Thursday, December 27, 2007

My new coffee cup

Roger told daddy that he wanted to get me a "big coffee cup" for Christmas, and the coffee mugs at Kohl's weren't big enough. Instead, he picked out this 3 1/2 quart batter bowl.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Life With You - The Proclaimers

I love it. : ) If they come close enough this spring, we're going to go see them in concert.



Monday, December 17, 2007

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Diapers

We're going back to cloth. Surprised? I did really like the 7th Generation diapers. I liked them much better than any other disposables I used. HOWEVER, after a couple bouts of stomach flu and loose stools, I'm longing for cloth again. Nothing keeps poop in as well as a cotton diaper, whether a pinned or snappied prefold or a fitted diaper (definitely the best performer!), and a well fitting separate cover. I'm disgusted at all the money I wasted on buying pocket diapers. They may have been easier to use, but they were harder to get clean, did not hold up well at all and weren't as leak proof as separate diaper and cover systems. Once I saw that Bummis was coming out with a cover that fixed the problems I'd had with their previous versions, I knew we'd be going back to cloth. So I'll be getting new covers and Snappis and using our old threadbare and holey prefolds until I save up enough money to consider new prefolds or fitted diapers.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Decorating for Advent

I came into the computer room, and found Roger sticking push pins into the back of one of the chairs.

Me: Roger, you need to put all those pins back in the box!
Roger: Mom! I'm decorating for advent. This is the way you do it!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Santa

I dropped the boys off at story time this morning at our local library, then went over to the children's DVD section to choose their movies for the week. The theme for today's storytime was Santa Claus and Christmas, as it was the last session before the end of the year. I was browsing through the movies when the first story book ended, and I heard Pauly pipe up (loudly! I could hear him from across the library) "Santa isn't real!" Oh joy. Nobody else seemed to comment on it, the teachers just went on and I couldn't hear any other kids reacting to it, but I figured this needed an explanation.

Afterwards, I took him aside and we had this conversation:
Mommy: Pauly, I heard you say during story time, "Santa isn't real!" Do you think that was the thing to do?
Pauly, sheepishly: No.
M: Do you know why not?
P: Um, I don't know.
M: When Rosie's watching the Wiggles, do you tell her "Wags the Dog isn't real!"?
P: No.
M: How about when we read storybooks, do you say "This isn't real!"?
P: No.
M: Why don't you tell Rosie that Wags the Dog isn't real?
P: Well, because she loves dogs and she would probably be upset.
M: Do you think the kids here love Santa?
P: Yeah. I love Santa, too, and I'm upset that he isn't real.
M: We don't need to upset the other kids, there's no reason to do that.

Then we took their candy canes and went home.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Some great library finds

We went to the library today, and I found four picture books that we'll be using for religion (we don't do a formal curriculum).

Waiting for Christmas: A Story about the Advent Calendar by Kathleen Long Bostrom
The Lady of Guadalupe by Tomie De Paola
Mary: The Mother of Jesus by De Paola (I'm planning on using this for the Immaculate Conception)
The Legend of St. Nicholas by Demi

We have the books for four weeks so we'll have the books through all the proper feast days and most of Advent. There's so much that we could do in connection with these books, we'll see if we actually get to do any of it. : ) Just reading them over and over will be great.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

From the makers of Kenya

Brazil is our new favorite Weebls cartoon.

I thought of something else



Rosie likes to eat crayons.

You probably wonder how we're doing



but I haven't had the time or mental energy to post. I have the time now, but I can't think of anything to write! I've been sick, the kids are doing fine and they keep growing up. The second pic here was taken by Pauly, evidently, which is why it is so blurry.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Friday, November 02, 2007

Math

Everyone wants to participate when we get out the Math-U-See blocks.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Leaf Rubbing

We actually did something semi-creative so I'm showing it off.




Sunday, October 21, 2007

No Child Left Behind -- a Catholic view

Our Sunday Visitor recently released a "report card" of Bush's presidency from a Catholic perspective, and I was very disappointed to see the No Child Left Behind Act get a positive mention. Here is the letter I just sent in response

I was very disappointed to see the No Child Left Behind Act given a "positive" rating in your October 21st analysis of Bush's presidency. I strongly disagree, the Act actually contributes to a very anti-Catholic objectification of both pupils and teachers. The increased emphasis on standardized testing has made schools in one business and one business only -- the raising of test scores. Aside from the practical flaw that a student can be trained to score high on a test with little to no understanding or actual ability, the greater evil in this is that the student is no longer viewed as a whole person but as a score. It doesn't matter that the child learn to think, learn to enjoy life, or learn to behave in a moral way, all that matters is that the child scores "proficient" on the test. This simply does not respect the fact that the child is a human person with a body, mind and soul which all need to be considered together in order for a true education to be achieved. The teacher, despite his or her best efforts, is reduced to a factory manager who must raise "productivity" through raising scores, no matter the effect on the actual persons in her care. Should Catholics approve of this?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Prank Call to Greg Wiggle

No, not me. An Australian radio show. It was fairly funny, but is more interesting because we haven't had news about Greg for a while. You can listen to it here, it is Thursday's show, and starts about one-third of the way through the show after the "Is the wink extinct?" bit.

Mandy Patinkin

I went to see him with my mom last night! We had a fun time. I wasn't sure what to expect, and he was certainly funnier than I expected. I had heard he had a beautiful voice; I don't know if his voice was tired or what but while I thought it was competent it didn't seem especially beautiful to me. It seemed a bit weak at times, especially in the upper octaves. Maybe I'm just being picky. . .thanks, Bob, now you've turned me into a music snob as well as a food snob!

It was fun, though. Paul Ford was fantastic on the piano, and Mandy Patinkin was exuberant and energetic. There were some interesting musical selections, and a few where I felt I would appreciate them more if I was familiar with whatever musical they were from. I wasn't expecting to hear the Hokey Pokey in Yiddish, and I certainly wasn't expecting to be asked to stand up and dance it!

He ended the show with the quote: "My name is Inigo Montoya. . ."

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I found this on my camera the other day.

Earlier this week I had been in the other room putting the baby to bed, and when I went back into the living room Pauly handed me the camera (in its case) and told me Roger had been playing with it. I found this a day or so later.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Math U See

I posted this review one of my forums, and thought I'd cross post it here. Their website is www.mathusee.com

I love it! They will send you a free demo video if you ask. Once Bob saw the video he was sure this is the way to go. We really really like it, of course we've only used the Primer (kindergarten) level so far.

I do alter the lessons somewhat. After reading How Children Fail I have taken a lot of Holt's suggestions for the Cuisenaire rods and applied them to the Math-U-See blocks. This doesn't change the content of the lessons, just how I present them. I do a bit less instruction and a bit more guided exploration. I also don't have Pauly do much work in the Student book. Instead, I have him work problems with the blocks and write any numbers on a blank piece of paper. He has poor fine motor skills and was getting frustrated with the book.

The order of lessons is quite different. Several lessons back we cover place value -- hundreds, tens and units. Pauly can look at any three digit number and read it correctly. The lesson we are currently working on is "counting to 20." Of course, Pauly can already count to 20 and has for a couple of years, but this lesson is really preparing for carrying in addition. One of MUS's main points is that you can only count from 0 to 9, after that you are counting something else (ie. tens instead of units).

