Monday, December 22, 2008

If I Had a Wish, That It Could Be...

... A Happy Happy Birthday to (Caleb) from me!

We're all exhausted from a long day, but just wanted to take the chance to say Happy Birthday to Caleb. One year! I didn't think we would make it :)

Happy Birthday little man!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Day Two

It's day two of our experiment with gDiapers and all I can say is "Wow!"
His diaper rash is almost gone and there is no extra redness. Fantastic!


EDIT: Let me explain a little about gDiapers. Don't think I'm crazy-- you'll have to see them to really understand. They are a "hybrid" diaper-- a mixture between disposable diapers and cloth diapers. There is a diaper cover, called a little g, a waterproof liner and a disposable core. The disposable core is perfume and chlorine free, which is why I think it helps Caleb's diaper rash. However, it is pretty cool because you can either throw the disposable core away (it decomposes in 50 days vs the 500 years it takes for a disposable diaper) or you can flush it or you can-- now this is kinda gross-- compost it (see, I told you it was gross). So apparently they are all environmentally friendly, but really, we're just using it because Caleb is rash free for the first time in almost five months. I don't know why they are better, but they are! I totally suggest them for anyone who is looking for a solution to diaper rash. They might seem complicated, but they aren't! Even Pete can do it and he doesn't complain about changing the diaper any more than he did with disposables. :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

In Our Prayers

One of my friends from high school just lost a baby to Trisomy 18. Please keep her and her family in your prayers. She has been keeping a blog about the experience. You can check it out.

http://calebalex.blogspot.com/

It's About Time

Needless to say, I have been a slacker about posting recently. Pete has been so busy studying that by the time I have access to the computer, I am just about ready to go to bed. So I give in-- I'm posting without pictures via the laptop. Someday I will hijack "my" computer back and post some pictures.

First things first-- Caleb's hospital admission.

Two weeks ago we were getting ready to head out to church when Pete was changing Caleb's diaper. Normally Pete ignores anything that might be wrong with Caleb (I hear "He's fine" about a thousand times a day) so when he called me into Caleb's room to look at the diaper rash I knew something must be up. Since Caleb has very very very sensitive skin he is unfortunately prone to rashes. This means that our poor little monster is pretty much constantly covered in a diaper rash. His most recent diaper rash was being treated for yeast and he was getting an anti-fungal cream applied twice a day. We figured the cream would do the trick and all would be well.

However, when I went in to see Caleb it was evident that the rash had made a turn for the worse. Approximately five square inches of Caleb's abdomen was red, distended and warm. One of the pimple-like lesions from the rash was raised and it didn't look so hot. We decided to take Caleb into the ER-- thinking we would get some cream for the rash and be back in time for our third hour meetings.

Upon arrival at CHOP (I swear, if we go there one more time they are going to keep him) we were quickly told that he had an abscess and cellulitis. Neither one is a particularly life-threatening problem, but they both needed to be watched carefully and treated with IV anti-biotics. They were also debating whether or not to lance the abscess.

So for the next four hours we watched Caleb fight every nurse in the ER who tried to give him an IV-- the kid is determined, I'll give him that. After two failed IV's (he sweat them out-- don't ask me...) six tries and finally the IV team (the IV team is called in to give IV's to patients-- usually drug addicts-- who's veins will not cooperate with IV's) they finally got an IV to work. We were transferred out of the ER to our room and Caleb was quarantined.

Why quarantined? Caleb developed the abscess and cellulitis from a bacteria called MRSA-- Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. Sounds scary huh? Fortunately, Pete had worked with a program in Pittsburgh that helped to stop the transfer of MRSA from person to person so we were already familliar with it. Everyone has millions of bacteria--called flora--living on their skin. The skin acts as a strong enough barrier to prevent us all from dying of a thousand different bacterial infections. However, sometimes we get cuts or cracks in our skin and that bacteria can then bypass our barrier and enter our systems.

The problem with MRSA is that it is a "super bug." It is resistant to the typical antibiotics and it must be treated with some strong medicine. Most people have a bit of MRSA on their skin at any given time. It used to be completely confined to the hospital setting, but it is now out and about in the community. Unfortunately with Caleb's diaper rash as bad as it was, some of that normally harmless MRSA entered his system through the cracks in his skin from the diaper rash.

Thus the need to be quarantined (to prevent spreading the MRSA any more) and stay in the hospital. Over the next two days Caleb was given two more IV's (yes, he ripped those out as well) and his cellulitis healed up well. The abscess was drained -- that was probably the grossest thing I have ever seen-- and he now has a nice little scar from where the infection started. They sent us home with Caleb on oral antibiotics and he is back to his monster ways.

Our diaper changing routine now consists of:
*Applying anti-fungal nystatin twice a day
*Applying anti-biotic bactroban twice a day
*Applying hydrocortizone cream three times a day
*Applying Butt Paste at every diaper change.
*No diaper at naps or bedtime

Since I cannot possibly apply all that cream before Caleb runs away diaper-less, we apply one of the medications at each diaper change and somehow manage to get it all in. I'm also doing more laundry than ever to keep up with all the wet sheets.

We're going to try a new type of diaper to see if that helps to cut back on the diaper rash. They are called gDiapers. Has anyone else tried these? They are pretty expensive (about 50 cents a pop) but if they work, I'll be thrilled. I'm hesitant to spend the money though if they are going to be a bust. Any tips would be appreciated.

We'll know in a month or so if he is still a carrier for MRSA-- in which case, wash your hands! All in all, we've learned (1) Caleb is not so great with IV's (2)Clindamyicin smells like rotten eggs and (3)Caleb sure knows how to keep things interesting.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Poverty

I have been thinking a lot lately about what makes a person poor. Up to a few weeks ago I believed it was a lack of opportunities and most importantly, money. I am growing to believe, however, that it is a state of mind. In this country we have tons of social programs that offer free food, heat, water, electricity, and education to name a few. Yet, everyday in America people wake up in cold, dark houses with nothing to eat. Why, when the aid is clearly there, do they remain poor? I know people who live on a similar income to mine, yet always seem to be on their last dollar with nothing to show for it.

While I think these programs are good, I think they treat the symptoms of the disease without actually fixing the root cause. I think poverty is a mental trauma that leaves deep scars that are never fully erased. I have cleaned out the basements of middle class people who lived through the great depression only to find boxes full of buttons and thread taken from clothes. Their poverty left lasting effects on the way they lived.

The saying is that you can take a man out of a ghetto but you can't take the ghetto out of the man.

I don't want to sound like the famous Phil Grahmm and "mental recessions," but I am coming to believe that poverty in this country has a large psycological component to it

Monday, December 1, 2008

All Is Well

Just a quick post here to let all those wondering know that Caleb is home and on the road to recovery. He was admitted to the hospital for a MRSA infection, but he responded well to the IV antibiotics and the doctors felt comfortable sending him home with us promising to watch the infection to make sure it doesn't get worse.

Thanks to everyone for all your support, I'll post more about the whole ordeal later-- for now, we're going to enjoy a good night sleep in our own beds.

PS
A huge thanks to Amanda D for making us lunch and dinner today! Pete wouldn't have survived without you.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving

Pete is currently studying downstairs on "my" computer, so this will be a picture-less post, but I'll add some later.

