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Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I originally posted about my grandmother being in the hospital, but right after I posted it I found out she's no longer here. In her case, I know that she truly was in a lot of pain, every day. So she is now at peace, with her mother and her lost baby, and my grandfather. I remember when she almost died while she was in the ICU (while I was pregnant with Justin), she told me that she saw them. So I'm sure she's happy to see them again.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Parent teacher conference & report card

I don't want to get into the habbit of giving very detailed report card reviews here because that could get embarrassing for them in the future if one child doesn't do as well as the others, or if someone has a bad rating period, etc......but I am still proud and want to talk about my child. So I decided I'll just give an overview.
Leanna's teacher was pleased overall. She's just moved up again to the 12th level in reading. She's doing fantastic in reading and the teacher says she's a good writer. She's doing well in social studies and science. Her behavior's fine. But she didn't do as well in math as she should have, the teacher was puzzled as to why Leanna did not do well on the math test. As was I. She appeared to know the material at home. She said the only reason she could think of was that Leanna wasn't paying attention? So she got marked progressing below grade level on two of the nine categories in math. The only other two was in the category of grammer, spelling, and punctuation(those three are all one category). Her handwritting and spelling leave something to be desired.......we decided that if Leanna does her homework sloppy I will include a note that day asking for another copy of that homework and she will send it home. So she will have two papers to do the next day. The teacher also suggested having Leanna do it during recess, but I said no, I'd prefer she have recess. She needs a break. And the teacher gave me an extra math book to let Leanna practice with at home.
At my suggestion we discussed the social aspects of school. The teacher wasn't aware of any real problems there but thought if Leanna was having any problems, it might be because she's been making faces at other kids. Yeah, you can't make this stuff up. Kids have a way of finding things you never thought of to put you through. But I'm confident we'll work thruogh it, I talked more in depth with the poor teacher about it (I was prohably her longest conference), and when I got home Leanna and I made a plan up for how to do better in her problem areas. Though I'm focusing on the areas where she needs work, Leanna is doing very well overall and I'm very proud of my daughter!

Looking for a good man

LOL at this comment someone left on a post about seeing the movie Twilight:

Leslie Says: November 24th, 2008 at 9:44 am
Emily, Jake, and I went to see Twilight yesterday with a group of her friends from book club. We were all pretty pleased with the adaptation. I thought RP did a lovely job with Edward–you could really see what a difference Bella had made in his life. I thought the casting was superb. But the highlight for me was the comment I heard from a girl behind me after the movie: “No wonder I can’t find a man. All I want is either an elf or a vampire.”

Holiday Wreaths

I'm not sure if you'd have to sign up to see it, but here's a slideshow of holiday wreaths of Colonial Williamsburg. I would never have thought to use fruit, especially the ways they do.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

My blog, reviewed

Laura pointed out to me that my blog is reviewed here:

(I have no idea how I got reviewed, or by who, but I got a 6.6 good)

Ha! This is both me and Tom

I'm willing to admit that I may not always be right, but I am never wrong.
Samuel Goldwyn

Saturday, November 22, 2008

School Play-Thanksgiving Edition

On Friday Leanna's class put on two plays. The class was split in half and each did one play. Parents, the first graders, and some extra teachers & the principal came to watch.

It was tough to get good pictures, partially because of our location, and party because I was trying to keep the three boys quiet. And Jacob wanted to grab the camera.

When all the kids lined up at the end, so the principal could take a picture, one father jokingly said, "Everybody say, reservation!" The kids heard him and happily complied. Adults who got the joke all laughed and the Dad buried his head in his hands. He hadn't expected them to do it.

Also cute

I took this one myself. It's the view from up top. Jacob nursing-no skin-just him smiling.


Either Leanna's school or the church she goes to for that tutoring thing gave us this food for Thanksgiving. No explanation or anything. Very sweet.
If anyone eats yams or cherry filling I'll gladly pass them along to you. (Tom will only eat the green beans out of all of it. The stuffing is chicken, he only eats turkey).

Just cute pictures

Cutout Caillu

On Thursday I printed out some Caillu paper dolls from PBS' website. It's a kids' show on PSB about a four year old boy. All the kids, from Maree' on down, have loved it.
Timothy really liked the craft and colored his right away and played with them. Justin wasn't as into it, he colored Caillu but not Rosie (the sister) and didn't cut his out or really play with it. He did however draw dinosaurs on the back of the papers.
Justin's doll has the blue legs, Timothy's are more....colorful.

Building Stuff

Before and after pictures of an ornamental piece Tom built at home for a dentist he sometimes works for. It goes on the outside of a building. He actually made two of them. The wood was rotting so he measured and made new pieces. I think it's really cool that he can do stuff like that.

Being Thankful for school

Friday, November 21, 2008

Explanation of ER Visit # 2

Timothy got three more stitches last night. Different doctor, younger and nicer. He didn't ask us to leave while he sewed up Timothy, which was nice. Leanna and I were able to see what he was doing, we both ended up looking away. This doctor actually listened to us too and didn't strap Timothy down. I know it's silly to care, I understand that they are doing their job and that they are trying to prevent further injury when nurses and doctors insist on holding down or strapping a child. But it's also nice to feel like someone listens when you talk, and that they believe that it is possible for you to know your own child well enough to understand their personality and needs. If it was Justin, I would have agreed to strapping him-Justin gets too scared. Tom said last time Timothy just layed there quietly whispering, "Ow. Ow. Ow." That is completely like him. This time HE ACTUALLY FELL ASLEEP, and STAYED SLEEPING WHILE HE WAS STITCHED UP! They were amazed. The doctor said if this was his kid acting like that he'd be worried. But we assured him it was completely normal for Timothy to be quiet and still. And he'd been up late the night before, he woke up and couldn't fall back asleep, insisting that he wasn't tired. So it wasn't at all out of character for Timothy to be quiet and calm and lay down and actually fall asleep in the very very warm hospital. We told the doctor he'd probably go home and run around and play. Which he did.
The man who assisted-I don't know if he was a nurses aide or a nurse or what-was really nice too and had Justin just giggling away. There was very little blood this time, even less than last time. The wound wasn't as deep, just longer. No throwing up either.

