Saturday, January 27, 2007

Good News from the State of the Union Address -- The Arrival of Senator Jim Webb

The best news from this week's State of the Union Address was the response delivered by Democrats' newly elected Senator James Webb of Virginia. Compared to the careful, stilted response speeches in recent years, Senator Webb's response was a huge step forward, breathing new life into the image of Democratic leadership.

Confidence, honesty and levelheadedness came through his plain words, body language and tone. There was no hint of fear, nervousness or contrived manipulation.

Webb is a man on a mission, clearly intent on victory, a man you could feel confident following into battle.

His military past and continuing connection give him a perspective most members of Congress will never be able to achieve. His Vietnam war service, as a Marine awarded the Navy Cross, the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts, speaks volumes about who he is.

It is not surprising he raised a son who is serving in Iraq. If you've never held a soldier's combat boots, you can't see things the same way as someone who has. This idea was emphasized by Webb's campaign symbol, his son's combat boots.

Veterans for Webb

For the 70% of Americans who disapprove of Bush's handling of the war in Iraq (Newsweek Poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Jan. 17-18, 2007), this is the sort of perspective and leadership needed.

Stay tuned for more from James H. Webb. He undoubtedly has more to say.

Share the Love -- Like Screaming Teenagers at a Beatles Concert

Okay, well maybe not that fanatical, but all the same, here's our chance to acknowledge some great female bloggers. Heather at One Woman's World is hosting the Share the Love Blog Awards. I am nominating and will be voting for several of my favorite bloggers and encourage you to do the same. Just click here to go to the One Woman's World Share the Love Blog Awards page and learn how.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Weekend Inspiration

Feeling overwhelmed? Too much on your "To Do" list?

Cruise on over to Cooks on the Coast, a military mommy blog, and check out "Timeline of an international move" about their recent international move over the holidays . . .

After reading this, my laundry pile looks so much smaller.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thank Goodness They Won't Know What She's Saying -- Part of the Thanks Giving Series

Thank goodness most people wouldn't be able to decipher what my 18-month-old, rosy-cheeked, blond-haired little cherub was saying today. Today, all day, she ran around my quaint suburban house saying repeatedly, "Oh Sh_t!"

Drop the spoon. "Oh Sh_t!" Toy fell down. "Oh Sh_t!" Looking for something. "Oh Sh_t!"

All day long.

It is her Daddy's favorite expletive. Coincidence? I think not.

Ah yes. We discussed this. Did he listen? Hmmmm.

This is certainly not a phrase my little rosebud learned from me. Here's the smoking gun: "Sh_t" is positively, absolutely my least favorite word in the English language, and perhaps in any other language in which it exists as well.

Recently someone commented on our "cute" Christmas card and asked, "And how did you ever get your husband to dress up like that?" Well, he was all for dressing up, but trust me I would so trade the picture of him in the giant mouse costume for not teaching our baby to say, "Oh Sh_t!"

For now, I'll just have to settle for the fact that her bad language is largely unintelligible, our saving grace.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Family Kicked Off Plane After Toddler's Tantrum

(The Wacky Wednesday post comes a day early this week. The following was just too good to pass up.)

From Yahoo! News
Toddler's temper ousts family from plane
By JIM ELLIS, Associated Press Writer

Tue Jan 23, 12:54 PM ET

ORLANDO, Fla. - AirTran Airways on Tuesday defended its decision to remove a Massachusetts couple from a flight after their crying 3-year-old daughter refused to take her seat before takeoff . . .

Toddler Files Tuesday -- Little Miss Dispose All

Last week the younger of my 18-month-old twins watched me cleaning the living room and decided to help. As I picked up things and threw them away, she found a crumb of food on the floor, picked it up, came to where I was and threw it into the trash can.

This astounded me and I praised her mightily. (I thought I would have to wait until they were pre-teens to have them help with the housework.)

