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Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Timothy's got his first two teeth now! I think they did the final pushing through last night. He kept waking up, his cry was different, and usually he only wakes up to nurse but last night he woke up and that didn't settle him. It's funny, Leanna and Justin never minded their teeth coming in at all. Maybe it was having two come in at the same time that hurt him more.

(yes, I know every child is different and it can bother some children tremendously)

from the Awwwww files

I told Justin today that he looked cute in his hat. He patted his head, smiled, and said, "Like Daddy!"

Name fun

This is fun, look up your name to see how popular it's been over time. I'm happy to say that "Leanna" 's rank in 2004 was 765. At the height of it's popularity it was only at number513 in the 1990s. I wanted her to have a name that wasn't common, yet not so unusual that it would be a liability. Justin and Timothy's names are a lot more common, but I have more trouble with boy names. They just aren't as much fun. (Justin's was pretty much picked out for us, as that was the name of the brother I never had, or was) I just liked the name Timothy.
Lorelei is still barely cracking the top 1000, which is good. I'm still hoping to have my Lorelei one day!

Leanna's dream

Leanna dreamed that we were outside-me, her, and Maree. We were waving to the clowns that live on the roof across the street. The wife clown started throwing little pickles at us and we had to duck down. Then she started throwing big pickles at us and we really had to duck down! So then we went in the house and the wife clown's pickles broke our house. Then we saw there was a flood. So we had to get the clowns down. We had to get a ladder. Then Daddy came home and got the ladder with Leanna. He had to hold the ladder so Leanna could climb it. The clown started coming down. Leanna started to fall and Mommy yelled to Maree to come it was an
emergency! And it was so Maree came and caught Leanna. And then we all went in the house, the clown too. And Mommy and Daddy took care of the broken ladder. How the flood started was from a drip in the sink, so Leanna and the clown fixed that.

I think that's where the real dream ended, she keeps adding more to the story now-but it seems to be just wishful thinking. Stuff about how Justin and Timothy were born the next day and grew up and Maree helped her fix our house, etc. etc.

Monday, May 29, 2006

nice day for us

I just finshed painting Justin and Leanna's nails. It's kid nail polish, practically water. So it doesn't really show. I couldn't leave Justin out-he wanted his done too! (It'll wear off by tomorrow anyway). Timothy's napping and the house is pretty quiet. It was actually a very nice holiday. Since my Mom's heart attack she has completely turned her diet around. Her influence has been trickling down to those around her. I never thought I'd see the day when my Dad would like to eat salads or yogurt or smoothies! I mention this because we now have a lot more healthy foods to munch on at these family gatherings. Which is nice. We still had old standbyes like chips and brownies. But we had peppers and carrots and cucumbers too. And Justin tried and liked Kumquats(I think I spelled that right). They taste sort of like a combination of orange and lemons. You need water nearby when you try them. He also ate some dehydrated onions! He has interesting tastes.
But aside from that it was just nice to spend time talking to family. I didn't have to go anywhere and I didn't have to worry as much about cleaning up as usual, because the only one there who doesn't see our house in it's natural state was Uncle David. So I just figured, aww, screw it! We also had Tom home all day which is rare. Leanna especially enjoyed herself today, and that makes me happy too. I think we'll all sleep good tonight.

By the way,

There are always people who are quick to call you selfish for having more than one, or possibly two children. I like this guy's response:

Rich said...
To start with, I have 6 kids, which I guess makes me triply selfish. Or maybe I just looked at US birthrates and realized that we are reproducing at a rate barely above self sustaining. Maybe I learned that the only reason US population is increasing is the combined effects of immigration and longer life expectancies. Maybe I also realized that the birth rates in India and China mean that my contribution to global population, or Anonymous's refusal to contribute is ultimately meaningless. In fact, maybe I knew enough math to realize that global population growth is driven by China, India, and third world nations, not the US.Or maybe my decision to have a large family came from a desire to improve the gene pool by outbreeding ignorant and obnoxious folks who think it seems selfish to have a large family.

I've read about that. In the US & Europe we aren't having enough babies to replace the workforce. People think that overpopulation is a problem here, but it's not.

An article about bigger families

Here's an article in the Boston Globe about a new trend towards having bigger families. Since none of you will read it, it mainly talks about wealthy families having more kids
1. because they can afford to 2. because others in their community are 3. because after you have a few, you're already "in the groove"4. because women are delaying having families, so a.they often need the help of fertility drugs which can cause multiple babies and b. after a miscarrige or several, once they do have a sucessful pregnancy, children become such a gift to them that they want as many as they can have. 5. "It's so expensive having two kids, how much worse can it be with three?" 6. Some of these couples find that of all the luxuries their bank balances allow them, they get no greater satisfaction than from their kids, so they decide to have more.
A few sections I found interesting:

Traditionally, the third child has been a major barrier to both parents working full time, considering that the combined day-care costs can eat up an entire salary. So three kids are more common in families in which one parent -- usually the mother -- is at home full time or has flexible part-time work. For all the talk in recent years of women "opting out" of careers to stay at home, half of all mothers still return to the workforce before their child's first birthday, says Kathleen Gerson, a sociology professor at New York University and board member of the Council on Contemporary Families. Not that there aren't lots of stay-at-home moms. It's just that they're mostly clustered at the top and bottom of the income scale. The poorer moms' job opportunities are so bleak that many don't feel they are giving up much to stay home. Many of the more affluent moms started out with the expectation that they could have it all, managing a successful career with one or two kids. But after experiencing the all-too-common work-family bind, they can walk away from the job without bringing financial pain to their families. ......I still marvel at my parents' ability to raise a big, close-knit family with aplomb. But they would be the first to admit that it was easier to swing back in the 1960s and '70s, when parents had more control over what their kids were exposed to and fewer demands to ferry them individually from one scheduled activity to another. When my two brothers, two sisters, and I weren't in school, we were out "playing," an all-encompassing category in those blissful pre-play-date days that consisted of packs of kids roaming the neighborhood for most of the day until the dinner bells started ringing or, in the case of our less inhibited neighbors, the fathers started bellowing for their kids to get their butts home. As a family, we didn't travel far, but when we did, it was pretty easy to get going. There were no five-point harness car seats to contend with. All seven of my family members could quickly pile into our 1964 Ford Falcon sedan that was built for five. My assigned seat? Lying along the back window ledge, next to the tissue box......We probably could have been just as happy -- and less sleepy -- if we'd stopped after one or two children. And by now there's ample research to rebut all those old myths about only children being misfits. But we just love the vibe you get in a house with lots of kids. As crazy as the switch from man-to-man to zone defense can be, there's not much we find as satisfying as catching a glimpse of all three girls sharing with one another, unprompted by us. Or seeing the entirely different routes they each take to make us laugh. We like the idea of our daughters learning, early on, how to work things out with one another, and being able, later on, to lean on one another. With more kids, the lessons usually start sooner. Staffers at the Wellesley Nursery School in the Hills say the most consistently polite kids to have gone through the school are the eight in Owen's family

Almost eight months old!

Timothy's got his first tooth just starting to push through on the bottom! He occasionally crawls forward a bit, but mainly he likes to try to stand. He pushes himself up on whatever he can find. Leanna was like that too-never really did much crawling. He's growing so fast! Tom's already making comments about "the next one."

Something accomplished!

I finally made the curtains for our back porch room's big windows! They match the ones in the bathroom. If I'm lucky Tom will put them up tomorrow! I just have to do the back-door yet, and then people won't be able to see in at night! Well, daytime too. Maybe someone will bring a camera tomorrow and I can post a picture here.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


We have an ongoing science experiment at our house-the tadpoles on our back porch have grown legs and arms(or is it just front and back legs? Whatever.) Tom had to clear out some of the water because once they change to frogs they need air, unfortunately, he accidentally lost one of the tadpoles down the drain Saturday night. He was trying to drain some of the water, but the tadpole went with it! He told Leanna that it went to the ocean. So she pestered him with all kinds of questions, like who would feed the frog at the ocean. She was genuinely worried for it's safety. Tom was annoyed with all her questions, but I thought it was really sweet that she was so concerned. Then tonight he had to drain more water from the container because two more frogs died. We think they drowned. So hopefully we'll manage to save the last two.
It's pretty neat that the kids get to watch the animals grow like that. We also have a bird sitting on her nest out in the roof of our backyard. We watched the Daddy bird bringing little twigs and stuff over to build the nest. Every day Justin goes out back to yell "Hi bird!" and "Hi Tadpoles!"

Doggies are cool

Recently I've begun to differentiate between the two Pop-Pops by explaining which grandmother they live with and sometimes using last names. Justin is still fascinated with doggies, and apparently that's what sticks in his memory about his paternal grandparents. The other night Justin started talking about Pop-Pop Cody.
For the record-he's not calling you a dog, Pop-Pop, he's merely associating you with the doggies. : )

Not a tupperware ninja.......

It's funny, now when my Mom mentions that Claire is at Sam's (Sam is her new boyfriend) I always think she means Sam's Club at first. It could be worse though, she could be dating an Ollie.
(For those who don't know, we call the store Naked Ollie's).

Friday, May 26, 2006

Unique insults

Overheard today:

"Justin! You tadpole hitter!"

Thursday, May 25, 2006

vacuum again

I found the toy vacuum cleaner full of assorted batteries. Apparently Justin had dropped a bunch inside the part where the bag sits. (Since it wasn't working, and he found a stash of batteries, he thought maybe he could fix the problem!)


Being a pseudo-step-parent is hard. And for me it's only every other weekend. Except during soccer season, which we generally skip altogether now. I'm having a lot of frustration on that front. It's such a common thing today to have blended families, it's not like I'm doing anything exceptional. But it really is tough, it'd be a lot easier to raise another person's child full-time than to do it this way. This way you constantly have to worry about possible repercussions of every action(Is her mother going to get upset that I don't let her watch her music videos around here? I didn't let her eat the yogurt because it has to last my kids all week long-will she tell her Mom that I don't let her eat our food?) I have to second-guess every decision. Was I being fair(make sure I don't side only with my own kids, or only with her. Which is made more difficult by their age difference) ? It's mainly this past year that the problems have really been surfacing. I guess as a result of Maree doing some growing up. It doesn't help that her mother and I have very different child-rearing philosophies. Her mother thinks you should let the child confront all life's nasty realities up front(for example, she takes Maree to see the junkie laying on the street corner to tell her this is not what you want for yourself). I think the longer you stay a kid, the happier you are. (I would never go out of my way to take her to see something like that. If the issue comes up on its own, fine, we deal with it. But I think kids are happier ignorant of things like that, until life presents the issue.) This makes it hard to discuss with her why I think it's inappropriate for my kids to be learning to sing and dance to "Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me." It's not that I want to change how she raises her daughter. I'm just afraid of it's consequences on my children.


Last night Leanna was trying to put a scrunchie in my hair. She informed me that she needed to get the right size for me, and that I needed a 40-50. "You're 57, right?"
(Hmmmm.....maybe it's time to do something about that grey streak of hair?)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Are You Poisoning Your Child With a Lead-Tainted Soft Plastic Vinyl Lunchbox?

