Friday, December 24, 2010

Nothing Says Christmas Like...

Nothing says Christmas like waking up to your kid whining, crying, and throwing up all over themselves and their bed! Yep, that strange, feverless 12-hour bug Ruthie had about 2 weeks ago has struck again! Charlie woke up with it this morning, and though he says he feels better now, I just can't trust that (because she said she felt fine when she went to school...). It's a bummer, but we're plugging along. I'm heading out to pick up the pies, and probably going to get a back-up plan for tomorrow just in case this bug hangs on and the family can't come up. The important thing is that we're here together, and we're all getting some extra cuddle time!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

PS. I won't be allowing anyone to eat the Gingerbread house Charlie made...just as a precaution!

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I had a 3D/4D ultrasound of baby James yesterday. He's looking great, and gave me some of the best prenatal images I've ever seen of any of my babies. Maybe, deep down, he knows he's going to be the last one...maybe. Either way, they were awesome!

Precious Yawning Angel

Sweet Baby Boy

Smiley Yawner

Peace Everyone

Yawning Baby Boy

Sucking His Finger

Sucking His Thumb

More Thumb Sucking

Little Furrowed Brow

Getting disturbed at the U/S machine


Sweet, Sweet Baby Boy

Daddy's Big Lips

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Speed Stacking, sure it's a real sport, just like soccer

About a week ago, Michele @ told her readers about her children's school starting a jump=rope team. I thought it sounded great, because MY school had one when I was in first grade and it's where I won my sleeping bag that I still have and use (for being the champion).

However, my son's school offers no, and I mean ZERO sports outside of PE class. A lot of the kids in his school have no idea what it is to go outside and play, and are Nintendo, Xbox, and computer game addicts. So, I guess the school decided to rectify that situation by introducing a speed stacking team. The paper came home on Friday and I thought "What the heck is this", so I visited their website this morning, you can see it:

If I've ever seen something that should be taught in a Las Vegas school, it's definitely, speed stacking. Can't you just see it as a new came in the casino? You know, to bring in the 8 and under crowd ;-) I was can they say that is a "sport"? Skill perhaps, but sport?

Needless to say, we will not be participating in the speed stacking team...unless his friend, Sam, is...then, he'll be on the "team" for sure.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"Right and Wrong"

"The pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong”- Carl Gustav Jung

How true, how true.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"I want my Daddy"

The nursery walls are currently Lilac with a white chair-rail

I don't think I've kept it a secret, but "our families" aren't exactly thrilled that we are having another baby. For the most part it doesn't matter, it's just annoying.

By "our families" I'm mostly mean my husband's parents and my Mother and Step-Father. They don't think we should have had Lily, and she often gets the short end of the stick when we visit my Mom's house, meaning whether or not things are her "fault" she gets blamed and punished. "Something's broken, must have been Lily"...even when it's NOT LILY. When I know said object was up too high for her to have ever been able to reach.

However, my Father and Step Mom have been nothing but supportive. I know most of you are thinking that's because they are far away in New Mexico, and only see us once a year, but even when we invaded their home, they were thrilled to have us. ALL of US! They have been nothing but excited since we told them the news of the upcoming baby, and nothing but supportive.

The border, still there, pink with butterflies. Gorgeous for little girls, not so much for baby boys!

I have a lot of household projects going on right now, to start with, the kitchen is still unfinished. Had I known at the start (nearly 2 months ago) that my father in law had zero intentions of actually FINISHING the job by filling holes and painting, I would never have let him start it. Now, I'm left holding the bag of painting the damn walls. My nursery is virtually untouched, the pink valance and border is still hanging, and the walls are still Lilac. The crib is a full-size bed, and nothing has been removed from the room. I'm calling in painters, so far the lowest estimate is $275! I will have to steam the border down myself, but after that, I'm not getting on a ladder again! As it is, I'm afraid to get on one now!

