Elliot tells me he doesn't like formula milk at all. He spits it out, shakes his head away from the cup, spits it up, pushes the cup away. He also tells me he LOVES canned pear slices and freshly steamed peach all mushed up. His opinion of what's good isn't reliable though. For example, he'll squish a green bean and drop it aside but doesn't give grass a second thought.

The boys' Halloween costumes came in. Josh's fits just barely but good enough. I'll put Elliot into his tomorrow for a fitting. As for me, I have a Queen of Hearts costume left over from a long time ago. All I need are some tights to wear under it.

The house will be super awesome this Halloween. Not only do we have teeth for the porch, we now also have red eyes for two upstairs windows. I found red nylon Chinese lanterns that I'll perch atop of two lamps, one in josh's room, one in the game room. In our beta run, we could see too much of the ceilings and ceiling fans from across the street (even with the other lights turned off) so I'm going to cover the windows with black paper or cloth with a hole cut out. I can't wait!

About TV now. First off, this season of Project Runway is almost over. There are four contestants left with one more competition before the fashion show at Bryant Park. I'm hoping that Kenley does not get picked because she is so rude and cocky- I want to smack he sometimes. But rumor has it she gets to show. Moving on, to politics. I missed the broadcast of Sarah Palin's interview with Katie Couric when it aired (all thanks to YouTube, I am sufficiently caught up) but tomorrow night is the Biden-Palin and I do want to watch that. Either Sarah Palin will fall on her face or her time at "debate camp" will make her more prepared. That debate will not influence my choice for whom to vote for, but I do think it could be entertaining.

Joshua doesn't always hear words correctly so instead says things like Tag! I hear it!, bobby cat and Windy the Pooh.

Elliot didn't nap much yesterday so he slept from nearly 7pm to 6am waking once to be nursed. We didn't intend to deprive him of napping, it's just how it worked out with being busy. But I'm not complaining either!

And so the debate continued in my neighborhood email discussion list.

Randy was first to reply

Sarah, once again you haven’t a clue when you say McCain picked Palin based on looks, please check her record of performance in Alaska. Yes, it is short, but Joe Biden , are you kidding me ? I bet all 6 of the Democrats in Homestead are suicidal that Hillary is not on the ticket.

Then fellow liberal Democrat Erin said
I am sorry you are getting beat up about this ... Wow! People feel safe behind their computers. Please don't stop sending emails, you both are a wonderful voice of reason among these crazy conservatives.

And, I agree that the Senate Bill 1738 is an incredible piece of work. Randy ... Seriously! I did not want Hillary on the ticket, and I know more then 6 people in the neighborhood that agreed with me.

And, Palin ... What can I send you to make you realize that she has done NOTHING to be qualified to be VP? I won't waste my time if you won't look at it. I have done too much research to be told McCain did not pick Palin for any reason then she is a woman. He did.

I promise not to throw eggs at your house because I like you, and I would hate to get the Hawkeye flag dirty. :)

Tom wrote in
Just food for thought. Many crimes (or things that are considered to be crimes) are determined based on Judeo-Christian moral principles. Examples are theft and murder. Both are acts that are covered in the Ten Commandments.

In the absence of a moral code, how do you decide what should be a criminal act? Is the government the correct entity to legislate what constitutes criminal acts?

Then Deborah butted in with
No, we're not. Sorry, but Obama is a much better choice. (And I bet there are more than 6 democrats in this neighborhood - many of them are just unwilling to say anything because they don't much like the tone that they get in response.)

For those who oppose abortion, why are you not supporting more safe sex education? Abstinence only education leads to an increase in teen pregnancy rates (and therefore, presumably, in abortions). We should also be supporting adoption, which never seems to come up as much as it should when we're discussing abortion. Given that abortion foes never seem to discuss the practical options to trying to lower the abortion rate, I think the abortion discussion is actually a front for a "Christian values" discussion, which gets us into a whole 'nother problem (re separation of Church and State). (There- now I've opened a can of worms, haven't I? Are we ready for that discussion? :-))

Pro McCain John jumped in saying
If you really think that supporting adoption will reduce abortions then you should vote for McCain. The Bush tax cuts also provided for a tax credit up to $10,000 to reimburse adoptive families for the cost of adopting a child. That's a tax credit, not a tax deduction. It is a dollar for dollar offset for the very expensive proposition of adopting a child.

