Tuesday, November 29, 2005

How am I expected to work when things like THIS are on the web?
We are in the middle of an intervention. A TV intervention. Our darling two year old angel has figured out that begging for "Dora! Dora! Dora, mommy? Dora!" is an effective means for me to cave in about five minutes. This morning he looked up at me with his big blue eyes and sweetly asked, "Mommy, watch Bum Bop Quare Pant?" He had me pick him up last night to find the "Patrits" [sic] Christmas ornament on our tree and then wanted to know where "Bum Bop" was.

We definitely went from one extreme of "we shall *never* let our child watch TV!" to 50% of our TIVO season passes being comprised of Judah's shows. And he has mastered the TIVO...he knows we have recorded them and that if he presses the right button on the remote, his favorite characters will enter his living room world.

So far, we have compromised by letting him watch one hour's worth per day. We have done more art and played with more toys. But not one hour goes by that he doesn't stop what he's doing and announce, "Go downstairs and watch Dora and Little Einsteins."

Thank goodness that we're getting back on our schedule of school in the daytime (chock full of non-TV activities!), Tuesday music class and Saturday gymnastics. Holidays are tough on our system of keeping Judah focused on healthy activities.

The other hurdle is *EATING*. Judah is too busy to eat. No problem on pasta, bread and butter. He'll ask for chicken nuggets or hot dogs and then hand back his plate announcing, "All done!" as soon as it is served. Anything green? Forget it! Somehow, he is still growing. Can a child grow on corn, tomatoes, fruit, yogurt, butter and Ovaltine alone? I sure hope so.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Judah has been watching Little Einsteins, which recently debuted on the Disney Channel, for two weeks and already uses terms such as "accelerando" (gradually getting faster) and "retardando" (slower) when zooming his Thomas the Tank engines across the living room floor. He is very interactive with the show, telling us all about each part of the show...the animals, the transportation, the musical instruments, etc.

We enrolled him in The Little Gym and he's already tumbling, eager to walk the balance beam (but still demands we hold one hand), enjoys climbing and spinning around the parallel bars (with help). He climbed a playground ladder three days ago all by himself with us just spotting him in case he slipped. I am happy that he has developed the confidence to try these new things. I guess the only downside to his newfound agility is that he walked up the spiral slide lickety split and my heart didn't beat the entire time. He observes what bigger kids are doing and since they all walk up the slide, he worked at it until he figured it out for himself.

We've begun the process of touring area private schools. So much pressure! I am definnitely charmed by one school in particular and hope he gets accepted as it is not only a great experience for him as a student; it would be great for me as a parent. It would be a pleasure discussing what he is learning there. Plus, I would love volunteering as they have really fun field trips and other activities. I can volunteer to read to his class (which I love doing) and help with fundraising activities. I'm so ready for him to be in Pre-K. It will be great to watch him grow academically and socially.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Judah has been sleeping on a goosedown palette since April when we converted his 3-in-1 cherry sleigh crib to a daybed and he flat out refused to ever step foot in it again. We bought him the PBK Catalina toddler bed (in honey-colored wood, not white) this past Saturday and are transitioning gradually. The crib mattress is now on the floor and after a week (per my mom's advice), we will graduate him to the toddler bed. The only bummer about the toddler bed is that we can't sit in it with him to read bedtime stories (a very important part of our nighttime ritual).

Around 1am last night, he stirred and called for me. When I checked in on him, he asked if his Little People could sleep in his bed. I put one in with him, but he said, "more people." He slept with Cow, Horse, Pig, Bird, Girl, Boy, Lion, Bear and Elephant.

***Big news in my house*** We got TIVO yesterday. I feel re-engaged with pop culture. I will only watch shows after Judah goes to bed, but what a relief that CSI and Lost will always be there when I'm ready for them. The reason we got TIVO is that we don't really watch adult programming, except on Sundays when Poirot is on A&E and I'm tired of living vicariously through TWOP recaps.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Katie & Mom, circa 1974(ish). Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

I forgot to mention earlier that Judah sang Happy Birthday all the way home from the store. It went something like this...

Happy Birfday you
Happy Birfday you
Happy Birfday Mommy
Happy Birfday Daddy
Happy Birfday Miles
Happy Birfday Mike
Happy Birfday Potato

Potato is his new Mr. Potatohead. I taught him how to put Mr. Potatohead's arm up on top of his head and his lips where his arm should go.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

***WARNING: Straight-up Indelicate Poop Talk***

Judah was overtired tonight, most likely due to "Swim Tuesdays" at his daycare plus I took him book and grocery shopping tonight, so we retired early for clean-up and bedtime stories. We brushed teeth, washed hands and then I decided to take his diaper off while I went to use the potty. He followed me over and sat on his potty and told me the pee pee goes in the bowl and then "flushed" about 7 times (it's a battery-operated sound effect). He shifted off the seat and squatted beside his potty to "flush" some more and went poop on the floor.

During clean up, I transplanted the waste to his potty bowl (you know you're a mom when...) and told him "Poop goes in here." Then, we pulled the bowl off, dumped the contents into the grown-up potty, he contributed some toilet paper, I waved and said, "Bye bye poop!"

This experience made me face the #1 reason I feel ambivalent about potty training. I am such a pro at the thorough wipe down of Judah's bottom when he's on his back getting a diaper change. But I am extremely wipe-challenged when he is sitting on a potty. This concept of having to clean someone else's butt at a 45 degree angle has me all confused, particularly when he was trying to run away the entire time.

The whole episode concluded with an experiential lesson on the critical importance of post-potty hand washing with a Purell chaser.

New books purchased today: Toilet Training: The Brazelton Way (T. Berry rocks!) and Between Parent and Child : The Bestselling Classic That Revolutionized Parent-Child Communication by Dr. Haim G. Ginott, et al. My friend Morgan is moderating a summer parenting seminar on this book, so I wanted to go ahead and read it.

Breezy (Mom's Picassohead) Posted by Hello
Oh my Gosh. I will get nothing done today. This is more addicting than Virtual Bubble Wrap.

~*~*~Mr. Picassohead~*~*~

Monday, June 13, 2005

Potty Potty

Yesterday morning, Judah followed his daddy to the bathroom, pulled off his own diaper, pottied on the bathroom floor, then seconds later ran to the toilet to stand beside his daddy and potty some more on the floor by the toilet. I had originally decided to wait until August to potty train since I will be traveling with and without Judah for the whole month of July. It just seemed too chaotic and I want to be there by his side to cheer him through this experience.

My mom and grandmother determined that he was sending all the right signals of readiness and that I was possibly holding him back a bit. So, I decided to give it a go. We went to BRU tonight to buy the mother of all potties. The Totco (on recommendation from a playgroup friend). It is more than double the cost of most potties, but it truly looks like an adult potty-in-miniature with a handle that makes water flushing sound effects. The "tank" is an ingenious storage compartment with a toilet paper holder and an indention to fit a box of wipes.

