Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ring out the grief that saps the mind, For those that here we see no more

I could do without the last line, but I like Alfred Tennyson's take on the new year.

This time last year, I wanted desperately to cling to 2007. That was the last year my cousin lived to see. I felt as though when we left 2007, we were leaving him behind. We were moving away from everything he ever knew. It just felt wrong.

This year, I feel differently and it's a welcome change. I'm full of hope for the coming year. It will bring a baby and a move closer to family. There are so many wonderful changes in store for us and for our country. Dh has no impending deployments in our future. I'm far more optimistic this year. This bubbly happy feeling is nice. I could get used to this.

Anyone care to join me in a rousing round of Happy Happy Joy Joy? Happy New Year, everyone. Hope yours is a great 2009.

Where has this blog been all my life?

Dollar Store Crafts.

Oh, I'm in heaven. I could live at that blog.

This tea light menorah is adorable. The clothespins are so sweet. The kid-friendly menorah is very cute too. You could alter it a bit to make a kid-friendly birthday cake. I've often wondered what to do with the collection of random CDs. This is a cute idea. Oh, that ninja necklace is adorable. I LOVE these bulletin board squares and this is a cute project with them. Don't know how useful it is, but the cassette tape coin purse is right up my alley. A Waldorf-style doll from the Dollar Tree? Bestill my heart!

Okay, I must stop posting. I won't, however, stop searching through those projects. This site rocks!

ETA: I know, I know, I know. I said I was done, but I have now waded through the entire website and I have one more craft I really want to share. This chipmunk from a glove is SO cute.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

This will remind me to be a better mother.

Wow. Ouch. This is painful.

Favorite Posts of 2008- Better Be Nice To Your Children

I found that over at Maman et Bebe (Go have a look around. It's a fascinating read) and wow...just wow.

Boredom: Ur Doing Eet 2 Muzik

Do you want proof that I am currently bored? Well, I can provide that in musical form. I have just rewritten an Xmas favorite for one of the fuzzy members of the family. It's not at all fabulous. It's not even one of my better rewrites. Still, it exists and it gives me something with which to fill up the blog. So, here ya go.

(to the tune of Here Comes Santa Claus)
Here Comes Funnel Face

Here comes Funnel Face.
Here comes Funnel Face.
Right down Chubby Cat Lane.
She doesn't care if you're rich or poor
'Cause you'll feed her just the same.
Funnel Face knows opposable thumbs are standard on all G-d's human children
And that makes everything right.
So grab the cat dish and fill it high
'Cause Funnel Face wants to eat tonight.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Killing time.

For those of us who don't celebrate, Xmas is boring. Since pretty much everything shuts up shop on December 25, we're forced to find things to do to entertain ourselves

This is one of those things.

96 words

Typing Test

"Happy Holidays" is not an insult.

Great post over here at ZenMom. I have yet to hear a single, "Happy Holidays." It's always, "Merry Christmas" in my part of the world. I haven't been up to responding with, "Happy Holidays," because I know it will set someone off.

My kids get it, why can't adults? Last year, when some random person wished us, "Merry Christmas," I just smiled and nodded and said, "Same to you." The big kids then hissed at me, "But we don't celebrate Christmas. Why did he assume we did? He shouldn't say that if he doesn't know. We don't go around saying, 'Happy Chanukah,' to people if we don't know if they're Jewish." I had no answer for them because they were absolutely right.

Saying, "Happy Holidays," is NOT an attack on any one's holiday. It's an attempt to show respect for all people and all holidays.

And now I'm ranting. Forgive me. I don't want to raise my blood pressure. I just want to share the link.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

And I only have 3

Aside from the Catholic comment and the twin one (and mine ARE actually twins), we've heard pretty much all of these.

And I only have 3. I can only imagine what I'll hear when baby #4 makes an appearance.

Not my holiday and not quite my family size, but I like it and had to share.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Gift-giving in its most adorable form

Congratulate me. I'm going to be a grandmother. Pitty me, my grandchild is being carried by my 3-year-old son and will be named Elephant Stripey Hotdog.

Oh the gift-giving joy!

Today, we continued in our tradition and picked gifts at the Dollar Tree for dh and TheBoy. This year, TheBoy made his debut with our gift-giving group and tagged along. As usual, the gifts (and the reasoning behind them) were adorable.

Girl1 got her father an air freshener. Because things should always smell nice. It's shaped like a heart because she loves him and that way, when he sees it, he will remember she loves him.

Girl2 got him pens. That's perhaps, the most useful gift of all. He uses them all the time. Her thought was that when he uses them, he will think of her.

TheBoy got him one of those things that hooks on the end of the toothpaste and rolls up. That was my doing. Dh said just the other day that he wanted, so when I saw them, I opted to just pick the gift out for him. This is after a long list of items which TheBoy insisted would be perfect for Daddy. When I pointed out, "But Daddy doesn't need that or want that," TheBoy shot back with, "I do." So I let him pick the color of the toothpaste tchotchke. The options were blue, green or pink. TheBoy opted for pink. He said, "Daddy likes pink." I pointed out, "No he doesn't." To which TheBoy replied, "But I do."

The big kids also got a pack of planet wall stickers for their brother who repaid the favor by getting two packs of butterfly wall stickers for them.

Oh and when we hit the dollar aisle at Target yesterday, Girl1 found one remaining Hello Kitty multi-color pen. My kids LOVE those different color pens, but they go through them like crazy and they're not always available in the dollar sections. So Girl1 used her tooth fairy money (she lost tooth #8 last week) to buy it for her sister.

TheBoy got a Chanukah shirt for his stuffed Elephant. What did he opt to name this stuffed elephant? Why, of course the Chanukah Elephant is now named Pass Gas courtesy of the 3-year-old. Oy vey! TheBoy told Pass Gass, "Me is preg-ant. My baby kicking. Look." TheBoy then sucked his stomach in and puffed it out while he held his elephant's hand to his stomach. When I asked what the baby's name would be, TheBoy said, "Elephant Stripey Hotdog."

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Maykeeng Censs--Ur Doing It Rong.

The Winter Fun! Fun Kit comes with many things. Some of them are cute like the glitter stickers and the snow man you can decorate. One thing makes no sense at all. They have a coloring page. That page features only snowflakes.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Check me out. I'm the blog of the day.

How cool is this?

Blog of the Day


Forget his own, my son is too smart for OUR good.

Yesterday, we had places we needed to be on time. The kids were all dressed and ready to go. TheBoy WAS dressed, but decided he didn't like his shoes. Yet, when asked which pair he preferred, he said, "None." Well, a good rule is do not go barefoot into that good night. So, since he gave us no other option, we opted to keep him in those shoes.

As we're headed out the door, we find him sitting on his bed wearing only one shoe. We then take 10 minutes to search his entire room--all 4 of us. We all ask him in various (sometimes sneaky ways) where his other shoe is. We get no answer. We strip his bed. We search all his dresser drawers. We scour the closet. We even picked him up and moved him to make sure he wasn't sitting on it. Still, no shoe.

Now, we're late and we have no other options that he can wear. We're screwed. At that point, I reminded the child, "We're going out for dinner. If we can't find your shoe, we can't go and you won't eat." Where's your shoe? He then jumped down, reached UNDER his dresser and pulled out the missing shoe.


Kids (who are not mine) say...

A friend relayed this story and I had to share. He went to his daughters' classrooms yesterday to talk to the kids about Chanukah. Yes, when you're the lone Jew in any area, you tend to become the token Jew in the classroom. Luckily, this guy is great with kids--not the most observant Jew by any stretch of the imagination (his older daughter was the one who was baffled by kashering), but informed and wonderful with kids.

So he briefly explained the story of the Macabees and at the end, he asked his youngest daughter's first grade class if there were any questions.

One boy raised his hand and asked, "Did dinosaurs and cavemen live at the same time?"