Previously this credit was $2,500. Since the tax credit is indexed against the Consumer Price Index it is now above $10,000. For those of concerned about helping the rich, relax. The tax credit phases out above certain levels of income so that at about $175,000 of AGI there is no longer a tax credit available.

Unless he has changed his position, again, Obama wants to reverse all of the Bush tax code changes. So this tax credit that helps families adopt children will be reduced significantly.

Even if you don't feel adoptions help prevent abortions you should be concerned about any president who wants to eliminate a federal program that helps parents who want children to adopt children who need a family.

David agreed with John saying
Well stated. The only problem is that you use logic. Obama wants to appeal to your emotions, he really doesn't want you to think objectively. Meanwhile, McCain is the logical "choice".

Then discussions wandered off into topics of adoption vs abortions where working mother Sunnye came in with
My beliefs on abortion are just that, MY beliefs and I want to keep them that way. So my main concern with voting for a conservative presidential candidate is his ability to choose a supreme court justice and how that person's vote will affect our personal choices.

To quote wikipedia "while justices do not represent or receive official endorsements from political parties, as is accepted practice in the legislative and executive branches, jurists are informally categorized in legal and political circles as being judicial conservatives, moderates, or liberals. Such leanings, however, refer to legal outlook rather than a political or legislative one.

Seven of the current justices of the court were appointed by Republican presidents, while two were appointed by a Democratic president. It is popularly accepted that Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito compose the Court's conservative wing. Justices Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg and Breyer are generally thought of as the Court's liberal wing.[14] Justice Kennedy, generally thought of as a conservative who "occasionally vote[s] with the liberals", is considered most likely to be the swing vote that determines the outcome of certain close cases.[15]"

I worked in Wisconsin as a social worker during their welfare reform. And yes there were some who had more kids, moved across state lines, in order to receive a bigger handout. But those are not the majority. Not everyone is as fortunate as we are to live and raise our children in such a wonderful community. Everyone does not stand on the same playing field.

I also worked for less than a week as a social worker in a private adoption attorney's office here in Dallas. I was sick to my stomach over the common practices I was told only after I accepted the position. Domestic adoption is a business. It's not about helping families connect with babies in need of homes. And unless you are a celebrity and can spend months and thousands of dollars abroad, international adoption is not a truly viable option either.

Instead of looking forward to the implosion of either party, we should be looking for real solutions to the problems of our country and communities. And yes, I am willing to raise my hand as a neighborhood Democrat who is very sad Hillary is not on the ticket.

It's interesting to me that all of the Democrats in this discussion came from women. And the Republicans were mostly men, with a few women. Of my mom friends, those who oppose Obama do so more on pro-life grounds than any other reason. I like several things about Obama, including his pro-choice leaning. I also like the idea of requiring health insurance, I like his plan to refocus military efforts on Afghanistan, I like his vice presidential choice, I like his directness when speaking, and I like his tax proposal, among other issues.

I keep forgetting to get my driver's license renewed since my birthday last week. (Oh yeah, I had a birthday, I'm now 32 and nothing's changed except I have a few new clothes.) So tomorrow. First thing. Crack of dawn. I'll stand in line then get a photo of me that I'll regret for the next several years.

Elliot is learning to get around in a new way- he's cruising! He pulls up (or tries to)on everything: window sills, couches, highchair, big boxes, bed posts, bookshelves, stairs, toilet bowels, everything. We're in the process of installing a gate at the bottom of the stairs and I'm getting back into the habit of closing the bathroom doors. These days he's also screeching more. He screeches when he's frustrated, when he wants or doesn't want something, or when he wants attention. It's annoying but I'm glad to see he's starting to express himself. He also eats well. Today he's had: Cheerios, raisin bread toast, grapes sliced in half, green beans, and applesauce thickened with rice cereal. I'll feed him yogurt, green beans and mild cheddar for dinner. Maybe some pork too if it's tender enough.

