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Monday, July 31, 2006

Cover controversy

From the navel gazing midwife's blog: Baby Talk Magazine Controversy
For goodness' sake.The cover of this month's
Baby Talk (link has a photo of the cover) shows a baby breastfeeding and is causing such an uproar that a survey of over 4,000 people showed 1/4 were offended (?!?) or disgusted by the photo. The magazine has been receiving comments such as:"I was SHOCKED to see a giant breast on the cover of your magazine," one person wrote. "I immediately turned the magazine face down," wrote another. "Gross," said a third. This short article bespeaks of the strange dichotomy in our society. One one side is the you-gotta-breastfeed-because-it's-the-only-right-thing-to-do-for-your-baby; on the other, nurse-that-baby-in-the-bathroom-I-find-it-repulsive. How can any woman win?

Once again, reminding me why I try never to judge another's parenting. It really seems like there's no way to win. No matter what choice you make-there's a whole group of people out there telling you it's the wrong choice. Breast is best, but it's gross, do it in private. And do it as short a period as possible! Formula isn't gross, it's normal, but you never know-some woman, insecure with her own choices, might yell at your for not breastfeeding. Then there's the women who do some combination of the two(feeling guilty at both) or who really wanted to breastfeed but couldn't(for whatever reason). This applies not just to breastfeeding but to all aspects of parenting. And it's hard to escape. People are really vested in their own parenting choices and feel the need to comment or critisize often.

(That said, geez, if it was a woman's-or man's- hand covering that breast, instead of a baby's mouth/face-it wouldn't be such a big deal. That sort of thing appears on magazine covers all the time.)

Good news for kids: Doctors advise more play

Good to hear since they've been doing things like taking away or shortening recesses at schools.

Some children may be innately fussy eaters, study shows

Tots with sensitive taste buds eat fewer veggies
Some children may be innately fussy eaters, study shows. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I've seen a slew of articles/books that say picky eaters are just made by their parents. That once again, it's all my fault!! While I think there are things parents can do that can make it worse or better, in my experience, there are some food habbits you can do nothing about! Or so it seems, thus far anyway! I'm just trying to hang in there and hopefully it will get better as he gets older and out of the picky toddler stage(though his problems go far beyond the normal picky toddler!)

Saturday, July 29, 2006

little things

After our walk today I rang the doorbell to ask my Dad to help lift the double stroller up the steps. It's never an easy task, but today both boys were sleeping and I was really hoping they would stay that way. So instead of trying to take them out my Dad helped me lift the whole thing up the steps. And then he let Leanna visit him, which was incredibly helpful. My Mom was on a trip this weekend so it was just him and Claire in the house. Claire hides upstairs, so he was alone with her for about an hour and a half! Without Leanna making noise, both boys took a nice long nap. And I not only had a quiet house for once, but I was able to clear off the counter full of dishes that's been sitting there for about 2 weeks. I never have enough time in a row to get to the dishes at the bottom of the stack. (we always have an abundance of plastics-which can only go on the top rack of our dishwasher-because of the kids' cups and containers) so I hardly ever get all the dishes finished. It's a tiny victory, but it's the kind that makes such a difference. It's so depressing to always have a stack of dirty dishes looking at you. Actually seeing the countertop is so much nicer. Sometimes tiny favors can really make your day.

little trips

I really love taking walks with the kids. It's a pain in the butt to get going, but pretty enjoyable to be out. Especially with three kids, it's difficult to get everyone fed, dressed, and ready to go. Sometimes it's more the mental weight of getting ready that keeps us from going places. I just don't always feel up to getting them out the door. Timothy loves to look around, and Justin gets all excited to see birds flying and people walking their dogs. Sometimes he flirts with people we pass. Physical excersize is always good, and being out of the house usually stimulates our imaginations. We're usually on a mission(to save baby jaguire or condor) or maybe just trying to get through the forrest and over the troll bridge(ala Dora), or swimming through the sea with the dolphins and mermaids. It often brings up subjects that just don't come up in the house. We look at people's flowers. We notice different or just plain strange-colored houses. We've even seen houses that look a little like castles. Our city has a surprising number of pretty houses that just haven't been taken care of. They really don't make houses like they used to.

I've had numerous discussions on manners with Leanna-things like moving out of other people's way, and why we do it even if they don't-and explanations of why we do the things we do. Something as simple as a walk is a way to pass on values, without making it seem to much like a sermon. Today was a science lesson(Leanna asked why we have boogies). Who knows, maybe she won't remember these things at all. I'd like to think that even if she won't remember the specifics, overall this stuff will seep through. The manners, the values, the memories of time spent together talking.

Silly tests

♥Steph and ♥Tom
  • Will never conceive a handful of elitist children.
  • Choose not to arm-wrestle when permitted.
  • Can both cerebrate.
Orchestrated by ianiceboy

The middle one is so not true! We would definitely arm wrestle-permitted or not!

Good places to shoot photos

In anticipation of getting a camera to use again.........Dan's Camera has a bunch of message boards and here's one about good places in the Lehigh Valley to shoot pictures
Anyone have any other suggestions to add?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

baby of the family

Timothy's now up to 17 pounds, 13 oz. and 27 1/2 inches long. Aside from a really nasty diaper rash, all's well. He's getting very good at balancing on his feet. In fact sometimes we play that way. I'll set him on his feet and he'll laugh at me while sitting down. Because he knows I want him to stand, it's funny to sit. He's a very happy little guy. He loves to grab faces and glasses, it's one of the ways he shows affection. He loves you so much he just has to grab your nose and pull! Really. The only vegetable he tolerates right now is sweet peas. Just like his big brother and sister; he's started to toddle after Daddy when he sees him heading for the door (to smoke). He wants to go out with Daddy too! His personality is becoming more apparent, which is neat to see.

Not the best picture of him, but it's one of the most recent I have. They called yesterday to say that Sony can't fix our camera and they're giving us a replacement. Don't know what kind yet, but it'll be 2 weeks before we get it.


Justin asked for a cheese and jelly sandwhich today. I made him half a sandwich (the most he'll eat at one time) and he ate about half of that before taking the cheese out and just eating that. He ate cheese and jelly. Then he asked me to put peanut butter on the cheese. I declined.

