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Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween

More later................

Busy Week

The award she won tonight for most funniest costume. Except that her costume wasn't supposed to be funny.

Rushed to get Leanna's costume done by Thurs. night for the Girl Scout halloween/Juliette Low birthday party. Plus gathering supplies and putting together Justin and Timothy's costumes. Everything that could go wrong did. The stupid tension on my sewing machine kept holding the thread too tight and I'd have to take it out and redo whatever I'd just sewn. The gathering strands broke off so I had to redo that. Jacob kept going after my sewing machine (because of all the lead on the third floor I had to bring the sewing machine down if I wanted to use it) and several times I had to rethread it or fix settings he'd changed on the machine. I must have pinned the yoke on wrong six times in a row! And the kids were all noisy and crabby and constantly needing me today, since I had to finish it. I thought this might never get done. I am likely the entire world's worst sewing machine operator.
Leanna did not want to wear her mermaid costume from last year (since she hadn't worn it at girl scouts I thought she might wear that if I didn't finish hers on time). "It's not that I don't like it. I just think other people might not!"
Then when she saw her costume she did say it was pretty. Justin kept telling me how nice it was. So she put it on with minutes to spare before she had to be at Brownies. It's a little long and big although it's a 7/8 and she's an 8. That would be fine with clothing underneath for trick or treating. But at an indoor party-not necesary, so it was a little big. The junior girls voted it the funniest costume and no one knew what she was supposed to be. Leanna said she's not wearing it again, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hurt.
Today was generally just a very sucky day.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sunday, the Timothy edition

My Mom took Leanna and Justin to the parkway on Sunday afternoon for a little. She only has two carseats and that's all that fits in her car anyway. So Timothy and I started his vehicle mosaic kit from his birthday. It's a pretty easy option for younger kids who want to try mosaics-it's pieces of foam with a sticky back. Timothy used them for about 15 minutes, then moved back to his perpetual favorite, playing with cars!
Later that evening, long after his siblings had returned, he fell asleep on Daddy's lap. It's probably been a year and a half or more since that's happened!

Monday, October 26, 2009


I interviewed at the Baum today and we g0t a full scholarship! It was easier than I thought and she even complimented my letter and me! She'll begin a homeschool art class in January, free of charge! That is wonderful! I'm excited for several reasons: it's free, she gets an intro to art with materials I can't afford to provide her with, she'll be around other local homeschoolers, she'll be around other creative people, she'll get another experience on her own, away from her brothers for two hours at a time! I hope we can inspire of a love of art and creativity in her!

I needed something to go right for a change! I hope this becomes a trend!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Evening's work

All from last night: Glowstick earrings, fashioned by Leanna (a gift from the halloween party), my first ever attempt at Brownies completely from scratch (so they're Jacob safe!), and more zucchini bread!

A weekend gym class

Yesterday after we picked Leanna up from the sleepover, we stopped at the playground. We had the place to ourselves, which is how I like it! It's much easier to keep an eye on four kids when they are the only ones there! It was warm, but really windy! When I put Jacob in a baby swing and pushed him, he just leaned backwards with his eyes closed, clearly loving it! That's brave, to lean backwards in the wind-you'd feel like you were falling. But the little free spirit LOVED it! It made me laugh just to see it. The fall colors on the trees were just beautiful. I love fall in PA. Unfortunately my camera batteries were almost dead, so I could only take so many pictures, and I had to do it quickly before the camera shut off!

What to do with that degree

Just mulling stuff over....The only problem here-I have zero interest in the careers mentioned, and yet, this is the stuff I'm good at. There must be something specific out there somewhere that fits both my talents and interests, right??

Top Row (L-R): Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court Justice; Diane Sawyer, TV journalist; Carol Browner, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency and now chair of the Board of the National Audubon Society; Geoffrey Rush, actor (we're not sure about the monkey); Barbara Walters, TV host.

