Monday, January 26, 2009

My Fisher Price Dog (I mean, Ben's Fisher Price Dog)

The story of THE DOG: When Ben was about 6 months old, I saw that EVERYONE at playgroup had this Fisher Price dog. It was definitely the toy to have. Not only did it tell you the name of the body parts when squeezed, but it sang the ABC's and many other songs!!
So, even though we were watching our spending and even though we had just had a "fight" about not getting suckered into all the baby crap that everyone else had.....in a moment of weakness, I bought the dog!
Caleb MADE me take it back.....and I was NOT happy. His reasoning was that everything that the dog could do and sing, we could do and sing. I tried to reason that the dog sang the ABC's with conviction and that Caleb didn't....but he wasn't buying it.
Well, about 6 more months went by. Then, this past Christmas, Ben's godparents bought Ben the dog!!! I was SO excited. Ben was SO excited. Caleb was not SO excited....HOWEVER, the dog did not work. We tried changing the batteries....TWICE. We tried reading the directions to "reset" the dog.....nothing.
I WAS DEVASTATED! I thought it was a cruel joke and it was just not meant to be.
So, you can imagine how excited I was when Joe and Christina showed up this past week-end with a new, working Fisher Price dog for me....I mean, Ben!!!
Ben loved it....and I definitely played with it when he went to bed. I even memorized all the songs......

Maybe I'll post a video showing you all it can do....on second thought, Caleb does own a gun.....so I should probably not push my luck!

If you have a kid, I hope you own this dog!

Enjoy:

Here is a video of Joe "starting the bike"....you'll notice all the questions to and guidance from Caleb. But, come on, give Joe a break....you'd forget how to start the bike you dream about every night if you didn't get to hang out with it on a regular basis. oh wait! The last time Caleb rode the bike was a couple of months ago....but somehow he remembers everytime how to start it!!! HEHE!

video

Sorry, Joe....couldn't help it!

Biker Baby!

Little Abigail came to visit!!! (With Godmama Christina and Goddaddy Joe, of course!)
They were in town this past week-end for the huge Raleigh Kids Exchange. They had a really busy week-end but were able to fit in a Saturday morning breakfast with us! It pays to have little ones who wake up early! Isn't she beautiful?

Joe HAS to sit on THE bike when he visits. This time, he was able to really introduce Abby to his future ride. Check out her cute "helmet"!


Ben was in a great mood that morning but didn't like being in the stroller while Abby was on the bike!

With a picture like this one, it makes you wonder if Joe came to visit with us or to ride the bike:

Ertel Baby Shower

Lisa and I threw a baby shower for our friends Chris and Kristin. It was supposed to be a surprise "Crib Divided" shower when NC State played at Duke. Since we had snow that day, the party had to be rescheduled. But, we all had a great time despite the change of plans.
Little Baby Brian will be here soon! Kristin is due February 12th. The parents-to-be:
Ben was WIRED all night!
Kerry and Suzanne:

We had a Carolina/NC State face-off. Three guys from each team had to drink apple juice out of a bottle. It was SO funny to watch! They kept complaining about how hard it was and that kids must have "jaws of steel"!

Mikey, Jennifer, Baby Brayden and Matt

Gred, David and Jon David
Brian and Baby Bridget:
NC State won (though Chris did cheat by taking off the top and drinking his bottle like it was a cup....we let it slide though since there was NO WAY that Jon David or Brian had a chance at catching up to the NC STATE team. )
In the end, Carolina even "recruited" their kids to help:

Go, Carson!!! (Ben looks like there was something OTHER than apple juice in his bottle!)

More Snow Pics


Friday, January 23, 2009

I'm a believer!


