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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

School craft night




We went to the family fall craft night at school last night. I was there with all four kids. I was very nervous about that. It's very hard to chase after one of the boys with the baby in my arms or sling. Fortunately Timothy fell asleep, he sat in the umbrella stroller so he slept there until after we left. Jacob slept in the sling. That left only Leanna and Justin for me to manage. They both went into instant shy mode when we walked in the tiny cafeteria-it was crowded and hot. Shy mode has its benefits-they both stayed still and quiet for almost the entire event. At the end we did have an incident with Justin throwing Q-tips under the table, but that was pretty much the only problem. Leanna and Justin each made a fall tree (though Leanna's tree looks more like a cactus and Justin's doesn't so much resemble a tree at all!). Leanna and I made the Pumpkin together, it has a handle on top to hang it with that you can't see in the picture. And they each made a skeleton picture. I told Justin to cut out the skeleton's head and he did-in three little pieces! He had way too much fun with the glue. I had to pry it out of his hands!
Afterward Leanna and Justin played on the playground for a little bit afterwards. It was actually a pretty nice event, I'm glad I braved going it alone.

Uncle Billy




The kids had fun this weekend with a short visit from Uncle Billy. I have to give him credit-he does take the time to come visit with the kids. When his grandmother was still alive he used to bring her too. I think it's great that he takes time out to come play with them.


I should also mention that Justin was wearing a dress up shirt that Leanna put on him when they went upstairs to change. I guess they felt a little more flamboyance was needed?

toddler observations

Yesterday as we were waiting for Leanna to get out of school we saw a teenager wearing a "wife beater" and shorts. It was quiet yet, as the bell hadn't rung and only a sprinkling of parents and relatives were there yet. Justin loudly called to me, "Mommy! He isn't wearing any shirt!"
I think luckily the teen didn't hear it though, or else he was too embarrassed to acknowledge it.

Attention members of my family!!


Note to my family:


Here is my formal request for Christmas lists! THIS MEANS YOU TOO, MOM!


Anyone else who wants to can feel free to send me a list too, lol! (doesn't mean I'll get you anything, but it would be interesting reading)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Timmie the Pooh and Justin too







I couldn't resist the rhyming title, sorry.

Timothy is the third of the kids to wear the homemade Winnie the Pooh costume. It's beginning to show some wear in the hat, but I think it's still a cute costume.


Tom provided the tool-belt for his little Mini-me. Justin carried his brother's curious george toolbox to put candy in. Later he changed into his Daddy's hat (that hat kept falling off) And his pants had paint on them, (just like Daddy's!) from when we painted the kitchen. The only part of his costume I bought was the shoes, which of course will be used long past halloween! People were calling him Bob the Builder, but he was just a contractor in general. Or his Daddy : )

Leanna, fairy princess & Jacob, pumpkin







I got Jacob's costume from a yard sale for .50 cents. He was quite adorable. I think that's a sweet picture with his aunt too.

Here's Leanna's costume also. She was a fairy princess. She carried a magic wand we already had. I made her headband (Glittery fabric braided around a peice of elastic with tulle attached to the back) and dress. The ribbon used for the belt and trim I got on clearance for .99 cents. The glittery tulle was leftover from last year's cinderella costume. The plain tulle, material, and zipper ended up costing about $5.00 so this time it was a very economical costume. ( and I had extra left over for other projects)

Wet Halloween




We went trick or treating in the rain Friday night. You can see how soaked we got from Laura's clothes. It actually worked out well that we had Laura with us. Afterwards we drank hot chocolate and changed into pjs. And as usual, Daddy "inspected" the candy. A dirty job, but

someone has to do it!

Just recording my thoughts

This is in reference to a new book by a French author who regrets having children. The link goes to a post about the book. The woman does make some good points, and I'm sure her thoughts ring very true for many women. But not all women regret having children, I think many have conflicting feelings. There are good and bad days and even whole periods. Even if you do feel it may not have been the best choice for you, as one person comments on the subject, life is about finding joy in your mistakes.
Here's my thoughts on the subject, it may one day be interesting for the kids to read:

I'm going to ignore all the controversial stuff about this post and suggest that we as a culture
make life much much harder for parents, mothers in particular, than it should be. If we didn't
view parenthood as such an individual independent venture-having supporting adults, related or not, to give much needed breaks and support and advice-I think it would be a much easier endeavor.
I think being a parent today is so full of pressure. People have a sense that they have to try
so hard to ensure their children have all the advantages(flashcards, music dance sports lessons,
read a story EVERY SINGLE DAY or your kid will hate reading, etc.)It's a lot of pressure for them and us. We have a society that almost requires both parents to work-and even the grandparents are often still working and don't have the time other generations might have had to spend with their grand kids. Spending time with your kids isn't just about having quality time, you need just regular moments where you aren't actually doing anything together but are still around each other. I really think our rushed pace of life takes away a lot of the joys of raising kids. And maybe it's just me, but I think we are so judgemental towards other parents. I think this really takes away from the joy of parenting also. I read a quote somewhere where they said parenting isn't supposed to be about what the end product is-it's about the joys you get along the way. From the fun of raising your kids. I think society really takes away from the joys of having a family and raising kids.
That said, I acknowledge that it is a job that isn't for everyone, and it is important to realize that. The problem is that there's such a delicate balance-between telling the truth about how hard it can be and not turning people off from becoming a parent. That's why we don't always talk about the bad stuff. It's very hard to convey how high the highs of parenting are to someone who doesn't yet have kids. (That's not meant to sound snobby, it's just that some things have to be experienced.) For me anyway, those highs of parenting more than make up for the low periods.

Jacob, my joy


When nothing else is going right, it's such a joy to have Jacob around. He cheers me up with his little baby smiles and gurgles.
He's trying to talk now, with all kinds of coos and shrieks, he's testing his voice out. He really likes when you have a "conversation" with him. At this point that basically consists of repeating the noises he makes. I don't know if I've just gotten better at reading baby body language or if Jacob is just better at communicating his needs, but I can often tell for example, when he wants someone to hold him, or if he just wants to look at them and say hi. (if you wants to go to someone, he starts wriggling his whole body, moving his arms and legs as though he were swimming. It's as though he's trying to move over into their arms) Right now, he's yelling at me in baby talk because he wants me to pick him up. So I'll have to end this for now, lol. I just wanted to record the thought that he is a huge positve, a joy, even when other things aren't going so well.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Breastfeeding Ribbon & News

About time! So many women(and men) think breastfeeding causes saggy breasts. Not so!
It's a very short article, but for those of you who don't want to check the link, here's the most important part:

As the first study to examine what impacts breast shape in connectionto pregnancy, plastic surgeons found that a history of breastfeeding, the number of children breastfed, the duration of each child's breastfeeding, or the amount of weight gained during pregnancy were not significant predictors for losing breast shape. However, body mass index (BMI), the number of pregnancies, a larger pre-pregnancy bra size, smoking history,and age were significant risk factors for an increased degree of breast sagging.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Recent-boys edition







Timothy feeding one of his babies. Not that he needs the help, but I figure stuff like this helps develop his nuturing side.




Justin was fascinated with me ironing Leanna's costume. So when I was done I unplugged it and let it cool til it was just warm and let him iron a dishtowel. He had so much fun he carried the iron around looking for things to iron. Here he is shown ironing the floor for me. Cuter still is the fact that he is proud of "helping" Mommy by ironing the rug for her!


Jacob now gives giant smiles to both his brothers. He clearly recognizes and likes them. He's not really thrilled by them holding him though, but he likes them to play with him.

I always assumed men who were good with babies had learned it through not being afraid to take on more feminine ways of interacting with babies. I'm not saying that men aren't good with kids naturally, just that babies prefer higher pitched voices and a more feminine style in general(probably a survival thing) and men who are good with babies tend to talk to them in a higher voice, etc. So for a man it's more of a learned thing than natural. But after watching both boys with Jacob I'm starting to think that maybe males do have a natural instinct for interacting with babies. Maybe it's just socialized out of most of them. Both boys are just so sweet and loving with Jacob, it is completely natural to them.

Right up my alley

Ok, first, love the slogan: Small boobs, big fun
What are they selling? Plush breast toys. Beanie boobies. Gotta love those japaneese companies! Check out the link for a picture. I just find it very amusing.

"These adorable beanie boobies are being sold at retailers for about 1000 yen ($9 bucks) each. There's also an itty bitty ti... umm, a smaller version just 2.5 inches wide that includes a ball-chain to hang your keys on. They only cost 480 yen ($4.30) each. (via Pink Tentacle) .........The plushies are about 8 inches wide and each one of the five has its own personality. I personally like the "gyaru" breastie that displays the unusual Ganguro style popularized by certain Japanese girls: a deep tan with white lipstick and white eyeshadow - it looks even stranger than it sounds. The pierced nipple is a nice added touch, wouldn't you agree?"
Claire, would you like a Beanie boobie to display in your new apartment, whenever it may appear? Also, you might like this.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Finishing the costume

I have until tomorrow night to finish Leanna's costume. I guess we're not going to Nanny and Pop-Pop J.'s this year since they won't be home. I was actually debating it anyway since this year Leanna's in school full-time and has to get up early the next day. Since we moved here we've gone trick-or-treating in both cities. Leanna will still get to wear her costume twice though, thanks to the girl scout party.
It looks like it will be raining on Friday, hopefully not too bad. : (
I'm kind of winging her costume this year-I went to Joanns only once and the patterns on sale that day were all kind of difficult looking. Since my time is so greatly limmited I just didn't want to take a chance. So I'm modifying the cinderella pattern I used last year into a fairy, or fairy princess, this year. Same basic dress, just with some features added and some gone. Wish me luck, I only have tonight and tomorrow during the day to finish the costume. Hopefully it comes out looking ok!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I know how she feels

From overheard in New York, a very entertaining blog, a recent favorite of mine, just cause I can relate:

Bad Things Happen to Tightly-Cinched Fat

Woman in dressing room: Dear God!
Employee: Ma'am, is everything okay?
Woman, bursting from room and throwing corset at employee: Just-- Just take this far away from me!