My degree is (sort of) in mathematics and I really enjoy math, and I like this program a lot. I think the blocks and what can be done with them is neat, and I like the emphasis on place value and truly understanding numbers. I think, however, that we MIGHT have been able to get away with only getting Alpha and skipping the Primer level, if we just took the curriculum very slowly. The student book is, at this level, actually incidental to the hands-on lessons.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Pumpkin Patch!


We had a blast! There were lots of things to do besides just ride in the wagon out to the patch and pick out pumpkins. Pauly loved the underground slides, and Rosemarie loved the very swing bridge. She was not afraid of it at all! Of course I forgot my camera, but I got this pic when I got back to the house. You can just see the top of Rosie's pumpkin and the stem of Roger's.

Review of the New Wiggles DVD

Getting Strong, which my children are watching at this moment. Perhaps it tells you something that it is not holding my attention? I mean, besides the fact that Sam and not Greg is the yellow Wiggle. I'll have to listen to Greg's CDs all morning to make up for it. . .

Um, back to the review. I knew they were revamping their sound and style, but I don't like it. They're trying to get back to a preschool and educational style, taking advantage of their early childhood degrees and knowledge. However, that means that all of their music seems very much aimed at kids. Their skits and what not in the videos and show have always been dumb, but even my husband likes the songs on Sailing Around the World, Cold Spaghetti Western and Racing to the Rainbow. Who can resist "Olive Oil"?? And their concerts are definitely designed to appeal to kids and adults. So these songs are more like "sing in preschool" songs, more similar to their earliest music on the Let's Wiggle and Yummy Yummy CDs, only Greg's not singing them. I mean, only they're not as good. Maybe that is just cause I haven't listened to them 8000 times.

This video is trying to educational, as I said before, and that annoys me. "Not trying to be educational" was the first thing I liked about the Wiggles. I always felt that, primarily, they loved music and wanted children to love and have fun with music, without an additional educational agenda to their songs. Well, the songs on this DVD focus on promoting physical health (exercise, etc.) and literacy, so they are definitely trying to be educational. This shift in emphasis is obvious from the title of the video series Wiggle and Learn, this DVD is only the first two episodes in a planned series. So the songs are not as high a quality, and everything sounds different without being sung by Greg.

My kids love it. Rosie, Roger AND Pauly have all sat entranced by it. The boys were interested, not upset, by the fact that Sam was the yellow Wiggle. I think they finally believe it after being told it for nearly a year. Pauly, who is five and thus at the upper age of the range the movie is intended for, said that Getting Strong (the title song) was "awesome" and that this was better than the other Wiggles DVDs. He did say to me, however, "It was boring for you, wasn't it?" So, yes it is a good kids video. It is less annoying than their show on Disney. The music just doesn't hold the appeal for adults that their best music in the past did, IMO. It is 1000x better than Hi-5.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Seventh Generation Disposables

We're taking a break from cloth. Since handling most normal disposables gives me migraines, we're trying the Seventh Generation chlorine free disposables. So far I'm fine with them, we've had no poop leaks or pee leaks, and they don't stink when wet like Pampers do!! And we're not contributing to the release of cancer-causing chemicals into the water supply. They are also made in the USA. I do think the sizing might run a bit small, closer to generic brand sizing than Pampers. I got them for $38 shipped from Amazon for a case of 160 size 3 diapers, so they are cheaper than Pampers Cruisers or Huggies Supreme are at my grocery store, even in the big boxes. I was hoping to see if this affected our water bill which tends to be quite high, but our water rates are rising again so I don't know if we'll see a difference.


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Friday, October 05, 2007

The Minds of Boys

I just finished reading The Minds of Boys by Michael Gurian and Kathy Stevens. I'd seen this a few times on the shelves at the Derby library, but figured that since the subtitle was "Saving our Sons From Falling Behind in School and Life" that it would be more applicable to parents who have have boys in institutional schools. I'm glad that I went ahead and picked it up, as it turned out to be a very good read. The main author, Michael Gurian, is a brain researcher who has founded a consulting firm that assists schools in adjusting their instructional and discipline techniques to better fit what research has shown is good for kids, and he particularly focuses on gender differences and what is good for boys versus what is good for girls. The co-author works for his firm, the Gurian Institute.

The book has sections in each chapter labeled "for the parent" and "for the teacher" that address teaching language arts, math, dealing with learning disabilities or ADD and dealing with unmotivated boys. As a homeschooling parent I found ideas in both the parent and teacher sections to be helpful. Much of the information homeschoolers would already have heard and many homeschoolers already use, but there were some good reminders. The reminders on the importance of physical movement for boys made me think about how I will structure any future co-op classes I teach, as well as think about how we do lessons at home. Some of what was written in this book is similar to another book I've read recently called Boys Adrift by Leonard Sax. I'd recommend both the books. I can see that I'd come back to the The Minds of Boys and re-read it when my boys are older and I need another reminder of how their "boy energy" will affect their schooling.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Can you separate the wheat from the chaff??

I recently borrowed a new homeschooling book from my local public library, A Biblical Home Education by Ruth Beechick. I knew that I was likely to disagree with many of the theological ideas there in, but I had seen high praise for some of Beechick's books, such as The Three R's, on teaching reading, writing and mathematics in the primary grades. I've seen some say that this is all you need for homeschooling a child from kindergarten through third grade, apart from library books. The practical subject matter material in this book did not disappoint. I liked what Beechick said about reading, writing, grammar and mathematics, and I really liked her assertion that curriculum should be a help to the teaching that the parent was doing, not the basis of the child's education.

So what was wrong? Several assertions went beyond theology with which I disagree, to outright absurdities. She claimed, unsupported by any footnotes, that it is obvious from the text of the Bible that God physically wrote the first section of Genesis, to Genesis 2:4, and Adam physically wrote the next bit, then Noah wrote the next bit, etc. (The common understanding is that Genesis is composed of many stories that were part of the oral tradition of the Hebrew people) The tower of Babel was the first United Nations, so we know that God is opposed to the current one. "Heart thinking" takes the cake. This idea was so "far out" that I didn't even realize from the clues what she was leading up to. She quotes several Bible passages, such as Job 38:36, Luke 2:35 and Romans 10:10 which speak of the heart believing, or thinking, or understanding. She wrote that "Not one of the uses [of the word heart in Scripture] gives any hint of being figurative." I still didn't know where she was going with this. She gives a few quotes from Early Christians which seem to state that Greek philosophy is incompatible with Christianity, of course not mentioning that the majority of Early Christians, at least those who wrote about it, believed quite the opposite. I was still unsure what all this was supposed to mean until I read the sentence, "We know little about the physiology of the brain's thinking and even less about the heart's thinking."

Wow. The brain thinks in a reasonable, logical way, which is inferior to the literal thinking of the physical organ the heart, since God places His wisdom in the heart. Excuse me while I go find a wall to slam my head into.

Ok, I'm back. My dilemma -- I really, really liked what she wrote about actual homeschooling techniques for the basics, the "three Rs" if you don't know how to spell, or RAW (or WAR!) if you do and don't want to be cutesy. I've seen her book on this promoted in so many different homeschooling catalogs that I've been thinking of getting it for sometime. However, is it possible that someone so irrational in other ways can be trusted even in this? Do I want to support this kind of "ministry" even if there is no bizarre theological content in these books? I've seen it sold even in Catholic and secular catalogs, so I don't think there is much if any theological thought in The Three R's. What little information she had in this book on the homeschool process of these subjects fit my not quite schooling, not quite unschooling thinking perfectly.