Thanks to Amy, we have found an answer to pee-covered mornings!!!!
I've always placed Ben in a diaper that was one size larger for bed! But, that has NOT been working lately. Every morning, he has been soaking wet with pee.
Yesterday, I picked him up from his crib before work, changed him and took him to daycare. When I finally sat down with my cup of coffee at work, I smelled PEE! Gross, it was all over my sweater. NASTY! That's when I knew things had to change.
Then, like an ANGEL FROM GOD, my friend Amy handed me a Huggies Overnight Diaper for Ben to try, claiming that they were a "God-Sent". She didn't even know about our pee-covered mornings. She just offered one for us to try since she is so pleased with the results. (Too bad her son has figured out that if he poops in one, he still gets changed in the middle of the night....so smart!)
Let me just say that I AM A BELIEVER! YAY for name-brand products! Sometimes they just have the edge over generics....hands-down!
These babies WILL be worked into the budget! =0)

Ben Stats

As my husband so elequently put it, here is another edition of my "Ben-Fest" blog:

Ben had his 12-month check up yesterday. (I know, I know, he's almost 13-months, but with the holidays and then the SNOW, it kept getting pushed back).

Ben weighs 22 pounds (30th percentile)- He hasn't gained much because of how active he has become.

Ben's height- 30.75 inches! 75th percentile. The doctor commented that Ben has grown over 9 inches in 1 year. He said that this is the most he will ever grow in a year (even teenage growth spurts only equal about 3-4 inches). It truly is amazing how much these little people "grow up" in such a short amount of time!

Everything else looks great! He got a few more shots...yuck!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Reactions to the Inauguration

Caleb talking here...

I don't interfere with Adrienne's "Ben-fest-blog" very often because it's so much fun watching her celebrate the life of our son! But, permit me this intrusion, as I must succumb to my inner politico. I have to pay homage to Democracy in action, to triumph, to hope, and to "more of the same".

If you watched ANY news network today to catch a glimpse of history, you were bombarded with anecdotes about the significance of the event, the triumph of the civil rights movement, the comparisons to MLK Jr., and the elation of the disenfranchised masses. There was glory in today, no doubt about it, and I wonder if the stain of slavery will begin to be washed away in the collective mind of Black America. I hope for that, but that's not what I want to write about.

I didn't watch enough of the coverage or listen to enough of the talking heads to make the following claim with absolute certainty, but considering the drama of the Civil Rights talking point, I have a feeling this was not covered much: The peaceful transition of power from one administration to another, following the will of the people IS democracy. And more than that, it is a RARE thing in the governments of the world.

What you witnessed today in the passing of the torch was nothing short of a governmental miracle. Two powerful and driven men, with millions of supporters each, both abided by the rule of law and acted in a way that showed respect for each other, the institutions of government, and the will of the people. The one, holding the office, the commander of the armed forces, the most powerful man in the world, willingly giving up that to the other. And the other, ready to take power, with the backing of a majority of Americans, did not feel the need to raise a private army, or to wage an international ad campaign decrying the "atrocities of his people against mine". No, both men willingly exchanged the burden of the office without thought of violence or doubt in the other man's intentions. Could this be hope? Or how about "more of the same"?

If this sameness continues for all future generations, then I have hope for the future. Can you imagine a nation where that respect for law, for the will of the people, and for the nation's history is lost? We'd be another two-bit banana republic, or a turmoiled dark continent dictatorship. You may claim the US has lost it's cherished savior-of-the-world image developed since the end of WWII, but I say Democracy has never looked stronger. Hope can come to that man in the African hut that Obama referenced, because there is an example of it in our institutions and our people. But it comes at great cost.

I think Obama's comments about Middle East policy, terrorism, Muslims and extremists may have caught many off guard. The inclusion of those topics into an inauguration address from the President of the United States, shows just how pervasive the issue really is. Those Americans who thought this President would turn his back on a "sad chapter in American foreign policy", those who thought he would shake the sand out of Uncle Sam's top hat, need to recognize that the issue of Muslim extremism is the defining topic of the 21st century.

Obama's rhetoric on the topic was lofty, hopeful, defiant in the face of our enemies, unapologetic for being American, and sounded just like George W. Bush! This was a shock to me. "He understands!" I thought. "He gets the gravity of it!" I thought. Let the change come, let the hope come, but God please let it be MORE OF THE SAME when it comes to dealing with Muslim extremists. Maybe those pre-presidency security briefings gave him a new perspective on things, or maybe he always had this perspective, he just had to hide it from his political base. I hope it's the former, because of what it means. It means that he has set aside his idealistic comments of the campaign and has recognized the ugly truth: That western culture, politics, religion, and people are under attack. And he has decided to confront it.

