in a plaid easy chair wearing a v-neck cardigan and slacks, smile a lot, and leave for work dressed in a suit. My dad wore a blue chambray shirt and blue jeans everyday but Sunday. I remember his smile, but his advice was often given in a loud voice with no smile on his face. Our family could not solve problems in a half hour. My daddy certainly didn't fit the fifties' television sit-com father mold, but he taught us by example to be honest, hard-working people. Having children of my own, I realize now how hard it is to be a parent. Only God is the perfect parent! In his wisdom, He allowed me to have Alan C. Fox as my dad. How thankful I am for what he has meant in my life!
I was really thrilled to find out about the book, It's a Boy because it's a topic I had been wondering about. Girls are familiar to me, I mainly babysat for girls, I had 2 sisters, and their world is familiar to me as I was a girl! I'm a lot less confident about raising boys. I was glad I had a girl first. While I have nothing against having sons, I wanted my girl to be the firstborn. And I'm still hoping for at least one more. Girl clothes are so much cuter, just looking at them alone makes me want another girl baby. When I was pregnant I talked to my friend Diane who had a baby girl about a year before I did. We talked about how scary the world is now that you are a parent, and specifically with a girl-you worry about her dealing with men(eventually). Although boys get their hearts broken too, women just seem to get the worse end of the deal more often, and in crueler ways. We were all too aware of how men treat women and never wanted our daughters to have to go through that.

So now I wonder how to reconcile the way I think of most men with the little boys I have to raise. Sure they're all adorable now, but one day they'll be men. I can try my hardest to make them into the kind of man I would have wanted-but kids aren't just little balls of clay that you can mold. It just doesn't work that way.

By the way, in an interview the author/editor said that after doing a boy book and a girl book, the biggest difference between raisings boys and girls seemed to be that the relationship between mother/daughter seems to be more intense. That sounds about right to me.

Makes me cry.......

This is from the blog that I stole half my blog title from. It was posted a while ago, and now she's just written that her Mom is definitely dying. It made me reexamine her earlier post. Since this blog is so much about mothering, I thought I'd post it here. All the moms reading this will understand what she means.

You can never out-love your Mom
Since becoming a mother I have discovered something that I never imagined to be true when I was growing up. Something my mother used to say to me, but I always told her it was impossible. Turns out, she was right. She always told me: You can never out-love your mother. ANd you can’t. It is impossible. Even when she is your hero as my mom has always been to me. Simply put, you just cannot out-love her. I am a mother to three and know that there is no way they could ever love me more than I love them. No way they will know the deep intensity of love for the very beings that I brought into this world and am raising to one day go forward and change the world around them. They could never out-love me.
Just as I can never out-love my own mom.
As a little girl I learned more from Mom than I could ever document in an essay or column. I learned how to be the woman I am today. I probably even learned my distain for sorting socks from her. The best thing I learned from her was to laugh. You just have to laugh in the face of any horror you are confronted with. You have to look at fear, pain and, yes, even death and laugh. Or you will cry and it will win. What an amazing gift she gave me with her laughter and her humor.
I was always Mommy’s Little Helper growing up. Perhaps it was the “youngest child” syndrome. Or maybe the suck-up gene. But honestly, I think it has more to do with the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed her company. She made anything and everything fun. Nothing was so bad that she couldn’t find either humor in it or a way to remind you why you should be laughing. Helping her out was my greatest joy as a little girl. I would “help” her fold clothes. (Which probably always led to her redoing them later, but never in front of me.) I would “help” her clean the dishes. (Which equated to making lots of bubbles and getting the sink, floor and both of us soaking wet.) I would “help” her carry heavy things that looked like they were too much for her to carry alone. (Now, I see that she was carrying it and I was merely placing my hands on it, probably making it heavier.) It is now that I have my own Mommy’s Little Helper I realize how little I was helping her and how much she was actually helping me. A mother’s love. There is nothing like it. And no pain like knowing it is going to leave your life.
There is a certain grief that comes before death. A cruel time of waiting. A limbo where you desperately want more time, yet agonize over every new ailment or setback. A time when you desperately want death to just hurry up if it is going to come. Just stop taking her piece by piece. Stop robbing us of her bit by bit until she is no longer there. There is a cruelty to a slow death that torments those who are standing on the sidelines watching it happen, for those of us who see it lurking in the corner and wonder, "Are you coming? Is it time? What do we do until you decide to end this sadistic dance and let the music finally end?"
Honestly, I get really mad at all of this. I want to scream at Death and tell it to just stop screwing around with her. To just go away until it is time. But it hasn’t listened. It sneaks in, steals another part of Mom and slithers back out. To those who haven’t known her forever, it is hardly noticable when she has been robbed of another aspect of what makes her who she is. To those of us who have always known her, there is a huge emptiness that is left behind. A hole in the very essence of who she is that has been taken from us. Before we were ready.
I can’t stop what is happening to her. I can’t do anything to ease it or make it less cruel. I can’t even be there for her on a daily basis. There are days I am so thankful that I don’t have to face this in person on a day to day basis. And then I hate myself for thinking that. For being thankful that I don’t have to watch her go. How awful is it that I find relief in my absense? Because when I am with her, I hurt. Because there is still so much I have to say to her. There is so much that I need to know. Why didn’t I ask her about the little things when there was time? Why didn’t I tell her that being her daughter was the most fun, most amazing experience in the world? Why didn’t I ask her to share more of her stories with me? And then the anger hits again.
The last time I was with her she apologized. Can you believe that? She apologized to me that she was so sick. She cannot even use her voice past her treach tube, yet she managed to whisper out the very words I have been telling her. I’m so sorry.
I hope I have told her enough that she was a good mom. I hope I have given her enough love to get her through those hard times in our past of slammed doors and rolled eyes. I hope she knows that although I am aware I can never outlove my Mom, I sure can come close.
It has been a few days since she has been awake when she has visitors. The doctors refer to her as minimally responsive. Which basically means if you poke her with a needle or start a proceedure on her, she will open her eyes wide and give you a scared look followed by a go to hell look. But when my Dad has been there, she wouldn’t wake up to see him. When my sister was there, Mom opened her eyes once after my sister repeatedly and loudly told her to. Very loudly and very sternly. As Mom must have done for us as children when we were not responding to her when she was asking us to do something for her.
My heart shatters each time I hear that she is asleep more than awake now. Does she know what is happening? Is she scared? Does she wonder why I am not sitting by her bedside holding her hand as she has done for me countless times? Or has Death done it’s only merciful act and already stolen her ability to reason those things out?
Bit by bit. Day by day. I grieve for her. In a way, I wonder if these little deaths are more painful than the big one that is inevitable. There is a desperation that wants this nightmare to end, yet a fear that never wants her to leave me because I love her and cannot imagine her not being here. And this waiting, this watching, this is hard. I wonder what she must be thinking when I stand beside her bed and tell her how much I love her. I wonder if she hears me and knows all of the things I want to say but just cannot find the words to express them. Yet, when I leave her and return home to my boys and my own baby girl and hold them in my arms, or watch them play or even when stand over their sleeping bodies when I check on them at night, I am comforted in knowing that no matter how much I love Mom, there is a peace that comes and surrounds me just by knowing the very basic truth that ...
You can never out-love your Mom.
Posted by Jenn on 11/02 at 12

Friday, December 30, 2005

Let me clear this up...............

