Search This Blog

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Population decline & consequences

Question: If the United States has near-replacement fertility, why should we care?
Answer:All of the factors that are leading Europe into the depths of Demographic Winter are present in the United States as well, including high divorce rates, the rise of cohabitation, families putting off procreation to pursue careers, an anti-family culture and voluntary childlessness.
We may be a few decades behind Europe, but we’re heading in the same direction.
National economies are interconnected to such an extent that the impact of economic collapse in one country or region can be felt around the world.
The social, political and economic decline of previously stable nations can destabilize entire regions and create perils for neighbors and far-away allies. The United States is connected to Europe economically and through multiple security treaties.

(I found that info through this post): (though I would add that I think God is fine with people who are truly gay being gay, I don't have a problem with that. I point this out as a rebuttal of all the people who claim we are ruining the world by reproducing.)

HERE is a link to the website promoting a well-researched documentary on population decline and its consequences. This is truly frightening because it's not something that can be fixed easily or in a short amount of time. Dr. Albert Mohler, among others, has lamented on his radio show about how Europe will be Muslim within a generation or two. It's a foregone conclusion because the birthrates in all European countries have been below replacement rate for so long. They've been importing people from muslim countries to do their work...and these families have large numbers of children. It's just a matter of time, now.What's even more amazing is this is a secular film using secular data from secular scientists. Their conclusion? The family as defined as one man and one woman for life having lots of children is a requirement for a stable, growing, prosperous society.Hmmmm....sort of sounds like God's idea! Marriage as defined as one man and one woman for life, being fruitful and multiplying, understanding that children are a blessing and praying for a quiver-full!!!!Don't you love it when God is shown to have been right all along?And don't you hate it when we as a society will suffer for having ignored Him and His laws....Shall we do our part to receive as many of God's blessings as He deems fit to give us???

Monday, September 29, 2008

Family visit

While I'm on a roll here blogging, we had a nice family visit on Saturday. Tom went over to do some work for his cousin Janay. She's living in an old house that needs a lot of work but has a lot of potential. We all went with him and Tom's other cousin, Jason, and his wife and son came over too. Janay(sp?) was great with the kids, they really liked her. And their favorite part was that she set up the Wii Mario Kart game for them and they played that off and on all evening. I haven't played video games since pac man, so it was entirely new for me as well. It was "racer-cars" as Timothy calls them, that you drive with a remote around various race tracks and you pick your player and car. Timothy had no idea what he was doing, in fact, half the time he just had an extra remote that wasn't hooked up and he just thought he was driving. Justin really enjoyed it though. Leanna liked it but actually enjoyed bowling more. She was pretty good too, I think she did better than the adults. At the end of the night Janae switched to bowling and Jason and Tom tried that too. The kids had a lot of fun with Jason and Becky also. They were ticking and laughing and just had a lot of fun with them. Justin led everyone in a round of clapping after each person took a turn bowling, it was really cute. Just a nice family visit.
Then on Sunday Justin asked me if we could go to Nanny-May's house again. LOL, he could say her name fine that night, but by the next day he couldn't remember it. Timothy called her Jack. She's very good-natured about it.

talking to Nanny Sue

I think it was last Friday that Justin asked to call Nanny Sue. He jabbered on and I don't think poor Nanny Sue understood half of what he said. For example he told her about the chicken gun-which is a little plastic gun that flings little plastic chickens. It's actually Tom's, my family has an ongoing joke with him about chickens. I'm sure she had no idea what he was talking about.
Making it even more difficult to understand him was the fact that Justin was running around and standing upside-down on the couch as he talked. I overheard bits and pieces of the phone call. The funniest part of the whole conversation was when Justin asked Nanny if she went to the bank. He asked where and she told him. "Oh, you should go to our bank. We have a normal bank. You should go there. Everybody should", he stated matter-of-factly.
He really cracks me up sometimes.

Kitchen colors-any opinions? (please)

So I am not personally fond of these colors, however my husband has a vision. Actually they aren't his favorite colors either, but our paint choices are limited to what he has on hand (from previous jobs and the paint that was left in the house) and occasionally he finds very cheap cans of mismatched tints that he buys. He has had this plan in his head for a while to paint the kitchen cabinets and chair-rail one color, below the chair-rail another color, and above the chair-rail another color. So the kitchen would actually be painted 3 colors total. The two greens on the cabinet door are the two he's considering for the cabinets/chair-rail. And of the three colors, I'm thinking they would basically have to go in that order-reddish maroon color on the bottom, to the lightest color on top. If the darkest color was on top I think the room would feel like a cave? (Ignore the dirty wall in the first picture, it's right above our trash can and stays dirty no matter how often I clean it). The middle color is actually a grayish green (it looks darker in the picture).
1. do these colors go together ok?
2. Which of the two greens on top look better? (the left is almost a hunter green, the right is more like a green apple)
3. and which color looks better for the cabinets?
(Just for the record, I like my lavender kitchen, given a choice, I'd keep it. But I'm just asking for opinions on the paint because neither one of us is thrilled with the choices so we're trying to see what's other people think).

A simple guy's economic plan

An email forward from my Mom. This would be so awesome!! It would never happen, and I'm sure someone could point out flaws in the plan, why it would never work or happen, but it's fun to dream, isn't it??