It sort of reminds me of the movie exit to eden, this guy is trying to get Rosie O'Donell all "in the mood" and says something like "What is the sexiest thing I can do for you?" and she says
"Paint my house" - I can agree with that right now, if my husband were to come home and paint the house, I'd think he was pretty damn sexy!

Anyway, My Daddy does home-improvement projects out in New Mexico, and I know he'd come in and have the job done in a day or less. Probably much less. I wish he were here, I haven't cried "I want my Daddy" since I was 9 or 10 and my Daddy dropped me off at my Mom's and I got yelled at for having a good time with him and my step Mom (Who is fabulous, by the way!). When your little, and your parents are divorced, you have to learn what not to tell the jealous parent. I learned at a fairly young age that I was never supposed to have fun when my Daddy took me, and never supposed to be nice to my Step-Mother. Those were the rules, and I frequently broke them.

To be honest, I had a great time, and if I could have lived with them, I would have, but my Mother would never have let me go, not even for a second. Control, you see is the name of the game. I repeat to myself often "I won't be her, I won't be her" so I frequently talk to the kids about when they're grown up, in college, and on their own how close I want them to be to each other. I don't want them coming home and living under my roof, I want them to have independence, to live their dreams, and to make decisions without worrying that I am going to "hate them for it" or "hold it against them the rest of their lives". I won't be her, I won't!

It's been very difficult for me this pregnancy, the lack of support or "Give a crap" on the part of my Mom and My in-laws has been pretty devastating for me, emotionally. If our relationships weren't strained enough before, they certainly are now. I feel like they don't care, like this poor baby is just going to be "another kid we didn't need" (Chris's parents have a hard time remembering we're not his idiot brother) to them...especially since none of them have been remotely interested in my ultrasound photos or anything. At least we will love him, we already love him, and his Poppi and Grammy love him too, and can't wait for his arrival! I just wish Poppi and Grammy lived closer, it breaks my heart that they might not see him until he's 6 months old. :-(

So, there you have it, "I want my Daddy, I want my Daddy, I want my Daddy!!!" and yes, I am stomping my I wallowing in self-pity? Yes. I think that I'm entitled once in a while.

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Waiting for "Superman"

After reading a blog post by another Mom-blogger friend of mine, I became extremely fired-up yesterday! She wrote about how the librarian in her school makes the children sit single-file at lunch, and they are not allowed to talk. They get 1-15 minute recess/day and that is the only socialization they have. The best part was when she told us that if the children forget to turn in their library books, the sadistic librarian, and apparently lunch monitor makes them sit on the stage in front of everyone WITHOUT lunch, and watch the other children eat while not talking. Wow. I was outraged! How can things like this be going on in our school system? Do our teachers and other staff members care so little about our children's educations that they are ok with neglecting, abusing, and torturing them? If you treated your child like this at home, child protective services would be at your door questioning you as to why you have with-held nutrients from your child, and what you had hoped to accomplish in doing so. Why is this woman getting away with it?

I took my children to the book store last night, to pick up Charlie's teacher's gift (I'm giving her What your First Grader needs to know), and at least one book for each of them. I bought Waiting for "Superman" and What your first grader needs to know. I started reading Waiting for "Superman" first. I have not yet seen the documentary, but I am working on finding it. The book outlines what is wrong with our school system in the US, and it goes far beyond rich schools/poor schools, and points out what ALL schools as a whole are doing wrong. Our school, so far, has made several of the mistakes listed in the book.

I will be meeting with our principal because I want to talk to the her, get her feelings on the things I feel are wrong, and see where we go from there.