It has been brought to my attention that there was some confusion when I referred to Maree's birthday party as "Ghetto." The actual definition of ghetto is:
Main Entry: 1ghet·to Pronunciation: 'ge-(")tOFunction: nounInflected Form(s): plural ghettos also ghettoesEtymology: Italian, from Venetian dialect ghèto island where Jews were forced to live, literally, foundry (located on the island), from ghetàr to cast, from Latin jactare to throw -- more at JET
1 : a quarter of a city in which Jews were formerly required to live
2 : a quarter of a city in which members of a minority group live especially because of social, legal, or economic pressure3 a : an isolated group
b : a situation that resembles a ghetto especially in conferring inferior status or limiting opportunity

I used it meaning the definition used in 2b. There were low class situations, the type that usually occur in the ghetto. (screaming foul mouthed women, fights, and potentially dangerous people showing up at the door, and then it ended with some of the guests leaving a day earlier than they had intended).
None of this was Maree's fault, and it has nothing to do with her. She is a sweet affectionate girl. Her mother knows nothing of this blog, and that is on purpose.
I would also like to state that I could certainly never say anything about anyone else's housekeeping skills or the lack thereoff. I am a terrible housekeeper, ask Tom when I'm not around.
Hopefully that clears it all up.

book recommendation

I begged my sister to get me this book for Christmas and I am so happy she did! I highly recommend it (Jaime! Kim!)
It's really interesting reading-it covers all sorts of info-from wanting a girl during pregnancy to being the mother of the preschool bully. Some talk about how mothering a boy is different from a girl, and lessons they've learned from it. I believe next year the author has a similar book coming out about girls.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

overheard at Maree's party

I love listening to little kids Maree's party Leanna played with little Crystal. Crystal's a year younger than Leanna. Leanna informed Crystal: "Ok, I'll be the bad girl and you be the good girl..." Korinna's friend was apparently listening also, and she started laughing too. She looked at me and said, oh she's going to be fun when she gets older!" I said, "Oh, she's fun now!"

Explanations by Leanna

Scene: A tearful Leanna stands in the corner, fake crying.

Leanna: Girls aren't supposed to be in the corner! Only boys are!

Me: Really? Where did you get that from?

Leanna: I figured it out myself.

It's good to know these, I'm really not looking forward to the teen years! This creative explanation stuff could really be a hassle for me then!

No time for my presents

I can't wait until I get our house back to normal. I just mean all the Christmas presents put away.....The laundry caught up and the kitchen with available surfaces. This is made harder because Tom is home this week and working on the house. So I have extra tools and dirt lying around. After things are normal again, I should have free time to play with my christmas presents! I wish I had more time to be creative. I have so many great things to play with and no time to use them!

Dr. Ferber sucks!!

I have to say it's great to see a piece of news like this:

I am a firm believer that how you parent your child should be dictated not by a parenting style or by what is commonly done; but by the needs of your child and how that fits into your lifestyle. There's no one right way for everyone. I also firmly believe that people, woman especially, need to pay attention to their instincts. That's been lost to a reverance for science. We trust what a "parenting expert" says more that what our own instincts are telling us. I think that the whole"cry it out" theory shows how selfish our society has become. Babies needs should come first-as they grow they slowly learn that their needs have to be balanced, and that they are not the only important person. Children are young for such a short period of time-needs not met in infancy resurface later in life. That's important to remember. We try to force independance because Americans value it so highly. I think a child needs a secure base first. A lot of parenting ideas today try to force the baby into an adult mode of living-into what is easier for the adult and not beneficial to the child. I think having children is supposed to slow you down-and it may not seem like it, but that is a good thing.
I love that Dr. Ferber has changed his stance! He's trying to downplay it, make it seem like this is not a big deal, but it is. And while I don't need an expert to validate my views, it is nice to hear him say that co-sleeping is not as dangerous as he once proclaimed.
Let me say thatI realize that co-sleeping is not for everyone. There are all sorts of variations on it that work, and it may not work at all for others. So long as you are happy with your situation, who cares? But a lot of studies in recent years (funded by the largest manufacturer of cribs) keep saying that it's not safe and you are a bad parent if you continue to co-sleep. Studies that show the safety or even benefits of the practice still aren't given media coverage. And considering how many books are out there on getting your child to sleep and getting a good night's sleep, it seems silly not to mention co-sleeping as one of your options. It worked for me! As long as you follow a few simple rules(like don't do it while drunk! Don't smoke in bed! Duh?!), it's very safe. It's good to hear that validated.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

You know they'll all just turn it on for you and walk away

Spanish designer Pep Torres said he was nearing a launch date for his Your Turn washing machine, which he developed to encourage sharing of housework. Users, such as a husband and wife, initially register their fingerprints, and Your Turn will not subsequently operate by the same person's print twice in a row.


Today Justin said "I love you" to me and Tom. And neither one of us had said it to him, it came out of nowhere. He has such a huge vocabulary for his age. But like Leanna, he's not a show-off. He tends not to use it in front of other people. I remember telling my uncle that Leanna could count to 14 when she was about 18 months old. Naturally she wouldn't do it in front of him and I end up looking like a stage mother(pushing my kid to do stuff). At home she would do it all the time!
You can see he is really trying to pick up on language. He tries to repeat phrases and words, and does pretty good. For example, I told Leanna to be quiet, I was trying to make a doctor's appt. for her brother. And Justin starts saying, "doctor, doctor, doctor!"
My sister Laura pointed out that Justin says "loadie" a made up word that Leanna used to say when she was younger too. She hasn't used for a long time, so for Justin to come out with the same made up word without ever hearing it......that's kind of neat. He even repeats it several times in a row the way she used to.
It's pretty interesting to see language developing, and to see how it develops differently in different children.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The longer a woman takes to get pregnant, the more likely she is to have a baby boy.

(what happened with Timothy??)

lost in translation

A while ago I mentioned that one of the reasons it would be difficult to take the Bible as word-for-word literal truth is the fact that we read it in translation. Here is a good example of why translation affects this:
(From a site that you can type in a phrase and they translate it into other languages and then back into english from the foreign translation) ( )

I'm a little tea pot, short and stout.
translates to: They are a small POTENTIOMETER, short circuits and a beer of malzes of
the tea.

a cookie is just a cookie, but fig newtons are fruit and cake.
translates to: biskuit has expert of biskuit, but Newton von Fig is fruit and hardens.

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore.
translates to:If the moon fixes its eye like a great vector of Fleischpie of the
vector of Pizzapie, is the lover.

Maree's birthday

Maree turned nine the day after Christmas. My Mom asked me how Maree's party was, and I said, "Ghetto." Cause it was!
Every year her Mom says she's not going to have a birthday party at her house because stuff gets broken and it's too much work the day after Christmas. And every year she does anyway. Like last year she decided she wasn't going to do anything at all, so we said we'd go buy a cake and bring it-and magically all the usual guests appeared at the party. Every year there's at least one fight. I'm glad Leanna's such a tough little girl, cause Cora's kids are really rough. Leanna and Justin had fun playing with the other kids though, so that was nice. It's also nice to see that Justin's not shy with other kids. He's also starting to say hi to strangers in stores also. He's a little flirt.
Anyway, first a fight developed between Maree and Ray(Cora's son). Maree has a sign on her bedroom door saying no boys allowed! and she told Ray to leave her room because no boys allowed! and apparently his feeling were hurt. He went and complained and Korinna started yelling and cursing at Maree. Maree was in tears and was crying loudly. She claimed that she was just joking and Ray knew it and even laughed about it. Maree was sent sobbing up to her room. The whole party went silent after that. I thought it was just normal kid stuff. Even if Maree was serious, who cares? So you let her know that she hurt his feelings and that you don't do that! She should apologize, and not do it anymore, end of story! Instead it was this huge thing that ruined the party and Maree 's whole face was read for like 10 minutes afterward because she was crying so hard. Then another party ender-one of Korinna's(Maree's mom) friends gave custody of one of her three children to another of Korinna's friends, Cora. Apparently there is a PFA(protection from abuse) order against the father. She's a cute little girl, three years old. Leanna played with her throughout the party. Well the little girl's dad showed up, knocking on the door. I guess he wants her back. He came on Christmas also. So they didn't answer the door and at this point we were ready to leave, but we couldn't because of this man outside Korinna's house. Lovely. I'm starting to worry, what if this man tries to take her by force. I have kids here who could get hurt and scared. We weren't sure if he left. When we left I'm thinking, what if he's still out there-Leanna is about the same size and also blond, she could easily be mistaken in the dark for his kid.
Every year after Maree's birthday party I tell Tom how glad I am to be rid of all that kind of stuff. I was around people like that when I was with Adam, and I don't miss it at all. Tom agrees. He hates going to Maree's parties too, but we have to for Maree's sake. It's a good reminder though how lucky I am.