Just like Daddy

It is really adorable to watch Leanna and Justin playing Daddy. Justin's at a stage where he's real big on that right now. Leanna was at his age too, but for her it was fixing computers, because that's how Tom spent his spare time then. Justin sees him building and fixing things all the time, so Justin plays Daddy with tools and wood. Tom loves that. He wants Justin to learn carpentry and Timothy to play the guitar. : )


One of Justin's latest things is an obsession with bees. Probably because we've been spending more time outside because of the rabbits and Tom's working outside a few doors down. When he wakes up in the morning he tells me there's a bee in his eyes (sand). Sometimes he tells me there's a bee in his nose (you can guess). Right now anything- except a bird-that flies is a bee.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

School forms

Do you know you have to sign that your child has never been disciplined or expelled from another school(or explain why), even for kindergarten? Lots of questions about what is their primary language, what is spoken in the home, what other languages do they speak, etc. They want to know about your pregnancy with the child(seems invasive to me-why is it their business?) Sign away that you know your kid may have internet access and can get in trouble for violating the district's policies on it. They want you to sign away the right to see beforehand or approve them using your child's picture/video/audio or artwork, etc. to promote the district (and their liability).
In addition to medical records you have to sign a page about the chicken pox vaccine specifically.
They even want to know what you consider to be your child's greatest strength and possible concerns.
I expected the stuff about emergency contacts and health info, but wow. And especially in this day of frivolous lawsuits, I don't like to have written records of every single thing.

Making lunch

Last night I made a sandwhich for Tom to take to work today. He's working someplace where the only food close by is a gas station that sells hotdogs. I am seriously worried about his health because his recent diet has been made up entirely of hot dogs, chips, more chips, tater-tots, and donuts. Leanna wanted to know why I was making him a sandwhich. Not that it's all that healthy, but it beats a lunch of donuts and a hot dog(yesterday's lunch). I explained that sometimes Daddy won't stop to eat if he doesn't have food around so I was making him something to take with him. She asked how did I know he wouldn't eat? I said, well, because I just do! She paused for a moment, then smiled and said, "Oh! Because you have Mommy-Powers!"

I've trained her well, haven't I?

Phrases repeated, but in a different context

Our mail comes in through a slot in the door. Justin loves to bring the mail to me once it arrives. Today he and Leanna were fighting over who got to get the mail-and he won. He brought it over and dumped it in my lap, announcing in a haughty tone, "You're lucky I found this!"

Monday, July 24, 2006

Latest Messes

Justin roundup:

One night he decided to help himself to the baby's rice-cereal. Assuming it came out of the box the same way he sees it looking as the baby eats it, Justin downed a mouthful of the stuff, along with several blueberries. He ran out to me, caughing all the way. For the benefit of those of you who haven't made baby cereal for a long time, or ever, it is in the box in powder form, you must add water or milk. So he got a mouthful of dry tiny powdery flakes. Yum. I took him to the sink to wash his mouth out-it was still full of flakes-and he promtly started throwing it up. All over the sink, the front of the cabinets, and himself.

Twice in the past few days he's decided to pour himself some cereal-and overflowed it.

He gets a kick out of drinking out of the kitchen sink as though it was a water fountain. And making the water spray all over the kitchen too. That's real fun.

One day he "made" coffee by dumping the pot out all over the stove.

I can only assume Leanna was pretending to be Justin when she decided to sprinkle cloves all over the kitchen floor. It did smell nice though.

We can't find his Daddy's work cupcakes-Justin says he ate them all but I don't think he possibly could. His belly's just not that big!

And yesterday he decided to eat dry noodles, spilling the entire bag all over the floor in the process of climbing to get them.

That's all I can think of now.

Leanna's checkup

A little update here: Leanna went for her 5 year old check up last week. She's now 39 1/2 pounds, and 41 inches tall. Her hearing's fine and she's not colorblind. The nurse was impressed that she was so concerned with detail. They had her trace pictures with her finger and Leanna made sure to trace every part of the numbers, tails and all. That's Leanna. Her eyesight leaves something to be desired however. It's borderline right now, which means there is a good chance she'll be getting glasses in the next few years. I had to do her anemia test. It's a little finger stick thing, the nurse let me do it to ease Leanna's fears. She wanted them to explain everything before they did it, and they didn't want to take the time. I tried to explain that it'd go much easier if they told her what they were going to do first. That's just how she is. You don't need two people to hold her down if you explain what you're doing and then just let me hug her(much easier). That's routine though for bigger kids, two staff members to hold them down plus the parent. I think I'd be terrified if I had two people holding me down, regardless of whether the shot hurt or not. She got two books out of the deal, and Justin got one also(they're only supposed to give one to the child getting the checkup). They also did a second chicken pox shot, because they've found that with only one shot it sometimes wears off later on. Interesting. I got her records, so Wednesday we'll be able to finish signing her up for kindergarten.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

20 things about me

Facts you may or may not know about me:
1.I have a HUGE sweet tooth
2.My bedroom clock is set 12 minutes fast. (I only set the alarm in numbers ending in 2, 4, 6, 12, 14, or 16. I'm not sure why, I just like those numbers better.)
3.I'm a rabbit in Chinese astrology (Virgo here)
4.I've sung onstage at Disney World.
5.I have 3 piercings-2 holes in each ear, and my belly button. Though I took my belly ring out at the end of the third pregnancy. The ball came off and my skin was stretched so far(still pregnant then) that I was afraid I would rip my belly if I tried to put it back in. I figure at this point my belly doesn't look ANYTHING like it did when I pierced it, so I might as well leave it out. The hole is still there though. And I still find it satisfying to think that the OB told me I would never make it through a pregnancy with the belly ring still in-ha! I went through 3! He ate his words at the end, actually admitted it to me.
6. I always wanted a tattoo, but never found anything I wanted permanently on my body.
7.I used to either clean or go out walking when I got really angry. It would help burn off the physical energy you get when you're mad. But I can't do that anymore since I've had kids. I think it was much healthier for me.
8.I really really miss physical activity-I used to walk all the time and be really strong. That's the biggest factor in my current weight, more than having babies.
9.Even general math confounds me. When I found out I was done with math in college I sent my friend an email saying I never had to take another math class again! And my friend wrote back to say, "Do you know you punctuated that sentence with 91 exclamation points?" I don't think that was nearly enough!
10. I'm terrified that one of my children will inherit the hemangeoma I have in my face.
11. In elementary school, I used to get awesome reviews in slam books (anyone remember those?)
12. Once I commented to a co-worker that I thought our boss resembled Tanya Harding (the figure skater) and she laughed and said that's funny cause I always thought you looked like Nancy Kerrigan!
13.I helped a friend put out an underground newsletter in high school and even wrote a few articles for it.
14. The most interesting college class I ever took -Judaism and Christianity after the holocaust. Really really fascinating.
15. For a summer in high school I lived on toast(occasionally with cheese) for lunch cause we had nothing good to eat.
16. I was one class away (not offered that semester) from graduating with a minor in history. (My degree is in English)
17. My favorite comic strip is Calvin and Hobbes.
18. I rarely have one favorite of anything.
19. I am starting to like shoes (couldn't have cared less my whole life)
20. I hate washing dishes!

