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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Kinda cool

For $9.00 you can turn your handwritting into a computer font.
So if I wanted to preserve Leanna's handwritting, I download their form, have her fill it out, scan it, and then have fun.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Opinions please.......

I think it's a really scary time to be a parent. I really hate that you can't even send your child off to school worry-free anymore. Locally, in several cities there are gang rumblings about some sort of resistance to authority that will occur in school on February 29th. They didn't even start in my city, but things like that can spread. The school district sent a letter and a phone message home saying that they are aware and are working with police. The letter asks that we send our children to school anyway, "We need your support and cooperation by having your children in school. Friday, February 29, 2008 will be a regular school day for all students in the School District."
I am wondering how it makes a difference, security-wise, to have all kids in school. Wouldn't it be easier to manage, should anything occur, with less kids to protect? I know the chances of something happening at the elementary school level are slim, but it's not unheard of, and it would make more of a statement. School shootings are becoming increasingly common, so it occurs to me that doing something to an elementary school would have more shock value. I also worry that, forgive me for saying it, but in a sea of minority students, a caucasion student is more likely to stand out and and thus become a target. I've been seriously considering keeping her home that day-I hesitate mainly because she has so recently missed school from getting sick twice and then attending the funeral.
Any advice to offer? What would you do?

too cute not to post

Ok, I resisted the urge to post the pictures of him in nothing but a hardhat, carrying a box of Cheerios. But these somehow seem more modest. That would be a pink Barbie couch he has planted his little tushie on, LOL.
It seems he has lately taken over Justin's title as Nature Boy!!
(*On as side note, the Barbie house was a yard sale find of Nanny Sue's and the Barbie couch-and matching chair-were a yard sale find of Grammy's)


He looked down last minute, but I still love the huge grin you can see on his face.

I thought I'd finally mention superbaby's vocal skills that I was afraid to put out there before. I don't think I'm going to catch it on video, it's too hard to get him to cooperate and to have decent enough lighting to pick it up (our house is really dark).
My sister, the professional, was the person I was most afraid of disbelief from-and she has since heard a few demonstrations on her own-so I feel I can brave scoffing from anyone else.

Jacob repeated back to me the phrase "I Love You". Very clearly at first then after multiple repeats it degraded a bit. But he's repeated it to me on multiple occasions, and my Mom's heard it more than once as well. I'm not saying he understands the words, though I think he gets the gist of it. Laura swore she heard Jacob say her name (I was doing something and I didn't actually hear that one, but I don't doubt it).
He calls for me: Mamamama! or Mum-mum He has different tones he uses, depending on his mood. When he's calling for me to pick him up! Now! it often comes out with as a longer repetition of ma-ma-ma-ma-ma! versus when he's happy and just calling out, then it's usually mum-mum or mama.
He says hungry, though it comes out more like hun-gee

*And although I've heard him say Da several times before, last night was the first time I've seen him use it in connection with Tom. Before that it was more like a familiar sound he was repeating, but last night I saw him use it clearly as a way of calling his father.

I've also heard him try to say Justin's name before.

If nothing else, four kids have certainly taught me that many kids do many things earlier than the guidelines, and it doesn't make them geniuses or future star athletes. All kids develop differently and there's such a huge range of what constitutes normal. I find it impressive that Jacob is able to repeat an entire phrase, as opposed to a single word, but I am also aware that it doesn't necessarily mean anything at all. My kids have all been on the early side in the vocabulary department, and I'd imagine that since Jacob had three older siblings constantly chattering for him (even while in the womb) that plays a part in his verbal prowess.
: )
I'm a proud Mama, nonetheless!!