I have a moment of quiet here, so I thought I'd update things on my blog. It was a nice Christmas, although different. My grandmother was (is) in the hospital-she tried to turn down the cold water in the shower and turned it off by accident. She said she couldn't get out and she couldn't move, so she got a second degree burn on her back and thigh. The burn unit at the hospital doesn't allow kids and they are very strict, only 2 visitors at a time. That makes it very hard to visit her, especially since other people are always already at the hospital, so when you get there you may not get in to see her.
I know Leanna enjoyed her Christmas. I asked her, and her favorite presents were the ariel and cinderella dolls sets, the big baby doll from Grammy(it has an air pillow inside and the skin feels real), the cabbage patch kid and her diapers, the care bear doctor doll, the my little pony dolls, and the visit from Santa. And yes she added the visit from Santa all on her own. Pretty surprising when you consider that at first she wouldn't go down the stairs when she saw him there, and then when I took her down, she clung to me so tightly that she was hurting my neck! After Santa left, she said to me, was that Daddy or Santa? But later that day at my Mom's she was saying that Santa knew she was a big girl because he saw her when she got her picture taken with him before Christmas. So she believes in Santa, but I guess she has her doubts. She asked me last night where Santa sleeps, and if he has a bed.
It's funny although Leanna listed the cabbage patch kid, she really didn't have much interest in it when she opened it. It's actually still in the box. We're still working on opening all the gifts so we can get rid of all the boxes and the ten billion twisty ties that come with every single toy you buy today! And that Santa claus! He didn't bring her a big teddy bear! (She didn't tell anyone she wanted one!) He didn't bring her a real horse either, go figure!
Justin enjoyed opening presents at first, but then it no longer held his interest. He just wanted to run around playing with everything and everyone. He had a lot of fun but just like Christmas Eve, he crashed after a while. He took a nice long nap on the couch. (sounds like his Dad already!) His favorite present seems to be the talking drill. That's one I just picked up spur of the moment. Funny how that works. And he likes his roaring lion!
Much like his brother, Timothy seems to prefer women holding him. Except on Christmas Eve he enjoyed his time with Pop-Pop J. We got pictures of that! Maybe if I send him pictures of that he'll work on updating his website. He hasn't even put a birth announcement on for Timothy!
Tom liked and was completely surprised by his trainset. I got a starter kit. It's a lionel and it whistles and blows smoke. He has always talked about seting one up for the kids. But really it would be for him, you know? So I looked for one this year, a nice one that will last and can be passed down. It has 5 cars, so now anytime I don't know what to get him as a present, I can get a new car for it. They aren't cheap though. Or you can get scenery to put around it, something to set it up on, more tracks, etc.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Happy Memories

Just thinking about how nice Christmas is now......having kids brings back how Christmas felt as a kid. Not just in the sense that it brings back your childhood memories of Christmas; but also that it brings back the excitement to you-you get excited for Christmas like you did when you were a kid. Only this time around it's because you want to enjoy the kids' enjoyment of everything. I do remember how it felt on Christmas Eve, especially one year when I did sit at the window in my bedroom, determined to catch a glimpse of Santa and his reindeer. Eventually I got too tired and had to go to bed. I have fond memories of the clay Christmas specials and of course the Grinch who stole christmas. I remember my sister Laura getting so giddy she could barely control herself. That had to be so much fun for my parents to see. And going to my grandmother's house on Christmas day-noise and confusion and presents and paper everywhere! I absolutely loved it. I don't know if it's a boy thing or not, but I remember my cousins Ronnie and Michael would just rip through the presents-barely glancing at what was inside. They just loved opening them for the sake of opening them. I loved the kaos at my grandmother's house. She has this huge house, always decorated. It was great growing up with lots of cousins-I wish my kids had that. My baby sister Claire, she really missed out in that department. Of my grandmother's 16 grandchildren she kind of ended up in the middle, agewise, so she didn't have the same kind of companionship. And I think Christmases were a lot quieter by the time she was old enough to be aware. But they were so much fun when I was a kid.
It's so cute how Leanna is worried that Santa might put snickers bars in her stocking(she doesn't like them but her Daddy and Justin do). We'll put milk and cookies out. I got a cup and plate specifically for that, discounted for 3.50(originally 15!). Until I hung the stockings Leanna kept puting them in new places, worrying that Santa might not be able to find them. She keeps asking how many days until Christmas. I'm really excited for Justin to open a present from my sister Laura. It's a Lion from the build a bear shop at the Lehigh Valley Mall and it roars. You have to know Justin to understand why that's such a great gift. He will roar if you ask him what a lion says or sometimes roar back at you if you do it first. It's one of those extremely cute things-much cuter in person than to read about. The majority of the time if you roar first(or even second) he will say, "scary!" And about half the time he really will be scared. We have a tiny toy lion, Scar-from the Lion King movie, and Justin is actually afraid of it. He has a very mean expression on his face, so I can see why Justin's afraid. Leanna's the easiest for me to buy for though, I guess because I can buy her things that I enjoyed as a kid, or wanted and didn't get. I'm probably most excited about her baby Cabbage Patch kid. Because it's a baby, so she can change it's diaper while I do Timothy(and all the other fun stuff), and because those dolls were so huge when I was a kid. I had 2-a homemade one that I bought from a friend with my allowance(the poor woman accepted payment entirely in change and only made a dollar profit off it) and then later, when their popularity had declined-and their prices-I got a real one for Christmas. Oh well, I'm way off track here. And this thing won't let me copy or cut, so I can't divide this into two posts! Anyway, the basic point is that Christmas is more and more fun as the kids get older and as we have more. Hmmmmm......16 would you like that Momma Sue?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Back to the doctor's office

Timothy's up to 12 lbs, 3 oz and 24 inches long. They didn't bother to tell me what percentile he's in. They didn't even write his measurements down. I asked about it and she told me they don't do that. Right next door they do-even handed you a special booklet to keep track of measurements and shots. Must have to do with public assistance. I think I really will switch all the kids over to Lehigh Valley Hospital. They take public assistance too but they're not as rude. Poor kid had 5 shots today with 4 needles. I think he might have his sister's high tolerance for pain. (With siblings like his, he'll need it!) Fate was merciful as Justin fell asleep on the walk to the doctor's office and stayed asleep until we were ready to leave. While we waited to get in (40 minutes) Timothy slept in the sling and Justin in the stroller. It was nice to have time alone with Leanna for a change. We played "I spy" and read a powerpuff girls story. They kick butt! (I don't really care for the powerpuff girls but it was what was available). While we waited in the office she danced a ballerina dance and played house doctor. I'm not entirely sure what a house doctor is, but I don't really think Leanna knows either. On the way home she amused several passer-byers with her repeated question, "Are we in _town yet?" (For those who don't know, we never left)

C is for cookies(and that's good enough for me!)

