Saturday, November 29, 2008

Just Found Out That I Got Tagged...

Hubby is working from home now and sets up his computer in front of my computer, so I rarely get online anymore...especially during the day. And who has the energy to stay up late at night to surf the Net...oh yeah, my husband. :)

Anyway, with that said, Allyson 'tagged' me 21 days ago and because I haven't been keeping up with blogs, I didn't know it until now.

I'm requested to write about 6 things that make me happy. Here we no particular order.

Like Allyson (who has twins that are five days older than Ham) sleep, in any shape or form, is one thing that makes me very happy. Unfortunately, I don't think I will ever be able to sleep as good as I did when I was in my first trimester with Ham (I would literally pass out and it felt so good).

Family. Oh my goodness. I don't know what I would do without my dad, Augusta, mom, sister, Michael and the kids. But then there is Hubby's side of the family which is about 100 people total (that's just aunts, uncles, cousins and the grandparents).

The sunshine. On days like today when it's a really nice 58 degrees, but misty rain is coming down and the sky is that whitish gray, I would love to see the sun peak through. Spring is my favorite season. I always feel more alive, positive, and open-minded in the spring.

Animals. From little squirrels chattering and chasing each other on our deck to the majesty of a lion or the playfulness of a dolphin, animals have always made me happy. Kittens have to be my favorite domesticated animal, but you probably won't catch us ever having a pet. (A FAR cry from when I was growing up and said that when I was older, I wanted a pick-up truck and three dogs in the back).

Laughter. When I see anyone laughing, it makes me happy. I love laughing at myself and doing dumb things or saying really off-the-wall things and then realizing it was pretty funny. I love to hear babies laugh. Of course, I think my daughter's laugh is the most beautiful and joyful noise I've ever heard.

Dreaming. Now this can be tricky. Ask anyone close to me and they can tell you I have some pretty strange, always vivid dreams. However, I still think they are the coolest things to try and decipher and it's really neat to see how everything you've been thinking seems to play out in a dream. For instance, the other day I finished a book Brisingr, had just read a bunch about this new movie made from a best-selling book of the same name Twilight and had just watched Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. (As you can tell, I have a certain favorite genre, fantasy/adventure). So, anyway, I dreamed about vampires (Twilight) who could cast spells (Potter and Brisingr) and rode on dragons (Brisingr). I thought it was cool. Weird, but cool.

And, I have to add a 7th thing that makes me happy because the sixth one reminded me that there is nothing like a good book. I love to read and always have. Nothing sparks my creativity and imagination more than a good fiction book. I like non-fiction, too, but it's not the same.

OK, I tag Mer, my sister, and Emily G.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

When Can I Proclaim "Genius in the Hiz-ouse?!"

No, I'm not talking about my husband, Genius #1. I am talking about Ham, formerly Peanut, presently One-Who-Amazes-Us-Daily.

Every mom thinks their child is a genius, I know, I know. I'm no different than the biased mom who thinks that a child who can count to three is a prodigy, even when they find them with half a roach hanging out of their mouths. (They know good protein when they see it!) LOL

Everyone that is close to us knows we teach Ham American Sign-Language. She has a sign vocabulary of about 20 words and can also speak several different words. I've said that before. So, to reiterated, we know that signing is not hindering her speech as some studies and sceptics say. However, I tend to forget that not all children are taught signs and that it's still kind of rare. However, for us, it has become a way of life. Not to say that we aren't still enthralled with our little baby girl, but her communicating her needs and wants with us has become second-nature and I forget that some people will think it's weird or cool that she can sign, "More fish crackers, please."

For instance, we have an uncle, Fun Uncle Anthony, that still makes jokes about her and asks her, "Hey, can you sign, 'I want to eat my head'?" He's hysterical. At his house this past weekend, he was routinely making fun of us for teaching Ham all these things and making her a 'freak' and his little baby boy (who is 6 weeks older than Ham) did a sign. I said, "Look, look! See, he can sign!" Uncle Anthony (kidding, of course) mockingly said, "Yeah...'chicken'. Great." We just all started laughing.