1. My son's teacher is an airhead. AN AIRHEAD! She is not a first-year teacher, she's been there several years, and had the audacity to tell me that my son could not possibly be reading "level D" books at home because he only demonstrated a "Level A" in class. She went on to tell me how she knew my son better after 2 weeks than I know him after 6 years. There is no way she knows what is best for my child, and I don't care that she has him doing what she feels is appropriate at this stage. He is being restricted, and if you tell a child they can't, after a while, they believe it. I can't even tell you how much I HATE HER. I've been in there several times and I've pretty much taken on my son's education myself.
a. There are 2 problems at work here.
1. Tenure. Our teacher is tenured which means that she could suck really bad, and be the worst teacher ever, and it doesn't matter because she will always have a job in First Grade at our school as long as she wants it and doesn't molest/abuse a child. It does not matter if her class scores low, they don't care.
2. Unions. We are also a union district. When I was growing up, I was completely pro-union. Both my Mom and Step-Father held Union jobs, and I believed it was a good thing. However, the unions protect the crappy teachers, they keep them secured in positions they should not have,and help them achieve pay and benefits they do not deserve.

2.I was reading about review and repetition and how it holds our children back, and that's EXACTLY WHAT I'VE BEEN COMPLAINING ABOUT since the first day of school! My son went IN to school this year reading at a "D" level, he came home 2 weeks later with "A" level books. I was FURIOUS! They put my son into a "specialized" reading program that has only continued his backsliding and he came home on Tuesday crying to me that he's stupid because his best friend (in another class) is reading chapter books. son SHOULD BE TOO! He reads beautifully at home, but at school they have held him back so much he must believe he cannot do it. I am OUTRAGED.

3. My son's lack of willingness to try, and lack of pride in his work is disturbing, the teacher sends home these papers that I can't make heads or tails of with backwards letters and nonsense words and a stamp that says "Good Work" or "Way To Go"-I'm sorry, No. If I can't read it, it needs to be erased, re-written, and it needs to make sense. I have him writing in a journal at home, and that's exactly what I do, I make him erase it and start over.

4. Creative spelling. I'm not a supporter, believer, nor a fan of this piece of educational fodder. Why would I teach my 6 year old to spell "Stool" - "STUL" because he sounded it out and that's how it sounded to him, and then 5 months from now correct him and tell him he was wrong? Why should he have to learn it "twice"? It makes no sense so me, give me the phonics books, games, and spelling tests.
a. This is another idiotic thing our school system has adopted. I don't see it heading us anywhere but straight to dunce-land. "Yo, sup dawg" is something I hope to never, ever hear out of my son's mouth, or, any of his friends for that matter, and it has nothing to do with ethnicity!

5. Integration. Didn't we tackle this matter already, in the 50's, 60's, and 70's? Then tell me how a brand new school went up across the street from me and has first-grade classes of 14-18 students while my son's school carries as high as 27 students? We're not even talking race here, we're talking NEIGHBORHOOD. Just because these people paid $500,000 and more to build their houses, and I paid $219,000 for mine that was already built, they get to go to the school while my son gets to be bussed 8.99 miles from my home. Instead of splitting our neighborhood off, and sending the children to the school that is actually in our town, they are bussed to a neighboring town so that the "elite" can have their own school. Tell me, what is going to happen when these people have their 2.5 kids, and are done, or are too old to have children anymore? Are they going to close the school? Who will attend? It is an insane abuse of money by the parents/homeowners, and an incredible disappointment by our local government and school board.Just because my house isn't "up to snuff" they have deemed my children unworthy of a good education. Because this school is outside of our district, it doesn't have the same ridiculous philosophies ours has, and rates higher according to

6. Classes are not learning the same thing. While I understand that some classes may take 2 days to learn something and others might only need 1, they should be on relatively the same schedule. However, in our school, my son is learning how to use a number line and the class across the hall is doing what I would consider "real math". My son has a friend in that class, and it's just too different, and while I don't like to compare, he brings home far different homework than MY SON does, and the level of difficulty is far above where my son is at. I am not happy with my son being "Average" or "Normal", I want him to do his absolute best every day, I want him to want to succeed and excel, and this school is not teaching that. They are preparing our children to be a group of mindless drones that cannot possibly hope to obtain scholarships. I am terrified to find out what percentage of our high school children in the last 5 or so years have gone on to college, graduated, and are holding jobs earning at least $50,000/year. I would bet, not many, perhaps only the white collar children who can obtain employment at Daddy or mommy's company.