Oh, I'll mention, as a side note, that Beechick thinks that Beowulf is a true story and Grendel was a dinosaur. My head hurts.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

History Rant

We got a set of new books for the kids, and they're excellent (so far) except for one awful line in the "People in Place and Time" book, which is a history and cultural survey book.

There is one two page spread with one main paragraph that covers history from 500-1500 AD. The paragraph mentions the fall of Rome, new kingdoms and the spread of Christianity. Then one line reads "Christians often attacked the followers of other religions, particularly Muslim Arabs who lived in Spain, North Africa and the Middle East." I'm not excusing all the actions of the Crusades, but I'd like to point out that all the listed regions were Christian at the beginning of this time period, before the militant spread of Islam.

ETA: I e-mailed the company yesterday and received this message just now:
Thank you for letting us know about your concerns. This will be forwarded to our editors for reveiw.

What not to do

Try to race a train to an intersection, when the train is already ahead of you. Especially if there are two tracks next to each other, and there just happens to be a train coming the other way, that you ignore.

Article here. Video (not bloody/gruesome, just incredible) here.

I never thought I would be able to say that a woman is lucky that (only) two of her four children died. It is amazing anyone survived being hit by two trains.

Friday, September 07, 2007

First Week of "Official" Homeschooling

I had intended to start "officially" homeschooling this week. Of course, that was derailed by the fact that Pauly had a touch of the stomach flu, and then I ended up with far more than a touch of the stomach flu. Maybe instead of "a touch" it was a "beating" of the flu?

I had decided on doing a short period of structured schooling each day, based off Laura Berquist's ideas in Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum. She estimates her suggestions to take about 45 minutes a day for kindergarteners. I have to say, that must only be true if your children cooperate. On Wednesday Pauly refused to do a retelling/narration exercise. In fact, he sat at the table refusing to respond to my questions until he fell asleep.

I'm going to try again, but not attempt to force it. I got some suggestions on doing narrations, but was also told that Charlotte Mason, who highly advocated this technique, didn't have 5 and 6 year old kids doing them but saved them for older children. I'm also leaning more towards a less structured plan than I was when I set this all out. So we're going to go for it next week, and hopefully things will go better with well children and mommy.

The Question of the Day

Why haven't any of my babies been born with hair like this?

The Mean Kitty Song

This roxxors.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Meat

Someone turned off the fridge.

I'm not sure who, nor entirely sure when. It must have been early this morning, or maybe even yesterday evening. It wasn't discovered until this evening, when everything in the freezer was at least partially thawed, and everything in the fridge was barely cool at all.

Luckily, most of what was in the fridge was too-old leftovers and condiments. However, we'd recently stocked the freezer up with meat and veggies. So now we have to use a whole lot of meat in just a few days. Sigh. : (

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Mother Teresa's Crisis of Faith

This was a powerful article.

It is a sad thing. . .

that while searching for washable cloth pants for my bedwetting children that I had to weed through the porn sites in the search results.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

How Others Remember You

Today at the Midwest Catholic Family Conference, I bumped into a friend that I hadn't seen for a couple of years. I met S at a TEC (Teens Encounter Christ) retreat just before my senior year of highschool, and for a while I saw him around at the Catholic teen events in the diocese. I've always thought of him with fondness, but I'd never spent that much time with him.

I was talking to him about what he was doing now, he introduced his wife to me (when I'd last seen him, two years ago, he was in seminary!) and I updated him on how things were going for us. Then he said about me, to his wife, "This was the first girl I ever danced with." !!!! That would have been at the dance following the TEC retreat. (Now I'll probably be killed for spilling a TEC secret, the dance is supposed to be a surprise). Anyway, it was a shock to me that this is how he remembers me. Who knew?

Friday, August 03, 2007

Rosie's new fashion accessory




She wouldn't stay still so I couldn't get a good picture. And ignore the stuff on the floor (and everywhere) in the background. Yes, that's my diaper bag! She also said a new word -- "Bag!"

ETA: she put the bag on herself! It was all her idea and doing.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

He can smile.

A nameless aunt (ahem) wondered if Roger ever smiled. Here you go.


July Birthdays!

Bob's birthday was Saturday and Pauly's will be Tuesday, so we had a little cookout. Bob cooked.


Some of the kids played in the water slide.


Others played on the new wooden swing set.


We had cake.

They got presents. (Yep, those are two new fishing poles)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Review: Handwriting Without Tears Pre-K

This will probably not be of interest to non-homeschoolers. : )

I had decided some time ago after doing reading that when it came time for a handwriting program, I would go with Handwriting Without Tears. I've heard very positive things about it. I had considered not worrying about writing at all for some time, but I thought that being able to write letters and numbers would be a boost to Pauly's confidence. He (at nearly 5) still has a hard time holding a pencil or crayon, doesn't like to color, doesn't free hand draw at all and won't even attempt to write letters. He has made some attempts to write numbers while doing the Math U See primer level (which he loves to do) but mostly I do all the writing for him, at his request.

After contacting the Handwriting Without Tears staff, I ordered the Preschool level rather than the Kindergarten level program. It really focuses on improving small motor skills rather than on forming letters and numbers, although it does touch on that. My plan is to follow up with the K level whenever he finishes the preschool book. I also got a Pre-K book for Roger, but he hasn't begun it yet. The curriculum consists of a workbook and teacher's manual (not expensive at all), a music CD, wooden manipulatives to teach the formation of capital letters, and a small slate for the child to practice forming letters. The manipulatives are pretty expensive. If you had access to a jigsaw you could easily make your own for much less, a pattern is included. You could also use an exacto knife to cut them out of foam or cardboard, although they wouldn't be as useful for some of the described activities. The manipulatives may not be as necessary for children who already have good fine motor skills.

The Pre-K level is really much more than handwriting. Besides improving small motor skills, it teaches the alphabet, counting and numbers and colors and shapes. It also teaches things like in and out, up and down, top and bottom, in front and behind. Pauly already knows all of this information, but I think it will be good for Roger. It is designed to be presented in a fun, informal way. The teacher's manual includes many, many activities using the manipulatives and CD, not all of which directly relate to handwriting, and contains several pointers on how to teach correct pencil grip, encouraging coloring and drawing, etc. Again, if your child takes naturally to these things this may not be necessary, but it has already helped us. There is a song (lyrics in the teacher's manual, music on the CD) that describes correct crayon grip. Using this song, I was able to see a dramatic immediate improvement in Pauly's handling of the crayon, which again has been difficult for him. The song describes the correct grip in just the right way for the child to catch on quickly. The correct grip is taught and reinforced through a series of games.

Now we're focusing on improving coloring technique, to build confidence and improve fine motor skills. Pauly has been asking to do more work in the workbook, so he seems to enjoy it, and he also enjoys the games we've played with Roger. We've had a fun time with it so far!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

New Greg Music!

Alright, so it is not new. Greg's website is now updated and you can purchase some of his music for download. Previously, the only CD available in the US was Taking Care of Country, which I already have. His other CDs were available in Australia but are now hard to find as they're no longer in production. You can see his new site at www.gregpage.com

I'll let you know how I like it.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

I broke his heart

Earlier this morning Roger asked me, "Can we go to a Wiggles concert?"

