Thursday, July 30, 2009

The modern 3 R's

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
I know it's been pointed out before, but they are actually in order of importance.
Reduce your waste.
What you can't reduce, reuse.
If you can't reuse that, recycle it.
(Of course, what can't be recycled gets tossed.)
We have a friend who is very thrifty and saves everything. I work for a neighbor shipping boxes of books. The guy who saves everything is passing along years worth of packing material to be reused shipping boxes of books. Go figure: what most would have considered a sign of being crazy is just his way of keeping useful things out of landfills, at least a little longer. I'm sure all those packing peanuts and bubble wrap will end up there eventually, but at least they got a second use first.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Time out for toys

Wil's toys earn time outs. He actually seems to understand and his behavior is improving since we've implemented this tactic. Here's how it works:
1) Implemented a few months ago, if Wil throws a toy at someone or hits someone with a toy, the toy goes in a clear plastic jar called the "Holding Tank" and he doesn't get it back until the following day. He can see the toy. The first few times he asked to have them back. Now, he occasionally comments on them, but doesn't ask for them back. He also doesn't throw his toys very often. And when he gets in the mood to do it, he will offer up additional toys as I collect the offending ones, as if to say, "I was going to throw these, so you might as well take them now." It's cute. He'll tell me his toys are having a time out.
2) Implemented last week and still in the learning stage, his toys get a time out for a day if they aren't picked up at night. We are still doing most of the picking up, but he's getting better at helping. I'm hoping another few weeks will have him doing more on his own. There's hope. The other night, he wanted to go up to bed, then remembered his toys were still out. So he asked to come down and clean them up so they wouldn't have a time out. Since they get put in time out at bedtime, they spend the following day in the jar.
It seems to work punishing his toys. He doesn't want to lose them, it's something he can see, and it is directly related to the offense. Giving him a time out is very temporary and he often thinks it a joke. But seeing a toy he can't play with is material, longer lasting enough that it makes an impression, and shows a clear path of action having consequences.
Now if only I can come up with a suitable creative solution to throwing food on the floor. Suggestions welcomed.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My baby is growing up

Tomorrow is Sam's 1st birthday. It's bittersweet, as was Wil's first birthday, because I'm both happy and sad he's turning 1.
The first birthday is the first! It's a big deal. He's doing so many fun things and learning something new every day. I love that he's becoming more independent and can do so many things for himself. I can't wait until he starts walking so I don't have to carry him everywhere, and he's so close! He's been tentatively taking a step or two for the last couple of days. Every new stage is fun. I've really enjoyed each stage so far with both boys (despite the challenges).
But it's sad because my baby is growing up! He's never going to be this little again. He's slowly growing away from me as he becomes more independent. That's as it should be. Overall, there's more happy than sad, which is also as it should be.
So, happy 1st birthday, Sam!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Women's health

Planned Parenthood called me today to ask if I would call Baron Hill's office about the healthcare reform legislation. Their big concern was that women's reproductive health needed to be included and women should not be left worse off than they currently are.
I can get behind that sentiment. Women's reproductive health seems to get caught in the crossfire of the abortion wars. And there is a lot more to reproductive health than abortion. Actually, with better access to reproductive health, there would probably be fewer abortions.
A quote from Abigail Adams keeps running through my head which I think is very apropos:

Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors.

Sadly, that request is still needed in a lot of ways.
Healthcare reform is caught in the political battle it was supposed to avoid because neither side seems all that willing to compromise. With so many countries with working health care systems, you'd think they'd have a pretty good blueprint of what works and what doesn't and it would be a matter of hammering out a few details. But our politicians seem determined to reinvent the wheel and make it square in the process.