Today I had my yard sale, which was a great success. I reduced two large boxes of baby/toddler clothes to less than one laundry basket. I'll donate most of my leftovers. I'm not 100% certain how much I made because I grabbed a fist full of change this morning and didn't get a chance to count it before it got mixed in. There were four cars of shoppers encroaching while we were still bringing it out from the garage. We sold about $182 of stuff, the majority of it baby clothes. Three moms sold their stuff as well making $35, $19 and $4. Of my share, I sold $124, give or take a fist full of change. The majority of everything sold within the first two hours, no surprise. Shoppers where driving by the house before the sun was up, before I had a table up, way before I was ready! The first things to go were the highchair, stroller and baby swing sold by two of the other moms for $40. I also offered a free cup of coffee to the early shoppers. It was a nice touch for some, although most people declined because they don't drink coffee, already had enough or just didn't want any. Things slowed down by 11am so I started telling people that clothing was half-price. That got rid of a bit more. By 12:30 I was done and people weren't coming around frequently enough. I drove around picking up steaks and signs (ten signs) then officially closed the sale at 1pm. An hour later we went grocery shopping and spent all our earnings on groceries paying only $40 with the debit card.

Next time I'll have cold drinks in a cooler and free coffee for the early birds, I'll spray my legs with mosquito repellent sooner, put on more sunscreen, bring out a book to read during slow times, and hopefully sell more. Look for my ad some time around Fall 2011.

The above map with Oprah shows how in 24 hours one image of child pornography that's published online is viewed, downloaded and shared across the country. That's one image on one day. It's estimated that about 15,000 images are traded on a daily basis. Most are young children, some don't know they are being photographed or videoed, some children are raped while being videoed, and even some of the victims are infants. Thirty-five percent of the time the abuser is the child's own parent. And while law enforcement is aware of the ever expanding child pornography business, there simply is not enough funding to apprehend these predators.

There's a new bill facing the senate for vote this September before they recess on September 26th: Senate Bill 1738—The PROTECT Our Children Act. In short, the act will 1) authorize over $320 million over the next five years in desperately needed funding for law enforcement to investigate child exploitation, 2) mandate that child rescue be a top priority for law enforcement receiving federal funding, and 3) allocate funds for high-tech computer software that can track down Internet predators. It's estimated to cost only $3 per American over the 2009-2013 period.

Take a moment to read up about the bill then sign a petition or send a letter to your senator to pass to S. 1738 Biden-Hatch.

I'm in the process of reorganizing content and giving it a fresh look to our website: www.ringofsaturn.com. Actually, it's Rusty's website but it's so outdated and neglected- it needs a woman's touch. The first step was a new logo, and here it is:

Josh's cold is causing him problems with his breathing. He's had several puffs on his inhaler today along with a Xopenex breathing treatment before bedtime. He's wheezing and sucking in air. I expect he'll cough throughout the night and may need another breathing treatment in the middle of the night. :-/ At this rate, he'll stay home with me and Elliot tomorrow so I can monitor his asthma.

Elliot also has his cold. With him, I expect he'll get an ear infection but this time I'm more prepared. I have drops I can put in his ears (ofloxacin) at the first time of infection. It won't make the infection go away but it will help prevent the stuff from gelling and getting stuck inside like it has in the past.

As for me, I'm pooped! I started my day at seven when both boys woke up at the same time. Elliot woke up three times last night and Joshua once from his stuffy nose. Elliot took one good nap then a short one in the afternoon while Josh decided to skip his nap entirely. I didn't get to bed last night until midnight (I'm running on less than six hours of sleep) so it's no surprise that while it's only 8pm, it feels like ten to me!

Elliot had his nine month check up on Wednesday:

Weight: 19.3 lbs. (25th percentile)
Height: 29.25" (75th percentile)
Head: 17.22" (10th percentile)

Elliot is turning out to be a bit smaller than Josh was at nine months.

