Friday, December 29, 2006

Link Friday

Funky Stroller - like the iBot does for handcapped, this stroller's innovative design raises the baby up so that it's not lost among people's legs in crowds.

ASL Browser - video to show you how to sign

Hazardous Toys - I know I'm late with this, but here's the list of dangerous toys for this year.

Tweens and Faith - a recent study from Barna

Friday, December 22, 2006

New Top Names List

BABYCENTER.COM -- The new top 100 names lists are out. We liked the name Noah as a possible boy's name were our next child to be a boy, but at #7, it's way too high on the list. Not interested in being a trend-follower. Some interesting (and some weird) stuff in the trends page. More...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Greg Wiggle to Stop Performing -- This is a little bit outdated by now, but I've been really swamped. Anyhow, yellow-shirted Greg (Page) Wiggle announced recently he'd be retiring due to health issues and actually had to pull out of the US tour in June. I'm glad Lori got to take Rachel to see them in concert earlier this year -- they started their tour here in Tacoma not long after we moved here. Anyhow, the new yellow-shirted guy Sam I guess has to be called Greg. I don't think they're doing any more new TV, are they? (Does anyone know?) If not, that makes the transition even easier since they're harder to see on stage than on the TV screen. More...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

That's My Girl

Lori relates that earlier today they were driving in the car and Rachel asked "Where are we going?"

Lori replied "Lowes."

And Rachel started saying "No. I don't want to go to Lowes. I don't want to go to Lowes. HOME DEPOT!"

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Parents Magazine Speed Reading

Ok, I have a bunch of issues of Parents Magazine here. Lori hands them to me when she's done with them and I've been piling them on the floor with all the Newsweeks I haven't read.

In an attempt to clean up, I'm going skim all the magazines and mention the stuff I found interesting here. Ready? Let's go.

Neutral Tones for Clothing - bright colors and floral patterns are more likely to attract bugs, especially mosquitoes and bees.

Why Do Babies Like to Watch (or have Read to Them) the Same Thing Repeatedly? First, it helps them with vocabulary. They have all these thoughts rambling around in their brains. This helps them develop their vocabulary. Also, their memory. As they begin to remember the story, they are excited to be able to know what's coming next.

Pacifiers Are Good Again - Doctors now believe newborns who sleep with a pacifier are more sensitive to stimuli, making them more likely to react if they find themselves in a position where they can't breathe. (Recommend waiting on a pacifier until they've gotten proficient at breast feeding.)

TV and Food - Children who regularly watch TV while eating are more likely to eat more than children who also watch a lot of TV, but not while eating. Scientists believe that the children are distracted by the TV and ignoring their own bodies' cues telling them they are full.

Separation Anxiety - One family had the children push them out the door at the daycare. It was so much work and fun for the kids that they forgot to be upset that the parents were leaving.

Well, one down three to go. But, that's enough for now.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Where Is God?

A couple had two little boys, ages 8 and 10, who were excessively mischievous. They were always getting into trouble and their parents knew that, if any mischief occurred in their town, their sons were probably involved.

The boys' mother heard that a clergyman in town had been successful in disciplining children, so she asked if he would speak with her boys. The clergyman agreed, but asked to see them individually. So the mother sent her 8-year-old first, in the morning, with the older boy to see the clergyman in the afternoon.

The clergyman, a huge man with a booming voice, sat the younger boy down and asked him sternly, "Where is God?"

They boy's mouth dropped open, but he made no response, sitting there with his mouth hanging open, wide-eyed. So the clergyman repeated the question in an even sterner tone, "Where is God!!?"

Again the boy made no attempt to answer. So the clergyman raised his voice even more and shook his finger in the boy's face and bellowed, "WHERE IS GOD!?"

The boy screamed and bolted from the room, ran directly home and dove into his closet, slamming the door behind him. When his older brother found him in the closet, he asked, "What happened?"

The younger brother, gasping for breath, replied, "We are in BIG trouble this time, dude. God is missing - and they think WE did it!"

Recommended Children's Books

Here's a collection of recommended Holiday Children's books from MSNBC.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

But I'm not tired

This is a great video on ParentCenter about handling issues with children who resist going to bed or make it into a traumatic experience for parents.

In Rachel news... today she pinched the skin between two fingers with the hinge on her sunglasses. She was crying and Lori asked what had happened. She said "It pinched me right in there. And it TOTALLY hurt!"