Totco Potty Posted by Hello

Judah was in the bath tonight and as soon as I pulled the potty out of the box and placed it on the floor, he hopped out of the tub, plopped his dripping wet self down and said, "Pee Pee! Poo Poo!" A moment later, he got up, closed the bathroom door (this was *very* important to him) and went back to his potty seat. I sat down on the big kid's toilet and we talked about potties for less than two whole minutes before he looked down, said, "Mess! Messy!" and stood up to show that he had gone pee pee in the potty. Wow! That was even faster than the Dr. Phil Potty Train in One Day method. Of course, the proof will be in the pooping, so to speak. But, at least Judah seems to have the concept and mechanics down.

To celebrate, we cheered and danced around and then read "Once Upon a Potty" as one of our bedtime stories. I am really proud of him.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

I Miss You, Grandpop

I am listening to internet radio and Brick House by The Commodores is on. This song reminds me of my Grandpop. That may seem unusual to most people...why would a song about a lady who is stacked remind someone of their grandfather?

My Grandpop was the center of my universe in so many ways as a child. I was a latchkey kid and my grandparents lived on the same street, so I often made my way to his house after school where he would fix me an afternoon snack and we would watch Gilligan's Island or Ultraman together. I was a big fan of the salad bar at Pizza Hut in those days and he would take me there so I could load up on bacon bits (I *really* liked them) and he'd give me money for the jukebox. My favorite song for ages was Brick House and I would play it a lot.

The fact that my grandfather took the time to enter my "child's world" and respected my desire to eat a plate of bacon bits or play the same song over and over and over again while we talked about my day at school meant a lot to me.

I see some of the same qualities in my son that I admired in Grandpop. If he were still alive, I think he would be having the time of his life with Judah in his easy chair beside him poking out their tummies to see who had the bigger pot belly, like he did with me. He would admire the handful of acorns, grass blades and oak leaves that my son would bring to him as if they were three of the great wonders of the world. And best of all, they would laugh at each other's stories and enjoy the same charming sense of humor and charisma.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

"Mommy, look! Cow! Right there!" as Judah points at the sky.

He is in full-on imagination mode now. He points at the ceiling, at walls and at high rise buildings proclaiming cows, sharks, snakes and many other animals to be right there! It is great fun.

His language skills have become infinitely more complex in just the past week. This morning, I had to get ready for work, but for a few minutes I colored with him. When I finally had to get up to dry my hair, he looked at me, patted the chair and said, "Mommy, sit!" So, I sat again for a few more minutes. He announces when he has dropped food to the floor or spilled on his high chair tray, "Uh oh, it is messy!" and the best thing is that he sings songs. We don't understand everything he sings (things he learns at school), but I have figured out "Row Your Boat" and "Itsy Bitsy Spider". There is one song that has a hand-jive routine that he says, "See See Saw, See See Saw". Christy was over for dinner the other night and we are convinced it is a song he learned in Children's Chapel and he's really saying, "Jesus".

He had his first dentist appointment yesterday. No cavities! We've been pretty scrupulous about at least 1x (but usually 2x) per day brushing. He didn't put up too much fuss, either, though when Celeste tried to have him open his mouth to say "aaah", he pointed at her artwork and said, "Look, butterfly!" trying to distract her from what she was doing.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

I have just realized I left my wallet in the shopping cart at the grocery store yesterday afternoon. Miracle of miracles, it was turned in (cash intact). I can't believe it. Yesterday was indeed a weird day.
Yesterday was the longest and weirdest day ever.

The morning started off beautifully with Judah sleeping in until 8:30am (and his mommy, too!) We had a leisurely breakfast and then headed out for our favorite local nursery to plant shop. As soon as I paid for the plants and walked out of the store, Micheal came running to inform that the baby was locked in the car. The car keys had slipped out of his pocket while he was putting Judah in the carseat and our car locks keep scrambling and randomly self-locking at inappropriate times. Thank God, it wasn't a typical blazing hot June day. The weather was very overcast, which means that mere minutes after the baby was locked in (crying, hungry and with poopy pants that I had intended to change when I got to the car), the heavens opened and a flash flood/lightning storm ensued.

The employees at the nursery got very involved in trying to help resolve the situation, with one loaning a hammer and another kind soul fetching an umbrella for me ('cause I'm always so prepared, yo). Micheal & I stood outside the car as diagonal sheets of rain soaked us to the bone, praying we would not be electrocuted. The first locksmith we called said we needed to call 911 since a baby was involved. 911 said the fire department would have to come and they would break the glass. I was not in favor of this idea at all since Judah would be in the path of broken glass. Micheal told the operator to cancel the fire department call and that he would try another locksmith.

The nursery called a locksmith they use (who is free!) but it would be 25 minutes before they would arrive. Those long minutes were terrible, watching my baby boy cry hysterically and attempt to pull his buckles off his seat.

Twenty minutes later, we saw a fire truck come blazing down the road, sirens and all. The call came to them that a baby was abandoned in a locked car. Everybody stood around in the rain assessing the situation when finally the locksmith arrived and saved the day. We rushed home to get our bodies into warm clothes and put tea on to boil.

More fun happenings later in the day were that Judah was playing with a playground ball in the kitchen and suddenly flopped over for no reason and hit his forehead square on the corner of the kitchen island, leaving a vertical bruised welt down the right-of-center of his forehead. Then, later that evening, when Micheal was helping me bring groceries in from the car, we heard a "THUMP!" in the living room and then hysterical cries. We still don't know what happened, but there was no blood, nothing is broken and as Barney was on the TV, he stopped crying a couple minutes later so he could pay attention to Baby Bop.

One hour later, Judah was in the guest bathroom in our living room while we were cooking dinner. I heard him flush the toilet a couple times and Micheal said, "Please go check to make sure he's not flushing any toys." I walked in to find the toilet overflowing and water spilling all over the floor in a gush. Post-plunge, it seems to have been a surplus of toilet paper, but I'm sure there might have been a Lego involved. Who knows.

And, of course, once I had prepared a very healthy stir-fry dinner, he refused to eat one single bite. Asking for peanut butter, we made him a sandwich (protein is protein) where he ate maybe three bites and then used his elbows to mush the remaining sandwich into blobs.

It's days like this that you just want to hermit on your couch under a big blanket and not move for fear the sky will fall on your head.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

My new favorite word of the week is Lingweenie (n): a person incapable of producing neologisms.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Katie's A Slice of Heaven Risotto with Porcini

I made a divine risotto with porcini mushrooms tonight. Here is my recipe:

1.5 cups boiling water
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 cup risotto
1 teaspoon salt
Chicken stock

1) Place mushrooms in boiling water and set aside for 10 minutes (have munchies on hand as the rich smell of porcini mushrooms will make your taste buds water like crazy)
2) In a skillet, saute onion and garlic in olive oil. Add oregano when onions are slightly brown
3) Strain mushrooms and reserve liquid
4) Add enough chicken stock to reserve liquid to equal 2.5 cups liquid (about 1 cup)
5) Combine all ingredients in stock pot and cook 20 minutes, constantly stirring to allow risotto to soak up broth

I want to point out that this is not really the proper way to cook risotto, and I am lucky that it turned out perfectly al dente and not crunchy. Proper risotto cooking requires adding broth a little at a time, stirring to allow risotto to soak up the liquid before adding more. I am nothing if not impatient and lazy, so I just threw it all in the stock pot and hoped for the best.