Friday, July 21, 2006

I wish I had written this

I love this post, the woman who wrote it at the shape of a mother blog didn't leave an email, just her blog address ( ).

Stretch Marks of the Heart

In the two months since I last posted little has changed. At least on the surface, I still scurry in the same circles, busied by the same activities and investing in mostly the same friendships. Yet in these sixty days -- unmarked by major alteration of activity or lifestyle, there have been a multitude of small realities I've come to terms with.When you lie in a moveable metal bed cloaked in an open-backed pink gown, strapped with monitors, numb from the waist down and hear the tiny gurgle of your newly born child, motherhood does not immediately wash over you. Thankfulness, yes. Awe, most definitely. Awareness of your identity and its ever evolving state.... not so much.From the moment the doctor handed back the little white stick I thought she was crazy for having me pee on, a deep sense of love, awe and appreciation pumped through my veins. I loved him so much it hurt. On the way home from the doctor's office I wept at every stop light -- sometimes huge happy tears, other times repeating, "how can this be right, I'm not ready, I'm so not ready". But when I finally sat face to face with Jeff and handed him the two parallel lines that were to be our baby, we hugged each other and cried. Scared, excited, amazed, and delirious.When I look at Max and take in the perfection of his face, the sweet condition of his demeanor, the steady pulls of security as he slumbers I silently ask how it's possible that he is mine. If I look to Max to find the rhyme or reason for my newfound state of motherhood all I can see in myself is lack of qualification and insufficiency. Surely a child this beautiful, this sweet and stock full of personality should have a surreal blend of a Supermodel, Betty Crocker and Will Farrell as a mom - how else did he become so charming. But when I return to the office after lunch and my co-worker leans in with an inquisitive glance and states, "I think you have a booger on your shirt" it all becomes quite clear. Supermodel/cook/comedienne I am not; Mother, I am.I used to joke about my semi-permanent ponytail... then a friend gently encouraged me to get a new hair cut. Maybe I should cut it really short and messy, that would be so chic. Reality check - birth of the momcut.I was getting my nails done but the bi-weekly appointments were starting to cost almost as much as formula and I couldn't justify splurging on my cuticles over feeding my child. I remembered a time about two years ago when a forty-something friend of mine apologizing for her looks that day saying, "I'm such a wreck, I look like a new mother. My nails aren't even painted".Legs? Hairy. Body? White and soft and I found myself happily sharing with a group of friends how soft it is. Because after all, scar tissue is soft. "It feels like baby skin... or grandma's... err one of the two".I guess I'm somewhere in between. Not quite past baby fat but not yet comfortable in the folds of my own aging (yes aging) skin. I rested against the kitchen island, spike heels kicked off in the corner, tummy no longer sucked in. Push up bra doing its job with my droppy remainders a little too well and my wrap shirt exposing a bit more than intended. I started rubbing my foot and complaining that my shoes just don't fit right anymore, "I used to have narrow feet". The peals of mocking laughter aimed at my own mother when she used to make statements I viewed as lies because of obvious impossibility began to ring in my head.My friends and I sat around eating fondue and talking about years past when we wore bikinis and shorts (oh the novelty of shorts) and the forced humility that ensues when others find the thought of a formerly skinny "us" implausible. Someone complained of a hooded belly button and without warning, shirts were coming up and midriffs were bared more freely than anytime since high school. We compared stretch marks and post baby pooches and found comfort and fondness in the similarity.Someone's baby cried and the evening began to break up. The clock was ticking and with babysitters at $5.00 an hour, talk isn't cheap. We said our goodbyes, questioned who's baby shower was next, what our next bible study will be about and how to prepare and freeze 170 meals in a day (I'M NOT KIDDING, SOMEONE ACTUALLY DOES THAT).As I walked towards the door I saw the eyes of my friend's two-year-old peering out from behind the wicker rocking chair. His eyes were wide with the thrill of being unnoticed and engrossed in the observation of all that is his mommy. I stooped down low and caught his eye and gave him a conciliatory smile and he vanished behind the chair. Suddenly, all the odd motherhood moments of the last sixty days and more came washing over me.I'm no longer the observer in the corner, satisfied merely to have my mother in my line of sight. I wistfully thought about my own mother - her scent, her stretch marks, her stories of weighing 120 lbs and the pictures to prove it. I thought of the nights I crept down the stairs just to listen to her laugh with her friends, or how proud I was when she worked on some project and I could see her creations. I thought of how I laid in bed at night, aching to hear the door creak open and the alarm pad chime out the disarm tones. I waited for the light to pour into my bedroom door as my mama slid in to tuck me in after an endless night out (probably two hours during which they talked about bills and how psychotic we kids had been that week). She always looked beautiful and seemed so glamorous and all-sufficient on those nights.Flash forward to tonight. The smiles and laughter of twenty and thirty something women were all around me. Hands on pregnant bellies and cameras flashing. Diaper bags on shoulders and the advice from one mother to another about how to get that newborn to eat. I felt my face smiling and I nodded to partake in the interchange. All I could hear was the sound of my mom laughing with her friends during a Sunday night game of Rook. I could smell Lalique and feel her velvet soft skin and dark curly hair.I can't remember April 5, 1979, or the first time I wiped my nose across her shirt, left rice cereal in her hair or spit up all over her favorite outfit. My mom wasn't a passage to life, a kleenex or even just a pair of loving arms. She was the ever evolving entity who probably never felt quite sure of where she was at but went at it full force. Mom wasn't just a safe place or a loving hug, she WAS security, love, beauty, intelligence, and home.I bared my belly tonight, rocked my friend's baby and reminisced about a pre-pregnancy riddled body and stood silent as something hit me solid. Without preparation or warning I had eased into a confidence about who I am and what it means to be mother to Max the not-so-tiny wonder. It means humility, lack of control (that's not just bladder girls) a lifetime of shared struggles and joys and laughter with friends in the midst of it all.If I am lucky, no, if I am blessed then Max will hear my laughter one day and feel safe. I'll peak into his room for a good night kiss and he'll feel love. And someday he'll think back to home and he'll smile with gentle understanding and comfort and say "Mom".

