New Jen's Horde

Friday, December 30, 2005

Maya and Sage are 8 today!

Yes, 8 years ago today, we had our full term twin babies, and wondered what we were going to do next!

After what felt like 6 1/2 years of labor, they were born 45 minutes apart. Maya and I were kicked out of the hospital the next day, and Sage (who had a pneumothorax and jaundice) came home on 1/1 with bili lights and home nursing care. She was right as rain in a couple of days.

They had one placenta, but two chorions and two amnions, which meant they could be either identical or fraternal. We started to suspect right away, though, that they were identical, mostly because they were always doing stuff like this:
Maya and Sage babies

We never had genetic testing done, because when they were born it was very expensive, and as they got older it seemed less and less important. I did, however, go through a brief period of time where I considered telling Jerry or Montel I didn't think they had the same Daddy (TMI warning: they were conceived through intrauterine insemination, just trying to help Davin's little guys get closer because the medication I was on caused cervical mucus thickening. There had recently been a case in Holland where, because of lab error, a woman gave birth to twins of different racial backgrounds...) and asking him to test them on his show. But, since they've pretty much always looked exactly alike, I didn't think they'd bite.

Recently, our suspicions were mostly confirmed by our pediatric dentist of all people. She was fascinated by the complete similarity of the girls' teeth, both erupted and not, which is only possible if they're genetically identical. Of course, since I watch way too much CSI, my first thought was that if the girls were kidnapped and we only found the skeletal remains of one of them, we wouldn't know who it was... I've got issues.

So, Happy Birthday, Big Girls!
Maya and Sage are 8!


Thursday, December 29, 2005

Thursday Thirteen #10


Thirteen Things about Jen

I thought I'd show you all what I've been up to this week. Davin has bestowed a new name upon me, from now on he says I shall be known as "Sweaterbane."

1. I started with this helpful tutorial that shows how to dismantle a sweater for the yarn. She has a lot of neat stuff on her site, I also learned how to wrap and twist a skein there. Check it all out!

2. I picked a few inexpensive, but 100% wool sweaters from the thrift store to start with. Here's a photo of one before I started the process:

3. Here's an after photo, now that one sweater is 850 yards of pure wool happiness!
Y-after sweater

4. Who wants white wool? Not me! So, I researched dyeing my recycled yarn online. I found an enormous discussion full of practical information, encouragement and links here at Craftster. I ended up using a combination of Kool-Aid and food coloring on all of the projects I made.

5. This run through was mostly just experimentation. I broke my big skeins up into bunches of 200-300 yards, enough to make a scarf or hat out of whatever each color turned into. Over a couple of days I dyed it all and hung it up to dry.

6. Not all of the experiments turned out like I'd expected. But most were something I'd be able to use. Plus I learned a lot of neat thing along the way!

7. For instance, check out my nifty homemade center-pull skein! This yarn is a neat mixture of blue, green and purple, and I like how it turned out.
Y-Green, Purple Blue

8. To make a center pull skein, cut a notch in a paper towel tube and put the end of your yarn in the notch. Wrap the rest of the yarn around the tube, and pull the tube out. The original end that you put in the notch will become your "end" that you pull from the center! I learned this from Craftster, too. Here is a photo of me doing this. This yarn was supposed to be red, blue and purple, but the purple didn't really show up well, so I'm calling this one "Superman."
Y-Superman, center pull

9. I think this one turned out nicely. I just dyed stripes through the skein, and it made a nice "speckle" effect as it knits up.
Y-Speckle swatch

10. I had high hopes for this one. I thought the red and yellow would overlap in the middle and make a beautiful orange like a sunset. Really, the red just overdyed the yellow, making a huge skein of red and yellow. For the longest time I couldn't figure out why it looked so familiar to me, but then it hit me. As I was working with it, I kept humming, "You deserve a break today" to myself...and I christened this yarn "McDonalds."

11. This one is dyed green with some blue Kool-aid sprinkled over it. It's kind of a neat blue-green in real life. I'm calling it "Spirulina."

12. All of this work has taught me lessons on different methods, and I've got a much better idea of what to try and what won't work. As odd as some of the skeins are, I will still be able to use them to make something attractive out of. Except for this one. It was going to be purple and gold, only the purple got out of bounds and just made a nasty yellow. So, I read somewhere that purple is a strong color and can overdye most anything, so I thought I'd try to cover it all up with yet more purple. It didn't work. Now it's a weird mixture of brown, maroon, green and flecks of gold, and I'm calling it "Craptacular."
This photo just begins to show the ugliness of this yarn... I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it. I may have to bury it. EDITING TO ADD: I realized I forgot to mention that there's still a fair bit of grape-y purple in this skein, too. Trust me, it looks better on screen than in real life!