I also made garlic pesto chicken and soaked some gigantic cherry tomatoes in balsamic vinegar and olive oil. I served fresh baked pagnotta bread with butter and a bottle of 2003 Canaletto Pinot Grigio (a delicious wine for summer evenings).

Judah is still under the weather...feverish and demanding to see Finding Nemo for the eleven-millionth time. "Nino! I'm Nino!" "Shark!" "Whale!" "Turtle!" "More Nino!" Today was a very TV-intensive day, which I allowed only because it keeps Judah from fanning around and allows him to convalesce peacefully.

I managed to get out around 2pm to go vote in a local election, shop at the bookstore (I got "The Loved One" by Evelyn Waugh...one of my favorite authors and a new summer "beach book" -- Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination by Helen Fielding) and run by the market to pick up everything for tonight's dinner. I stopped by the liquor store to get rum and made it home 10 minutes before the start of the 131th Kentucky Derby. Judah and I wore hats (his daddy didn't want to participate in my silliness) and I made mojitos after thinking about how much I really hate mint juleps -- I had them at Churchill Downs during Derby Week a few years ago and once you've had about three of them they finally start to taste edible, but I decided that rather than punish myself in the name of tradition, I'd make something Latin and delish. My favorite horse this year, Afleet Alex, placed. There are two more races in the Triple Crown. Go, Alex, Go!

Friday, May 06, 2005

Judah woke up at 4:30am vomiting all over our bed. It followed a half hour later by more vomiting and then in the morning twice more.

Mother & Child Posted by Hello

Mother's Day is this Sunday. I realized that sitting with your two-year old son folded up in your arms at 5 o'clock in the morning, not minding for one second that he still has a piece of residual barf stuck in his hair, and mainly worried about how scary the experience must have been for him, that this is the stuff of motherhood. No Hallmark card or FTD arrangement could ever replace those precious moments when your child is frightened and your arms are the sole comfort he seeks.

We had a little chat today about vomiting and how it is a natural process that the body has of eliminating the bad things in your tummy. I think he felt better knowing that we didn't mind that he got sick. We told him, "It's OK, honey, these things happen sometimes."

I fed him a lunch of chicken soup with rice (which was easy to get him to try since one of his favorite books is "Chicken Soup with Rice" by Maurice Sendak). He has kept it down so far. He took his nap at 3pm and is still asleep (it's now 7pm.) Yikes...we're in for a long night.

This story - Student Suspended Over Call to Mom in Iraq - made me so damn mad that I wrote a letter of complaint to the principal and assistant principal which in short was a "shame on you". Being the wife of a war veteran, I can vividly remember the long stretches of time between letters and phone calls and how stressful it was wondering how Micheal was doing and if he was even alive. So, here a mother who is deployed to Iraq calls her son during lunch hour and is told to hang up on her. Bollocks!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

I haven't written down words that Judah has added to his vocabulary in a while. He's talking up a storm! Yesterday, he took his Daddy by the hand and walked him around the classroom telling him the names of his classmates. He also says his Daddy's name, 'Micheal'. Many of the words he previously said are now more correctly pronounced (like milk, turtle and horse).

  1. Alektra - Alekta
  2. alligator - ah gee
  3. Art - Aht
  4. Bambi
  5. Bear
  6. Bee - Bee, Bzzz
  7. Book
  8. Bug
  9. Burrito - Boo-ee-toe
  10. Butterfly - Buff-lie
  11. Candy
  12. Diaper - Dye-puh
  13. Dragon - Dwagon
  14. Duck
  15. Easel
  16. Elephant - effant
  17. Elmo
  18. Feet
  19. Fish
  20. Flower - flow uh (and always smells it or "sniffs" if just talking about flowers)
  21. Frog
  22. Gnome
  23. Micheal
  24. Miles - Mise
  25. Monkey
  26. Moona (as in "moon" and "luna")
  27. Mouse
  28. Nap Mat
  29. Nemo - Nino
  30. Otter
  31. Pancake
  32. Pee Pee
  33. Penguin - Ping in
  34. People
  35. Pig - kig oink oink
  36. Play
  37. Poo Poo - Poo Poot "I Poo Poot!"
  38. Potty
  39. Puppy
  40. Rabbit
  41. Shark
  42. Sherry
  43. Shirt - Shuht
  44. Shoes
  45. Shopping
  46. Snack
  47. Socks
  48. Squirrel
  49. Story
  50. Tomato - ah mayto
  51. Tree
  52. Truck
  53. Valerie

The Artist Posted by Hello
In the *cutest thing ever* category, Judah (who is sleeping between us in bed tonight) just pointed at the ceiling and said, "People!" When I looked at him, his eyes were closed. He rolled over onto his belly and I realized that he was talking in his sleep!
Judah just woke up a few minutes ago in his own bed crying for rescue. This is a nightly occurence and means that when I fetch him, he's already standing in his bed with blanket & "crib friend" (various stuffed animal) ready to come to our bed. He isn't adjusting to his daybed at all. We removed the front crib rail (is a convertible 3-in-1) but didn't know that we should discuss it with him for some time prior to actually doing it, so our process may have been too abrupt and traumatic. His daybed has been assembled since around 15 April and he has only slept in it twice for naptime and has made it about 4 hours straight at night. He absolutely refuses to start sleeping there and we have to put him down on a palette on his floor or else start in our bed and move him once he's asleep. Then, we wait for the middle of the night "Mommeeeeeee! Daddeeeeeeee!" followed by hysterical crying.

Further keeping us on our toes, we have tried to give him a bath twice this week. Bathtime has always been his favorite activity, so much so that he stays in there until he's a raisin and would get really upset about having to get out of the tub. Now, he refuses to get in. I gave him a quick & dirty on Sunday night where he just stood there refusing to sit in the water and begging me to pull him out. I chalked it up to a long travel day back from Gran's and that he was just overtired. Then, last night the same thing happened. It was very upsetting for all three of us. When Micheal closed the bathroom door, leaving Judah and me, he ran to the door crying and chanting, "No!" Tears poured down his face. He had played at the park and eaten Pad Thai for dinner, and has developed what might be athlete's foot on his toes (peeling?), so we were determined that he would take a bath.

The entire time, he cried, refused to sit in the water, hugged Micheal (who was kneeling beside the tub) begging, "No, Daddy! No!" and even when I got in the tub with him, he still clung for dear life to his daddy. So, we did another quick & dirty and he was perfectly fine once we got him in bed for storytime.