However, we are surprised when Ham takes the initiative in learning new things or pointing out things we have not taught her. Here is a twist-tie that she picked up yesterday while Hubby and I were talking:

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but to me, it's a twist-tie. And when Ham had it in her little hand and started to put it in her mouth, I said, "Whatcha got there?" She immediately, without hesitation, signed "fish." I took the twist-tie from her, and saw what you now see in this picture above.

OK. I mean, I know it looks like a little fish, but...HOW does a 13 month-old put that together? They really are smarter than we think.


Next, we're setting up ink-blot tests. LOL

NOTE: For those of you concerned that Hubby and I may be forcing this stuff on our precious child, please be aware that Ham walks up to us and signs "Baby video" when she wants to watch the sign language video we rented from the library and she gets giddy when we understand what she is trying to communicate. She's a girl. She wants to be heard. :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Heavy Heart

I know that this world is going downhill. There is nothing that can redeem the evil deeds done by men and women all over the world except God Almighty Himself. Still, I am appalled at the changes that are expected to be made under the new President. Obama is so Pro-Choice that I'm afraid people like George Tiller and his abortion mill will go unchallenged because they are providing women with 'life-saving' abortions.

I look at my daughter, pictures of unborn babies, my nieces and nephew, cousins, all the children I see every day, and wonder how bad it has to get before people understand the atrocities that go on at abortion clinics.

This is the main reason I could not vote for Obama. As a mother, as someone who has been touched with abortion personally and witnessed it's destructive powers in friends and family, I cannot support someone who supports the slaughtering of tens of thousands of babies A DAY. SUPPORTS it. This isn't someone who just says women have the right to choose. He is planning on us, as tax-payers, to continue funding abortion clinics and Planned Parenthood.

WHY?? I don't think that Barack Obama understands the heavy consequences of sex before marriage OR abortion. His idea of helping a child (his own, even) is for them to get an abortion if they get pregnant so that they will not be 'punished with a baby.' Hear his own words here. If you find that this video is too 'biased,' there are many more where it just states his views plainly. You will see that they match up.

He even goes so far as to say abortions help men and the audience LAUGHS. Grrrrrrrrrrrr. I just can't stand this. I do not believe that God will stand idly by and continue to 'bless' this country with a leader who so adamantly supports the 'spilling of innocent blood' (see Proverbs 6:16-19).

Obama said "the first thing I'd do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act."[16] That bill "would invalidate virtually all state and federal limitations on abortion, and would make partial-birth abortion legal again."[17] Indeed, Obama was upset with the decision of the Supreme Court not to strike down the law passed by the United States Congress to prohibit partial-birth abortion, believing that partial-birth abortion is guaranteed right of the Constitution and that there should be no ability to legislate against it. This from the mouth of a family man who calls his own daughters 'miracles.' WHAT!? What makes them different from other babies?

Obama recently referred to his "Muslim faith."[24]
Obama said the Muslim call to prayer is "one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset," and recited "with a first-class Arabic accent" the opening lines: Allah is Supreme! ... I witness that there is no god but Allah ...."[25]
Obama stated that the autobiography of Malcolm X, a Nation of Islam leader who became a Muslim, inspired him in his youth.[26]
Obama raised nearly $1 million and campaigned for a Kenyan presidential candidate who had a written agreement with Muslim leaders promising to convert Kenya to an Islamic state that bans Christianity.[27]

Obama unabashedly explained how he became “churched” in a 2007 speech:
“It’s around that time [while working as an organizer for the Developing Communities Project (DCP) of the Calumet Community Religious Conference (CCRC) in Chicago] that some pastors I was working with came around and asked if I was a member of a church. “If you’re organizing churches,” they said, “it might be helpful if you went to a church once in a while. And I thought, “I guess that makes sense.” Are you kidding me!? He all but admits that he just went to church for the election votes.

Look I know that "Bush" waged war on Iraq and that hundreds of thousands of people have died because of terrorism and this war. I use the term 'Bush' loosely because I don't know of anyone (even if they are against the war now) who didn't feel justified for going to war at the time. Indeed, many Americans demanded justice after 9/11. However, I do not feel that Bush lied to Americans (especially knowingly) or covered up anything he believed. What you saw was what you got, and for the most part, I would back him as one of the greatest, strongest Presidents of history. It took a lot of guts to do what he did. And don't lie and say you didn't think 9/11 deserved justice!