13. Because the dyes and other ingredients (water and vinegar) were all food safe, I was able to allow the kids to be involved in every step of the process. Some of the methods required us to use boiling water, and that took some extra caution, but it's been a neat lesson in chemistry and the fine arts for all of us! You can do this, too, if you're interested. Any animal fiber will work, so you can just purchase a skein of wool yarn if you don't want to earn the title of "Sweaterbane" for yourself. :-)

Leanne Renee MommaK Judy at Insecure Uisce squashedtoad Audra UziCue Lisa at The Shizzle Jenny Trinity13 Allison Shelli Veronika Dana

(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Wednesday, December 28, 2005


I'm surprised this hasn't been made into a cheesy Lifetime movie yet...



Ok, this isn't really Chia Furniture, but if you want to know how to make lawn furniture that actually sprouts and grows, you can get all of the instructions here.

Me? As much as I love a good couch, I have enough yardwork as it is, not to mention that fact that it's hard enough to keep the grass stains off the kids' butts already...

Via Crafter blog


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Girl Scout Page

Girl Scout Moms, click here!


Monday, December 26, 2005

Don't forget to change your clocks!

Wouldn't want to get off-track because of the leap second added to the last minute of 2005!


Friday, December 23, 2005

Happy Holidays, Everyone!

I'm off to spend Christmas with my family. I'll post again early next week.


Thursday, December 22, 2005

Sick and Wrong

Does this make anyone else feel a little queasy?


A MATRIX Christmas


Something Awful's photoshop experts have holiday'd up The Matrix. Not as funny as this, IMHO, but it definitely has a few good laughs in it.

(I can't vouch for the rest of the site, it's not really family-friendly.)


Thursday Thirteen #9


Thirteen Things Jen has become addicted to in 2005

1. Knitting: I could always knit before but this year I'm finally able to take it seriously. You can take it seriously, too, if you want, there are great video instructions here at if you have the inclination!

2. DVR: If you don't have this yet, get it. It can be TiVo, or whatever brand your cable or satellite company offers. Pay them whatever they want for it, it's that good! We skip commercials, watch the shows we want whenever we're ready (I have no idea when my favorite shows are even on, they just appear in the menu ready to watch when I sit down in front of the TV. It's like Christmas every day!)

3. OK, this is an old new one... X-Files: Now that my kids are old enough to enjoy some of the episodes (we are careful to stay away from the more scary ones) I am reminded of what a great show this was, and it's so fun to watch the kids get into it, too.

4. I don't know how they do it, but they have gorgeous sterling silver jewelry available for just the cost of shipping. The page changes every 15 minutes, so I usually have this running in the background when I'm surfing and I check in occasionally to see if they're showing anything I'd like.

5. House. I don't know what it is about this show, but I can't get enough of it.

6. Girl Scouts: We are fortunate to have a leader willing to create a multi-level homeschooling troop where siblings are encouraged to participate, so this has been a wonderful experience for us so far. All of the kids love it, and they love the kids they get to see there. Even Tiernan (who calls it Gwiw Scouts) has a special friend there that he can't wait to play with there.

7. Spanish: I've been loving the Spanish lessons I've been getting, and we've signed the kids up to take Spanish, too!

8. Newsboys: I don't like a lot of Christian music, but these guys have a great blend of fun, good music, and complete sincerity in their beliefs.

9. The Ring Trilogy by Koji Suzuki: If you've seen the Ring movies, you have a tiny taste of how complex, fascinating, and scary these books are. Apparently the author is also considered to be an expert in child-rearing in Japan, which is pretty wild in itself, sort of like having "Stephen King's Complete Mommy Book." Seriously, check these out, you'll be glad you did

10. Coroner Stories: Don't get me wrong, there are TONS of blogs that I love reading and check every day (you can see them all in my sidebar), but this one is really unique. Written by a medical examiner, it covers all sorts of interesting topics...and you can write in with questions in you like!

11. The Forums at Craftster: Imagine all of the crafters that ever were, all in one place, showing you how to make the neat stuff they're making, and encouraging everyone else at the same time... Craftster's about as close as you're going to get to this utopia!

12. Radio DavidByrne: Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne has created a streaming radio station where the songs only change once a month. I don't always like them all, but every month there's something great there that I wouldn't have come across otherwise, can't beat that!

13. And, last but not least, iTunes: Yes, I realize I'm probably one of the last people on earth to get into this, but I am just unable to tear myself away from this product. A quick download, and you're on your way to being able to get a hold of almost any single song or album you could want to find. Once I figured it out, I could record mix CDs for my friends and family, edit playlists so that I can have my own private Radio Jen'sHorde going on in the background all the time, and also keep my purchased CDs digitally so I can make new ones when we scratch the crap out of the old ones in the car. Even with all that, I'm sure I'm missing out on some cool stuff that it does, but I'm just not that cool anymore!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
Leanne Renee Running2Ks Laura at Radical Mama MommaK Sallwood Interstellar Lass Lisa at The Shizzle Veronika Fireflies and Frogs Jennifer at HappyFamily Judy at Insecure Colleen at Musings Allison Audra Nello Holly Kat Anna Shelli

(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Mama's got a new digital camera!