We consulted the "What to Expect" book and it said that it could be either normal two-year old assertion of independence by rejecting things or that he is associating some sort of scary incident (hit his head in the tub, went under water, etc.) and is afraid of the bath. But, it clearly states that until he is ready for a bath again, we have to go the sponge-bath route or else risk permanently traumatizing him by forcing him into the tub (which we did last night before we read the article, so we suck.) All I know is that before our vacation, he LOVED bathtime, and now it's the complete opposite. Maybe vacation away from him is not a good idea at this age.

This two-year old thing is hard!

So, to add to our week of parenthood quandaries, Judah's toes are peeling. His toes looked a little blistered when we retrieved him on Sunday and we figured it was that he had outgrown his shoes, so we bought him some bigger ones. Now, all ten digits are peeling like mad and he has been very fussy about it saying, "Feet! Boo Boo!" and showing us. I looked it up on the web just now and it is either athlete's foot or "toe box dermatitis", which are both caused by moisture yet one is a fungus and the other an irritation. He was mucking about on the ranch last week and may have been in shoes more frequently than normal (he's pretty much always barefoot at home). He also has an ingrown toenail that looks pretty brutal. So, I guess we're off to the pediatrician again. In the meantime, we covered his feet in Tinactin at bedtime.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Micheal & I arrived in Puerto Vallarta at noon yesterday and immediately ventured out to explore our neighborhood and some local comida. We had a great lunch at a little outdoor restaurant called Tacos & Beer with amazing tacos al pastor and ice-cold cervezas.

Then, we retreated to Nikki Beach, a global hotspot spawned from Miami Beach where chill electronica such as Dzihan & Kamien pulsated from speakers perched on palm trees. We lounged on large white platform beds filled with pillows and cabana boys brought us mojitos. A mid-20s group of gorgeous young things from the UK lounged nearby and three older gents sought refuge under the thatched roof pavilion bar in captain's chairs. Wooden trays perched on the sofas held our cocktails and in the evening, hurricane lamps were placed on the trays for ambience.

For dinner, we went to De Santos, a trendy lounge bar/restaurant with Mediterranean cuisine, Sade-inspired jazz and romantic candlelit lighting. Micheal had mahi mahi with mint and lime and I had lobster ravioli. For a nightcap, we had the most deliciously prepared Cafe Mexicano - a large cup of coffee with a small snifter-full of Jose Cuervo Tradicional (Anejo) tequila ignited and poured, topped with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. Smooth and sweet...and the tequila warmed our bellies quite nicely.

I feel so at home whenever I am in Mexico and we are talking seriously about buying a vacation home here in a few years and making this an annual retreat. We also decided to spend Judah's third birthday here. He would absolutely love it.

We will board our ship in a couple hours, so I may not be able to post for a few days. We truly wish we could stay in PV. The tranquil pace, music and food are the siren's call for our adventurous souls.

Mojitos on Nikki Beach Posted by Hello

Lounging platforms @ Nikki Beach Posted by Hello

Tacos & Beer @ Tacos & Beer Posted by Hello

View From Our Balcony in Puerto Vallarta Posted by Hello

Monday, April 25, 2005

I have just returned from Panama. I went with a colleague to do a site inspection at a resort where we plan to have our summer retreat. It was a whirlwind trip. I arrived midday on Thursday and flew home Friday night. However, we managed to tour the resort, eat two sumptuous meals, tour the Miraflores Locks, Old Panama, and see a bit of the city before I came back home.

This is the second time I have been to Panama, but the first time I have ventured outside the city.

With barely time to unpack, I am already packing once more as Micheal & I are leaving for a four day cruise tomorrow on Holland America Line's Oosterdam from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to San Diego. We met Micheal's mom early this morning midway between home and the ranch where Judah will spend the week. He got to feed cows today (one of his favorite activities). I miss him like crazy and couldn't really focus the rest of the day, but I know he's having a blast with his Gran & Papa and we will enjoy ourselves.

I just added an Audioblogger feature, so if I am able to dial in, we may post an audio greeting here during our journey. I figure if Gavin Bates can post from Mount Everest, I should be able to get something in via the Pacific Ocean, right?

Thursday, April 14, 2005

I am in Phoenix for the next two days. I flew out tonight and as soon as I settled myself into my seat, buckled up and pulled out my knitting, I started praying the standard passenger prayer...maybe the seat to the left of me might remain vacant. It was not to be. A Birkie-clad guy in his early 20s scooched in beside me two minutes before boarding ended. Drat.

Not five seconds after his buns began warming his seat, "Hey, there...whatcha makin'?"

Jeez. Let me first lay out my general friendly disposition on airplanes:

-Fact #1: I have traveled to 14 countries...some multiple times. If you tell me a story, I've probably already been subjected to it before by that other guy on the way to Chile.
-Fact #2: I have a two-year old. I need "me time".
-Fact #3: I have been knitting this damn blanket for 6 months and would like to finish it.
-Fact #4: I once carried a Bible onto an airplane so people wouldn't talk to me.

Unfortunately, despite all of the above, I have SUCKER invisibly tattooed on my forehead and before I know it, I have a new PLANE FRIEND.

Plane Friend (plAn-frend), n: A person who will tell you their whole life story, including any childhood diseases between take-off and landing, though you never find out their name.

This guy was really nice, thankfully. He was a med student who talked to me about new frontiers in medicine (of which I know enough to keep up) and I realized that sometimes plane friends aren't a bad thing (unlike the plane friend I made en route to Honduras who began a narrative about the plane graveyard down below while we positioned for landing. Apparently, [according to him], only two pilots are licensed in the Western Hemisphere to land the plane I was on in Tegucigalpa due to the fact that it has to wedge its wings between two mountains to make the landing strip. Thanks, bad - but super-informative - plane friend!)

I am staying here for the next two nights. It's PRETTY. It has great Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, a warm Arizona breeze, and cute little Adirondack chairs for tots. There was a lovely couple approximately my grandparents' age - who were cuddled up in front of a firepit on Adirondacks near my hotel room tonight.

I had dinner and wine with two friends and now I'm going to stretch out, relax and enjoy the breeze coming through my open patio door.

Friday, April 08, 2005

My little man Judah turned two years old today. I knew he was no longer my little baby when I received my weekly e-mailed informational newsletter from Babycenter.com and the subject was "Your Preschooler: 2 Year Old" (up to now, it's been "Your Toddler: 23 Month, 2 Week"). But preschooler? Sigh.

Birthday Boy Driving Tractor Posted by Hello

We spent his birthday at the ranch where he rode a horse, a four-wheeler, a couple of tractors and fed the cows. He is so blissfully happy whenever we go there and I think it is primarily because he has no boundaries and can muck about the land having fun adventures. Being with family for his special day meant a lot to us. His grandma "Ebie" came from NC to spend the week with us. He and his cousin Larson, who is 8 months older, are starting to play well together. There is the occasional sharing dispute, but by and large, they are more curious about each other and will probably grow to be chums as they get past their toddler years.