How it happened this time: Justin and Timothy were chasing each other and Timothy ran over by me and jumped up on a big bucket(not can) of paint that is by the computer. He slid right off it and fell backwards again, hitting his head on the radiator, not the same one as last time. This pretty much proves that it was the radiator he hit his head on last time because the wound looks exactly the same, just not as deep. It happened so quickly, there was no way to prevent it. It is in a different spot than last time, at first I thought he had re-opened the same wound. I didn't enjoy explaining to them that the same kid got the same kind of wound, about a month after the first. With four kids, a month ago is the first time we've ever had to take one of them to the hospital. I think we're pretty lucky.
Sue, I understand your concern, but I really don't see how I could have prevented this or future similar injuries. I can't tell him he's not allowed to run or play! Actually that's one of the biggest criticisms aimed at parents today-they don't let their children engage in outdoor and risky play which allows kids to have adventures and to learn how to appropriately judge risks. It wasn't like he was doing something he's not supposed to do. While I still feel a bit of guilt-I'm a Mom, it's what we do-I know that this happened in a split second and wasn't preventable. Hopefully it's God's plan for him not to have any more head injuries!

What brings people to my blog

Someone found my blog by searching for pictures of made up superheroes in underwear.
: )

(my post about Calvin and Hobbes came up)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

More fun

Guess where we got to visit again tonight??


I try to collect all sorts of different cookie cutters, I'll pass on this one though!

What's a baby shower without a tray of delicious fetus-shaped cookies? A lot less disturbing, I would imagine.
$10 from
Hogmalion. [via LilSugar]

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Shrink your bills and grow your pantry

It's mainly an advertisement for her ebook, but on the side it has tips you can click on.

Her story:

Many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck as they struggle to make ends meet. FOX 4 asked you to share your ideas for making your household budget go farther and now FOX 4's Heather Claybrook is working for you with the first in a series of reports on how your neighbors are pinching their pennies. The rising cost of food has been hard to swallow for many people especially people with large families. But one Raytown family has a plan for making mealtime more affordable. Angela Coffman is a back to basics kind of gal who homeschools five children. Her first step toward frugality grew out of necessity."Sometimes I do things I don't know how to do. Like I wasn't a great cook when I got married. I couldn't sew when I got married. But I just learned to dig in and try," she said. Now Coffman is an expert at pinching pennies. She's able to feed her family of seven for $300 a month. That's $200 less than what the U.S. Department of Labor says is the national average. "The kitchen is the heart of where we save money," she said.She's the guru of and she hopes of encouraging others to save money."It's true a lot of people are struggling. I think their attitude is the most important thing," Coffman said. That's why she preaches the gospel of planning and patience. She plans a month's worth of meals at a time and builds that menu based on what she already has in her pantry. "A lot of it came from salvage type stores, dented can shops, things like that where you can get really cheap," Coffman said. For the Coffman family it's a group effort to get the meal on the table. On this day for lunch, the kids pitch in to help make mini pizzas out of day old bread and slicing up a cantaloupe right out of the garden. Coffman also avoids processed or prepackaged food, and goes back to her do-it-yourself roots. Her daughter Heidi is preparing a skillet mix to store for future meals. (Find the Skillet Lasagna Recipe and more here!) All Coffman has to do is add meat and tomato sauce and the meal is done in minutes for just pennies. "It's almost like a Hamburger Helper type thing but half the price because we did it ourselves," she said. Another simple secret is that she only uses cash to buy food and that's something other experts recommend too. "I can't stress how being patient is so important," she said. For Coffman, the patience to wait for a sale price is a virtue that makes pinching pennies pay off. Her lifestyle is basic to the point of seeming primitive by today's standards. She said it's being satisfied with what you have until you can afford what you want."So we don't feel like we're deprived all the time. We're just patient and wait," Coffman said. Coffman and other grocery experts also preach patience when it comes to produce: wait until it's in season, and therefore, cheaper. And if you don't have a big family like Coffman you still can have financial trouble. On Tuesday night we'll visit with young couple who will share the secrets of their financial makeover. Heather Claybrook, FOX 4 News

A very short video where Justin explains what he has just figured out about potatoes.

Building stuff

Justin is industriously working in the kitchen. He's using his tools on one of those protective foam thingies that comes in packages to protect the product. He said at first he was going to build a house, but when I just checked on him he told me that he had cut some icebergs off it. I didn't know he knew what icebergs were. Or that they sometimes lurk on houses. My children teach me new things every day.
I love that he has the creative streak too!

speach and understanding

Proof that he understands way more than he's able to express. I'm sure all babies can. I saw these at the store, and since they were only a little over a dollar a pack, I thought I'd try them out. Jacob apparently found them and was carrying them around and took off the straw that comes with it.