"At issue are lunchboxes made from soft vinyl, an increasingly popular choice with manufacturers because of their ability to insulate foods and absorb all kinds of punishment on those rugged journeys to and from school........ researchers found that the lead contaminating the lunchboxes was not bound up in the vinyl material itself, but rather was simply resting on its surface where it could easily transfer to hands or food that touched it. Even more disturbing, in most cases the highest levels of lead detected were found not on the outside of the lunchboxes, but on the inner lining, the surface with which food is much more likely to have contact. Researchers believe the lead is added to the vinyl either as a stabilizer or as part of its pigment."

They say to either use old fashioned metal lunch boxes, cloth bags or paper bags. Or go buy a lead test kit from a hardware store.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

RIP, even though you were a terrible place to work

RIP, ShopRite of city that can't be named on a blog. ....................................................................
This one would have to have been taken not long before ShopRite closed for good. Leanna claims she can still remember this work uniform, but I doubt it. Leanna's just learned to walk here, you can tell she's still wobbly.

Not all that long ago.........

Can you believe I'm three months pregnant with Leanna in this picture?

I'm sad now.

This one's easier, I think........


Whose Kool-aid smile is this?

Which baby is this?

It's funny how the memory works. People tend to think Justin was a small baby because he's small now. Or that Leanna was always a blond because she is now. Kids go through so many major changes in their first few years, it's hard to keep track. I think all my kids look a lot alike, but people remember different aspects of their faces.

Who's in the picture?

Can you guess who's in the picture?

No fair answering if you actually know!

Rose Gardens

As I'm going through disks of pictures, here's one of the Rose Gardens, where I was married-many, many moons ago!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Check everyone's pants

So today Leanna resported that Justin stinks. I asked Justin, "Did you go poopy?" "Noooooo." "Justin, did you go poopy?(as I try to reach over and check)" "NO!" Vigorous head shaking from Justin. "Then let me check!" "NO!" "Why not?" "Be-caaase!"

(He did)

Caffeine therapy may help protect preemies' lungs

Apnea of prematurity is very common in preterm infants, because their lungs are underdeveloped and the central nervous system, which automatically directs the body to breathe, is immature and often not functioning properly. It's not known exactly how caffeine therapy helps these tiny babies breathe better, but its major benefits are believed to come from its stimulant effect on the respiratory system.

Study: Babies of smokers take in carcinogens

Not like this is a big surprise to anyone with, oh, I don't know, a brain........but they conclude that parents shouldn't smoke around their babies.

Cervical cancer vaccine gets FDA panel OK

Thank you!

Many thanks to everyone at the Tupperware party last night! Sales were enough for me to get the cooler set thing! Tom's excited about that too!

I think Maree enjoyed it, since he does want to be a chef one day. It was a bit long for my kids, but Leanna had fun with the social aspects of it. She liked talking to her grandparents and the tupperware rep afterwards. She wanted to call the rep back today because she had more things to tell her!

That was my first party as an adult, and it actually was a lot more fun than I expected.

Timothy update

Timothy's crawling backwards now. No tooth buds yet, but you can see they are under the surface.

Friday, May 19, 2006

If you don't want more kids.......

If you ever wondered what a man goes through for a vasectomy(and they say it's worse for a woman to get her tubes tied-geez, I don't even want to think about what that operation would be like than!!):


Leanna keeps calling it a "Tupperwary party."

more flies with honey........

Justin, in such a sweet little voice, trying to pull a chair across the living room floor for reasons known only to him:
"Come on, honey!"
And the chair did budge after that.

baby food

I sent this link through email to some of you, but I figure it's worth mentioning here also. You assume that you're getting your baby off to a good start, nutritionally, when you buy those little baby food jars. Sadly, not so!
The short version for those of you who don't want to read the whole thing:
Baby foods are greatly overpriced compared to similar regular foods. Examples include applesauce and fruit juices, as well as diced fruits and vegetables for toddlers. The nutrient content and physical characteristics of those baby foods do not differ significantly from those for adults. However, the baby foods cost up to several times as much per unit weight.
Foods made with starchy fillers cheat babies and consumers while increasing company profits. As discussed above, Gerber and Heinz replace up to 70% of their second- and third-stage fruits with water and then thicken them with chemically modified tapioca starch. They also add starchy fillers to all their regular second- and third-stage dinners.
Good news: Earth's Best 4-ounce jars of baby food cost about 25% more than its competitors' products. Earth's Best's dinners provide more protein and vitamin A than the comparable products made by Gerber and Heinz. Earth's Best uses no modified starches and minimal amounts of other thickening agents. In addition, all of Earth's Best's foods are made with organically grown ingredients, which is a definite plus for the environment.
So if you have to , this would be a good brand to go with.

Conclusion: It is clear that parents still need help in choosing the most healthful foods for their babies. Disclosure of the characterizing ingredients(s) on the front of the label and percentage-ingredient labeling on the side or back of the label would give parents the tools. Thus, one product might indicate on the front label "85 percent bananas," while another might state "50 percent bananas." Some companies would probably say that such labeling would reveal trade secrets, but the fact is that the only secret today is from parents--competitors know roughly what each other makes. It is also possible that certain companies, such as Beech-Nut and Growing Healthy, would favor percentage labeling, because it would give them a competitive tool. In any case, percentage labeling would encourage companies to compete on the basis of quality.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


This world is divided roughly into three kinds of nations: those that spendlots of money to keep their weight down; those whose people eat to live;and those whose people don't know where their next meal is coming from.-David S. Landes, author, professor of economics and history (1924- )

Our house smells

Tom's painting the basement walls, one at a time. He gets to use a new toy, his Wagner paint sprayer. Now if only I could get him to finish the rest of the house! He's been wanting to do the basement for a long time though.