Two years of our lives as parents have sped by and all I can say is they are the most blessed days. There really is nothing quite like having a child.

Happy Birthday, Judah Bear. I love you more and more each day.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Anemone by Judah (2005) Posted by Hello

Two nights ago, I cut a couple kitchen sponges into fish shapes and laid out finger paints and crayons for Judah. We had a really great time painting, talking and laughing. Here is one of Judah's original works of art. He really enjoyed smearing the paint with his hands and when it was complete, I thought it looked a lot like fish swimming above sea anemone.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Must. Make. These. Turkish Slippers.

My Gangy (great-grandmother) crocheted hundreds of slippers for family members and every Christmas we would be given bags full to choose our favorite color combos. Every pair of mine now have big, gaping holes in the soles and now that I am a bonafide knitter, I want to make slippers for the whole family. I am anxious to buy the Simple Crochet book, so that I can crochet these lovely Turkish slippers, which are very aesthetically pleasing to me.

But first, I must finish my super top-secret gifty that I am making for a dear friend, which is taking 4-evah!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Judah is such a peach. I don't know how I could possibly love him any more than I already do, but then he'll do something new or funny or unexpected and I marvel at how this little man entered my life and rocked my world in such an absolutely amazing way. Micheal had a meeting at church, so Judah and I spent an hour in a local tea shop enjoying a snack and me relaxing with a cup of black tea/darjeeling with toffee bits melted in. He sat in my lap chatting about "cups" and "hot tea". On the way out, he saw the moon and said, "Bye Bye Moona!" This is a combination of the English moon and Spanish luna.

Judah also hit a major milestone today. Since he turns two years old in a couple weeks, I decided to start discussing the potty with him - casually at first, but starting to bring it up more frequently. I don't want to pressure him to potty train yet for two important reasons: 1) he was a preemie, so he has an extra 'grace' period, and 2) he isn't exhibiting all the classic signs of readiness quite yet, though he is doing things like being extremely fastidious and being on a very predictable poop schedule. About three days ago, I started asking him each time he pooped if he had done so, while patting my behind. Within one day, he was repeating me and I would say, "Go tell Daddy." He would go into the living room and pat his behind saying, "Daddy, I pooped." This afternoon, he patted his behind and informed me, "Mommy, I pooped. I pooped, Mommy." I patted his pants and couldn't feel anything. "No, honey, you haven't pooped. Maybe you pottied?" I proceeded to tell him that potty is in the front and poop is in the back. He started crying and insisted, "Mommy, I pooped. Poo poo." Still not feeling anything in the trunk, I just let it go, because I didn't want to hurt his feelings. Then, five minutes later, he pooped. He gave me advance warning! What a major accomplishment! He is becoming aware of his bodily functions!

The Saga of the Boo Boo
On Friday, I opened the Lazy Susan so Judah could play with the cooking pots. He accidentally dropped a copper lid on his toe. It hit at an angle that left me wondering if he might have broken his toe as he screamed bloody murder. He got a nasty scrape and I learned that bandaids don't come in small enough sizes and that kids don't like bandaids put on toes, even if they have Spongebob Squarepants printed on them. I figured that once the crying had subsided, the antibiotic ointment had been applied and a lot of kisses has been dispensed, he would feel better about things.

Apparently not.

Since Friday, he will be playing, relaxing and eating when every once in a while, he remembers his toe got hurt and will point at it saying, "Boo boo, kissy. Boo boo!" (usually involves crying or major whining). Then, he sticks his foot up to your face expecting it to be kissed. Sometimes he puts the opposite foot up for kissing and we have to remind him that his boo boo is on the other foot. Tonight on the way home, he informed us, "Boo boo, shoe, kissy."

Hot Zone (...and I don't mean Hi-Wi)
Micheal brought me a note today from daycare that one of Judah's classmates got a staph infection, so I pulled him out of school within the hour. I really don't want him to go back, but his pediatrician said it should be fine and that we just need to check him over really well for any non-healing sores or pimples that crop up. I had an 18 year-old cousin die when he was in college from a scratch that got infected. My mom said it was a staph infection, but I had thought it was a strep strain called necrotizing fasciitis. It has been so long that I can't remember, but no matter...I don't want Judah coming down with anything.

Dumb Things I Do Sometimes
Micheal's dad and sister came up this past weekend for a volleyball tournament. We gave them our bed and made a pallet on Judah's floor. Around 3am, Jude woke up and started crying, so in a fog, I reached in between two crib slats and pulled a blanket up around him, reinserted his "wowie" (pacie) and as I pulled my arm out, it got stuck at the elbow. I have put my arms through the crib slats hundreds of times, but it was not budging. Now, at 3am, when you're disoriented and you're in a "tricky pickle" (as my friend Heather calls difficult situations), and well, you're ME, you start thinking of all the possible extreme outcomes.

  1. I will be stuck here forever and Micheal will have to spoon feed me.
  2. We will have to call the fire department.
  3. Someone will have to saw through the slats to free me, destroying my son's divinely lovely Chris Madden $500 cherry sleigh crib.
  4. Save the crib! Amputate the arm!

After about 10 minutes of sitting there contemplating the fact that I might have to ask someone for help, I finally got the nerve to wake my husband. "Honey, get the Vaseline. I'm stuck in the crib." Micheal, being a good person, got up, brought the Vaseline and just as he was about to pitch in, I raised my arm higher and higher trying different spots in the slats for a wider spread. My arm finally came out on its own! Hoorah!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Bill and Ted's (Not So) Excellent NCAA Adventure

I tuned in via Yahoo Sports to the live audio feed of the Penn v. Boston College game at about 2:38p ET. The game was scheduled to start at 2:55p. So, apparently the play-by-play announcer didn't know it was live on the air already and was griping out the control booth because they said they wouldn't start the broadcast feed until 2:58p. He said, "Well, if you guys want to miss the tip-off, that's your problem, but you've been late all year. I mean, you know, the game is going to start at 2:55 and you're going to be late." He went on and on and on chewing them a new one. They must've realized he was being broadcast on the internet, b/c it suddenly went quiet.

Sure enough, despite his griping, they started broadcasting promptly at 2:58p and not a minute sooner. The play-by-play voices sounded like different (new) people who are named "Bill" and "Ted". Not sure who the other guy was or if he still has a job after that little episode.
I haven't posted in a couple weeks because the conference I worked at in D.C. took about 18 hours of my life each day that I was there and now that I am home, I have been spending all of my time with my family. The weather was gorgeous last weekend, so Judah and I went to the park about four times. He is such a brave little boy, particularly loving the "big kids" spiral slide - a very heart attack inducing thing for his mommy!