Jacob may not be able to say the word straw yet (or maybe he can and just chooses not to). But when he handed me this box of juice I told him, it won't work without a straw! So he turned around, then handed me this straw. : )

Next week

I can't wait until next week!
*because I'm looking forward to the parent/teacher conference
* because i'm looking forward to Thanksgiving
*because I'm looking forward to the annual black Friday shopping day

But most importantly of all Because I don't have to get up at 6:30, ok really more like 7, and go out in the cold to take Leanna to school! Hooray! I can't really sleep later than 8 or 9 because Jacob and the boys won't let me but I should be able to get at least an hour and a half extra sleep every day!

I'm also planning to do some crafts with the kids next week since we don't have to plan our days around getting Leanna to school and picking her up.
Next week should be fun!!

The Economy

LOL at this post from The Mommy Blog about explaining the economy to a kid:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 Family
So there I was, in the kitchen, explaining the economic downturn to a 10 year old.
And boy, are my arms tired!
What are you people telling your kids about the financial crisis? Any of it sticking? I was having the hardest time explaining why the simple solutions my kid was coming up with—while insightful—wouldn’t do jack.
“But why can’t we just fix it? Why can’t you just go out and get a job?” Wait—that was last month’s question. And the previous month’s.
“But why can’t we just fix it? Why can’t the government just make more money if everyone needs it?”
“Well, sweetie, if you flood the market—with money, or gas, or marbles—suddenly the value of that item goes down. Then you’ve created an inflation problem. Usually we see inflation in the form of gas prices, which were artificially jacked up, but it can also happen with a sudden and significant influx of cash.” I actually said “influx of cash” without laughing my head off.
“But why can’t they just fix it?”
“Because it’s the economy, not a wand. If it were that easy, people way smarter than us would have already solved it and we wouldn’t even be talking about the price of marbles.” Ever.
“But I don’t get why they can’t help.”
“You mean like they helped the failing banks? Like that? Well, sweetheart, people way greedier than us put one over on the rest of the world. And the government is helping. A LOT. But that doesn’t just come out of thin air, it comes out of our taxes.”
“What did you think we paid taxes for? It costs money to run a government and to serve five hundred dollar bottles of wine at a dinner party for world leaders meeting to discuss the crisis. Taxes and the redistribution of them are helping us get by right now. Without taxes, there’s no unemployment benefits and no free school lunch program.
“Let me put it this way: let’s say you had five apples, and the lunch lady wasn’t there to set everything up. You could probably sell those apples for twenty bucks apiece because everyone would want one.” And they’d pay it too, with all the pocket money or gold bars kids in this neighborhood seem to have access to. Better yet, do you take American Express? “But if you had a thousand apples, you might get twenty apiece for the first couple sales, but then people would notice that big stack of apples behind you and wait until the price came down. And you’d lower it in a hurry to sell all those apples before they went bad. In fact, at some point you’ll be thinking about paying kids to take them away because you don’t want a great, stinking, rotting pile of apples left over. That’s because people would buy what they need and then walk away. Once they don’t need your apples, you’ll be dropping that price like a To-Do List just to make a few more sales.”
At this point, his eyes were kind of drifting over my shoulder to the opposite wall where he could see the reflection of Flapjack in a framed print behind us. So I continued, “And that’s when my leg fell off and I had to staple it back on.”
“Hellooo. You just stopped listening. I was talking about supply and demand and apples.”
“Oh. Why would I sell apples?”

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Amuses me

A News of the Weird Classic (May 2003)
Researchers at Plymouth University in England, with a small Arts Council grant, could not quite test whether an infinite number of monkeys with an infinite number of typewriters could produce the works of Shakespeare, but did see what six Sulawesi crested macaque monkeys would write with a computer over a four-week period. According to a report in The Guardian, the apes produced about five pages of text between them, mostly consisting of the letter S. According to professor Geoff Cox, the monkeys spent a lot of time sitting on the keyboard. [The Guardian, 5-9-03]

Monday, November 17, 2008

Straight No Chaser

I'm so glad I got a paper on Sunday. They had an article on this accapella college group from 1998. Two members are from the Lehigh Valley-Jerome Collins and Walter Chase. I was in choir with Jerome Collins in High School, and I also knew him from my middle school girl choir days. He was in the Singing Boys of Pennsylvania (I was in the sister group, Keystone Girls Choir), and my cousin Michael (some of you know him from when he sang at my wedding) sang with him in the Singing Boys too.
Apparently one of the members of the group put a video on you-tube of "the 12 days of Christmas" intermixed with Toto's "Africa." Just for the members' own enjoyment. And a year later it went viral-7 million views for December 2007 alone. Record execs made a deal with them and they now have a new Christmas album out. They did this a decade ago and all the sudden this opportunity comes up based on it. Some weren't even in the music industry anymore. Amazing.
Tom particularly liked the sitcom and teen sensation medly. I love it all-the human voice is a wonderful instrument. Those of you who know Jerome-check out This is How We Do It-he sings that one.