First off, last weekend we went out to Pittsburgh to visit my brother, Aaron, who was in town from Hong Kong. We figured that if he flew around the world to be there we could take a 3o minute flight to see him. We had a great time hanging out with family and were pleasantly surprised when my cousin, Daley, and my Aunt Cecilia came into town as well. They live in Minnesota and we don't get to see them as often as we would like, but they came to visit after a conference in DC. Daley will be attending school in Pittsburgh this fall so they came by to check things out with the school and grace us with their presence. (Shameless plug: My Aunt just published another book [Kay, this is for you] about Oprah's book club. Check it out at Barnes and Noble or by clicking here). We came back to Philadelphia on Tuesday and prepared ourselves for the fabulous holiday weekend.

Thursday morning we got up, fully intending for Caleb to come brave the cold with me for my run. However, he was coughing had a runny nose so I checked his temperature (102!) and decided I would let him sit this one out. So Pete dropped me off in Fairmount Park and headed over to the airport with Caleb to pick up his brother. The run went well, but it was definitely harder to run without the stroller. Call me crazy, but I like running with the stroller. Anyway, I finished the 5 mile race in just over 40 minutes. I'm pretty sure I could have done it in 35 minutes, but at the last mile marker I was passing a girl who was about to give up-- she gave me a good excuse to slow down (not that I was looking for one or anything...) and I gave her some motivation to keep going. We finished that last mile in oh yeah 13 minutes, but she hung in there and was so excited that she ran across the finish line. I was pretty excited to cross the finish line myself :) I felt badly though, as we were leaving I heard a bunch of people talking about how they thought this race was a 5K not a 5M-- oops!

After the race we headed up to Pete's parents' place for some good ol' Thanksgiving Dinner. Julie, Brent and Aubrey-- friends from our ward-- came with us. It was nice to spend time with family and just sit around and be fed :) Pete's mom is a very talented cook and dinner was fabulous! We sat around and talked and looked at baby pictures of Pete and his siblings. (sidenote: Pete was the fattest baby I have ever seen. We're talking fat rolls on his face...) It was a great day and we really enjoyed ourselves.

Friday morning Pete helped his father around the house for a bit and then we headed back home. We didn't brave the madness this year-- Pete is convinced that you can buy anything online and doesn't see the need to stand in lines for hours on end. Top that off with the story of the Walmart employee who was trampled to death by stampeeding shoppers and there was no way Pete was going to go out.

All in all it was a fabulous Thanksgiving! We're so glad that we are able have family so close. Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday and I love that we get to share it with such fabulous people.

Wal-Mart Employee Trampled to Death

Shopping online is looking better and better.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dilemma

I want to run the 5M Turkey Trot this Thanksgiving morning, but I'm finding myself playing chicken.

When I was running outdoors, it was nice out, so I always took the baby (sometimes babies when Charlie was here) and headed out for a run with the jogging stroller. I really like the jogging stroller because even though I have to adjust my arms so I don't cramp up, I like pushing the stroller, it keeps me going.

Since it has gotten cold out, I've taken my little running self indoors and have been resigned to running on the treadmill. I didn't think I hated the treadmill, but I do- I really hate it. However, it does force me to keep running, since the alternative (stop running, fall on my face, get laughed at by all the other gym attendees) does not seem pleasant.

Thus the dilemma-- since I will be running out doors, do I use the stroller to keep going? That would mean that I would subject Caleb to being out in the cold in the stroller for about 45 minutes to an hour. Not exactly material for mom of the year award.

That being said, I'm afraid that I won't be able to do it on my own-- no stroller AND no treadmill? Boo.

Should I be a good mom and let Caleb stay warm? Or should he have to suck it up for my general running health? Will an hour outside kill the kid? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Life Changing

Today Caleb, Aunt Mandy and I went to see Twilight. The movie was good-- I was expecting it to be a lot worse, so I guess my low expectations served their purpose.

The best part? No, I won't spoil the movie, the best part came out of the mouth of a young girl in front of us. As we are leaving she exclaimed, "That just changed my life."

Yes, she is the future of America.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

And Miles To Go Before I Sleep...

Saturday Peter, Caleb and I joined some of the students from his school and participated in a "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" event. One of our friends, James, helped put the walk together and we were glad to see that it was a huge success.

Basically guys from the class got together and walked a mile around the school in four inch heels. The purpose is to promote awareness of domestic violence-- which was interesting since it seemed like the women who drove by were all cheers and "way to go" while the guys who drove by looked at us like "there's no way I would ever do that." Thus the need for more awareness.

Just wanted to say thanks to James for working so hard to put this on and for all those who participated. If nothing else, Pete has a lot more sympathy for me and my footwear.

You can check out an article about the event by clicking here. And watch the video here.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tardy

I finally loaded my pictures onto the computer. Ladies and gentlemen, I present:

Caleb's First Halloween:

We carved pumpkins with our friends Dave and Anika while watching the Phillies win the World Series. It was a very productive evening :)

Caleb and our half carved pumpkin. We could have left it this way, since the squirrels ended up eating our pumpkin anyway. Oh well.

Ana with Caleb and Benjamin at our ward's Trunk or Treat. The kids all dressed up and they were so cute!

We're a very festive family. Really. I promise.

Some of the kids all lined up on the couch. They were not very cooperative. That's what you get with a bunch of infants I suppose.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

In Regards to Proposition 8

Much has been said about the elections over the past weeks (Shoot, over the past two years) so please pardon me as I drag this out a little longer.

Many people have heard about the monetary contributions made by my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to support proposition eight in California. "Prop" 8 as it has been endearingly coined (what, it's too hard to say proposition?) was an effort to define marriage as between a man and a woman, effectively banning gay marriage (for the time being at least).

Opponents to Proposition Eight have criticized the level of involvement that has been taken by the LDS church and its members. While I can understand the opposition's frustration, I also know that the LDS church has every right to get involved. However, the whole thing has unfortunately turned into a situation where one side hates the other side and we are no longer fighting to protect marriage, we are instead tearing each other down. One side says the other is bigoted, the other responds with accusations of destruction of all that is good. Maybe things have gotten a little extreme? Maybe we have lost focus, and perhaps we, as a church, have lost our Christlike attitude.

Here is an excerpt from a press release from my church, given this morning.



"... We hope that now and in the future all parties involved in this issue will be well informed and act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility toward those with a different position. No one on any side of the question should be vilified, intimidated, harassed or subject to erroneous information.

It is important to understand that this issue for the Church has always been about the sacred and divine institution of marriage — a union between a man and a woman.

Allegations of bigotry or persecution made against the Church were and are simply wrong. The Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage neither constitutes nor condones any kind of hostility toward gays and lesbians. Even more, the Church does not object to rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches.

Before it accepted the invitation to join broad-based coalitions for the amendments, the Church knew that some of its members would choose not to support its position. Voting choices by Latter-day Saints, like all other people, are influenced by their own unique experiences and circumstances. As we move forward from the election, Church members need to be understanding and accepting of each other and work together for a better society."