The highlight of my week during the conference was escorting Senator Barack Obama to the stage where he was interviewed by Campbell Brown during our one-day educational summit.

Senator Barack Obama  ©2005 by Teri Sobel Posted by Hello

Because he was the first speaker and had a tight turn before he had to leave for Capital Hill, there was no photo opportunity for me and I was so worried about observing proper protocol, that I didn't dare ask. I led him from the front door of the Hyatt down an elevator, through the side corridors of the ballroom and to the back stage. I also led him back out once his interview was over, but I can say one thing for certain. In that 15 minute period of my life, I felt the charismatic aura of this great man and I believe with all my heart and soul that he is destined for great things (I can only hope he runs for U.S. President someday!)

For the next few weeks, I will be quite predictably tuned in to all things NCAA. If anyone has anything to say to me, they will have to wait between game time. Because March Madness has descended upon my household and has once again taken charge of my soul. (Go Duke Blue Devils!).

Saturday, February 26, 2005

I arrived in Washington, DC earlier tonight. It's very cold outside, but quite lovely. I haven't been here for a couple years. I flew in to Reagan National because I always enjoy driving past the Jefferson Memorial on my way into the city. It's my favorite of all buildings. Since this whole week will be extremely hectic, I decided it was important to keep a good sense of humor...a little pet project to keep my mind off of this behemoth conference.

Judah received a traveling gnome in his stocking this past Christmas. Up until now, he's been traveling around in the car, but had not gone on a trip. So, I packed him up in my suitcase and here he is on his first night in D.C. As you can see, he fancies 800 count pima cotton bedding and presidential biographies.

Gnome Gets Settled in DC Hotel Posted by Hello

Micheal will be taking Judah to his Gran's house tomorrow. A whole week on the ranch to play with the cows, horses and dogs. One of his favorite activities is riding around on the tractor. Micheal will be joining me in a couple days on his birthday.

I'm always so wound up my first few nights in a hotel. I should be sleeping right now, but I am wide awake. So much in my brain -- room set-ups, audio/visual, logistics, logistics, logistics.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

I am pulling a work late nighter, listening to the Gospel station on Yahoo!LaunchCast. "Hosanna" by Kirk Franklin is playing. That man pulls me right out of my shoes with his absolutely stunning, powerful voice. He's got pipes like Teddy Pendergrass!

I listen to gospel music sometimes when I need a bit of a lift. Kirk always does it for me. A very special reason that I adore him, besides the fact that he is from Fort Worth, is that about four months ago, Micheal bumped into him in Judah's doctor's office and Kirk blessed my son.

Judah's new words this week:
  • Pasta
  • Work
  • Sandwich

I leave in just a few days for Washington, D.C. It is going to nearly kill me to be away from my son, and thank God I see Micheal for part of that time since he'll be with me for about 2 days. Judah is going to the ranch to stay with his Gran. I think this time it will be especially difficult since he has been sick a lot and has been home with me nearly all the time. He's my little buddy and it is going to be tough leaving him. NINE DAYS AWAY FROM MY BABY! Ugh.

So, today, I was getting Judah ready for daycare when he got this peculiar look on his face. I felt him tighten up, and so I flipped him over and he vomited his entire breakfast. Fortunately, I had laid my bathrobe out on the ottoman under him, so it caught everything, but he freaked out when he saw what he had done. Vomiting is so scary, not matter how old you are. He has been barfing for a couple days now. No fever, just congestion and recovering from pinkeye. All systems normal, basically, except for that one thing. He threw up on the way to church on Sunday (so we didn't go). We thought it was because he drank a whole bottle of water within 5 minutes. Then, he did it again Sunday night after playing in the park with his friend Miles.

It hasn't happened again since breakfast even after eating a bunch of Kashi crackers, jello and two cheese sticks for snack and pasta, tomatoes and buttered bread for lunch.

The weather is about 80F, so we spent some time outside. He likes to put this flowerpot riser on his head and wear it like a halo. Here is a picture of him wandering around the garden with his halo on (see how cool it looks with the sun shining on him? It was a fitting effect.)

Saint Jude Posted by Hello

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Our sweet child has pinkeye. He managed to be 100% healthy for...oh...one week! Last night he came home with red, glassy eyes and this morning had eyelashes covered in crust. He stayed home with me and we had an "all pajama" day.

His appetite has been voracious this past week. He has to be experiencing another growth spurt. I have been giving him extra snacks to keep him full. He now likes to pull up his shirt and pat his belly. This is something I used to do when I was little. I would curl up beside my Grandpop in his easy chair and we'd compare who had a bigger pot belly.

Judah with Electric Hair Posted by Hello

Judah's new words of the week:

  • Hahpoo ("Harper", a very pretty blonde girl in his class who giggled with him through naptime last Friday)
  • Night-night (when he wants to go to bed)

I found out today that my pregnant sister-in-law, who is due in July, is having another boy. The name they are considering at present is "Rope".

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

It just isn't a real visit to California without a car chase!

I am watching a car chase on the O.C. evening news that has been going on for 1:25 hours. It is rumored to be a shooting incident and the victim is in the trunk of the car on the phone with 911. This all started in Koreatown. He's was on the 5 Freeway going about 100mph, but now got stuck on residential streets, so he's only going about 40 mph and I guess if he wants to make a clean getaway, he needs to figure out how to get back on the 5. I guess the LAPD can't take him down since there's a victim in the trunk.

It just cracks me up that there are so many car chases in the Los Angeles metro area. It seems to be a favorite pasttime as the news anchors are giving all sorts of little factoids about how the police and public "typically" respond to these chases. They're saying things like, "Well, typically the chase only lasts for a short time as the car runs out of gas" or "this isn't the way we usually see this done." They are offering up all these little factoids like this happens every day.

I wish this guy would run out of petrol so I could go to bed! I want to see how it all turns out.

Update: The driver just went into a neighborhood and got blocked in on a cul-du-sac with a big fishing boat parked in the way. They checked the trunk and there was no victim. There were about 30 LAPD officers and they pulled the guy's pants down around his knees so he couldn't run. This guy is toast! But, wait....who was on the phone with 911???

Monday, February 07, 2005

It was bound to happen eventually. Judah likes to take the cordless phone and "call people" (he is typically calling some random sequence of numbers that don't actually dial out and will chatter away at the dial tone or busy signal). He really uses his imagination and has conversations that last five or more minutes that include "Hello, yeah, {{{gibberish}}}, OK, Bye!". I encourage him to do this because he is starting to speak to his Grandma and Grandpa when they are on the other end now.

So, today Judah finally pushed the buttons I've hoped he'd avoid. He called "9-1-1-1-1-1-#". I could hear the phone ring, so thought he had hit the redial by accident. Imagine my horror at what I saw on the display. Sure enough, two seconds later, emergency services called to ask if everything was okay. How embarrassing! (I wonder if this happens a lot?)