Sucess in life and education

An excerpt from Education - Searching the Owner’s Manual by: Kevin Swanson

Dr. Thomas Stanley, a man who has dedicated his life to researching successful businessmen in America, has written a series of books on these millionaires. Although he does not refer to the Bible or the book of Proverbs in his discussion of success factors, his research correlates with the wisdom that descends fr om that ancient Book. In the survey of 733 millionaires, Dr. Stanley found the following to be the factors most important to success in life, (Thomas J. Stanley, PhD, The Millionaire Mind, (Kansas City, MO: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2000), P. 34):
1. Telling the Truth
2. Self discipline
3. Getting Along with People
4. Having a Supportive Spouse
5. Hard Work
Recently I did a statistical survey on the lessons most frequently taught in the book of Proverbs. Mentioned over 140 times in the book, the most repeated character theme in the Proverbs is honesty and the use of the tongue. The Number One factor on the list of factors claimed by millionaires to have contributed to success is “telling the truth!” An incredible coincidence? The next four factors on the millionaires’ list are also prominent lessons in the book of Proverbs. What about a supportive spouse? Ironically, that too can be found in the book of Proverbs (Prov. 31:10).
Several qualifications at this point are in order. Economic success is only one blessing among many potential blessings that attends a nation that upholds the character traits and lessons taught in the Proverbs. Moreover, not everyone who cultivates strength of character in his life is fabulously wealthy. There are undoubtedly some very rich people who refuse to incorporate these characteristics into their lives, but this kind of wealth is inevitably short lived.
After a century or two of ignoring God’s word in our psychology and education theory, many burned-out educators and parents are taking a second look at what God said about education. You can take ten minutes in God’s book and find a great deal of wisdom in this area of educating children. Here is what I found:
1. Character is 99% of the content of an education program.
2. Relationships matter. The parent-child relationship matters. The hearts of our children matter.
3. Sometimes you have to teach, sometimes you have to warn, sometimes you have to cry out in desperation, sometimes you have to repeat an important lesson ten different ways.
4. Learning is an honorable thing.
5. You need to teach knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.
6. The existence of God and the fear of God lies at the foundation of all knowledge and wisdom.
7. A good education includes wisdom which is knowledge lived out and applied.
These principles will transcend all other theories and lessons on education. You do not need a doctorate degree in education to become a competent educator. As a parent, God has already equipped you for the task. But you should take a few minutes to study God’s 20 page manual - the Proverbs.

Money is not the key to educational success

On April 28th, 2004, the police uncovered a family (father and daughter) deep in the forest in northwest Oregon. Homeless and destitute, the father had opted not to leave his daughter to grow up on the streets. Instead, he took her into the woods, and for four years they lived in a lean-to in the forest. Police were amazed to find the girl clean, healthy, and. . . educated! There in the forest, the father had homeschooled his daughter with nothing but a Bible and a decrepit set of encyclopedias. Officials tested the twelve-year-old and found that she had already achieved a 12th-grade equivalency. Now,ask yourself, how could this be? There was no department of education. No certified teacher. No expensive curriculum. No notice-of-intent to homeschool and no standardized tests. So what was the secret? Police Sgt, Michael Barkley, told reporters, “What was so clear was that their living conditions were unacceptable, but their relationship was a real deep love and caring for each other” (Source

Replies to rudeness

LOL! LOL! Not a good all the time response, but in certain situations......

" Liz said...
Oh Susie, I can most definately relate! I had my first in Aug 96 & my second in Mar 00. Three and a 1/2 years between the two of them. It was a good spacing. I was pretty self-righteous about my perfectly spaced children. And then we had #3. On the day she was born, #2 turned 10 1/2 MONTHS old. He was born at the end of March 2000 & she arrived mid-February 2001. We got all the jokes, too. People asking "don't you know what causes that?" or all the little comments in the store "boy, she has her hands full!". Oh, and the best one was a complete stranger eyeballing me & asking "How did this happen?" as if I did something wrong. After gently trying to explain in the kindest manner possible & she continued probing, I got rude back. I said "It happened the usual way...on our living room couch if you must know." When her jaw dropped, I walked away. I mean, really...I DON'T KNOW's NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!"

(from comments on a blog post about hating to be the butt of jokes about fertility)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another tooth

Note to Laura: You will be leaving another .50 cents tonight as well! She wiggled another tooth out!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

cookies and kids-tips

It's almost that time of year! I enjoy cookie-making, but it is always a bit stressful to do with all the kids so young. Every year Laura and I intend to have all the cookie dough baked the night before, so we only have to decorate and bake on "the day" but it just never seems to work out right. There's never enough time. One year Laura used an incorrectly copied recipie that put way too much salt in the cookies. We've had tantrums and marathon nursing babies cut our time short. Last year we ended up doing the dough and cookies on the same day and Laura ended up having to leave before we even finished all the decorating. We've broken mixers making all that dough! There's always a huge mess to clean up. It is a lot of work, but completely worth it as far as I'm concerned. I would like to leave my kids as many traditions as I can. I look forward to it, and I know Leanna does too. Justin's starting too. He remembers Christmas this year (Timothy doesn't yet). It's fun to do and leaves another happy memory (or at least pictures of a happy memory, even if they don't remember it). And it's time spent with family. Tonight I found an article on simple recipies and ideas for cookie making for kids, and also some tips readers left.

A couple thoughts from what I read in the comments:

The cookie-painting thing sounds fun. I think I'd like to try the ornament thing too-though not necesarily on the same day. The rice krispie treat wreaths sound like fun too. Laura and I have been wanting to try a gingerbread house. I still want to do that, but I think this is another good option: I have also found that decorating Christmas Trees (upside down ice cream cones coated with green frosting) is about 90% of the fun and 10% of the work of decorating gingerbread houses. What do you think Laura?
Also from the comments, this is so obvious, but I never thought of it: When using cookie cutters, fill each baking sheet with similarly-sized cookies--all big ones on one sheet, little ones on another, etc. This ensures that the little ones don't burn or get crisp while the big ones cook.
Another tip I thought was a usable one: Fruit leather & scissors lets kids make clothes for gingerbread men. My Mom uses her dehydrator to make fruit leather, fun and better for you than regular iceing! Maybe we can persuade her to make us some for cookie decorating (Hint, hint!).


