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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Business listing

If you know someone who needs work done, point them here. It's a listing of Tom's business.

A Giant Allsorts Licorice Playhouse

Nope, I'm not kidding, they make one Mom!

Euthanasia and anti-semitism=trouble ahead?

Also from that report from Jim Carr, I found this portion from the section on demographies interesting:

Europe and Japan are dying because their populations are aging and shrinking. These trends can be reversed if the young people start breeding. However, the birth rates in these areas are so low it will take two generations to turn things around. No economic model exists that permits 50 years to turn things around. Some countries are beginning to offer incentives for people to have bigger families. For example, Italy is offering tax breaks for having children. However, it's a lifestyle issue versus a tiny amount of money. Europeans aren't willing to give up their comfortable lifestyles in order to have more children. In general, everyone in Europe just wants it to last a while longer.Europeans have a real talent for living. They don't want to work very hard. The average European worker gets 400 more hours of vacation time per year than Americans. They don't want to work and they don't want to make any of the changes needed to revive their economies. The summer after 9/11, France lost 15,000 people in a heat wave. In August, the country basically shuts down when everyone goes on vacation.That year, a severe heat wave struck and 15,000 elderly people living in nursing homes and hospitals died. Their children didn't even leave the beaches to come back and take care of the bodies. Institutions had to scramble to find enough refrigeration units to hold the bodies until people came to claim them. This loss of life was five times bigger than 9/11 in America, yet it didn't trigger any change in French society.When birth rates are so low, it creates a tremendous tax burden on the young. Under those circumstances, keeping mom and dad alive is not an attractive option.
That's why euthanasia is becoming so popular in most European countries. The only country that doesn't permit (and even encourage) euthanasia is Germany, because of all the baggage from World War II.The European economy is beginning to fracture. Countries like Italy are starting to talk about pulling out of the European Union because it is killing them. When things get bad economically in Europe, they tend to get very nasty politically. The canary in the mine is anti-Semitism. When it goes up, it means trouble is coming. Current levels of anti-Semitism are higher than ever.

Having large families is incompatible with middle class living

So says this report from Jim Carr. I'm putting the portion about population growth here. It's just a different perspective than what you usually hear. Every day I run into at least one thing talking about how nobody should reproduce ever, so we can save the planet. Granted, this is still somewhat selfish, but it does point out some things to consider.

3. Shifting Demographics of Western Civilization
Most countries in the Western world have stopped breeding. For a civilization obsessed with sex, this is remarkable. Maintaining a steady population requires a birth rate of 2.1 In Western Europe, the birth rate currently stands at 1.5, or 30 percent below replacement. In30 years there will be 70 to 80 million fewer Europeans than there are today. The current birth rate in Germany is 1.3. Italy and Spain are even lower at 1.2. At that rate, the working age population declines by 30 percent in 20 years, which has a huge impact on the economy. When you don't have young workers to replace the older ones, you have to import them.The European countries are currently importing Muslims. Today, the Muslims comprise 10 percent of France and Germany, and the percentage is rising rapidly because they have higher birthrates. However, the Muslim populations are not being integrated into the cultures of their host countries, which is a political catastrophe. One reason Germany and France don't support the Iraq war is they fear their Muslim populations will explode on them. By 2020, more than half of all births in the Netherlands will be non-European.The huge design flaw in the postmodern secular state is that you need a traditional religious society birth rate to sustain it. The Europeans simply don't wish to have children, so they are dying. In Japan, the birthrate is 1.3. As a result, Japan will lose up to 60 million people over the next 30 years. Because Japan has a very different society than Europe, they refuse to import workers. Instead, they are just shutting down. Japan has already closed 2,000 schools, and is closing them down at the rate of 300 per year. Japan is also aging very rapidly. By 2020, one out of every five Japanese will be at least 70 years old. Nobody has any idea about how to run an economy with those demographics.Europe and Japan, which comprise two of the world's major economic engines, aren't merely in recession, they're shutting down. This will have a huge impact on the world economy, and it is already beginning to happen. Why are the birthrates so low? There is a direct correlation between abandonment of traditional religious society and a drop in birth rate, and Christianity in Europe is becoming irrelevant.The second reason is economic. When the birth rate drops below replacement, the population ages. With fewer working people to support more retired people, it puts a crushing tax burden on the smaller group of working age people. As a result, young people delay marriage and having a family. Once this trend starts, the downward spiral only gets worse. These countries have abandoned all the traditions they formerly held in regard to having families and raising children.The U.S. birth rate is 2.0, just below replacement. We have an increase in population because of immigration. When broken down by ethnicity, the Anglo birth rate is 1.6 (same as France) while the Hispanic birth rate is 2.7. In the U.S., the baby boomers are starting to retire in massive numbers. This will push the elder dependency ratio from 19 to 38 over the next 10 to 15 years. This is not as bad as Europe, but still represents the same kind of trend.Western civilization seems to have forgotten what every primitive society understands-you need kids to have a healthy society. Children are huge consumers. Then they grow up to become tax payers. That's how a society works, but the postmodern secular state seems to have forgotten that. If U.S. birth rates of the past 20 to 30 years had been the same as post-World War II, there would be no Social Security or Medicare problems.The world's most effective birth control device is money. [I love this line!!] As society creates a middle class and women move into the workforce, birth rates drop. Having large families is incompatible with middle class living.The quickest way to drop the birth rate is through rapid economic development. After World War II, the U.S. instituted a $600 tax credit per child. The idea was to enable mom and dad to have four children without being troubled by taxes. This led to a baby boom of 22 million kids, which was a huge consumer market. That turned into a huge tax base. However, to match that incentive in today's dollars would cost $12,000 per child.China and India do not have declining populations. However, in both countries, there is a preference for boys over girls, and we now have the technology to know which is which before they are born. In China and India, families are aborting the girls. As a result, in each of these countries there are 70 million boys growing up who will never find wives. When left alone, nature produces 103 boys for every 100 girls. In some provinces, however, the ratio is 128 boys to every 100 girls. [I have read that this creates a potentially explosive situation. You have to keep all these potential sources of political instability contented. One way, historically often used, is war.]The birth rate in Russia is so low that by 2050 their population will be [!] smaller than that of Yemen. Russia has one-sixth of the earth's land surface and much of its oil. You can't control that much area with such a small population. Immediately to the south, you have China with 70 million unmarried men who are a real potential nightmare scenario for Russia. [See my comment above.]