Ok, so far today is going more like it should. My sewing machine is fixed, well enough to work anyway. Tom's feeling a little better, and I made gingerbread cookies. I made small sacrifices to the baking gods in order to finish-3 containers of sprinkles, filled about a quarter full. And a ball of dough about the size of Leanna's hand. It's worth it because that means that my gingerbread cookies are done! All decorated. I managed to roll out the dough and cut out the cookies before Leanna suspected something was up and came in the kitchen. So I just had to worry about her wasing sprinkles. While I decorated all the cookies she decorated 2 cookies. With a whole lotta sprinkles! One started out as a gingerbread man and was later reformed into a christmas tree. A slightly deformed one, but still. Justin kept climbing on the table and stealing the sprinkles to eat them, and he also ruined the above mentioned dough. But we listened to Christmas music and enjoyed decorating and each other's company. Didn't stress about getting things done. It was what the holidays are supposed to be about.

Monday, December 19, 2005

busy weekend

So I broke my sewing machine this weekend. Leave it to me to break it when I'm in a rush to finish a project. He's been trying to fix it for 2 days. And then Tom brings home his great-grandmother's sewing machine, dated 1955, and wants me to use that. Yeah, let me break that one too! I'd just love to have your entire family mad at me for breaking a family heirloom!
I made cookies this weekend, with the "help" of Leanna, Justin, and Maree'. And Laura's help too. I still have the dough for gingerbread cookies in the fridge, we didn't get to that yet. We finally got the pictures of the kids back from the photographer. She threw in a free ornament, a braclet with a charm that has all 3 kids' pictures on it, and 2 free photos(they're cut a little off though, I guess that's why they're free). Then we had a family party for Claire. Unfortunately she didn't enjoy it at all, didn't like the company or the gifts. Even though it's stuff she asked for. Hopefully Christmas will go better. And we stopped by Friendly's in Easton to finally pick up Leanna's prize for the coloring contest. They had a chest of dollar store toys. She picked a wooden cradle that you have to glue together and paint.
And now I'm scanning old slides as a Christmas present for my grandmother. It's hard to do though because they are old and weren't taken care of, so the color is all red. Plus they're not a normal sized slide. They're bigger which means often the whole picture doesn't fit and you have to manually adjust it. Sometimes you just have to cut off part of the picture because there's no way for the whole thing to fit. So after I scan and save them I have to fix the color which is not always easy. We checked at Dan's Camera-it would cost about $20.00 per slide to have them done there! So I'm giving the gift of my time to Mimi as well as the gift of her memories.

Happy happy joy joy

Yesterday I found a christmas present for Tom! A good one, I think. He's so hard to buy for. Especially this year because he had a kitchen job of his own, he used several thousand dollars to buy tools. All kinds of tools. The only thing people know to buy him as gifts!
One of the great things about this gift I bought him is that it generates more gifts! Which means that I'll always be able to find something to buy for him if I can't think of anything else. And it's something that will last (hopefully) for generations. I'm mentally patting myself on the back!

Friday, December 16, 2005


Do you realize how close it is to Christmas??? I have practically nothing for Tom, a.k.a. the hardest man in the whole entire universe to shop for! And I have wrapped NOTHING! Where did the time go! At least I'm making and decorating cookies tomorrow. That's one thing I can check off the list.

Holiday Music

The other night some special was on and I saw the girl who won American Idol(the last one) singing THE BEST CHRISTMAS SONG EVER! and she sucked. For those of you who don't know, that would be "Last Christmas" by Wham. That's the best pop Christmas song. Don't make fun of me! I love that song! Anyway, this girl could have been singing about getting the oil in her car changed for all the emotion she had while singing. It was wrong. I mean really, THE VERY NEXT DAY! SHE GAVE IT AWAY! there has to be emotion in that song! : )
Leanna's favorite Christmas song is "Felice Navidad." I tell her that her song is "Santa Claus is coming to Town" because she needs to pay attention to the words(that whole bit about behaving because Santa's coming). I wish it were that easy to get her to behave. Tom keeps telling her that she slept through Christmas and didn't get any presents cause she was bad. She's smart enough not to believe him though. I downloaded Cartman(South Park)'s version of "O Holy Night" which I get a kick out of. If you're not familiar with it you should hear it. But it has to be the version with the cattle prod. The other version's not so funny.

Again with the dreaming!!

I didn't get to talk to Tom yet, but Leanna was dreaming again last night. Something about a horse in our house and it tried to bite her so she ran downstairs. I was dreaming about a bunch of men running around with guns. I think it means that Tom watches way too much Law& Order. I wouldn't choose to watch it, but he has it on all the time and it kind of sucks you in.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Just for John

Just for John:

As we braved the freezing cold this morning, Justin wore his Eagles coat!

Doctor visit

We braved the freezing cold this morning to take Justin to the doctor's office. Since I don't drive this means I wear the baby in the sling, Justin's in the stroller, and Leanna walks alongside me. So we bundled up like abominal (sp?) snowmen-it was 9 degrees this morning!!-and had our morning excersize. We missed Justin's 15 month appt. because of Timothy being born and all the jaundice fun, and he'll be 18 months on Dec. 27th. He's 32 inches tall and 21 lbs, 14 oz. He's between the 7th and 10th percentile for weight, which they're slightly concerned about. I'm not though. That's actually a slight gain since he was in the 5th percentile last visit. (I think cause my milk came back after the pregnancy) Justin's such a picky eater(he's a vegetarian by his own choice and eats very few things), he's extremely active, and he's very healthy with a large vocabulary. If he was sickly and not developmentally on chart, I'd worry. There's nothing wrong with him. Besides, that's just where he is compared to other kids his age, and kids are getting heavier and heavier.

I love the USA

from news of the wierd:

Are We Safe? In October, the federal Department of Homeland Security announced a $36,300 grant to the state of Kentucky, earmarked to prevent terrorists from using charity bingo and other games of chance to raise money. (One astonished bingo worker in Frankfort told the Associated Press that the need to protect bingo parlors from terrorists "would never even enter my mind.") Also in October, the Tampa Tribune reported that two lower-tier Florida tourist attractions (the Weeki Wachee Springs mermaid show and Dinosaur World in Plant City) were on Homeland Security's list of sites that the state had to "harden" against terrorist attacks, even though officials complained that major sports venues and more popular entertainment sites were not on the list. [Lexington Herald- Leader, 10-24-05] [Tampa Tribune, 10-25-05]

Dsylexics, Untie!!

I was just following links from the Dilbert blog again, and I found this:
Warning, some sayings are offensive!

Slight dislexia runs in my family, so I kind of like this one: I PUT THE "SEXY" IN DYSLEXIA
Just kinda cracks me up. I can see Claire wearing that shirt.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Once Upon a Time......

Leanna read me a story today:

There was a little girl who went out for a walk. She went out without her Mommy or Daddy. She wasn't supposed to do that. But she was old enough so it was ok. Then she found a castle and tried to go in but no one was there to open the door. So she went home to get her pillow and blanket. Her Daddy was in the basement crying but she left anyway. She went back to the castle but the people still weren't there. So she slept in the grass. In the morning she went home and her Daddy said she couldn't leave but she did, so he was still crying in the basement. So she went back to the castle and slept slept slept slept slept slept slept slept slept slept slept. Then she came back and stayed home. She missed her Mommy and Daddy.

In case anyone's interested, she found this story in a 7th avenue catalogue. But I think you have to be Leanna to see it.

Good to know, I guess

Thanks to that Christmas song about the kid who wants to buy his mom shoes for when she goes to meet Jesus, Leanna informed me that when I go to heaven I will probably be next to the rabbits, probably.
(our pet rabbits that died that she only remembers because of the cage in our backyard)


we've all been having wierd dreams here lately....Leanna had a dream about her grandmother feeding her the wrong kind of bread......I dreamt I was pregnant again and was all upset about having to tell everyone because I knew they'd be really angry.......and Tom had a long involved dream about his van, fountain Hill, and deer.


Happy 17th Birthday Claire!!

We've come a long way from the days when I wrote "X marks the spot" on the back of your diapers! (Aren't you glad?)