Davin got a gift certificate from Best Buy from his company and he used it to replace our old digital, which was not only slow and had poor resolution, but was also getting all beat up and starting to not function properly at times.

I've been playing with it all day, and it does so many neat things the other one didn't do! One of the really fun things about this new camera compared to the old one is that it takes much closer pictures. My old one wouldn't even allow the shutter to click within about 6 inches of the subject. This one lets you get right up close and personal!

How close you ask? THIS CLOSE!


The kids and I are gonna have SO MUCH FUN with this, I can just tell!


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

It's as clean as it's going to get!

Whew! I hope that if Social Services ever comes to my house, they come RIGHT NOW!

Anyway, if you all are having a crummy time getting ready for your holidays, you should pop over and see what poor Sheri is dealing with at the moment.


Thanks to Davin!

He helped me "Pimp My Blog!"

I kept waiting for Xzibit to come over and take care of it, but I think he's too busy with that whole MTV contract or whatever. Oh well.

Blogging will be minimal today as my house is a messy messy messy place, and we're having the Christmas party here for the board of directors of the homeschool group. We're all used to working with each other, and I know the ladies would be very forgiving, so that takes the pressure off. I still want to clean it just for ME, though!

The good thing about entertaining adults is that, if you clean before they come over, you shouldn't have to do much re-cleaning when they leave. Usually our parties consist of 20 or more children, and that's just NOT the case...


Monday, December 19, 2005

Either we're old

or when we were part of the free speech movement in Berkeley in the sixties we did a little too much LDS. Since we weren't actually alive then, I expect it's early dementia setting in... A double dumb ass on us, I guess.

Tonight, as we were quickly finishing up some wrapping so we could get presents into the mail, we realized we've forgotten what is in most of the presents we'd already wrapped! There we sat, passing each other presents we purchased and wrapped, shaking them, squeezing them, and finding ourselves unable to figure out what exactly was inside the packages!

Christmas ought to be just full of surprises and wonderment for us this year! My goodness, I'm only 35, how do middle-aged people manage? Am I just way ahead of my time? Mother always did say I was exceptional...


Sunday, December 18, 2005

1 in 20 American Adults Illiterate

And, apparently it has nothing to do with level of education these folks are reaching:

Perhaps most sobering was that adult literacy dropped or was flat across every level of education, from people with graduate degrees to those who dropped out of high school. So even as more people get a formal education, the literacy rate is not rising. Federal officials say this trend is puzzling and worthy of research.
How does one complete a graduate program without being literate in English?

Later in the article they do explain that some of the people in the study are fluent and literate in other languages, just not English, and at least one source indicates that in the intervening time since the first test was given, more kids have entered the school system not speaking any English and therefore the test demographics have changed.

Black adults made gains on each type of task tested. White adults made no significant changes except when it came to computing numbers, where they got better. Hispanics showed sharp declines in their ability to handle prose and documents. The background of U.S. adults has changed since 1992, when the test was last given; fewer people in 2003 had spoken English before they started school.
What is your opinion of this information? What do you think should be done differently, what do you think can make a difference in our society?


Saturday, December 17, 2005

Apparently I'm *it*...

I was tagged in the last few days by both Allison and Captain Picard with very similar memes, so I figured I'd roll them into one. Whenever things hit at the same time like this I get that eerie feeling and start hearing the Twilight Zone music in the back of my mind and I worry that if I don't take care of business that creepy little boy is going to wish me away into the corn...

To read it all, click the .*.*.

From Allison:
What were you doing 10 years ago?
I was sitting day after day in the NICU, wondering when I'd be able to take my daughter Anya home. At this point we knew it would still be a while. So, I'd get up, pump (you know what I mean, right?), shower, grab a bite, run into the hospital and sit by her bedside until 7pm, stopping only to eat a quick lunch, use the bathroom, and pump a few more times. They kicked us out at 7 so they could do a shift change, some nights I'd go home then, many nights I'd pump and then hang out until 8 and come back in and sit with her some more. I'm so grateful that she was my first child and I could do nothing but sit with her.

What were you doing 1 year ago?
Getting the family ready to drive 800 miles to visit my mom for Christmas. I hate to travel, and 16 hours in the car is just nasty, so I was pretty nervous by about now.

Five snacks you enjoy:
Cheese Fries

Five songs to which you know all the lyrics:
If I like a song, I end up knowing all the lyrics, so there are TONS of songs out there.

Off topic-Isn't it weird when a song comes on the radio and you could swear you've never heard it before, but you know all the words? Obviously, at some point, you heard it WAY TOO MUCH, but never paid any attention. Is that just me?

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
1. Pay off all our debt.
2. Try to figure out how to invest the rest so we don't squander it on Wal-Mart and ordering pizza or something. Just being honest.
3. After we figured out what do to do avoid squandering it away, I'd figure out the next two steps.