Friday, May 30, 2008

Upcoming parties

I'm getting excited about the kids' birthday party. I haven't settled a date yet-hopefully I'll sort that one out soon. This summer it'll be Mimi's party, Leanna, Justin, & Tom's party......then the next month my mother-in-law and Jacob's, then the next month my Mom & sister's, then the next month mine, then the next month Timothy's! November provides a short respite, then in December is Claire and Maree'. Oh yeah, and CHRISTMAS!
I won a Fisherprice Kid Tough camera on ebay-there's a new one. Picture quality still leaves something to be desired. But this one isn't quite as chunky as the original, and it is waterproof(I hadn't even thought of that, but that's a very good thing too!). I got it for about $20.oo less than it sells for in stores. That wasn't easy though-I saw them going for over $100 on ebay. It amazes me how many idiots don't do the minimal research to figure out how much they'd pay to just buy something from a store. A lot of stuff on ebay is overpriced because people just keep bidding, determined to win. Or I'd bet some of them just don't figure in the shipping and handling costs-that's where some of them really get you. I'm actually still looking though, because if I can get one priced even lower, I just might get Justin one as well. That would stop a lot of fights!
For about 15 you can get a case for the cameras, so that might be a birthday present idea for someone as well.

On memorial day I asked Justin what he wants for his birthday. He replied, "A hammock, a zebra with buttons, and a car with buttons." He is referring to Mia's green jeep that you drive, not a toy car. I asked Tom what he wants also and he said a tiger. A real tiger. So you can see what I'm up against here.

Reclaming a bit of time

I'm kind of afraid to write this, but since Jacob's begun crawling, I've started to have a bit more free time again. That's why I've not posted as much. I spend much less time just holding him. And my downstairs has begun to be (mainly) clean every night. It's really nice.
Since we moved in here I've been pregnant and caring for babies. Justin was 6 months old when we moved in and within a month I was pregnant with Timothy. Then just as Timothy was starting to crawl around and amuse himself a bit.....along came Jacob and I was back to square one. Pregnancy really drains all my energy, I truly didn't have much left over for cleaning.
So I am truly thrilled to be regaining a bit of freedom. Jacob really enjoys exploring. He is curious about everything. It's reciprocal though, as his crawling around necessitates more cleaning.
It really does feel good to keep the place looking somewhat decent!

