Monday, December 21, 2009

My Birthday

Yesterday was my birthday. I have to say it was one of my best birthdays...ever. EVER! It started with Katie finding me in Phillip's room. I was just about to get him out of his crib when she came over to me trailing her favorite pink blankie made by Maureen. (You cannot separate my kiddos from the blankets Maureen makes for them, or from the nighttime afghans made by Grandma, but I digress.) So, Katie finds me and asks, "Is today your birthday, Mommy?" I told her it was indeed my birthday and she enthusiastically said, "Happy Birthday, Mommy!" while giving me a hug and kiss. Phillip, who was watching everything, jumped up and down in his crib shouting, "Happy!" with a big ear-to-ear grin.

I went through all the typical morning tasks with Phillip (diaper change, nebulizer treatment as he has a bad cough, bottle, tickles) and then went back to bed for a few minutes. Katie climbed in and said, "Get ready for a birthday hug, Mommy" and hugged me. She kept giving me birthday hugs and kisses. One hug was a "special rainbow hug with sparkles that only come when I hug you, Mommy." She also told me all the things that she thought made me "beautiful".

Later in the day, Katie made my birthday cake with Peter. I was sitting at the dining room table getting materials organized for Katie's gifts for her teachers and chuckling at the conversation occurring between the two of them. Here is one particularly charming snip it from when they were cleaning up:
Peter: So who is the better cook, better baker - Daddy or Mommy?"
Katie: Me! I am the best cooker.

Katie then decorated all her jars of homemade cookie mix for her teachers.(The night before we made the jars. It was fun, but it takes some time that we waited until the next day to add the tags, ornaments, and ribbon.) Phillip kept blowing me kisses. Meanwhile, Katie was so anxious to frost the cake that when I said she would not frost until after nap time was over, she could not take a nap. Finally, I let her go get her father to frost the cake while I stayed in the other end of the house pretending to be oblivious. Katie would come to me every so often with chocolate on her face. Her face would get wiped clean and the next visit...more chocolate. Katie then placed all the candles herself.

Another thing that occurred was that Katie knew exactly which party dress she wanted to wear with which tights and which sparkly shoes and related accessories. She then told Peter, "Go change into your handsome clothes, Daddy." Peter replied, "What are my 'handsome clothes'?" Katie: "I don't know, but you have to put them on. It's Mommy's birthday."

Peter made my birthday dinner (breaded chicken cutlets, rice pilaf, and young peas). Katie declared it the best dinner ever. Phillip spit the chicken out, but happily noshed on halved blueberries and peas. Katie wanted a table cloth on the table, but Peter said we didn't need one. When it came time to light the candles....oh, you have to picture the scene in your mind's eye. Peter was using these puny, short matches that burned down to your fingers by the time you lit one candle. Well, he would light some candles and go to blow out the match before his finger burnt off only he would not turn away from the cake, so he would end up blowing out the very candles he just lit! This pattern continued for quite a few times with Katie growing exasperated with her father. Finally they were all lit and Katie helped me blow them out.

As we were enjoying cake, Katie serenaded me with three songs she created herself. They were fabulous and even Phillip smiled and clapped with enthusiasm. After dinner, Katie had us participate in a "Royal Birthday Parade". We then piled into the car and drove around looking at Christmas lights while singing Christmas carols. It truly was the best birthday ever. Best. Ever.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Happy (belated) Thanksgiving to you all! We had a quiet one this year. I could have cooked a meal, but since no one was around, Katie and I had spaghetti and meatballs. How very untraditional of us, I know. You see, on the previous Tuesday, I had sinus surgery.

After being on antibiotics for essentially the entire year, every year, I went to an ear, nose, throat specialist. He first tried washes and sprays. No relief. Then he looked with a scope. Afterwards, I had a CT Scan. The scan showed that each sinus opening was blocked by bone. So, I scheduled surgery. I chose the Ridgefield Surgical Center because this sort of thing is all they do and to be away from viruses found in a hospital setting. The center was sparkling! The staff was running way ahead of schedule and as soon as I walked through the door, they took me back to begin prepping me.

I was nervous about anesthia. For one thing, I did not want to be intubated. And for another thing, I am always nausous. I was afraid of the vommitting upon waking up from general anesethia. Everyone tried to calm me. I took things one moment at a time. I put my head down on the operating room table and the next thing I knew, I was waking up in recovery.