Look, we are in a culture war. Iraq? Afghanistan? Those are just battlefronts. As is Somalia, Malaysia, India, France, Holland and yes, Canada. And if you thought we could just step back and let bygones be bygones then you do not understand the size of this. Story time:

Once upon a time, long ago, in a land far away, there was a great Story Teller. The Story Teller was very famous in many lands. One time he told a horrible tale of the rape and murder of generations of children in a far off place. He told the story to people of his own land hoping they would see the need for change and take steps to make it happen. Instead he was killed for telling his story and now his land lives in fear.

The place? Holland. The time? 2004. (post Sept. 11) The story teller? Theo Van Gogh. (the Michael Moore of Europe to quote Charles Winecoff) He dared to make a TEN MINUTE film about Muslim women under Islamic law. He was shot in broad daylight in Amsterdam, which is in Holland, which is in Europe, NOT in Falujah, which is in Iraq, which is in the Middle East. Want some more "current" evidence? Mumbai.

If you are one of those who blames US foreign policy for the response of the Arab Street, then look at Mumbai. They did not attack the embassy, or even a McDonalds (our two greatest symbols of capitalism!). They attacked a hotel, full of vacationers. They attacked a train station and by all accounts they shot people indiscriminately. They are not at war with the US, or Europe. They are at war with you, the way you live, and the way you think. Do you really think you would be allowed to protest, or even wear earrings, if Tehran had it's way? Just because you stop fighting them, does not mean they'll stop fighting you. The Mufdi's are calling for world domination, not a cease-fire.

Take note, just as Obama has. And let there be more of the same.

Snow Fun

I attempted to bundle Ben up so that he could "play" in the snow himself:This is what happened:
He would rather play with the snow inside:


By eating it:

Proof- This was around 9:45 AM:


3 1/2 inches!!

S*N*O*W

It worked!! It snowed!! The daycare is closed and Caleb had to go out on the line because of the potential accidents....which means Ben and I got to stay home and play in the SNOW.

Last time we checked, we already had 4 1/2 inches and it's still snowing!! Enjoy the pictures (more to come, I'm sure.....Ben is currently taking his afternoon nap! We pushed back nap time so that Ben could watch the Inauguration with me!!)

This morning at 8 AM

I love his little face. His little eyes were so big!


Just walking in the snow...


There's no day like a snow day!!


Monday, January 19, 2009

Chant- "We Want Snow! We Want Snow!"

I stole this off of Suzanne's site:

"Dare we get excited???? The meteorologists are forecasting anywhere from 2 inches to 6 inches of snow, starting tonight and into tomorrow morning. I feel like I am back in school, anticipating the hopeful arrival of snow."

Mothers! We need to unite and pray for snow in NC. As much as I believe in prayer, I am also a firm believer in this superstition:

Sleeping in your pajamas backwards = SNOW!!!!!

So, for the sake of snow (and for LOTS of snow), don't forget to make sure your babies, toddlers, dogs, husbands, baby dolls and, of course, YOURSELVES are wearing your PJ's the proper backwards position tonight. Drastic snow calls for drastic measures!

I want snow....for Benjamin, of course!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

NOOOOOO!!! Not Peanut Butter!!!! How will I ever survive??

FDA urges people to avoid peanut-butter products

By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR
Associated Press Writer

Posted: Jan. 17 3:44 p.m.
Updated: Today at 7:19 a.m.

WASHINGTON — Federal health authorities on Saturday urged consumers to avoid eating cookies, cakes, ice cream and other foods that contain peanut butter until authorities can learn more about a deadly outbreak of salmonella contamination.

Most peanut butter sold in jars at supermarkets appears to be safe, said Stephen Sundlof, head of the Food and Drug Administration's food safety center.