Re-living my childhood:

They're Growing Again!

It's so neat to watch the kids growing up and becoming their own people. I can't wait to find out what Timothy's like. Will he keep that happy personality? Will he keep Justin's temper? I wonder about how his personality is being shaped by watching his brother and sister. Lately he's begun to really play by himself. I can set him on the floor with some toys and he'll play there for a while. Usually until one of his siblings bothers him.
I remembered the other thing that I've learned about myself from the kids. I've learned a lot about my speach! I use words like "probably" and "Actually" and phrases like, "In a minute" an awful lot apparently. And "Apparently." :) It sounds so funny to hear little Justin saying "probably" and handing me something while saying, "hold it, minute, Mommy." (hold it for a minute) His speach has been flowering lately. At first it was just extra words, but the past month or so he's been adding whole phrases. Last night he told me"I can't open the door." Very clearly too. That's a whole sentence! (I know, he's been using whole sentences forever, but they were much simpler ones). I've noticed Leanna copying a lot of Maree's gestures and phrasing lately too. Not so thrilled with that one. Maybe that will die down some when Leanna goes to school. But I do enjoy Leanna's explanations of things. She really does pick up a lot. Today she was telling me about how it's so hot in the desert(I hope I picked the right spelling there) that people have to eat inside, where it's cooler. She's been wanting to have a picnic lately. She now asks if she can marry Timothy one day instead of Justin.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

physician, heal thyself

Tonight Leanna tried to use a threat to get me to see things her way. I don't remember her exact words. The gist of it was that I explained to her what a threat was, that they aren't very nice, and that kids shouldn't talk that way. She asked me, "Only big people can threat?" And I said, "well they shouldn't, it's not a very nice way of doing things." And she said, "But big people do?" And I explained, "sometimes big people do things that they shouldn't do. They don't always do things right. They shouldn't threaten each other. It's not a nice way to be." Leanna said, "You can't threat because you have to watch me and Justin and Timothy." She has a point.
As we're having this conversation I'm thinking in the back of my head about times that I have used threats with her. I'm mentally cringing because she's making me realize that I'm so far from my ideals. I'm not setting the example I want to set. I take comfort in the fact that at least I realize the lesson she is unwittingly teaching me. That's half the battle, right?

Monday, May 15, 2006

Justin, bustin' a move....

Cause who doesn't find a bath to be invigorating??

My Dad's birthday party

From my Dad's party a couple weekends ago:

Just some pictures

Yes, she's sitting in the sink. She fell in and just enjoyed it.

Bannanas & (my) milk

Timothy's reaction to his first taste of solids.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Thank You Mom!

I would like to say that I am so disgusted with all the commercial mother's day crap. By this I mean all the "Every kiss begins with Kay" commercials, hallmark card commercials, etc. All the stupid stuff that suggests that what mothers want most is more possessions! The Kay commercials are the ones I find most offensive. I mean, the Dad writes a song in Mom's honor, assembles musical instruments and kids, in secret, to practice and perform. But the crowning moment is not this sweet loving gesture. It's the presentation of a piece of jewlery from the kids at the end of the song! If every kiss between Mommy and Daddy begins with a peice of jewlery from Kay, I can think of several names more befitting than "Mommy!"
I just think it's really sad the way holidays have become more and more about spending money and less about the actual emotions behind it all. Everywhere you look or listen there are adds for gifts to buy for the holiday! Most men probably wouldn't be aware there was a holiday coming if they weren't bombarded by these adds. I mean, it's fine if you really do have plenty of extra cash lying around to buy expensive jewelry. All mothers work very hard, harder than you realize unless you become a parent yourself. So if you can afford to lavish her with gifts, than that's great. We all owe our mothers, big time. But what about just saying thank you?? It's just wrong to make the gift itself be the focus. The reason you are getting her the gift, that should be the focus. The years of sacrifice and devotion and unconditional love-recognition is not too much to ask! I'm not saying don't give your Mom a gift. I just wish they weren't turning the holiday into just another day of buying things for people. It makes the holidays so generic. A day of thoughtful ways to tell people that you love and appreciate them, that's what it's supposed to be!

People really aren't as materialistic as companies would have you believe-if the magazine surveys are true, than most Moms would be thrilled to get an extra nap, some alone time, or some time alone with their families. As far as I'm concerned, those trump jewery anyday!

time spent together

Last night Leanna informed me that I should not have any more kids because how would I fit them all on my lap? At the time I was holding Timothy with Justin on one arm of the chair and Leanna on the other. I said, "But I thought you wanted me to have more babies?" She said, "Well I do, I want a sister and other babies too but I just want you to hold me too." Poor Leanna. Her brothers are so demanding, she does get left out a lot. I have to try extra hard to spend more time with her. I do miss our time alone. We had a very intense relationship before her brother came along.

little copycat

I've been letting Leanna do the vegetable or fruit peeling lately. It takes her forrever and produces odd shaped food, but she likes to do it. Justin's apparently been paying attention because Tom brought home those little mini-donettes. i let Justin have one today and he ran in the kitchen and brought out the peeler. As I type this he is trying to peel the donut. I doubt he'll have much sucess though, as he already licked all the power off it first.

Better than what I could say:

I have to post this, from the blog I stole half my name from. I love this woman's writting. This is the one who wrote the you can never outlove your mother post. Her mother has since died.