I said, "Well, we have to wait until there's one near us." Apparently that was not understood.

A little bit ago I told him to turn off the TV now, and he said, "Are we going to the Wiggles Show now?" I told him, "Not today." And he started wailing. And kept it up for 15-20 minutes. He ran outside and wailed, and came back inside and wailed, and repeated the cycle. He had thought I had told him that we were going to the show today, and had got his heart set on it.

Handmotions In Heaven

Let's see if this works. I know I already e-mailed it to some of you, but it is hilarious!

Fourth of July!!

We celebrate the Fourth on the third this year. It only made sense since Bob has the Fourth off (and could sleep in) but would have to be at work by 5am on the fifth as usual. We had a cook out, with lots of burgers, brats and hotdogs. Stephen and Joan and Ken and their girls came over. We had a fantastic time! The food was all quite good and everyone ate a lot.

When it got dark we set off all the fireworks we had, which was plenty. The nice thing about living in Derby is that there aren't restrictions on fireworks, so we had plenty of shells and lots of pretty things to watch. I put Rosemarie to bed before the fireworks, but let the boys stay up. Roger was practically begging for Bob to start the fireworks, but then once they started he was afraid of them (just like he's been the last several days) and asked to go to bed. It was long after his bedtime at that point and he fell asleep quickly. Paolo managed to stay awake until all the fireworks were done, or until we thought they were done. Bob found some more unused ones after I took Paolo in to put him to bed.

Then Bob and I were wired from all the caffeine from the soda we'd drunk, so we stayed up late. I had to show him "Handmotions in Heaven." I think I'll add that to my blog. . .

Roger's Bday

Alright, it has been more than two weeks. That's how neglectful of my faithful blog readers I've been!

Anyhow, we celebrated Roger's birthday on his actual birthday, June 19th. We had a Wiggles themed party, although I didn't bother ordering (or trying to find) Wiggles cups and plates. We just went with brightly colored things! We got a helium kit and red, blue, yellow and purple balloons to give the party a more Wiggly feel. We did a painting with food coloring at the party, the idea was for this to be at "Anthony's Workshop" but I didn't make a sign or anything, and most of the individuals wouldn't be aware of that song anyway. And we made fruit salad. : ) That ended up working VERY well. I had prepared the cantaloupe by cutting it into large slices, I had cut the bananas in half and I'd washed the grapes. The kids had plastic knives and sliced the cantaloupe and bananas, and some sliced the grapes also, then they got to eat the fruit salad that we'd made.

We also had Wiggles music playing and a Wiggles cake. Here's a pic:

Roger really liked this cake, and he still loves the Big Red Car toy that came on it. We got it from Dillons.

Roger's cousins Romy, Eddie, Beth and Heather made a long trip to come down for the party! He was so glad to see them, and so was Pauly! His cousins Mack and Elias also came and had a blast, as did his friends Tom, Katie and Ellis (and Ellis's big sisters!).

The negative was the weather. We had the party at an open shelter at our local park. Unfortunately with all the rain we'd had before the party, the floor of the shelter was flooded. There were HUGE puddles of water all around. : ( Rosemarie and Heather liked playing in them, but we weren't sure their clothes would ever be the same.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Battered Baby

Poor Rosemarie is so accident prone. Mostly it is due to falling or tripping and hitting her head on something. It doesn't slow her down long, but it looks like we beat her!

Today she looked truly awful. She had bruises in various shades of healing on her forehead and cheek, from falls over the last week and half or so. She had a scrape on the left side of her nose from tripping on the dock while we were fishing yesterday. And she had several scrapes on her nose, chin, temples, etc. from falling against the cabinet door (that she'd opened) this morning. And of course she went out in public to Church like this!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Birthdays/Father's Day

Today was my family's annual There are Too Many Birthdays in June party. We celebrated Father's Day for the fathers present (Bob and Dad) and celebrated my brother Stephen's 23rd birthday (the 19th), Roger's 3rd birthday (also the 19th) and Rosie's first birthday (the 20th). Since 5 out of 8 people present were being given gifts, and since the gift buyers had gone a little overboard, it seemed a bit like Christmas. Here's some pics:

Rosie LOVED the packages.

Roger being serious.

Here's Bob, playing with "Roger's" Transformer.

Rosie liked her cake.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Greg posted on the WMB

I'm sure you all care. : ) But I was thrilled earlier this week (on Tuesday) when Greg ex-Wiggle Page posted for the first time since late November. It was just an answer to a question. Apparently a boardie had received a e-mail stating that it was from Greg's mum, and she was asking for her physical address. She was posting on the board to find out if this was legitimate. Apparently it was -- Greg, with the help of his parents, is answering every letter of sympathy and good wishes that he received after the onset of the illness. With some people they didn't have a physical address, but had an e-mail address, so they contacted them.

No, we didn't send a get well card. I actually didn't figure that he'd see it. Plus, that would have meant going to a store or something.

Anyway, today he finally posted an update. He's had some improvement, but not as much as they'd hoped. They're now trying medications instead of just changes to diet and daily routine. He's been told it will be 2-4 years before he approaches "normal" again. So no new solo work anytime soon. : (

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Latest Rogerism

While Bob was getting him into his pajamas Roger said, "When I say "Ta da" I mean "Ta Daaaa!!"

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

No Screwdrivers.

Roger, after just coming into the house: I came in not to get a screwdriver.
Me: Oh?
R: Yes, because I want a screwdriver. I am going to take off daddy's old tires and put on new tires. I am going to take off the Saturn tires and put on truck tires!
Me: Do you have truck tires?
R: No, but daddy does.

Then he went to get a screwdriver.

Friday, June 01, 2007

She's off!

I meant to blog this earlier this week, but didn't get to it. Rosie started walking this weekend! Last Thursday she took her first steps that I'd seen, and on Sunday really struck out, taking several steps at a time. She's been practicing ever since, and is now walking more and more. Where did my baby go???

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Veni Sancte Spiritus

Fr. John did a trick during his homily that I've seen him do before at a retreat, but it is awesome everytime.

It was Pentecost Sunday, which celebrates the "birth" of the Church and the descent of the Holy Spirit. He said, "In five minutes, I will teach you a four part chant, in a foreign language." Latin, of course. He assigned each section of the congregation one of the parts, then started us off. Each section chanted "Veni Sancte Spiritus" in a slightly different melody/note. It was awesome when everyone in the church was chanting, the entire congregation seemed completely united in "lifting up our hearts" to the Lord in prayer. Then Fr. began to sing "Come Holy Spirit" over the top of the chanting, and ended in a prayer (with the congregation still chanting). It was amazing!

The songs for the rest of the mass seemed cheesy and weak by comparison.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

There's a TV in our living room

Yes, you read that right. For the first time in the six years of our marriage, we own a television. It is all the fault of Nintendo. And my husband.

Even while we have lived in a TV-free household, we have not really been TV-free people. For a time before Pauly was born and while he was a baby, we were at my in-law's house every Thursday for Survivor and CSI. For a while we were over there every Friday, too, for Stargate. Our recovery from addiction to these series was helped considerably by the downward turn in quality of the series, not to mention the fact that as the kids got older Bob was the only one who actually got to watch them, while I stayed upstairs trying to put the kids to sleep. For the last few years, we've watch little TV programming.