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

James Kim Found (Deceased)

I've been watching this rather sad story unfold since I first heard about it last Friday. A family, after visiting friends in the northwest were traveling back to California. They had attempted to get from the 5 to the Oregon coast and became stuck. By Friday they had been missing for almost a week. While I'm not familiar with James Kim's work, he was a senior editor for CNET, a site I have been regularly visiting since its launch in 1994. After becoming stuck, they ran the car at night for warmth and even removed and lit the tires on fire to try to make a signal fire. More than a week later, on Saturday, at 1:30 AM a cell tower picked up a ping from a cell phone which renewed hope. After at lot of searching, two days ago Kati flagged down a rescuer and she and the two daughters were rescued and are said to be in good condition. Sadly, two days before that James had set out for help. His body was found today. It doesn't say much, but based on the description of the clothes they found, I'm guessing he succumbed to hypothermia. This is really tragic after such a wonderful bit of news at the recovery of the other family members. And I know I would have done the same thing, trying to set out for help. No snarky comments about Oregon today, but it just goes to show how important a good emergency kit is in every car and how dangerous these cut-over routes are between the 5 and the coast in Oregon. Just a real tragedy. Please pray for the family and James' coworkers.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Improving Hospital Stays

Someone's designed a tricycle that has a stand on the bag for drip medications. Kinda neat.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Our Family

Drawn by our two-year-old. (Disclosure: I did move the four animals closer after I scanned it. The three humans, however, are right where she drew them.)


Hasbro’s Playskool recalls toy after deaths
255,000 Team Talkin’ Tool Bench toys recalled; children suffocated (

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A dad and his disabled son

[attributed to Rick Reilly, Sports Illustrated. I found it on some other website and cleaned up the text to make it more readable.]

I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to pay for their text messaging. Take them to swimsuit shoots.

But compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck.

Eighty-five times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars--all in the same day.

Dick's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. on a bike. Makes taking your son bowling look a little lame, right?

And what has Rick done for his father? Not much--except save his life.

This love story began in Winchester, Mass., 43 years ago, when Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs.

"He'll be a vegetable the rest of his life;'' Dick says doctors told him and his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. ``Put him in an Institution.''

But the Hoyts weren't buying it. They noticed the way Rick's eyes followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the Engineering Department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. ``No way,'' Dick says he was told. ``There's nothing going on in his brain.''

"Tell him a joke,'' Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain. Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? ``Go Bruins!'' And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, ``Dad, I want to do that.''

Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described ``porker'' who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried. ``Then it was me who was handicapped,'' Dick says. ``I was sore for two weeks.''

That day changed Rick's life. ``Dad,'' he typed, ``When we were running, it felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!''

And that sentence changed Dick's life. He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly dhape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.

``No way,'' Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren't quite a single runner, and they weren't quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway. Then they found a way to get into the race officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the qualifying time for Boston the following year.

Then somebody said, ``Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?''

How's a guy who never learned to swim and hadn't ridden a bike since he was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick tried.

Now they've done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii . It must be a buzzkill to be a 25-year-old stud getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don't you think?

Hey, Dick, why not see how you'd do on your own? ``No way,'' he says. Dick does it purely for ``the awesome feeling'' he gets seeing Rick with a cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together.

This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best time? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992--only 35 minutes off the world record, which, in case you don't keep track of these things, happens to be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the time.

``No question about it,'' Rick types. ``My dad is the Father of the Century.''

And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries Was 95% clogged. ``If you hadn't been in such great shape,'' One doctor told him, ``you probably would've died 15 years ago.'' So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other's life.

Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass., always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including this Father's Day.

That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy.

``The thing I'd most like,'' Rick types, ``is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once.''

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Food Safety


Which foods are most likely to contain high levels of pesticide residues? Are any foods safe?

Consumers Union, an independent, nonprofit testing and information organization based in New York, has rated various foods based on the frequency of pesticide detection on a crop, the levels of residues, and the relative toxicity of the residues. By rating them on a scale on which a score of over 100 is considered grounds for concern, they've provided consumers with a meaningful way to choose safer foods for their children.

According to their analysis, the foods with the highest pesticide residue scores are:

  • Fresh peaches (U.S.)
  • Winter squash (U.S., fresh and frozen)
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes (from anywhere but Mexico)
  • Spinach (fresh and canned)
  • Apples
  • Green beans (fresh U.S.; canned and frozen from anywhere)
  • Pears
  • Cantaloupe
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
The foods that got the lowest pesticide residue scores are:
  • Milk
  • Corn (canned and frozen)
  • Broccoli (from the U.S.)
  • Winter squash (from Honduras or Mexico)
  • Orange juice
  • Bananas
  • Canned peaches
  • Peas
  • Grapes (from Mexico)
  • Fresh green beans (from Mexico)
  • Single-serving pears (from Chile)
  • Apple juice
  • Grape juice
Why do fresh peaches get a caution if canned peaches get a green light? Processing a food (making it into juice and/or canning it, for example) sometimes makes it a lot safer to eat. That's because foods grown for processing don't need to be cosmetically appealing, so they normally aren't sprayed as much just before harvest. This gives more time for the residues that do remain to break down into safer components before the product reaches the market. Also, when foods are processed, they're often peeled, washed, or heated, which removes a lot of the pesticide residues.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Embarrassing Stories

I'm trying to work, but the servers at work are being really slow today. So, instead, it's time for an embarrassing story. (Just to see if she's reading, Rachel, I owe you $5 for something you did recently.) We were recently talking at lunch about embarrassing stuff our children had done. Instead of telling about something Rachel recently did, I'll share something that my co-worker Chris' child did.

