Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"Hey, my brother is walking!"

So says Jonathan, and how I wish that you could all have heard his REALLY! EXCITED! VOICE! Jonathan really loves his brother, and it has been such a joy to watch him watch Thomas' progress and cheer him on this past week.

As of yesterday I think we can safely say that Thomas can walk on his own. Not very far yet, but it is entirely self-driven. He gets to the end of a wall or a couch and just keeps going. I think the record so far is seven steps.

Yay Thomas! We're proud of your new accomplishment, and all the hard work that you've put into the project!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Take a look

at my updated sidebar. The blogroll is now current and properly ordered, and I added a new book to my "good books" list. And it all took a very long time because I'm not particularly good at this, so please do go look and tell me you appreciate all my hard work on your behalf. :)

First tooth - picture!

That other white thing in his mouth? That isn't a tooth. Thomas is my squirrel so it is probably leftover lunch. :)

Second child

Is he cute or what?

Raising a second child is fascinatingly different from raising a first born. When they are both here, life is mostly controlled chaos. One of them always needs me, and so I bounce back and forth between them, trying to gauge which one needs me more at the particular moment. Thomas being quieter by nature and simply not as old as Jonathan, he often gets ignored until he yells.

So when we're here alone (Jonathan is at Grandma's house today) it is a completely different experience. I have space to really interact with Thomas. Jonathan isn't continually asking for my attention, so I see all the little nuances of personality that are in Thomas but so often get overshadowed. I have space to enjoy the giggles, to enjoy holding him when he is tired, to play music just so that he can dance to it, to help him take those still-shaky steps holding my hands.

All the things that I used to do with Jonathan, and entirely took for granted.

Blogging Etiquette

It has taken me a long time to sort of absorb some of the etiquette rules of the blogging community. I'm starting to feel like it is likely I won't make a major faux pas, (I've been blogging nearly 3 years, so it is about time!) but some of the suggestions in these posts was new to me. I hope you'll go check them out, too.

Sarah at Real Life gives seven things you can do to help your fellow bloggers.

cafe mama writes a clear overview of blog etiquette basics.

Melanie and Shannon talk about the etiquette of blogrolls and reciprocal links (an 8 minute podcast).

We take a break from our regularly scheduled programing

This isn't a political blog. It never has been, and I don't imagine it will become one. However, the fact of the upcoming primary, with a wide open field of dissimilar candidates, none of whom is an obvious choice and half of whom have won primaries already, is making me do an awful lot of hard thinking about my choice. Because the day is coming way too soon when I have to make that decision.

I never thought I'd say that. I've been complaining since last spring about the fact that everyone was already out campaigning. "Leave me alone!" I said crossly, "I'll pay attention next winter." Yet here it is next winter and I am still horribly undecided.

There are such large issues at stake. Abortion. Taxes. Foreign policy. Torture and how we handle "enemy combatants" when they aren't in uniform. Illegal immigration. How we view the Constitution. What role faith has (and/or should have) in policy and presidents. Health care. Perhaps the vast number of candidates is simply a reflection of the vast number of problems we face and the myriad of views on how they should be solved.

People often deride "single issue voters". I can see their point, but until this year I have always been a single issue voter. I have always, always, always voted Republican because they were always on the right side of the abortion controversy. It was actually pretty simple to vote, back then.

I'm still a single issue voter - of a sort. The problem is that now I have a whole host of "single issues" on which I do not believe I can compromise. I can't vote for someone who believes abortion is ok. I can't vote for someone who thinks that torture is appropriate, ever. I can't vote for someone who thinks we should pull out of Iraq immediately, and to hell with the consequences for the Iraqi people.

Less important, but still central to my thinking: How can I vote for someone who wants to raise taxes, when our taxes are already 1/3 of our income (at least) and are subsidizing organizations like Planned Parenthood? I have no problem paying for roads and schools, but really, how many of my dollars are being used that way? How can I vote for someone who thinks enforcing our current immigration laws is impossible - so we ought to ignore the laws and let illegals stay? How horribly unfair to those who tried to do it right! How can I vote for someone who thinks a few thousand dollars in a tax credit is enough to take care of the health care problem?

How can I vote for someone who shares my convictions but hasn't a prayer of winning a general election? Am I not then functionally voting for the democratic nominee, who shares even fewer of my values?

How can I vote for any of the candidates running?

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Moothart Family Rules

Jonathan is learning about the Moothart Family Rules. This morning Gabe was playing with his duplos with him. Gabe picked up a dinosaur and a horse had them attack each other. Jonathan asked what they were doing, and when Gabe told him they were fighting, he said "Dad, no! Don't let them fight!"
"Why?" asked my husband.
"Because that's not how our family is!"