Five things you like doing:
1. Hanging out with my family
2. Blogging
3. Knitting
4. Reading
5. Singing along with the radio

Five things you would never wear buy or get new again:
1. What? I'm not sure I even get this question.
I'm just going to pretend like I answered it. (Did I tell you I have a headache? I do. I'm not crabby, just a leeeetttle bit slow.)

Five favorite toys:
1. Well, my computer and the internet, of course.
2. All of my craft supplies
3. Not tellin'
4. My comb binder (sorry, I'm a nerd, I can't help it.)
5. My CD label maker, it's coming in very handy this Christmas

This one was pretty similar from both Allison and the Captain:
Five bad habits: or “five weird habits of yourself,”
My first response is to say that nothing I do is bad or weird, everything has a perfectly rational and proper reason behind it. Then I figured I should ask someone else because I'm probably not being very objective here, so I'm going to ask Davin, my husband.
I'm back, this is what he said:
1. "There's the scissors thing." Ah yes, I don't keep track of scissors, it just takes too much mental energy and time. I prefer to just keep so many pairs of scissors in the house that no matter where you are, there's a pair near by. I'm the same way with lip balms and tape...
2. He says I get cranky when I'm cold, but he's quick to add that that's not a bad habit.

Apparently I'm so gritchy he's afraid to say anything else. Or, I'm completely perfect. We'll never know.

I'm supposed to tag 5 people, but this has already made the rounds so I don't know that there's anyone left to tag. If you want to do this, feel free. Let me know and I'll stop by and say howdy!


Friday, December 16, 2005

A Gift From Jamie Dawn!

I feel so honored! You can read about her gift to me here.

This is the event to which she refers. (Here is the final word on the subject.) Jamie Dawn, (and everyone else in the human race) you'll be glad to hear that our yardstick for considering new pets has become, "We will not buy anything that other people pay money to get rid of."

Jamie, here is my holiday wish for you. May you always Rule and never Reek. May there always be debris where you need it. May you lose no more animals to The Vortex. But, most of all, may you never be wearing a shirt made of bacon when there are pitbulls guarding the sugar you need to turn your lemons into lemonade!

Chin up, Jamie Dawn, and Happy Holidays!


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Thursday Thirteen #8


Thirteen Holiday Stories from Jen

1. As you all know from last week, I collect nativity scenes. I have a story that has NOTHING to do with any of mine, though. A friend of mine won a beautiful nativity at a raffle at her kids' school, and she brought it to my house to show it to me. When she was ready to leave, we gathered up the pieces of the set, but there was no baby Jesus! We looked all over the house for Him, since the nativity is kind of pointless without that piece. Whenever we'd bump into another searcher, we'd ask in a loud, televangelist voice, "HAVE YOU FOUND JAYSUS?!?"

2. Earlier in the week I mentioned that I'd had a freak out and refused to sit on Santa's lap. I called my mom for confirmation of the facts of the story, and found out a couple of other tidbits about that day. The first may have had a lot to do with why I wouldn't just willingly go with the jolly old elf. Apparently we'd had to park quite a ways away from the bank because their lot was full of folks going to see Santa. So, we parked up the street, threaded our way through a department store where we saw one Santa photo op, and then passed a Santa house on the street where we saw another. Apparently, seeing the third Santa in just a few minutes was just too much and I could no longer suspend my all came crashing down.

3. That same day my younger sister Julie eagerly sat on Santa's lap and did a complete gut spill, listing everything her little heart desired for Christmas and posing nicely for the picture. As mom was helping Julie with her coat to leave, she asked her, "What did you tell Santa you wanted?" You parents know why, she needed the information for her own shopping list. Julie replied, "Well, I'm not gonna tell YOU!" Uh oh, mom thought, Santa may just strike out this year for both kids!

4. My brother Mark had a similar crisis with Santa. One year, my dad and step mom gave him the race car track he'd asked Santa for, they were so excited for him to open it, they knew he'd love it. Instead, he opened it and just burst into tears! When they were able to calm him down and find out why, he said there was no Santa. He'd conceived of a diabolical test and carried it out. When he saw Santa, he told him he wanted a train track set, and then he told his parents he'd told Santa he wanted a race car track. When he got the race car track he knew Santa wasn't real. Scary-smart little kid, don't you think?

5. When I was in high school, I had a step sister who was really cool. She was one of those people who said whatever was on her mind, and got away with it. (Those of you who know me will recognize that this is a skill that I possess, but not to the extent that this girl did. You would not BELIEVE the stuff she could say to people!) She also had the ability to say what everyone wanted to say, but couldn't. One year we had a huge family gathering for Christmas, and we were all trying to decide if we should go to Christmas morning services at church. The conversation was going around and around, and finally she broke in and said, "Why don't we just open the presents before we decide? That way, we'll know if we got a lot of good stuff and we'll want to stay home and play with it or not." We must have gotten good stuff, because I don't remember going to church that year.