Since that last doctor's visit I've been purposely trying to notice what words Jacob says. Put on the spot like that I really had to try to think.....and then the guy looks at me like I'm making it up. I'm guessing that most parents haven't really thought about how many words their children actually say. Jacob won't say them on cue yet, and sometimes he will say them when the occasion calls for it and not other times. But the fact that he can use them appropriately more than once shows he understands the words he speaks. The parental guide they give you at the doctors says he should be able to say 3-6 words. There's a wide range of normal and of course there are the kids who don't talk at all and suddenly spout off every word in the dictionary. I get that. But 3-6 words is the normal range for his age???? I seriously doubt that.

Words I can remember that I've heard him say: mama, mommy, Dadda, Justin, nanna (for Leanna), Grammy, shoe, sock, hat, light, ball, bye, Thank you, I want that!, uh-oh!, nose, no!, boo!, up, ow!, hungry, stop-that's 22 just off the top of my head. I know there's more that I can't think of.

Contents of Leanna's pockets

Leanna's pants pockets contained: two little rocks from Lost River Caverns yesterday. An old broken cell phone, and three cents.

: )


Ok, I'm a little slow on stuff like this-I just found this now, but I do think that's an interesting comparison. My mother (pretty much the only person I talk politically to) has a very negative view of, well, the world.....but especially the American political scene. I love my mother, and I respect her experience and knowledge and opinions, but I am very much hoping she is wrong. It is very tiring to constantly worry about and only think about the negative. This is a lesson it's taken me years to learn. I am a cynic by nature, and a generation X-er to boot! But I am really hoping that people can and will be inspired to change this country. Little essays like this give me hope!

A President Like My Father
Published: January 27, 2008

OVER the years, I’ve been deeply moved by the people who’ve told me they wished they could feel inspired and hopeful about America the way people did when my father was president. This sense is even more profound today. That is why I am supporting a presidential candidate in the Democratic primaries, Barack Obama.
Skip to next paragraph
RelatedTimes Topics: John Fitzgerald KennedyTimes Topics: Barack Obama
My reasons are patriotic, political and personal, and the three are intertwined. All my life, people have told me that my father changed their lives, that they got involved in public service or politics because he asked them to. And the generation he inspired has passed that spirit on to its children. I meet young people who were born long after John F. Kennedy was president, yet who ask me how to live out his ideals.
Sometimes it takes a while to recognize that someone has a special ability to get us to believe in ourselves, to tie that belief to our highest ideals and imagine that together we can do great things. In those rare moments, when such a person comes along, we need to put aside our plans and reach for what we know is possible.
We have that kind of opportunity with Senator Obama. It isn’t that the other candidates are not experienced or knowledgeable. But this year, that may not be enough. We need a change in the leadership of this country — just as we did in 1960.
Most of us would prefer to base our voting decision on policy differences. However, the candidates’ goals are similar. They have all laid out detailed plans on everything from strengthening our middle class to investing in early childhood education. So qualities of leadership, character and judgment play a larger role than usual.
Senator Obama has demonstrated these qualities throughout his more than two decades of public service, not just in the United States Senate but in Illinois, where he helped turn around struggling communities, taught constitutional law and was an elected state official for eight years. And Senator Obama is showing the same qualities today. He has built a movement that is changing the face of politics in this country, and he has demonstrated a special gift for inspiring young people — known for a willingness to volunteer, but an aversion to politics — to become engaged in the political process.
I have spent the past five years working in the New York City public schools and have three teenage children of my own. There is a generation coming of age that is hopeful, hard-working, innovative and imaginative. But too many of them are also hopeless, defeated and disengaged. As parents, we have a responsibility to help our children to believe in themselves and in their power to shape their future. Senator Obama is inspiring my children, my parents’ grandchildren, with that sense of possibility.
Senator Obama is running a dignified and honest campaign. He has spoken eloquently about the role of faith in his life, and opened a window into his character in two compelling books. And when it comes to judgment, Barack Obama made the right call on the most important issue of our time by opposing the war in Iraq from the beginning.
I want a president who understands that his responsibility is to articulate a vision and encourage others to achieve it; who holds himself, and those around him, to the highest ethical standards; who appeals to the hopes of those who still believe in the American Dream, and those around the world who still believe in the American ideal; and who can lift our spirits, and make us believe again that our country needs every one of us to get involved.
I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president — not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans.
Caroline Kennedy is the author of “A Patriot’s Handbook: Songs, Poems, Stories and Speeches Celebrating the Land We Love.”

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friendly pillows

I am seriously considering joining myspace, solely for the purpose of becoming a friend to Claire's pillows!
Sometimes I wonder how we could possibly be related, and then I find something like this and I understand.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


This is actually pretty neat, a bird saved the life of a girl her owner was babysitting-so the bird didn't even have a relationship with the girl whose life it saved! The post asks for stories of animals saving lives and there are a few so far, which I think is pretty interesting. Animals are not given enough credit!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The prez will be using the internet

"I wouldn't be surprised if Barack Obama starts doing a weekly YouTube video and also fireside chats for the 21st century by allowing people to filter up questions to him that he might answer."

Stinkers and messes

Lest you think he's not living up to the family quotient of's recent proof of his quest for yummy messes.