Learning to recognize letters

Timothy and Justin were watching SuperWhy (an educational PBS program) this morning and they asked where the letter "S" was. Timothy ran over to the tv and pointed to it. I was shocked, I had no idea he knew any letters. After the first child, I stopped bothering to try to teach stuff like that because I noticed that they pick it up on their own, so why force it when it'll come naturally? Not that I sat there forcing Leanna to memorize letters and numbers and such, but I do remember going over shapes and stuff like that with her. But especially with other siblings to learn from, and the many educational programs on today, those things really do come easily. It'ls still exciting though to see them learning on their own, and I am proud of their accomplishments-all the more because it did come on their own.

End of the year

Omigosh! I wish I had time to take a picture this morning because Leanna looked so adorable! I put her hair in pigtails for field day today. It's like an all day gym class, but hopefully more fun. Yesterday her school went to an Iron Pigs game as a reward for good behavior. She came home sunburned and happy. I asked and she said she didn't understand the game. But it was enjoyable anyway. Next week there's a carnival. And I think she has a play coming up soon-I can't wait to see that!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Don't I wish!

We picked up milk from the store today and as Leanna grabbed one she read, "Fat Free Milk" and with wonder in her voice asked, "Is it really free? We don't have to pay for it!"

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Dorky Grammies

The other day Grammy was over and was looking in the full-length mirror at herself. She said that she looked dorky. Justin looked at her and matter-of-fact-ly announced, "Yeah, you do."
One of those moments that was really funny if you were there.

Memorial Day and stuff

I'm spending today catching up on emails and phone calls and such, so I'm posting a bunch of recent pictures and news. We had a nice memorial day with Jerry and Leanne and a few others.
I can't believe school's almost over, that went pretty fast from my perspective.
Here's a picture of Tom with his summer hair. He cut his hair last night after we got home, next up are Justin and Timothy. Both are badly in need of a haircut! Wish us luck that they look better than the last two or three cuts!

Leanna and Mia

These two are so cute together. They rode cars together and jumped in the trampoline together. Mia danced a ballet and Leanna was a cheerleader for her. They put on a play together.
Leanna says they even found and hugged a sheep together. (I missed that one).

I think these two are a good match for each other, they played and bossed each other around all day. I have to say, much as I hate to agree with a stereotype, in this particular situation it seems to apply. Mia seems like much less of a little diva since Lexi was born. Becoming an older sister seems to have mellowed her out some.

Memorial Day Fun

Here's Justin finally getting his ride with Daddy. Justin begged both Tom and Jerry for a ride on the ATV and Tom finally gave in. Jerry and Leanne (his girlfriend) both jumped in the trampoline with the kids-they loved this!

Timothy and Lexi

These two were so cute together. I didn't catch a good picture of the two-they kept moving right before I could take it! But here was Timothy putting his arm around her and hugging her on the couch. It was so sweet, he was doing this all day, even when no one was watching (so it wasn't just for attention).


Generally speaking, I feel that I am very lucky my kids love each other so much. They all adore Jacob and we really have had very few instances of sibling rivalry with him. This past week was the exception, with both Timothy and Justin displaying a little jealousy. I caught Timothy throwing the basketball at Jacob twice. And Monday I caught Justin trying to hit Jacob in the head with a stuffed piggy out of the blue. When pressed, Justin admitted that "sometimes I don't like him." Normal and understandable, but we did have a talk about it later. (At the time I sent him upstairs so I could cool down first, lol).

Another cleaner?

Remember how Justin was fascinated by the vacuume? My Dad nicknamed him "the janitor." Now Jacob has a fascination with brooms. On multiple occasions I have found him crawling over to the broom. He picks it up and plays away.

New shoes

Maybe not exciting to most of you, but Justin and Timothy finally got new shoes Thursday night. That's exciting for them and me, because it was getting really hard to get their feet in their shoes-and Justin's were literally starting to fall apart! They each got sandals and sneakers, but I have to return Justin's. They're just a little too big for comfort while walking, a half size smaller would be fine. Timothy got digger sneakers, which I was sure Justin would want. But he picked Thomas, and was really really thrilled with them. Wanted to sleep with them on and everything! He excitedly told Leanna, "Look! I can go in the kitchen when Mommy turns off the light-my shoes light up!"

light sickness

Justin slept pretty much all afternoon on Sunday-he was very warm. By evening he was feeling much better and ran around again like normal. Timothy had the same thing two days earlier, also with an easy recovery.
Tom hasn't been feeling well the past couple days, but he doesn't recover as well. He never gets to sleep, and he is a very hard worker, all the time. I kind of wish something would fall through so that he could get a break, although he would probably find something else to do anyway.