7.The other disturbing thing our system has is a FREE, government sponsored preschool packed full of children that don't deserve to be in it. These children all come from white-collar families that donate money to the school board every year. The under-privaledged children in our district have to either go to the park district or other "private" programs, if they can't afford it, they don't go. Next year I am looking at it costing me roughly $250/mo to send my girls to the best, but still sub-par "private" pre-K programs (One will be 4, the other 3) because our school screens the students on a flawed system. My daughter had some speech issues due to fluid in her ears and she didn't qualify, but another child I know who had the very tip of her smallest finger cut off after being slammed in a door got in. HOW is 1/16th of the "Baby finger" missing more detrimental to her education than not being able to hear/talk properly? It makes NO SENSE. NONE AT ALL. It's not about the money, it's also about the fact that the kids in the school pre-k are getting a better education. They are there all day instead of just a few hours, and they are learning independence and socialization where my daughters are attending playgroups to gain these experiences. It's another thing on my list for my chat with the principal.
a. A physical disability should not be an automatic "in". It should be case-by-case based. The boy across the street with cerebral palsy? He deserves it, the girl with 1/16th of her baby fingertip missing doesn't. that slot could have gone to the child in my son's class that has a stutter (no, he didn't qualify either). However, I assume that since he was from an under-privaleged home, he was passed over for someone that donates money to our school/district.

8. Illinois is going bankrupt, and where are they most likely to cut the money? Education. Why is it that education and healthcare are always the most likely cuts for state budgeting when they could easily cut out other extraneous crap? How about taking less pay if it means one school would get enough funding for 1 year? How about cutting a few road projects that are not in dire need and concentrating on our children's futures? Politicians have it all wrong, they have completely bought into the "ME ME ME" generation mentality, and have forgotten all about the fact that the children of todady are the leaders of tomorrow. At the rate we're going, there won't be any qualified leaders and our country will follow the movie "Idiocracy" straight to hell. I believe that children in our nation could be so foolish as to think putting gatoraid on a plant would make it grow better than water, and that scares me to death!

Our nation's school system is in great peril, and I am only through the first few chapters of my book. I can't wait to get all the way through so that I can speak to the principal and our useless PTO and spread the word of what is going wrong. I will not let any of my children become another useless statistic in this country. I will home-school them before I will allow them to be morons.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010


State Rivalry

As I emerged from our Wal-Mart store last night I walked passed a tiny Gremlin-looking car with a bumper sticker on it that said "Welcome To Wisconsin! Now Get Out!" - I thought wow, that's weird, seeing that they are parked in a parking lot in Illinois! I will admit it, folks, I was a bit offended by this jerky slogan. "Cheeseheads" I thought, "can't stand us, but shop in and take our money all day long."

It was just a few moments later that I noticed the GIANT SUV next to it that had a bumper sticker that read "This is Bears country, if you don't like it get the F**k out!" and I am not going to lie, I smiled. While I don't know the story behind these 2 cars, or how they came to be parked right next to one another, I will tell you this, the GIANT SUV had a crude packers symbol drawn on it's back window in the dirt/dust. Obviously, someone wanted to push the state rivalry a bit further, perhaps, too far.

It's an interesting thing, living right near the border to another state with a good football team. The Green Bay Packers aren't exactly what they used to be, but they are still a pretty good NFL team. I often wonder if the tension between the WI border residents and the IL border residents stems solely from football, or if there is some baseball peppered in. Personally, the Milwaukee Brewers don't even register on my radar as I am far more concerned with the Cubs vs White Sox rivalry we have right here in Illinois ;-)

It was especially interesting when I was growing up, we lived near the Illinois/Indiana border and I was raised to see "Hoosiers" as inferior. I have no idea why, just that my parents instilled in me that the people from Indiana were not as smart as us, and that I should avoid them. I was certainly not permitted to date ANYONE from Indiana, and my parents made that abundantly clear. When I brought home my first boyfriend from IN, my step father called him "the ass***e from Indiana"- It was pure hatred between the two of them. Then, we broke up and I got the "I told you so" speech. Not helpful. I still never understood why people from Illinois hated the Hoosiers so much!? Surely not everyone feels that way, but in this area if you say "Hoosiers" everyone knows that you are talking about people from other areas of the country they have absolutely no idea what a Hoosier is!