Monday, December 12, 2005

Stressing out

AArrrgghhh! Stressing out, stressing out! Family troubles, stupid holidays always cause problems. You always have to worry about hurting someone's feelings and no matter what happens it seem that there will always be resentment. Everytime I think we finally have things settled and I don't have to worry about plans anymore, BAM! Nope. Starting all over again. I just wrote an email and I hope it makes things better, but it'll probably just make it worse. Maybe we should just stay home the entire holiday. Not see anyone else. Except the ones who get hurt the most is the kids. They miss out on time with loved ones.

Harry Potter

Interestingly enough, I got this link from my word-a-day email. It's an old slate article about Harry Potter and how his success comes from other's hard work. I enjoy the Harry Potter books, but it was an interesting look at the series. I could argue with some of it, but it does make some good points too.
The majority of my Christmas/birthday shopping is done! And I helped my Mom find a neat gift for my sister this weekend-something different, so I hope she likes it. Claire, my baby sister, will be 17 on Wednesday! I am so old. And Maree', my sort of step-daughter, will be 9 on Dec. 26th. I have high hopes for this Christmas. I suspect it might be my grandmother's last Christmas. And I'm pretty sure it will be one of my grandmother-in-law's last Christmas also(she has extra fluid on her brain and they probably won't do surgery to fix it. Quality of life issues.) On the other hand, I am mother to three beautiful children, two of whom will be able to enjoy the holiday season. I know Justin is young, but he is enjoying the lights and decorations and will be able to enjoy the family togetherness that comes with the holidays also. I suspect he will also enjoy ripping paper off presents as well. It's our first Christmas in a place big enough to really decorate and we have a real tree-eight and a half foot!! I'm in the process of making Justin a pair of pjs-the first thing I've ever made for him to wear. They're really cute. I would like to make Leanna a new nightgown as well, but I don't think I'll have time. I made her one two years ago and it still fit last year. I'm doing Justin's first because they're easier and because I've never made him anything. He can wear those pjs when we go out as a family to go look at Christmas lights. We bring thermoses of hot chocolate and the rule is everyone has to be wearing pjs. Then we just drive around enjoying holiday displays. And then he can wear them again on Christmas Eve. After that he can wear them whenever.
I have so many things to do-Christmas presents to finish making, Justin's pjs, cookies to make, presents to buy, presents to wrap, holiday decorating to do, so much cleaning to do, and that is in addition to all the regular cleaning and cooking and taking care of the kids. It's overwhelming. Things that used to be simple, like wrapping gifts, can't be done in front of the kids. Justin would be running off with the wrapping paper, tape, and scissors, and probably presents too. And leanna is old enough to remember what she sees-how do you let her believe in Santa if she sees you wrapping presents that she and her brother open on Christmas morning? I've already explained that we buy presents for adults because Santa only brings gifts for kids. And today we bought presents to put in a bin for toys for tots. I told Leanna that some parents have no money to buy presents for their children and that they don't have a way to let Santa know where they live for him to bring we can help make their Christmas happy by buying presents for them. So Leanna chose a princess necklace and a set of trucks to put in the bin. They were only from the dollar store, I have 3 kids and a large extended family to buy presents for! But hopefully the idea that we help other people will be remembered.

Post, people, post!

Does nobody read this blog? Comment, I like to hear what people have to, people, post!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Growing vocabulary

Justin woke up yesterday and I asked him something and he replied, "Nnnnnope!" And later that day he answered "Yyyyyyup!" to something else. I've never heard him say either one before and neither has Tom. It just sounded so cute and it was strange how it came out of nowhere.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Finally, a man gets it!

Also, while I am linking, good for Kate Hudson!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Behave! Or Else!

As I mentioned previously, I have heard a lot about this particular debate recently:
I can understand both sides to the issue, really. I think it all boils down to respect, on both sides. Parents need to keep in mind that other people are trying to enjoy themselves and children need to learn that it's not ok for them to bother others. The children may be having a grand ol' time, but if it interferes with others' enjoyment of the establishment, parents need to rein them in. It's just good manners and teaching them to respect other's needs as well. (And if kids are running around that creates dangerous situations for both the kids and waiter/waitresses or customers walking. I've never seen this one actually happens, but it's in some of the articles I've read, so it must be a problem).
On the other hand kids are just learning manners. They won't learn how to behave in public if they aren't allowed to be there. Sure basic manners are taught at home, but they have to be put to the test sometime. And all kids, no matter how well mannered, have bad days. There are times when it's simply impossible to avoid being in public when your child is in a bad mood. The whole, take the kid out to the car til they calm down thing just is not always possible. I am not the only parent out on the buses with kids! And even when you do have a car-sometimes you have a time limit and can't wait for the child to calm down and then go back in and pick up all the things you wanted to buy again! Shopping in general is not an ideal situation for a child-it takes long, they get bored, they see all kinds of neat things they can't have, they get hungry and tired. In restaurants if the child is already hungry, waiting for food with nothing to do in the meantime is a recipie for misbehavior. If you don't have children, it's very easy to say, "You need to control your children" it's an entirely different thing once you are a parent. I take offense at the notion that all parents whose children are misbehaving are just lazy and don't care. It bothers me very much when the kids act up, but there's only so much I can control. Especially when they have limmited understanding of why they should behave and what you are telling them to do.
And as a side note, I frequenltly see adults acting in manners not respectful of others in public-if this is the example children see, makes teaching them the correct way to act that much harder.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Just thinking about some of the new skills I have developed as a Mommy. I can sweep the floor with a baby in one hand. I can eat, cook, and make sandwiches with one hand. I can type while nursing. I can do just about anything while nursing, actually. My peripheral vision and my 6th sense have grown immeasurably. (Usefull senses to have with young children who love to climb and explore) I can change a diaper while a child is standing up. I can perform many tasks in an extrodinarily loud setting. Even ones that require concentration-like bill paying. I can ignore messes that would have driven me to distraction before children. I play referee(already). I can yell loud enough to hurt my voice. I can make all the unhappiness go away with a breast. I am an entire world to a baby. I dole out punishments, kiss boo-boos, and read stories. I can read Goodnight Moon without the book.
As a teenager and young adult I could frequently go without sleep because I'd been out having fun. Now I go without sleep, practically all the time, minus the fun, and have to be able to function because I'm responsible for three little people who need me for everything.
I make more mistakes than I've ever made in my life.....and receive forgiveness almost instantly. And as cheesy and fake as it may sound, it is completely true that my capacity to love has expanded far beyond any point I could ever have imagined before having children. And I was one who ALWAYS knew she wanted kids, so that is saying something. That kind of love is primal and fierce and beautiful. One of the best gifts children give you.


It's been one of those days.....very little was accomplished. I worked on a Christmas present up in my craft room, but the little I got done was outweighed by the mess I have to clean up in the room. The baby spit up all over both of us. Leanna continues to drive me nuts by refusing to leave Justin alone. She spilled her cereal twice(all over the table and floor). And Justin will not leave my coffee alone! I had just poured a cup and heated it in the microwave so even the outside of the cup was extremely hot. Did this deter my caffeine-loving son? Oh no. He grabbed the cup as I went to unlock the front door before my husband gets home(He lost his key and hasn't replaced it. Another story altogether). He was lucky the hot coffee only hit one of his hands. The rest is adding a new hue to our rug. Nothing new in this household.

Monday, December 05, 2005

I have a phone!!

Tom went to Cingular tonight to get a new phone since his was completely destroyed. He's rough on phones-comes with his line of work. He decided he wants to get me a phone as well-he's tired of not knowing where I am. So that should be fun for me, I've never had a real cell phone before(I don't count the ones from FL because they were ancient!) Tom's phone plays the Dukes of Hazzard theme since he saw that commercial! In the store the salesman had the one phone playing "Hell's Bells"(Belles?) which seemed really out of place. The salesman also asked Tom if he had a business card, he needs a wall done in his house. So he might give Tom a call. Things seem to be taking off for Tom's business.....cross your fingers for us!

