Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Christmas and New Year Update.

Well, for those of you who have read the blog for the past year, a hearty thanks for your comments, prayers and good wishes. Hopefully, we'll be able to keep this up as Price Baby #2 winds his way toward birth. Albeit at a more sprightly pace than that seen over the past two weeks...

The hiatus was caused, of course, by Christmas and the preparations for same. I'll let Heather tell you about Christmas with her family (which we hosted). I'll talk about mine. This year, we travelled to my parents for Christmas day (we alternate years for the holidays). 145 miles one way, packed with gifts and enough gear to survive for three days. I say this without irony or affectation: Thank God for the minivan. This year, we were able to travel both ways in something approximating comfort. In previous years, it was The Clampetts' Christmas Odyssey, complete with whining dog. Not this year: it was actually a fairly pleasant trip this time around.

I had Christmas Eve off (as did Heather, but of course, teachers have all sorts of time off), which meant we were able to hit the road around 1pm. This was a very, very good thing, and boded well for the journey. What was even better was that Maddie decided to sleep for most of the way. We arrived at 4pm, to the delight of my Mom and Dad. Maddie generously allowed Neema (my mom) and Papa (my dad) to "ooh" and "ahh" over her, looting the toy box in the process. She was happy to see her grandma, who is able to come down and visit her every six weeks or so. Dad, 6'3" and 290 lbs., is another matter. Frankly, she doesn't know what to make of him, which is a little sad, given how much he loves her.

To be honest, she regards most men with standoffish suspicion. I'm an obvious and blessed exception. The more they look like Dahda, the better: My brother in law (Heather's brother) comes off very well in her book, given his black hair and beard. Dad and I don't resemble each other closely, so she's nervous around him. While this didn't change much over Christmas, it is starting to change. She knows who he is, and happily points to him when asked "Where's Papa?"

As with all things involving the TLH&B Prices and major holidays, we weren't quite ready for Christmas after arrival. We had to wrap the gifts we'd brought, and I had to do more shopping for Heather [don't ask about my solo shopping trip on 12/23]. I trundled off to KMart with a small list, beefed up by Dad (who had a craving for popcorn) and Heather (who noted that we needed cassettes for the video camera). To this I added Heather's last gift, which in the past few years has involved jewelry. This year was no exception. Fortunately for me, the store had a nice diamond and ruby pendant, which I snapped up with gratitude. I hurried out of the store, and got home shortly before 6pm, the time scheduled for our traditional oyster stew and ham sandwich dinner. Don't ask me where this tradition came from, but I can't imagine a Christmas without it.

After dinner, we frosted the sugar cookies, which along with strong coffee, fuel the adults during the early rise on Christmas morning. Following the cookies, I ordered everyone to stay out of the basement while I wrapped gifts. For five terrifying minutes, I thought I'd lost Heather's pendant. I bought it at the jewelry counter, and had to do more shopping. I did not put it in the bags with the other items, so I thought I'd left it in the car. Fortunately, my mother suggested I search my coat pocket. Whew.

I then went down to wrap Heather's gifts, which also included How The Irish Saved Civilization, and From Conception to Birth: A Life Unfolds. As an aside, the latter book is breathtaking. It also proves that my 16 month old daughter is already smarter than Kate Michelman: when shown a picture of a 52 day old baby in the womb, Maddie pointed to the picture and said "Baby."

My niece and nephews also did well, with Molly getting a talking SpongeBob and doll accessories. My oldest nephew, Aubrey, received a remote control police car. My brother's other son, Brennen, got Hot Wheels equipment and a P-38 Lightning. [Editorial note: Tut-tutting about "war toys" will be printed and sent to people who housebreak Rottweiler puppies.] I bought the Lightning as a lark, largely because I tried to think what a four year old boy would find cool. The P-38 is very, very cool, and this toy includes a display stand and retractable landing gear. In a word, it's sweet. Brennen carried it around like it was a skin graft, which made his uncle quite happy. As to the rest of the largesse we bestowed, Mom got special print software to help her do her newsletters and art projects, as well as fabric paints, Dad received a three-foot high rolling tool box, my brother got a couple of DVDs, and my sister in law got a coffee maker upgrade (she downs almost as much coffee as I do). Maddie was pleased with all her gifts, and all of her cousins', too. We had to separate her from the presents she'd taken from the distraught Brennen. After that, there was peace in the valley.

My mother's tasty roast ostrich (read: steroid-addled turkey) caused the usual L-tryptophan coma, and therefore the afternoon included an unavoidable nap for the Prices. In fact, the only downside was a screw up caused by an unreliable local church schedule. The local parish announced an 11 am Mass on its billboard. As we were leaving at 10:45 on Christmas morning, we learned that the Mass was at 9am. The only blotch on an otherwise wonderful Christmas.

We hope you are having a blessed Christmas season. From all of us: Have a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 16, 2002

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Dale: She reliably informs me that she turned 29 today. Again. Technically, this makes me older than Mom, but no matter. Remarkable, that.

After all, saying otherwise will get me killed and/or my Christmas gifts returned.
Obstatrics, Continued.

Dale: Ditto what Heather said. Next, as far as the problem with directly linking to this blog: take it up with Blogger. It's not like we programmed this monster.

On second thought, don't bother. I've tried.
New Parent Lesson No. 3,342

Dale: "Beware toddlers handing over unidentified items immediately after being asked."