The child had a habit of running around in just his underwear. He'd take off his pants and just run around in a shirt and his underwear. That was fine when they didn't have guests in the house, but he wouldn't make the distinction.

They sat him down one day and had a talk with him and explained that guests to their home shouldn't see his underwear. The very next day, they had some friends over and the kids had been playing upstairs. After awhile, the child came down the stairs. He was wearing a shirt, but nothing on the lower half of his body. Embarrassed, they took him back upstairs and asked what he was thinking. He reminded them that he had been wearing only his underwear that morning. But he needed to ask his mom something and he knew they had company, so he took off his underwear so that their guests wouldn't see his underwear.

Ms. Abortion

Ms. Magazine published the names over 1,000 women who had signed a petition on their website saying that they had abortions and supported the right of women to have abortions. They said they had over 5,000 people sign their petition and that the rest of the names would be on their website. At first I was shocked and horrified, and then I thought that 5,000 was a small number, and then that it probably wasn't that representative, that there would be lots who would never sign a petition like that, but who elected to terminate the life or potential or whatever.

But what got me, what I can't get out of my head, was one woman quoted in an article who was 42, had a 5-year-old daughter and then murdered their next child because the child had downs syndrome. Words fail me. Well, one word comes to mind, but I'm hoping Rachel will eventually read this blog and see it as a work of love for her and not as a place where I come and post four-letter curse words. That wouldn't be a very good example.

This woman and her husband are trying again, but I think what they did was incredibly selfish and horrible. I hope that their attempts to have another child are all unsuccessful and that they are never able to conceive. I hope that they spend large sums of money in a fruitless pursuit of another child that all ends in failure. That God would say "I gave you a second child to care for and love and you snuffed out his little life before he even had a chance."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The New Elmo!

The first time we showed this video to Rachel she said "Elmo's too loud. Turn off Elmo."

The next day she asked to see Elmo again but after a few seconds again asked us to turn Elmo off and find some Veggie Tales instead.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

This Week's Links

Let's Talk About Sex, Baby
BABYCENTER.COM -- I found this to be a really good read - ideas on what to share with inquisitive kids and how to deflect what's not yet appropriate.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

New Photos

New photos on the Flickr site.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Hero of the Day: 1069

NEWS.COM -- Someone calling themselves UnknownUser1069 went into child porn trading spaces and dropped a trojan horse program which some people then installed. The guy then went onto their computers and collected all kinds of info about who they were and where on their computers the child porn was located. Then he turned it over to the feds. Not being a U.S. citizen, the feds quietly took the info and used it to build cases against two people so far. Hats off to this guy for helping to make the world safer for children. Hats off to the FBI for making gray areas and loopholes pay off to bring about real justice. (One guy is appealing his conviction. Not claiming he's not a freaking sicko, but claiming the manner in which he was exposed was illegal.) More...

Friday, August 18, 2006

Friday Links

Brake Interlocks To Become Standard
MSNBC.COM -- I didn't realize that you can still buy cars that you can shift out of park without holding down the brake. Every car I've ever driven, including (I think) one made in 1980 had this feature. On Sept. 1 there'll be a website listing all the cars that still don't have this feature. Manufactures will have until 2010 to make it standard on all cars. So 3 years to sit around doing nothing and then a few months to start installing it on cars.

Well, You See...
BABYCENTER.COM -- A great article on how to talk to your kids about sex. Like what you should and shouldn't talk about, and why you should talk about it at all.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

New Photos

There are new photos on the Flickr site in the July and August folders. Don't forget -- you have to sign-in or all you'll see are photos of zoo animals. (If you don't have permission to see our family photos, please e-mail me for an invite.)

Babbling Babies

MSNBC.COM -- Apparently baby bats babble like baby humans. More...

Monday, August 07, 2006

Ultrasounds Affect Brain Development?

COMCAST.NET -- Laboratory studies in mice found small but noticable differences in brain development of baby mice that had been subjected to ultrasounds compared to those who hadn't. Scientists note that ultrasound use in humans is further from the baby and that humans have ticker skulls than mice. But they still caution not doing any more ultrasounds than are absolutely necessary.