6. I have always loved Christmas music. I will listen to it year round if I can. When I was a kid, my mom had a couple of 8 track tapes of Christmas music that I just adored. For years I wondered if I could find those recordings and somehow transfer them to a more modern type of technology. I don't know if anyone even does 8-track to whatever anymore, though, or if I could get a hold of the originals anyway. Imagine my joy when I found them on CD, in the bargain bin, no less! Woohoo! Now, if I could just get a hold of those Johnny Horton recordings on CD... ;-)

7. When Davin and I were first married, we decided to make up our own traditions since we didn't have any of our parents in town to get together with. One of the things we thought would be fun was to only have snacks and appetizers all of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We had cheese balls and crackers, nutella on bread, Chex mix, sparkling cider, etc. That ended one year when we attended midnight services at church and I nearly got sick, I thought I was going to faint. I felt pretty stupid explaining to everyone it was because I'd been eating crap all day... (We still eat crap all day, we just add some meals to it.)

8. Anya's first Christmas was spent in the NICU. She was (let me look at a calendar) 65 days old, and would be there for 40 more days before being discharged. It was actually a rather lovely Christmas, considering. We made a little note for each of the other beds in the NICU and stuck a candy cane to it and had our nurse deliver them, and many of the other patients and nurses gave us cards and gifts. Even the midwife who was going to deliver Anya had she been full-term stopped by and brought her an ornament. Her day nurse had dressed her up for the occasion, and had even taken a picture of her earlier so we got a card from Anya. It was so wonderful to have something "from" her to take home :-)

9. OK, maybe this makes me a bad mom, but I don't really remember Maya and Sage's first Christmas. That year I had 3 kids age 2 and under all in diapers, and I took lots of pictures so I know we celebrated Christmas, but the whole year is kind of a blur of screaming, feeding and poop.

10. For Tiernan's first Christmas, he was two months old. I remember really getting into the Christmas story that year, thinking about Mary and her baby. Here I was on my 4th kid and I still felt like I was not always doing things right. He was still semi-nocturnal, and we hadn't figured out yet that much of his crying was from reflux. I kept wondering how a young girl would handle all of these problems, and plus the stakes were much higher for her! If I screwed this kid up, he'd just be another screwed up kid. If Mary made a big mistake, she'd be screwing up the Son of God, that's a lot of pressure to put on someone. Yikes!

11. In our old neighborhood, a firetruck would come through on the weekend before Christmas with a guy dressed like Santa on top, and they'd hand out bags of candy to all of the kids who'd gather in the street to see them. We lived in a very small community then, and one year I recognized the guys on the truck as being the ones that came when I called 911 because Anya had locked herself in my bedroom. Just so you know, if this happens to you, if you can't figure out how to unlock the door don't unscrew the doorknob and take it apart. It doesn't make the door open, and it just makes the rescue personel laugh (politely) at you while they try to figure out what they're going to do NOW with your door...

12. Just one of the many traditions we have with our own children, alternately titled "Why you should make sure you're served a brand spanking new can of whipped cream at our house."
Small Baby Birdies

13. Two years ago, Anya, Maya and Sage begged and begged to stay up to watch the New Year come in. I talked with them about it, and tried to explain that it was much too late for them, and that they'd never make it. The conversation went back and forth for a while and we reached a compromise, I would wake them up shortly before midnight, and they could come watch the ball drop with us. Here's a photo of the lively festivities:
Waiting for the Ball to drop
Anya's eyes are open, but she had no recollection of it the next day, the other two never woke up at all, even when I carried them up and down the stairs. Guess Mommy was right!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Leanne 2. Renee 3. Veronika 4. Sallwood 5. Better Safe than Sorry 5. Jennifer at Happy at Home 6. Holly at Holly's Happenings 7. Jak 8. squashedtoad 9. IvoryFrog 10. Texas_Ivy10 11. Just a Girl 12. Running2Ks 13. Kat 14. Party Pascha 15. Audra 16. Peri 17. MommaK 18. PractiGal 19. Rashbre 20. The Schooligan 21. Shelli 22. Megan 23. Lisa at The Shizzle 24. Twisted Cinderella 25. UziCue 26. Keb 27. Goslyn 28. Yellow Rose 29. Dawn 30. Nello 31. Ms. Crystal 32. Colleen at Musings 33. Bone 34. Sleeping Mommy 35. Barbara 36. Rowan 37. J&J's Mom 38. Colleen at Loose Leaf 39. Lisa at The World According to Me 40. Holly at Crazy Momma

(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

You have GOT to see


Naqsha Bibi, 40, was recovered alive from the debris of a collapsed house in Pakistan-administered Kashmir on 10 December. The unexpected rescue came more than two months after the 8 October earthquake destroyed large parts of Indian and Pakistan-administered Kashmir and northern areas in Pakistan.
Can you believe it?

As you can tell, I'm not getting much work done, but I just couldn't let this one go by without sharing it.



Can't blog, making Christmas presents on the computer!