I just wrote to my 2nd cousin, whose infant son had to have surgery to repair his saggital suture (it fused too early), a condition called scaphocephaly (a type of craniosynostosis). He has a big zig-zag scar from ear-to-ear across the top of his head and was just fitted for a cranial orthotic helmet to reshape his head. My son had to wear two DOCbands for four months each for plagiocephaly. Luckily, our insurance covered both bands. Hers denied the claim and so I just spent the last hour researching the status of a bill that had been introduced to the 108th Congressional session - S. 977 - which in a nutshell was introduced in hopes that insurance companies would be required to cover procedures to correct congenital deformities in a minor child. (The bill has been sent to a committee and apparently deferred). I feel so horrible for her (and angry!) because it is hard enough to be a new parent, much less go through all of this.

In other news, our car died this past week and we just got it back on Friday night. I am so traumatized by my finances right now, but can only buckle down, be money smart and hope for the best.

Micheal went bowling with his men's church fellowship group on Friday night. Judah & I played with Weebles, his abacus and trains while watching the Counting Crows on Direct TV "Freeview". I am not a fan of theirs...they don't bother me one way or the other, but he loved the mandolins, etc., so I kept it on for him. Saturday morning, I met a few moms from playgroup at a local tea shop for our "Sad Sisters Sewing Circle" (we meet to knit, talk and have tea & scones while our children are home with their daddies). Saturday night, we went to our friend Mimi's birthday party. It was a great party, only I had to be home by 11pm, so I could put Judah to bed. I was happy to see my friends, especially since we never get together very much anymore. Stephan Pyles, one of the greatest chefs in the nation, and highly regarded for his Southwest style cuisine, was at the party. My old friend Peter was bartending, which was a surprise to bump into him. He runs a catering business and was hired by the party hosts. Today, I slept in and then went to church to teach Sunday School. Today's lesson was "People Love Me" and we talked to the kids about unconditional love. We read The Runaway Bunny and then they made construction paper bunny ear hats to wear home.

I am leaving for a trip to Newport Beach, CA tomorrow to facilitate a strategic planning session for 15 CEOs. I haven't had a lot of time to prepare for this, so it will be 75% "winging it". I've done four others, though, so I think I can handle it. I'm working all the time and it's wearing me out. I can't wait for March 8, which will be the day after our last big conference ends and I can take a vacation for a few days to unwind and plan my department retreat which will be in Puerto Rico for 8-10 days in July.

I hate leaving my family tomorrow. I get really depressed when I am away from Judah. It's just not natural for a mommy to be away from her child.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Judah is sick. He's been running a fever of around 101.5 since Saturday. It dropped to 98.9 this morning, only to spike at 102.5 this afternoon. I work at home on Mondays & Wednesdays, and today had two very big deadlines to meet -- both have been put on hold as I got nothing done at all. I kept him home from daycare so he could relax a bit. He was extra-cuddly this morning, but by midday was a ball of energy and hasn't stopped moving since, despite fever and a deepening croupy cough.

Things that made parenting tough today:
  • Judah wouldn't eat or drink
  • He tossed his blocks, Weebles and coloring book pages all over the house. I would clean them up only to have him right behind me scattering everything out again
  • I walked out of the room for a few minutes only to come back to see he had colored on the walls with blue and yellow crayon
  • He stood up on the ottoman and nearly fell off it seconds later
  • He's been loose in the caboose for two days, so the minute I change a diaper, it's time to do it again
  • Micheal worked all day and has school until 10pm tonight

Judah started saying new words this weekend. "Jay Jay" (Jay Jay the Jet Plane), "Christy" (pronounces it "Shis-tee"), "No Judah", "Bob" (Bob the Builder) and "Fish". I've also been quizzing him on his sign language comprehension by having conversations with him where I am signing but not speaking the word. I signed "apple" and he said, "apple". Same for "ice cream."

Friday, January 21, 2005


And so it begins. Judah has been saying "no" for a couple months, but now it is being used constantly, and not always appropriately. He'll say "no" for any reason, such as the following:

  • I have five minutes to get to work in another city and I still have to get him dressed
  • It's time to eat vegetables (he also hands them back to us and says, "Thank You!")
  • His nose needs to be blown
  • We have to stop at a red light
  • We are all just sitting there, doing absolutely nothing and he just yells, "NO!!!!!"

Power struggles in toddlerhood revolve around food, clothing and toilet/diapering. You gotta grab whatever power you can get when everyone else is three feet taller than you are.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

This past Tuesday night, Micheal, Judah & I went to a lecture given by Craig and Marc Kielburger who founded Free the Children, which is according to their web site, "...an international network of children helping children at a local, national and international level through representation, leadership and action. It was founded by Craig Kielburger in 1995, when he was 12 years old. The primary goal of the organization is not only to free children from poverty and exploitation, but to also free children and young people from the idea that they are powerless to bring about positive social change and to improve the lives of their peers." I had seen Craig speak in London last year at an educational summit where other speakers were Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah, Sir Ken Robinson, Mary Robinson (former President of Ireland) and Taddy Blecher.

Craig and Marc, at such a young age, (Craig is 22!), have already been nominated for three Nobel Peace Prizes, have met and worked with the likes of Nelson Mandela and the Mother Teresa and now their foundation has been named as part of Oprah Winfrey's Angel Network and they are currently leading efforts in SE Asia for tsunami relief.

Monday, January 17, 2005

I teach three year olds on Sundays at church. Yesterday, our class topic was "I Can Taste". As Unitarian Universalists, we celebrate diversity and by exploring the differences and similarities in each person, the children learn to appreciate and respect all walks of life.

Usually, we begin our class by walking to the children's chapel (the adults are in the main sanctuary). There, the children - ages 3 to sixth grade - join for 15 minutes each Sunday to speak the affirmation of the church, hear a story and sing a song before returning to their classrooms for their religious education "RE".

Our Director of RE, Karen, who is about the same age as my parents, told the children a story about how, when she was a little girl, people called those with dark skin "Negroes", "Colored People" or sometimes very bad names. She asked the children if any of them had ever gone to the State Fair and after riding the rides and having food and drink felt they needed to go potty? She went on to ask, "Have you ever had to stand in a long line to go potty?" and "Can you imagine if the bathrooms were really far away, on the other side of the fairgrounds and you had to walk a long way to get there?" Many children nodded in agreement. She then held up two metal signs: "Colored Men" and "Colored Women" and explained that when she was little, people with dark skin had to use a different bathroom than white people. She told a story of how negroes cleaned her house and mowed her lawn, and though she thought they were very nice, she didn't really know them. She also didn't know of inequality as this was just the way things were back then.