[Josh's] 9 month check-up.

* Weight is 50th percentile at 20.7 pounds
* Length is 95th percentile at 30.25"
* Head circumference is 45th percentile 17.75"

Elliot's a healthy happy chap who is hitting all the milestones- except a little behind in language development. He makes sounds but doesn't babble much and doesn't make a distinctive "word" for mama, dada, cat or any of his other interests. He doesn't imitate the sound of rising and falling of conversation and he doesn't babble as often as I remember Josh doing it. But all that's still ok. He's not behind in any milestone, just taking his time is all!

Josh has a cold today that slowly snuck up on him yesterday. It started out seeming like allergies but then his nose continued to produce mucus and the sneezing continued. We spent most of the weekend at home taking it easy except for a trip to grandma & pop-pop's to play. We're also still battling him with using the potty. He has an accident every day at least one time. Today it was on the stairs shortly before we left for the grandparents'. Yesterday it was during lunch at the table. Friday it was three times in the day plus one poop in the pants. I wanted to strangle him Friday. (I mean that in a cartoon-ish Homer Simpson way, not in a Casey Anthony way.) Maybe tomorrow will be the day we make it accident free. He's been promised a big shiny balloon as a reward for going a day without any accidents.

In the spirit of training, we made up a new song for him to sing to the tune of "Apples & Bananas":
I like to pee, pee, pee, pee-pee in the potty! (repeat)
I like to poo, poo, poo, poo-poo in the potty! (repeat)
Josh likes to add pooping, farting and pssss sound effects to make it more funny.

We're re-evaluating the plan for me going back to work. We both feel it's rushing Elliot to send him to daycare now. When he's 18 months or two, we'll be more ready. With taxes and childcare costs, it's going to be an all or nothing deal for it to be worth it. The amount I need to make in order to cover taxes and childcare and then bring home some income is a job that typically is full-time. Working weekends and nights doesn't appeal to me because that cuts into my family quality time. I'll continue to search for freelance work but I don't expect to re-enter the work force until next year sometime.

Today's Josh-ism
We're walking home after an evening stroll in the neighborhood and we're all thirsty.
Me: I'm going to have some lemonade when I get home.
Rusty: I like limeade.
Me: I like lemonade.
Josh: I like orange-ade!

In other news, Elliot seems to be picking up new sounds at a fast rate. This week he can make two 'n' sounds: n as in nice and n as in thing. He says mamamama frequently, especially when he's feeling frustrated, hungry or neglected for attention. Of course 'b' and 'd' sounds. And occasionally 'ya' and 't' sound. When I'm strapping him into the car and he doesn't want it, he goes 'nanana' in an angry tone. He seems very close to saying a first word. He has his nine month check up appointment on Wednesday.

We're looking forward to the rain coming from Hurricane Gustave. It landed on Louisiana's coast this morning with relatively little drama regarding flooding and damaging winds. It will spin over to our area for two days then dissipate back to the east. Thursday should be a very nice day: high of 85, no rain. If it's not too muddy I may try to get us out to the Arbor Hills playground after dinner that day.

Debunked: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/8/31/234157/516/1017/581734

Moving on...

Ever had a hunch that something wasn't right but you doubted yourself? I had that feeling after McCain announced his running mate and the media focused on her having a baby just four months ago. When I saw her speak at the podium, I thought "wow, she doesn't look like she has a four month old." Then I dismissed this notion making excuses that she probably has staff to help care for him and maybe she works out more than the average mother.

Then I got this link from a friend: http://dailykos.com/story/2008/8/30/121350/137/486/580223

Now I'm not sure what is truth and I realize this blogger is heavily biased against the Republican side. But I can't seem to shake the notion that I had a feeling she wasn't the mother of a newborn even before the article was sent to me. I can't find one single picture of her looking even remotely pregnant. If it's true that she is covering for her unwed teenage daughter, then this lie will surely come out eventually and could hurt McCain's run for office.



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