What is everyone currently reading?

Just a quick survey-
What is everyone reading now? Even if it's just for school.......

Me first-I'm reading Adventures in Tandem Nursing.......Breastfeeding During Pregnancy and Beyond by Hilary Flower.

Hopefully a Lesson Learned

So last night Leanna decided that in revenge for being sent up to bed, she would decorate the carpet. With marker. Green marker. Our nice white hallway carpet and a little bit of the pink carpet in the bedroom.
Needless to say, we were not pleased by the artistic display.
So she spent a couple hours cleaning the floor with a washcloth while crying and talking to herself. I really hope the message sank in. After she was asleep I took our new shampoo vacuume and went over it(very little changed because of her efforts) and it did come off. Lukily it was washable marker. The part she didn't clean at all came up with the first swipe of the vacuume, and the parts that she kept scrubbing at were the most difficult to remove. Her scrubbing was actually setting the stain better, but it was well worth the extra effort on my part if it keeps her from ever doing anything like that again!

PS. Grammy-it didn't even occur to her that anyone told on her.....your worries are unfounded.

Movies and books

I'd really like to see the new Chronicles of Narnia movie-it looks good. I did once try to watch an older version but couldn't make it through the viewing. To be fair though I think other things were going on at the time so it wasn't entirely the movie's fault. I absolutly love that series-I read all the books in 2nd grade. I remember getting chicken pox the two weeks before Christmas break and so we didn't make it to the library. I was so very dissapointed because I had just finished the 2nd book(Prince Caspian) and was eagerly awaiting the third book. Imagine my joy when my grandmother bought me the box set of the entire series for Christmas! The pastor at our church(also my best friend's father) had a framed photo of Aslan in his living room which said, "Aslan is on the move." And I thought it was so cool when he preached a sermon in which he discussed Aslan as a Christ-figure.
As an adult I made sure by baby sister had her own box set of the books to read......I wanted to share that with her. I couldn't believe that they changed the order of how the books are read! Even though it's the same material it's just not the same when you read it out of order. Unfortunately I don't think my sister fell in love with the material the same way that I did......I was recently thinking of buying the set for Maree', but I think she's too girly girl to be into fantasy books. I really hope Leanna will be into that sort of thing. She loves books & being read to, so we're off to a good start at least. I hope I will have boys who read too-not just to be like me, but because I think if you enjoy reading it makes school(and much of life) so much easier. I haven't read as much to Justin, but that's because (I hope) he didn't take much interest in books until recently. I hope I'm not just falling into the trap of encouraging reading and language with Leanna because she's a girl and encouraging physical skills with Justin. It's something I have to pay attention to.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Friday, December 02, 2005


My in-laws will be thrilled to know that we took the kids for haircuts yesterday. Leanna now has bangs and we cut off a few inches of split ends. It hurt both of us to do it, but it'll make her hair look much better as it grows. I'm not sure if I like the bangs yet, I have to get used to it first. Tom insisted on the most "boyish haircut" we could give Justin. The hair stylist laughed and said all men want the boys' hair to be as short as possible and their daughter's hair to be as long as possible!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

From my favorite blog

A good arguement for those who believe the Bible is literally, word-For-word true. I have felt for many years now that the Bible is meant to be a holy book, but it is to be interpreted. It was written by men (who are not perfect and are subject to social perspective and the customs of their time). Just the fact that it is translated leaves room for interpretation, then add to that the fact that word meanings change over time..........

Dear President Bush,
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from you and understand why you would propose and support a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage. As you said "in the eyes of God marriage is based between a man a woman." When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.
1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?
2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her? (I'm pretty sure she's a virgin).
3. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is, my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
4. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2. clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?
5. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Aren't there 'degrees' of abomination?
6. Lev.21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?
7. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
8. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
9. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help.Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.
posted by katie allison granju

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Phrases heard everyday in our house:

Justin! Get off the baby!
Leanna, leave your brother alone!! (said oh so many times a day!)
Leanna, let the baby sleep!
Quiet!! (said by an agonized Tom)
Justin, you can't sit on the baby!
You have to wait!
These toys are going in the garbage if you don't pick them up! (Tom)
That was just crust! (when asked why half the sandwich is in the garbage)
Mommy, I'm hungry we didn't eat supper!
Na-na!! (said in a very angry voice by Justin) (that's his way of saying Leanna)
Justin, are you stinky?
I want mommy! (said by Justin while pounding my chest)
I don't know (said by Justin in the cutest little voice ever)

I'll take mine straight, please!

I forgot to mention that last week I caught Justin eating coffee grounds! While making Leanna's breakfast the little stinker grabbed the coffee can, pulled the lid off and grabbed a handful! Apparently he couldn't wait to try to steal some coffee from my cup-or maybe he just needed a stronger rush! This kid keeps you on your toes!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Christmas stuff

I ordered pictures of Timothy tonight-expensive! I only ordered 2 pictures for each grandparent. I figured if they want others we'll just scan ours and print a copy out. And I won't feel guilty because the photographer will be making a bundle off us anyway.
I decorated our front window today-that's one small step. I think in a week we'll get our tree and then I get to do the rest of the downstairs! Houses are popping up all over the place with lights on-it's so pretty! I love that! It's so much more fun when you are seeing it all over again through the eyes of your children, it brings new excitement to everything. All this stuff we do will be the stuff of memories for them. I'm trying to make these memories as happy as possible. That's why I try so hard to establish our own tradditions. Rituals and tradditions are what you remember and they're what frame a child's life. That's why every year it's not just Thanksgiving and Christmas days that are important-it's Black Friday family shopping and cookie making and looking at lights and decorating the tree.......these are family rituals. And they're fun!

they catch on so quickly

When you ask Justin why? he will now occasionally answer, "Because."

: )
We're re-arranging the furniture again. Tom decided last night that we needed to. The best part was that he held the baby long enough for me to do some work, he did more and because there were two adults, not one, the kids weren't as bad or as into things as usual. So that means so very much more was accomplished than would have been if it was just me home with the kids again. He vaccumed with the shop vac! A cleanup was badly needed after I was sick for 4 days. In addition to regular cleaning & laundry, I have Christmas cookies to make & decorate, Christmas stories to read & explain to the kids(mainly Leanna), the house to decorate for the holidays, Christmas presents to finish making, ones to finish buying, and all of them to wrap! And Tom says he just might actually hang lights outside the house this year! We got lights Leanna's first Christmas and he's never actually put them up. And we're going to get a real tree this year. I'm looking forward to that!

Another compliment

Leanna asked me today(out of the blue) if she could look just like me when she grew up. She said we could make her hair "brown up" and she could wear my sweater and my jeans. Can't wait to hear what she has to say about that when she's a teenager.

Lyrics By Leanna

I'm A Little Teapot, as sung by Leanna

I'm a little teapot, short and spout
here is my handle here is my spout
all around teapotworld teapotworld
tip me over and pour me out!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Rolling the genetic dice

I think it's amazing how Justin looks so much like both Tom and I. The older he gets the more of Tom I see in him. But I still glance at him all the time and it's like looking at a picture of me also. I love to see which personality traits and features come through in each child. It fascinates me.

Leanna was a force to be reckoned with right from the start-not just little gradually growing hunger cries for this one! By the time she was 2 weeks old she began throwing her body backwards to announce that she was hungry. She did not want to wait, oh no! Now! I need to eat now!

We didn't immediately have realize Justin's temperment as we did with Leanna. Justin just never wanted to stop eating-if he hadn't been gaining weight beautifully I would have worried that something was wrong. Well, being a mother I did still worry, but it turned out that this was just his style. Only in retrospect did I realize that this was just typical behavior for Justin-he is so intense! His need for me and his need to nurse were extremly high and very tiring to me. He was always baby Jeckel/Hyde-so happy or so very not happy!