Middle Row (L-R): David Duchovny, actor; Cathy Guisewite, cartoonist (we figured you'd recognize the cartoon better than her picture); James van der Beek, actor; Vin Diesel, actor; Randy Owen, lead singer of Alabama; Joe Paterno, legendary football coach; Sally Ride, astronaut.

Bottom Row (L-R): Amerie, singer; Harrison Ford, actor; Reese Witherspoon, actress; Harold Varmus, Nobel Prize laureate, former head of the National Institutes of Health and now CEO of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Research Center; Jodi Foster, actress/activist; Alan Alda, actor-activist.

What can English majors do?

The obvious choices are teaching, graduate school, or becoming a writer, but graduates also excel in many other areas. Because English majors have learned how to write, analyze material, and communicate effectively, and are good problem solvers, they work in many different fields, including sales, management, advertising, and many others. English majors are found in program management, marketing, editing, reporting, creative and technical writing, public relations, medicine, social work, government work, non-profit organizations, and financial services. The kinds of text analysis, writing, and thinking English majors specialize in enhance their creativity, their understanding of human motivation, and their ability to present clear and logical arguments, both in writing and orally.
September 22, 2009
Jobs for English Majors: They Do Exist
Posted by Bridget Quigg

The butt of every cocktail party joke – the English major. “Oh, that’s nice that you read Shakespeare. But, how does that get you a job?”
Well, it turns out that wordsmithing just might be the ticket in to today’s job market. According to a survey of HR professionals by global outplacement agency Challenger, Gray and Christmas and quoted in a New York Times article, “Young Workers: U Nd 2 Improve Ur Writing Skills,” the number one skill missing amongst entry-level job applicants is “writing skills.” Huh, sounds like that business degree may not do the trick for getting started in a new career.
In even better news for English majors, according to PayScale’s 2009 College Salary Report, English majors end up in some reasonably lucrative careers post-college. The most popular jobs for English majors and their median annual salaries 10 years out of school are:
Career Salary
Technical Writer $65,700
Paralegal $54,300
Copywriter $53,400
In terms of cash flow, the problems of English majors aren’t exactly solved. Their salary after 10 years doesn’t top aerospace engineering majors, who come out number one overall with $109,000 per year. But, hey, the English major probably is happier writing the next “Just do it” campaign rather than negotiating where to place the toilets on an airplane - not that ensuring comfortable bathrooms isn’t a worthy pursuit.
We’ll end with some other artsy, socially-minded, non-lucrative majors and their median yearly salaries according to PayScale’s 2009 College Salary Report:
College Major Starting After 10 Years
Journalism $36,300 $65,300
History $38,800 $70,000
Art History $36,300 $62,400
Public Relations $36,700 $62,600
Anthropology $37,600 $63,200
Social Work $33,400 $41,600

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Halloween Sleepover Party

Leanna wanted to go to the Halloween party but was adamant that she would NOT sleep over. I was glad she was going to the party, because it'd be fun for her, she'd get a chance to spend time with some of the girls from Brownies without the more formal atmosphere, and it also proves she isn't a social misfit-as is often thought about homeschoolers (which was her school last year's conclusion about her as well).
She was determined to be a princess and I haven't finished, well, even started, her halloween costume yet. So we rumaged through her dress up clothes but didn't find anything that fit anymore. So we ended up with a dress from her closet combined with a few dress up clothes accesories.
She was supposed to call when she was ready to go home, but the call never came. When we called there she begged to sleep over. 'So Tom drove her stuff over and then in the morning, she never called to come home again! When I called her, she wanted to stay until everyone else went home! She had such a good time. They did face painting and painted pumpkins and had coloring contest and played games. The girl's mother said Leanna was welcome back anytime, so clearly Leanna's problem was not being unable to make or maintain friendships (as the school suggested). The mom also told me that she homeschooled her older son for three years because he has asperger's syndrome. She said then it got to hard and she ended up with either a private tutor or a private school.

Pretty Leanna

Getting ready for a sleepover Halloween party yesterday. The dress is the same one she wore to Chrissy's wedding. It was a gift from Aunt Karen. I knew there was a good chance she'd get it dirty (she did, spilled chocolate milk) but I figured she won't have many opportunities to wear it, it'd be a waste to have such a pretty dress worn only once!