(All emphasis added)

For full text of the press release, please CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election 2008

Whether or not you agree with his policies-- Barack Obama was just elected President of the United States. What an incredible moment in the history of America, no matter what you think of his politics. Shoot, we still talk about a black man having lunch at the White House nearly 100 years ago, and here we are with a black President.

Pete drove people to the polls yesterday and it was amazing to see the community come together. There were little old ladies on oxygen waiting to vote for a black man, waiting to vote for the first time ever. There was the Puerto Rican woman who gave Caleb a full on Catholic blessing, in Spanish none the less.

Watching the speeches last night, I was impressed by both McCain and Obama's ability to see the good in each other-- why can't they do that throughout the entire campaign? There were so many horrible things said about both candidates throughout the campaign, but I really think the words that were said last night were real and sincere-- maybe I'm being silly.

Not so excited about having a Democratic majority in Congress, but at least it is not a fillibuster proof majority. And don't worry-- if anyone can lose the majority in two years, the Democrats can do it :) Remember? "Yes we can."

Monday, November 3, 2008

What It's Like to be a Parent

This story is often referred to as a way to explain what it is like to have a child with a disability. However, I think it pretty well sums up what it is like to have a child in general-- or what it is like to WANT to have a child but not be able to get pregnant.

We all have dreams, and sometimes we are so consumed with those dreams that we fail to realize, we're in Holland...

"Welcome to Holland"

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome To Holland".

"Holland?!?" you say, "What do you mean "Holland"??? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy"

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills...Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy...and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned".

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away...because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

But...if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things...about Holland.

© 1987, by Emily Perl Kingsley.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Firsts...

Today was a day of Firsts (and Seconds):

*First time Caleb climbed up the stairs
*First time Caleb climbed up the stairs without me knowing
*First time Caleb fell down the stairs (I was well aware of this)
***Second time Caleb went to the ER
*First time he was diagnosed with a concussion


***Millionth time I shake my head frustrated with a son who never ever stops and wonder if I can handle this...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

WE DID IT!!!

Way to go Phillies! 2008 World Series Champions!

Monday, October 20, 2008

ER Visits and Hospital Security

Caleb and I had our first ER visit together last night. I don't recommend it, but that's just my personal opinion on the matter.

As many of you know, Caleb has an umbilical hernia. For the most part, this is a really minor medical condition where a piece of the intestines protrudes through the abdominal wall. It's more rare in Caucasian children than in other minorities, but Caleb has had his pretty much since we brought him home from the hospital. I can push it in and it makes a squishy sound and disappears back into his belly. But once I relieve the pressure, it will flop right back on out. The concern is that a piece of the intestines can get twisted as it leaves the body (kinda like a twisty-tie) and cut off circulation to the intestines-- its call incarceration. We're pretty lucky-- Caleb's hernia is rather small and hasn't given us any trouble-- until last night.

I got back from picking some friends up from the airport and Pete handed me Caleb and headed out for a meeting at church. Pretty much as soon as I grabbed him he threw up all over me. This was not baby throw up--- this was full on puking his guts up. He continued to do this several times (I was an absolute mess at this point-- emotionally and covered in vomit). I went up to give him a bath and as I was undressing him, I noticed his hernia was swollen and hard. He kept pushing my hands away and screaming anytime I tried to touch it, so that pretty much did me in. I called my standard baby emergency people-- my mom, my sister (an ER doctor) and Caleb's pediatrician. All recommended that I take the child to the ER.

So I rush him over to the ER, terrified that at this point he is going to choke on his own vomit in the car seat (I think they should take the imagination part of the brain out of new mothers-- it it way too over active). I get to the ER and in less than two hours the following has occurred:

1. Caleb sees a nurse, ER pediatrician and a pediatric surgeon
2. Caleb is given something to calm him down and stop the vomiting
3. Dr. Surgeon-man does something medically magical and reduces the incarcerated part of the intestines.
4. Caleb eats, laughs and goes slap-happy wild as he deals with withdrawal from medicine.

oh yeah, and...
5. My wallet and phone were stolen.


Apparently Caleb's intestines only "half" twisted, so the surgeon was able to manipulate it back into the abdominal wall without surgery. This is interesting for two reasons.

1. He was a surgeon who didn't cut Caleb open when he had the chance
2. This "half" twist supposedly NEVER happens... like they want to write about it in the journals.

Luckily, the surgeon was pretty convinced that we didn't need to rush surgery on him (they recommend having the hernia surgically repaired at age two if it doesn't heal naturally by then) and that he would be fine.

As for my phone and wallet? Looks like a long week full of days at the DMV, cancelled credit cards and heck-- a new iPhone?

:)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Stairway to Heaven?

I fell down the stairs today. Thank you, very much.

I'm going to crawl back into bed now because it's the only way I can give my tailbone a break.

Stairway to Heaven? It feels more like the other direction...

Zoológico

Mom and I went to the zoo this week with my friend Lillian and her mom, Amanda. Mom thinks that I can see the animals and enjoy the zoo, but really, all I see is the brick wall keeping all the animals in place.

Mom thought I would look cute in this stupid egg thing... boy was she wrong!

Lillian is giving me hugs! (Or trying to strangle me, but I'm keeping it optimistic)

Mom did something with her hair. Not sure what though....

Lillian and I were wiped out by the end!


Even though I couldn't see the animals, I had a good time hanging out with Miss Lillian (she's soo pretty!) and it was nice to get out of the house.

I think it is important to point out that I post on this blog more than Dad does. Lame.

---Caleb---

Friday, October 17, 2008

Marathon Post

First things first-- Happy Belated Birthday to my mother and to my brother in law, Sean. They celebrated their birthdays last week.

While Sean lives a little too far away to bother him on his birthday, I was able to drive down to Maryland to see my mom. For her birthday, I gave her the best present ever--- a weekend with Caleb! (My mom with Caleb this past Spring)


My best friend Amy got married this past week and I was able to fly out to Utah for the wedding (THANK YOU Southwest frequent flyer tickets!). My mother was self sacrificing enough to offer to watch our little monster for the weekend so that Pete and I could have sometime together. I dropped Caleb off with my mom and spent her birthday with her and then flew out of Baltimore the next morning. Pete flew out of Philly and met me in Salt Lake. **Side Note** I managed to survive four days away from Caleb! It was bitter-sweet-- great not having to pack a diaper bag everywhere we went, but super sad that Caleb wasn't there with us. Note to self-- Provo is not the place to be when missing a child.

Upon arriving in Salt Lake, my sister in law Hanna graciously offered to help me spice up my hair. She is a life saver!

(My hair this summer)
(My hair when Hanna was done with it)



Quite the difference, ehh? It's been interesting trying to figure out how to style it (it kinda poofs with all the humidity here on the East Coast). But it's super fun to have something short and I love it. It's the first time I've ever had highlights or anything of the sort, (I know-- I'm so daring) but Hanna did a great job and broke me in gently.


Me, Amy and Lauren-- These girls are largely responsible for who I am (I know, I shouldn't blame them for this, but really-- it's true!) today and I was so excited to be able to see them both again.

Kevin (Butch) and Ryan-- Amy's brothers. This picture pretty much describes them.


Amy and Hans... They are just too dang cute together!