A simple guy's Economic Plan:
I'm against the $85,000,000,000.00 bailout of AIG.Instead, I'm in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to America in a We Deserve It Dividend.
To make the math simple, let's assume there are 200,000,000 bona fide U.S. Citizens 18+.
Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and child. So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up..
So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billion that equals $425,000.00.
My plan is to give $425,000 to every person 18+ as a We Deserve It Dividend.Of course, it would NOT be tax free.
XSo let's assume a tax rate of 30%.Every individual 18+ has to pay $127,500.00 in taxes.That sends $25,500,000,000 right back to Uncle Sam.
But it means that every adult 18+ has $297,500.00 in their pocket.
A husband and wife has $595,000.00.
What would you do with $297,500.00 to $595,000.00 in your family?
Pay off your mortgage - housing crisis solved.
Repay college loans - what a great boost to new grads
Put away money for college - it'll be there
Save in a bank - create money to loan to entrepreneurs.
Buy a new car - create jobs
Invest in the market - capital drives growth
Pay for your parent's medical insurance - health care improves
Enable Deadbeat Dads to come clean - or else
Remember this is for every adult U S Citizen 18+ including the folks who lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers and every other company that is cutting back.
And of course, for those serving in our Armed Forces.
If we're going to re-distribute wealth let's really do it...instead of trickling out a puny $1000.00 ( 'vote buy' ) economic incentive that is being proposedby one of our candidates for President.
If we're going to do an $85 billion bailout, let's bail out every adult U S Citizen 18+!
As for AIG - liquidate it.Sell off its parts.
Let American General go back to being American General.Sell off the real estate.Let the private sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up.
Here's my rationale. We deserve it and AIG doesn't.
Sure it's a crazy idea that can 'never work.'But can you imagine the Coast-To-Coast Block Party!How do you spell Economic Boom?
I trust my fellow adult Americans to know how to use the $85 Billion
We Deserve It Dividend more than I do the geniuses at AIG or in Washington DC And remember, The Birk plan only really costs $59.5 Billion because $25.5 Billion is returned instantly in taxes to Uncle Sam.
Ahhh...I feel so much better getting that off my chest.
Kindest personal regards,BirkT. J. Birkenmeier, A Creative Guy & Citizen of the Republic
PS:Feel free to pass this along to your pals as it's either good for a laugh or a tear or a very sobering thought on how to best use $85 Billion!!

Oh so gross!

One time at my fountain hill place I had coffee and homemade chocolate chip cookies together in the a.m. As I drank something big went into my mouth and I thought maybe it was just a chocolate chip chunk but I just had this feeling and I spit it out. Sure enough it was one of those giant ants! I couldn't drink coffee at all for about a month, and after that I drank only instant for a few more months because I could see exactly what was going into it(no coffee maker that a bug could crawl into!) This is pretty gross too, I think I would have thrown up:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

12 year old burger?

Supposedly a woman has kept a Mcdonalds burger for 12 years now and it looks as good as one you'd buy today. Not sure if it's true or not but that's pretty gross to think about. She says it proves McDonalds isn't real food.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A good summation

I ran across this and it fits:

Yes, they are all mine. Yes, we are crazy, but that happened a long time ago and has nothing to do with the size of our family. No, neither one of us come from particularly large families. Yes, my hands are full…usually of dirty diapers and baby wipes. No, we are not Catholic. Yes, we do know how his happens and we actually do have hobbies. Yes, we’ve seen Jon and Kate Plus 8. And finally (try not to be shocked now) YES, WE DO WANT MORE!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I am old, so old

Did you know that Saved By the Bell is now 20 years old!! I was never a fan of the show, but I had some forced viewing since my sister was a fan. (Also I was curious to see AC Slater, I mean Mario Lopez act because I still remember when he was a dancer on Kids Incorporated). To think that those kids are now watching the show with their own kids is a little mindblowing. I am old, so so old!

Weighing on my mind lately.......

I've actually spent quite a bit of time thinking about this lately......I really like this post from parentdish about children and the loss of unstructured free time. I love the first few paragraphs, nice writting. Little boys are so much like puppies! (In my experience)

I see much of this with Leanna's school. Recesses are often taken away or shortened(I think as diciplinary measures for the class). There is only one recess, right after lunch. I am trying to remember, I think we had two or maybe three? A quick snack one in the AM, then after lunch, and possibly in the afternoon. I was talking to her teacher yesterday morning and the teacher told me Leanna is a good reader but has trouble with spelling. She asked if I would go over some words from a list at home. She told me they no longer teach spelling in school, no time for it. At open house the teaching assistant told me that their only history, or social studies, is a little bit of civic responsibility stuff(being nice to others and that sort of thing) and they have very little science. Because there's no time for it, they have to teach the stuff on the big tests. Leanna never had show and tell. They get about two field trips a year. I'm guessing there won't be any spelling bees either then.
The teachers seem like genuinely caring people who are doing the best they can with the way things are. It's just very sad all around. I've run accross several articles on why our educational sytem was designed and the way it's run today. All of it makes me seriously consider homeschooling.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Curious-what are your earliest memories?