He made off with Timothy's yogurt and left a trail along the floor, and his face!

Recent loves include dropping things in the toilet-like his new toothbrush. And yesterday Timothy, who knows better, accidentally dropped a little toy man in because he didn't want to set it down while going to the bathroom. Jacob is a little stinker just like his siblings.

The tooth fairy visited last night


Just so you know, Laura, you brought her .50 cents last night.

She lost it in gym class. This is number 3.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fat Cravings May Start in Womb

Oh great, now I find I've ruined Jacob, even before he was born!
I see signs of it already-he really does gravitate towards sweet foods.
He also really loves: eggs, sausage, yogurt, and green beans.

Leanna explains about Rocks

This is from last night.

Apologies for any backgrounds noises, it's inevitable in our house.

Monday, November 10, 2008

So many careers

Leanna was directing a play tonight. She cast me as the princess, Timothy as a dinosaur, Justin as a prince and a detective, and herself as the narrator/director. There was a lot of yelling involved as the dinosaur and prince did not want to cooperate!

Grammy left a hammer lying around and Leanna found it and was smashing rocks with it. They are studying geology in school and she is currently obsessed with picking up every rock she can find.

Based on their own capacity and needs

Doing a tiny bit of homeschooling research. I really like this quote. I think this is something schools and society in general ignore.

The child is a Person, complete. Charlotte Mason respected the child. She said: "We must know something about the material we are to work upon if the education we offer is not to be scrappy and superficial. We must have some measure of a child's requirements, not based on his uses to society, nor upon the standard of the world he lives in, but upon his own capacity and needs." (Towards a Philosophy of Education, page 65, 66)

Well now I'm sad!

Doomed by Obama. Not that I get a chance to watch it often, but I would be sad to see Jon Stewart's Daily Show Go. : (

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Something good for their mouths

I'm browsing through this website, ParentHacks, (Thanks Jamie!) and found this tip that sounds great and has the bonus of being one I know my Mom will approve of! If you have a kid who likes to rip and chew on paper (my kids will eat ANYTHING that isn't food, or is food but is really old. When nutrition's involved they want nothing to do with it, go figure!) you give them a sheet of nori instead! Great idea!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Very proud of Leanna!

I'm proud to say that Leanna's teacher stopped me when I picked her up from school today to let me know that she had tested Leanna on three hundred words and she only got two wrong! She said she moved her up another reading level! She also said that Leanna had a good week as far as being kind to classmates (she had some minor problems in that area two weeks ago). She's been having a great year this year. I'm particularly glad because I had truly expected a lot more of her than what she previously displayed. So it makes me happy to see that she is finally showing she is capable of much more and has not yet reached her potential!

Trying to get the toys out......

If you haven't unwrapped children's toys within, the last, say four years, you don't know how bad it's gotten. Seriously, the military should take tips from these manufacturers.
From ParentDish:
Amazon fights wrap rage
by Sandy Maple Nov 7th 2008 1:00PM
Just for moms, Just for dads, Holidays, Toys & games, Shopping & recalls
Last Christmas, before wrapping Ellie's presents, I opened each and every box and freed the toys from the wires, tape and plastic tabs in which they were secured. I then put the toys back in to their original boxes and wrapped them up in pretty paper. This additional step took approximately eight hours, but was totally worth it come Christmas morning. If you have ever tried to quickly release a Barbie from her packaging while simultaneously fending off an anxious child who wants to play with her NOW, then you know all about wrap rage.Wrap rage is that boiling anger that bubbles up inside of you as you cut, hack and sometimes blowtorch your way into a toy box to release its contents. It's a feeling that is only slightly diminished when you hurl that box at the Christmas tree and stomp off to the kitchen to add some Kahlua to your coffee.Why do toy manufacturers secure their products so well that you need the entire contents of your toolbox to get them out? I don' t know why they do it, but finally somebody is attempting to put a stop to this insanity. is spearheading the effort to end wrap rage by introducing Frustration-Free Packaging."It will take many years, but our vision is to offer our entire catalog of products in Frustration-Free Packaging," Amazon's Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said. The online retailer is working with manufacturers including the worst offenders -- Fisher-Price and Mattel -- to simplify packaging by getting rid of those awful clamshell packages and plastic coated wires and replacing them with smaller, recyclable cardboard boxes. Amazon, we salute you!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Brownie Re-induction

They said some stuff (Jacob decided he couldn't sit still, and didn't particularly want to be quiet either, so I missed a lot of it)
they said the Girl Scout Promise, they performed a play about baking a new batch of brownies-the new brownie girl scouts came out the oven- and they sang. Leanna stirred the brownie mixture. Then they brought their parents punch or lemonaide-not a vodka tonic as one Dad suggested. And of course, brownies and popcorn & pretzels too. Justin said Girl Scouts are fun.

Reading Program

Leanna's doing a reading tutor program after school every Thursday. She's been doing quite well this year and I don't think it's something she needs.......but she wanted to and hey the extra help certainly can't hurt. Apparently they teach volunteers techniques to improve kids' reading abilities. She said they played some card games and I think she enjoyed walking there and back to the school. It's a chance to learn and be with a friend or two.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Families-building block of society or threat to individual liberty?

I ran across this on a blog, I'm not familiar with Laura Ingram but I like these two passages that are quoted here, particularly the second.