(I lost count of how many times we saw Rachel in ultrasound and we that 4D thing, too. And probably would do it with a next child as well, if for no other reason than to help Rachel understand what was happening. Well, that and our own impatience.)

Monday, July 31, 2006

A great line...

A great way to end encounters with your daughter's boyfriends... "I got no problem goin' back to prison."

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Happy Birthday, Grandma!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Congrats to Uncle Jeff!

Congratulations to Jeff and Hillary on their engagement! But how will Rachel take to having to share?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Repeating Repeating Repeating

I'm reading this great book called "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell. A few months ago Lori gave me his latest book "Blink" which was really engaging, so when a co-worker offered to loan this book to me, I grabbed it in a heartbeat.

On page 126 (paperback version) there's some amazing stuff about the show Blue's Clues, a show Rachel watches. First, the same show is aired five days a week. This isn't because Nickelodeon is lazy, but it's by design. If a child watches the same show five times, they will learn something new every time. The first time they watch it they are critically trying to understand the clues, after repeated viewing they are not only able to completely keep up, but eventually they are anticipating what's coming next, they are actually helping Steve. With each repeated viewing they are faster and more confident in their answers to Steve and it feels good to them -- they feel like they're learning and getting smarter.

This also explains why they use really long pauses and lots of close-ups of Steve's face -- designed to make the children feel like Steve is really there with them and depending on their own help.

There's also a book mentioned in TTP called "Narratives from the Crypt" that I've asked Lori to pick up from the library. Years ago two university professors noticed that their two-year-old daughter would sit in her crib for hours after they turned out the lights, just talking. They started recording her "sessions" and then turning them over to linguists and others in the speech and brain professions to analyze what she was saying. It turned out from this that they learned that babies are far more capable of communication and thought than previously thought, and often they will be much more verbal and verbose in their conversations with themselves than they will with other people. And that best of all, it's all narrative. They are telling stories. Sometimes recapping events that have happened, sometimes talking about things they expect or hope will happen in the future.

And then one other little tidbit... young children cannot handle things having multiple names. They can understand what an apple is, and then accept red and round as attributes that describe the appple, or that oak is a kind of tree. But they cannot Big Bird being called "Roy" as happened in one episode where Big Bird realizes that his name describes who what he is while the others' names aren't descriptions. So during this episode he embarks on a quest to come up with a new name for himself and eventually settles on "Roy." It confused and frustrated the children who they tested this episode on.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

What to say?

It's been hard figuring out what to write about lately. While Lori and I are admittedly unabashed founding members of the Rachel Admiration Society, what would this blog be if it were just the Cuteness of the Week report?

Most of her development at this stage is speech- and conversation-related. She continues to become more and more responsive, able to understand more complex requests and participate in more complex conversations.

Each new day brings new joy.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Wouldn't it be cool if we were all like that?

I was thinking today about Rachel. She loves going to the library each week and watching and playing with other kids. She loves any time she gets to play with other kids, really. It's so funny to me how kids can just run up to other kids and play with them without ever having met them before. It doesn't matter if they're older, younger, if they look the same, if they have a different color skin or a different accent - they're just potential playmates. It would be awesome if everybody was that way, wouldn't it?

Friday, June 23, 2006

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Upon arriving in the parking lot last night... "Home Depot!"


Upon waking up this morning, to Lori. "Dragon fly."
Lori: "Dragon Fly?"
Rachel: "Rachel rode on a dragon fly."
Lori: "Where did Rachel ride on a dragon fly?"
Rachel: "At Home Depot!"


Upon looking out her window as the car passed it today when out with Lori... "Taco Bell! I want a taco!"


She would also later tell Lori "I like Home Depot."

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Yesterday, while being chased by yours truly, Rachel put her foot down wrong and sprained it. It's very sad, she couldn't put any weight on it yesterday without wincing, crying or just collapsing. Not much better today, she still cries and doesn't want to stand, though the swelling seems to be completely gone. We're hoping by tomorrow that she's able to stand on it again. The first thing she said to me this morning was "I need corn." when I went into her room to say goodbye to her before work. We had used frozen corn last night in a plastic bag as an ice pack.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Happy Birthday, Little One!

And many, many more.

0, 1

Friday, June 09, 2006

Mystery Plague Kills 29,000 Schoolchildren in Single Day

President declares state of emergency. Congress closes nation's school.

IMAGINE WAKING UP TO THIS HEADLINE. Now imagine that the very next day, it happened again -- and again. Each day for weeks, more children mysteriously died. Mass hysteria would break out. World governments would mobilize a global response. Congress would hold an emergency session. There would be a media frenzy. The world would not -- could not -- tolerate these catastrophic losses of innocent human lives.

Or would it?