Thursday, May 11, 2006
Memories and traditions of Mother's Day
This Sunday, American Moms will be lavished with homemade noodle art, fingerpaintings and clay-pots with a plant we hope not to kill before the 4th of July. I have always loved Mother’s Day. As a little girl I would nearly burst with anticipation to be the first to present my mom with my magnificent work of art that I so carefully created. (Hey, noodles are not always so easy to clue on paper!) We would always bring her breakfast in bed. I could not wait for that part. I would literally knock my brother and sister out of the way to be the first one to get to her. Not because I was eager for the breakfast she always shared (which she always shared!), but because after breakfast, I got to snuggle up beside her and cuddle nap. After we presented her with our amazing art (always oooh’ed and ahhhh’ed over) and breakfast, I would find that cozy niche beside her, lay my head on her chest and fall asleep listening to her heartbeating a rhythm that would lull me to sleep. It was a ritual we enjoyed for years. Even into my tween years. It was our time.
As I grew up, the noodle art stopped. It became cards and flowers or something store bought for her. I became busy and had things to do, so the snuggle naps were abandonned for either my own nap in my own bed or off to my “very important” social life. After leaving for college, it was down to cards and phone calls and a visit when I could get away that weekend. By the time I had my own children, it was more often than not just a phone call and card because the traveling so far for a short weekend with kids was so hard to manage. But always the phone call. Always. We would laugh about the fact that I was now the recipient of the noodle art and plants I hoped not to kill.
Now, it is my daughter who rushes into my room full of giggles and hugs. It is Gabriella who fights to get the primo spot directly beside me. Eager for our very own post breakfast snuggle nap. As I wrap my arms around her and she lays her head on my chest, I always smile. Remembering when it was me in her spot and my Mom’s arms around me. The tradition had passed down to the two of us. When I told my Mom, she would smile that bittersweet smile. Happy that I get to enjoy those moments, but sad that they have passed for her.
I don’t know how I am going to get through Mother’s Day this year. I am sure I will get the fantastic works of noodle art and plants. And, as Mom always did for us, I will oooooh and ahhhh and place them in a prominent position in our family room. For reasons I don’t even remember, when Mom was in the hospital, we actually talked about those early Mother’s Days. We talked about the noodle art and the snuggle naps. She admitted she missed those days. I told her she had to get better because this year, I was going to make her an extra special noodle art gift to enjoy again.
But it is too late. She is gone and that noodle art won’t be given to her on Mother’s Day this year.
Clint won’t be able to be with me this year on Mother’s Day. It will be just me and the kids. So, breakfast in bed will either be made by me (coffee and a bagel please) or made by the older boys (cold cereal and a Diet Coke). I am fine with that. I mean, I am totally not a breakfast person. But I know that breakfast or not, Gabriella will race into my room for our snuggle nap. And as she lays her head on my chest to sleep, I am sure it will be one of the sweetest and hardest moments I have had to endure since Mom died. I am sure I will cry over the memories of the snuggle naps I shared with Mom and the realization those moments are forever gone and that past memories are all I can have of Mom now. And I am sure I will cry over the blessing of having my very own child who lays her head on my chest to snuggle nap with me.
I also know in my heart Mom will be watching, smiling and will be at peace knowing the tradition continues.
Posted by Jenn on 05/11 at 10:07 AM

Friday, May 12, 2006

Thursday, May 11, 2006

still bringing home animals

I thought that eventually boys stop bringing home animals. Apparently not, as my husband just brought home tadpoles on last Friday. They were just a black head and tail. Today we noticed the beginnings of legs staring to grow. It's a good science lesson for Leanna. They're kinda gross-looking though. I wish he could bring home cuter animals, but we're not allowed to have pets. I wish I had the camera to show you. I don't know what we're doing with them when they turn into frogs.

For Leanna

Leanna wants me to post this picture:

She wants to be Cinderella for Halloween this year, but I believe that is beyond my skills. Leanna says:



Learning to sew(sort of)

Justin is sleeping (Halleluja! Halleluja!) and Timothy is happily playing right next to me sitting in the bassinet that is now too small for him. It's ok, I'm right next to him and can easily stop him before he would fall. Leanna is trying to sew. I discovered a sewing kit at the dollar store, so we tried it. She's been asking me to learn to sew for a while now. Well, you do get what you pay for: the kit contained yarn that doesn't quite match the picture, a plastic aida, and a plastic needle that's very hard to thread. No directions, you go by the picture on the front. So it's not just cross stitch, it's counted cross stitch. I have trouble doing counted cross stitch-so I'm not sure why they expect a kid to be able to! But I guess it's a good way to introduce the idea of sewing. Afterall it doesn't matter if she messes it up completely(which she will since it's so difficult) because it was only a dollar. She'll have fun pretending to sew anyway. When we're at Walmart she bugs her Daddy to please go to "the Mommy section" which means the part where they have material.

They say you can teach really young kids to knit, maybe we should try that first. We can learn together!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Is it ok to mess with your kids' minds?

I found this post from the Dibert blog amusing. My sister frequently comments when I mess with the kids. I do this all the time. And I mean more than just pretending that you've grabbed the kid's nose. (Tom likes to do that one). For example, Maree used to annoy me with her constantly asking what's for dinner? So I told her "Martian eyeballs." At first she was really grossed out. And a little worried. But she caught on fairly quickly that it's really just spaghetti and meatballs. No harm done. I can't think of any specific incidents, but I think I learned it from my Dad. I think it's generally harmless, as long as you're not mean with it and you know when to stop. There's a good chance it'll help them, it'll give them good stories to tell one day (to friends or their therapist) it encourages them to use their imaginations, and it's fun for Mommy.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Awwww, how sweet

Justin's playing with black play-doh. He just brought it over to me, shoved on top of the lid and told me, "I made coffee!" At first I thought he was telling me he made a doggie, but that's so sweet-he made coffee and brought it to me!