So, to keep you all busy, I give you this video. There are a couple of spots where the quality is bad, just ignore them. I kept finding myself thinking, "What on earth will these kids use these skills for in the real world? Will they be stuntmen? Criminals? Spiderman?" What do you think?

Via Dave Barry


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Well, he *IS* kinda creepy...

Go check out Scared of Santa, a collection of kids screaming and crying their way through their obligatory yearly trip to Santa's lap for a photo.

I remember having a freak out one year about sitting on Santa's lap. It was at the bank where my Grandma was vice president, so the stakes were pretty high for my mom to get us through the ordeal smoothly. I don't think I caused an enormous scene or anything, but I may have, because if memory serves, that was the last year mom took us for Santa pictures...

If I had to choose, this picture would get my vote. I just wonder how that poor mom got them both out to the car afterwards.
I'm guessing she didn't buy the 8x10.


Monday, December 12, 2005

Sage's Secret Weapon!

Our girls played their first piano recital this weekend. It was at the Barnes & Noble bookstore, and all of the students played holiday songs. They did pretty well, and weren't even all that nervous. Sage had a little extra help, though.


Yes, under her arm is "Meowie," Sage's lovey since she was an infant. To get Meowie's full effect, I am including a full length photo of her. The "necklace" is a hair bow, and it covers up a decidedly Frankenstein-ish neck repair. She required surgery after one harrowing trip through the delicate cycle, when she returned to us nearly headless (much like Sir Nicholas) and devoid of stuffing. I picked what I could out of the machine, made more from cotton balls, and resecured her cranium the best I could.


Yes, this is the All-Powerful Meowie, Healer of Ouchies, Comforter of Hurt Feelings, and Magnifier of Courage!


Saturday, December 10, 2005

Remember When?

I saw this at over at Jamie Dawn's and couldn't resist.


It can be anything you want--good or bad--and can include fellow bloggers, if you wish. (Keep it within a PG rating, please.) I'm anxious to read about our fictional past!

I encourage you to do this on your blog, so I can post some made-up memories about you too! For instance, I'm sure Jamie Dawn had forgotten all about the time we spent in the SLA after she was kidnapped...


Friday, December 09, 2005

I went to the Enterprise Christmas Party

and lived to tell the tale!

Go check out all of the stories that people have written in response to Captain Picard's invitation. Mine is the first on the day I've sent you to, but there are several days of stories to look at!


Rock on, Queen of Spain!

I can only HOPE that I will be this quick on the draw when confronted with my next raving lunatic. You know there's one out there with my name on it...


Thursday, December 08, 2005

25 Years Later

and this still doesn't make any sense. What a waste.



Nativity Thursday Thirteen


Jen's Nativity Thursday Thirteen

1. Since Leanne, creator of the 13, is showing off her Christmas ornaments, I thought I'd show you all my favorite Christmas decorations, my Nativity collection. We use them as a way to make the Christmas story real and to remind us of why we celebrate.

Mind you, this is only what I have displayed at the moment...I think I need to get rid of some furniture so I can put more Nativity Scenes out. We don't really NEED couches, do we? (I have been told this post works better in IE than Firefox. Just lettin' ya know.)

2. Every year, at least one baby Jesus in our home is threatened by some kind of monster. This year is no different. I am certain it is Jesus' Super Son of God Powers that protect him from Godzilla.
NAT-Egg with Godzilla

3. This is one of my smallest Nativities, they are little ornaments, each about the size of a quarter. I like this set because it has two angels, one to announce the birth to the shepherds, and one with a star for the Wise Men.
NAT-Tiny ornaments

4. This is my largest Nativity. This is the only one where Jesus can be either in Mary's arms or in the Manger. Tiernan was 2 months old for his first Christmas, and that year Jesus spent most of his time in the manger. Being the mother of a young son myself, I just figured Mary needed the break...
NAT-big fancy

5. This photo has two Nativities in it. In the larger one, it sort of looks like Jesus is riding the cow's back, but that's just the angle, sorry. The one off to the side is my very smallest Nativity. It is also my only glow-in-the-dark Nativity. You'd think there'd be more of them, but apparently I missed the boat on this fad. Pity.
NAT-with creche

6. It always seems odd to me to have Nativity snowglobes. Sure it's winter here in the northern hemisphere when we choose to celebrate His birth, but I'm fairly certain we've all agreed that Jesus wasn't born in the winter. But, anyway, here it is, snowing on the Blessed Babe.
NAT-Small Snowglobe

7. And it's snowing on Him again. I think He needs more swaddling...
NAT-Large Snowglobe

8. Where better to exhibit a glass and mirror Nativity than in the bathroom? Is that wrong? I did refrain from placing any displays on the toilet tank...
NAT-Glass and Mirror

9. This is a very simple white and gold Nativity. It's one of the first ones I ever bought. It came from Ebay, the fount of all things Holy and Pure.
NAT-White and Gold