--Victoria's Secret, Herald Square

Timothy, the scary monster

video

stuff

I'm behind on posting here-it's been busy lately. Here's what I can remember right now:

Leanna had her first Girl Scout field trip this past weekend. Her Brownie Troop is very tiny-3 girls. She was the only one who showed up on Saturday morning! So she got to visit Mountain House with her troop leader("Mommy! She's not a troop leader! She's Miss Jenn! That's her REAL name!") She had fun doing crafts there, not as much as she would have with the other girls from her troop I'm sure, but she seemed to enjoy it. And her leader stopped at Dunkin Donuts and got her an ice-cream after. She definitely enjoyed that! She's looking forward to a Halloween party/Juliette Low party this week.

We went to the library as a family this weekend, but I had to leave early with the kids. Justin and Timothy are just not able to stay quiet yet(or even still enough) and Leanna still has trouble keeping her voice quiet for too long. Tom was looking for a newspaper article on the parking authority and double parking. We're in the process of fighting a ticket. But that's a whole other post.

Leanna's doing well in school academically. But she continues to have problems with sloppiness-of handwritting and in taking care of property. She keeps losing crayons and erasers. The teacher stopped me yesterday afterschool to mention it to me.

Leanna also had her first phone call from a friend yesterday. She left two really cute messages on our answering machine. A 15 minute phone conversation basically consisted of her friend trying to give Leanna her phone number (although I explained to Leanna that I already had the number through our caller id). It was just adorable to listen to them. "Six, ten? That's your whole phone number?" LOL.

I'm getting really tired of the ancient crossing guard asking personal questions every single time I see her. I purposely go through the alley to avoid her when I remember to. She keeps asking me if I want more and what my husband does for a living that we have so many. Some days she says, in an accusing tone, you're not planning on having any more are you!? (She forgets and asks me the same questions over and over) Maybe I should have fun with her and tell her I don't have a husband and that they all have different fathers or something. Then again she might remember it and that would just start a whole new line of questioning!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

City of delusion

LOL

The Latte factor

Have you heard that people are having so much financial trouble today because they just plain spend too much? Drink too many lattes? That we just buy so much more than people used to, and we have so much credit card debt?
According to this article it's all not true. They compare prices in the 70s with prices today. Bascially they say we're spending more on basic things like housing and health care. The basics take up close to 3/4 of every family's income. Even though we eat out a lot more often, overall food costs are way down. Cost of clothing and appliances are also down. For example, they mention that a refrigerator which in the 70s would have cost 2 week's income to buy now costs less than two days' income (Not for us though!) .
Interestly enough, they also say that the majority of American consumers carry no credit card debt from month to month. I had always heard that most Americans carry about $8, 000 in credit card debt.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Seiple Farm-photo opportunity


I look forward to going to Seiple Farm every year. The kids have fun, we get a pumpkin or two, and I love any opportunity to take different pictures. I was really hoping it wouldn't be a warm day, and it wasn't. Last week started out feeling like July so I was a little worried. It just wouldn't feel right picking a pumpkin in the heat.
It's so beautiful out there.

Cutie



Pumpkins don't taste good.

Giant Pumpkin





They wanted to take this pumpkin home but it would have been a little difficult to carry! Only Maree' could pick it up.

Seiple Farm





New birthday outfit


He looked so adorable in his new Elmo pants and sweatshirt.

Seiple Farm




Looking out for Timmy

Yesterday I was feeding the baby and watching Justin be a sweet and caring older brother. He was concerned for Timothy's well-being, poor hungry younger brother! I overheard him telling Timothy, "It's ok Timmy, you want some chocolate? We'll pull a chair up!" And he said it in such a concerned tone, like he really did just want to help!