Laura Ingraham states:

“These days, having such a large family earns you strange glances, shocked reactions, and castigations from environmentalists and anti-population growth wackos. Somehow, ‘being fruitful and multiplying’ is considered self-indulgent by those who put a high value on attaining a certain lifestyle. (These people consider it selfish for adults to devote themselves to supporting a large family, but it is apparently unselfish to spend your money on a lifestyle made up of frequent and exotic vacations, state-of-the-art gadgets, spa treatments, golf lessons, club memberships, boarding schools, and fancy summer camps. If you can follow that logic, please explain it to me.)”

The modern mind does not view families as the fundamental building block of a free society but rather a threat to individual liberty. That’s because service to others is viewed as enslaving, while service to self is the highest ideal. We know the opposite is true…
…families are actually quite liberating. The stronger your family is, the more independent you can be. A family that sticks together and helps each other is more likely to survive economic downturns, less likely to need government-provided health care, and less likely to need day care. Its children will be better prepared for school, and its grandparents will be better prepared for retirement. At every stage of life, its members will have more freedom — and be less dependent on government or other large institutions — than people who lack family support. So if we really want to empower the average person, the best thing we can do is strengthen families.

elementary enthusiasm

I wanted to take Leanna with me yesterday to vote because she was excited about the election from school. From what I gather, fourth and fifth graders came and talked to the classes about the two candidates and then on Monday the school voted. I video-taped her talking about the election-cause it was soooo cute-but it's on our regular video camera so I can't post it here. It's worth watching just to hear her talk about "Roco Bama." She was quizzing Timothy and Justin on who they would vote for. But I was surprised to find out yesterday that she didn't want to come with me. She said, can I vote too? I said no because......"I know! I'm not 18!" she interrupted me. She was not happy about that. She didn't want to go since she couldn't vote too, so I took Justin, he was happy to help. Didn't have a clue what was going on, but he was proud to tell his Daddy that "me and Mommy voted today!"

Younger Voters

''I love the idea of being a part of history,'' Austin said. ''I voted for the first black presidential candidate. If he wins, I will have helped him. Yes!''

For the whole article on how Younger Voters add energy, drive from the Morning Call

I know I saw this in my city. Every time I waked downtown they had a a table out with people stopping me asking if I was registered to vote. At the halloween parade I saw young black women actually jeering and yelling boo! at Macain/Palin supporters. Not that I condone that, but it was nice to see people actively caring about the election, you know? I only had Obama supporters knocking at my door-I think because so many people in my income group are desparate for change. And at the Girls Club(that's where I vote) the people there were younger and darker skinned-black and hispanic. I think it will be interesting to see the actual numbers of 1. young voters that did vote(not just register)) 2. Minority voters and 3.women voters.
All in all I am happy to have been a part of this piece of history.

Monday, November 03, 2008


I attended my first PTO meeting today. That would be parent-teacher organization. I think there were seven of us attending. It was pretty informal, which was good for me. I had Jacob in my lap, and at a few points he got noisy because he was bored. Justin also stayed with me, when the kids went into another room to watch a movie he was afraid to leave. So Timothy went with Leanna. I think next time he will go though because he got pretty bored there. LOL. A movie and smarties candy sounded pretty good to him after sitting through that! I think Leanna enjoys being the only one in familiar territory-she volunteers to take her brothers to the bathrooms or the water fountains, etc. It's kinda cute.
The PTO already has a card that they punch to give you prizes for attending school events. When it's filled you get a five dollar gift certificate. They discussed other prizes and ways to attract parents to come. That's pretty sad. They have to bribe people to join!

Doctor frustrations

Jacob now weighs twenty two pounds, 5.5 ounces. He's still 29 inches tall. This doctor's appt. he didn't like strange people touching him. I wish we could have had the same lady we had the past two visits, not only for continuity, but also because she was much nicer and seemed more concerned. I spent most of the actual doctor visit explaining backstory to the student and then the doctor. We decided to do an allergen IgE first, and if that's not the cause, then we can see a specialist. She said that basically means that he would just be predisposed to eczema and that if that's what is causing it (rather than a specific food or pollen or animal) than there is nothing you can do about it. But if it comes back that his levels aren't high on that test, than we'd have to do more testing to see what's causing his problem.
Then there was the issue of shots. The last two visits he couldn't get shots because of the medication for eczema. So he's behind. The doctor told me, ok, he's getting 8 shots today. And I said no he's not!
This was clearly new territory for her. She said which ones don't you want to give. I said, well, what are the eight shots? (And they wanted to do a flu shot on top of all that too!) She starts reading them off and she said well he should get this this and that. So she wasn't really letting me decide or even giving me time to consider. It was frustrating. So we left it at him getting four shots, which to be honest, I'm still not thrilled with, but I can live with four at once as opposed to eight. But then she comes back a minute later and says, Oh I forgot one of these is a three in one shot, so he can get an extra one! At the time Jacob was crying and wanting to get down and continue rearranging their furniture. So I wasn't fully paying attention. I tried to explain to her that my objection wasn't to four pricks with a needle, I just didn't want the vaccinations all at once. She said yes and left, but the more I thought about what she said the more it seemed that she wasn't understanding what I meant. I was unsure if she had done what I asked. She came back to bring lab papers and I apologized and questioned her about it once again. She said but the three vaccinations are all in one shot! I explained that I was sorry to be a bother, but I really wanted to minimize the amount of shots at once. He already has the eczema flared up-and that is essentially an immune response-and he also has high lead levels. I don't know if the lead would do anything or not, but having extra lead in your system certainly wouldn't help. I'd rather error on the side of caution. Let me be clear here, I wasn't even refusing the shots, just getting them all RIGHT NOW.