The best question, though, was from the very first boy who raised his hand. He asked, "How expensive was your watch?"

After I cracked up, my friend then added, "Next time, I'm going to be a little more specific when I ask if anyone has any questions."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Kids say...

Actual conversation I just had with my son.

TheBoy (in a sad voice): Daddy yelled at me. Don't wanna go to bed.
Me: Well, if you're a big kid, then you'll go to bed. It's bedtime and the big kids are all in bed. Are your sisters in bed?
TheBoy (mournfully): Yes.
Me: They're big kids. They're in bed. If you want to be treated like a big kid, you need to go to bed. It's your choice. You can go to bed or you can yell and scream.
TheBoy: Going to yell and scream.

Babies & Gratitude

Today, dh and I ran into the big kids' Sunday school teacher from pre-school. She hadn't seen them in years and they all stopped to chat. I marveled at how long it had been since she saw them last. Dh then asked if she had ever seen TheBoy. I realized she had because I remember sitting in their class seder with TheBoy in the sling when dh was deployed.

Pardon me while I sigh. I miss slinging babes. I'm so glad there's another one on the way. Yes, the fact that this one is not part of a matched set is particularly exciting. I love my girls, but I often insist babies are not meant to come in pairs. Part of me did secretly hope for one last set, but that would give us five children. Four is a nice even number with which I can deal. Five is kind of frightening to me. I have friends with 5 and 6 kids who love it and do amazingly well. I'm not one of them.

In my usual fashion, I'm off track. Forgive me. I'm just very thrilled with the prospect of a new little baby. We didn't know if we would ever be blessed with another child. We didn't know if it was physically possible. So I'm particularly thrilled with visions of another baby in the sling.

Native American names

I'm a little late to the party, but I just read this great post: What is your child's Native American name?

For years, I've sworn that Girl1 would be, "Walks Into Walls." She pays absolutely no attention to what's in front of her. My mom swears my oldest sister was the same way. Too caught up in something else to even notice the wall which is quickly approaching. At camp, about two years ago, I picked her up to find a large bump on her forehead. Her poor counselor was so apologetic and obviously felt awful. She explained how the child wasn't paying attention and walked into the door. As the counselor is explaining this, the child DOES IT AGAIN right in front of me. The counselor looked startled, pointed to the child and said, "Kind of like that."

Girl2 is my constantly vocal child. I get very little pity from others since I've always been exactly the same way. My mother used to say, "You said your first word and you haven't stopped since." Girl2's name would probably be something like, "Lacks Mute Button." Yes, I admit that I have pointed the remote control at her and tried, but it never works.

I'm undecided with TheBoy. Dh has no helpful suggestions. In my comment on that post, I suggested, "Smiles Gets Way," because all that child has to do is flash a smile and people around him bend over backwards to do his bidding. He is a very charming child, but also a bit ornery. That does not the best combination make. My other suggestion for his name would be, "Yes No Go Away." He is very much at that age where he can't decide what he wants. It's one thing until that happens and suddenly, it's the oposite. I greatly dislike Gerber (now a Nestle subsidiary and we boycott Nestle), but their advertising department was brilliant with a new ad for their Graduates. The commercial features a mom with a toddler asking, "Up, up." Then the mother picks him up and a second later, he demands, "Down," only to chant, "Up," upon being put down. TheBoy is now at an age where he can accurately articulate what he wants. Problem is, he doesn't always know what that is.

So, what about the rest of you? Anyone else have ideas for their kids/husbands/pets?

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Jewish Zodiac

This cracked me up and I must share. So, what sign are you on the Jewish Zodiac?

Special thanks to the National Jewish Outreach Program for bringing that to my attention (and making me smile).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Confessions of a scared mommy

I hate to admit this, but I'm a bit worried about the impending birth. Last time around, I tried to convince myself that I could handle anything other than being cut open months too soon, but in reality, it never even crossed my mind that the baby would possibly be born in a hospital much less by a repeat c-section. When that happened, I was crushed.

This time, though, I have a better grasp of the situation. I have made as much peace as possible with the previous births. I still very much want a safe natural birth at home, but I now know that physical issues may make that impossible. I'm doing what I can and I'm making plans to see others who can help in ways that I can't.

Early on in the pregnancy, when I bought a birth pool, I had my reservations. I don't think I'm being pessimistic. I don't think I'm setting us up to fail. I'm just trying to go into this realistically. Before I bought the pool, I called my midwives to ask if the positioning in a pool would be okay for me (given my issues with my pelvis, there are certain preferred positions). They assured me it would. So now we have a birthing pool. When I walk past the box, I wonder.

The truth is that this is my last pregnancy. This is our last chance. Another c-section puts the baby and me in danger--particularly me since it will be my third. I desperately want to avoid that. I want to provide a safe birth for this baby. I want to believe that I will have a homebirth. I take great comfort in the stories of other mothers who have successfully VBACed in various situations. I stay on top of the research. I pray that my body will work as it should.

I stay positive. I am also realistic. I do what I can and pray it's enough. And we wait. I try to stay balanced and positive.

Until then, I truly appreciate any prayers or good thoughts anyone wants to send our way. I really do find a great deal of comfort knowing that others are sending positive vibes.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Fun with misspellings.

We arranged to have some items picked up today for a local charity. Those items included one futon, one microwave cart, one computer monitor, one vase, and one random tchotchke.

The receipt listed, among other things, a "Photon."

How in the world did we manage to donate one single photon? How am I supposed to deduct THAT when it comes time for taxes?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The true meaning of Chanukah:
aka no gifts for you.

Dh and I have never been able to understand these kids. Our two eldest tend to destroy things left and right. Whereas dh and I still have toys from our childhood that fared quite well, our children tend to destroy things within months or even days. It's very frustrating and occasionally, infuriating.

Now, we are NOT the types of parents who throw toys at our kids left and right. We don't believe in buying love. Hell, we don't even believe in replacing broken toys. If you broke it, you need to learn to live with that disappointment. I don't want 14 year-olds down the road, who, never having dealt with disappointment, turn to drugs and alcohol to dull that strange new sensation. I'm not going to create disapointment, but when it comes, we weather it. If that means you tore the foot off your brand new Language Littles and you never see it again, well then, so be it.

Months ago, dh and I bought a cute hanging sorting case for the big kids. It was on clearance and was far too cute. Storage is a premium in their room, so it was necessary. We weren't able to put it up at the time, so we folded it up and stashed it way back under their bed. When we pulled it out this past weekend, we found the kids had destroyed it. butterflies had torn wings. Antenae were not only torn off, but then shoved through the wings of other butterflies leaving huge holes. I'm all for investigating how things work, but this was destructive for the sake of being destructive.

Later, we found that the girls had also rummaged under their bed (where they're not supposed to be), found a lamp that has been theirs since they were babies, tore it apart and ripped all the wires out of it. What wires are left have been stripped. Luckily, it wasn't plugged in at the time.

Yesterday was the final straw. In an effort to spruce up their rooms, I got some vinyl robot wall decals for TheBoy's room. They were very cute and he loved them. Yesterday, the girls told me this huge story about how one of the robots spoke English and how they were going to get married. They spent about an hour in there, all three of them, playing. It wasn't until much later that I realized that of the 8 robots, 6 were pulled off the wall and torn. They wouldn't go back up. They were completely useless.

Dh and I feel awful. We put in all the time and effort to do things for the kids. We work with them. We make things for them. And yes, we do occasionally buy things for them. What do they do? They destroy it all.

Yesterday was the final straw. Dh and I have discussed it and we agreed that the kids will not be getting Chanukah gifts this year. I know the grandparents plan on sending clothes and I'm sure at least one toy. Those, they will get, but we can't do it ourselves. We can't waste the money buying something only to have it destroyed. I can't waste the effort making something only to have it cut apart. We just can't take it.