I don't sit on my cushy sofa and support the innocent being killed, tortured, raped, or interrogated by egotistical soldiers that need to be punished for their war crimes. I am disgusted at the pictures and propaganda that support killing ANYONE. I personally have a heart for Iranians and as I write this, there is a huge repentance among the young in Iran that may very well save their country and future generations from God's wrath! We could actually learn from their youth who despise Islam as it is today and want something better for their country.

OK, so I've not even begun to say how much I am against abortion, but this is my place I can vent my frustrations as well as record my joys. Today, for whatever reason, I am infuriated by this country and its people who turn a blind eye to murdered children, but are haughty about saving a dying planet by going green.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sign Language vs. Talking

Welp, Ham is learning the art of American Sign Language with a vengeance! She is addicted to her baby videos that we rented from the library. I don't know what we are going to do when they have to go back....again. Yes, I have rented them twice already. I think we should have stuck with teaching her everyday signs with regular objects because she can be pretty incessant about signing, "Baby Video." It's cute, though. We just don't give in every time.

She can sign so many things now. Here is a list:
Apple, shirt, banana, lion, monkey, car, thank you, milk, baby, video, music, fish, tree, dinosaur (I know, SOOO important, right?), doggy, cat, water, drink, cereal, cracker, socks, shoes, hot, hat, diaper, daddy, share, you're welcome, please, kisses, balloon, ball, all done, elephant, train, panda, lion, giraffe, music, sleep, night night...OK, I'm sure there are more, but you get the picture.

She can also now say:
Dog ("daw"), hot ("ot"), hat ("at") which can also be 'cat', ball ("baw"), baby ("bebe"), Aunt Jen ("bin"), Isabella ("beda"), Mommy, Daddy, and Bebe pronounced 'Bay-Bay ("beba").

Hubby and I have been talking a bit about making our own videos for her. We have read differing ideas about sign language and babies talking late. For instance, if you show your child how to sign words, but do not speak the words as well, then the child is more likely to continue signing instead of learning how to speak the words as well. However, studies show that if a baby (or child) learns sign language coupled with learning the word and the spelling (a video often shows the word they are signing), a child usually talks sooner, but also can recognize words sooner...leading to reading at an earlier age. Now that is something we can stand behind!

We aren't all about making Ham into some sort of freak of nature, who sits around reading Pride and Prejudice at the age of 3, but we are into fostering good reading habits and communication. Both of us love to read and it's something we want Ham to enjoy...if she so chooses.

I remember many kids in my first and second-grade classes who would cry if the teacher asked them to read at story time. I always felt sad for them (and mad, if the teacher badgered them in any way) and would volunteer to read so that they didn't feel pressured. I never felt haughty or better than anyone, but I just couldn't imagine a life without being able to read on my own. Because of this, I have also thought about joining a program that helps children (and adults) learn to read.

That being said, Ham is only 13 months old and she has lagged in some ways (whatever that means) by only having 3 teeth at a year old, but she has excelled in others. I think that when we see our children loving something and wanting to learn, we should make it a top priority to sit down with them and guide them in their endeavors. That is what my parents did with me and I am so thankful for it.

So, there you go.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Humble Beginnings and an Anniversary

Welp, I have set up a small workspace in the corner of our kitchen. You may think, "That's not much to look at," and you'd be quite right to have that thought. However, as much as I would love to have a room where I could paint anything on the walls, decorate it with inspiring words, drawings, clippings, etc., this is what will have to do for now.

It's my Creative Corner

I will say this about my fabulous, supportive husband (whom I am celebrating our 5th Anniversary with today). We have a spare bedroom that doesn't get used for anything but storage. It's really too small to put our old queen size bed in there, so if company did stay over, they'd have one twin bed and a blow-up mattress to put on the floor. That being said, we have left room for our old kitchen table, a chair, a small 11" t.v. we never use (which is sitting on an ancient, laminated wood, rolling t.v. stand...seriously, I think this was from when I was a kid in the 70's. I'm sure of it.)

So anyway, my husband has said several times that he would love for me to use that spare bedroom (I'm sure that having my arts and crafts spread all over the house has nothing to do with the generosity, of course). I have talked about painting it a pale lavender, hanging little pixies made of paper, felt, beading, and wire from little swings I'd fashion to the ceiling. Kind of like a hanging mobile, but with little girl and boy fairies. Like this one I found online:

Each time I have a hair-brained scheme like that, he has supported me 100%. Of course, though, all this takes time. And money.