Ok, so I followed various links to an Anti-Gosselin site(Jon and Kate Plus Eight). I take it all with a grain of salt, a large one, knowing people's capacity for stretching the truth and outright lying to justify their positions. Generally I ignore that stuff as I find it has ruined my own viewing of the show a bit-I see things through the eyes of the detractors as well. But I've come to the opinion that they are a family trying to do their best to deal with all that's come their way, not just the two sets of multiples, but all the negatives of having a tv show and fame as well. It's ruined some family relationships, but that happens when you aren't on tv as well. They aren't perfect people and neither am I. Kate, the Mom, is apparently hard to get along with, but she has a lot of good qualities as well. I admire her organizational skills and her dedication to finding enriching activites and trips for her children. I think she's great at establishing traditions. And I love their family's attitude that they are in this together-they are a team.
This site claims to be neutral, but it's almost entirely negative stuff. On the post I have linked however, regarding all the traveling the family does, they pose the question: How much/what do you remember from when you were 2 years old or 3 years old or 4 years old??? Are the Gosselins truly "making memories"? For whom?
There are a surprising number of positive comments on that one, and I have to agree. I remember stuff from when I was at least two, possibly younger. Mostly just little flashes of stuff, fuller memories emerge about when I was four. I think that it is our job as parents to try to provide our children with as many happy memories as we are able (not saying we need to kill ourselves or our budget to do this, just to do as much as we can). There's no way they will remember everything, you can't pick and choose what they will remember, but if you fill them with happy family events, they're more likely to remember some of them. I don't think it's a bad thing for the parents to do it so they have happy family memories either. You put a lot of work into this parenting job, I think parents deserve to take happiness from the job also! Young kids' memories will be enhanced in the case of the Gosselins by looking at photo and having it all captured on video. That could jog their memories or help form them more strongly. I also think that sometimes the good that comes from a family outing may not be the memory you take away from it-I think there is plenty of short-term good that can come from it as well. A change of pace, seeing new things, experiencing new things-all that is fun and can positively affect their growing personalities.

Anyone care to comment on early memories?
Some of my random snippets:
*I remember pretending to be asleep and my Dad knowing I was pretending so he tickled me "awake."
*I remember going to the doctor when I cut my head open. I remember various scenes from that experience, particularly that I got to pick two cookies from a room with white cabinets for being such a good girl. I was very proud.
*I remember sitting on my Mom's lap in a rocking chair in a dark third floor room of our apartment when I had hives. I felt miserable.
*I remember being locked out of our apartment when we went to the store on my birthday. They had to call the police and they came and stuck a huge knife in the door to break it open.
* I remember going to the playground with my Mom and Aunt and cousins, and lots of scenes of playing at her house. I remember taking baths with my cousins there. She had bubble bath and lots of toys.
*I remember being in the car for many trips to my Aunts' houses. I got to get an orange soda, my favorite at the time.
*I remember playing tweetle-bugs with a neighbor boy at my Aunt's house when I was about four. We took a bus to my aunt's house and got there at night. The restaurant was closed, but they opened the doors to let us wait for my aunt and uncle to pick us up. We sat in the back of the station wagon and me and my cousin Betsy pretended that each little bump sent us flying. "Ouch! I hurt my boompter!" we giggled hysterically. I played with a barbie with yellow shoes on the bus, and lost one shoe at my aunt's house later. The bathroom had wooden shutters.

Justin & cute stuff

Out of nowhere, Justin worried to me the other day, "Mommy, I can't go to work cause I don't know how to drive!"
He was genuinely worried about this. : )

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New stuff

A customer who bought a new tv gave us their old one, and it's much bigger and has better sound than our old one. This meant that we had to get a new tv stand though, as it would never fit in the old one. Tom had been wanting to get rid of ours anyway, ironically because he thought the old stand was too big. Ha! The new one fits in the indentation in the wall where the chimneys were(originally, not now). Our furniture is all too big for our house! But it does look nice. The kids have been having a ball crawling around in the cupboard underneath and on both sides. We don't have all the shelves in yet. "We*" have plans to go through all our old videos/dvds and see if we can get rid of a lot of them. We have tons of videos because so many people have given us some, in addition to our own extensive collections that we combined when we moved in together.
*WE in this case, well in almost all cases, means ME.

Tom's Mini-Me

We got Justin a new winter jacket this weekend, and purposely got one similar to Tom's. We told Justin that we had a "kaprise" for him, and he was very very excited. He wasn't happy when I told him that his Eagles jacket didn't fit him anymore. But looking just like Daddy definitely takes the sting out of losing his Ealges jacket to Timothy. When I went to take a picture of them Justin got upset when Timothy wanted to be in the picture too. So I took the one in the post below to appease everyone.

Tom and his boys

Jacob-recent stuff

Jacob's new favorite word is NO. Not an angry no or a defiant no, it's a thoughtful no. "Nooooo." Sometimes accompanied by head-shaking. That is generally then followed by him trying to do whatever it was that he was told not to.

He loves to spin around and around in circles, especially when imitating his older siblings.

He now waves and talks to the crossing guard every day(the man, not the crotchety old woman who it appears has been replaced(!).

He likes to blow raspberries at his father and doesn't like it when Tom leaves in the AM.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

In the age of the dinosaurs

Last week Leanna asked me if they had tables "way back in the 50s and 70s". And if they had them when I was born.

(She's been reading some American Girl books from the library and they've sparked some discussion about historical time period differences).

Friday, September 19, 2008

Tempernment and parenting

I always love it when I find stories or comments like the one I copied below. I have a theory that some of the extreme judgemental parenting that seems so prevalent these days is because people are generally having fewer kids. What people regard as "normal" behavior is in a large degree related to what you deal with from your own children. You just don't see up close the range of behaviors that are completely normal.