Confessions of a SuperMom, a novel

My Review:

Ok, so in exchange for a free book I must write a review. I'm relieved to say that I can actually recommend the book. I'd feel really bad if I didn't like it. There were parts where it was starting to become predictable and I got worried, but it would always pick up again and keep me entertained. This is a book for Moms on all stages of the journey(motherhood), and even Dads who read will enjoy it. Especially if they were/are into superheroes. It's a cute book, not a long read, I love the premise: a tiny meek woman becomes a superhero through an accident and takes down a greedy corporation threatning children's safety. I love that ordinary Mom stuff becomes her superpowers. She can sense children in danger and she can clean all sorts of stains with her new hand that spouts swiffer fluid, mostly at will. The book is really about how Birdie, the mother, deals with her new superhero powers and role, her ex-husband, her children growing older, and her self-esteem issues. All are tied together, and it is the stuff that all mothers face at some point-How to remain yourself when motherhood has completely transformed that self...... You're not sure what's left because you aren't the same person anymore. And yet you are.

Out in paperback August 1st ( ). and I think a sequel is coming soon too.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Swiffer Contest

Any of you who happen to be fans of Swiffer products, check out this contest:

The author who sent me a free signed copy of her book(I just have to blog a review) is having a Swiffer sponsored contest and no one was entering so she emailed asking people to help. You can win free swiffer stuff. I don't have a camera yet, or I would enter a picture of my kids using the swiffer because they absolutely love it. (I have to keep it hidden or they would use the entire bottle of fluid in one floor cleaning!) As soon as I get a chance I'll post my review of her book, Confessions of a SuperMom.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Phantom of the Opera Gets a facelift

I've wanted to see Phantom of the Opera for forrever! My broadway experience is limmited to seeing Les Mis once in high school. Unfortunately, I had either lost a contact or else the contact was so cloudy that I couldn't see right. : (

My sister, who just returned from Vegas, will be able to see the new Phantom show when she returns on her next vacation. Lucky! Ask her about her trip (not everything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!) There's a lot more to do than just gamble. I think that the first person who wins the lotto should take everyone who reads this blog on a big trip there! I know, I am very generous with other people's money. It'd be lots of fun though.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Smoke exposure linked to behavior problems

Hmmmm......this is talking about children of women who smoked, but I'd really curious to see some studies on children of non-smoking mothers who were still exposed to second-hand smoke on a constant basis. 18 months was about when Leanna started getting wacky too.

real women

Monday, July 17, 2006

Mommy can be slow on the uptake sometimes

Leanna told me today that Justin didn't care about his daughter(a doll she was playing with) because she was older enough that she was in a stroller. I said, He didn't care about his daughter!? and she explained, well, she's 15 years old. I said, that's too big for a stroller! and she patiently explained to me that the stroller was made of bricks.


That would soooo be me!

A 25-year-old American from Boston, in Hanover, Germany, for World Cup matches, was forced to report sheepishly to police that he had no idea which hotel he had checked into or where it was. According to a Reuters report, the man, reportedly sober, remembered being driven past a park and a Mercedes dealership, but since there are several of those in Hanover, police had to drive him around town for an hour until he finally recognized the building. [Reuters, 6-23-06]

Pictures are here!

We have Justin's pictures!! I have to scan them first, but then I'll cut them apart and disperse! If anyone wants a particular size, let me know.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Happy 50th!

Things never do go according to plan here.......take Saturday night. We had planned to go to see my father-in-law's band play and also celebrate my Mother-in-law's birthday with her there. They were to start playing at 8. Tom was working for a friend that day and he told him that he needed to leave early. So naturally Tom didn't even walk in the door at home until 7:30. Did I mention that the band was playing an hour away from us? And that Tom still needed to shower (so did I, actually) and get gas and cigarrettes. He also had to clear a little room so Maree could sit in the van. Plus there's the matter of loading everyone in the car. That always ends up taking longer than it should. And it was taking longer than it was supposed to anyway-all the kids had their baths that day-I've learned to postpone them as long as possible before an event-but Justin managed to decorate his leg and face with some markers after the bath anyway. Maree ignored my repeated requests to brush her hair, and then argued with me over wanting to "help" give Leanna her bath. I'm carrying the baby with me as I go up and down the steps getting clothes and shoes for various people. I've gathered all the birthday cards I had the kids make(hense the markers!), plus the official cards, and part of the birthday present. Luckily I managed to get the diaper bag packed earlier in the day. Although Maree discovered the candy I had emptied out of it(from Jerry's daughter's pinata!) and then there was the hassle of making it dissapear and keeping anyone from having a meltdown because they couldn't have the candy. Everyone's hungry at this point(we had a light supper) but there's no time to eat! Somewhere in the van is an apple peeler that Leanna insisted on bringing along for the apple she took one bite out of anyway. Justin (Finally!) fell asleep right before we left and was not happy to be woken to go out to the van. Timothy was crying because-like his brother and sister before him-he hates sitting in that car seat. And this time he cried all the way to the concert! I even made Tom stop for a few minutes so I could feed him, but that didn't stop the crying. We didn't know where we were going and Tom got lost and his Mom told him to turn the wrong direction anyway......we were all a bit crabby by the time we got there. All the kids but Timothy were sleeping, though he did finally fall asleep right as we got there. It was short-lived. When we walked in the kids had just woken up and it was crowded and so cold and LOUD. Justin and Timothy were terrified! Timothy cried when anyone just looked at him. Leanna became completely shy and wouldn't say hi or look at the people who tried to talk to her. Poor Nanny wanted nothing more than to run around showing off her grandkids but the only one who would cooperate was Maree! And there was only a little more than an hour of the show left. What a night!