After the wedding, I was able to see Abby and her husband! Abby and I were friends freshman year at the Y-- she lived right down the hall... cute huh? She's super fabulous and it was great to see her again! Lauren gets to hang out with our friends from the Y all the time, so I was excited to be able to see some of them myself!



Tracy and Hanna graciously let us stay with them for the weekend. Their little girl Sophie is about three months younger than Caleb and is pretty much the cutiest little girl around. It was so nice to see them and it reminded me of how wonderful family is. I am so excited for them to come back East next summer for Tracy's internship. Until then, we'll just have to look forward to their visit at Christmas time.

I while I had a fabulous time in Utah, I couldn't wait to get back to the little monster! He seems to have forgiven me for leaving him. In fact, he was nice enough to cut a tooth while I was gone! Not having to deal with a teething child? Priceless. In my father's words though, "If that was how he acts while cutting a tooth, life just isn't fair." Caleb was so good for them, they didn't even know a tooth had come in! I practically had to pry my child out of my mother's loving hands when it came time to go.

I mean, how could you not love this face?


(I found Caleb like this the other day. He had dragged his high chair across the dining room to stand on it so he could get into the towels. It was too cute!)


Phew... I know! Anyone still reading gets two bonus points!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

World Series Bound!

I have to humble my Pittsburgh Pride and take a moment to Congratulate the Philadelphia Phillies. Tonight they won their series in game five against the LA Dodgers to bring home the National League Championship. On October 22, they will head to the World Series for the first time since 1993. (In all honesty, that's more than the Pittsburgh Pirates can say-- shoot, we just want a season ending above .500)

So even though I will completely deny this should anyone in Pittsburgh ask-- we're excited for the city and hope that the team can bring home.

I mean, c'mon, this city really needs a win. :)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Did you catch that?

A Temple in Philly!! Woohoo. Now I know that my friends in Pittsburgh are just about dying, since they STILL have a six hour drive to the Temple in Washington DC and here in Philadelphia we have two temples within a three hour drive (DC and NYC), but still... I'm totally pumped :)

According to the rumor mill (our stake president) the Temple will be located at Broad and Noble. How awesome is that? It'll be right along the mass transit lines-- making it totally accessible for those without cars, which is pretty common here.

We'll keep you updated. But seriously. We're going to have a Temple here. I think I might cry.


EDIT
According to the LDS News Room the Temple will be located downtown. We're so excited!

Awesome.

Today I received a piece of junk mail.

It was addressed to Peter Kniekerbotker.

Awesome.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Happy Day

Want a free handbag? Of course you do. Go to Handbag Planet and register for a free handbag give-away. And since they are going to give them away every hour, I am feeling nice enough to share this information with you. But if you win one and I don't, you owe me lunch. :)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Embarrassingly Emotional

As if this blog wasn't sappy enough, I have to write a post about how much I love my son.

I never understood when people talked about how they worried they wouldn't love their other children as much as their first. Of course parents love all their children, what would the problem be? I think I am beginning to understand.

There's nothing in particular that inspires this post, just the overwhelming feeling that I have for Caleb. It seems like everyday he gets so much bigger-- I can see my baby turning into a toddler right before my eyes. I love the joy he finds in the tiniest things (really-- the tiniest, I don't even know where he finds some of the things he gets into). He has a cup that he plays with during his bath and for some reason, he has become totally attached to this cup. It's a testament to my craziness that I find this attachment adorable. I love that he is beginning to develop his own taste and desires. They will probably drive me crazy in a few months, but for now, I love it.

At his appointment the other day, after all the horrible torture we put him through, he just reached out for me and cried, "mamamamamamama." It broke my heart and made my day all at the same time. Not that he really knows what "mama" even IS at this point, but you know...

I'm so sappy! I just can't describe how much I love this little boy. It scares me sometimes, though. How can I help him to learn how wonderful he really is? And how can I possibly love more than one child this much? It seems too consuming, too powerful to be able to share.

All right, I'll stop now. There's no way I can adequately describe how I feel on here and I'm starting to annoy myself with this post :) I just really really like my kid.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

9 months

Caleb had his nine month appointment today, so this post is really just to update grandparents and any other people strangely obsessed with his measurements. He weighed in at 21.5 pounds, which is in the 50th percentile. He is 27 inches long, which places him in the 10th percentile. His head circumference is 45.5 cm and is in the 50th percentile.

He had to get some blood work today, and that did not go over well. They couldn't find the vein in his arm and when they finally did find it, he would clot after filling the tube about a quarter of the way full. So long story short, the doctor finally got to see how Caleb cries without tears, he was stuck three times in each arm, I almost passed out and Charlie slept through the entire thing. We finally were able to get enough blood for the tests and hopefully he's fine because the boy is never ever going to let us take his blood again.

Monday, September 22, 2008

700,000,000,000 to 1,000,000,000,000

FY2008:
$59 billion last year on education (about one tenth of FY2009 Defense Department budget)
$44.8 billion on veterans affairs to provide care to our nations veterans
$15 billion on transportation (how many bridges did they say did not meet basic safety standards, or how many hours have you spent on unforgivably undersized Route 76).

Bush requested a total of 928.8 billion dollars for FY2009 for every federal agency combined. The defense department makes up $515.4 billion (pre-war budget, the war "supplemental" spending is about an additional $200 billion) with $413 billion for everything else.

And we are giving $700 billion to Wall Street.

Aren't there better ways to use the money? I guess I just don't believe that the economy can't take the failure of a few large Wall Street banks. It might mean a Focus instead of a BMW for some on Wall Street, but most of us are already driving a Ford or Toyota anyway, if we are lucky enough to even have a car. Lehman Brothers failed last week and my bank account stayed the same, prices did not go up and there were not lines at the gas stations. Actually, I refinanced Amanda's car last week and got a better interest rate.

They talk about it becoming difficult to get auto loans, and mutual funds loosing value. How many mutual funds do you think the average person living paycheck to paycheck has?

Last September there was a huge debate in congress about expanding the State Children's Health care Insurance Program (SCHIP). It was going to cost 35 billion over the next 5 years. We decided then, that providing insurance to 4 million un/under insured children was not worth it. With a trillion dollars we could fund that program for 142 years (not counting inflation).

Perhaps ensuring health care coverage and doubling or tripling our education budget would have a much greater long term effect than writing a check to cover the bad decisions of a few thousand Wall Street Bankers.

Perhaps then, our high school students would not rank between Iceland and the Slovak Republic in math scores (as of 2006 we're number 23 in the world). Maybe by teaching our children some better math skills, they won't have the problems Wall Street seems to have-- i.e. balancing a check book.

--Pete--

Sunday, September 21, 2008

??!?!??!??!

That was hardly called football. The Steelers apparently forgot to bring the offensive line to Philadelphia. 8 Sacks?! Ridiculous.

Sigh. The Eagles won and I can't even hate Pete for it-- the Steelers lost it for themselves without a doubt. Boo.

It's ok though-- The Steelers still have five superbowl rings. The Eagles? Oh yeah, none.