"My neighbor says that her youngest child was God's way of telling her she wasn't the perfect parent she thought she was. When it was nap time, she'd announce it was nap time and 2 oldest would put down their toys and comply. She tells me that she would very harshly judge mothers whose kids would have meltdowns or hit other kids. That is -- until she had her 3rd child (who by the way has turned into a wonderful young man). But he was not a compliant pre-schooler or elementary age kid. He was everything her older children were not. Long story short is that his temperament was just different than the other kids. My point with this is that sometimes we attribute more to parenting and environment than is accurate. It is part of the picture, no doubt, but temperament plays into it too."

Invasive testing during pregnancy

Another example of hypervigilance gone wrong in modern society?

LONDON, September 17, 2008 ( - The invasive procedures used to detect Down syndrome in unborn children result in the miscarriages of two healthy children for every three Down babies detected, a British study has found.

The study's researchers, from the charity Down Syndrome Education International (DSEI), estimate that in the process of detecting and aborting 660 Down babies annually, screening leads to the deaths of 400 babies who do not have the disorder in England and Wales alone. Based upon their findings, the researchers are calling into question the ethical standing of the government's policy of offering screening to all pregnant women.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

As Leanna likes to say, Tom and Steph plus 4

I forgot to mention this before-when we went camping Tom went to work on the tent right away and I took kids to the bathroom and unloaded stuff and started getting food out. At various points Tom had one of the kids helping him, mainly Justin. When I was feeding the baby Tom needed help with the top of the tent, and he tried having Leanna stand on tiptoe or jump up to help him. Didn't work, he ended up waiting for me to finish feeding Jacob. Later that night as we headed over to the playground a man who was in the campground accross from us started talking to Tom. He told him he enjoyed watching Tom and his crew of little helpers putting up the tent. Very amusing! It was better than TV, he chortled. Much better! he added, laughing as he walked away.

Joy of Camping

Parentdish had a post today about camping. There's a list of 10 things to bring for kids and a link to the joy of camping website. One commentor said that reseach on happy childhoods always mentions camping. Interesting.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Birth Analogy

from the Navel-gazing midwife's blog:

You know how when someone says they want to run a marathon in a year, the people around them say, “Great!” and during the year, as the marathon date approaches, the runner practices, sweats, grunts, deals with blisters, sore feet, sore knees, sweaty clothes, changes in diet, time schedules, sleep schedules and even being obsessed with the upcoming event?
You know how during the marathon, how people stand on the sidelines, cheering, howling, offering encouragement and nourishment throughout the race?
THIS is what birth can be compared to… except within our culture, if birth were a marathon, folks, throughout the training period say things like, “Oh, c’mon… what are you thinking? Why would you want to do something so hard when you can just take a car the 26 miles? Wouldn’t you see the same sights? You’d get to the end point just the same.”
And during the race, people would say, “Oh, you look so tired. You look miserable… aren’t you ready to quit yet? Look, I have my car right here… just jump in and I’ll give you a ride. Oh, you are falling down and trying to get back up? Why are you putting yourself through all of this misery? It isn’t like you’re going to get a medal or anything.”
And I added, “Not only will I give you a ride, but I’ll give you a joint so you can feel even better!”
I think this analogy is simply inspired.

Let’s use it when people try to discourage us from attempting a natural birth. Tell them you want as much respect as if you were a triathlete. Because you are doing even more! You’re producing a human being… much better than any medal.

Jenny McCarthy's new line of products

This is supposed to be a safe, non-toxic line of products parents can afford, that would be a nice change. Burts Bees is pretty expensive and I heard someone else bought out the company so you can't be sure the quality will be the same now.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Saturday Night Live scene

This was cute, it does make you feel a bit sorry for Hillary.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Enjoying a nice afternoon

West park

I guess in honor of West Park's 100th anniversary they've made some improvements. It really is a nice place in the middle of the city. I love the new water fountain-all three can drink at once!

West Park in the afternoon

I love that excited baby run-his whole body is involved!

More from the fair last month

Daring to touch a pig and petting a cow.

Random pictures

Elephant and birds we saw at the fair (end of last month)

Justin fell asleep one night while eating a blueberry muffin (Strawberry Shortcake recipie!)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Recent stuff

Random recent things I want to post before I forget:

*Justin told Aunt Laura that she smells like a cheetah. Just out of nowhere he informed her of this. He would not say how he could recognize this smell. (I think I cherish that comment as much as the one where Leanna called Aunt Laura a "heine dragon." Very wrong but also very funny).

*I took Justin to Dunkin' Doughnuts to use his coupon for a free doughnut. I've also been using those as a way to have special time with the kids. We walk there and sit and talk a little then walk home. I still have to take Timothy for his yet. Anyway, as we sat there eating our dougnut and drinking (my iced coffee, his OJ), a policecar arrived. We watched the policeman come in and head straight for the bathroom. Justin asked what he was doing in there and I explained he was going to the bathroom. "They don't go to the bathroom!" he exclaimed loudly. I assured him that yes, they do. He was quite surprised by this and stared at the policeman as he exited the store. The man smiled and waved at him, but Justin didn't respond. (if that policeman only knew what was going through Justin's head) We stopped by Grammy's before going home (I forget why) and Grammy laughed at Justin's not knowing that policemen use the bathroom too. "Don't you know that everyone uses the bathroom? Even fish!" "Even fish?!" replied Justin, his mind clearly blown by this.