In fact, the world tolerates exactly this kind of horror every single day as more than 29,000 children under the age of 5 die, most of hunger and preventable diseases. They die for lack of medicine or doctors. They die suffering and neglected. They die from simple things like diarrhea, respiratory infections, and measles, and they die of diseases virtually unheard of in America: malaria, or whooping cough.

Many of you reading this have children. Can you imagine your desperation at seeing your child slip away because of a bite from a malaria-bearing mosquito? What if all that was needed to save her life was a course of antimalarial medication costing just a few dollars?

But imagine that you cannot afford this, or there is no doctor or pharmacy nearby. I have visited many communities in which more than one out of four children die before their fifth birthday.

What these children really die from is apathy and neglect. The developed world has the knowledge, medicines, treatments, and enough money to save the lives of most of these children. What is lacking is the moral outrage to do something about it.

Who will speak up on behalf of these children and their mothers and fathers if we don’t? Earlier this year, the media ran stories commemorating the 50th anniversary of the polio vaccine. It brought back memories of my mother taking me to school to stand in line with hundreds of other children to be vaccinated. It was a time when the world declared war on a disease that struck some 50,000 children each year in the United States alone. The world had the determination to stop the disease, and we won. Fifty years later, only a few hundred cases of polio remain worldwide, and we are close to eradicating polio from our planet.

I believe we can do it again. But we’ll have to get a little angry first. Here are three ways to channel your anger:

  1. Join the ONE Campaign, a historic global movement of which World Vision is a founding member. The ONE Campaign urges world leaders to commit to reducing poverty this year. Go online to sign the ONE Declaration at

  2. Talk to your church congregation about what you can do to help children living in poverty, such as holding a child sponsorship drive or drilling a well.

  3. Pray for these children and their families. It’s no mystery what kills 29,000 children worldwide every day. And because we know, we have to do something.

With your help, in 2004, World Vision supporters enabled 1.1 million children to get vaccinations, provided access to clean water to 1.9 million people, and trained 810,000 mothers in health and nutrition so they can take better care of their children.

We need to do more. We can do more.

Please get angry. Please help.

Ways you can immediately provide aid...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Farewell, little turtle.

Click to enlarge
It was a sad weekend. Rachel's little turtle Booster disappeared.

And we stooped to a new low, doing the unthinkable. We had to call three stores before we found a little turtle that looked identical to Booster and gave it to her, letting her think it was Booster.

Click on the picture to the right to see a photo of Rachel hugging Booster II.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

More Rachelisms

Tonight I got home late from a bible study and Rachel was already to bed. And by "to bed" I mean she was in there, in the dark, talking as she often does for 90-120 minutes each night after we put her in her crib. It's just what she does.

So I snuck in there and she watched me come in, but didn't say anything. I looked at her and she gave me a tiny smile but otherwise didn't say anything. So I crouched down to look at her through the bars. She slowly crawled up to me and -- almost inaudible -- whispered "hi"


Rachel comes to visit me at work once a week to join me for lunch and a walk around the retaining pond. Two times now, looking at ants who cross the path, has declared that the ants are "gorgeous."


Lori and I watched some old videos last night of Rachel when she was just starting to walk along the edge of the room. It was really sweet.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Start-up aims to ditch kids' training wheels | CNET

NEWS.COM -- Using a gyroscope, this bike is more likely to stay upright. As it tries to keep itself upright, it causes the handles to turn, too, helping to make kids learn how to steer in the right way to keep themselves upright, all without training wheels... More...

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Send Grandma a Photo

NEWS.COM -- A few years ago a few companies started offering "remote photo frames" - you send it to grandma who plugs it into a power outlet and a phone jack and then you go online and upload photos and they appear on grandma's photo frame. I thought this was really cool and if it were a little less expensive, I'd buy quite a few of these. Along those lines, a company is now offering a "remote photo printer" -- similar idea - grandma plugs it into a power outlet and a phone jack. You go to a website, upload photos and they print out on her printer. I like this idea even better than the frame. It's permanent and she can show it to her friends when they get together for breakfast every week. (Or is this the further impersonalization of things where you can't even be bothered to print them yourselves and attach a quick post-it note offering your love before dropping into an envelope, addressing, adding a stamp and dropping in the mail?) More...

My name is what?

BABYCENTER.COM -- The latest top 10 lists for names are out. While in general, we don't want names that end up in the top 10 until years after we use it, so that we look more like trendsetters then trend-followers, it's cool to see where Rachel did come up in the top 10 - Northern Ireland and Scotland. More...

Monday, May 29, 2006

When Did I Become "Dad"?

Rachel's taken to calling me simply "dad" now instead of "daddy." Ah, they grow up so fast. Mommy has become mom sometimes, too. Then again, Rachel is now up to three self-appointed nicknames... Che Che (chey chey), Rach (raych) and Jake. (??)