Little did I realize the coming consequence of my actions. She is so pleased with her rubbish ridding skills that she has become Little Miss Dispose All. She buzzed around the trash can repeatedly today, and I had to keep waiving her off. Throwing stuff away came easily, but the mental discernment to make the distinction of what is to be thrown away and what isn't it is more difficult.

Today she picked up a flashcard with a picture of a truck and, before I could stop her, dumped it into the trash.

"No, no," I told her. "We don't throw away our toys."

She was unfazed.

"The toy is gone now. We threw it in the trash."

Yeah, who cares?

"Do you know what happens to things we throw in the trash? A big truck comes and picks them up and takes them away."

"Yeah," she said as if she understood every word.

"It takes them away, and they bury them."

"Yeah," she said again, like she already knew.

"And sometimes they burn them."


For some reason this struck a chord. I will throw my toy away, and the trash truck can take it away, and men can bury it, but whatever you do, just don't let them burn it.

Who knows how the toddler mind works. It never ceases to surprise me.

*Broom illustration is a scan of one of the aforementioned flashcards -- Picture Words Pocket Flashcards, by TREND enterprises, Inc.,

Monday, January 22, 2007

Mombot Monday -- Quick Tip

Having two precious baby girls who spent a brief little stint in NICU, I quickly learned two things: 1) keeping baby's things clean is important, 2) time is always in short supply. I like to clean fabric books and dolls every week or two, but if I waited until I had time to wash them each by hand or "spot clean" as many of them recommend, they would be relegated to the Island of Lost Toys.

My solution? Mommy's little lingerie bag doubles as baby's toy washing bag. That great little zippered mesh bag that keeps delicate apparel safe on the gentle cycle so you don't have to hand wash (Yeah, right. Hand wash. Ha ha.) makes washing baby's fabric toys simple. Toss them in, zip up the bag and wash on gentle with a small load of delicates.

*A couple of disclaimers: Not every toy can withstand this treatment, so choose wisely, don't overcrowd the bag, use gentle detergent and no fabric softener, and be sure to examine toys closely for any tears before returning them to the play circuit.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

P is for President: A Political Primer

The media attention focused on the upcoming 2008 presidential primary and the already common use of polls to predict who might win could give people the impression that the winner of the popular vote would be the winner of the presidential primary. Unfortunately, it is not that easy.

For example, following state primaries and caucuses, Delegates at the Democratic National Convention will select the party's presidential candidate through a complicated process, in which some Delegates are obligated to vote for a candidate based upon primary election results and other Delegates may vote for whichever candidate they favor, regardless of the popular vote.

Surprisingly to many voters, the candidate who receives the most votes in your state may not receive all of your state's Delegates' votes. Some are allocated based upon the percentage of votes candidates receive in primaries or caucuses.

In some states, however, the presidential primary is only a "beauty contest" or "loophole primary," a non-binding primary intended to gauge public support for candidates. Participants at party caucuses may ignore the primary vote and elect Delegates pledged to support a different candidate.

Additionally, at the Democratic National Convention, the popular vote may be ignored by up to about 20 percent of the Delegates known as "Superdelegates," a group comprised of the elected Democratic National Committee Members, elected Democratic Governors, U.S. Senators and House members, and "Distinguished Party Leaders." Superdelegates constitute a significant slice of the Delegate pie and may "vote their conscience," selecting any of the candidates still officially in the race.

Add to the mix that states do not have an equal number of voting Delegates, but instead are awarded Delegates, by the Democratic and Republican parties, based not only on population, but also on how well the state has performed in electing that party's candidates to office, and it is easy to see why a candidate who is incredibly appealing to the general public may have no chance of winning the nomination.

The whole process is something of a quagmire on both sides. Unfortunately, the only way to have an impact is to jump in and swim.

Helpful links:

The presidential primary process explained by

Explanation of the math behind Delegate allocation for Election 2008 from The Green Papers.

A synopsis of the Republican Delegate allocation process from Republican Source.

CNN article discussing the 2004 Delegate selection process.

Democratic proposal pending to coax state organizations to have their primaries later in the season by awarding extra Delegates to states who have their elections later from The New York Times Politics Blog.