*Wednesday we left early so we would have time to return some library books before we brought Leanna home from school. We noticed construction vehicles working and decided to go back to watch them after picking up Leanna. Only Jacob wasn't fascinated. Justin and Timothy actually cried when we finally left. It occurred to me that I really am glad to be home with the kids so that I can make little stops like that. I didn't have to rush home to get ready for work, or even not be there in the first place because I'm working. It can be very hard to stay at home, particularly in this day where it's not as common a choice. You lose respect, you lose social security, you may even lose a career. Or your mind! In my case isolation is one of the most difficult aspects. But there are those precious moments, ones like this, where I love that I can have the extra time to do simple little things like that, things that make the kids and I so happy.


I pretty much have the classic children's bedtime book GoodNight Moon memorized. So I found this parody that much more amusing for its attention to detail. It follows president Bush through his bedtime routine. The authors refer to the book as a "visual requiem" of the last eight years that were Bush's Presidency.

Friday, September 12, 2008

If I could have melted into the sidewalk, I would have!

Oh I can't wait for the day when I get to embarrass my kids instead of the reverse! Yesterday we had to walk downtown to get Leanna's new perscription (apparently one eye is nearsighted and the other is farsighted so they tried making the lenses to make one eye work harder but it made her eyes hurt and she didn't want to wear the glasses. So her vision deteriorated a bit. We're trying this for a few months and then they'll re-evaluate and see if this perscription is working).
Leanna was in a good mood and was singing and dancing as we walked. Minor embarrassment there as it does make people stare. But then her dancing took an interesting twist as she kind of fell and decided since she was already on the ground that she would practice pushups. They do them in gym class, so why not in the middle of downtown.? A group of people was passing us as this happened. You could just see from the completely shocked and horrified expressions on their faces that they interpreted the completely innocent dance routine pushups as something, um, a bit sexual. Like she'd been watching inappropriate music videos or movies or something. Very embarrassing.

I know this because of full house

If You Only Know This Term Because of Full House, Raise Your Hand.

Mother: So remember, when we get off the train, you have to hold my hand.
Five-year-old girl: Capeesh.
Mother: Do you understand? You have to hold my hand.
Five-year-old girl: Capeesh, mom! Capeesh!

--A TrainOverheard by: Duncan Pflaster
Alsome Thumbs up Thumbs down Wtf? Wtf?; Wtf?

The hotness factor

Men hit on hotties despite their own unattractiveness, study confirms.
I've noticed this phenomenon and always wondered about it myself:

(I first heard of the hotornot website from my cousin Ryan, who not surprisingly had uploaded his own photo to be judged.)(no, I have not tried it).

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Rickrolled, Obamarolled

Ok, I've heard of being rickrolled, that's been all over the internet. It amuses me. What's the joke, exactly? Victims think they're clicking on an enticing and perfectly harmless link ("Mmmmm, no-fat doughnuts" or "Cute frolicking puppies!") only to be met with the hip-swaying song stylings of Astley.
I thought a few of you might be amused by this one even more: "Barack Roll."

PS. On a side note, I was shocked to see how young Rick Astley was, he was old to me at the time the video was out.


Interesting post on family, marriage, relationships, and society. Not a long one.

School stuff

A form I filled out for Leanna's teacher, minus the phone #s, and the morning news that Leanna read to her class the other day.

Just noticing

Who knew there was a Chevy Chase, Maryland??

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Banned book week

Copied from Parentdish:

Banned Book Week starts September 26th
by Bethany Sanders Sep 10th 2008 3:00PM
Kids 5-7, Kids 8-11, Teens & tweens, Education, Religion & spirituality

When I was a sophomore in high school, my 70-year-old literature teacher sat down on the edge of her desk, curled her fingers -- ruined by years of arthritis -- together and stared at us all. Then she swore -- one very bad word (to us), very loud and clear. We all nearly fell out of our seats. Then she said it again, and again, and again, while we looked around wildly at each other, wondering what in the world was going on."There," she said. "Now we've all heard it and had our giggle over it. In the book we're about to start, you'll see it several more times. It's just a word, now get over it." The book? The Catcher in the Rye.She was right. By the time we came across that word in the book, it was fine. We were able to read, sometimes out loud, without squirming uncomfortably and get acquainted with this important book. (She also became one of the most respected teachers in our school's memory, purely for her refreshing honesty and refusal to coddle us.) But The Catcher in the Rye commonly appears on "most challenged" book lists. If book banners had gotten their way, we'd have never had a chance to read it in the first place.September 26 starts Banned Books Week, the week when the American Library Association celebrates the freedom to read. There are some who are constantly challenging that freedom, fingering books like Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, The Color Purple by Alice Walker, Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, and Phillip Pullman's The Golden Compass, simply because they don't agree with the religious content. Even the Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin, has been accused of inquiring about challenging books in her own town's public library. Captain Underpants and Harry Potter, two wildly popular series that have kids returning for more, more, more have also been challenged, as well as Shel Silverstein's beloved collection of children's poetry A Light in the Attic.As a teacher who is married to a librarian, I know there will never be a book in this house that a child is not allowed to read (allowing for age appropriateness, of course). There may be books that we, as parents, read first, or read alongside, where we pay close attention and discuss themes and answer questions. But it's hard for me to understand how we can raise educated children who are open-minded to the world at large if we don't give them access to books and materials that challenge them.Want to learn more? Here are the most frequently challenged books of 2007, and the most challenged books of the 21st century, What about you? Do you think there are certain books that should be banned from your public library? And would you let your child read books off the banned book list?