Block Party

Our neighbors have 4 birthdays in May so they decided to do a block party to celebrate. They had to get 75% of the block's residents to sign off on it and I think they paid a small fee. They set up a couple grills, people donated extra food and drinks, and at one point they had out a little sprinkler, a playhouse, and lots of kids had bikes. Music played the whole time. I had no idea that many kids lived on our street. It was different. The kids had fun. Justin wasn't feeling well and slept on the couch all afternoon. A real shame as he would have loved being out longer.
And I really liked seeing all these kids out riding their bikes down the street, you can't do that all the time, too many drivers in a hurry out there. Leanna and Timmy rode our two skooters (another one of Nanny Sue's great presents!) up and down. Although it did nearly cause me a heart attack-Timothy rode next to his sister, all the way to where the street was baracaded off. She turned around and came back, apparently not noticing that Timothy did not follow suit. Luckily that 6th sense that women, particularly mothers, develop kicked in and I noticed immediately that he was missing. The little adventurer CROSSED LINDEN STREET ALONE AND WAS OFF DOWN THE BLOCK, HEADED TOWARDS HAMILTON STREET! His guardian angel was with him, thank god! I picked him up and carried him and the scooter back-the little stinker protesting indignantly all the way that he IS allowed to cross streets!!

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Case For Large Families

*Didn't mean to post this one yet, I wanted to first add that I disagree with the small family bashing in it. There is no one right choice for everyone, and just like I don't want people telling me how terrible it is that I have a "large" family, I do not think that small families are the reason for modern selfishness and other problems. (I also wish he hadn't trotted out that onlies are all selfish and self-centered.) It is possible to be pro one choice without being anti the other choice. Just food for thought.

Also, since it goes along with the theme of large families. A religious perspective. Although this one is about the contempt usually shown to large families, it has a more positive take on the subject.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pick your own

I hope I get a chance to take advantage of this, I've been wanting to pick strawberries since we first found Seiple Farms, years ago:

Shows (some) local places to pick your own fruits and vegetables and also has info on storage, canning, making jam, etc.

Food for Thought

Two articles I found interesting:

What if No One Were Fat?

What if Gas Cost $10/Gallon?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Jon and Kate Plus Eight

Naptime musings from Kate of Jon and Kate Plus Eight.
Now I know why I love this show so much. I see a lot of myself in her-though without the whole neat freak, terribly organized person thing. I definitely don't have that. She's even the same age.
I aspire to be more like her though. And I love their attitude, We're in this together, and the fact that you see them yell and get frustrated and talk to each other not-so-nicely. That's real life. She's been widely criticized for hitting her husband (like tapping him on the arm or leg)-I do that too. Only during a breif period when we experiemented with Tom using his own alarm clock did it ever get hard enough to hurt. He didn't tell me until later. In my defence I wasn't fully awake and the stupid alarm kept going and going and going and he would keep sleeping and sleeping and sleeping! I would tap him to wake him up & get him to shut the alarm off. Aparently a bit roughly. Oooops.

Monday, May 19, 2008

It was a really nice day.

Leanna told me that she could still hear people screaming (happy screams) as she was falling asleep last night. Leanna said her favorites were the tilt-a-whirl and The Whip.

I was snuggling with Justin after we got home and he asked me if Dorney Park could be our new home!

I think they really liked it. : )

Car Ride

This is Tom and Timothy waiting in line and riding the cars toether. Tom said someone yelled, Hey! Who's driving that car?! Timothy is actually in there, he's just so little that you can't see his head above the car.

You lost your ball!

Tom had Leanna going for about 5 minutes-telling her she better find her basketball!

More basketball--smoke-break

Cutie in the stroller

Nice picture of his teeth!

You can see even Jacob got wet.

Kiddie Merry Go Round & Roller Coaster

Justin kept making the funniest faces on the rides. I think he was enjoying it but was a little bit scared, hence the expression. Afterwards he would say he loved it and wanted to go again.


Tom won each of the older kids a basketball. Leanna begged and begged to try it. I guess she'd done it a few times at school and was sure she could get a basket in. We let her try twice. You can see him stopping Leanna from hitting the poor lady in the one picture. And Timothy thought he was supposed to throw the ball too when Tom gave him the one he won for him.


Antique Merry Go Round

Sea Dragon

This was always one of my favorite rides, Leanna had fun but didn't like it that much. Which is wierd because she was perfectly willing to go on the big rollercoasters and stuff that was scarier.