10. This is a Nativity Candleholder. This is the first year I've felt safe burning candles down where Tiernan can reach them. The candle is still burning in this one as I type. If I don't blog any more after this, you'll know I should have waited until next year.
NAT-Big Candleholder

11. Who doesn't like candles? Here are three more!
NAT-3 tealights

12. This is one of my favorites. My mom gave it to me, it's made from some really interesting wood (olive?) and comes from Bethlehem. I love how the wood grain is so discernable in all of the figures.
NAT-from Bethlehem

13. This is my very favorite of all time, and the first Nativity I ever owned. My Great Uncle Orrin fashioned the pieces out of wood, and his wife, my Great Aunt Lolita painted and decorated them. I just love this set, and I think of my Aunt and Uncle (he's since passed) every year when I get it out.
NAT-Aunt Lolita and Uncle Orrin


Editing to add: Lisa at The Shizzle sent me over to Going Jesus' Cavalcade Of Bad Nativities. Thankfully, none of mine are on it, whew!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Leanne 2. MommaK 3. Renee 4. Barbara 5. Marie 6. Lisa 7. Angie 8. Lady Bug 9. This Mom 10. Mary 11. Bone 12. Dawn 13. Running2Ks 14. Carolyn 15. UziCue 16. Colleen at Musings 17. CraZedMoM 18. Cynthia 19. Jenny 20. Sallwood 21. November Rain 22. Mommyd 23. The Schooligan 24. BSTS 25. Audra 26. Twisted Cinderella 27. Phoenix 28. Katy 29. Emily

(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Wednesday, December 07, 2005


noun evil reputation brought about by something grossly criminal, shocking, or brutal

synonym disgrace

Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941 (warning: audio)


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

My Library...I mean Bathroom!

Cube's post Loo Surfing got me thinking about bathroom reading in general.

We are very serious about our bathroom reading. Not only do we provide a variety of materials from books to magazines to catalogs in the magazine rack, we also hang an everchanging display of educational posters and other artwork. Right now, it looks like this:

The way I see it, this is the one place in the house where we are all a captive audience. The white board is for notes to each other and/or things we are trying to remember. Right now it is showing 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, which I'm trying to memorize. Below that are two posters, one is a timeline of Ancient Egypt, the other is called "Gifts of Ancient Egypt" and shows the neat stuff that came from that culture. Before Egypt we had Mesopotamia up there.

Next to that are posters showing examples of proper capitalization and punctuation, who doesn't need that? Also, we're nearly done with our calendar that tells us an interesting fact about each day. And on the floor is, of course, the ever present magazine rack.

Obviously, this decor is not something Martha would find appealing, but it works for the horde.


Monday, December 05, 2005

Insert Rolling Eyes Here...

Let me get this straight. These students were using recycled materials that were not illegal and were appropriate for their theme, and they were required to take their art down because it offended one sore loser of a state representative?

The students and teachers collected discarded used lottery tickets, and cut them into geometric shapes to decorate a tree for the Oklahoma State Capitol. The theme they chose was "The Gift of Education" and they used lottery tickets because the public schools receive funds from the state lottery, and because the materials were free and would only go to the landfill if they didn't use them.

Representative Randy Terrill requested the tree's removal, because he personally opposes the lottery. It would seem to me that a state lawmaker would understand that an elementary school holiday art project is not the correct venue to try to make policy changes.

Perhaps the Representative needs a quick refresher in how a bill becomes a law? Now if the urge should strike him to rid Oklahoma forever of the lottery, he can pursue proper channels during the next legislative session.

And folks wonder why today's kids are apathetic about the political process. Would YOU bother if this is how your role models on Capitol Hill behaved?

Sorry, I don't normally blog about politics or the public schools, but this really irked me...


Sunday, December 04, 2005

What are blinkies?

And what purpose do they serve? I see them here and there and I always wonder...


Saturday, December 03, 2005

How I hit myself with my own car...

...or "Why I don't think IQ tests mean a darn thing."

I mentioned on Thursday that even though I've been tested a few different times and been found to have an IQ score in the "genius" levels, I don't think that it really means anything because I'm capable of doing completely moronic things. (And no Running2Ks, I didn't even join Mensa, because the idea of a room full of people like me is kind of scary. Hopefully they're not all similarly afflicted, though.)

So, I promised to tell you all the story of how I hit myself with my own car.

Back in the early 90's, when Davin and I were in the "ramen noodles every day" phase of our relationship, we had a really crummy Datsun 1200 with starter motor problems. You know, starter motors cost $35, who has money for that!? So, sometimes it started, sometimes it didn't.

Once you got it going, it was fine to drive, except for the fact that both the floorboards and the exhaust system had rusted out, so the passenger cabin would fill with noxious gases. But, if you rolled the windows down you didn't get TOO sick, and it was better than the car we'd had before this which had no reverse gear...