Calif. woman has 14-pound preemie baby

Holy cow! They think the baby would have been about 16 pounds if it went to full term! That's like giving birth to Timothy now!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Gilmore Girls is the most bookish show on television.

For those of you who care, check out this link.

Looking on the bright side of things

It occurs to me that the nice part about Justin's love of dumping things is that I always have a scented vacuum cleaner. For example, when he dumped out a quarter of a container of coffee, it smelled like coffee every time I vacumed until I changed the bag. Currently my vacuum is scented oregano.

This is sooooo Leanna


Things have finally quieted down here today. Why? Leanna and Justin are currently playing with new toilet paper rolls and naked barbie dolls. Timothy is sitting in my lap trying to type. Barbie always ends up naked, doesn't she? With really wild hair.

Grammy's silly

It was a busy weekend spent with both sets of grandparents and Aunts and Uncle. We had a birthday party and an early mother's day celebration(sort of).

At one point on Saturday my Mom dissapeared and Leanna wondered where she had gone. I said, "She joined the circus." And Leanna asked, quite seriously, "Which one?" : )

Saturday, May 06, 2006


I should explain first that Justin's been in a phase of hitting and pushing with occasional (light) bitting. Yesterday Aunt Laura was holding Justin and he went to put his hand down her shirt. She told him, no, that's something you only do with Mommy(meaning nursing). Leanna asks, "What, bite or lick?"

Friday, May 05, 2006


My kids aren't in school yet, but I still found this discussion interesting.....

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Awww........I'm dissapointed. I do like Target better than Walmart. The products seem a little nicer and it's more spacious and cleaner. Plus from working a union job I know that Walmart isn't very nice to their workers. Heck I wouldn't shop there at all out of protest if I could-but we don't make enough. Walmart is cheap. According to this article they aren't all that much different than Walmart afterall. : (


The people who bought car we sold keep calling us to help them. Not just with the car we sold them, but another one they have also. The first time we figured we owed them because they let us borrow back our car the day after we sold it to them(something was wrong with the van). That was very nice of them. But then they called again after the man said it wouldn't start. So Tom went and looked at it and found a crack on the engine. Which wasn't there when we sold it to them. We were feeling bad about that until we heard the real story-someone told the man that he should put oil in the car so he poured in two quarts, and that would be what cracked the engine. His neighbor said he could fix it, but apparently couldn't get to it fast enough. So now they're calling Tom again asking him to come look at it to see if he can fix it. He told the son that he knew someone selling a car for $400 and the son hinted that Tom should give him a ride to see it. Tom purposely ignored the hint, so then he outright asked. They've called a few times for advice with their other car, and Tom looked at that one too. But he said (to me) he's not going to look at their car or try to fix it anymore. I'm glad he's finally putting his foot down now-he has so little time with us or to relax. He does way too many free or low price projects for people. I feel bad saying that, but he has a family to support too.

So Tom calls me from work yesterday, "hey, do we have an extra hundred or so?" "Why?" "Well, the cars on the highway decided to go slow all the sudden and I had a plank in the van, and now..............the windsheild is cracked." Did you ever have a feeling that you will just never get caught up?

sounds I love

One of the sweetest sounds I hear now is Timothy's little voice crying out, "Mama!" He only does it when he's upset and wanting me to pick him up. It just breaks my heart.

Both boys call me that, Leanna never did. I wonder if it's gender related or just coincidence.

The ants go marching..............

Leanna is waging a war on the ants coming in through the backdoor. "OK! Enough ant time here!" She yells into the kitchen. But they didn't listen. So she went away and came back with a plastic sled, belligerently yelling, "Enough of that! It's squashing time!" And she tossed the sled onto the floor in the general area where ants are congregating. So far it's not working and she's still out there yelling at the floor. And throwing shoes.

Justin is fascinated and is immitating his sister's every move. He adds his own stuff though-like "Ever, ever, ever!" which is his way of admonishing(As in, "ever, ever, ever touch vacuum! or "ever, ever, ever hit!"). He's pretty curious about them, but Leanna was at his age too. Those poor ants-between the yelling and the throwing they won't know what hit them!

just a quote

"E.E. Cummings once wrote; 'To be nobody-but-yourself - in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else - means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.'"

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

What Toddlers Eat Around the World

American tots may scarf down Cheerios and chicken nuggets, but in most other countries, kids eat what their parents do. See what parents are serving up toddlers in booster seats across the globe.