Now, I'm sure that it wouldn't be expensive to paint the room, just time-consuming, and then it would even be cute as-is. It's just...I haven't done it yet.

My first order of business will be to paint a reproduction of this original I painted a few months ago. The one below is 16x20 and my mom wants a much larger one to hang in her main room. I think it's 30x24 or something.

This one is being sold on as we speak. I don't know if it will sell for my asking price, but I didn't think the Owl in the Sky With Diamonds would sell for what it did, either. There's always hope.

Here is a couple of close-ups of this painting. I was really happy with the way it turned out, considering I used acrylic paints. I put the paint on so thick that I had to use a hair dryer on the background before I could continue with the flowers. I didn't know that heat would make the paint bubble, so there are some cool textures you don't usually get with acrylics.

So, there's that.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Turning a corner

Things have changed a bit around the McLeod household. For one thing, Hubby has been working at home every day due to changes in his company. He's not complaining and neither am's been a long time since I've been able to put Ham down for a nap and run errands by myself. It's a lot easier on my neck and back to have a strong, helpful man around, that is for sure. We're still working out some logistical things, though, like the huge distraction Ham is to him...albeit a cute one.

However, we love having Daddy at home and now Ham insists on being put down in her crib by the both of us. At night, she has even stopped calling out to only me. Her sing-song voice is now, "Mama, mama? Dada, dada, dad-ee, dad-ee? Mama..?" You get the idea. It's kind of nice, for me anyway. Still breaks my heart though. I hate to hear her cry. I'm one of those mom's that feels like I need to be tied to the bedpost to keep me from going into her room if she cries longer than 60 seconds.

Ham now has three teeth showing! The bottom right central incisor came in first (spotted by my sister about a month ago). Had my sister not taken a peek, I might have never known it was coming. I had been joking that day with Ham, asking, "When are you going to get some teeth, kiddo?" Welp, I asked for it.

So, within a week, her top right central incisor began peeking through. It's weird, though, because the top tooth is now showing more than the bottom one. She has since started cutting her top left CI and I'm pretty sure she is now cutting a molar...whether it's upper or lower, I'm not sure. I can also see a canine reaching the tip of her gums. She'll be all snaggle-toothed. So, the drool abounds and she has her hands in her mouth a lot more.

I will say that she has been an angel compared to what could be a very painful experience for us all. I have given her Motrin when I knew that she was suffering and sometimes I give it to her before bed just to ward off her waking up because of pain (she woke up four times one night, screaming).

Poor thing. There are always trade-offs. She may be late getting her teeth, but they seem to all want to push through at the same time. I don't know how painful that is for Ham, but she has been a gem. Some days she is just quieter and a little more reserved. She still freely gives kisses, but BEWARE! She will try to bite you sometimes if you don't pull your lips away quickly enough!

Here is a chart of the eruption (love how they call it that) of first teeth and the common ages in which they come.
Some days I miss my excitable, happy-go-lucky, grinning little girl, but I know she always comes back as soon as a tooth pops through. She still gets giggle fits and LOVES when she can 'chase' her cousins around the yard in Mommy's arms. She especially loves it when they turn around and yell, 'boo!' That always gets a belly laugh.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Ham in a costume contest

She is so behind in votes that I doubt she has a chance, but if you could, please vote for Ham! You can vote for her once a day and it's super-easy. Some kids already have over 3000 votes! This contest just started on October 15th! I don't know how they did it. So, anyway, she can at least be voted on up until Novemeber 15th.


How do you vote, you ask? Well, unfortunately, you have to sign up for the CuteKid site. The address below will take you to the sign-up form. However, GOOD NEWS, you can opt-out of any future mailings. I know it's a lot to ask with all the information on the internet. One option for the really cautious at heart (or you just don't want your information out there), make a new e-mail address on yahoo, hotmail, etc. and don't put in your real name or anything.

Just remember the e-mail address you entered and your password and VOILA, you can vote without getting mail in your main e-mail account. I know, I'm brilliant. ;) Anyway, if you just don't want to go through the hassle, I understand. Thanks anyway!