Yesterday was a red letter day!

Thomas cut his very first tooth!


He stood up without holding onto anything for the first time! (Not standing up from the floor, but letting go of the table or couch and balancing by himself.) He was so pleased with himself that he stood there and squawked until I looked at him and applauded, and then he fell over. :)

I really think he'll walk before the end of his first year - yesterday evening he cruised everywhere and when he got to the end of the couch or table he'd take a last step, balance, lean in the direction he wanted to go, and then fall to his knees. I don't think it will take too much longer for him to realize that he doesn't have to fall over!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Children's Music Contest WINNER!

Wow, did you all ever come through for me! So many suggestions - it has taken me awhile to check them all out. I do apologize for the silence regarding a winner of the contest.

If you'll remember, the criteria by which I am judging the suggestions is threefold: it has to be fun, it has to be good, and it has to be character building (specifically Christian). I have to admit that I was disappointed to find that most of the suggestions only hit two of the three. There was plenty of good folksy music, and plenty of specifically Christian music that wasn't (in my opinion) very good (remember, you're talking to a music major here, so I'm picky!) There was also some music that I've filed away for future reference as having potential - but not until my kids are a good five or eight years older than they are right now. :)

That said, I did find some that I liked very much. Here they are, in no particular order, for your browsing pleasure:

1) Elizabeth Mitchell - pleasant voice, folksy sound, a variety of old classics and new songs.
(recommended by: Andi, ErinKH, and Mich)

2) Sandra Boynton - absolutely hilarious lyrics, a wide variety of musical styles (which match the style of the lyrics!) and a variety of singers. The adults will love these, older kids will smile as they get the jokes, and younger children will probably enjoy without appreciating how funny and well done each song is.
(recommended by: Amy, Stacey, and Mich)

3) Laurie Berkner - young children will likely enjoy watching her music videos - she has a very child-friendly style and great facial expressions. Her music is upbeat and fun and her lyrics tend to be very simple and often funny.
(recommended by: Meg and Angie)

4) Joe McDermott - good lyrics that obviously have been written with a great amount of thought, folksy and child-friendly sound. Not Christian that I can tell, but some of the lyrics advocate good character qualities. Others are just fun.
(recommended by: Linds)

5) Veggie Tales - what can I say? Singing vegetables!
(recommended by: Angie and Dawn)

We had quite the time deciding on a winner between these five artists - each of them has songs that we will probably buy on itunes. Veggie Tales technically fits the criteria best, but we already knew about them. So the winner is Meg who left the first commend recommending Laurie Berkner. Thank you, Meg!!

And thank you to everyone who left suggestions - it has been a fun few days browsing through all of them!

Friday, January 11, 2008

In case you were wondering

No one actually reads the questions you submit to election campaigns. You know how each candidate's website has a place for you to ask questions? Well, I asked one - the same question at each of the Huckabee, McCain, and Romney websites.

The Huckabee and McCain questions were not answered. The Romney team sent me a form answer that generally talked about his position on abortion, but didn't actually answer my question. I wasn't satisfied, so I responded to the form letter, asking (again) for further clarification. Guess what came back?

The exact same form letter. Apparently their interns simply scan the mail for keywords.

Frankly, I'm disappointed. All the campaigns make such a big deal out of "listening" to the people, and they all say that they "welcome questions"...but it seems that they don't really mean it when it comes down to truly answering a real one.

I know, I know. They're politicians. What do I expect, eh?

Meanest Mom on the Planet

Someday I hope that this kid grows up to realize what a fantastic mother he has.

And you know, I realized last night (while reading this story) that I must be a "for real" adult now. Because ten years ago I am quite sure I would have thought this woman truly awful.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

WFMW - Children's Music

Today is Backwards Day over at Rocks in my Dryer. Instead of offering a tip, we get to ask for one!

Lately, we've been listening to a LOT of children's music. Specifically, a lot of Psalty's Kid's Praise from Maranatha. If I didn't already have most of it memorized from my own childhood, I certainly do now! Now, I love Psalty. And Colby. And I'm even somewhat fond of G.T. and the Halo Express. But those are all leftovers from my own childhood, and I'm sure (at least, I'm hopeful!) that there is more fantastic music that has been created since then. I'm looking for music that is first good (i.e. quality music) second character building, (specifically Christian, if possible) and third fun.

So...tell me the best kids' music you've heard (and if you want extra points, tell me where to get it!) As incentive, I'm offering a prize.