We already bought them tickets to a dinosaur show. They'll get those on Chanukah, but that's it.

We know that Chanukah's not Xmas. We never try to make it such. It's always a small event just within our family. While yes, there are some gifts, the focus has always been on the symbolism and meaning behind the eight days. Still, I actually like making things for them. I had a blast last year making their gifts. We only bought maybe one or two things and I handmade everything else. I didn't get many gifts myself, but damn it, I LOVED making things. Making things for the kids was more fun than receiving gifts. I think this year, I'll focus my gift making on my nieces and nephews. It's a shame, though, because I really do like making for my kids.

I just cannot understand what in the world must be going through their heads. I just don't get it.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

What's better than friends?
Smart friends who say funny things.

This is far too perfect. I just have to share. Baby Proofing is Like Running a Marathon

In that entry, she includes not only an adorable picture of her youngest, but also this fabulous observation about baby-proofing as a marathon:

"Where the sponsors are sadists who keep moving the finish line whenever anyone gets close to crossing."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fruit, it's what's for dinner.

Our Melissa & Doug cutting fruit set arrived today. Huzzah!

I was told that they couldn't provide me with the tracking number for the original shipment as it had been filed away. I was assured that such paperwork is only filed after delivery, but, like I've said, we never received it. So I never got any proof of the original package, but in the end, she did agree to send me a new one via UPS (to avoid any delivery problems) and it arrived today.

It came just before the girls' dance class, so I hid it away until just now. I plan to surprise them in the morning. I love wooden toys and I love the quality of Melissa and Doug products. I can't wait to see their faces tomorrow when they see it's here.

As promised, I will provide pictures in the near future. I won't promise you'll actually see any identifiable features of my children (I don't post pictures of my kids' faces), but I can promise you'll get a glimpse of the wonder that is the cutting food set.

Where oh where has my sidebar gone?

I have no idea what happened to all the info on my side bar. I just now noticed that it's not showing up. All the info is there when I edit and I've tried playing around with it. I have no clue what's going on. I'll try to get it fixed, though.

I'm thankful for...

My kids are all happily playing together in the yard. It's a nice warmish day. Yummy food and the Macy's parade are just days away. Dh has TWO days off for Thanksgiving (the first time EVER). Obama won the election. Ann Coulter's jaw has been wired shut. Does it get any better than this?

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Economy Sucks. My Mom Suffers.

My mother has lost her job. My 72-year-old mother who has been at her current place of employment for thirty years has lost her job. What meager retirement she had left was wiped out by the current stock market situation.

My mother has been working since she was 9. She was left back several times in school because she missed so many days in order to work to help support her family (her father was an alcoholic and my mother was the eldest of 4 children). She never attended high school. When she was 16, she dropped out of school (due to being left back, she wasn't even in high school at that time) so that she could work full-time.

She's had a string of bad luck with the companies for which she has worked in the past. Several of them have gone out of business leaving her with worthless retirement stocks invested in those companies (or their poorly run parent companies).

Her current company tried to find a buyer, but with no luck. They announced last week that they would close by the end of the year.

My mother saw it coming. She and my father have been paying off debts and making plans to sell the house, move out of state, and buy a much smaller home. They will be selling the home where I grew up. This is the home where my father grew up. This is the home where four generations of my family have lived. When you look in the back of my high school yearbook, under my name, you'll find the exact same address listed under my father's name in his yearbook 37 years prior.

My mother has surgery scheduled for January. She refuses to use state aid for medical care because she insists she wants to reserve that for those who need it. We have yet to see if her current insurance (offered through her work) will still be available. This is my mother, who went for her six week postpartum visit after my birth and didn't go back to another doctor until I was twenty. She is most definitely not a hypochondriac. This is absolutely necessary surgery. I don't know if she'll be able to afford it when the time comes.

I can't quite wrap my head around it. I just can't believe it. We survived so much. I remember, as a small child, hearing my parents talk about selling the house when the economy wasn't so strong. I also remember the wake of the Clinton administration when their house was appraised at a value so high it shocked us. Now, though, they can fight no longer. They can't afford to weather this storm. And so, the house will pass to strangers' hands (at a fraction of the actual value) and my elderly parents will be forced to start over amid the uncertainty.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Say what?

I just heard these words come out of my mouth:

"Dog, you can stop barking now. The Mormons are gone."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Amy Winehouse has nothing on this guy.

in Yiddish
This guy cracks me up.

I notice there's no Yiddish for "Rehab."

Eat your heart out, Amy Winehouse.

One of the most useful toys ever

I first read about the Bilibo at a random parenting blog last year. I apologize for not posting a link (I do like to give credit where it's due), but honestly, I can't remember where I found it exactly.

I was then (as I am now) specifically requesting that the kids not be given plastic toys. That, however, was our one exception. We bought one for the kids last Chanukah and they haven't stopped playing with it.

I would describe it as a plastic turtle shell, but to my kids, it has been a skate park for dolls, a hill for cars, a spinning ride (a favorite), a chair, a stroller, a shopping cart, a stool, a rocking chair and a mask just to name a few.

When you first look at that thing, you wonder what in the world it is. A local museum has a few in their children's section. My kids' immediate reaction was the same, "Cool. They have bilibos." As they run towards them, throw themselves inside and begin spinning and/or rocking. I've watched other parents as they picked the unusual shapes up and looked them over, obviously confused. I heard one woman say, "Well, I guess it's supposed to be some sort of chair." Oh, lady, you have no idea.

Now, no one is paying me to post this. I don't have a sponsor or anything of that sort. I just figured that with all these mom blogs with their huge wish-lists, I should join in and share what works for us. The Bilibo was a huge hit last year. I'm considering getting at least one more for this Chanukah. Although, Amazon seems to have the best prices. Keep an eye out, but last year, we found the best deal there.

What about you? What have you bought or made your kids recently that they just loved? What about the heartbreak of watching them ignore what you thought was the perfect gifts? What did they just push aside? I'm trying to create a wishlist for the children and I'm very interested in what other parents have had success with (and what items they regret).

My apologies for continuing to bore you with the update details.

I found two more updates on the situation this morning. One was an automatic order confirmation from the store. The other was an automatic e-mail from UPS complete with tracking order and when I can expect the delivery.

Am I the only one who still finds it strange that I never received the initial tracking number I requested or any information on when it was initially sent?

I'm very thankful that the prize was shipped. If it was sent for the second time, then they have gone above and beyond and I appreciate that. As I've said, I hoped they would, but all I expected them to do was to answer my e-mail and maybe throw in a coupon because that's always a good PR idea.

When this thing arrives, you can be certain that I will shower you all with lots of pictures. I imagine my kids will make me. They've been really excited about the M&D cutting food ever since I won it back in August. This time, I'm not going to tell them it's on the way to eliminate the whole fiasco that happened in August and September every single time the mail came or we found packages on the porch. Here's hoping that I can bore you all with a post full of toy pictures very soon.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Baffling giveaways revisited

I guess there is a bit of an update. I just got this e-mail from the company sent at 10:29 pm Eastern/Standard time:

Dear Ms. Removed
We wish to welcome you to Princess Time Toys.

Congratulations! To make your next visit to our online shop a more rewarding experience, listed below are details for a Discount Coupon created just for you!

Enjoy 10% off your entire order.\ No minimum purchase necesessary.

To use the Discount Coupon, enter the Redemption Code code during checkout: REMOVED

The coupon is valid between 07/17/2008 and 07/17/2018

This leaves me baffled. If the initial exchange had been worded a bit more politely, had addressed my question and had included a coupon offer at the time, this would have made a world of difference. Now, though, it just seems strange. It also came in a random "Welcome to our company" e-mail rather than a reply to my e-mail. I have yet to receive a tracking number or any specific information about when the package was shipped.

Yes, the spelling mistake with necessary was actually in the message. I did not change that.