Timothy hasn't given us any clues yet, or at least not ones we recognize as such.


Timothy now seems to show recognition of me and Leanna and possibly Tom. He's so much more alert. He smiles every so often. It's really neat to watch. I love babies.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The more the merrier!

We have Maree' this weekend. So that makes four kids. It's actually kind of fun to see people's reactions when we are out. It ranges from sympathy all the way to the bizzare(one strange man actually smiled a crazy smile at us and congradulated Tom and said, man, you guys just keep making more people! Then he started laughing. And this was just with our own three.) ( We think he was drunk.). Four really isn't all that many. Think about the days when people regularly had 14 children or more! I remind myself of this when I'm feeling sorry for myself because of my workload.
My Mom has terrible trouble keeping straight her own three kids' names-holy cow, try doing it with 14!

Beauty in the eyes of children

This is a comment from my word-a-day list:
From: Sharon Smith (
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--dendrochronology
When one of my children was about three years old, she looked up at me so sweetly as I was tucking her into bed. Clearly searching her small lexicon to come up with just the right words to show how much she loved me, she said: "Mommy, your wrinkles are just like ocean waves!" If I looked like that in 1982, you can only imagine what I must look like now!

Nice imagination for a three year old! I think the nicest (physical) compliment ever given to me by Leanna would be either when she thought Monica and Rachel on Friends were me and her Daddy's cousin Jessica(she didn't specify which one was which); or when she thought an actress named Constance Marie(I think), playing the mother in the movie Selena was me. I don't really look like any of them, but as they're all considered beautiful women I'm certainly not going to object to the comparison!!


Just a formal announcement here-Maree' Evelyn Stoudt intends to marry Aaron Carter. (Ok, really Jesse McCartney) She gives an ear-piercing shreik at the sight of his face. Music cds and teen magazines top her Christmas list this year. Her ear and the phone enjoy a certain familiarity. She also has a boyfriend at school and wears a bra now. Did I mention she turns 9 at the end of next month?
What happened to childhood?? That's sad. I'm going to try my hardest to keep Leanna from going that path, but I bet it'll be tough with her. Especially since she emulates Maree'. I really think that the longer a kid stays a kid, the happier they are. Both short and long-term.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Anything you Can Do........

Leanna is so pleased-we downloaded the song "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better!" from Annie Get Your Gun. She loves it! Uncle David taught her that song this summer. In fact, the first version we downloaded was fuzzy so I explained I was looking for the same song with different people singing it. Leanna immediately asked if I was looking for Uncle David. Alas, he has never recorded the song! (to my knowledge, anyway) So we settled for the broadway cast's version.
I did try out Green Jelly's " Three Little Pigs" on her also......I think it's really fun to sing along with. She didn't seem to appreciate it though. I guess she's too young to get a kick out of Sylvester Stallone's appearance at the end of the song. : (

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


It's a rare quiet moment in my house.......not silent, mind you-but quiet. Leanna is sitting on the floor, happily playing with a telephone. Justin is roaming the downstairs, stuffing crackers in a box and then dropping both(over and over). And Timothy slumbers curled up in my lap-so long as he's here in the sling he'll stay sleeping. It's a dreary day, but it's actually making me feel cozy in my house, not depressed. Hmmm.......maybe I should make a list of my blessings while I'm feeling content. That's one of those things I mean to do at Thanksgiving, but never get around to doing. I'm trying not too feel to guilty over the state of the house today. Usually that is a full time job-I stress about trying to get the younger two to nap at the same time so I have free time to clean or wash dishes or do laundry(pay bills, whatever). Or I try to do it while holding one and putting another one off. It just doesn't work very well. Usually if I get one thing done it's at the expense of something else. For example, I'll do the dishes, but while I'm doing them Leanna and Justin will be dumping toy boxes in the living room. But today I got a new book in the mail(a gift from my husband's labors 2 doors down) and I just sat reading it while holding Timothy. Very relaxing. Off and on I had Justin next to me-it was very cute; I gave him a baby doll to hold and we put a blanket over it. Just like the baby in my lap. It distracted him from the fact that he wasn't sitting in my lap.
Nothing at all like yesterday when Leanna was sitting on Justin's head!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

My prize-winning kid!

Leanna just won a coloring contest at Friendly's restaurant!
Maybe they just give everyone a prize, who knows, but I do have to say she did a nice job. The picture was very colorful and she pretty much stayed in the lines.
On one a side note, she also behaved very well in the restaurant. I've been hearing a lot lately about kids' bad behavior in restaurants and how other adults and the restaurants themselves don't want to tolerate this. We had a very long wait that night and both Leanna and Justin behaved well. At the very end Justin did start throwing his food on the floor next to him, but an hour and a half is an extrodinarily long time for him to sit in a high chair. I'm usually lucky to get him to sit in one for over 5 minutes!
I miss the days when I felt like such a good mommy because my child was eating and drinking very healthy foods and was sweet and affectionate and smart and too young to have disicpline problems. Then she got older and the fun started! Now those moments where I can be proud of how Leanna behaves are much fewer and farther between. So I have to take my little triumphs where I can get them!

my name says this about me.....

The Meaning of my name.....from the website
You entered: Stephanie Ann Pengelly (you use the name your parents gave you)
There are 20 letters in your name.Those 20 letters total to 96There are 7 vowels and 13 consonants in your name.
Your number is: 6
The characteristics of #6 are: Responsibility, protection, nurturing, community, balance, sympathy.
The expression or destiny for #6:The number 6 Expression provides you a truly outstanding sense of responsibility, love, and balance. The 6 is helpful and ever conscientious, making you quite capable of rectifying and balancing any sort of inharmonious situation. You are a person very much inclined to give help and comfort to those in need. You have a natural penchant for working with the old, the young, the sick, or the underprivileged. Although you may have considerable creative and artistic talents, the chances are that you will devote yourself to an occupation that shows concern for the betterment of the community.
The positive side of the number 6 suggests that you are very loving, friendly, and appreciative of others. You have a depth of understanding that produces much sympathetic, kindness, and generosity. The qualities of the 6 make the finest and most concerned parent and one often deeply involved in domestic activities. Openness and honesty is apparent in your approach to all relationships.
If there is an excess of the number 6 in your makeup, you may exhibit some of the negative traits associated with this number. There may be a tendency for you to be too exacting and demanding of yourself. In this regard, you may at times sacrifice yourself (or your loved ones) for the welfare of others. In some cases, the over zealous 6 has difficulty distinguishing helping from interfering. You may have difficulty expressing your own individuality, because of involvement with responsibilities and causes. Like all with the Expression of the number 6, it's quite likely that you worry much too much.
Your Soul Urge number is: 4
A Soul Urge number of 4 means: With the Soul Urge or Motivation number of 4 you are likely to strive for a stable life. You tend to follow a rather orderly pattern and systematic approach in your endeavors. You have an inner desire to serve others in a methodical and diligent manner. You want to be in solid, conventional, and well-regulated activities, and you are somewhat disturbed by innovation and erratic or sudden changes. Excellent at organizing, systematizing, and managing, you have a way of establishing order and maintaining it. You are responsible, reliable and in the final analysis, practical. Highly analytical, you can see your way through all sorts of situations and generally have a clear understanding of the issues. You are a very honest, sincere, and conscientious individual.
The negative side of the 4 is rigid, stubborn and somewhat narrow-minded. There is a tendency to hide feelings, or to really not be aware of real feelings. Avoid being too rigid and stubborn in your thinking, and try to always see the big picture rather than becoming to involved with the detail. Don't be afraid to take a chance once in awhile.
Your Inner Dream number is: 11
An Inner Dream number of 11 means: You dream of casting the light of illumination; of being the true idealist. You secretly believe there is more to life than we can know or prove, and you would like to be provider of the 'word' from on high.