Back to the Datsun, if it didn't start the regular way, you simply had to get behind the wheel, put the car in neutral, turn the key until the dashboard lights came on, and then get out, pop the hood and use a screwdriver to make a connection between two parts of the starter motor solenoid. Or so Davin says, I just knew where the two places were.

One day I was at a little local gas station in Greeley, Colorado, fueling up my car for the drive back to Boulder, when the car wouldn't start. I gave it a couple of tries but it just wasn't going to turn over. At this point I see a couple of guys inside the service station kind of pointing at me and starting to come out to help me.

I'm sure they had the best of intentions, but at the time the hyper-feminist in me (she's calmed down a lot in the intervening years) came out and was convinced they were laughing at me and I had to show them that a woman could handle a car.

In my haste to get out there and start my own car before they could get across the tiny parking lot and gasp help me, I neglected to put the car in neutral. Just as the guys were within speaking distance of me, I made the electrical connection under the hood and the car LURCHED forward, crashing into my shins. It knocked me backwards out of my Birkenstocks, and onto my butt, gashing and bruising both legs in the process.

To add insult to injury, the car stalled and sputtered, so I had to accept help not only starting the damn thing again, but they also aided me in getting up off the ground and looked at my legs to make sure I didn't need medical attention, too.

Yep, I sure showed them! Showed them I'm an idiot.



Friday, December 02, 2005

Double Fertile

I saw on the True Blue Semi-Crunchy Mama's Blog that The Queen of Spain has created a contest wherein we must all post photos of ourselves being "fertile."

So, I submit:
33 weeks with twins
Myself at 33 Weeks with Maya and Sage

(You can also check me out at 37+ weeks but I don't look nearly so happy there...)

At this point, both girls were head down, aimed at the drain, and ready to go. They were born full-term and healthy at 38 weeks, a big surprise after my first who was a 24 weeker.

In the interests of full disclosure, in case this matters to the Queen of Spain, Maya and Sage were conceived with the help of fertility medications to help overcome my PCOS and insulin resistance. The medications did not cause me to conceive multiples, though, as they are identical. :-D

Is anyone running a "saggy stomach covered with stretchmarks" contest? I'd like to enter that one, too...


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Thursday Thirteen #7


Thirteen Things about Jen

1. Here it is, December already, and I'm nowhere near being ready for Christmas. Duh!

2. These are the moments that make me question my genius status. It's true! I AM a genius, I've been tested on a few different scales, even. I don't think that means anything though. To paraphrase Forrest's mom, "Genius is as genius does," and I don't think I "do" genius properly.

3. For instance, I don't think a true genius would bounce checks nearly as often as I do.

4. I also don't think a genius would lose things all the time; cell phones, car keys, entire bags of get the point.

5. Not to mention the fact that I hit myself with my own car once. Knocked myself right out of my shoes! I'll tell you the story sometime.

6. This is why I generally pay no attention to this sort of test results. I don't know what they were measuring, but in my case it seems to have no relation to getting along in the world.

7. When they come up with a test that measures CSQ (Common Sense Quotient), then I will sit up and take notice when people score above average, and I'll try to hire them to take care of my sorry self. Until then, I'll spend my days doing things like wondering, "*DID* I put on deodorant?" and getting lost on the way to places I've driven a million times before.

8. I'm almost done knitting my clapotis. I've decided I don't really like the color I've used though, so I've already found a home for it and I'm trying to imagine what I want to use instead for the one I'll keep. It's a fun pattern, and I recommend it if you knit and you're looking for something a little challenging but not too hard.

9. Maya and Sage (who will be 8 this month) are practicing their piano lesson right now. One is upstairs on the keyboard we bought second hand, and the other is in the room with me on the piano our neighbors gave us when they moved.

10. Anya (10) also takes piano. Tiernan (4) will probably start next year or the year after. We want them to learn the basics of music theory when they're young so they can play any instrument they want later. Our piano teacher is great, and she makes it interesting for them. When they get bored, she pulls out fun things to do to break it up, and keep them excited.

11. When they really rebel, I tell them that if they don't practice and learn, they will have to be the roadies when we all go on tour. ;-)

12. This month, they're all playing Christmas songs. Word to the wise, when the piano teacher offers your child her pick of Christmas songs to learn to play, don't suggest "The Twelve Days of Christmas," even if it is her favorite. All 12 verses 5 times a day for a month is a bit much. It does make you appreciate the "Five Golden Rings" part though, just because it breaks the rest of it up a bit...

13. Happy December, everyone!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Leanne 2. Momma K 3. Colleen at Musings 4. Raehan 5. Better Safe Than Sorry 6. Judy 7. Enigma 8. Texas_Ivy10 9. Sage 10. Lisa 11. M.E. 12. Lily Bleu 13. Renee 14. SquashedToad 15. Terrilynn 16. Sallwood 17. Running2Ks 18. Sally 19. Craig 20. Twisted Cinderella 21. Rashbre 22. Veronika 23. D 24. Holly 25. Dawn & the Farm 26. Jenny 27. Barbara

(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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