I'm still suspicious and bothered. I'll forward my last e-mail to a new e-mail address found in that e-mail and see what happens.

I salute those companies that give.

This whole giveaway thing made me think about those companies that make donations of any sort. Many do it because it makes them look good and gets them some publicity (which is very cheap compared to the current advertising rates). There are some who do it simply because it's the right thing. To those, I want to say a hearty, "Thank you."

In and outside the corporate world, I've been involved with a number of fundraisers where I sought donations from various companies large and small. Some ignore you. Some give something slight. Others bend over backwards to help. Typically, those are the smaller companies. Those are the companies I remember. Those are the companies I frequent.

Today, on the news, I saw a story of an man who spent a year in Iraq with the Army National Guard. His employer not only promised him his job upon his return (which is required, but some companies find ways around this), but continued to send his full pay to his family even in his absence. This was a small local company, not a huge corporation rolling in income. The owner didn't have to do that, but he did because he said he felt it was the right thing to do.

So to all of you out there who do the right thing, thank you.

Bad news giveaway update

First off, there really isn't anything to update. I wrote to them on the 16th once again asking for the tracking info, but have yet to hear back.

Although, I do want to point out that I've had much better luck with the other giveaways I've won. Sarah mentioned that I won a build-a-bear gift certificate on her blog. That really was perfect. My oldest sister just told me last week that she and my niece made three bears for the kids. I've never actually bought a Build-A-Bear before because of the expense (although my in-laws did take the girls to make a knock-off one when they were smaller). Now, we can use that gift certificate plus another $15 one that I've had lying around forever to buy new outfits for their new bears. It's perfect because that can be one of their gifts for Chanukah. We LOVE looking at the pretty clothes at the Build-A-Bear shoppe, so they're going to have a blast picking out outfits. Money is tight right now, so to be able to have a gift ready to go that cost us nothing is wonderful. Many thanks are extended to Sarah. To give credit where it's due, I should point out that Sarah's giveaway was what inspired me to go hunting for toys past and evaluate what is and is not important in a play thing.

Every other giveaway has worked out wonderfully. Occasionally, there's a delay, but that's cokmpletely understandable. Some of them have just been for cute or fun things. Some have really saved me some money. I can't find the links right now, but we've won a DVD (which we gave the girls as one of their birthday gifts at a time when we REALLY had very little to spend); we've won 4 shirts for TheBoy at places where I never would have shopped ordinarily, but the quality has really been astounding on some of them; books (a favorite around here); a gender neutral organic baby outfit (talk about perfect timing); bath and body stuff and some other things. The giveaways have been a huge money and sanity saver for us. I love checking my mail to see if I've won anything. :-)

I'm just annoyed at the way I'm being treated by this particular company, particulary at this time of the year. Thus far, there has been no change in the situation.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Giveaways that don't appear and things that make you go, "Hmmm..."

Back in August, I won a giveaway at Crunchy Green Mom. When a month passed the prize never arrived, I wrote to the Crunchy Green mom to ask what happened. She looked into it and about a week later, asked if I had received it. I hadn't.

My kids knew we won that prize and every day, when I went for the mail, they asked if it had arrived. When we went to the store and they saw Melissa and Doug products or any food-themed toy, they asked where their cutting food was. I had no idea. Was it lost in the mail? Was it never sent? Had they lost my address? What was going on?

Fast forward to November--three months later. I tried contacting the Crunchy Green Mom again and got no response. So I wrote directly to Princess Time Toys who sponsored the giveaway. I asked if it was sent and if so, when and what the tracking number was. I was very polite and brief in my message. I accused them of nothing and made no demands other than asking for the tracking number if the package had been shipped.

I got this reply this evening:

The prize was sent and my apologies if it was lost in the mail. We won't be
able to send a replacement.


Connie Ott, Owner
My Jewel Boutique, Princess Time Toys & Avon Representative
People * Pets * Home

Hmm... Let's look at this, in part from the perspective of a mom and in part from the perspective of someone who was once the head of Public Relations.

#1 (from the mom). I specifically asked for a tracking number and when the package was sent. I can fill out a missing form at the post office if they'd just answer my questions. They didn't tell me any information about when the package was shipped. I find that odd.

#2. I find it odd that they insisted right away that they couldn't send a replacement. I never requested they do so. Yet the entire text of their message is essentially, "We sent it. We won't send another."

#3 (from the PR person). It's the holiday season. You sell toys. I'm a mother. Studies have shown that someone who has a bad experience will tell 10-12 people about that. Here we have a chance to save face and maybe increase your customer base. They have a chance not only to be a bit more polite, but also to possibly get positive publicity simply by making a little extra effort.

Honestly, if they had, it probably would have prompted me to buy some gifts from them. We have tons of other kids in the family who live far away. It's much easier to order gifts for them from a website rather than making it and shipping it or buying it in person and going through the effort of attacking the post office during the holiday season. The set I won cost a whopping $20. I would have spent much more than that.

I wrote back again requesting tracking information. If the situation changes, I will update you. I'm holding out hope that they will do the right thing (and right now, that's really just providing me with the answers requested), but we shall see.

Until then, I'm going to advise that anyone considering using that store proceed with caution. I find their response suspicious.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Veterans' Day yet again

As it always does, Veterans' Day has come and gone. This year, for the first time, I didn't write about it here. Even now, I have nothing much to say, but I feel as though I have to acknowledge it.

Here's last year's post, which really just linked you back to the post from the year before.

Somehow, dh's long deployments always revolved around Veterans Day in some way (he either left or returned just before it).

Just for the hell of it, I'll include some veteran-related rants from posts past:

Depressed (Phony Soldiers)

Roy Zimmerman says it quite well (Thanks for the Support).

Support Our Troops

Monday, November 10, 2008

It's a bird. It's a plane. It's my family.

In my family, there's a big love of super heroes. My husband loves them. My brother loves them. My children love them.

So I shouldn't have been surprised when my children related to current events via the Superman films.

Much fuss was made over CNN's recent use of holograms during the election coverage. This lead the bigger kids to ask, "What are holograms?" Dh and I explained that it's when it appears that someone is in one place, but they're really in another.

To which Girl2 replied, "Oh, like the bad guys who really weren't in jail in Superman 2."

Yes, exactly like that.

One must be fair to the ears.

This evening, Girl2 made a confession.

You see, when she gets scared, she pulls her blanket up over her head and falls asleep that way. We always know when something's wrong if we check on her and find her burried under Bubbe's afghan.

Well, today, she told me that the whole reason she started pulling the blanket up over hear head was to be fair to her ears. She didn't think it was fair that the ear closest to the pillow was able to bask in the warmth while the other one had to shiver in the cold. And so, she started pulling her blanket up in an attempt at fairness.

I love kids and their reasoning.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Save Straight Marriage

This is from 2004, but I just came across it now and oh boy is it pertinent now.

Connie Rice Commentary: How to Save Straight Marriage

The Tavis Smiley Show, March 2, 2004 · Rice's other proposed laws or constitutional amendments, inspired by President Bush's proposed amendment outlawing gay marriage:

10. Fair Housework & Childcare Act -- Requires married men to do at least half the housework and child rearing duties, or face being charged with a class-C felony.

9. 'Til Death Do Us Part Amendment -- Outlaw divorce. Heterosexuals get divorced at the drop of a hat. It's the 50 percent divorce rate in the United States that’s the mortal threat to marriage, not gays and lesbians.

8. Scarlet Letter Amendment -- All divorced persons will have a scarlet "D" tattooed on their foreheads, which can be removed only upon permanent re-marriage to their original spouse.

7. Serial Marriage Crime Act -- Divorced persons who remarry and fail to stay married are subject to the category 63 mandatory minimum sentencing guideline: life in prison.

6. Gold Digger Prevention Act (AKA the "Bling-Bling Ban") -- All women selecting husbands solely by an accumulated assets index shall forfeit all claim to their mates' wealth and be forced to take a vow of poverty.