Monday, November 14, 2005

about my birthdate

Your date of conception was on or about 22 December 1974.
You were born on a Sundayunder the astrological sign Virgo.Your Life path number is 9.The Julian calendar date of your birth is 2442669.5.The golden number for 1975 is 19.The epact number for 1975 is 17.The year 1975 was not a leap year.As of 11/15/2005 11:21:55 AM ESTYou are 30 years old.You are 362 months old.You are 1,574 weeks old.You are 11,020 days old.You are 264,491 hours old.You are 15,869,481 minutes old.You are 952,168,915 seconds old.You are 4.31311154598826 dog years old. (You're still chasing cats!)
There are 303 days till your next birthdayon which your cake will have 31 candlesThose 31 candles produce 31 BTUs,or 7,812 calories of heat (that's only 7.8120 food Calories!) .You can boil 3.54 US ounces of water with that many candles.
In 1975 there were approximately 3.1 million births in the US.In 1975 the US population was approximately 203,302,031 people, 57.4 persons per square mile.In 1975 in the US there were approximately 2,152,662 marriages (10.1%) and 1,036,000 divorces (4.9%)In 1975 in the US there were approximately 1,921,000 deaths (9.5 per 1000)Your birthstone is Sapphire The Mystical properties of Sapphire
Though not meant to replace traditional medical treatment, Sapphire is used for clear thinking. Some lists consider these stones to be your birthstone. (Birthstone lists come from Jewelers, Tibet, Ayurvedic Indian medicine, and other sources)
Agate, Moonstone, Lapis LazuliYour birth tree is
Lime Tree, the Doubt
Accepts what life dishes out in a composed way, hates fighting, stress and labour, tends to laziness and idleness, soft and relenting, makes sacrifices for friends, many talents but not tenacious enough to make them blossom, often wailing and complaining, very jealous, loyal.There are 40 days till Christmas 2005!The moon's phase on the day you wereborn was waxing gibbous.

public assistance

You know, I was really surprised to see the difference in how you are treated when you are on public assistance. The kids' medical insurance is free because of our income. We go to Sacred Heart Hospital, and they have two doctor's offices-one for private insurance, and one for public assistance. I've seen the difference because I've used both offices. The same doctors work both offices but everything else is completely different. The private waiting room is nicely furnished, with plenty of toys and books. There are magazines for parents to always have to wait but the length of time is completely different! In the public Ass. (ha) office there is one toy and no books, although they have posters on the wall advocating reading. The room is always crowded, there aren't enough seats. I walked to a doctor's appointment 8 months pregnant with two kids in tow, visibly out of breath, and there were no seats and not a single person would let me sit down. The secretaries are way too busy, you always have to wait to sign in, or wait to even talk to her because she's taking several phone calls. And the waiting! To see a doctor for less than five minutes requires about two hours in the doctor's office. This is not an exageration-we timed them when we were there every day for Timothy(jaundice). Apparently your time is not valuable when you don't have money. Try keeping 3 small children taken care of and entertained in a strange room with no toys or books for 3 hours. I'm sure there are some children who might stay sitting quietly for 2 hours, but mine are way too active for that!
So today I'm checking up on getting Timothy added to insurance. You have a month to do it. I had called 2 weeks ago and left a message with the info they needed, my name and phone number. My case worker never called back and I still hadn't received an insurance card for him. I called Friday with no answer(maybe the office was closed for Vet.'s day), and called again today. This time they answered and informed me that I had a new case-worker with a new phone number. Apparently the old caseworker didn't even have the same phone and no one bothered to give either one of them my message. So now I have a doctor's appt. tomorrow and no insurance for Timothy. I guess I'll have to reschedule. I never got a letter or a phone call telling me that I had a new caseworker. And the new lady acted as though she was doing me a huge favor by taking the info to add Timothy. With her accent she was hard to understand. It's very frustrating! Not everyone who needs help is lazy and worthless!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Brotherly love, and pain.....

Also yesterday, Justin pulled a desk drawer completely out and accidentally hit Timothy with it. Immediately Timothy began screaming, and as I comforted him I told Justin, "NO! Hurts!" As I patted Timothy's back, saying, it's ok, Justin watched us. Then he toddled over and put his little hand on Timothy's head and repeated, "Ok, ok!" Awwww.....he was trying to comfort Timothy! Little moments like these keep me going some days!


Yesterday Leanna was "eating" chicken noodle soup. Instead of eating though, she started piling the noodles on table by her bowl. I asked her what she was doing, and her response was that the noodles were Jupiters. I was not familiar with this term, so I asked what, exactly, was a Jupiter. Silly me! A Jupiter is something that goes in your body. I was still puzzled, so I said, "but all food you eat goes into your body!" And my patient four year old explained the difference, "Jupiters go into your body, and they are bad!" Ahhh, yes. I should have known.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Last night

My daughter is so frustrating. I really wonder how I managed to get a kid like her. Sure, her eyes and her body language and her rampant silliness all come from my side of the family. But then she's this little social butterfly-loud, bossy and amazingly stubborn. Ok, fine. Some of the stubborness could come from me. But she is at least 2x as stubborn as I am! That's impressive.
Last night she was sent to the corner. Multiple times. The final corner session was cut short, however, because she took it upon herself to leave the corner and have a crafting party with the tissues. Then she brought her little present over to her Mommy(who was busy watching a movie) and wisely suggested her little gifts were made just for me! See, her disobeying me was for a good cause. She was only thinking of me. She twisted the tissues into the shape of a teapot, an angel, and a snake. So she says, anyway. They all looked pretty much the same to me.
So then I had the difficult task of explaining, with a straight face, why we do not leave the corner, without permission, to make little tissue gifts. First I had to quiet her long enough to explain why this was wrong. And then stop her from interrupting me because let me tell you, this little girl always has something to say! She will always offer an explanation for how her punishment can end or why she should not be punished at all ("But Mommy, can I get out of the corner now? I have a plan for how I can behave!"). Stupid, she is not! Highly amusing, yes.
Anyway, my little lecture was ruined because Laura could not keep a straight face. I burst out laughing, my Mom burst out laughing, Laura burst out laughing, and so did Leanna, who didn't even know what was so funny.

About the blog title....

I should mention that I did recently run across a blog entitled, Mommy needs coffee. I loved the name-it's a phrase I have uttered myself semi-regularly. Especially recently. I felt compelled to use it as my blog name because I love the sense of urgency and possibly desperation implied. For me a warm drink equals relaxation. Well, heat in general. A hot shower or a cup or tea or coffee can all do the trick. I would compare it to the way a smoker uses a ciggarette to calm themselves down. I've always had a cup of coffee to combat stress. Tea I tend to drink for the bigger stuff such as sickness, and when I had the miscarrige. I also drink tea when I'm at my grandmother's house, or with relatives. The addition of the chocolate part is all my own however. Chocolate is not a stress reliever. It just makes me happy. ': )

First Post.....explanation

I'd been thinking about starting a blog for quite a while now. What mother doesn't like to tell people about her kids? And as my sister Laura pointed out, my kids are quite amusing. Well, sometimes it's the kind of humor that is only funny from an outside view, or years down the road, but I can appreciate that. And intentionally or not, Leanna often cracks me up. There are so many times I think to myself, Wow, I never thought I'd hear myself say that! So I figure, why not share? The way I see it, this blog also provides a way to preserve my memories.....all the little stuff so easily forgotten. Not just the good stuff but all the frustrations, the arguements, the temper tantrums....... : ( I enjoy writting, and this will let me vent and hear other's opinions as well. So please feel free to comment, don't be too harsh, and enjoy!