(The pantry has a lock that the boys haven't figured out yet but Justin will still stand on a chair and try to open it!)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Mommies Who Drink

I just finished a birthday present to myself, the book: Mommies Who Drink

At first I was really turned off because she talks about cocaine and how a friend can't do it with her because she has a playdate with a difficult child the next day (I'm thinking I would be horrified if someone was "hungover" from cocaine and responsible for watching my child). And from the Friday night happy hours to wine at every gathering to her always making martinis the book is permeated with alcohol. But I figured, ok, this is probably a valid experience for plenty of mothers, so I'll just ignore that part of it and continue reading. And I'm glad I did.
The book overall is about her search for a way to retain her prebaby self and also to cope in a world where most mothers seem perfectly fulfilled by immersion in their child-centric lives. While I occasionally found it off-putting, her musings on what life would be like-minus the husband and kids-is honest and something every mother's probably wondered about from time to time. I read reviews on amazon.com and one woman complains that in the book motherhood is all about YOU-the mother. Well, I think that's the point. Nevermind that the book is written from her point of view, so logically it would be largly about HER (duh!) Motherhood is not entirely about the kids. You do have to find a way to be a good mother and still retain parts of your old self. Which isn't as easy as it sounds.

Also, LA seems a very strange place to raise a child, it was interesting to read about. And she is quite funny, I enjoyed her reflections. There were several passages in the book that inspired thought, so for that alone I would recommend the book. It was a good read overall. I post this here not as a book review, but as a reminder, to myself and anyone else, that it is ok, necesary even, to cultivate that part of your life that doesn't revolve around care-taking(the kids or the man). (Now if only I could find a way to do that!)

Storage, Grammy style


Well, what can I really say here?
At least hers won't get mixed up with anyone else's!

There's a lot of good things that come with these!

video

We got hungry later and Tom wouldn't make hotdogs (headache) so Claire played grillmaster. Maree announced that her mother is getting her horse riding lessons when she gets boots. However, due to her mouth being full of hotdog, it sounded more like she was getting riding lessons when she gets boobs. Quite a different story.

after the party



Afterwards Tom snoozed in his chair and we watched Aunt Laura's copy of Shrek II. Justin recently became fascinated with that movie-I think it's the monster angle. Anyway, all three kids stayed silent pretty much for the duration of the movie. That just doesn't happen! Maree fell asleep a few minutes into the movie.

I said, somebody needs to get this movie for them for Christmas! And Aunt Laura replied, yeah, a present for the whole family!! It was a nice way to wind down from the excitement of the party. (Thanks Aunt Laura!)

little boys




My Dad and Justin enjoyed the Thomas the train helicopter as much or more than Timothy. And here's Tom checking out Timothy's curious george toolbox.


(See how short I had to cut Justin's hair to even it out! It needs more trimming when I can get him to be still again)

Presents


It was really nice that Timothy enjoyed his party. You never know what you will get when they're so young. But he even enjoyed opening the presents which made it more fun for me too!

Homemade cake





Here's Timothy's birthday cake. I just didn't have time to make it the way I would have liked. I wanted to make it into a firetruck on top (Timothy's crazy about cars of any type) but it had to be a generic truck. That's a marshmellow driver and wheels.






It was just too hard trying to get everything done and the baby kept wanting to be held and fed(the nerve of him!) the iceing was homemade and it came out too runny so between color and texture adjustments and interruptions I was just running out of time. Tom had a really bad headache so he was up in bed and my sister Laura was there to help, but her time was occupied mostly with Jacob.



I think it still tasted better than a store-bought cake though.

Alzheimers and insurance companies

This sentence from the article on the alzheimer's test really irks me though:

But there are also fears that insurance companies could cash in on the advance hiking premiums for those at risk, or even refusing to insure them altogether.

That should be illegal. That really shows you that profit is the most important thing to health insurance companies. It should be about taking care of people.

Test for Alzheimer's

This can predict up to six years in advance of developing the disease. I know some people say they wouldn't want to know, but I think it would give you a chance to get your things in order. Make sure your will is updated, make arrangements for pets or loved ones, make up with people you've faught with, etc. etc. Do all the stuff you need a sound mind and memory for. I would definitely want to know.

kaboost

This is a neat idea for the older kids, much safer than the telephone books I sat on when I was a kid!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Fantasy

In my internet browsing I came accross this book:Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook
which looks really interesting to me. I added it to my wish list. Then I started thinking about how what I really need most though is the TIME TO READ that book and others I already have. And how realistically speaking-will I be able to put her tips to good use? Well, not now.....maybe in the future when the kids aren't quite so dependant or at least are in school. What I'm really asking for is the fantasy. Yes, you too could have such a beautifully organized, sparklingly clean, expensively decorated house! Just by reading this book, character traits long ago ingrained in your personality will suddenly morph into much desired ones!
I know it's just a fantasy, but I do enjoy it while it lasts.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

For comparison.....



For comparison, here's baby Timothy, about 3 months old. All my babies looked very much alike, but even in the pictures, Timothy has always reminded me more of Tom's brother Billy.

Brothers




I
I was looking at these pictures with Leanna the other day and I've been meaning to post them.......these are both baby Justin. Looks just like Jacob. The biggest diffence is size, although these pictures show Justin at about a month and a half old(Jacob is almost three months now).