5. In-Law Limitation Act -- In-laws can only visit their heterosexually married children once a year.

4. Mistress and Intern Prohibition Act (AKA the Condit, Clinton, Gingrich, Hyde and Livingston Act) -- Do what the Seventh Commandment says. You want to promote the sanctity of marriage? Outlaw extramarital affairs. Also, no members of Congress who have had flings can vote on this act when it comes to a vote -- it'll be a short roll call.

3. Marital Security Act -- Put LoJack locator devices or electronic bracelets on all husbands who travel to play basketball, attend other business meetings or just leave the house on weekends.

2. Desecration of Marriage Act (AKA the Britney Spears, Michael Jackson, Jimmy Swaggert Prevention Act) -- All heterosexual persons who make a mockery of marriage with absurd behavior shall be subject to mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines for category 37: 30 years imprisonment.

1. Leave No Child Unborn Act -- To encourage the real purpose of marriage -- which according to President Bush is to provide stability for raising children -- birth control will be outlawed for married couples, who henceforth will be required to produce progeny within the first five years of marriage... or explain to Karl Rove why there's no children.


Procreation Facilitation Act -- All married mens' prescriptions for Viagra will be tax deductible.

Friday, November 07, 2008

What did I just say about not overdoing it?

I just came across a site that has super cute crocheted baby booties. Should anyone feel compelled to get the new kid a gift, feel free to consider these. If you are some of my lucky friends who actually can knit/crochet and can figure out how to make these on your own, then rock on with your bad-ass selves. I wish I was you.

Best of Chums Taxi Cab Crocheted Booties (my favorites)

Best of Chums Basketball Crochet Booties

Unicorn Crochet Booties

Hippo Crochet Booties (Hippos? How cute is that?)

Monkey Crochet Booties

Pirate Crochet Booties (these are adorable)

Blast from the past: the gift edition

I found a giveaway on another blog where the question posed was, "What was your favorite gift as a child?"

The gift that came to mind was a Strawberry Shortcake kitchen set I got around 1982. It was really just heavy cardboard, but it lasted forever and oh boy did I use it.

I didn't ask for that kitchen. I didn't even know it existed. But oh boy did I love that thing.

So, I went on a quest. Google directed me here where there is a picture of a portion of the exact set. Look at the difference between that and the annoying plastic sets today that include all sorts of sounds and lights and which will never decompose in the landfills. I loved my basic boring kitchen. I didn't need beeping or blinking. And you know what? I'm sure my set has broken down by now.

With the holidays approaching and my desire to resist overdoing it, I've been on a quest for some ideas for making gifts. I did that last year and loved it. The kids did too. So we'll do the same thing this year. My schlep through my childhood and my fond memories for such a simple toy just cemented that.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Thursday Thirteen: Halloween Candy

Thirteen Things to do with Halloween Candy

1.... Eat all the chocolate when the kids aren't looking.

2....Save the maltballs 'cause you don't really like them, but when all the other chocolate is gone, eat them too.

3....Let the kids have a few lollipops (suckers to some of you) and Starbursts.

4....Search through the bags again in an attempt to find any hidden chocolate. If you find some, see #1. If not, move along.

5....Pick up the Almond Joy, consider it, then put it back down and decide it's not worth it.

6....Repeat #5 at least two more times.

7....Use the bag of candy as a threat when the kids don't clean up.

8....Let them have some runts and that Hannah Montana candy bracelet.

9....Stash a few lollipops in your purse/diaper bag for a rainy day (or a cranky child).

10...Repeat #4.

11...Open every single pack of Starburst in an attempt to find pink (or your particular favorite).

12...Wind up with only 2 pinks (which you eat) and a huge pile of red and yellow Starbursts (which you hate). Build a wall with them. Stack them up to form various farm animals. Then give up and put them back in the bag for the kids.

13...Donate everything else to care packages for our troops overseas and stay far away from the scale for a few days.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Peace? Yes we can!

Robin has a fabulous post on peace and what we must do to achieve it. Go read it.

Personally, I've never bought the idea of a Moshiach who will come and rescue us. I tend to believe the idea of Tikkun Olam. I do believe in Moshaich, but I believe he/she will come when we work together to repair the world. He/she will work WITH us, not in spite of us. And no, I'm not in any way insisting that Barack Obama is a messiah. @@

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Yes we did!

I voted. Some of my family members voted for the first time.

Obama is the projected winner.

I have no words other than YES WE DID and squeals of delight.

Now, please, oh please, let's take our world back in a positive direction.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Another literal video to make you laugh

I posted Aha previously, but this one by Tears for Fears cracks me up too.

I just found that there's a Red Hot Chili Peppers one as well.

You can thank me later. :-)

Has modern technology left you completely useless?

It all started back in high school when we were required to use graphing calculators for higher level math. I was one who struggled with my multiplication tables in the 3rd grade, but by the start of high school, I impressed even myself with the speed at which I could do math, almost without effort. Then we had to rely on those horrid technological crutches in order to do math that we never saw in the real world. In the process, we all lost our ability to do quick calculations in our heads. I noticed it among all my friends in all different level math classes. To this day, I have not regained that ability nor can I calculate a curve or do anything remotely resembling the calculus I was forced to endure in high school.

Now, our phones have memory options. My home phone lets me use the caller ID to contact a friend who called previously. On my cell phone, all my frequent numbers are assigned a single digit.

Last week, we were out without my phone, so dh took a picture on his phone that I wanted to send to my sister's cell. He asked, "What's her number?" To which, I could only reply, "6." I don't believe I have ever actually dialed her cell phone number other than when I initially entered it in my phone book on my cell.

I have no idea what some of my friends' e-mail addresses are. I type in their name or nickname (and in some cases, I don't even have to type the full name and it will auto fill) and the rest is automatically filled in.

Just now, I grabbed the home phone and sat down to call a friend. Only NOW can I dial her number (which is very simple). She's had it for at least a year. In the past, I just left her on the caller ID and scrolled through to find her.

I have a fabulous memory for random things. I can remember my first grade best friend's phone number (which I just googled and found has been assigned to someone completely different). I can remember birth dates for people I haven't seen in 10 or even 20 years. I can quote statistics off the top of my head. Yet, thanks to the modern marvel of technology, I can't even remember current phone numbers.

Please tell me I'm not alone here.

Fabulous pumpkin carving

Due to over-scheduling, we never got to go to the pumpkin patch this year. We did try to grab some at the grocery store, but they were a mess. So, for the first time in years, we went sans pumpkin this season.

I've been longing for carved pumpkins, so I decided to wander over to google to see what I missed.

This face is absolutely astounding.

AHHHHH. There's a Yoda pattern. I would have used that had I known (or had a pumpkin).

The 2008 entries here are amazing.

These are all neat, but the pumkin Pi and the Packman collection are my favorites.

The Cannibal pumpkin appeals to my dark sense of humor (and it's well-down to boot).

The hamburger bun is a clever idea you don't see every day.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

NSFW: Obama "Toy"

Oh my goodness! This cracked me up and I had to share. You see that warning right there in the subject? This is an adult-themed link.

Head O State

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Bumper sticker

I'm a posting fool this weekend.

Today, I saw a bumper sticker that I ADORE. It read,

G-d bless the whole world, no exceptions.

My husband needs to learn to sign.

There are oh so many reasons why that is the case, but today, I learned one more reason. If he learned to sign, then he wouldn't stare at me blankly when I finger spelled, "WTF."

Although, when I took a break to give him another chance to figure it out, he got the W and the T and he said, "Sometimes, that's all that needs to be said." ;-)

Walmart breeds stupidity.

