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

$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.


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.


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


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

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).


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.


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.


Thursday, September 4, 2008


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