Some other great recent quotes:

"Watch OnDemand."
"What?" asks Lori.
"Watch OnDemand. Supposed to."


As Lori is unbuckling her to get her out of the car she hands her baby to Lori and says "Here's the baby. Don't drop it."


Umprompted, an hour after receiving it: "THANK you mommy guitar wiggles guitar."


After throwing her bag of bunny grahams down onto the floor in the backseat and then multiple requests for us to retrieve them are denied...

Silence for awhile.

"I'm sorry."
"What for?" asked Lori.
"For throwing bunny grahams on the floor."

Was she sorry? Probably not. But it worked anyhow, she was given something else to snack on. (The bunny grahams were out of our reach.)

Monday, May 22, 2006

Keyboard of Fun

Rachel was acting like she wanted to type, so I started up Blogger and was going to let her make a post. She held down different keys for awhile, watching long strings of n's and j's appear. Then I asked her if she wanted to type something specific and she said yes, so I asked what. "Kitty" she said. So we worked on tapping the keys vs. holding them down for 10 minutes at a time and she actually carefully typed the word "kitty" ;;; bnn mmmmikj b I stepped away from the keyboard and I see she's been back. Well, last time after she typed that wonderful post, then she found the little recessed "sleep" key and pressed that and the computer locked up and the post was lost.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Can I get an encore

Phone rang the other day at work. I normally have the cell phone off, but I turned it on at lunch that day for some reason. We were all in a conference room having a party and I answer but the stupid thing's on speaker phone and won't turn off so I'm trying to leave the room and everyone's laughing and making silly comments and I finally ended up just hanging up on my wife (sorry!). It had been a weird morning, Rachel was up before the crack of dawn so I played with her while Lori got ready. Most days I don't even see the little one before leaving for work. Well, I called Lori back and she said she was calling because Rachel was telling her that she's saying "miss daddy" and signing "cry." That was pretty cool. Of course, I didn't get a chance to mention that during the party and say "Take that, you, you, you mockers!"

Congrats to R & C on baby Grayson and N & C on baby Miles. Congrats to new parents to be J & S and A & J. And J & D - any day now, any day now!

Friday, May 05, 2006

It's the little things...

Just instant messaged to me:

I thought you'd be proud to hear that Rachel just asked to see "Bob the Builder." She said "Watch Bob." I said "Bob?" and she said "Bob the Builder, Mommy."
Last night Rachel wanted to go downstairs and watch Bear on the DVR. However, I wanted to hang a curtain rod upstairs and I was watching her, so I brought up the OnDemand guide upstairs and showed her three episodes of Bob the Builder. Bear isn't available OnDemand, so I had to choose from Blue's Clues (I'm tired of), Zoobamafoo (I'm scared of), Sesame Street (Rachel is scared of lately) or something she'd never seen before. So I put on Bob the Builder.

That, combined with the fact that she loves going to Home Depot and always wants to wear her Home Depot "smock" every time she goes means I'm having an impact on my daughter. :)

Oh. I should mention that I put up the gate last Thursday night, so now the fence is nearly complete. I mention that here because while I held the drill, Rachel pulled the trigger and drove in a few of the screws. So that means that the fence was a true family experience, with work done by both of my parents, Lori, Rachel and I.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Congrats to babies M and J. Congrats to the new moms and dads, too!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Vacation's Over

Rachel's starting to ask for people she once knew, like after church she wanted to have lunch with Kinley and Kira. We'd often go to Taco Bell and find those two there with their mom and dad. They moved to Colorado a few weeks after we moved here. She's also been asking about Uncle Rich and Aunt Christi as well as Abby from church and Robbie and Alexander from her old daycare. I think she's starting to notice that she hasn't seen these people in a long time, that this isn't just another vacation, but that things are different. She still doesn't seem to be showing any negative signs as a result of the move, but maybe it's not just as out-of-sight-out-of-mind as we had thought.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

And then there were two...

The more I learn about the place I'm temping at, World Vision, the more I am just amazed at the passion and concern, and the level of excellence with which they attack the root problems affecting children around the globe.

If anything, I wonder if World Vision suffers from a image problem where many people like me knew them mostly just as the place that allows you to send them money each month to sponsor a child "for less than the cost of a cup of coffee" but not really understanding what that really means. (I would always think to myself "who buys coffee every day?")

I've learned in my short time here that World Vision isn't just about sponsoring children, it's about changing the world and making it a better, safer and healthier place for children. Considering how much I love Rachel, the thought that these people who work around the globe to give opportunity, security and love to children makes my eyes well up with tears.