I'm just not comfortable with so many things that can cause so many adverse reactions being thrust on an immature immune system. Particularly when other factors like the eczema are involved.
The doctor said she's go check and see if they had prepared all the shots yet because they would be wasted if they were already prepared. So I said ok. Still not thrilled, but exhausted from two hours with three young children shut in a room with nothing to do. So he ended up with 5 instead of the four that I agreed to and the six that she wanted. Although she never explained to me that two of the others were three in one shots. So he had five needles inserted, but two of those needles had three vaccinations each. So he got vaccinations for NINE diseases today. I thought they would be taking away one of the three in one shots, and she never mentioned there were two of them.
He's supposed to come back in a month to get the other two shots yet. Oh yeah, and then in January he's due for his 18month checkup which means MORE shots! Oh joy.
I hate going to the clinic, both of them. They treat you like you're a moron and need the most basic parenting lessons. Does your child use a carseat? Don't let your child play with electricity. Can your child say 3 words? Sometimes it's kind of funny to hear these young students trying to give me advice on matters they've clearly never dealt with. In some cases book learning just does not trump real experience. The nurses never believe me when I say my kids don't need their limbs forcibly held down-just a hand around the wrist or leg in case they jerk with the shot or just in case. I don't need extra people to hold them down. Why isn't a parent's experience and observations about their child considered ever (not just with that issue)? I hate the condescending looks when I answer positively to them being able to speak many words or accomplish tasks. They aren't geniuses, but they do have a parent who interacts with them. I wish they would take individual patient's histories into consideration in matters like this one today.

Dwelling in the realm of imagination

Here's an excerpt from an article on Scare Tactics: Why my Family Doesn't Attend the Mall's Safe Halloween:

"I'd much prefer my small children spend their Halloween night cowering in fear of werewolves and mummies than of car crashes and child molesters, because having the time to dwell in the realm of imagination is what childhood is supposed to be about. Of course, children need to know about real-life dangers, but they deserve a holiday too. What better opportunity than Halloween for children to give shape to their imaginative fantasies, whether heroic, malevolent or sparkly?"

We're often pressured as parents to feel as though a million dangers lurk around every corner. Don't get me wrong, it's good that we're more aware of many potential dangers and that we use car seats, etc. But we seem to be at a point where our fear of danger is impairing our-and more importantly, our children's-ability to fully live. The pendulum swings from full on hysteria to lackadaisical parenting, I really wish we could find a happy medium.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Our Kids, before Trick or Treating

In all their adorable glory!

three of them

Too cute not to include here!

My Little Mermaid

My pretty little mermaid! Like the others, Leanna chose what she wanted to be for Halloween. I had picked up the material from the remnants bin at Joann's. I paid $8.00 for it, and although I didn't know what I would do with it, I knew it would come in handy for something!

This year I did all the costumes without actual patterns, Leanna's was tricky. I could have just made the bottom into a skirt, but I decided to attach the fins to the sides. I drew one fin freehand on cardboard, then used that as a pattern piece. I didn't want to make the bottom of the dress tight(like a "real" mermaid) because it had to be tapered but still have enough room for comfortable walking. So I added the lace to make it pretty too. I played around with the idea of making a shell top, but I just couldn't get the shape right and I didn't know how to make it look like a shell without padding them. Padding them would have made it look like I was trying to give her a chest-so I definitely wanted to stay away from that! So I ended up basically making a tube top with straps and put lace on the bottom. Her wig was very very thin, but I paid $1.00 for it, so I wasn't expecting too much. I got some orange spray to fill in her hair with too.

Cowboy Justin

As one guy put it, an old-school costume! Justin's choice of costume, partially chosen because of Cowboy Woody from Toy Story was the easiest-no sewing involved. A pair of his jeans, cowboy boots that are actually girls, so we spray painted them black so they'd look less girly and would match his black cowboy hat. The hat was a dollar at Dollar Tree. The shirt was big, but it didn't matter, I got that from a second-hand sale (they apparently have them twice a year at the Merchant Square Mall, it's huge) for two or three dollars, and the bandanna was from AC Moore, I think two dollars. So his cost about $6.00 to put together.

Timmy the Puppy

Timothy wanted to be a puppy, and his costume earned the most comments from people. He's just so cute and it seemed an appropriate costume for him. He barked on command for people too. One family even stopped and took a picture of Timothy with their child. Come to think of it, a lady took a picture of him last year as Winnie the Pooh also.
It turned out to be a much easier costume than I thought. He wore dark pants, dark gloves, and I colored his eye in with eyeliner. The main part is a sweatshirt which I turned backwards. I put elastic in the hood in the back to hold it close enough to his head and made ears out of felt, then sewed them to the hood. I cut the spots out of felt and sewed them to the sweatshirt. I sewed a tail and then cut an opening in the back of the sweatshirt for the tail to poke through (I couldn't just attach the tail to the sweatshirt because of the zipper, so I attached it to a piece of elastic that he wore around his waist. When he walked the tail looked like it was coming out the middle of his back like it should.

Tiger Baby the Fourth

Jacob was watching like a hawk for opportunities to dive in for some candy. As soon as anyone looked away from their stash, he zoomed in! Jacob didn't complain about being in the stroller, so I think he was entertained by Trick Or Treating. There was nice weather here for the first time in a few years. No rain or bitter cold!! There weren't a lot of houses participating. We did see two people from school, which was nice. I think there are a lot at her school who don't participate for religious reasons.