Obey all traffic rules

One of the things I enjoy doing when someone is tailgating and being a jerk behind me is to obey the traffic rules. I got to do that this morning with the SUV driving up my rear on 2-lane Smith (with no passing zones due to hills). Think he was annoyed at actually going 30 mph, but that is the posted speed limit. And I'm sure he was irked at my full and complete stop at Moore's Pike, but a stop sign does mean stop and not roll through slowly....
Actually, that is what you are supposed to do when someone tailgates. The drivers ed text book response is to slow down to give both you and the other vehicle plenty of time to stop. So my enjoyment is just a bonus to following the rules.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Lots of magic lately:
We went to see Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince last night. We really enjoyed the movie and are looking forward to HP7.a and HP7.b over the next 2 years. Of course, the babysitter cost more than the movie, but it was really nice to have an evening out.
Also in Harry Potter news, we have tickets to see the exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago on August 15th. Several people who have seen it say it's awesome.
Space magic abounds: Chris read the new Apollo: Through the Eyes of the Astronauts book with lots of photos from missions. He's a space geek and is enjoying the current Apollo 11 anniversary stuff.
I'm sure there's more, but those are what I can think of right now.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I really have nothing to say

But I'll say something anyway. :) Isn't that the point of a blog?
The boys and I spent last weekend in Urbana with my parents and celebrated my sister's birthday. Chris spent Saturday night and Sunday morning finishing filming of the movie he's gaffer for.
Last night I went to book club for one of my moms groups. We discussed The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, which is an awesome book. I highly recommend it if anyone is looking for an interesting story that really celebrates reading and books within the intriguing story. I didn't get home until late (11 p.m.) because we were having such a good discussion and moved into mommy things to talk about (actually related to themes in the novel.) I lost track of time. I really needed a fun night where I lost track of time and got home late, although I paid a bit this morning when the boys got up at 7. It took a long time to fall asleep last night because I was still thinking about our discussion. Next month I am hosting and we are reading Fahrenheit 451.
Sam will be 1 in less than 2 weeks. Twelve days. He is really turning into a kid and I think he might actually walk before his birthday. He is soooo close! Speaking of Sam, he's letting me know that it is dinner time, so I better go make something.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Ok, so Chris and I have both griped on Twitter/Facebook about fireworks. I just have to say that the legislators obviously don't have young kids because they would not have allowed fireworks until 11 p.m. any day of the year otherwise. My kids are in bed by 9! Loud fireworks are not conducive to sllep, although they have luckily slept through them. The fireworks are amazingly loud even with the windows closed.
While I appreciate that pyros have a right to set off their fireworks, the rest of us have a right to a peaceful night's sleep. Part of the problem is that we are now in the eastern time zone, so it isn't dark enough until nearly 10. I'm not sure why fireworks don't fall under noise ordinances, but non-stationary noises are allowed until 11 p.m. Stationary noise is restricted starting at 9 p.m.
So where do fireworks fall? I can only hope that they stop now that people have had a chance to use them since the 4th was rainy. Our neighborhood email was hopping with complaints and comments today, leaving one of the fireworks users feeling bad. I hope tactful diplomacy will ease the tension and help everyone remember that we are all neighbors.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The boys are growing up

Sam is on the verge of walking. In the last week or two, he has started walking holding our hands plus he's standing unassisted on occasion. Yesterday he had fun putting Wil's baseball back on the tee. He would stand next to it, holding only the ball, and place the ball. At one point, it wasn't working and he picked up the tee and moved it! Also, yesterday he walked around the living room only holding one of my hands. I think he's much more motivated than Wil was, so he might actually walk before his birthday.
Wil is making advances in vocabulary in leaps and bounds. He is starting to put concepts together and has been speaking in whole sentences. It's really exciting to understand what he's saying. And he's fun to watch playing with his cars or his people. He re-enacts scenes from shows he's seen, but he also makes up his own stories.
I fully expect to turn Sam's car seat around in another three weeks after his 1 year check-up. We had to wait until Wil was 15 1/2 months for him to reach 20 pounds, but I really think Sam will be 20 pounds by the time he's 1. It's amazing how different the kids can be. Wil looks like Chris at that age and Sam looks like me at that age, and they are very different people in personality and skill.
Just watching them first thing in the morning shows some of the difference. Sam wakes up happy and cheerful, usually early; Wil often wakes up crying, not happy about being up, and likes to sleep in just a little. Once again, Sam takes after me and Wil takes after Chris.
Wil starts preschool in the fall. We should be getting all the info next week.