More disturbing politics

Interesting read on Obama and abortion. I find it deeply troubling.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Justin and Jacob

Justin woke up in the middle of the night yelling, "Jacob has something!" his usual warning cry when Jacob has something that he shouldn't. I thought that was sweet, even while he sleeps he's still looking out for Jacob.
Justin does always keep an eye out for his little brother. He has even warned me when Jacob put something little in his mouth. He notices when Jaob's headed for trouble, and often brings him to me when he's crying. I am always telling him to put Jacob down, he's constantly trying to pick him up, to hold him, to make Jacob sit with him.
It would hardly be possible for a sweeter more affectionate boy to exist.

Just because (cute jammies)

No real reason, I just think these are cute pictures. New jammies from Target a couple weeks ago. They had all kind of clearance sales, they often do. Hard to resist $2.30/shirt. So I took advantage and got a couple t=shirts and sweathirt/sweaters for the boys. They came in handy for cold morning weather while camping last weekend.

Monday, September 08, 2008

From last week

The boys were painting. With watercolors, not fingerpaints. Mainly on themselves and the floor.

This one didn't come out clean.....

I don't know, ran him throught the wash several times, but he didn't come clean!
(In case it's not clear, he's in the washbasket)

Musical taste & personality

Musical tastes in tune with who you are
Last Updated: Friday, September 5, 2008 8:29 PM ET Comments109Recommend119
CBC News
Fans of heavy metal music are gentle, creative people who are at ease with themselves, which makes them very similar to fans of classical music.
That's the finding of a new study at Scotland's Heriot-Watt University of the link between peoples' personalities and their choice of music.
Adrian North, the professor behind the study, said he was surprised at the similarities between fans of classical music and heavy metal, especially their creativity and generally shy natures.
"The general public has held a stereotype of heavy metal fans being suicidally depressed and of being a danger to themselves and society in general. But they are quite delicate things," he said in an interview with the BBC.
North suggests that music lovers tend to identify with the characteristics of the music itself.
"We think, what we think the answer is, that both types of music, classical and heavy metal, both have something of the spiritual about them — they're very dramatic — a lot happens."
The study of more than 36,000 people from six different countries found that people had more in common with fans of their favourite music in other countries than they had with fellow citizens who preferred different styles of music.
North describes it as a new kind of tribalism, based on musical taste.
"We have always suspected a link between music taste and personality," North said.
"This is the first time that we've been able to look at it in real detail. No one has ever done this on this scale before."
Jazz fans tend to be creative and outgoing, with high self-esteem, in keeping with the innovative and sociable nature of the music.
Country western fans were found to be hard-working, but introverted, fitting with the blue-collar image of country music.
The research concluded soul music lovers are a well-rounded bunch — creative, outgoing, gentle, at ease with themselves and with high self-esteem.
Rap fans are outgoing and far from gentle, while indie music lovers lack both self-esteem and the work ethic.
"Researchers have been showing for decades that fans of rock and rap are rebellious, and that fans of opera are wealthy and well-educated," North said.
He also made a link between income bracket and musical tastes, with more affluent consumers liking more exciting, punchy music while those lower down the pay scale preferring more relaxing sounds.
North said his research might have applications in commercial marketing of music.

NY, Superheroes, and underwear

From Overheard in NY:
Then Go With My Blessing, Caped Crusader
Mother of four-year-old boy (looking at display case): Wait up for me, Jack. Don't go on the escalator without me.
Four-year-old boy: It's okay, I can do it.
Mother of four-year-old: No, Jack. Wait for me.
Four-year-old boy: It's okay, mom. I can go up by myself.
Mother of four-year-old: Jack. Don't go up without me.
Four-year-old boy: Mom. It's okay. I can do it. I'm wearing my lucky Batman underwear.--Macy's
Alsome Thumbs up Thumbs down Wtf? Wtf?; Wtf?

Reminds me of “Some days even my lucky rocketship underpants won't help.” from the best Comic Strip ever-Calvin and Hobbes
(I would have included the actual comic strip if I could find it.)

link to sign to ask Palin about family values

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Keeping my fingers crossed!

Leanna is too embarrassed to tell anyone (she got mad at me for having her tell her father) but Miss Bittman, her teacher from last year, said to Leanna, "I hear Miss Foster (this year's teacher) says you're her best behaved student!" I don't know why she's embarrassed by that.
She had a few problems last year with a couple boys and one girl who did not get along with her. I think that Leanna often clashes with other dominant personalities. This year is a new class, and one girl in particular that she really likes. She likes her teacher so far too. I filled out a paper on Leanna's likes, strenghts and weaknesses, and academic needs. I really like that her teacher asked for that info. A parent's perspective on their child can really help. It's early, but I hope her behavior stays that way!!


I decided to add this as a separate post, rather than commenting on the one on Palin. Well, as more comes out I am liking her less. It seems that the image of her, who she seemed to be, is the appealing part. She was portrayed as a strong woman, someone who overcame many odds to successfully conquer the work/family battle and was making a difference in her community, possibly in her country. She has 5 kids in an age where anything over two begins to cause comments. She seemed like a tough no-nonsense woman who wouldn't play the I'm female card to get ahead. That is impressive.
But I'm ashamed to admit that the articles I read on her that made her sound so great were focusing on the personal, not her political views. A few days ago I read that she cut funding for pregnant teens and didn't support the FMLA (family medical leave act). I had assumed that a woman with a family to take care of, one who'd dealt with issues like those, would support family causes. I thought she would represent a change from the usual good-ol-boy network. CHANGE. Key word there. But it seems that she's really not that different. You'd think raising 5 kids would teach her tolerance. However, from what I've read she believes everyone should follow her own beliefs. She's the type who says, I struggled to make it so everyone else should have to struggle too. I really wanted to believe in someone. Politics can be so disheartening.