To that end, meet Alexsandra of Brazil. She's not our daughter. She has a mother and a step-father. We won't take their place. We can only love her from afar with our prayers, our letters and gifts and our tiny little monthly pittance. Maybe someday travel to Brazil and meet her.

We aren't singlehandedly changing the world, but we're helping a tiny little spark and hopefully giving Rachel a lifelong friend to grow up with, to help her better understand her place in the world and be grateful and amazed by the opportunity she has here in America and why it should not be taken for granted and why we should do what we can with the abundant blessings we've been given to try to improve someone else's odds.

Alexsandra was born on 06/30/04, a few weeks after Rachel. There are many, many children still hoping to find sponsors, especially older children because people like me keep going in and sponsoring the younger children.

Please consider sponsoring a child.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Will the real Che Che please stand up?

Some children create and give names to imaginary friends. Our 22-month old has given herself a nickname.

Che Che apparently lives about 20 minutes in the future of Rachel, doing things Rachel wants to be doing, for instance "Che Che is eating Cheerios." equals "Rachel would like some Cheerios." or "Che Che home." means "Rachel wants to go home." (But then, thanks to family members, "Home, James!" also means Rachel wants to go home.)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Crime and Punishment

I've wondered about how much infants and toddlers can understand about punishment. By now, willful disobedience is possible, but when punished, can a toddler make the connection? We've commited not to using violence to punish, because how can you teach a child not to hit if you hit them to punish them. I was raised in a pro-spanking household and Lori was not, but we both turned out fine. It pains me enough to see Rachel in pain, either from being sick or because she's somehow hurt herself. For me to intentionally inflict pain as an attempt to prove a point? Bloody ridiculous.

I mean to paint my own parents in a bad light, or suggest anything negative. For them, spanking was an acceptable method of punishment. I eventually learned to fear the punishment and choose not to go down a path that would probably lead to it. Of course, guilt was also eventually used as a the weapon of choice. This one, I hated more and in some ways still suffer a little bit from. But we're not here to talk about me.

Rachel has a habit of clearing her tray when she's done eating. And by this I mean she throws things to the floor. Food, bib, sippy cup, plate, fork, spoon, you name it. Frustrates Lori to no end, and sometimes infuriate might be the more appropriate word. Well, tonight I found myself more responsible for Rachel's feeding and clean up. So, in my laziness, I came up with a new idea. Rachel already likes to help and she likes to put things in the trash, and she likes to clean. So tonight she picked up all the food she had thrown on the floor and put it in the trash. Then she picked up her spoon and I lifted her up to the sink to put it in the sink. Lastly, I handed her a wet paper towel and asked her to clean the floor.

Of course, she enjoyed it. And her hands-and-knees cleaning job of the floor was more fun than anything, climbing under the table and whatnot. Certainly won't give Lori a week off from the mopping. But, maybe, just maybe, I'm hoping that night after night as Rachel cleans up the floor and it stops being fun that she'd realize there'd be less to pick up off the floor if she threw less on it.

We shall see.

Other milestones are being hit but I find myself more and more these days thinking about what she will think if she someday finds this. When I started it, it was all about me and what I was experiencing becoming a dad. But now as this little life begins to take on more and more individuality I start to realize that it could affect her as well. So I've been hesitant to write and avoiding discussing some neat things only because I think they could be potentially embarassing. She, of course, will not be able to appreciate this until she has children of her own.

Congrats to D&J on the birth of C and B&K on the birth P. Welcome new little ones!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Prayer Time

Toddlers love routine. And when you fail to provide them with the routine, they will let you know. She had her bath, said goodnight to Grandma, I read to her from the Bible and we put her into her crib, but we had forgotten something.

"Pray" she said, standing in her crib, arms out to us. So we took her hands and Lori said a short prayer as is the norm. When we were done she requested "pray" again.

So we asked if perhaps she wanted to pray and she said yes. So we all took hands again and we asked if she was going to pray to God. Her words were not clear, but they were clear enough to understand what came next: "Thank you Jesus for Allison and Josh." I may be paraphrasing just a bit (it was probably more like "Thank you Jesus something mumbled Allison Josh") but the sentiment was there and heartwarming. Especially since Allison's someone she's only met twice and Balash (who she's calling Josh) once.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A Time Like This

This is an amazing time in the little one's life. She is at once, becoming a girl, but still a toddler. Her decision making is becoming more thoughtful and decisive, but she still will pick up a teether shaped like a duck and shake it, delighting in the rattling and how good it feels to bite, only to pull it out of her mouth, hold it up to us and announce "Happy Duck!"

As for the move, she seems completely unphased, very happy in her new surroundings and having grandma, mom and dad all at home all day long.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Yo ho, yo ho

Friday, March 03, 2006

Baby Altruism

MSNBC.COM -- In a recent study, babies as young as 18 months showed altruism, helping to retrieve dropped objects, while ignoring thrown objects, often first looking at the face of the researcher who dropped the item, to make sure that they really needed help. More...