Maddie gave me a nice squishy cat turd yesterday morning. There was no trace of regret on her smiling face.

Friday, December 13, 2002

I'm going to be calm about this and explain it slowly. Please be patient.
I am not a computer genius or even much of a novice. I can type well and sort of navigate the 'Net. I rely pretty much completely on my dear sweet husband to create the links from this blog to whatever site I mention--whether a book to purchase at Amazon, recent photo proofs of our family, whatever. He's shown me once and it went into the memory hole, so perhaps I ought to ask again.
I know what happens to the text when one bolds it, italicizes it, or uses it as a link. It turns orange for the last. For the anonymous(?) Nihil Obstat, they are not the same thing. Occasionally I have a title for my entries; those are in bold. Please, for the sake of the punctuation impaired, do not confuse them.

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Heather: I know a purchase we're making this weekend!
Some of you readers are parents, so please tell me if this means what I think it means.
Madeleine has been saying various words for quite a while. I made a list a while back and it was over two dozen, so that was impressive. Her most recent have been "stah" (star--yes, she knows it's on the top of the tree) and "poop." That she would say pretty much only when you're changing her diaper, whether she was poopy or not. There is a distinction between "poop" and "Pooh." She says the second P for diaper contents.
Anyway. This morning we're having breakfast together. She pauses from her Cheerios and sippy, makes her pooping face for a moment, then another. (You parents know what I'm talking about.) Then those big blue eyes look at me and she says, "Poop."
This is the first time such an event has happened.
I didn't know whether to fish or cut bait. Finish her breakfast or get her to the changing table? Sure enough, she had pooped (not much, but that's not the point). She knew what she did and could tell me. Yes, I know, the hard part is getting her to say it BEFORE she does it with enough time to get her to the potty (which is the purchase we're making this weekend), instead of AFTER, but the process seems to have started. I wasn't going to worry about getting a potty seat until after Christmas, and that was just to have for her to get used to.
I told Dale that if she's potty trained by the time our son is born, not only is she getting a prom dress when the time comes but she's getting a car on her 16th birthday too.
I know, kids regress too; it's not always a slow but steady march forward to self-sufficiency. This seemed to be a giant step forward, though, and is another on the long list of Reasons Maddie Is An Easy Baby (And A Wonderful Gift From God).

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

I've been doing some thinking about the whole abortion issue. The Democratic party has it as a plank in its platform; it is said that its importance is that of a sacrament. I kind of think that blasphemes the whole idea of sacraments, but I get the gist. As I've said before, it has become the litmus test for feminism, too. Both of these circumstances make me quite sad. I agree with so many things with both of these groups but am repelled--nay, revolted--by their stand on abortion. Anyway. Back to my original thought.
The argument put forth by the abortion proponents is "choice." A woman's control over her own body. If that breaks down, their argument vanishes like the puff of smoke it should be.
See if you can follow me along for this ride; it's kind of convoluted.
I teach French and Spanish, not science or biology, so I may be mistaken. My experience with genetics is from a 9th grade class (I think I averaged a C in there, maybe B). All of the cells in my body share the same DNA, right? Whether eyes, hair, blood, muscle, bone--whatever. Even cancerous tumors share the DNA of the host body, don't they? That's what makes those all part of the same body. That's how DNA evidence works, right? Whether they get skin, blood, or hair samples, they can identify or rule out the suspect.
Are you following me?
Right now I'm pregnant for the second time. This time, we found out what we are having and it's a boy.
My question for the pro-abortion folks is, if it's solely MY body concerned here, and I'm a woman, how can I give birth to a MALE child? Pele in there doesn't share my DNA; only half of it is mine. The other half is his daddy's, which makes him identical to neither of us. He's not some tumor to be excised as he is someone else on the most basic, primary level. Sure, there are women with breast implants and those bags of silicone or saline don't share their DNA. The implants don't have DNA to be concerned with. There are others who have their stomach stapled or nips and tucks, sure. Those procedures don't involve interfering with a "body of cells" with different DNA.
So if this growing, kicking, thumb-sucking being who has a heartbeat and can hear his daddy's voice isn't a part of my body (as he doesn't share my DNA), what is he? Must be someone else, right? And what right do I have to choose to kill him?
Simply put, I don't.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

More signs of hope for the future.
We got hit with a snowstorm yesterday--about 6 inches. Not a tremendous amount, but for the winter's first snowfall it was a lot. The roads were a mess both to and from work; the sidestreets are still treacherous. It started early and didn't quit until almost dinnertime.
Where the hope for the future kicks in is here: around 5:30, while Dale was washing dishes so I could make dinner and I was checking papers for progress reports on Thursday, there was a knock at our front door. I opened it to a trio of young men. "Would you like your snow shoveled? Fifteen dollars for sidewalks, porch, driveway..."
As we don't have a driveway, but do have a deck, that was a compromise. The three went to work and did quite a good job. They didn't do just a shovel-wide on the sidewalk but the whole width. They did the deck and, since we live on a corner, all the way around to the neighbors'. I paid them after they were finished, another element of trust.
That happened last winter, too, when the local schools were closed for snow. The weekend after Halloween this year we were asked if we would let a group of about a half-dozen boys rake our leaves--for free.
We don't live in a neighborhood of spacious lots, half-million dollar homes, and Benzes in the driveway. Instead we have people on their porches summer evenings, lots of Christmas decorations, and boys who come around and shovel snow for a pittance.
True wealth really can't be measured in dollars.

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