I forgot to add these the other day.....much like his sister and father, Jacob seems to have a propensity for sticking out his tongue! He does it frequently but I don't often catch it on "film" because he is still awestruck by the flash. It's like the effort of pushing off the bed requires him to stick out his little tongue, LOL.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Anne Frank's Diary

If you've read The Diary of Anne Frank, this link shows a picture of the boy she wrote about from school. Someone apparently found a picture in an attic and it's been authenticated.
He also died in a concentration camp.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Return of the teacher

Leanna was so excited because her teacher had promised she'd be back in school today. Her teacher left to have a baby around a week after their winter break. They had a substitute, but then about three weeks ago that sub went to a different class and they had another substitute. We've gone from homework and folders and and books to read and words to go over everynight, along with papers to be signed-to bringing home only math papers, to now nothing comes home at all. I wan't really thrilled with the change-why switch subs halfway through? It's hard on young kids to keep adjusting. They really bond with the teacher and get used to certain ways of doing things. And running across articles like this show that it's more than just difficult emotionally, it can affect grades. Plus it makes you wonder, gee did they switch teachers so they didn't have to send a note home?

Leanna made cards for her teacher and popsicle stick people. She forgot the cards, but pictured are the people she made as a gift for her teacher's return. She was all excited to go to school this morning. Unfortunately, she had a sub again. A new one.

It'll be nice for me as well to know which door to look for Leanna to come through each day, and to know there's someone I can ask if we have a question about what she's learning or her progress in school.

Just braggin'

Just pictures of my bouncin' baby boy......


I love how I can see both our faces in him at once.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Update on future professions

Currently Leanna wants to be an art teacher and also a person who works at Giant. She wants to work at Giant in particular because we go there a lot so that she could see me while she's working. Her plan is for the school to let her leave early to go work at Giant.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Brownie Activities

Unfortunately Leanna's field trip for tomorrow is cancelled, thanks to all the snow. But last week Leanna helped out with booth cookie sales. She actually had a lot of fun there and got a free home depot apron, a star, and an indian headdress with a pink feather. Yeah, I'm not sure why either, but she was really happy with them all. It's really cute, all week long she's been playing store.


Tom's always said that Timothy reminds him of sweatpea, the baby from the Popeye cartoons. I think he does look like a cartoon character here.


Penguin Baby

I've had this outfit since Leanna was a baby. It was a hand-me-down from someone. None of my kids fit in it in time to wear it until now. Makes you want a baby, doesn't it Laura??


Leanna's rendition of outer space. She was a little confused on the concept though. She told me it was a picture of her in outerspace but then she said she was standing on a space ball, and that the other ball was a globe. She sounded a little confused as she tried to explain it, but I'm impressed as it is a difficult concept to grasp. There's an airplane on top. I love that it looks like she's trying to juggle some stars.

Only in our house

Only in our house do children wear a purple wig (or scarf) and carry liquid nails. Their memories of childhood toys will include:
hammers, screwdrivers, saws, paintcans, spackel buckets, paintbrushes, and tilesaws, etc.
(For the record, yes, many of these items are dangerous. We hide them, they find them. Sometimes they are just here breifly and there is a small window of time until they are caught playing with them. And sometimes Tom just has nowhere to go with the tools so I just have to try to keep my eyes open and immediately stop them when they are touched).

You knew this was coming......

SNOWDAY pictures!!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Aunt Cindy's house

This picture doesn't show all the land that they own, but it gives a general idea of the area. I can't give a good description of the wood and land around them because I haven't seen it in many years (didn't get a chance to look around on this trip) but Tom got to tour it with Travis. He also had fun on the four wheeler, although Ryan claims he screamed like a girl during the ride. (I wasn't there, so I don't know?!)

Family fun

The kids had so much fun with cousins Betsy and Chrissy while we were in Bellwood. They were practically tireless when it came to spinning the kids, giving piggy-back rides, and watching Leanna dance. Aunt Cindy gave Leanna a bag of clip on earrings that she LOVED!
Also pictured are Chrissy and her fiance, Travis.


Timothy kissing cousin Kayla, Justin sitting with Kayla, and McKenzie (McKINsy) who wouldn't smile for me until her mother ordered that she was definitely not allowed to smile for a picture!! They're always fashionably dressed and looked adorable.

First foods-belated

From about two weeks ago-Jacob's first try of solids, bannanas. He liked it but was more interested in playing with the spoon and bowl. As you can see, the exema is still really really bad, though currently it's a little better than in the pictures.
As Aunt Cindy says, he really was the poster child for breastfeeding-no solids whatsoever until almost 7 months old, all breastmilk and in the 90s percentile-wise for weight! So beautifully chubby!!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Parade moving-for a few of you.......