We've had a DVD player on our computer for some time, but it has been mostly used for the kids to watch their movies. We've rarely watched movies as a couple or a family, mostly as there weren't enough comfortable places to sit in the computer room. We finally got wise and moved the rocking chair in. : ) So we should be able to get by without a TV. . . except that we needed* a Wii. And a need is a responsibility.

So now we have a TV, a VCR/DVD player, and a Wii in our living room. It looks odd.

*I know the Wii is a need, or Bob wouldn't have bought it. It was only this morning that he said I didn't need to buy a dedicated booster car seat for Pauly, since what we have works. Last week he told me that I shouldn't even be looking at baby carriers, since we don't need another one.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Tag!

I was tagged by a post on my friend's Steph's blog. You're supposed to grab the nearest book, open it to page 161 and share the 5th complete sentence. So this is from Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones. She was quite capable of catching us and holding us in thrall too.

I do have to admit that this book wasn't near me because I was reading it, but because our bookshelves are in the computer room and the kids pull books down, and this one had ended up under the computer desk in easy reach. It is good book though. Like most Diana Wynne Jones books it is aimed at teens but is really too good for adults to skip.

So I'm tagging everyone who reads this who hasn't done it yet.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Mission Impossible: Library

Your mission, if you choose to accept it: attempt a library trip this evening with three children. Return your books, pick out children's books, books for yourself, a couple of movies, check out the books and pay the fine AND cause no damage to children, building, books or other property.

Complicating this mission is the fact that it is 6:30pm, and the children are generally in bed by 7pm or 7:15pm on No Nap Days.

We load up the van with the stroller and the previous library books and headed out. Things start out decently well: the boys stand on the sidewalk by the front of the van while I get Rosie into the stroller and grabbed the canvas bag full of books. They take off running toward the entrance as soon as I start moving, though. I hurry to catch up and call for them to come back. They seem to be hard of hearing today, but the doors slow them down. Pauly opens the door for me, and Roger runs ahead to open the next door by pressing the handicapped access button. We're all together now, maybe we can stay that way! They stay relatively close while I unload the books we're returning, but take off when I scan the new book shelf. I hurry to find them, but before I can get to them Roger is running back to me with Toot Toot, the movie he's picked out. Thank Goodness he knows where the Wiggles DVDs are!

I try to herd Roger toward the children's section and the puzzles and toys, while Pauly quickly picks out a kids' movie. We have a few minutes of peace while the kids play with puzzles and I pick out a few books for them and some for me. Luckily, the Derby Public Library is nice enough to have books of interest to parents on the shelves by the kids' section rather than with the other non-fiction books. Rosie is being loud this entire time, but she's just talking, not screaming. Then Roger takes off, and I chase after and bring him back. He tries again, but I've got a firm hold. I send him back to the puzzles, but instead he runs up to a bookshelf and pushes on the books. Great! The books shift backwards, sending all the books on the other side of the shelf onto the floor. I pull Roger over there to pick them up, and Rosie gets grumpy because I'm not pushing the stroller. We get the books picked up (Roger chooses one to take home) and I announce we're leaving, but we have to make a quick run through the adult fiction section. Unfortunately, I can't push my stroller with one hand very well, so I have only a loose grip on Roger. He AND Pauly (who really should know better) make a run for it.

I chase after both of them, collect them, then go back toward adult fiction. I have to let go of Roger again to grab the books, although luckily I don't have to do much looking, I have definite authors in mind. The kids amuse themselves by playing with the nearby card catalog computer while I check out the Koontz copyright dates (I'm sticking to his newer books) but stay in the vicinity. I tell them to pick up their books again and we head down the aisles to the checkout desk. My hands are full so they're on their own. Roger stops halfway down one aisle (we're in the adult non-fiction section), puts his book down and pulls a book off the shelf. "Airplanes! Pauly, here's a book about airplanes!" and of course Pauly has to go look. I tell Pauly to put the book back on the shelf, and keep heading to the checkout hoping they'll follow. They do, sort of. I get all the books on the counter, plus the movies and my card, then grab Roger's hand. Check outs tend to be bad. But there's a fine, and I need to get the money out and count it. I hand the librarian the money, then run to go get Roger (who is heading toward the door). We get back to the counter, and Roger starts yelling and flopping to try and get away. I hang on, and grin and bear it. Finally we're checked out, but I have to let go of Roger to put the books in the canvas bag. He's already out the first door by the time I'm loaded and moving, and I run to catch up. They hold the door open for me as we head outside.

I check the time after buckling the kids in, putting the stroller in the back and starting the car. It's been half an hour since we left the house. So, less than 20 minutes in the library, we emerge with 15 books, 2 DVDs, all the kids and minimal property damage. Mission accomplished!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Piggle Wiggle!

I found my copies of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle's Magic and have been reading a chapter or two to the kids after they're tucked into bed. The boys really like the stories, or at least Pauly does. Roger usually falls asleep.

Friday Pauly and Roger were playing around saying "Mrs. Piggle Wiggle makes us giggle!" over and over again, then Rosemarie started saying "Piggle Wiggle. Piggle Wiggle." She seemed to be having fun saying such a silly thing!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

This article was posted on one of my forums and people wanted a response to it.

The core of the article is that "Even a quick look at the FARS [Fatality Analysis Reporting System] data reveals a striking result: among children 2 and older, the death rate is no lower for those traveling in any kind of car seat than for those wearing seat belts." In other words, child safety seats and the laws requiring them at increasingly high ages provide no advantage over seat belts. The author states that even when the data is controlled for the severity of the crash and the size of the cars, it still holds that car seats and seat belts are roughly equivalent in protection.

He doesn't even ask a question that arises to my mind: does this data mean much if, as the author quoted near the beginning of the article, over 80% of carseats are improperly installed or used? If the vast majority of carseats aren't used properly -- aren't installed properly, the straps are positioned incorrectly for the child's size, straps left loose rather than tightened properly, etc -- then the vast majority of seats aren't going to be offering optimal protection. So the real world data might show only that improperly used seats don't offer additional protection over a seat belt.

The authors did look to test seats that were properly installed, and described in detail a crash test comparing properly used seats to the seatbelts alone. The result: the head and chest forces on the dummies were the same, rather they were in a carseat or only a seatbelt. Ah, but there is a huge caveat: "the sensors didn't measure neck or abdominal injuries, which child-safety advocates say are worse with seat belts." So the crash test didn't even measure the forces which car seat advocates say differ between child seat and seat belt use, exactly those forces which they say lead to child fatalities. Booster seat use, for instance, is advocated to prevent abdominal injuries from the lap belt, especially likely if the child puts the shoulder belt behind his back because it doesn't fit properly.

I would agree that many of the child restraint laws aren't very sensible. The issue doesn't have to do with the age or weight of the child much at all, but how well they fit (and stay) in a seat belt. And having adjustable seats and belts in cars (the authors' solution) makes sense. Using our built-in adjusters I've gotten an almost acceptable fit in our van with our nearly five year old. (He does ride in a booster seat). Under most laws, however, even if the seat belt could be adjusted to fit a five or six year old, it would not be legal to use it without a booster. And this varies so much from car to car -- in some cars the seats and belts can barely be adjusted to fit a small adult, let alone a 9 or 10 year old.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A 10 Month old

should not be able to open a childproof cap.

She should also not be able to reason enough to climb up on things to reach "forbidden" objects.