Dear moron at Wal-Mart,

It is not ever appropriate to PUSH someone else's child. Saying, "Excuse me," and immediately using both hands to shove the child out of the way is never an acceptable behavior. Getting snippy when the mother responds with, "Please don't push my children," is also not appropriate. Insisting you did not touch the child when 4 people saw you do it (3 of them not within the child's family) is also not the best idea.

Who in the world thinks that is appropriate? Dh said that if he had seen it (he was around the corner), he would have restrained the woman. Yeah, now THAT'S a good idea. I really didn't want to make a scene, but she just pushed my child right in front of me. WTF? She didn't even give the kid a chance to move after she said, "Excuse me." She just shoved her.

WTF is wrong with people?

Friday, October 31, 2008

The only proper title for this is, "WTF?"

Maman et Bebe refers to this as It's Like My Super Sweet Sixteen On Crack which is also accurate.

What in the world are people thinking? The extravagance. The cost. The hoochie-mama clothes on tiny little girls. The attitudes.


It's the most wonderful time of the year.

Halloween is my favorite time of year. I can't wait to get out there tonight and see all the costumes. My kids are all eagerly awaiting it.

So, do tell. What is everyone dressing up as for Halloween? Has anyone seen any super cute costumes out there?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Is that the best use of your time?

This post says exactly what I've been ranting about lately: Is That the Best Use of Your Time?

I will warn those who don't wish to go there that it's a Planned Parenthood blog. There's nothing gory or anything like that (that's left up to the protesters). It's a blog kept in response to the 40 Days for Life thing. I have some friends who participate in that, so I just want to be sensitive.

That blog post questions whether standing outside Planned Parenthood is the best use of time when there's so many volunteer opportunities to help families.

Here's an excerpt that sums it up nicely, "It takes real commitment and diligence to sit on the sidewalk for 27 days, rain or shine. Think of all we could accomplish if their efforts went toward something we can all agree on -- healthy kids, families, women, and teens."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Videos to make you laugh and cry

First the bad news. People are idiots.

After you're done crying (or shaking your head in disbelief and disgust), here's one to make you laugh.

This was one of my favorite videos of all time. Now the lyrics have been redone. You must see:

Both links found at Fist of Blog.

Coffin update

I went past the same pawn shop on Friday. The coffin is still there. I tried to get a picture, but the light changed before I could.

Random baby stuff

This is completely random. Forgive me.

Recently, I noticed some odd coincidences. I specifically remember the date of the first time I felt TheBoy move during that pregnancy. On that date this year, I finally got pregnant.

That got me thinking about the first time I felt movement during my first pregnancy. I don't remember when it was, but I remember I was home alone (dh worked nights) watching CSI. With TheBoy, my water broke and I went into labor during CSI.


FTR, no consistent movement yet from the newbie. I may have felt movement during high holy day services, but I haven't felt anything since. I'm not one of those people who feels kicks early, so I'm not expecting anything until next month. I've been to the midwives and everything looks great. Heart rate was 134 this last time.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Halloween is scarier than I thought

I just stumbled across a collection of old costumes at RetroCRUSH. Oh my word! I had no idea what I was in for.

I had a bunch of these crappy plastic wonders.
  • I vaguely remember Smurfette.
  • I can never forget the freaky eye-less face of this Mini Mouse costume which sat in the box on the foot of the basement stairs for years and creeped me out every single freaking time I had to go down there. I don't believe I ever actually wore the costume, so I think maybe she was just used as a gargoyle to keep evil (or kids) away.
  • I don't remember who in my family had this costume, but someone did. It's so freakishly familiar. If you never had the costume, your expected reaction is to run screaming. So even if you look at it and your initial reaction is not, "GO THE HELL AWAY," but rather, "Wait, I know you," then you MUST have had that costume at some point in time.
  • Laura is another one that is so very familiar, but I don't know who wore it. I had an undying love of the t.v. show (never the books. Why my parents wasted time reading me crappy Disney books instead of Little House In The Big Woods when I so obviously ADORED the Ingles family is beyond me). I assume that if anyone had that costume, I did, but I don't remember ever wearing it.
  • While I never had this one, I'm shocked by its very existence. Small Wonder? Really? I had no idea they had a Vicki/VICI costume. I adored that show, but that one is super scary. I'm not sure that I would have actually wanted that.

Why did we ever think these costumes were a good idea? They're horribly creepy. These aren't cute sweet cuddly kids' costumes. These are what Michael Myers must have worn.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

My blog in pictures

While schleping through my archives, I came across a few pictures that I felt were particularly pertinent to my blog.

I started my little section of the blogosphere while dh was deployed to the Middle East. The date on my first batch of posts is May 9, 2006. Dh left early in the morning the day before. Since then, I've captured lots of bits and pieces of my life in here.

Among those pieces, are a scattered bunch of photographs.

Heartbreak isn't a particularly moving photo in general, but the circumstances surrounding it were. That's also my very first entry.

We have photos that randomly capture the beauty and oddity that is my everday life. A coffin at a pawn shop? WTF?

The absurdity is unending, especially when you have children. And it's always my first instinct to grab for the camera.

I have an odd sense of humor and a camera phone. Good combination or bad? You be the judge.

I also have good friends, a screwy family and photoshop.

In this blog, there is exactly one photo posted wherein you can see my face.

When life hands you lemons, throw them back and demand chocolate. And when life gives you ice, grab a camera and take pictures.

I haven't done any Thursday Thirteens in a while, but this was one I wanted to write about (and photograph) for a long time. Glad I got the chance.

Here's another TT that's just completely frivilous, but contains my very favorite cats in all the world (not counting the ones that live in our home).

Speaking of our cats, I've posted photos of them which still crack me up.

Sometimes, the pictures are proof that I really do care about my audience and am constantly thinking of them. There's a local bank with a sign that I simply must photograph for you. I haven't yet (I'm always the one driving when I pass it), but the sign reads, "For personal service, see Chastity Den." Every time I drive by, I think, "I need to get a picture of that for the blog." It cracks me up.

And thus concludes our quick trip through the blog in pictures. Hope you enjoyed it. If not, I'll be back with more in the not-too-distant future. When you refuse to post pictures of yourself or your immediate family, it makes it kind of tricky, but thus far, I've managed. I'll make more of an effort in the future, though.

Life Lesson #327

When using a neti pot, don't ever do so in a rush. If, you disregard my previous warning, do not, under any circumstances, in your haste, use FAR too much salt.

OH MY STARS AND GARTERS! The pain. The pain is searing and unending.

I learned this horrid lesson by experience the other night. I thought, "I've been doing this long enough. I know what I'm doing. It won't be a problem if I rush."

I'm an idiot.

I used way too much salt. My eyes burned for an hour afterward. My teeth hurt. Dude, my TEETH hurt. WTF? My cheek bones ached. My throat burned. My nose ran like a faucet and wouldn't stop. I wound up having to take a bath and immerse my head under hot water to get any relief.

Please, don't let my stupidity be in vain. Don't make this mistake. Now you know and knowing is half the battle.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The religion of simplifying

I've been making an attempt to simplify over the past year or so.

I had no idea that one could mix religion and downsizing.

What a neat idea! I'll definitely need to say the blessing with the kids when we get rid of the big bag of too small clothes.

But the boobs get in the way.

I'm a big fan of altering random songs to better suit my needs (or odd sense of humor).

So lately, I've taken liberties with this little gem:

Just change the refrain to, "but the boobs get in the way."

I don't know how many sizes I've gone up during this pregnancy, but I know that DD bra I just got is a bit snug (DD is my usual nursing size).

At this point, I can still sleep on my stomach with some maneuvering, but damn it, the breasts are loudly protesting that position. My uterus can deal, but my breasts scream in pain. They can just shut the hell up, though 'cause I thoroughly enjoy sleeping on my stomach.