Steagles

http://www.pixelfumes.com/blog/steelers.pnghttp://www.nflfootballstadiums.com/images/Philadelphia-Eagles-Logo.gif


Pete and I are hoping that our marriage can survive past 8:00 this evening. At 4:15 the Eagles and Steelers begin the showdown... (Here we go Steelers, here we go) The Eagles would be better represented but Pete doesn't blog. Oh well, his loss.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Update

I went running Monday, rested Tuesday, and just got back from running tonight. I may never walk again (I had the genius idea of running up Midvale from Kelley to Henry... with a stroller) but I have that "I'm exhausted but invigorated at the same time" feeling. Gotta love the running high :)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Freaking Out!

The past 24 hours have been rough on Caleb-- but, I would like to argue that they have been more rough for me (he's much tougher than I am).

First, let's start with last evening. We got a new stove thanks to Dave and Anika's landlord (she didn't need it anymore) and considering the stove in our lavish rental had paint on it to cover up the dents, we thought a replacement might just be necessary. So we pulled out the old stove and started to switch it when Pete inhaled a large amount of gas, quickly reattached the pipe and called a plumber to come install the new stove. In between the phone call and the plumber actually showing up, Caleb managed to crawl into the kitchen and explore the new arrangements (envision a stove pulled away from the cabinets, exposing all sorts of dust and junk that we all like to ignore under the appliances). I was chopping vegetables to make chicken noodle soup (see, that is what I get for trying to be domestic!) when I noticed it was quiet and turned around to check on Caleb.

Of course, I found him grasping for all the nasty gunk under the stove and shoving it in his mouth. As I am frantically trying to swipe all of it out of his mouth without vomiting on the poor kid, Pete comes up and says, "Um, there was RAT POISON under there."

I almost dropped Caleb as I flew to the phone to call his doctor. (Meanwhile, Pete is saying, "He's fine, just watch him to make sure he's not lethargic" Thanks hun, that makes me feel so much better.) I am connected to the answering service where they proceed to confirm my fears that I am the worst mother EVER. "What? He ate rat poison? You fed him RAT POISON?!?!" In the background I could hear them, "Uh-huh, that baby is not even a year old..." (thanks, I didn't know that...). Finally they tell me that I'd better rush him to the ER. I hung up and just started to sob. Through the tears I managed to tell Pete we'd better get him to the hospital and I went down to find the number for Poison Control incase there was something we should have done before the trip to the ER.

Luckily, the fabulously wonderful woman from Poison Control was able to understand me and my words in between sobs and she managed to calm me down. She also told me that Caleb would have needed to eat 2 tablespoons of this particular brand of rat poison before it would hurt him. She was so nice and I felt a little bit better after talking to her. She suggested giving Caleb some juice so he could get the taste out of his mouth and told me not to worry about it, everything was going to be OK. Thank heavens for Poison Control. I cried for a while and Pete finally told me I had to snap out of it (I know, he wins the empathy award) but he was right-- everything was OK and there wasn't any need to get into hysterics and scare Caleb.

Fastforward about 20 hours.

We went to a "rally" for Obama this evening. Kate Walsh (Grey's Anatomy; Private Practice) spoke and it was pretty cool. Anika and I braved the crazed fans to get pictures of Charlie and Caleb with Kate. Afterward, Dave and Pete felt it was necessary (Anika and I agreed) to head over to the Naked Chocolate Cafe for a bit of chocolate. After finding the perfect parking spots (it took us a little while, but it happened!) we enjoyed chocolate fondu with strawberries, marshmellows, cookies, bananas, etc, three different fruit smoothies and a "junk-in-the-trunk" bar. The evening was perfect and my sugar high was complete when Caleb fell and smashed his skull into the copper table. The large dent in his forhead quickly bruised and turned into a large lump and everyone in the Cafe stared as I tried to calm my screaming child. We promptly iced his forhead and he calmed down, but he's going to have a large goose egg there for awihile. (Don't worry, I've already googled "internal bleeding in infants" and so far, he doesn't have any of the symptoms.)

Needless to say, I'm a wreck and I've going to wrap my child in bubble wrap and place him a padded cell.

Oh yeah, and we got a parking ticket. Fantastic.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Motivation

http://images.wwsport.com/new/product_images/TN65467B2.jpg
First, a disclaimer. I'm not posting this because I want you to feel badly for me, hate me, be annoyed by me, etc. I'm posting this because I really want someone's help. Mmmkay? Thanks.

I've never really struggled with weight. Poor me, right? Sure in college I collected the freshman 15, but even then, it wasn't enough to get me to pay attention to what I eat or to exercise more or, well, do anything.

I've never had to watch what I eat. Double stuf oreos? Sure. Wendy's? Definitely. Why would you NOT get cheese on something? 2% or skim milk, doesn't really matter It wasn't until about two years ago that I realized what I ate actually influenced how I felt.

I've also never really tried too hard to get into shape. I know, my life is hard. But it's actually a problem. I know that at any given time, I can go out and run. I may not be running at my best, but I can usually hang with it. I do pretty well once I get into a routine, but it's making the effort to get into the routine where I stumble. I was doing really well this summer, but then we went on vacation and I haven't really run since. So I went out this morning and ran the equivalent of a 5k. Granted, it was right along Kelley Drive and so there weren't any hills, but I ran it in 23 minutes. You would think this would be encouraging, but instead, it tells me that I don't have to run for a month and I can still run a 5k. I'm just lazy.

I know that I need to be exercising and eating well. I know that at some point, life will catch up with me and if I'm not in the habit of treating my body right, it's going to be a hard realization. I KNOW all of this, it's just not enough motivation for me to do something about it.

So after all this whining, here's my solution. I need someone to be accountable to. I am going make a goal-- a race that I'll want to be in shape enough to run in. If I do not run in the race I need to be financially responsible to someone. I figure money is the only thing that can motivate me enough.

Here's where I need your help. I need someone who will hold me to this. I'm setting a goal and if I don't make it, I'll pay you double the race entry fee. Leave a comment and tell me why you should be the one I pay should I fail!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I Lied....

I can't stop! As much as I hate it-- this whole political season is sucking me in. So "one more" thing.

Just wondering. For months now the rumor has been circulating that Obama is Muslim. Everywhere you go, people are either spreading the rumor, "Can't vote for him, he's a Muslim" or denying it "Why don't people know that Obama is NOT a Muslim by now?"

For the record, Obama is not Muslim, but would it really be so awful if he was? What is the evil behind being Muslim? Can we really not vote for someone who is not Christian? Would the country really dissolve with a Muslim as president?

Do we even know what Muslims believe? I am by no means a scholar on religion, but here is what I do know:

*The first "Pillar" of Islam declares there is no god but Allah (God) and Mohammad is His messenger. From this I can deter that they believe in a single deity and his prophet. (Yeah, I know, totally radical-- Christians don't believe anything like this)

*Second Pillar of Islam requires all adherents to pray five times a day. The time of day to pray are at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset, and night fall. Each 'salat' (prayer) is performed facing towards the Kaaba in Makkah. Salat is intended to focus the mind on Allah; it is seen as a personal communication with Allah, expressing gratitude and worship. According to the Qur'an, the benefit of prayer "restrains [one] from shameful and evil deeds".[Qur'an 29:40][4] (Again, I'm not seeing the evil in praying five times a day... in fact, I think a lot of Christians could learn something from this).