One day, last week I think, Laura stayed with the kids briefly so my Mom could drop me and Timothy off at the doctor's office. When I returned later that day, I found this in my pantry. I'm pretty sure it was not the work of my mother or the kids!
This could only be: Laura!

Man, is he getting big

It amazes me how much he's grown. He's sweet and kind and LOUD and Energy incarnate! His languages is a combination of grown up phrases and poopy-laced words. He's getting so tall! He has these little bursts of thoughtfulness that amaze me! I'm very proud of him!

Thursday's Clouds


The top picture was taken first, on Thursday afternoon. Then the second one maybe a half hour later or less. I just thought it looked so interesting.


A story of four siblings who lost first their father and then their mother and were then separated from each other. I can't imagine why anyone would think that's a good idea. You're orphaned and then they take away the only people who know you your whole lives long and know your parents, the only people who will be feeling similarly to you after going through that experience. That would be awful to lose your siblings too! Everything familiar in your life would be gone!

I would like to state publicly that that would be the absolute last thing I would ever want for my kids, should anything ever happen to us, I would want them kept together at all costs! That's asking a lot, I know, but that's the way it should be done. Sibling relationships are very important to me!
(No, we don't have a will, it's one of those things I've been wanting to do, especially living in PA. My parents have a computer program that was recommended by the life insurance company, and I've been waiting to borrow that. Of course we don't have a cd drive right now, so I couldn't do it right now anyway. We do have life insurance though, so we haven't been completely irresponsible.)

Friday, October 23, 2009

poor Dora!

I considered not acompanying this post with any explanation at all. : )
Apparently Justin said that she was crying too much.
(Just to be sure, I did talk to him about how if a real baby cried, it means something is wrong and we figure out what, and that will stop the crying. But I'm fairly certain he was just having fun here!)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Good News

Next week I interview at the Baum School of Art to see if we qualify for a scholarship. I'm excited, I'd written a letter to them about two months ago so by this point I'd lost hope.

I'm also going to get a TB test tomorrow so I can become an official volunteer at the Phoebe home. The kids would just come with me, I don't have to fill out anything or have tests done on them. This was another way to get out more and also to teach the kids it's important to give back to the community and to help others. I also think it will be valuable for them to be around the elderly, to learn that they have stories and information to pass on.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Explanation of shots

Someone-Diary of an Angry Mom- more articulate than I has posted an explanation of the flu shot/shots in general. Go read it. This one applies to adults, not just kids.

Pass on to parents of younger children for Kids

If anyone has an extra $700 or so lying about.....

This HP MediaSmart sounds like something I would love to own, if we were able to buy it. The sort of thing every household should have!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


This is Justin's picture of an egg-maker. It doesn't work for a long time, and it has a motor.


Just simple stuff this year, if I have time we'll do more. I found window clings for .79 cents each, and Leanna brought home some bendaroos (we think that's the name) from a craft and she repositioned them onto the windows to decorate. They do leave some wax on the windows, but it washes off pretty easy. This holiday season is going to be pretty bizzare. No Seiple Farm, no driving around to look at Christmas lights, no going anywhere to visit anyone. No family trips to get presents or a tree or anything. I'm having trouble wrapping my head around the idea that this is real, it will really be like this. It could be much much worse though, I am thankful for that!

Play Doh fun

Nothing better than a slice of play-doh pizza!

Leanna's lovely hat

All Leanna's play doh creations and Timothy with his new play doh monkey (birthday present from Aunt Laura)


Sometimes I have trouble knowing what is and isn't normal anymore. When I saw a poll on how often you mop your floors, I had no idea where the normal range would be. I was quite relieved to find out that I actually do mine more often than most, it looks like. This is not because I'm a good housecleaner, it's because my house gets dirty so very very quickly. It usually looks like I don't clean, ever. But my floors (for the record) genrally get cleaned at least every other day. Sometimes once a day, sometimes more than once a day. At the worst point, once a week. After reading a few of the comments and seeing the poll results, I feel much better! Silly, but true.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Occasionally one of the kids runs off with the camera and I find interesting pictures. These were curtesy of Leanna. She started washing the kitchen floor by hand, and wanted proof to show her grandmother and Aunt. I think she did about 6 tiles. LOL.