But the band was good and the crowd seemed to be having a great time. Someone had brought a birthday cake and they sang to the two? or three? people all having a birthday. And we got to see Nanny Sue do the twist-she's surprisingly limber for a woman a half century old! And Leanna got a kick out of saying hi to Pop-Pop while he was singing and playing. I couldn't even get Justin to look at Pop-Pop playing! We'll have to go to another concert. Preferably earlier, closer, and an outdoor one. That way we can stay farther back so it's not hurting our ears and the kids can relax and adjust before meeting a bunch of strangers. But we did all enjoy the outing company.

Wake Up Call

Sometimes Leanna really cracks me up. Like this morning. Maree wouldn't wake up, so Leanna found her own way to do it-with stickers! She put stickers on Maree until she woke up. Maree wasn't particularly thrilled with this method, but you really have to give Leanna bonus points for creativity.

: P

time to find a new job!

Wal-Mart staff ordered to search store after bomb threat: report
Canadian Press
ST-JEAN-SUR-RICHELIEU, QUE. — Managers at a local Wal-Mart forced employees to search the store after it received a bomb threat, Radio-Canada reported Monday.
Some 40 nervous employees searched the store for an hour last Thursday, said Mailie Fournier, a former employee of the store. They were accompanied by six police officers.
Several employees, whose jobs don't include security, found the experience traumatic, said Mr. Fournier.
var boxRAC = fnTdo('a'+'ai',300,250,ai,'j',nc);
The incident prompted Quebec workplace health and safety board to investigate.
Wal-Mart said it simply wanted to help police conduct the search.
According to police, the store didn't violate any laws and only had an obligation to evacuate the store if a suspicious object was found.
Customers in the store about 60 kilometres east of Montreal were, nonetheless, asked to leave the premises.
Nothing suspicious was found.

Oh boy!

Guess who just figured out how to climb stairs???!!!!!!!!!!!!!

actually true

Check theft suspects run into rotten luck

Staff and wire reportsPublished on: 07/12/06

So three people go to the drive-up window at a bank and — the way police tell it — try to cash a personal check they stole in a burglary.
The name on the check is Joyce Powell. The problem is, Joyce Powell is not in the car. In fact, she's in the bank; she works at the Sylvester Banking Company and the teller at the drive-up window knows her.
The teller stalls the folks in the car by asking for identification. Meanwhile, Powell checks with the cops and learns someone has broken into her house in rural Worth County.
By now, the three in the car are getting jittery, so they leave Sylvester and go to Albany, where police find them quickly.
Calvin Barfield, 27, Shannon Parrish, 26, and Stacey Ellis, 19, are in the Worth County Jail charged with burglary and forgery.
Yep, Barfield left his driver's license and Social Security card with the teller.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Why Now is a good time to buy an SUV-really!

You'd think no one would want an SUV now because of high gas prices, but actually, it's a really good time to buy for just that reason. They're being offered for discounted prices and lots of owners are trying to get rid of theirs.
"Some consumers had already started to shift away from sport-utility vehicles. Then higher gas prices and higher interest rates arrived, which made consumers fall out of love even faster. Last year, a flood of leased, three- and four-year-old SUVs also returned to dealers. The result was a surge of sport-utes on the market.

The best deal? The experts agree: mid-sized SUVs (usually American) like the Chevy TrailBlazer, the Ford Explorer or the Toyota 4-Runner. "Those are the ones that have particularly taken a hit," says Kelley Blue Book's Nerad.

Where the bargains aren't: Smaller SUVs like the Toyota Highlander and Chevy Equinox, and crossover-type cars. "The smaller SUVs are actually pretty hot, and the crossover SUVs, too," says Nerad. Americans still need to move stuff, so they've moved toward these smaller SUVs.

What about the behemoths? In terms of bargains, the large SUVs are more of a mixed bag. "If you'd like to buy a large SUV, this is a good time to do it," says Rosten. Prices fell last summer and have remained there. Rosten's advice holds particularly true if you want to buy a year-old Expedition or a similar gigantic ride: In fact, the average market value of a year-old, large SUV fell a whopping 11% between May 2005 and May 2006."

more on the one day trip

I started replying to the comments on the local one day trips question, but my reply was getting too long. So I figured I'd just start a new post on it.

I do subscribe to the visitpa website. It's not as user friendly as you'd think. A lot of the stuff they list isn't the kind of thing you can do with very small children. Tom and I love looking at historical sites and stuff like that-but those trips are not for young children. A lot of the outdoor stuff(hikes, trails, etc.) are out because of Tom's knees. And while Tom has talked about going to Sesame Place-the price of admission alone! Holy Cow! I'll save a trip like that til all three kids can actually enjoy it. We went to Crystal Cave and the other cave(I forget the name)when Leanna was two. If you've seen one cave you've pretty much seen them all. And I used to go to Crystal Cave with school and once with my parents. But it is interesting to see- just not so much for a very young child though. I remember I carried Leanna in a sling. Which really helped. Especially when they turn out the lights! It would be a good family trip for an older group of children. I'm not sure if I could afford the Philly Zoo(have to look it up). I've been wanting to go to the game preserve for a long time-I didn't even know if it was still there. When I was preg. with Justin it was in danger of closing. I like the picnic idea. Any trip is a bit tough right now because of the kids. I have to find a place to go that is kid-tolerant, has wide open spaces, but not so far from civilization that we can't find food to eat(grouchy hungry kids=bad day). You can pack food, but you can only carry it so far. And it can't be too expensive. (I'm not too picky, am I?!) I want to find an aquarium, but nothing was coming up on the pa website-anyone know of any?

Friday, July 14, 2006

Glitter Girl

I got Leanna glitter glue for her birthday, and predictably, she loves it. Today she and Justin had fun playing with it for a while(I was in survival mode-ignoring the mess they were making and pretending it didn't exist so I could play with the baby). Justin's been sporting glittery hair and Leanna's entire shirt front is covered. Yes, Justin did try eating it. As we sat outside it got darker and darker, and the outside light just made Leanna's shirt absolutely shimmer. As did many parts of her body. It was beautiful. "Leanna, you look positively magical!" I said to her. "I am!" she replied while doing a wiggly snake dance. I love the self confidence of this age-if only it could continue! If I'm really lucky it will.