That is all.

Monday, May 07, 2007

No training wheels!

Thursday (or was it Friday?) I backed over Pauly's bike. He's not even supposed to have the bike in that part of the driveway at all, so I don't feel too guilty. Besides, he's had the bike for almost 3 years, and it was just about too small for him last summer and is now way too small. The only damage was to the training wheels, which were both smashed.

Saturday Pauly suggested that we just take the training wheels off, so he could learn to ride it without. And he just jumped on it and started riding it. Bob helped steady it so he could take off twice, and then he could start and stop himself. He's been riding all over now. That was easy for us, and quick! Hopefully we'll be able to get a bike that fits him sometime this summer.

Don't take a disgruntled Catholic into an Orthodox Church

Yesterday we went to St. Mary Orthodox Church to their Lebanese dinner. They have very good food! And afterward we went on a brief tour of their Church.

It was very beautiful, although you could see the Western influence in such details as the pews with kneelers. Traditional Orthodox churches don't have pews at all, although the same was true for Catholic churches until the Reformation (or shortly before). You can see a couple pictures of their church here. The design of the church overall seems very similar to older, traditional Catholic parishes. This isn't a coincidence, of course. Although churches throughout Catholic history have varied in design and ornamentation based on the culture they were built in, they had certain constants. For most of history, the altar and the people faced East, and people and priest faced the same way, making their offering together. Likewise, some kind of barrier always separated the sanctuary (the location of the altar and tabernacle) from the nave or body of the Church. In the Eastern Churches, this is the iconostasis, a wall of icons with the central door through which the priest passes to reach the altar and pray the liturgy. In pre-Reformation England the rood screen served the same function, and mostly recently in American churches the altar rail was used. This design of the church is based on the design of the Temple, and the "holy of holies" where the Sacrifice takes place and the Presence of God dwells.

Modern Catholic churches have abandoned this separation between the nave and the sanctuary, and it is not accidental. Church designs have been driven by a true change in belief, at least of the architects. Church design promotes inclusion, not separation. I understand the drive, in Christianity God is, in a way, both immanent and transcendent, both here and not here, both Same and Other. However, it was folly to abandon centuries of tradition without care or thought. The loss of a "holy space" in the Church has been followed by a loss of a sense of the Holy, in general. There has been a dramatic change in the understood nature of the priesthood. Priests are now counselors or leaders, rather than individuals set apart to represent the whole of humankind to God, and to represent God to their congregation. I can't help but think that the crisis in the priesthood (priests leaving, "the scandal," drop in number of vocations) is intimately connected to this change in belief.

This is particularly painful for us, as our pastor goes out of his way continually to deny the special nature of the priesthood. And our "worship space" does not feel like a sacred space at all. Bob was particularly pained when he tried to explain the prayer candles placed in sand to the kids. He had nothing to offer the kids for comparison, our parish doesn't even have votive candles. These changes do matter. Although they may not be essential to the faith, changes in these outward signs reflect and encourage changes in belief. Will some of the Vatican II changes (few of which were called for in Vatican II) be changed back? In particular, the present Pope as Cardinal was particularly critical of the change in the "orientation" of the priest during the Eucharistic liturgy. He now "faces the people" rather than facing the same direction of the people. In the Western Church, many Churches had already abandoned the practice of ad orientem, in which the priest and people faced East during the offering. If the Church did return to the ancient practice, I wonder how the lay people have respond. So may have been taught that the priest now faces the people so "we can watch" rather than "having his back to the people." The issue isn't getting a better look, it is offering a sacrifice with the priest with him being our representative, versus him offering a sacrifice while we watch. Here's a post by Amy Welborn from last year on the issue.

OK, rant over. This is just going to make mass that much more difficult for a few weeks.

Friday, April 27, 2007

For Women Only

If you're a guy, you don't want to read this and you definitely don't want to follow the link.

I saw my family doctor yesterday, and we think we figured out the cause of the frequent UTIs. I have a cystocele. The doctor wasn't sure whether I would require surgery or not, I'm being referred to a specialist. I hope not as the surgery (according to what I've read online) sounds pretty awful, it would require a 2-6 day hospital stay and a 4-6 week recovery time.

Miscommunication

This is not made up. I heard this while I was making French Toast this morning.

Pauly: Now we're going to fwy it in the fwying pan.
Roger: NO! We can't fwy. We don't have wings to fwy!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bob got horse traded!

Bob got traded out of the position he was hired for. So he's going to be working first shift, and not as much overtime! The guy in that position is currently getting about 18 hours of overtime a week. So a nice chunk, but it will probably be do able. Bob is happy!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Rosemarie is just hilarious. NOT!

Rosie just got done nursing, then started coughing (due to post nasal drip, I think) and threw up on me, and some on the keyboard. Afterwards, she looked at me, then looked at the vomit, and started giggling, "Hee, hee, hee." Yes, Rosie, that is SOOO funny.

Yes, I cleaned it up before posting this.

Monday, April 23, 2007

While I was reading the NFP Forum, "just for a minute"

  • Rosemarie managed to open and eat an entire tub of Arbonne facial Cleansing Cream
  • The boys discovered that if they enlarged that hole in the windowscreen a little (OK, a lot) they could climb outside.
I swear I was only on there for a minute!!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

While at the park after lunch. . .

Me: It's time to go home, Roger. We need to rest, everyone is grumpy and out of sorts!
Roger: Out of swords?? I'd like a red sword! That would be a good present for me.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Hair Clip of the Empire!

While he was supposed to be going to sleep for his nap, Roger was playing with my black hair clip. It was flying around and shooting things, and at one point he said, "Luke Skywalker is dead!" Finally Rosie fell asleep and I could concentrate on him, so I took the clip and told him, "I have to take my hair clip away so you can go to sleep." Roger yelled, "No! It's the Hair Clip of the Empire!"

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Bob's New Job

Bob's been really enjoying what work he's been doing now, but he's still officially in the training phase. Since he finished his sheet metal plate tests early, they've been having him work in small parts buildup until next week, when his training group has more classroom time. He's been enjoying this, except everything he's heard about the position he's been hired for is awful.

He had a very good plate test going in, and did very, very well on the physical ability tests. Which means he was placed in the most difficult, physically demanding position. Moreover, right now the section he's going to be in has several "shops" on 12 hr days, 7 days a week. (Of course, this is why they're hiring new people, so it shouldn't be like this forever, they just increased production) And apparently, the morale is non-existent. When he's told people where he's going to be, their response has been mostly "I'm sorry. Maybe it's changed since I heard last." Not what he wants to hear.

So, we could probably use prayers over the next several weeks that we can all deal with whatever we have to do. He's planning on putting in a transfer to a different job position anyway, so he can work with one of his friends, but he'd probably still have to work this for several months.

On the bright side, we should be able to build up savings and make headway against our debt!

Blog changes --

good, bad, neutral??