*Third Pillar of Islam is the required (of all who are able) giving of alms. It is expected that those who have accumulated wealth will share this with those who have not. In some places where Islam is the religion of the state, this is taken in taxes from the government.

*Fourth Pillar of Islam is the requirement of fasting during the month of Ramadan. Muslims fast from dawn until dusk. During Ramadan, Muslims are also expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam by refraining from violence, anger, envy, greed, lust, harsh language, gossip and to try to get along with each other better than normal. Fasting is prohibited for those who might have health issues such as children, the elderly, diabetics, and woman who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

*Fifth Pillar of Islam states that all Muslims should travel to Mecca at sometime in their life. This is waived if financial issues prevent one from making the journey. Also, women are not required to make the pilgrimage, only males.

So from what I can see, they believe in God, prophets, prayer, fasting, giving of alms, and giving of yourself to achieve a goal. Why would someone who believes in this be a bad president? Are their ideals really that different than those of the Christian world?

Have we stopped to think that we might be raising a generation full of Muslim haters? Last time I checked it was Christians who bombed abortion clinics-- an act of "terrorism." Does that make every Christian a murderer? Or imply that every Christian thinks doctors who perform abortions should be killed? Or that a fringe group of F-LDS polygamists in Texas represents the Latter-day Saints? No. It means that a radical group did something awful. I am in no way ignoring the fact that we were attacked on September 11 by terrorists. But the group that did that horrific thing to our country did not represent the whole of Islam. Just like the Uni-bomber did not represent the whole of America. Every group has a few crazies.

Let's not group the honorable in among them. Let's not defame wonderful Muslims by being appalled that one might *gasp* run for President. Who knows. We might be better off that way.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

One More Thing...

I'm frustrated and disappointed. The media asked questions about Palin and McCain refused to give concrete examples (all I heard was, "Well, she was Commander and Chief of Alaska National Guard." That's fabulous and all, but as my 11th grade AP English teacher always said-- "Show. Don't Tell.) He even canceled his interview when Campbell Brown asked something hard. So the media does what the media does in this infamous 24 hour news cycle world that we live in-- it finds something else to talk about. The McCain camp wanted Palin to be discussed in the media, but then threw a fit when the "liberal" media found some skeletons in her closet. Here's a hint--- if McCain had given them something concrete to talk about, they wouldn't have had to go digging. And now, after the political pundits have been berated for talking about her daughter (which they should be- leave the poor girl alone) and ridiculed for finding a 22 year old DUI charge against her husband (guess what, DUI's stay on a record that long because they are THAT bad-- there's no excuse for him) they are now discussing the recently released information about her record.

And for all this trouble, what do they get? Labeled as sexist. I don't understand why asking questions regarding Sara Palin is considered sexist.

To me, this makes women seem weak and is belittling. What? She can't stand up to some tough questions? Guess what-- we're talking the VICE PRESIDENCY-- there must be tough questions asked. When George W. Bush was being flown around in Air Force One to keep him safe on 9/11 it was Dick Cheney who was in the strategy room trying to decide if we should shoot down American passenger planes. That's how serious the VP is. The other candidates have been torn apart in the media for at least two years now, and Governor Palin can't take two weeks? It's a sham and even worse, it is demeaning to women.

Why is it wrong to demand concrete examples of things she has done? Why is it wrong to question her claims? Why are women sitting by and allowing this whole sexism claim to gather steam? If we are EVER to be taken seriously, we have to act seriously. We cannot demand equal pay but then cry about equal criticism. Women are tough enough to handle it and we shouldn't give Palin an out. Even Palin agrees.

She said, regarding the Clinton campaign complaining about a double standard,

“When I hear a statement like that coming from a woman candidate with any kind of perceived whine about that excess criticism, or maybe a sharper microscope put on her, I think, 'Man, that doesn't do us any good, women in politics, or women in general, trying to progress this country,'”

So why don't we take her advice and allow her to be scrutinized just as much as anyone else?

DISCLAIMER-- I do not think that calls for her to go home and raise her family are fair either. I am not saying that anything and everything said about her is fair, I'm simply saying that Governor Palin is going to have some hard things thrown at her and woman or not, she's going to have to deal with them.

No one is going to be nice to her as the VP just because she has female anatomy. Terrorists are not going to stop their attacks because she's a lady. She is going to have to deal with the real world and so she better face it now. The McCain camp needs to lay off the sexism cry-- It just makes her look like a victim and that's the last image they should portray for the second in command.

I'm excited to have a woman running for a major office like this-- it's amazing to think that in just the past few years we've had women hold positions such as House Majority Leader and Secretary of State. We've had a woman make a very serious run for the Democratic Presidential Nomination. And for the first time ever, we have a woman running for VP on the Republican Ticket.

My mother's mother was born before women even had the right to vote. I'm proud to be a woman in this day and age, but we must be willing to really accept equality-- in all its forms-- if we are to ever actually receive equality.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Back to the Purpose of This Blog

.... Caleb! Enough of this posting about Politics stuff... (it's a good thing Pete doesn't read this thing regularly, he'd be rolling his eyes and making some comment under his breath right now).

WE SURVIVED!!

So even though Caleb thinks Charlie is the bane of his existence, we've had a good week. Anika has started back on rotations and has been dropping off this little bundle of joy rather reluctantly every morning this week. I've forgotten what you do with a newborn (amazing, since Caleb was only there uhhh 6 months ago...) but slowly it's coming back. Caleb is wavering between full on jealousy and total confusion. I have a feeling Charlie will be one tough little cookie by the time Anika finally saves him from us.

I have forgotten how exhausting a newborn is as well. I'm sleeping through the night and I'm still tired. This has also awakened me to the fact that I will someday have to do this with my own children (don't worry, there won't be any announcements anytime soon...). I am also amazed at how quickly babies learn things. Caleb was totally helpless six months ago, and now he is trying to climb the stairs!

Anyway, I can tell it is getting late because every sentence I start to write begins with "It's" and I'm repeating myself over and over again. I'm going to end this thing before I convince you all of my stupidity.

'Night!

Friday, September 5, 2008

McCain's Speech

I stayed up last night to watch McCain's acceptance speech because I was curious about who exactly this man is. So many times John McCain has been my favorite Republican. I was proud of him in 2004 when he stood up to his party when they wanted to use their majority to change the rules of debate in the Senate. I was also proud of him in 2006 when he stood up to Bush and said that torture was not an option for this country. I was excited when he took 5 days to consider the prospect of being John Kerry's running mate on the democratic ticket.

Last night I wanted to be sure that I was not overlooking McCain just because he has an R next to his name on TV. The only problem with his speech last night was the distance between the covers. I found myself checking "info" button to see what time it was. He definitely does not have the oratory skills of Obama, but he gives Bush a run for his money. I thought his speech one of the better messages I have heard, and it was very John McCain.

To me, the overall message is "I know times are hard and Washington has not worked. Republicans are mostly responsible for the last 8 years that have not been pretty. I am a good man, someone that you can trust, and I can change things even within my own party. Trust me, Please just trust me."