We have Maree this weekend, Leanna is in heaven. And Maree and I had fun-we made smores on the grill! No one else truly appreciated them. Justin tried, but even he got tired of all the stickyness and didn't finish his. I'm not really a fan of marshmellows plain, but toasted-the warm gooey sticky sweetness is wonderful! How can you not like a smores?

2 questions for everyone

1. Any suggestion for Rabbit names? (We now own 2!!)
2. Any suggestions for 1 day, inexpensive family trips? (for a mini vacation, since it is increasingly clear that that is the only type we might be able to have).

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A rabbit and a garden?

I may be getting a tiny patch of garden in our concrete backyard. And possibly a rabbit to go with it! Tom says the garden will be ready to go by the end of the week. Part of me is not sure if it would be good to get a rabbit again-it is another thing to feed and take care of and rabbit food isn't cheap. But then again, I think having a pet is good for kids and then I wouldn't have to feel bad about having extra veggies. Instead of them going to waste I could just feed it to the rabbit. It gives me more of an excuse to buy more produce and another science lesson for the kids.
I had a rabbit when I lived in Florida. I named her Trix, as in: Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids! I didn't like giving it up when I moved back home, but I had no way to actually move it and nowhere to keep it once I returned home. And rabbits need to be outdoor pets-it really did stink up the tiny apartment I was in at the time. Then we had the rabbit Tom's Uncle gave us(along with that big cage) and the one he got me as a surprise Christmas present that lived for only about a week. That was one of my favorite christmas presents ever, because it really was a complete surprise. Leanna's old enough that she could fill the waterbottle, and help me put the food in. Any chores she can do with minimal supervision are fantastic (for me!) And Leanna does miss the fish we used to have, but they kept dying on us. Tom said he didn't really feel like doing all the work it meant to keep that huge tank. So maybe this is the answer? We shall see.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sorry, had to post this one.......

Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.Redd Foxx

Monday, July 10, 2006

Nana's at peace

Hi Everyone,

My mom, Betty, is at peace now. Our Lord and Saviour took her home at 3:25 AM this morning. The Hospice Center said her death was the most peaceful they ever saw. I'm very thankful she went quickly in her sleep.

I want to thank you all for your prayers and your comforting words as we were going through this painful time. Your prayers and mine were all answered. Praise our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, for dying for our sins so we can have eternal life with him.

God Bless you all.

With Love in Christ,

Sue, Chuck, Butch and Carol

P.S. For those of you who didn't know, my mom, Betty, was diagnosed with cancer on May 24, 2006. She tried to fight, but our Lord had other plans for her, in her next life with him. Her obituary will be in 2 local newspapers.

I love news of the wierd.......

Unique Responses to Danger: (1) In May, just after bird flu was discovered in Ivory Coast, hundreds of young people flocked to Abidjan's night clubs to taunt the disease with a new dance imitating a chicken in the throes of death, according to a Reuters dispatch ("leaning backward, shaking (the) wrists, arms and legs ... with a loud clucking sound").

I think we should teach them the chicken dance! If anything could scare away the flu it'd be a polka!

history repeating itself

My Mom and sister will really love this one. Tom was home today(he was supposed to start a job cementing a backyard but the ground was too wet). He was standing out on the neighbor's porch talking. Leanna and Justin are allowed to play on the porch, so long as Tom knows they are out and they don't leave our porch or their grandmother's. Justin was out playing and I was in the kitchen making a sandwhich for Leanna. All the sudden I hear Justin crooning, Come-o-onnnnn! Come out! in that high pitched voice he uses with only Timothy. I run over and sure enough, there's Justin, holding the door open and trying to coax the baby outside!

I did the very same thing with my sister, but I was considerably older. I think I was 5 or 6 at the time which would make her 3 or 2 years old. And my goal was actually to get rid of her. I think Justin just wanted him to play. But I did go get my Mom right after I let Laura out and told her that she went outside. : ) She was headed for Walnut Street. My Mom didn't tell my Dad about that one until years later.


The background of the mini story is that yesterday Justin was playing with play-doh. He was handing me stuff and saying, Mommy, I made this for you! And generally it was a little lump of play-doh. The only thing he can really make is a snake.

So Justin runs to the potty today (he's at a stage where he likes to do it himself), and climbs on, and as I go out to supervise I see this:
Justin looks down into the potty and says, with great excitement in his voice, "A snake!"

You HAVE to check out this link

Especially Claire, and Laura who will not see this for a week because she is going to VEGAS.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

murphy's law

Why oh why does no one ever drop in on my house when it's clean???

One even I missed

My Mom said that the other day she heard noise coming from our house and she and my sister(who was visiting) went over to see what was going on. They could see in the back door, little Justin had pushed a chair over to the fridge and was opening and closing the freezer door. From what I understand he did this twice, and then attempted to put one leg in. Lucky for me it was too high a stretch for him and he had to give up. My Mom and sister, however, had a good laugh over it.

pink princess party

The kids-all three-enjoyed yesterday's birthday party. It was the most elaborate birthday party I've attended, not that it was all that out there. Just more than any I've been to. They were running with the pink princess theme. The rented pavillion was swathed in pink fabric, with a few butterflies thrown in. There was a pink princess castle on top of the pavillion. Pink Birthday balloons hung from the ceiling and acted as centerpieces on the tables. Pink ribbons hung with pretty pink bows. There were fake roses and clear pink windchime/icicle like thingies hanging from the ceiling. The tables had little miniature pink palm trees and pineapples. The tablecloths were pink. The plates were pink. The plasticware was pink. The napkins were pink. The salt and pepper shakers on each table were pink. The deviled egg trays were pink! There was a pink castle snowcone machine and a pink princess hat pinata. They had a clown that did balloons, face-painting, and a magic show. They had waterballoons that came in either pink or grenade. I don't know if it was a birthday present or they just brought it, but there was a light blue and pink cinderella kiddie car. And we were next to a playground(kiddie heaven). The birthday girl had two outfit changes(both involving pink). Wow.