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Unconditional Parenting

I made a special trip up to the central branch of the Wichita Library on Monday to pick up a copy of Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn. I had heard about this book before, as I've read a few things by Kohn about schools and education. He believes that the school system, force learning and grading discourages children from actually wanting to learn. I could definitely see that. He's not a homeschooling advocate, though, but a "fix the system" advocate.
I thought this book, and the whole idea of unconditional parenting, which he believes should not involve punishments or rewards was pretty extreme. I've known others who advocate "no punishment," and I know that they don't believe in catering to their children, or refusing to set limits on behavior, and I generally think the discipline techniques they advocate work, but I didn't know why they were so set against punishment.
When someone on one of my forums, whom I respect greatly and who is generally a very level-headed, intelligent person, recommended this book I was intrigued. Several of us have since borrowed or bought the book and have started a "book club" style discussion about it. I have not yet finished the book, but I have been very pleasantly surprised and impressed by the book as a whole.
Kohn argues from two perspectives: first, and fundamentally, the most important thing that children need is to know that they are loved unconditionally by their parents, and he believes and punishment and rewards interfere with that, especially what he calls "love withdrawal" techniques like time out. Even if parents don't intend to do so, these techniques can give the impression that children are loved only when they are doing what the parents' want. Second, Kohn cites a great deal of research that show that punishment and rewards don't work, even in the short term, and in the long term interfere with children's moral development, what we Catholics might call formation of conscience.
The research is really what sets this book apart. This isn't just some guy arguing for his philosophical beliefs, although those certainly play a part, but he also cites numerous studies that have been done on discipline and parenting over the years to bolster his position. He does have some practical ideas in the second half of the book, which I haven't finished yet, but I've read better "practical" ideas from the same perspective. What I haven't read is such a good argument for this position itself.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Brownies

We got a brownie mix while grocery shopping this morning (the result of one hungry mommy shopping with 2 hungry preschoolers), and I left it out on the table so that I wouldn't forget to make it. Later this afternoon, Roger comes running into the the bedroom where I'm talking with Bob, clearly distraught and carrying the inner bag from the package, containing the powdered mix. "Mommy!" he yelled, "the brownies are broken!"

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Dean Koontz on Beauty and Faith

Faith & Family magazine had an interview with the novelist Dean Koontz, and I loved what he said at the end of the article:
I can walk in the rose garden, watch the joyful capering of my dog, and see the indisputable work of God. The key is beauty. If the world is merely a complex and efficient machine, beauty is not required. Beauty is, in fact, superfluous. Therefore beauty is a gift to us. If we were soulless machines of meat, the survival instinct would be all we needed to motivate us. The pleasures of the senses -- such as taste and smell -- are superfluous to machines in a godless world. Therefore, they are gifts to us, and evidence of divine grace. The older I've gotten, the more beauty, wonder, and mystery I see in the world, which is why there are ever more of those three things in my books.
The last issue of Faith & Family (which my office receives) started this new series of interviews with celebrities, and I think it is very interesting. They haven't made the "obvious" selections of people who wear their faith on their sleeve. Last month was Cary Elwes. I didn't know either of them was Catholic! The series asks the celebrities to talk about their families (of origin, so far) and how they have influenced their faith, and how their faith influences their work.

Anthony Wiggle's new Baby

I'm sure you're all interested in seeing a pic of Antonio Carlos Field, Anthony (Wiggle) Field's newest baby. Miki's in the background of the pic, but she looks gorgeous! I wish I looked that good any day, let alone right after having a baby.

Here's another one.

Friday, April 13, 2007

My National Security Gag Order

Maybe you all have seen this since it is a few weeks old, but I just found it today. Scary stuff.

Friday, April 06, 2007

I found the David Tench episode with the Wiggles!

I'm sure you were all waiting for this. I feel a bit sorry for the guys, but I thought it was really funny. Some on the WMB were offended. They obviously have inferior senses of humor.

Here's the first bit.
Here's part two.

edited to add: Oh yeah, this is NOT appropriate for small children.

How do you get from New York to London?

According to Google Maps: check out step 23

If this link won't work, follow these directions:

1. go to www.google.com
2. click on "maps"
3. click on "get directions"
4. type "New York" in the first box (the "from" box)
5. type "London" in the second box (the "to" box)
6. scroll down to step #23

Thursday, April 05, 2007

This is disturbing

On one of my forums, someone posted a link to this story about four fifth graders who were arrested for having sex in their classroom, in front of the rest of their class. They are being charged with obscenity, and a fifth student (who acted as a "lookout") is being charged as an accessory.

The article didn't mention that anything was being done to the school. The children were alone in the classroom, and the school administration found out about the incident from the sheriff, in my understanding. I guess that there was some mix-up, and the teacher was in an assembly and there was no substitute. I don't know that the school could even be held liable, historically public schools haven't been held responsible for much of anything. In cases where the school is more obviously wrong, like this one, they still argue that they aren't responsible for the safety of children in schools. I just wonder if this were a private organization, like a Sunday School or camp, if some adults would be getting in trouble, too.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Palm Sunday

I just wanted to point people toward this post on Amy Welborn's blog that contains pictures of Palm Sunday celebrations from around the world.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Yeast!

He may not have looked like he was paying attention, but Pauly did learn in the yeast class at YEA today. On the way home Roger wanted to drink the root beer, but I told him that we had to wait a few days for the yeast to eat the sugar and make carbon dioxide. Then Pauly said, "And make more yeast, then even more carbon dioxide." A little later, when asked, he told me that the yeast eats the sugar in dough to make carbon dioxide to make bread rise.

Rain

It was sprinkling as we went into YEA this morning. As he got out of the car, Roger put his hands on his head and said, "I'm going to keep my head closed, so that rain doesn't get inside it."

Sunday, March 25, 2007

I hate my digestive system.

That is all. Although you might note the time this was posted. : ( I'll be up for the day in four hours and I haven't been to bed yet. whine over

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Rosemarie is 9 months old!

Rosie is 9 months old today. She had her 9 month well baby check today -- she is 17 1/2 lbs and 28 inches tall. Unfortunately, she was not actually well as it turned out she had a very bad ear infection. Hopefully she'll be better soon.

She has two bottom teeth, and the corner of one top tooth has just come through -- the poor baby's gums are swollen all around it. She is crawling well, pulling up well, and just starting to stand alone without support. She can get into anything she wants, and she wants to get into everything! She is very stubborn and persistent, but is not easily upset at all. She is a very, very happy baby. Even with super painful teething, and the ear infection we only just found out about, she has been only mildly cranky. Her grumpy is other babies' normal!

She can say "mama," "dada," "dog," "kitty," and "kiss." Bob insists that she said "tools" but I can't attest to that. She does bounce up and down and say "heh heh heh" whenever Bob is using a power tool. We don't really have any recent pictures -- not my fault, I don't have a camera. I think my parents have some on their computer from about a month ago (my dad's birthday) that I never saw. . .

Alas, she does not seem to be a true redhead after all. So we're going to have to return her and get our money back.

Roger at the Art Museum

while walking through a gallery

"This is not art!"

a moment later, after looking around more

"Maybe art is a planet."

Freedom?

I picked up Whose Freedom? by George Lakoff at the library this afternoon. He's a "progressive" writing about how liberals and conservatives really have two different definitions of the word "freedom," and that conservatives are attempting to change the "traditional" (liberal) idea of freedom for the conservative one. I'm sure it will irritate me, but as he's approaching it as a cognitive scientist focusing on memory, brain function, etc., it is also sure to be interesting.