After my daughters were born, when they were still in the NICU, I got horribly excited when I realized I could once again lie on my stomach. Too bad I forgot about the whole surgical birth thing. I was fine in that position, but experienced excruciating pain when I tried to get back up. Dh worked nights and slept during the day, so my attempts to call for him were in vain. I wound up falling off the couch. Horrible pain and complete humiliation, those are two side effects of a c-section that no one ever warned me about.

Anyway, back to the boobs. My sister (who is under 5 feet tall and 90-some-odd pounds) went up to an H or an I while nursing. We used to laugh when we got those "Increase Your Bust Size" spam e-mails. I once suggested that we open one and follow the advice because then we could have our very own shelves right there under our chins and honestly, that could be very useful for a new mom.

I've always been larger during pregnancy than nursing, but I've never been quite this large this soon. Only time will tell where the boobage will take us.

Until then, I'll keep humming my own version of that little ditty under my breath. Feel free to join the conga line and sing along.

But the boobs get in the waaaaaaayyyyy.

And the award for "Most Wonderful Husband on the Whole Freaking Planet" goes to...

my husband.

G-d bless that man!

When it was time to pick the kids up at Hebrew school, I was in the middle of an in depth phone conversation with a friend. Did my husband interrupt to tell me it was time to get the kids (I usually pick them up)? No. Did he roll his eyes, sigh and play the martyr? No. What did my wonderful husband do? He went to get them without a word so that I could finish my conversation.

The following day, when it was time to get them from dance class, I was once again on the phone deep in conversation with the same friend (I swear it's not a conspiracy). I had picked out a recipe I wanted to make for dinner, but didn't get to start. Dh found the magazine, figured out which recipe I was planning on, and started making dinner. When it was just about time to go get them, he mentioned it while he cooked. I got off the phone and asked him if he'd rather I went to get them or took over the cooking. He went with option A which was actually the easier of the two for me.

Remember, when it comes to Judaism, I'm the more traditional of the two of us. While we've been active at our current shul for a few years, dh hasn't gone to high holiday services there (the military had a way of always either deploying him during the high holidays or refusing to give him time off). This was his first year attending Rosh Hashanah services there and this shul expects men to wear tallit (women have the option as well). Dh has not worn tallit since his bar mitzvah. When I mentioned he'd need to wear them, he hopped online and found (and memorized) the blessing for doing so. Upon arriving at services, he couldn't quite figure it out. So when we dropped the kids off before services, he actually ASKED SOMEONE how to do it. Yes, a man was willing to ask for help. Aren't you shocked? And it was neat too. He asked an acquaintance of ours explaining, "It's been a very long time since I last did this." The guy said, "We're glad you decided to wear one today," and he went on to tell dh that he was, "Honored to be asked for help."

I, too, felt honored to be standing there next to him donned in tallit. We've been together over a decade and I've never seen him wearing tallit in person (I have seen the bar mitzvah photos). Aside from feeling privileged that he was willing to do it, I was in awe by the fact that he cared enough to do it for me even when I know it was awkward for him.

For these and so many more reasons, my husband definitely deserves an award of some sort. Oh and he also deserves my undying love and affection, but he already had that.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Reiza, this is your life.


I have a feeling that's how road trips are going to be for our family for the next dozen or so years.

Although, in my experience, there will never be only one who has to use the facilities. The second one, though, will not make that announcement until AFTER you return with the first. And none of them will say anything until you're all headed to your car ready to pull away from the bathroom spot.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Tossing chocolate frogs

I don't like the waste aspect of this and we don't really do chocolate, but this could easily be adapted.

Using chocolate frogs to drive good behavior


Pregnancy update

I have lost more than 10 lbs on my midwives' nutritional guidelines. Before I got pregnant, I busted my butt to lose any weight with no luck. I went to the doctor, worked out 2 hours a day, watched what I ate all to no avail. I should have just checked with the wonder midwives back then and saved myself the time and trouble.

My uterus has popped. I've been showing, but now, I'm showing even more. Someone even said to me, "Hey, now you look pregnant." Yay!

Upon sending my mother the first belly shot (you know this is our 4th baby 'cause I didn't even take any belly shots until now), I was thrilled when her reply was, "I was surprised. You don't look bad." She didn't mean it that way, but my mom sometimes misses out on that whole tact thing. That was actually the best I could have hoped for from her. Last time around, when I was about 29 weeks pregnant and sent a photo, she replied, "So, you got fat."

I think I may have felt some movement in services yesterday (Shanah Tova to my fellow Jews), but I'm not sure. I didn't feel a kick (it's a little early for that), but more like the kid launched him/herself off one side and smacked into the other. TheBoy did that a lot during my last pregnancy, but not until much later. I'm still not certain if that really was movement, but I'll wait and see what I feel next.

I can now go quite a few hours between meals (yippee) and I'm not feeling nearly as sick. Although, that constant gagging has been replaced by actual vomiting. I've only thrown up 3 times this entire pregnancy, though and all of them between 10 and 13 weeks. I can deal with that. I'm still extremely tired, but it's getting better.

I ordered a birthing pool. It's a little earlier than I would have liked, but it's the best time for deals on pools. I found an inflatable kiddie pool that is often used as a birth pool on clearance at the Toys R Us website. It cost me less than $15. I used left over gift cards, so it didn't cost me any of our money. The same pool runs from $45-$100 on sites that specifically sell birthing pools. After the baby is here, it'll be a pool for the kids (once it's cleaned, of course).

Had some blood work run at my midwife appointment and it came back perfect.

I would love a little more patience. That would be lovely right about now. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be making an appearance. I'll keep working on it, though.

So far, so good.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Do you realize dairy IS breastmilk, just from a different species?

PETA is up to their usual antics. They sent a letter to Ben & Jerry asking them to replace the dairy in their ice cream with human breastmilk.

In a statement Ben and Jerry's said, "We applaud PETA's novel approach to bringing attention to an issue, but we believe a mother's milk is best used for her child."

I'm not all about ingesting breastmilk myself (at least as an adult. I'm very glad I was breastfed as a baby), but um...if human breastmilk is best used for the mother's baby, then wouldn't cow's milk be best used for her calf rather than us humans? Do they not realize that cow's milk IS breastmilk. It's breastmilk created by a cow for her calf.

I've heard quite a bit about this on the news and in every instance, the reporters have been freaked out by the idea of using human breastmilk. they think breastmilk from another creature is the better option? There's a huge list of benefits of breastmilk for humans, yes, even for adults. Human milk is designed to provide for optimal growth of the human brain. Cow's have tiny brains and great big bodies. Cow's milk is designed to make calves big and fat.

Now keep in mind, I eat dairy and aside from the initial curious taste when I was first breastfeeding my children, I don't ingest human milk, but the whole "Ick factor" from the public makes no sense.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Other Side Of The Glass

Midwife: Sage Femme... first brought this to my attention.

It highlights some of the events surrounding birth that can be traumatic for babies. In the clip, I heard them say at least twice that whether you birth at the hospital or home, these are things about which you need to be aware. Really? Because I've never known a homebirth midwife to literally tear a baby from it's screaming mother's arms (you'll see that in the clip). They may very well exist, but I've never known a homebirth midwife to behave in that way. I suppose you should be aware of it no matter where you birth, but it really seems as though you only need to be concerned outside the home.

Regardless, the video is quite compelling. Stay with it. It doesn't get to the heart of the matter until a few minutes in.

Personal Torah: Kiddush

Ima on the Bima doesn't seem to have her call for personal torah up today and of course today is the day I want to share. So I'll just go ahead without her.

I've been thinking a lot lately about kiddish. At our daughters' naming ceremony, they each got a silver kiddish cup. My MIL brought over her father's cup, the one he brought when he escaped Germany. We poured the wine into that, said kiddush, then split the wine into the girls' cups and drank from there. Their great grandfather is long gone (he passed away before dh was born. Dh is named after him as is TheBoy), but we used the oportunity of kiddush to recognize their connection to him and sanctify that. They are bound to him through blood and tradition.

