Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Over the course of the last 14 years I have spent a lot of time on the internet. Over the course of those 14 years I have met many wonderful people. Some in person, and some I have only gotten to know online. Those who haven't ever experienced this for themselves may be doubtful. Brian and I first met and talked online. Even after we finally met in person we really got to know each other through words on the computer screen. Eventually we decided we wanted to be more than friends, and here we are 10+ years later. So yes, you can get to know someone - some pretty wonderful someones even - through the computer.

Over the last several years more and more individuals have turned to blogging as a way to share themselves, their families, and their thoughts with others. I started out only reading blogs of people that I knew - either from other online places, or in person. Then I would read the blogs that those people read, and on and on. I have read lots of happy stories, and many that have moved me to tears. I have "met" some amazing individuals that I will probably never be in the same room with.

Two of those amazing people are doing something really important this week. Melody over at Slurping Life, and Julie at Rarely Home Mom are both holding special fundraisers to help out a little boy named Parker. Parker has a whole host of medical issues, but the biggest problem is that the insurance company, in all of their infinite wisdom, will sometimes refuse certain treatments or medications, or want to try a cheaper option first in order to save money. So Melody and Julie are trying to raise some money to help his parents pay for the things that Parker so badly needs that the insurance company will not pay for.

Love for Parker

You can get a lot more information about Parker over at Melody's website. Julie is hosting a fundraiser through Usborne books. If you place an order 25% of the price will go to help Parker, and you will get an entry into Melody's fantastic raffle. Any donation you make through Melody's site will give you a chance in the raffle for a lot of fabulous prizes. Please, even if you don't have the money to make a donation or to buy a book, take a moment, at the request of Parker's mom, and say a special prayer for Parker. And then please click on over to their sites and at least take a look at what they are doing.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Deafening Sound of Silence

It's been quiet around here. You see, my muses were missing. All last week, and yesterday morning, I was teaching a staff development class for the county, and so my parents kindly took care of the kids at their house.

They had a blast. The kids did, anyway. I think my parents were a bit exhausted by the end, and glad to have their house and time back to themselves, but I'm pretty sure they had fun, too. Claire got to swim at least once every day, and sometimes twice in the lake. She has no fear in the water (she either goes in a little float that she can propel by kicking her feet or uses a suit that has float devices built into the chest and she can either just kick, or kick and paddle to move). She demonstrated for me on Saturday morning how she could make vrooming noises and spin in a circle like the jetski they had seen the other day. Ben has gone from crying and clinging when he gets into the water to happily floating in his ring, splashing and smiling. He can spin himself around, but he doesn't seem to be aware that he's doing it.

Mom taught Ben to say "gobble gobble" when you ask him what a turkey says, so he will definitely be ready for football season which is coming up very quickly. They must have also emphasized him saying please because yesterday I noticed him saying "peas peas peas" as he held his hand out for something. He's already pretty good at the "tack oo" (aka thank you).

Which brings me to today's thoughts. Saturday afternoon after we returned home from the lake with a stop at Ryan's birthday party, Ben and I headed out to two stores to pick some stuff up (Harry Potter!) and to pick up pizza for dinner. At each place Ben chimed in with a cheery "hi!", "bye" or "tack oo!" at appropriate times, complete with waves. Even the woman who took our pizza order who seemed bored to tears with her job gave him a bright smile and a cheery wave when he talked to her.

Sunday morning I headed out with Claire to a birthday party held at an indoor kid gym (like Gymboree or Little Gym). Claire politely waited her turn, followed directions, and responded enthusiastically to instructions. She said thank you after the coaches helped her with things, or gave her turns, and (after I prompted her) gave the birthday girl a nice hug and told her happy birthday. I was pleased, but a little surprised, when one of the coaches complimented me on her manners.

It led me to wonder whether it is abnormal that I am teaching my children to be polite, and to know how to respond in common situations. The woman at the parking garage Saturday seemed genuinely surprised when I told her to have a nice day after she opened the gate. The coach at the gym was amazed that Claire thanked her for helping her off of the swing. Is this so outside the norm? As a society have we grown to expect that since these people are paid to do their jobs that they don't also deserve a nice thank you and a smile or wave?

My kids manners are far from perfect. Claire, like most 3 year olds I know, rarely thinks twice about interrupting me in the middle of a conversation. She frequently needs to be prompted to ask for something politely instead of demanding it. But when prompted she knows what words to use, and says them with a smile. Ben is hard to resist when he gives you a big smile and a cheery "hi!", but he still has occasional meltdowns if he doesn't get exactly what he wants when he wants it. It just strikes me as odd that when they are well-behaved and polite it is considered extraordinary and unusual.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Visiting the Monuments

Last week Brian's dad, stepmother, brothers, and uncle came into town, and we were lucky enough to get to spend some time with them. On Friday Uncle Dave, Calvin, Nigel, Claire, Ben, and I went into DC to visit the monuments. We went to the FDR, the WWII, Vietnam, and the Lincoln. It was a hot, sunny day, but occasional breezes kept it bearable. It was a really nice day, and I loved watching Claire with her uncles. She already knows how to wrap a man around her little finger.

Claire and Calvin check out the fountain (isn't she adorable with her hands in her pockets?)

Nigel, Claire, and Calvin at the FDR Memorial

Ben fell asleep, but he made sure not to let go of his peanut butter cracker and drink!

Ben admires the fountains at the WWII memorial.

Claire and Nigel investigate the WWII memorial

Uncle Calvin helps Claire feed the ducks

Uncle Dave and Ben discuss the DUCKS!

Calvin borrows the stroller for a little rest

No more tickles! PLEASE?!?!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Silly boy

Ben is sitting beside me with a saltine cracker in one hand, and a toy in the other. As I watched he stuck the toy in his mouth, realized his mistake, and switched his hands. Mmmm, cracker.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Fourth of July

Today I carefully dressed both kids in cute red white and blue outfits. And took zero pictures. None. I'm a slacker mom. Or I was too busy changing messy diapers, and trying to keep the diaper rash at bay.

Happy Independence day everyone!