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Bad Boys, Bad Boys, Whatcha Gonna Do?

"If you have a boy, you need to worry about one boy.
If you have a girl, you need to worry about all boys."

Should I be concerned that our little girl is already enamored by the Harley types?

If I can be stereotypical for a moment, think of the kind of guy you'd imagine as the average Harley rider. Big, tall, shaved head, mustache, maybe some tattoos. Whe she sees guys like this in the grocery store, she always lights up and says "hi." Granted, she will greet many peope, sometimes with and sometimes without prompting, but those big guys always make her smile. (Are they like bears or something?)

Anyhow, the other night at the restaurant, she was stomping around in the waiting area while I was finishing up with the check. Lori was right there with her. She starts to head towards the manager and so he kind of leaned down towards her and said "come here, come here!" She ran right to him to give him a hug and he lifted her off her feet and into the air which made her laugh with joy.

It was a little disturbing, perhaps she's too trusting. Parenting is not an easy task.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Blame Game

Should I be worried that my 20-month old daughter -- after having thrown food on the floor and had it pointed out to them -- pretty clearly said "Robbie did it!"?

(Robbie is one of her classmates.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Ga + Ga = Gaga

NEWS.COM -- Research suggests that babies can listen to multiple people speaking and expect to see that same number of people. Hard to explain, but interesting none-the-less. More...

Friday, February 10, 2006

Tiny Baby, Tiny Mom

MSNBC.COM -- TULARE, Calif. - A woman who weighs 37 pounds, stands 3 feet tall and uses a wheelchair has given birth to her first child, overcoming serious odds and doubters who advised her to abandon their dream of becoming parents. Doctors called the successful a one-in-a-million event. More...

ALSO - congratulations to T&S on your little announcement! We'll be praying for you!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

You should have seen the other guy

Actually, there was no other guy. At school today Rachel fell and hit her head on the corner of a cinderblock divider between a path and the sandbox.

We think. No one actually saw it happen, but she had been standing on the cinderblocks one moment, and the next moment she wasn't.

When they called us, they downplayed it, which I am thankful for. Because when we saw it, both Lori and I wanted to cry. But they told us on the phone that we wouldn't need to see a doctor, that she was all calmed down now and that it wasn't that bad. But that they were still consoling a caregiver who hadn't been involved but was torn up when she saw Rachel. They all love her there, but Miss Helen just adores Rachel way more than the other kids. You can tell.

By the time we got there, she was her normal happy self. But with one eye swelled shut and a bloody oozing gash on her eyelid.

We have no reason to disbelieve their story, so please resist any urge to be like the annoying cashier at Boston Market who said that the school was lying to us.

We took her home and as soon as her grandma saw her, she was upset that we weren't already at the urgent care facility having her checked out.

So, it was off to the hospitasortof so they could take a look at her. Fortunately, by then the swelling had decreased quite a bit and she was only left with bruising and roughed up skin above and below the eye and on the chin and a nice bloody wound on her eyelid.

They said that it wasn't an area you wanted to switch, especially on a little tiny child. So they had her sit in Lori's lap while Lori held Rachel's arms under two blankets and I held her head still and they used a saline solution in a syringe attached to an eye cup to wash out the wound. Rachel was really good. She cried like she was unahppy, but she didn't scream bloody murder like I would have done if it were me. Lori reports that she didn't really struggle either, more of just a "I'm not happy."

Afterwards we went to Boston Market where we were convinced that everyone was judging us. Two older ladies were especially observant of our dining experience but near the end of the meal, they asked her age and then said that she seemed really smart for her age and that we must always be teaching her and interacting with her.

After we got home we cleaned the wound again, put on neosporin and a bandaid. The only way we could get the bandaid to stay was if we also would wear bandaids. She's now in bed, laying there talking to herself, but she seems to have passed the trauma pretty quickly.

What a joy and a blessing she is.

(There's nothing wrong with her mouth, she's just using her new cheesy grin for the picture. I'll post one another time of her with the bandaid so you can see how much better she looks now.)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Rachel was promoted today out of the infant room into the next sized room. For the past month or so they've been acclimating her to the new room, letting her stay there partial days. We learned today that whenever it's time to go back to the other room, she will throw herself to the ground in what they only described as "so much drama." It would appear that the new room features fewer kids (there are at least two rooms for this age group) and that they spend less time in the room -- it's quite a bit smaller. We do know that she's been participating in chapel with the larger kids and outside play time for at least a month or two. It's hard to imagine the little one sitting still for anything like chapel, but in the new room, she immediately climbed into a little chair so she could eat some cheese.