Kiddush literally means "Sanctification." One of the things I love about Judaism is that we sanctify the everyday and that we have the power to do so. We don't have to rely on rabbis or a specific location to do that for us. We can recognize the beauty in everyday and sanctify it ourselves. We're commanded to do just that.

My son turns 3 soon. I'm beginning to plan his party and upsherin. Traditionally, Jewish boys have their first haircut on their 3rd birthday (along with a whole host of other education-related things as it also marks the beginning of his formal education and I LOVE that it begins with the parents). I admit that we cheated. I tried not to cut his hair. Oh how I tried even when no one around me understood (we do not live in a very Jewish area and even among my fellow Yids, only the rabbi followed the practice). Finally, it got too hot and his hair was too long, so I agreed to have it cut. Although, I insisted we wait until he was 18 months old. 18 is a special number within Judaism. When we tried to conceive, we had no luck. The one month when I ovulated on day 18 was the cycle when I conceived TheBoy. Oddly enough, this time around, I also conceived on the 18th day of my cycle. In Hebrew, the word "Chai" means both "Eighteen" and "Life."

Still, we plan on having a fairly traditional haircutting ceremony for his 3rd birthday. Everyone gets to snip a piece of hair. It's not that horrible fear-inducing first haircut you always fear with little kids. It's a lot of fun. Then you typically introduce them to the aleph-bet in a variety of ways, but usually, you cover the aleph-bet in honey and let the child taste and see that learning is sweet. Torah is, "sweet on the tongue."

In other cultures, this would often be an uneventful occasion. In Judaism, though, we sanctify it. We find beauty, symbolism and richness in this seemingly minor event. I'm hoping that we can pay for plane tickets for my in-laws to fly out for the party. My FIL will have his surgery soon, so I don't know if he can make the trip, but I very much want them here. I want them to cut their grandson's hair and to share in this new stage. I want them to sanctify my son, my FIL and the day not only with their presence, but also with the same kiddush cup that was smuggled over from Germany. This man didn't know if he would live, yet his name, great grand children and religious tradition continue. THAT deserves to be sanctified.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Here's your sign.

Later today, I will affix a sign to our front door. It will read as follows:

The lady of the house
  • is pregnant and cranky
  • owns a chainsaw
  • never buys anything from door-to-door salespeople
  • is grateful that her husband does all the lawn care.

Do you think it'll keep the solicitors at bay?

I'm kind of annoyed that I'm going all traditional with that last line. The truth is, I started doing the lawn work while dh was deployed years ago and actually liked it, but I haven't done it in a while and I don't see myself doing it until the wee one makes an appearance. So I'll buy into the traditional stereotype if it keeps the morons away.

Drama llama drive-by

Gah! Oh, the drama! It is unending.

A friend wrote something that bothered me. Now I have no idea what to say or do in response.

I hate when someone is annoyed with me and doesn't give me a chance to explain, so I feel like I should write back and extend that same chance, but I don't want to come across as whiny. A big part of me just wants to let it go. I'm annoyed. So be it. I don't want to start anything. At the same time, I feel like she started something and now I'm hurt.

Why do I feel like I'm back in high school? I hate this petty crap.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Completely Random Video

I don't really have much of a reason for posting this. It was featured over at Fist of Blog and watching it again reminded me of how much I love this song.

Like the fine folks over at Fist of Blog, I often long for the 90s music scene. Oh how I miss the summer nights when I stayed up all night and watched the good videos on Mtv. I miss Alternative Nation. Alas, poor Kennedy, I knew her, Horatio.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My kids rock yet again.

I have a confession to make. I sleep with a toy. No, not THAT kind of toy. I sleep with a stuffed animal. Well, I did until a few days ago, when he went missing.

This morning, TheBoy came into my room, looked around the bed and asked where the toy went. I told him I had lost it. He said, "I find it faw you." He then looked around, but had no luck. So he left. He came back and tossed Hello Mr. Zebra (the zebra-headed blankie toy with which he has slept since he was tiny) at me. When I asked why he did that, my son replied, "You lost your toy. You take zebra."

My heart melted. By that point, his oldest sister was in my room. The case of the missing stuffy peaked her interest. After activating her super sleuth abilities, she found him shoved down by the headboard. TheBoy then responded with a loud, "Yay," while he threw his hands in the air. He then quickly snatched back his toy and told me, "You found your toy. I take zebra back."

Monday, September 15, 2008

More on political wedges.

Someone brought this to my attention and I have to share.

Making America Stupid

In there, he has this to say (among many other things),

I dwell on this issue because it is symbolic of the campaign that John McCain has decided to run. It’s a campaign now built on turning everything possible into a cultural wedge issue — including even energy policy, no matter how stupid it makes the voters and no matter how much it might weaken America.

This highlights what I touched on a few days ago.

I think this also illustrates a good point;

I respected McCain’s willingness to support the troop surge in Iraq, even if it was going to cost him the Republican nomination. Now the same guy, who would not sell his soul to win his party’s nomination, is ready to sell every piece of his soul to win the presidency.

Yes, John McCain WAS a maverick 8 years ago when he was unwilling to bow down to the religious right. I considered voting for him then. When I heard he was throwing his hat in again this time, I was hopeful for the same John McCain I've seen in the past--the one who was willing to butt heads even within his own party. I wanted the John McCain who treated John Kerry with civility and refused to belittle his friend even when others in his party spent great amounts of time and money doing just that. Mr. Friedman, however, has it absolutely correct. Today, John McCain is selling his soul. His maverick days are long gone.

In order to disguise the fact that the core of his campaign is to continue the same Bush policies that have led 80 percent of the country to conclude we’re on the wrong track, McCain has decided to play the culture-war card. Obama may be a bit professorial, but at least he is trying to unite the country to face the real issues rather than divide us over cultural differences.

YES. That's it exactly. When I watched Obama speak at the DNC, I felt energized. I felt ready for a new tomorrow where we work together to pull our country back to its former glory. When I listened to the speeches at the RNC, I was shocked at the bitterness and attempts at division. True, there were things said by the Democrats that weren't sunshine and roses, but those were NOT said by the nominees. Sarah Palin gave one of the most bitter speeches I've heard in a long time and she's the Vice Presidential nominee.

That article is wonderful. It goes on to point out how creating this cultural wedge just serves to take our eyes off the real issues and real problems. I don't want to fight with my Republican friends. I don't want that bitterness in politics. I want to work for change--REAL change.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The great political divide

You'll have to forgive me while I sigh. I'm so fed up with the huge rifts created by politics. Yes, I know I have been pretty vocal in my feelings, but in general, I try to be respectful. I take a bit more liberties here than I do in mixed company, but in general, I try to stick to the issues and not get sucked into name-calling.

I recently got back in touch with a friend from high school. She was abrasive back in the day, but we had a lot of fun together and we have some great memories. Well, recently, she has taken to sending out horrible messages (sometimes racist) about Barack Obama. She just won't stop and I'm getting increasingly annoyed.

That incited a great desire to let her slip out of my life again. I'm not the type who will run away from a group because of a disagreement or who will drop friends because of a different political stance. Hell, some of my best friends have very different political views and we've always been respectful.

Then I was reminded that only two years ago, this friend's mother died from Cancer. The anniversary of her passing is fast approaching. I've written to her to let her know she's in my thoughts and prayers. That served as a reminder about the connections we share and the divisions we create.

Why in the world do we need to use politics as a wedge between us? Why can't we simply discuss the issues like rational human beings or take the issue off the table? I am very sensitive to certain political topics because they relate directly to me whereas most people just use them as talking points without fully understanding the situation. So I recognize when those topics are or are not appropriate* or I simply watch my language.

Why must we focus on the differences? Why do we try to separate from others based on politics? What in the world are we doing?

“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” Audre Lorde

*Yes, I realize I'm a hypocrite because I call Bush a name in that link.