Wikipedia says: "Hoosier (pronounced /ˈhuːʒər/) is the official demonym for a resident of the U.S. State of Indiana.The State of Indiana adopted the nickname "Hoosier State" more than 150 years ago. "Hoosiers" is also the nickname for the Indiana University athletic teams.
In other parts of the country, the word has been adapted for other uses. In St. Louis, Missouri, the word is used in a derogatory fashion in similar context to "hick" or "white trash". “Hoosier” also refers to the cotton-stowers, both black and white, who moved cotton bales from docks to the holds of ships, forcing the bales in tightly by means of jackscrews. A low-status job, it nevertheless is referred to in various sea shanty lyrics. For example, Shanties from the Seven Seas includes lyrics that reference Hoosiers." - I'm guessing that the latter term is the one my parents tried to grind into my head. Luckily it didn't work or I would have missed out on a whole lot of wonderful people in my life!

I like to think that the Indiana/Illinois tension comes from college sports, football, and basketball, in particular, dating back many, many years ago. It's obviously not from NFL football because the Colts have only been in Indianapolis since 1984 and my family has hated Indiana since long before that. I'm not a follower of basketball, never have been, but I've heard the Hoosiers of Indiana University are/were pretty darn good! I like to think it all comes from sports, but perhaps there are other things. Indiana is much cheaper to live in, purchase land in, and I would assume, to conduct business in as well. Why would a company go to Chicago and pay 10% tax when they can go to Northwest Indiana in less than 30 miles and conduct their business for probably less than 6% tax? Makes sense, right? Economically, and logically, yes, but I can see how it would create a rift between those two areas.

I will probably never fully understand the rivalry between Illinois/Indiana or Illinois/Wisconsin, but I can tell you that I am very happy with my Hoosier Husband (My folks hate him because he is from IN, but he is not the one they referred to as the a*****e from Indiana), and my 1/2 Hoosier babies (Yes, my step Dad actually refers to them as 1/2 Hoosier Babies). I don't care that Chris is from the magical land of Indiana just over the invisible line, he's not inferior to me, and he's probably smarter book-wise than I am too! We have a lot of fun with it, occasionally I call him "Stupid Hoosier" and he tells me I'm "Illinoying" - it's all in good fun, and we are teaching our children that there is no difference in the people from state-to-state, only their accents, traditions, and eventually, politics.

For now, I will continue to wonder about the Illinois/Indiana rift, but I will continue to assume that the conflict with Wisconsin is solely related to the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears. I will continue to stand with the Chicago bears and wear their colors proudly throughout the football season. Heaven help the person that draws a Packers logo on the back of my new car...

I also wanted to add, for my Vikings fans friends (Yes, there are a few), what is it like up there when the Vikings play the Packers? Is it insanity near the borders!? Here we have Greenbay flags that get vandalized in our neighborhood (Because we are in IL after all...)and people shout nasty things to each other in bars, restaurants, and stores. It's crazy on game day...I've tried not to go out because of it. Whenever I see someone wearing viking things/colors I always just say "Minnie-Sota- Vikings 'eh?" and they usually just smile...and I smile too thinking of how much I now LOATHE Brett Favre!!! That's a story for another time, the large signed photo for him as #4 at Green Bay is still hanging in my basement, before Brett stopped playing for the love of the game, became all about the money and whining about contracts not being fair and became an in general sell-out douchebag!

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