"As of now, there is no indication that the major national name-brand jars of peanut butter sold in retails stores are linked to the recall," Sundlof told reporters in a conference call.

Officials are focusing on peanut paste, as well as peanut butter, produced at a Blakely, Ga., facility owned by Peanut Corp. of America. Its peanut butter is not sold directly to consumers but distributed to institutions and food companies. But the peanut paste, made from roasted peanuts, is an ingredient in cookies, cakes and other products that people buy in the supermarket.

"This is an excellent illustration of an ingredient-driven outbreak," said Dr. Robert Tauxe, who oversees foodborne illness investigations for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So far, more than 470 people have gotten sick in 43 states, and at least 90 had to be hospitalized. At least six deaths are being blamed on the outbreak. Salmonella is a bacteria and the most common source of food poisoning in the U.S., causing diarrhea, cramping and fever.

Officials said new illnesses are still being reported in the outbreak investigation.

The Kellogg Co., which listed Peanut Corp. as one of its suppliers, has recalled 16 products. They include Austin and Keebler branded Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers, and some snack-size packs of Famous Amos Peanut Butter Cookies and Keebler Soft Batch Homestyle Peanut Butter Cookies. Health officials said consumers who have bought any of those products should throw them away.

Peanut Corp. has recalled all peanut butter produced at the Georgia plant since Aug. 8 and all peanut paste produced since Sept. 26. The plant passed its last state inspection this summer, but recent tests have found salmonella.

Health officials are focusing on 30 companies out of a total of 85 that received peanut products from the Georgia plant. Sundlof said Peanut Corp. is a relatively small supplier on the national scene.

The Midwest supermaket chain Hy-Vee Inc. of West Des Moines, Iowa, said Saturday it was voluntarily recalling products made in its bakery departments with peanut butter because they had the potential to be contaminated with salmonella. The recall covered seven states: Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota.

Perry's Ice Cream Co., based in Akron, N.Y., said it was recalling select ice cream products containing peanut butter due to the PCA investigation. Its recall covered New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia.

The outbreak has triggered a congressional inquiry and renewed calls for reform of food safety laws. For example, the FDA lacks authority to order a recall and, instead, must ask companies to voluntarily withdraw products.

"Given the numerous food-borne illness outbreaks over the past several years, it is becoming painfully clear that the current regulatory structure is antiquated and ill-equipped to handle these extensive investigations," said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., who chairs a panel that oversees the FDA budget.

Seattle-area lawyer William Marler, who specializes in food safety cases, said the government shouldn't wait for the results of more tests to request recalls.

"At least 30 companies purchased peanut butter or paste from a facility with a documented link to a nationwide salmonella outbreak," said Marler. "The FDA has the authority actually, the mandate to request recalls if the public health is threatened. Instead, the FDA has asked the companies to test their products and consider voluntary recalls. It is just not enough."

Health officials in Minnesota and Virginia have linked two deaths each to the outbreak, and Idaho has reported one. Four of those five were elderly people, and all had salmonella when they died, although their exact causes of death have not been determined. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the salmonella may have contributed.

An elderly North Carolina man died in November from the same strain of salmonella that has caused the outbreak, officials in that state said Friday.

The CDC said the bacteria behind the outbreak – typhimurium – is common and not an unusually dangerous strain, but the elderly and those with weakened immune systems are more at risk.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

San Fran Trip

Ben was such a good boy for all four flights. It was a little bumpy over the mountains, but the view was beautiful:


Loris found and bought her wedding dress while I was there. Doesn't she look like a glowing bride already:



There's the dress:


Ben was a trooper the whole day:

We had a feast at Chili's after shopping:


Look at all that food:


Just a blurry picture that I like:


Dog Park Trip:

Loria's dog Leila:

People Park Time:


Look at those teeth....and you can't even see the two on top yet:



Look at that smile:


Too tired to be a tourist:


Ben met his Aunt Diane:


Mmmmmm......Messy Meals!

It's child development, people!

But, it sure makes for great pictures!