So I'm sure it could have much more overdone. I'm sure with people who really have money, it routinely is, but this was the most trouble I've seen people go to. I was impressed with the amount of work they went to. As the sole party planner in my household, I know it takes a while to set all that stuff up and unload the food and arrange everything. I'm betting it cost a pretty(pink) penny to buy all that stuff too. As the birthday girl was only turning three, I can't imagine that she appreciated much of it. The birthday girl was a little princess herself. With blonde curly hair and pale blue eyes and pink painted toenails and pretty little outfits, she certainly looked the part. She is a beautiful little girl. Leanna really wanted to play with her, but it took until right before we were leaving(naturally) until she decided to be friendly. I suspect she gets everything she wants. But to be fair I am basing this on one day only, and there was a lot going on. I think the clown was a waste of money-the kids never really got into her. With an older crowd it would have been fine. I think the birthday girl was the only one who got her face painted and it took a while to get the kids together for the magic show(because they just weren't interested). Justin just wanted to drive the car-he loved that! I mean he really loved it. The irony is that it was me teaching him how to drive it. Another little girl was watching him so I asked her if she wanted to get in. She was a little smaller than Justin, so when I had them switch so she could drive, Justin worked the gas pedal for her and let her steer. He put his little arm around her-it was sooooooo adorable! Leanna's waterballoon popped as she held it, all over her. And Justin's just never popped, he didn't throw them hard enough. There were a couple older kids who actually hit open the pinata. The little kids were't going to be able to handle that alone. I told Tom to tell Justin to pretend he was hitting Leanna(then he would have hit much harder). Justin didn't care about hitting it, he was however, watching like a hawk for the candy that started to come out. Miss Leanna was all, "Nobody look at me! You can't look at me!" while she took her turn swinging at it. It was a long afternoon, but the kids really did have a lot of fun. Timothy really enjoyed the change of scenery. He was real happy, being carried around and watching all the kids. He let Jerry's Mom hold him for a while, until he got hungry. I think it was nice for Tom to have a day where he didn't have to work and didn't have to feel like he was letting Jerry down to get it! He's somewhat familiar with Jerry's family. So he enjoyed talking to them and watching all the kids play.

I liked that when we arrived, instead of the usual Oh! You must have your hands full-type comments we always hear, people were complimenting Tom on his nice family. It's an older idea, that a big happy family equals wealth (of a different type). Beyond just having many hands to run the farm or work at the factory. A couple people said Leanna looks like me, and a lot said that Timothy looked like me(which I don't see at all. I think he looks like Billy). Someone else said that Justin is a cross between the two of us. To which I replied, THANK-YOU!(to Tom, who is still in denial).

Edit: I forgot to mention the pink water pistols, which Leanna REALLY enjoyed running around squirting Jerry with.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

4th of July-the story

It was a different sort of holiday-I think many of the adults I was around were grouchy. We didn't have all the usual holiday foods(I didn't have the time or money for the usual preparation). We still have no camera. I bought one disposable, and downloaded Laura's pictures, but it's not the same. A lot of our cookouts have more people. But this time it was just us, my parents, and my sister Laura. Claire made a guest appearance. She stayed long enough to eat and left without telling anyone. That's typical. Tom really just wanted to work on his "new" truck. I think the holiday was kind of an interruption for him. My Dad had to leave early to go back to work, that always makes him understandably grouchy. My grandmother wasn't up to celebrating. She stayed home. And my Mom is having it hit her in new ways that she had a heart attack. It is really still affecting her in big ways.

The kids however, had fun as usual. Leanna loves any "special day." I did talk to her about America's birthday, but it was real fuzzy for her. With eating outside, playing in the pool, squirting the hose, time with family, and going to fireworks-it was a great day for them.

mother & daughter

You will notice there are a few pictures of me here today. That is rare. I officially announced my retirement from pictures after Justin's birth. And I am still serious about that. So I have to give credit to Laura for having the talent to actually get a decent shot of me. Thank you Laura for taking pictures for me and for letting me download them!

Me & the kids

I asked Laura to quick take a picture of me with the kids. Again-this is not an easy task. Justin was occupied with a foot pump(that we didn't use) for the pool and DID NOT want to leave it. Leanna, as you can see, was her usual dramatic self.(Mary Catherine Gallagher-Superstahh!!) I have no idea what she was doing or thinking here. I am just laughing at it all. I was hoping for a nice picture, but as I do live with them everyday, all day, I am aware that this is actually remarkably good. I mean, they're all in the same spot! And only one is crying! It certainly reflects a more acurate picture of us than a posed stiff smiley one would.

Leanna & the pool

We didn't fill the pool very full. For one thing the water was very cold-and the kids had plenty of fun even with a few inches of water. Just the idea of being in water outside is fun for them. Leanna especially loved it-sometime in the next year I'm hoping to find the money to get her swimming lessons. This is important to me because my grandmother never learned to swim and was terrified of water her whole life. So she made sure her kids all learned to swim, and my Mom made sure we all did too. I wanted to wait until she was old enough to pay for lessons(I've read mixed reviews of early lessons). One way or another, I will make it happen.


Fun with the waterhose and Cinderella sweeping (her own mess though-she decided to rip up grass and throw it all over the cement).

4th of July fun

Timothy laughs while Leanna and Justin wait for the pool. No, Tom didn't blow that thing up himself-he used powertools. Otherwise we'd be there all day cause that thing takes a lot of air!

cervical cancer vaccine for girls?

Won't eliminate cervical cancer, but will greatly reduce it (reduces cases of it and deaths). Approved for girls as young as 9-and supposed to be more effective for younger girls.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Remember to save!