The St. Paddy's DAy parade is moving, we usually try to go to these things........

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

My Uncle and a host of other thoughts.........

I've been quiet lately because I've had a lot to process.......still working on that. My Uncle, the one who had prostate cancer and recently beat it, decided to take his life. This was just such a shock. Not only because he had just beat cancer, but because he was an extremely religious man, and he had a very close beautiful relationship with his wife. They had three children and a good relationship with them as well.
Intellectually I can understand that depression caused this-but still I just can't wrap my head around it. Yes, I know that religious people are faliable too-they do bad things, they make mistakes. They are human too. But his faith was so strong I just wouldn't have expected it. And he and his wife were so close. He and Aunt Cindy had the kind of relationship everyone dreams of......nothing on earth is perfect, but theirs was as close as it gets. They did everything together, they made their choices together, they were true partners, "a wall of solidarity" as the minister called them. I remember as a teenager one of their daughters told me that she'd never heard her parents fight. I didn't believe her at first, but after extensive questioning, it turned out to be the truth. It's important to note that the reason they rarely faught (because apparently there were a few fights, it was just an extremely rare occasion) was NOT because they held it all in. That would be unhealthy. They were just so in sync and so adept at coming to an agreement that fighting wasn't necesary. So that is part of why it is so hard to understand his decision to leave her, and so abruptly on purpose.
My Uncle was a pretty quiet man, at least around us. He was generally just the bored husband, along on a family trip with little to do. He would just sit and listen or watch tv while my Aunt interacted with her family. He was always good spirited about it, I remember him laughing a lot. He willingly drove my Aunt around and did favors for her parents or relatives. I was only really getting to know him in recent years. Although he didn't talk much to me when I was growing up he was a good uncle to my kids. He talked and joked with them, reading them stories and throwing a ball around with Justin. The kids really liked him, particularly Justin. And because my husband got along with him they would talk on family occasions as well. It made him more of a person to me, and not just my uncle. He was a good religious influence as well, gently questioning Tom about religion. If anyone else would have done it I think my husband would have instinctively withdrawn and not listened to a word of it. His stubornness would have kicked in. But my Uncle didn't need to be pushy about it as his life was the best witness to true Christian beliefs. It's a shame that influence is no longer there.
Since before Justin was born we'd been trying to arrange a trip to visit Aunt Cindy's house. I know Tom would have enjoyed walking around with my Uncle, seeing the house he'd built and the land they owned, his tree-stands for enjoying nature, whatever tools he had and all that manly stuff. We never did manage to make it there until last week, for the funeral.
He had the kind of eulegy everyone would want-devoted husband, father, teacher, religious and humble man. The pastor shared stories of his sense of humor and his children wrote him a letter declaring their love and appreciation.
There really was a lot of food for thought in our trip to pay our respects. It inspired thoughts of how I want to be remembered, on the differences between our reality and others' perceptions, on the qualities of a good marriage, on the effects of a good marriage on children, on the importance of expressing love for those in your life, on life and death itself, on the importance of family connections, on specific aspects of my Aunt and Uncle's life I admire, and on changes I'd like to make in my own life.......and so much more. It's funny how life seems to throw certain messages that you need to hear in your face, and yet you ignore them. Figuring out how to overcome this and allow good things to happen appears to be my own personal challenge.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

awesome website

So I'm sitting here trying to rock the baby to sleep and I ran across this really interesting website for products: The Spoon Sisters

Hey Claire, if the unthinkable ever happens, they sell a Street Art Coloring book.

Or how about a clock that runs and hides if you don't get up the first time it goes off? Then you have to find it to shut it of the second time! (Clocky!) I like the family dinner box of questions(-now if I could just get my family to the table!!) They also sell a cute duckie shower cap, an adorable baby airplane spoon, pee-pee teepees, the wheel of responsibility , Happy Spoons, dinosaur utensils, bandaids in the shape of kisses and of course the world's largest underpants. And much more.

Saturday, February 02, 2008