I'll send a $10 itunes gift card to the person who gives me the best suggestion. Caveat: it has to be a good enough recommendation that I actually buy it. Sound fair?

Ok...go! :)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


This evening, shortly before bedtime, Jonathan wrapped up his pajamas into a little ball and snuggled himself into our bed. When we asked what he was doing, he informed us that he was sleeping with his newborn baby.

This was so sweet that we halted everything and ran for the camera.

After the picture, though, it really was time for bed. Jonathan was quite upset, however, and shouted "Don't wake me up!!!"

That has to be the most creative bedtime stall tactic I've heard yet.

While I've been typing this, Gabe has been getting Jonathan ready for bed. I just heard Jonathan informing his Daddy that he (J) had babies in his tummy. As you can probably guess, many of our friends are currently pregnant! This particular flight of fancy, however, resulted in Daddy seriously explaining that Jonathan is a boy and boys don't get babies in their tummies.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Oh no! I mean, yes?

Sometimes toddlers say things that make you step back and evaluate how you're parenting.
Mommy? When I'm a mommy, I'm going to say 'no no!'
Aside from the gender confusion going on here, I think perhaps I should consider using "no" a little less. :)

Isn't it pretty?

My brother made this for me for Christmas!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Happy (almost) Three Kings Day!

We celebrated today, since it doesn't work well to plan a family celebration for Sunday morning while you're trying to get out the door to church!

Jonathan spent the last few days talking about how the three kings were on their way to visit Jesus and bring him presents. He was very excited about getting to have presents, too!

So this morning we made Cranberry Kuchen (my family's traditional Christmas morning breakfast - we've just moved it a few weeks so it fits better into our blended family traditions!)

Then while it baked, we opened stockings. Hurray for the three kings and their gifts!

Both boys got toothbrushes (another Palmer family tradition) even though Thomas doesn't have any teeth quite yet. It has to happen sometime, right? And he enjoyed chewing on it just the same.

Mommy put a bit too much tape on a few of the packages, requiring intense concentration to open them!

Thomas, surveying his new possessions.

Then we all enjoyed breakfast!

Thursday, January 03, 2008


There is so much going on in Thomas' life right now that it deserves its own post. At nearly 11 months old, he is in the midst of a major growth spurt. He stopped sleeping through the night (he's nursing two or three times, up from one or none) and he eats like a horse during the day. When I make bowls of food for him and for Jonathan, I make his twice as big and he still ends up eating off my plate!

We just moved from baths in the sink to baths in the tub. Thomas thinks that the VERY! LARGE! FAUCET! is the most exciting invention known to babies. I thought he would be scared of it, but he sits right next to it (and sometimes under it) and giggles himself silly.

The Moothart household is re-childproofing. Thomas can get into anything. If there is a space to squeeze through, Thomas will squeeze. If I move him away from something he oughtn't have, even if I give him a fun toy and sit down right next to him to play with it, he will make a beeline back to the "no-no" object. Heaven help me if I'm not paying attention for a moment - this is what will happen:

Yes, dear, you've been caught. :)

When he's not getting into trouble, though, he is the sweetest little boy you've ever met.

Just look at that face!

We thought about decorating a Christmas tree this year, but decided that decorating Thomas would be more fun. (Just kidding - we had a tree, too!)

Also in December: his first real haircut. All that darling baby softness was shorn and tucked away in his memory box. Doesn't he look older?

Thomas is becoming more and more independent, and getting oh-so-close to learning to walk. He cruises everywhere and frequently gets mad when he reaches the end of a piece of furniture and wants to keep going! One of these days I expect he'll just keep walking and forget to hold on. I'll be glad when it happens because I'm pretty sure that will be the day when he returns to his generally contented self!

He's still a little one, though, and loves his cuddles. So does his mama.

Preschool Time

I mentioned awhile ago that I was starting to try to work preschool time with Jonathan into our days. Well, it is going beautifully! He looks forward to it and often asks if we can do x, y, or z "during preschool time?" Yesterday we threaded beads and noodles on a cord, and Jonathan surprised me by how very good at it he was. That boy has very good fine motor skills, and he loves to work with his hands. Gabe and I are thinking, even now, that we're going to have to make an effort to find opportunities for him to work with his hands as he gets older. A sit-and-do-workbook-pages child he is not!

During Christmas vacation we didn't have our regular preschool time, but Jonathan had some wonderful opportunities to work on projects with his Daddy. Isn't this a wonderful picture? Isn't this a wonderful Daddy? :)

And oh, isn't this a fantastic result? That catch-all, ugly, messy space under the counter overhang is now organized and beautiful!