I turned off the TV soon after the speech and contemplated the choice in this election. I am very pleased that BOTH candidates are men of integrity and each has a tremendous personal story. One is a decorated war hero, who came to know himself in a dank cell in solitary confinement, who has spent his adult life trying to improve this country. The other is a son of an 18 year old single mother, raised by his grandparents, that has succeeded due to relentless determination and faith in the American Dream.

The choice came down to, "Who do I trust more to deliver on their promises, and make this country a better place?" I have made my choice, and I hope that this election comes down to this choice for every voter that walks into the booth. Let it not be about pregnant daughters or ex. Pastors or any other distraction. The good news is, that despite the large policy differences between the the 2 sides, both are good and respectable men.

Pete

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Huh?

I've been left scratching my head. What does the Republican party think it is going to get by snubbing "community organizers" and the everyday people who run campaigns? Don't they realize those are the people who will get them elected? Those are the people who donate and support them? But maybe it is different for them. I've never really bought into the idea that Republicans are a bunch of white, rich, men-- but maybe they are-- maybe, they don't need lowly community organizers to help their campaign. Maybe they really are run by big corporations and wealthy donors. That's the only assumption I can make after they railroaded the people working on the ground.

I'll stand up for them. Community Organizers are the reason why women can vote. Why America went through the Civil Rights movement. Why we work a 40 hour work week and why children have mandatory school hours and restricted work hours.

I understand McCain doesn't need their money now, as he will be taking public financing as of tonight and that's fine- but doesn't he still need their votes? Doesn't he still need them to knock doors and participate in voter registration drives? Doesn't he need them to be the ones to energize others and get excited about his campaign?

I watched the convention last night hoping that Governor Palin would blow me out of the water. She did a fabulous job delivering a speech, but I was disappointed in how snarky she came off. I was surprised when after the speech others made that same comment-- I thought maybe it was just me.

Can't we be above this in politics? Can't we be above the "I can't believe you don't believe what I believe, you must be stupid" attitude? It's the attitude that drives me crazy in people like Glenn Beck and Keith Olberman. How in the world can we assume that we know everything? Isn't it possible that for just a moment we recognize we might not have all the answers and we might need someone else's opinion on something.

Neither candidate is perfect-- they each have their flaws. But I watched Obama and was inspired by his speech. I wanted the world to be the way he painted it. I wanted to say, "Yes-- we DON'T agree on abortion rights, but I do want to stop the number of unwanted pregnacies." I felt like he was trying to draw me in. I watched Governor Palin and I thought, "Man, she sounds mean." It reminded me of the way girls acted in high school-- trying to drag others down so they could feel better.

I'm really trying to look at them in equal lighting-- I don't buy the arguement that Palin can't be VP because she's a mother. If anything, that makes her more qualified. We wouldn't dare ask if her husband was qualified if he had been the one to be selected. I do question her judgement in returning to work three days after the birth of her special needs child, but she knows more about the situation than I do, so I'll give her the benefit of the doubt. I know Obama gives pretty speeches and that he will need to do more than that to be a good president. I worry about his far left social standings. I'm not sure he really does have enough experience-- we saw this with President Clinton. It took him almost two years to shift from campaign mode to presidency mode and Democrats in Congress lost the mid-term elections because of it.

So I'm still left scratching my head. Experience and Snarky vs Inexperience but Inspiring. I know which way I lean, but I'm still not convinced I'm right.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Why I Love Philly


Recently there have been a lot of people who have moved into our ward. This happens a lot at the beginning of the school year, and personally, I love it-- new friends! Who does not like meeting new people (except for Kay's sister)? Anyway, a lot of them have been rather shocked by Philly, and I can see why. It's a rather daunting place. Crazy drivers, crazy roads, no Super Walmarts... you can see what I mean.

However, hearing them complain about Philly has made me realize why I like living here. I mean, it's not Pittsburgh-- but I guess that's what I love about it. There's nothing else like it. And seeing as how I don't really have a choice of living here, I might as well love it! Hoping that Philadelphia is going to be like Pittsburgh just doesn't work-- because its not Pittsburgh and no matter how much I want it to be "da 'burgh", it just isn't.

I love how living here in Philadelphia challenges my opinions on everything. I love how I have learned to accept people much more unconditionally. I love the strength of the people I know from here. I love seeing how much I really do have compared to those who have so little. And I love to dream about having something more someday, when I see those with so much. Coming from a smaller rural area in western PA, I was rather sheltered. We didn't have diversity-- and I really love the infusion of people from everywhere that I find here in Philly. It makes me a better person to get to know these people and try to understand where they are coming from and what makes them the way they are.

After a year here in Philadelphia, I've come to learn that most people have a reason for everything they do. And just because I don't understand those reasons, doesn't mean they don't have them. I guess that's what I love about Philly. It's taught me to be a more loving person-- which sounds weird, because Philly is a rather harsh place to live. But I figure I can either let it make me a harder person, or a more understanding person.

I cannot choose where I want to live right now, but I can choose what I want to make of it. I choose to understand.

Future Stake Calling

Caleb can fall asleep in a chair! I definitely think this qualifies him for a stake calling (a level of leadership in our church).

Last week I made a quick trip down to my parent's place. My sister, Katie, will be leaving in a few weeks to start an internship with the National Parks. We wanted to get a quick trip in to see her before she leaves us and starts her life as a college student. Caleb and I had a great time visiting with Nanna and Grandpere. We helped them pick out new frames for their glasses and helped Katie get some things for her internship. Caleb was very opinionated on everything.

Sidenote: Caleb was great in the car! Woohoo!

Some of my Favorite Things

I really like to try and pull up on things. Sometimes this backfires and I slide under the object I want to climb on. Then I get stuck and have to cry for Mommy to come help me.

I think it is fun to pull up and stand up in my crib. This makes it very hard for me to fall asleep at night. Mommy had to lower the crib and now it's a bit harder to fall out.

I love cords. I really like to pull them out of the wall. I will crawl all over the house in search of cords. It makes Mommy rather nervous.

--Love, Caleb

"Everywhere is Within Walking Distance...

... if you have the time." (Steven Wright).

Last Saturday we took advantage of the nice weather, the long weekend and some good friends and went out for a walk. We walked through part of Wissahickon park and loved it. For those of you from Western, PA-- this was a bit of what Lynn Run is like. Except without the fabulous "bum sliding" option.

We figure we got a good five mile walk in before the timers (aka, our children) went off. All in all, it was a beautiful walk and I really enjoyed the green-- it motivated me to get out and run in the park more often and not just along Kelley Drive.

Dave, Anika and Charlie-- next to the "Tree House"

A waterfall along the path

Caleb and Pete

Sleepy baby and Charlie way in the back


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Professional Pictures

Danica took these pictures about two months ago-- I'm just super lame and I haven't posted them yet. Love her!! Check out her photo blog HERE.






Toys

Pete love toys. Especially electronic ones. Surprisingly, he also likes anything motorized that goes in the kitchen. He was the one pushing to get the Kitchen Aid Mixer. So it was no surprise when he came home one day and said enthusiastically, "I ordered a wheat grinder today!" After patiently following his tracking number and waiting for the package to be delivered, he could hardly wait to open it and try to make something.

To his dismay, he found that he needed special ingredients to make wheat break from freshly ground wheat. So after pouting for a bit, he found a recipe for whole wheat tortillas. Perfect, especially since we are obsessed with Latin food in our household.