I thought this bit was really interesting, because I think a conservative could say this about liberals without changing a single word:
I believe that one version of freedom is traditional and important to keep for the deepest moral reasons. I believe that the other version of freedom is dangerous to our democratic ideals and to the moral system behind the founding of our nation.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

This is just wrong.

http://www.bigidea.com/music/singalongs/12morning.mp3

Homeschool Co-op

We're members this semester of YEA -- Young Explorers Academy, a local homeschool coop. This offers enrichment classes each week. I, however, have been a real failure as a co-op mom. We've only made it to the classes twice, or perhaps three times. (I'm pretty sure it is twice!). We've missed due to sickness, schedule conflicts due to out-of-state family visiting, and then yesterday because I had to make an urgent doctor's appointment about my foot. Since I could barely walk or drive yesterday morning, we really wouldn't have been able to go even if I'd made my appointment later. :(

Yesterday, Pauly was really looking forward to YEA. He has been disappointed that we haven't gone more often. Roger seems to be perfectly happy staying at home, he seems to find YEA a major stressful event. The times we have gone, he's had a major breakdown (or two) by the end.

These last two weeks (which we missed) they used stamps to make YEA specific T-shirts. Honestly, my kids are still so little that they won't even notice when they are on a field trip, but I feel bad about it anyway. I hadn't even been sure we'd be able to afford to buy a couple cheap shirts, and getting out of the house is a real pain for me. Anyway, maybe we'll get some paints and do something at home for ourselves. Or more likely, I'll think about doing it but never get around to it. . .

We should be able to make the field trip next week, although we may be late. I just realized today that I had scheduled Rosemarie's 9 month well baby check on Tuesday at 10:20 -- so we'd have missed a good portion of the regular class schedule. Hopefully we'll get in the groove and be better participants the rest of the spring.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

We have a date!!!!!

Bob's first day of orientation at Spirit (for which he is paid) is March 30th!!!

He's the Master Pasta maker from Derby!

No, it's not Alphonso, it's my hubby! A few weeks ago Bob had attempted to make fresh pasta for the first time, but without a pasta maker he had to roll it out and cut it by hand, and ended up with something that would be fantastic in homemade chicken and noodles, but it really wasn't all that great with a tomato sauce. It didn't "feel" like pasta.

Yesterday he borrowed his dad's pasta maker/cutter thing, and tried again. Pauly was enlisted to help with turning the crank, and together they made copious amounts of linguine! We cooked about a third of it last night, and left the rest hanging up to dry. It was very yummy, Rosie certainly liked it! We'll probably be having pasta again tonight, and maybe tomorrow, but I don't think that anyone will mind.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Feet, feet, feet!

Or foot, that is. This morning while I was vacuuming I hurt my foot. It felt like there was something sharp in the carpet that scraped my foot, and the only external injury was a small dot of blood, and a thin scrape leading off from it. Oddly enough, though, it hurt to stand on that foot, far out of proportion to the external injury. After a while, it seemed to get better. After walking down to the corner store, and cleaning Rosa's shower, though, it's hurting again. A lot. And there still isn't anything outwardly wrong with it! Even weirder is the fact that it doesn't hurt where the scrape is, but hurts in a spot in close proximity to it. My toe might be slightly swollen, also, but it's not enough for us to be sure.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Books -- We need a young priest and an old priest!

My sister mailed me a box of books (yay!) and I received it last Friday. Part of why I haven't been posting much is that I've been spending all my spare time reading.

Here are my thoughts on the books:
The Children of Henry VIII by Alison Weir. This is a non-fiction historical work that explores the period of turmoil in England between the death of Henry VIII and the accession of Elizabeth I. It is primarily about Edward ?? (I forget his number), Lady Jane Grey, Mary I and Elizabeth and the relationships between them. In fact, in some ways it is as much about the powers behind the throne, as much of this period of time has different factions vying for power in England, each trying to promote their own candidate to the crown, or (in the case of Edward) trying to seize the true power which lay in the protectorate. I found it to be very interesting, although I'd agree with some of the reviews on Amazon that it really doesn't explore the personal relationships between the individuals, simply because the movement in history lay with the various factions and not truly with the individuals.

It is also an exceptionally fair presentation -- both Catholics and Protestants are presented with their warts and glory, and it doesn't seem to be biased toward either side. I'd like to get a copy of Weir's earlier work called The Six Wives of Henry VIII to see what she says about them.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. This was really good. The cover calls it a "Modern Masterpiece of Romantic Suspense." I don't want to say too much about it, because I don't want to give the story away. It is about a girl (maybe late teens, early twenties??) who meets and marries a rich widower. And then stuff happens, but you'll have to read it to find out. I do think, however, that there should be a law against packaging good literature like it is a cheap romance novel. I'm pretty sure Bob would hate it, it IS a girl book.

When the Day of Evil Comes and The Soul Hunter by Melanie Wells. These are books about spiritual warfare, and what I believe would be called "demonic obsession" by a Catholic in-the-know. The first book in particular seemed very good, and different to anything else I'd read. They have a Christian author, but don't have a pushy "you need to have a born-again experience" feel to them. I was only disappointed in two things in the first book -- first, the ending seemed a bit flat, and it didn't provide any explanation for the involvement of the main character's dead mother nor the main demon guy. It just solved what had originally seemed to be a secondary plot line, and then the book ended. Secondly, I felt like it was missing something since it wasn't Catholic. The narrator/main character even thinks at some point, "At this point in the movies, we would call a priest, but I don't know any." Her answer is to go consult a pastor, who provided her with some advice about what she could do herself to protect herself from the demon, but what she really needed was some priestly in persona Christi demon fighting. Which besides being safer than handling things yourself, is just cooler in a story.

The second book, however, disappointed me. It was still an enjoyable read and I finished it quickly, but it felt like part of a detective/who-done-it series. Which is what the first book has been turned into, I guess. Apparently this demon just shows up, and inadvertently leads Dylan (the main character) into solving a murder mystery, which surprise, surprise, also happened in the first book. I have a feeling that this will also be what happens in the third book, which is supposed to be the last. This definitely had a "continuing demon saga" feel to it, though, so I think the author could continue this series indefinitely, not that she ought to! The demon no longer seems like the main conflict in the story, but just a convenient plot device to aid in solving the mystery and to make the reader squirm.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Weather

Yesterday we wore T-shirts and shorts while playing outside, today it is too cold to play outside for long at all!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Inadvertent Science Experiment

Did you know that flies can live and reproduce for months in a closed popcorn tin, if said tin is partially full of caramel covered popcorn??

Friday, February 23, 2007

Job Offer

Bob got a job offer from Spirit!! Yay!

Rosemarie tried to sabotage it, though. I answered the phone, and the woman identified herself and asked to talk to Bob. I was bringing the phone out to him, when Rosemarie grabbed it and pressed the talk button, and hung up on the woman!! I freaked out. Luckily she called back within a minute or two, and I kept Rosemarie far away from the phone.

Bob is going in Monday to fill out paperwork, do the drug test, etc. We are not sure exactly when it will start (he will find out more on Monday), but it WILL be a 2nd shift position.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Zoo

We went to the Zoo today, since it was "Winter Wednesday" with $2 admissions. Here are some pics.

Pauly

Roger was afraid of the sheep. And the organutan, and the chimps, and the gorillas, and. . .

Aunt Rosa and Lily were there, too!

A very hungry, impatient goat. He didn't get anything for his trouble, that I could see.

Doggie Diaper

Here's Rosemarie showing off her new diaper, a gift from Aunt Rosa. It is a little too big, but will probably fit perfectly soon. No leaks!