In light of the Iowa Caucuses happening today, I thought it might be a good day to post my dismay at the large array of Republican candidates, from which I have to choose one person on a day not too far from this one.

Ai yi.

So far I have it narrowed down to three candidates (in no particular order).

1) Romney
2) McCain
3) Huckabee

Let me detail (briefly!) what I'm thinking about each of them. Subject to revision, of course. :)


Things I like:

1) Lots of experience running things, and turning major problems around. If we ever needed someone to turn a financial disaster around, it is now!
2) Pro-family and pro-life rhetoric. I know many people say this is all just a front to get votes, but I think to be fair we have to admit that he might truly be a "convert" to the cause. He IS Mormon, after all, and most Mormons are definitely pro-family.
3) He says exactly what I'm thinking about illegal immigration.

1) He supports embryonic stem cell research on frozen IVF "extras". He also supports abortions in the cases of rape, incest, or life of the mother. While I understand that this second policy is politic and it may be impossible to hold anything else and be a viable candidate, I still find the logical inconsistency troubling.
2) I have concerns about the way he ran Massachusetts, particularly in the realm of healthcare. To be fair, he was working with a democratic legislature. Still, he claims their health system as something he is "proud of" and I'm not at all sure that I want the rest of the nation to follow a system of that sort. Sarah, want to weigh in on this one?


Things I like:

1) He really does seem to have a pretty solid conservative track record, particularly with fiscal responsibility.
2) He's not going to leave the Iraqis hanging. While I do very much wish that we were not still in Iraq, I'm a firm believer in the philosophy that we broke it and now we own it. McCain seems to have a clear idea of morality in the situation.
3) He's against torture in all forms, even the "grey areas". I'm pretty sure that I want our nation to be a leader in warfare ethics, not one that tries to weasel out of responsibilities because the base isn't on our soil.
4) His ideas on healthcare seem pretty reasonable.

1) He doesn't like Evangelicals much, and I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that (and his current pandering to them!) Still, he does seem to agree with most Christian moral principles.
2) I think his theories of how to solve the current illegal immigration problems are just nuts. Not to mention completely unfair to everyone who didn't break the law.
3) Like Romney, he supports embryonic stem cell research on frozen IVF "extras", and abortions in the "big three" exceptions.


Things I like:

1) He is a Christian. While I'm certainly not one that advocates a theocracy, I do appreciate the fact that a Baptist minister is most likely going to act in ways which I believe to be morally and ethically correct.
2) Pro-life position, even in the case of IVF babies. I can't pin him down on abortion in the "big three" cases, though. Anyone know what he believes on that?
3) The fair tax. I know it won't ever happen, but I can dream, right?

1) I keep hearing that Huckabee is a "populist". And I can't figure out what that means, but I know that Edwards is one and I can't stand Edwards. So this makes me nervous. Can someone explain this to me in more detail? And why I should or shouldn't be nervous?
2) I can't pin down his fiscal record. Everything I read seems contradictory. Is this guy a raving, spending, liberal in republican clothing? Or did he do the best he could with a democratic legislature?
3) His theories on healthcare seem mainly to be "prevent, prevent, prevent". Perhaps there is more to his idea than this, but what I'm hearing sounds way too simplistic.
3) Is a Baptist minister from the south even remotely electable? I get the feeling that the nation may just be totally finished with anyone who sounds anything like our current president.
I think I have two main problems. One is knowing which issues should be deal-breakers for me. Is the IVF issue big enough to change my vote? Should it be? The other (related) is deciding how much "electibility" should play into my vote. I want to vote my conscience, but I also don't want to indirectly elect someone far more out of line with my beliefs, simply because I voted for someone who had no chance of beating him/her.

I'd love some conversation on this topic. Just remember to keep it respectful, eh?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

When you lose information...

like I did

and then find it again, a good rule of thumb is to put it in as many places as possible to ensure NOT losing it again. So, for future information:

Cor's Carpet Cleaning
714-775-5827 (office)
714-349-3659 (cell)

And seriously, this guy is great. So if you live in Orange County and need your carpets cleaned, do give him a call!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy 2008!

Do you make new year resolutions, dear readers?

I don't. Instead of making new year resolutions, I make new baby resolutions. There are two types:

1) I will exercise and eat healthy foods during this pregnancy (unlike last time, but this time I REALLY WILL!)

2) I will exercise and eat healthy foods to lose this baby weight (unlike last time, but this time I REALLY WILL!)

Right now I'm still in the midst of #2. :) Perhaps I should re-resolve today, just to join the crowd?

UPDATED TO NOTE: I realize that you might just possibly read between the lines on this post and think that I'm pregnant. I'm NOT. :)