Away he went, grinding his wheat and preparing the tortillas.







However, after finishing the tortillas, he looked over and realized that he forgot to add the baking powder and salt to the dough. Oops. Oh well. They turned out OK-- we used them to make an enchilada pie in the crock pot. But they'll be even better next time :)


It is always so much fun to see how excited Pete gets about his "toys." I guess that's why I don't put up too much of a fight when he wants to buy something-- it's just as much fun for me to watch him as it is for him to use it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

My One Hundred

1. I hate feet. Especially toes.
2. I love to read. Anything.
3. I get addicted to TV shows, so I try to avoid them all together.
4. I still consider Amy and Lauren my best friends, even though they live on the other side of the country.
5. I talk in my sleep. To the point where I need to see a therapist.
6. I'm afraid to try new things because I won't know what I am doing.
7. I love learning new things. I would stay in school forever if I could. (I just might at this rate)
8. I'm that person in class who everyone hates because I ask ridiculous questions.
9. I have a very hard time saying "No."
10. I like to color code things (especially my closet).
11. My house is usually messy.
12. I like to pretend my house is usually clean when people come over.
13. I love running, but I hate the first two miles.
14. I want to grow up and be my big sister.
15. I want to slow down so I can be my little sister.
16. I'm turning into my mother, which I am secretly happy about.
17. I am definitely not ready to drive a mini van though.
18. I love being a stay at home mother.
19. I wish I could go to work somedays.
20. I think my favorite color is green, but most of my clothes are coral.
21. I love the smell of swiffers.
22. I'm super proud of my husband, but I don't tell him.
23. My father is the smartest person I know.
24. I have a certain pen to take notes with for each class. I will rewrite my notes if they are not in the right pen.
25. I pretend like I don't like to cook, but I secretly love being complimented on my meals.
26. I can't sleep without white noise.
27. My art teachers used to shake their heads and sigh when they saw my art... I'm hopeless.
28. I loved gym class.
29. I stalk people on blogs. Beware.
30. I've worked at the most random places ever.
31. I listen to NPR.
32. I need a blanket over me to sleep, even if it is hot out.
33. I'm usually the youngest of all my friends.
34. Newspapers give me headaches-- the smell, but sometimes the things in them too.
35. I make fun of Peter for being a news junkie, but I read the NYT behind his back everyday.
36. I don't tan.
37. I want to learn another language.
38. I've been through a lot more than you would imagine a little white girl from Pittsburgh has been through.
39. I have stubby thumbs.
40. I know a lot of random things, in a variety of different fields. And I have no idea where I learned most of it.
41. I try really hard for people to like me.
42. I think I am hysterical.
43. I can quote "Pride and Prejudice" off hand. But I liked "Mansfield Park" better.
44. I have a hard time making decisions.
45. I love the smell of an old book.
46. I don't like to ask for help.
47. I'm the only one of my siblings who attended the same school district K-12.
48. I LOVE the Steelers and I follow the NFL all season.
49. I think girls can play sports just as well as, if not better, than guys.
50. I have brown eyes.
51. I love Latin food.
52. People usually think I look about 4 years younger than I am. I figure this will come in handy someday.
53. I married at a very young age, but I wouldn't change it for the world.
54. I don't like to admit my mistakes.
55. I wish I had nicer wedding pictures.
56. I love living in Philadelphia, but Pittsburgh is where it's at!
57. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
58. I like to laugh at Mormon culture, even though that usually means laughing at myself.
59. I wish I were a photographer.
60. I think I have the cutest baby ever.
61. I love Root Beer.
62. I'm a closet fan of most YA novels.
63. I read Moby Dick in 6th grade.
64. I hate picking out my outfits. Peter won't do it for me.
65. I love tomato soup, but not such a huge fan of grilled cheese sandwiches.
66. I crack my knuckles.
67. I want to be a crazy person when I am older.
68. I absolutely LOVE my in-laws. They are the best. Seriously, you should all be jealous.
69. I made a New Year's Resolution to be nicer to my mother. I'm not always so good at keeping it.
70. I studied physics and astronomy at BYU.
71. I am getting my certification in high school science.
72. I have been enrolled in six colleges in the past three years.
73. I like to scrapbook.
74. I attempt to sew.
75. I don't know how to spell.
76. I have a zoo pass for my eight month old child. Because he really needs to go to the zoo.
77. I am now a "mom driving an SUV."
78. I like Obama.
79. I love double stuffed oreos, chocolate milk, pickles and cucumber-tomato salad... not all together though.
80. I have a ridiculous amount of Pittsburgh Pride.
81. I was born in West Virginia and proud of it.
82. I had to wear special shoes as a child because my feet pointed inward.
83. I think soup, salad and breadsticks at the Olive Garden is a quality date.
84. I love dirty, whole in the wall Chinese Food. The dirtier, the better.
85. My husband totally wears the pants in our relationship.
86. When Caleb was first born, I dressed him in ridiculous outfits--- one was a bear costume, but it was dang cute.
87. I wear crocs. I have two pairs. I don't care if you think they are ugly.
88. I like to make my husband paint our apartments for me.
89. I have kept a bamboo plant alive for two and a half years. This is a HUGE accomplishment.
90. I think MacGyver can solve all of life's problems with duck tape.
91. My husband doesn't want me to be making this list right now.
92. I like squished cars.
93. I only wear make-up for special occasions. Every so often I wear it for a few weeks in a row, but I always give up in the end.
94. I cannot dance.
95. I like to look cute, but fashion is generally lost on me.
96. I read Hollywood gossip magazines in the check out lanes at the grocery store.
97. I lost my engagement ring on the way home from the proposal. I found it though, no worries.
98. I want to live in Europe but my husband will never ever take me there.
99. I hate being tickled.
100. I love elephants.
:)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Doing Our Part

Some good friends of ours, Eric and Whitney, have been trying to adopt a baby for the past year. I was at the zoo today with Whitney and I had this overwhelming desire to grab a baby and give it to her. Since that is technically frowned upon, I figured I could help her out some other way.

If anyone you know is pregnant and considering adoption, please consider looking at their parent profile. You can also catch a glimpse of their life via their blog, http://culbie3.blogspot.com/

There is a link to their family profile on their blog. I cannot imagine what it would be like to give a child up for adoption-- but I do know that my biggest concern would revolve around finding the best family for my baby.

Eric and Whitney are some of the best parents I have ever seen. They have a beautiful four year old boy who challenges them with everything a four year old can throw at you-- and yet as I watch them teach him, I see their love and the desire they have for him to grow up into a strong, smart, polite young man. I see how they teach him not only HOW to behave, but WHY such behavior is necessary. I see the kind of parents I would want for my own child, if I could not do it myself.

I love them dearly. Spread the word.

AHH!

The past two days have been interesting. Caleb has been teething big time. Of course, since he is my child, he figures he should do it in some dramatic way. So it's not just one tooth coming in... or two or three or four. No. My child has five teeth coming in at one time. Needless to say our home has consisted of crying, teething rings, baby orajel, and of course, tylenol.

Someday soon I hope sleep is included in that list...

Monday, August 18, 2008