Jaime's comment to my bragging post reminded me that I wanted to add a reminder to everyone who reads this blog to back up their pictures and info periodically. Hard drives can suddenly go bad and precious pictures and memories can be lost! Even cds can be ruined in as little as 2 years time. I am sadly behind on backing up the blog files. You never know when a server could go down and your info could be lost forever! So especially if you want to preserve memories-save those files and burn multiple copies. That is all.

kids, sharing, and the keyboard

Lots of sharing issues have come up recently between Leanna and Justin. Today I set the timer for two minutes for each of them to have the keyboard. Not one hooked up, just a spare Tom has. It was so funny to hear them argueing about "No, Justin! I have to check my email!" and "Justin, you look for it on the internet" as she points into the air. Leanna is very bossy. For Justin's turn he checked his email by walking back and forth over the keyboard. It keeps them amused.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

A family afternoon

It was a nice family afternoon for a change. We took Justin for his photo appt. this afternoon and then went to Radio Shack and Waldenbooks, stopping for pizza afterward. I took advantage of the money my Aunt sent the kids for their birthday(Justin got the clothes we used for the photo shoot-clearance priced from JC Penny) and got Leanna some books from Waldenbooks in the bargain section. Bargain books were buy 3 get one free. I was lucky because I found one for Jerry's daughter-her birthday party is this coming weekend. Apparently she's into princesses, big time. So I found a princess book that came with a locket. So I got one for Leanna and one for Jerry's daughter. Plus we found a buge kids atlas book. Because of Dora the Explorer, Leanna's into maps. She really loved it and it was only 3.99 so of course I had to get that. It was almost bigger than she was. It showed products of countries and the continents and Leanna leaned over and kissed Pennsylvania. And I found another book of mythical creatures that had beautiful illustations and cool mythical animals you could take out to play with. So with her 15 I managed to buy her three books(no mean feat with today's book prices!) and get a free book for Jerry's daughter. Then after we left the mall we had to make a pit stop for diapers. And I found a few clearance items there also-which is always a thrill for me. I like to get a bargain. So until we returned home, it was a nice day for me. (Then it returned to business as usual, not so thrilling). It's so rare for us to have time to spend as a family. I really wish it wasn't always time spent out shopping together. It'd be nice to do other things together too. Unfortunately that is the way it seems to work out. I don't mean to look a gift horse in the mouth though-any time together is great.

PS. for the post below this one

The pictures are actually much nicer than they appear here. That's just a printout in black and white, scanned. They were beautiful. Really.

Also, Tom's cousin Rebecca mentioned that Justin reminds her of Halley Joel Osmit or however his name is spelled(the I see Dead people kid). That's the second person that's said that. I can kind of see it. I think it's the haircut, and only with certain expressions. Then I mentioned Leanna looking like the girl from Prob. child II and her whole face lit up, and she said, Oh my god! She really does! It was funny, but you had to be there. Some things don't translate well into print.

Straight-out bragging-my kids are cute!

I'm going to state straight out-I'm bragging here. I try not to do that. I figure no one wants to read a blog about a Mom just bragging about how great her kids are. That gets old fast. But I feel compelled today. You are forewarned. Maybe just because things have not been going so well lately, and it's nice to have something about them to brag about.

We took Justin to get his picture taken today. He received a JC Penny gift certificate to have his picture taken on his first birthday. We figured since Leanna had more pictures taken of her when she was small, Aunt Laura would only get this for Justin. Nice in theory. Except that there was no way he was going to sit still for it! We tried, even planned a day around it where my Mom had us over early for breakfast(so he'd have just eaten and be alert-not getting tired and cranky) we planned to be there as soon as they opened so there wouldn't be a long wait to make him antsy. But of course it took longer than planned and we had a wait and suddenly none of his clothes fit exactly right(love those sudden growth spurts!) and he outright refused to sit still for the photographer. He didn't want to leave my arms. He was scared of the photographer. And proving that when it rains, it pours, the photographer was not very good at her job and barely tried. She said the boy she had before him had to reschedule because he wouldn't sit still either. So it was like she didn't even try. Her attempts to capture Justin's attention were pathetic. The best we could do were two lousy shots of Justin clinging tightly to my neck and they were not good pictures. I declined to buy. Even when we had pictures taken after Timothy was born-we would set Justin down and the photographer had to quick get the shot before he ran right back into his Daddy's arms. None of the pictures really did him justice. So I put off using the gift card, figuring eventually we'd get to a point where he could have his picture taken.

But this time-we were immediately pleased. It was like a different child entirely. I suspected he would be capable of it by now-he's such a little flirt. But this went beyond my expectations. He did exactly what the photographer asked of him. He laughed. He smiled on cue. He sat still! He tried to please. It worked! When we walked in the photographer, a grandmother herself, said of Leanna, "Oh, she's cute too!" But it was the sort of thing you often hear, that might or might not be true. Sometimes people just say that to try to get on the parents' good side, so you can't really believe it. Not that you don't want to, but you know they're just humoring you. Like elderly people who stop and compliment your children. You know they can hardly see and find all children adorable, so long as they're not screaming. So I expected to hear some generic comment on Justin's cuteness as well. But even the photographer commented several times during the session on how adorable he was. It sounded genuine. She was also amazed at how well it went, especially when she found out he was two years old. (She said two year olds are usually he__ish.) Even after, as we looked at the pictures on the computer screen, she said how well they all came out.

Maybe it's wrong, but that does make me happy. I know, very superficial of me. But it's nice to hear how adorable your child is. When we're out in public I really do spend most of my time worrying about how they're behaving and making sure they don't run away or cause harm to something or someone. So it really was a nice change of pace to just hear praise. He was behaving and looking nice-what more could a parent want?? (For this stage, anyway)

Lest you feel sorry for Leanna, I would add that she used to get tons of praise as a baby/toddler when we took her out. People would always stop me to comment, especially on her eyes. Men would turn around in line at gas stations and say, boy you'll have to look out when she gets older with the blonde hair and blue eyes! Not so much recently because we just plain haven't gotten out as much as we used to. Tom's hardly home and I've spent a lot of time recently pregnant and energy-drained. Right now Leanna's in this akward stage with her hair growing out from her self-styled hair cuts and bangs. No matter how I style her hair it still pokes out all over. But she still earns comments every now and then.
Timothy's had the least outings of all-so less chance for compliments. A few times people said he was so pretty they thought he was a girl! That's ok, women like pretty men. Justin's very pretty also. Janae, Tom's cousin, just saw Timothy for the first time and couldn't get over how cute he was. I'm highly biased, but I think he's pretty darn cute too.
So anyway, after Monday night(a terrible occasion, a viewing) where everyone said how beautiful our children were and now this wonderful photo session-I'm proud. It's not like I wouldn't be proud if they looked differently or that I think this is the highest compliment they could be given. Being a cute child in no way guarantees a nice-looking adult(I should know!), nor is it a goal to strive for. Still, it is nice to hear. : )