Silly giggly Timothy

Timothy wanted me to take these pictures of him in one of his many clubhouses. He's so cute and squishable! This one was underneath these kid rocking chairs that were given to us by one of Tom's customers. There are two, since they were from twin girls. They also gave us some clothes and homeschool books-grade 2 and under-that didn't sell at their yard sale. (They are a Christian homeschooling family).

If you're wondering what's on the floor in the top picture, it's crushed ramen noodle soup. Justin and Timothy like to munch on the noodles, plain. It looks kinda cool in that picture though, I think.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Food Issues

A (large) excerpt from an article about why it is so important to support breastfeeding mothers. I found it interesting though because of her thoughts on food and Americans. We are known currently for being an overweight and unhealthy people, this sheds some light on why.

From: Why Support For Breastfeeding Matters more Than Ever By Ellen Malmon

Like me, many women in their thirties and forties never saw a drop of breast milk in their lives before actually producing, it, and we seemed to have survived. It's finally dawning on us, however, that the whole host of health problems we and our children are suffering now: obesity, heart disease, diabetes, etc. comes from our co-dependent relationship with industrialized food. Michael Pollan, in the brilliant Ominvore's Dilemma, writes that the great cuisines of the world developed through trial and error over centuries to produce a distinctive and healthy diet. Polyglot America has no such tradition, so we careen from diet to diet, fad to fad, RDA to RDA in an effort to figure out the best way to eat. This lack of tradition, combined with our industrialized food supply has severed our basic human relationship with food. This happens even earlier than we might realize, in infancy, with the casual introduction of manufactured baby formula.
Perhaps with science's effort to isolate the health effects of nutrients in food, we ignore the possibility that maybe it's not the antioxidants, minerals, and flavinoids alone, that maybe it's the entire piece of broccoli eaten at the table with your family that makes it healthy. Breast milk is a baby's first real food. While formula mimics the nutrients of breast milk, scientists admit it's still
only an approximation of what Nature provides. One scientist even admits that it's "embarrassing" how little they understand the contents and mechanics of breast milk. The AAP thoroughly documents the health benefits of breastfeeding to babies, mothers and even the community at large. In addition to these benefits, breastfeeding helps reestablish our relationship to the natural food chain and starts our children on a path to a healthy relationship with food. The choice to breastfeed should be an easy one to make, but sadly is often constrained by circumstance. That is why we need to push for more cultural and institutional support for breastfeeding, support that women of every class desperately need.
I have no desire to demonize, criticize or demoralize those women who don't or can't breastfeed. The world is full of mothers who can't make enough milk, babies who can't nurse properly, and mothers who work and can't take the time out of their day regularly to pump. Formula seems like an easy solution. But the history of formula, like that of all manufactured food, is filled with tragic scandal: from Nestle's disastrous marketing of formula in Third World countries, to the deaths of infants in China due to melanin-laced formula, and even the recent discovery that supposedly superior organic formula was filled with
unholy amounts of sugar. In a best-case scenario, formula is not poison, but it's not real food either.

Read more at:

Making due

We weren't sure how to hang the pinata in the house, so we improvised. It's tied to a broom, hanging from a scarf. The bat was a vacuum attachment, and the blindfold was a hat. Hey, it worked!
This is a cute little turtle Claire made for Timothy.

The birthday boy swings at the pinata.
Justin was really good, he was the only one with force behind his swings. Tom said, we've got to get this boy in baseball!


Nanny Sue (sorry, I couldn't find many pictures of you. You were quiet!)
I love the halo around Pop-Pop's head!

Laura snuck in some light reading!

And this one shows Justin, in motion, perpetually! And Nanny Sue, texting.