Japan-The Japanese enjoy the world's longest average life spans, and a big reason for that may be the food they eat starting from a very young age. Rice is the centerpiece of a common toddler meal. All other foods -- fish, meat, vegetables -- are side items intended to enhance the flavor of the rice. A typical toddler lunch is egg-flavored rice with broiled fish or seafood (more popular than meat due to the island's access to water), a side dish of lightly cooked seasonal vegetables, and soup with tofu (commonly known as miso).
Other Favorites: Noodles -- soba (buckwheat) and udon (wheat flour) served in a soy-flavored fish broth with vegetables; tofu with veggies; Bento, a boxed meal of rice, pickled veggies; and other side dishes.
Sweet Tooth Satisfiers: Kimi balls are egg-flavored, rice flour-based sugary treats that literally melt in your mouth.
South Africa-South Africans -- regardless of age, race, or class -- live on mealie pap, a maize- or cornmeal-based porridge, similar to Cream of Wheat cereal but with a thicker, stickier texture.
Other Favorites: A Marmite sandwich and a cup of milk-and-sugar tea is also common. Only a tiny amount of Marmite, a well-concentrated yeast spread made from a by-product of the beer brewing process, is added to a piece of buttered toast. South Africans like the strong, salty, flavor of it, but it may be an acquired taste for others. One American describes it as tasting like "soy sauce that's been boiled down into a paste and then mixed with tar from the road." Taste aside, it's an excellent source of Vitamin B.
Sweet Tooth Satisfiers: Guava and passion fruit; bread smeared with a melted chocolate spread, such as Nutella.
Australia-Take a peek at any parent's shopping list down under, and you are likely to spot Vegemite (similar to South Africa's Marmite), a yeast extract-based sandwich and toast spread. Vegemite is unofficially referred to as one of Australia's national foods (22 million jars of it are sold a year). Peanut butter, jam, butter, and cheese are often added to soften the strong taste for kids.
Other Favorites: Ryvita (crispbread), Jalna (Australian-made yogurt), Cheesymite scrolls (baked Vegemite and cheese bread), spaghetti Bolognese, meat pies (pastry filled with beef), beets and beet sandwiches, Weetabix cereal.
Sweet Tooth Satisfiers: Sultanas are a popular type of raisin, similar to America's golden raisins but slightly sweeter; kids munch on them plain or use them to top cereal. Also, muesli bars (an oat and wheat bar with fruit flavoring) and various types of berries.
Fun Food FactsAfter the United States, the largest market for McDonald's is Japan, with more than 3,000 restaurants. FYI: Ronald is known as Donald there. McSushi, anyone?
Danes have a term called hygge, meaning good food. It represents the satisfaction and overall feeling of happiness one gets from a great meal.
Denmark, Sweden, India
Denmark-Danish toddler foods are similar to what you might find served in the cafeteria in IKEA. Indeed, Danish nursery foods exhibit the same Scandinavian practicality as the popular furniture store: They get the job done. The easy-to-chew staples include frikadeller (meatballs) and chopped salads. Kids also clamor for smørrebrød, an open-faced sandwich made with rye or pumpernickel bread and different fillings: liverwurst, ham, cod roe, frikadeller, mackerel, sweet red cabbage, marinated red beets, and Danish cheese, among other items. Smørrebrød is eaten with a knife and fork rather than one's hands.
Other Favorites: Like its German neighbors, Denmark is big on meat and potatoes (for toddlers, especially potatoes). Traditionally, fresh fruits and vegetables were not abundant because the long, hard winters made farming difficult. Today, however, salads and greens are much more common. Apples, cherries, and solbær (black currant or sun berries) are typically served in small portions with cheese, and also used to add spots of color to various desserts.
Sweet Tooth Satisfiers: The pastry we in America call a Danish is known as wienerbrød, a food introduced by immigrant bakers from Vienna in the 1840s.SwedenThe Swedes, oddly enough, are number one in the world's consumption of ketchup (the United States and Canada tie for third, after Australia), and children are certainly a big reason the demand for ketchup is so high. What do kids put ketchup on? "Literally anything, but especially anything that looks suspiciously nutritious," one Swedish parent says. A popular option is macaroni-and-substitute- the-cheese-with-ketchup-please.
Other Favorites: Falukorv (Swedish sausage), meat stews, fried fish or fish fingers, mackerel, meatballs, porridge, pancakes, and bagels.
Tooth Satisfiers: The Swedes love their ice cream -- in fact, they rank in the top 10 countries in consumption of this summertime favorite. But they're also careful not to let toddlers overdo it. Instead, fruit, fruit juices, and fruit sauce are typical substitutes, as well as sponge cake and rice pudding with fruit sauce.
India-Indian toddlers adore khichdi, a mushy rice-and-lentil-based dish (think a spicy, turmeric-yellow rice porridge), because it's easy to swallow, while parents love that it includes just about every food group a growing child needs. Vegetables ranging from carrots and green beans one day to squash and okra the next and a protein (goat, lamb, or chicken) are cooked in butter and turmeric powder. Because the dish is traditionally eaten by hand, the veggies need to be soft enough to smash with the rice and then scooped up straight into the child's mouth. A twist of lime and a dab of pickled mango are often added to enhance the flavor.
Other Favorites: Aloo gobi (potato and cauliflower curry), parota, nan or chapati (variations of flat bread) eaten with subzi (onion-sauteed vegetables, such as diced potato with fenugreek, bitter gourd, or cabbage).
In South India, rice and yogurt are toddler staples.
Sweet Tooth Satisfiers: Gulab jamun, fried milky dough balls covered in syrup; lassi, a yogurt drink commonly sweetened with mango; kheer, a rice pudding flavored with cardamom.
Fun Food Facts-In India, kids and adults alike eat with their hands. This practice encourages mixing different types of meat, fish, and veggie curries with rice or bread (many Indians will swear this is the only way to truly enjoy a meal).
Israel, Brazil, Turkey, Korea
Israel-Israeli toddlers are typically served one of three kinds of sandwiches for lunch: olive and butter (pitted olives between two slices of buttered bread), salted cottage cheese, and chocolate spread (a popular Israeli brand is Hashahar Ha'ole, "Rising Dawn," which looks and tastes like Nutella). The sandwiches (usually on white bread) are served with yogurt, a piece of fruit, and orange juice, apricot juice, or chocolate milk.
Other Favorites: Israeli salad made from diced cucumbers, carrots, celery, onion, peppers, olives, and parsley, tossed with olive oil and lemon juice. (No leafy greens found in this salad!)Sweet Tooth Satisfiers: The ever popular ice cream, chocolates, and Bamba, a puffy peanut butter snack.
BrazilA tropical climate and an abundance of fresh fruit contribute to healthy meals for toddlers in Brazil, where "frying is a no-no," according to one parent. Instead, most dishes are stewed. A typical meal is rice and beans with some protein (ground beef, chicken, fish, or pork), and a vegetable (potato, broccoli, spinach, peas, or carrots).
Other Favorites: Beans (feijão) of many types and colors (black, red, white), Coxinha (chicken croquette), pão de queijo (cheese bread), pasta with tomato sauce, and cheese and crackers. Sweet Tooth Satisfiers: Tropical fruits (papaya, mango, guava, kiwi, fig, passion fruit, and a half-dozen varieties of banana) and juices made from "real fruits, not bottles or concentrates," according to one Brazilian. Indeed, roadside juice bars are a common scene throughout the country. More traditional desserts include ice cream and geléia de mocotó (a calcium-rich pudding).
Turkey-Turkish toddlers receive a tremendous amount of nutrients in a popular lunchtime dish called sebze yemeg (vegetable casserole) or türlü (translated: "a variety"). The vegetables are usually whatever is in season: Celery, peas, green beans, spinach, artichokes, and zucchini are popular options. Additions may include white or brown rice, bulgur (cracked wheat), red lentils, minced chicken, lamb, or beef. The lunch is rounded off with a salad (of tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers) and rice (if it's not already included in the stew). Yogurt accompanies most dishes.
Other Favorites: Bread (French or baguettes) with every meal, mini shish kebabs, grape leaves, kashar cheese (similar to sharp Cheddar), pureed spinach.
Sweet Tooth Satisfiers: Homemade cakes and puddings; Turkish Delight, a confection flavored with rosewater, similar in consistency to a gummy bear, covered with powdered sugar.
Fun Food FactIn the C.S. Lewis novel The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Turkish Delight was the entrancing sweet that led Edmund to betray his siblings. He's not alone in his passion: Napoleon, Churchill, and Picasso also fancied the sugary confection.
Korea-Korean food, in general, is defined by bold and spicy flavors. One way toddlers learn to handle the heat, is by eating lots and lots of kimchi, a pickled vegetable dish containing generous amounts of chili powder. Chinese cabbage, radish, garlic, onions, and sometimes seafood are other popular ingredients in this quintessential Korean dish. Another staple, kim bab, consists of rice and small portions of vegetables wrapped in nori (seaweed sheets). It's similar to the Japanese maki roll, but with the exception of the distinct smell of sesame oil, and these popular fillers: spinach, eggs, cucumber, and kimchi.
Other Favorites: Bibimbab is white rice topped with beef, vegetables, and a fried egg -- and lots of chili pepper sauce. Nongshim is a brand of spicy Korean ramen noodles, usually cooked with eggs and onions.
Sweet Tooth Satisfiers: "There is more junk food in Korea than in America," laments one parent. Koreans eat a wide variety of candy and ice cream. Melon bars made from honeydew, and Popsicles are also popular.