PS. my views aren't written in stone. Overwhelmingly what I'm hearing and reading about her right now suggests that this woman isn't family-friendly, a factor that is very important to me. But more could come out that could change this, who knows?

Saturday, September 06, 2008

My most popular post

Don't know if anyone noticed the Feedjit bar on the side, but it tells you who visits from where. Not who exactly, it just gives the city and country. I had no idea I had that many visitors from so far away. The most amazing thing of all is that what draws the most visitors here-aparently my most fascinating post ever-is the post showing Timothy's outie belly button. Whos would ever have guessed??!!!!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

a great mother

From a babysitter's blog, I found this post on large families and thought this passage in particular was a neat way to look at it:

"I heard a great little dvar torah recently that I found applicable to this situation. It says “Ishto Kigafno” That a wife should be like a vineyard. Now there are different types of trees. There are the really strong ones with no fruit. Then there are the fruit trees with a lesser strength of wood. Then there is the vineyard, which is the weakest type of wood. The vineyard gives all its strength to its fruits. So when it says the wife should be like a vineyard, it means a great mother is one that cares for her children and gives all her strength over to them.

Which is why if a husband comes home and sees the wife sleeping on the couch with all the kids running around wild, he should know what a great wife she is. That she has given over all her energy over to her kids, like a vineyard. So the husband gets it good, when he comes home from work, the wife has already done all the work and cared for the kids, now he gets to enjoy them. "


I forgot to mention, our camping trip. I'd post pictures if I could. We went to Spruce Run Sunday afternoon to Monday afternoon. They have bathroom(not an outhouse) and showers, playgrounds, boating, fishing, swimming (although that was unfortunately closed when we got there), and hunting. But when we got there I discovered that I'd left the camera memory card in the device we use to unload pictures! Doh! So I could only take video and pictures on our video camera. The quality of pictures is rather poor. And I know there is a way to get the pictures onto the computer but I don't know how. You need a separate cord to attach to the camera and I have no idea where that might be.

We had fun camping though. It was a learning experience. I'm actually glad that the first time we did it, it was only for one night. We packed in a hurry and forgot some things, and just didn't have others. The kids loved it, particularly Justin and Timothy. Each campsite has a grill and firering. The boys loved the fire. We didn't buy or bring wood for a fire because we didn't know we would be allowed to. So Tom and the kids kept scavaging for twigs, branches, and paper to keep the fire going. It was work to keep it going. It occured to me that we really do take so much for granted-way back when they must have spent a large portion of their time just on survival. So much time spent on starting & keeping the fire going, finding or preparing food, finding shelter.
We would like to find another campsite though. Not that this one was bad-just wasn't quite what we were looking for. You are only allowed 6 people to a campsite, so if we have another child we would have to purchase two(which is stupid), and they were very closely spaced. I had imagined a bit more privacy. It would have been much more enjoyable if I didn't constantly have to worry that the kids were being too loud for the people all around us. We had to be out by 12 the next afternoon, so we didn't even get a full day there. And you had to be on your campsite by 8, so although it was still light out, we had to make the kids leave the playground because it was 8. There were a lot of rules and regulations. I guess because it's a state park. Like I said, it was a learning experience. The kids all asked if we would be camping again. : )
So now you know what to get us for Christmas!

Recess or Ritalin?

When Leanna was little several people suggested to me that she was hyperactive. I did a little research and found that hyperactivity goes hand in hand with ADD (attention deficit disorder), which I was sure she did not have. My personal theory was always that the perceived "hyperactivity" had something to do with the fact that we lived in such a tiny little house which required very little movement to pass through. We weren't outside as often as we should have been. So she just didn't have enough opportunity to burn off normal toddler energy. Relatives would often see her at my grandmother's house-a large house with a very long hall that Leanna loved to run through. She was so active there just because she could be, plain and simple!
This research backs my theory up, although they are referring to kids who do have ADD. But the need for play is part of all children. It is especially interesting in light of schools starting to cut back on or eliminate recess. It also occurs to me that some of the behavior or learning problems kids have in the AM might be lessened or eliminated by walking to school. Less discipline problems in older generations might actually be because kids don't walk to/from school anymore(and when they do it's usually not as far),and they have shorter or no recess, combined with less physical activity generally. As the article states, playtime has often been replaced with lessons. Our focus is on producing little geniuses and sucessful people. Ironic that we try to accomplish this by taking away the very things that might truly help!

To study the relationship between play and ADD, Jaak Panksepp, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at Washington State University, manipulated the brains of young rat pups to make them mimic the brains of children with ADD and ADHD. (Such children often have slightly smaller frontal lobes than children with longer attention spans, though they generally catch up before reaching adulthood.)
I thought this portion of the article was very interesting:
"His findings: The rats with laboratory-induced ADD played more frequently than rats whose brains had not been altered.
Panksepp then divided the rats into two groups: Those who were allowed to play as much as they wanted and those who were allowed only limited play. The results were even more surprising. That rats that were allowed ample opportunities for play did not become more wild, rambunctious or violent. Instead, they simply played normally and grew up to be non-hyperactive and socially well-adjusted—at least by rat standards.
However, the hyperactive rats that had only limited opportunities for play grew into rather rambunctious rats that had difficulty reading social cues from other rats.