She then told the children of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the many things he did to promote civil rights. She explained how it was such a frightening time for everyone and that some who were afraid of the many changes acted violently toward others and some people died. One day, her mother told her that they were going to march in the streets in support of civil rights. It was to be a peaceful and silent march. She said she had never been in that particular neighborhood before and as they were walking, she would look up at her mom and ask questions such as, "Hey mommy, what's that building over there?", etc. Finally, after several questions, which as with all children, were getting louder and louder, a black man somewhere in the mass of people called out to her, "Little girl. You must be quiet." This, she said, was the first time a black man had ever told her what to do. She knew at such a tender age, that this was different and meant something. She did not say a word for the rest of the march.

At the end of this story, Karen made a request of the children. "I would like to try an experiment. Can each group walk back to your classrooms, but this time, walk in silence?" Then, she along with other adults in the room who were old enough to remember those turbulent times, began singing "We Shall Overcome".

We shall overcome, we shall overcome,
We shall overcome some day,
Oh deep in my heart
I do believe
That we shall overcome some day.

We will walk in hand, we will walk in hand,
We will walk in hand some day,
Oh deep in my heart
I do believe
That we shall overcome some day.

Lyrics derived from Charles Tindley's gospel song "I'll Overcome Some Day" (1900).

Of course, by this time, I was a total wreck and thanking God that I had worn waterproof mascara. We teachers led the children back, hand-in-hand to the classrooms in silence. Our silent march back to the classrooms was symbolic of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the many people who tried, through non-violent means to promote the most basic of human rights...to be treated equally and with dignity.

This was a very emotional session for me. Several years ago, I visited Selma, Alabama with an African American colleague to assist a young, (also African American) entrepreneur who had organized a business expo where local high school children came to learn about business and future job opportunities. His dream was to show these kids that there was more to life beyond high school and to inspire them to break through any glass ceilings their environment may have imposed on them. These kids are all too young to remember what it was like in Selma in the 1960s, but there is a museum and a bridge that stand very close to each other that is an eternal reminder of how brave many people - both black and white - could be when firmly convicted that civil (and as part of this movement, voting) rights was an absolute necessity.

I visited the museum. It is the National Voting Rights Museum and within its walls lie old black and white photographs that forever changed me as a person. The images captured the faces of oppressed black men, women and children as they marched peacefully in the streets. Images of them being injured on Bloody Sunday as they tried to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge. And the ones that really chilled my heart...photos of black men hanging by nooses in trees, while white people (even young women!) were smiling and picnicking close by. It was like something from a nightmare to me. Most disturbing was seeing a display of a Ku Klux Klan uniform. Though a piece of cloth, it spoke of so much hatred and I stared at it for a long time thinking of what kind of person would don such a thing, believing their views to be justified. Beyond the horrors of those images, though, were things that made me feel closer to the souls of those who fought with their lives for the right to vote...the plaster footprints of the marchers.

So, once our three year old children had silently marched back to class (okay, a couple of them broke the silence to tell me little factoids that three year olds inevitably have to share), we quite easily incorporated the lesson, "I Can Taste" into a conversation about diversity and how boring it would be if everyone only ate the same food over and over again. We discussed how exciting it can be to try new things and how different flavors are interesting and worth exploring. We sliced up four different types of apples and had the children taste each one. They then voted on which was their favorite, which underscored a principle of Unitarian Universalism that every person's opinion is valued even if it differs from their own. We made food collages on Dixie plates with pictures of food cut from magazines. Then, we made Gorp. Chocolate chips, marshmallows, popcorn, chex, you name it, it was in this big silver bowl of yumminness. The children had a blast making it and taking it home to their brothers and sisters and parents.

So, today I am thankful for Karen's story, which made me very reflective about what this "Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday" means (instead of just being a day away from the office) and how I can pass on the message to my son, that if people are brave and stand up for injustice, change can happen.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

We have been teaching Judah American Sign Language for many months now. It is really paying off!

Words Judah can say now at 21 months old. Any deviation from true pronounciation is in parenthesis. An asterisk "*" indicates he only signs the word and doesn't yet verbalize it. A "++" indicates he verbalizes and signs the word.
  1. Apple++
  2. Ball
  3. Banana (bah)++
  4. Bath (bah)++
  5. Bird (burr)++
  6. Bubble (this is what he calls a balloon)
  7. Bye and Bye-bye++
  8. Car (cah, "brrrrr" - as in engine noise)
  9. Cat (cah, mee - as in "meow")
  10. Cheese (sheez)
  11. Chicken (gok gok gok)++
  12. Cold (coe)++
  13. Cookie (koo-kee)++
  14. Cow (cow, moo, sometimes says 'baa')
  15. Cracker (ka-koo, crackoo)++
  16. Cup
  17. Daddy (dada)
  18. Dog (dah, woof)
  19. Duck (quack quack)
  20. Eat (eee)++
  21. E-I-E-I-O (E-O-E-O)
  22. Go (go-go)
  23. Hello (heh-woe, ah-waoh, "hi")++
  24. Here, take (ah-bah)
  25. Hey you!/Hi you!++
  26. Horse (hor)
  27. Hot++
  28. Ice Cream (ice keem)++
  29. Juice (joo)
  30. Kitty (kee)
  31. Man (mah)
  32. Me, Mine (mee)
  33. Milk (mih)
  34. Mommy (mommy, mama)
  35. My turn*
  36. No (no, no-mee)
  37. OK
  38. Sheep (baa)
  39. Sleepy, Sleep++
  40. Thank You (tan goo)++
  41. Thirsty++
  42. Turtle (tur)
  43. Tractor (tack-toe)
  44. Train (tayn, choo choo)++
  45. Uh oh!
  46. Water (ah-wah)++
  47. Wee!
  48. Yeah (yes, affirmative)
  49. Yay!
  50. Your turn*

I have been really procrastinating about picking up this blog again, but when my son looked up at me with his big blue eyes and started spewing complex phrases and a slightly out of order rendition of "ABC", I realized I had better get back to capturing these momentous occasions before I wake up one morning to find him packing for college.

2005...I made a few resolutions that I know I will keep.

#1 - to not have another year like 2004. Just around Thanksgiving, Micheal got a job after one year of unemployment. Though it was really nice having that time to raise Judah, it was a heavy blow to our finances, his esteem, our relationship. The experience certainly showed us that our marriage is impenetrable and though we may have had more than our fair share of stress-related disputes, we feel good knowing that we can tough it out and come through things that make most marriages crumble.

#2 - to recycle. We don't have a curb-side recycling program in our neighborhood, so if anything is to be done, it is entirely up to us. We are only recycling aluminium cans, but may branch out a bit as the year progresses. We've been very good so far and I am proud of us.

#3 - be a better friend. I have become a professional flake this past year. I didn't take time (because of my over-volunteerism) to write to family members and friends. Some, I lost touch with completely. I think about each of them constantly, but when I have opportunity to actually write them, I get on to other things. I also haven't seen as many of my friends who live nearby as much as I'd like.

#4 - stop interrupting, be quiet more often and LISTEN. This is a big one for me. I just never know when to shut up. It's a bad habit and I am working on it.

So, Happy New Year to everyone. I hope 2005 is a year full of blessings.