Badal is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York.Originally published in American Baby magazine, December 2005.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Leanna's view of Men

I think it's adorable that Leanna thinks that all boys start out with blonde hair and then have dark hair when they become men. Because that's how her Daddy is.


Yesterday afternoon we all took a family nap-all five of us in a row on the bed. It wasn't the most relaxing sleep I've ever had, but it was really nice. Cozy and sweet.

bags of leafy Ecoli

Ecoli bacteria is being found on bags of prepackaged salads, there've been 19 outbreaks of contamination. And so far they haven't figured out why. Dole says they think it's from the outside of the bag, not their lettuce, and it happens after it leaves their plants. Yeah, right. Conveniently, that would mean they were in no way responsible. The CDC says no way.
So you might want to lay off the (bagged) salads for a while. That's a shame because they do make it easier for time challenged people like me to eat more greens!


Since Jamie mentioned that her son likes Gerber's MiniVeggies Sweet Corn, I decided to try it. (Thank you, Jamie!) I'd always been curious, but it's pretty expensive for a tiny bag that's only 1/2 full. So I didn't try them until I had confirmation from someone I knew whose child had actually liked them. And I am happy to report that Justin ate them! Every little victory in the war on food makes me happy! Now, with Justin, just because he happily ate them once does not mean that he will ever like them again. But you know what, every little dose of vegetables means less garbage that he eats. So I count it as a mini victory!

lessons from your kids

Kids teach you all sorts of things. Not just the big stuff like what's important in life or to slow down your pace, but things like little personality quirks you didn't even realize you had.
When Leanna was about two I realized that I have a tendancy to stick out my tounge a little when I put my contacts in(from watching her pretend to put her contacts in). And I wasn't aware that I usually make an exasperated sound when the phone rings until Justin started doing it too! Oh-I had another good example but it just completely blew out of my head. If I think of it later I'll repost this!

Bible stories, Leanna style

Last night I was reading Leanna this little Precious Moments Bible stories book. We read the story of Adam and Eve. It seemed a bit difficult for her age, so I asked her to tell me what the story had been about(to see what she actually got out of it). She said, "Well, they got naked...." Then I was too busy laughing to continue.

More middle-income Americans lacking health insurance

"This calls into question a lot of the policies that have been put forward in the last few years about solving the health-care crisis by supposedly empowering consumers by having them pay more of the cost of care," Pryor said. "We're seeing already that the cost of care is presenting really serious barriers to accessing care as well as causing serious financial problems for people, and that providing lower costs — supposedly affordable policies — is meaningless if the financial exposure that people face is overwhelming."