Why medication may not be the answer
"Clearly, play seems to be an essential part of social and brain development," says Panksepp. "It's only after the need for play has been met that animals are ready to move on to more mature stages of development."
This research has convinced Panksepp that the restlessness seen in children with ADHD may simply be the children's way of expressing an innate need for more play. Instead of medicating children to stifle their behavior, Panksepp argues for providing kids with more opportunity to meet that need. In fact, he believes that this could be the key to ensuring their development into focused, socially adept adults.
We don't expect adults to engage in highly focused mental activity for hours on end without a break. Breaks (in the form of recess) are no less important for kids, and Panksepp's research suggests that they're even more important for kids with ADHD."

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

a mariage quiz


As a 1930s wife, I am

a href="Take the test!

Reminder to me

Words You Should Never Say
Your words and how you say them have inestimable impact on your child's sense of self worth. Children never grow out of needing heavy doses of praise, no matter what their age.
The 5-to-1 praise principle is a good rule of thumb to follow: balance every negative comment you make to a child with five positive comments. Think before you speak. Ask yourself if what you want to say will build up or tear down your child. Each day, look for ways to affirm your child’s unique giftedness and personality. Encourage others in the family to do the same with each other.
Words You Should Never Say to a Child
1.You’re just no good.
2.You’ll never amount to anything.
3.You got what you deserved.
4.What’s wrong with you?
5.When are you going to act your age?
6.Can’t you do anything right?
7.I’ve had it with you.
8.All you ever do is cause trouble.
9.Just wait until you have kids.
10.When will you ever learn?
11.You are stupid.
12.You are lazy.
13.Who do you think you are?
14.You’ll be the death of me yet.
15.Haven’t I taught you anything?
16.You need to have your head examined.
17.Don’t you care about anything?
18.What makes you think you’re so special?
19.Don’t you ever listen?
20.When are you going to start obeying me?
21.If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a million times.
22.I can’t wait until you’re gone.
23.Why can’t you be more like your sister?
24.You are so much trouble.
25.I don’t know why I had kids.
Words You Can’t Say Enough to a Child
1.It is such a blessing to be your mom.
2.You’re an incredible person.
3.You did that so well.
4.If more kids were like you, the world would be a better place.
5.It’s so good to be with you.
6.You’re the best!
7.You are such a nice person.
8.You’re learning fast.
9.You mean so much to me.
10.You are very bright.
11.You have unlimited potential.
12.You’re on the right track now.
13.You’re getting the hang of it.
14.That’s the best you’ve ever done.
15.You’re getting better every day.
16.You’re such a quick learner.
17.I appreciate your attitude.
18.I can tell you are trying.
19.I knew you could do it.
20.Keep up the good work.
21.You are a real trooper.
22.You did a great job.
23.I believe in you.
24.You’re going to go far in life.
25. If someone lined up all the four-year-olds (use your child’s age) in the world and told me I could pick any one I wanted, I’d choose you.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

My two cents

I have to say, I'm quite impressed with all I've heard about Sarah Palin. Can I vote for her and Obama? I read about her a few months ago and was impressed then. As more details come out she still sounds great. She sounds like a tough lady who goes after what she wants and has a great family life. I wish more women had the opportunity to hold a job that allows them to work with the baby and/or children alongside them.

The only thing that bothers me is that I hope people don't start to think all women should give birth and be back to work right away. I know I wouldn't want to be back at work within days of giving birth. I don't doubt that there are some women for whom that wouldn't be a problem. But I think for the vast majority it really would not be a wise choice. I remember after Justin was born Tom was on vacation so he continued our plans to go do some shopping. Days after giving birth I was out on my feet shopping and it really kicked my butt. I remember one day our last stop was AC Moore, which I would normally have loved, but I was just so tired I couldn't wait to get out. When I got home I laid down with the baby and I felt as though I'd been beat up all over. Every single part of my body hurt. I am not exagerating. They don't call labor labor for nothing. It is work for your body and you do need to do some healing. How long would depend on your overall health, how the pregnancy and delivery went, any complications, and of course the baby's health.
I keep wondering how she does it though, because newborns are rather demanding. Sure they sleep a lot, but they also eat and eliminate a lot too. I do remember wishing, particularly with Justin, that I could go back to work with him in the sling. There is a period of time when you adopt a routine, when he could have just slept quietly in there while I worked. I would have had to stop to change and feed him, but for a while, it would have been easy to work my part time nightshift job. Once they're mobile that changes! I don't see how she was able to return so early and acomplish things with a full time job like hers. I understand that she has a lot of help, but still! No matter how you look at it, it's an impressive accomplishment. I wish her luck.

Lots of butterflies

A butterfly landed close by, looking at the frogs, read the sign and then look at the picture of the actual butterfly. It's a pretty good disgise.


They have a permanant butterfly display there-kept at very humid very hot temperatures. You pay $2.00 extra per person to get in. You have to watch where you step and they will occasionally land on someone. When you leave the exhibit you have to check to make sure you aren't taking any with you.
It was quite beautiful in there though. The one picture shows some frogs also, they blend in well.