Waking up was hard. My throat was beyond dry. But the hard part was my chest. I had this really tight, wound up feeling in my chest. It felt very much like a bad asthma attack. I then began to panic which did not help matters. Eventually, I caught a small breath. Later, I needed my inhaler.

Once home, I tried to sleep, but I was overtired. Luckily, I had spent the morning making sure everything was in place for when I returned home from surgery. Fresh sheets on the bed. Pillows stacked up to make me stay in an almost 90 degree position to reduce swelling and help with drainage. Towel on the pillows in case the gauze leaked. Water and medication with medication schedule next to the bed. Premade food in the fridge to heat up for the kiddos. House cleaned and tidied up. Not perfect, but pretty good. Babysitters lined up for the next few days to help me over the long weekend.

Pain. The surgery I had was a lot of little procedures all at the same time. The doctor removed bone spurs and a bone filled with air. He then removed polyps and cysts from within one sinus. The doctor also reduced the turbinates. Finally, he corrected my severely deviated septum. The doctor used a lot of new technologies to minimize bleeding. Therefore, there was no need for packing. People always complain about packing. The doctor only had to use the splints. The splints are these long plastic things that are flat on one side and have a breathing tube on the other. They are about 3 inches long.

The discomfort was from the swelling against the splints. Also, my upper teeth ached like they were about the fall out or something. There was immense pressure behind my eyes, too. A dry throat did not help either. I suffered through the first night with fitful sleep at best. Finally, in the afternoon of the next day, I took a pain pill. It took a few doses over the course of the afternoon and evening before things were numb. I suppose the medication needs to build up in your system over time. I needed the pain meds for the first three days. Afterwards, the swelling went away and I was okay just with the antibiotic.

The bleeding stopped after three days. On Sunday night, however, Phillip did not want to come out of the bath and he flailed about wildly...hitting my nose just right. It was like a gusher! I saturated one gauze pad after another. Luckily, the doctor opened his office for me and took care of things. My nose looks the same from the outside. Inside, it is very dry and sore, but I can live with that while things heal. I pray all heals perfectly. I still do not have permission to blow my nose which is weird, but like I said, I am fine with that as long all heals perfectly. Already I can feel a difference, so the surgery was worth it!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Update on Phillip

Phillip, Phillip, Phillip. He is ...uh... a terror on two feet! I mean this term in the most affectionate way. Really, I do! Maybe it is because he is a boy, or maybe it is because he is the younger sibling, or maybe it is the age, but whatever the reason, Phillip loves to destroy things. It does not matter what is in his way either. He will just plow over (or through) the obstacle and keep on going. People, toys, furniture. Nothing is a match for him. If Phillip wants to get past, he is either going over or through the person or object.

Let me paint a picture for you. During free range baby time, the living room floor is strewn with a myriad of objects in just mere seconds: books, blocks, stackers, finger puppets, cards, couch cushions, teethers, stuffed animals, the monkeys from Katie's monkeys in a barrel, puzzle pieces, and (Would you believe it?) more! Katie has given up helping me clean up after Phillip. It is a never-ending job.

You should see when Phillip starts cruising towards Katie's shelves. Katie literally flies across the room and hastily begins placing things as high as she can get them while on tip toe or asks an adult to quickly take the items in question. The other objects are quickly scooped up in her arms and she flees down to her bedroom where she hides them in the most random locations. She fears (and rightfully so) that Phillip will tear apart her beloved things. While Katie understands that some items are just Katie's, some items are just Phillip's, and other items are for sharing, Phillip is too young to understand this concept. When we remind him (by removing the items from his possession or area of reach), he screams ....loudly.

Now that I think about it, perhaps passionate is a better term for Phillip. He is quite passionate about what he does, no matter the task. Katie is too, for that matter. She wears her heart on her sleeve. Phillip is driven and analytical from what I can gather so far. But, yes, passionate is a good term. In fact, here is a photo of him so proud of himself after eating his dinner. That's it. I say Phillip is passionate! (And, one adorable the most loving sense of the word.)

Update on Katie Kate

Katie....what can I say? She is a hoot! Everyday she uses more vocabulary that makes me proud as a literacy teacher. Just the other morning she was mentioning "texture" when describing how something felt.

She recently built a fort in the living room. Here is a picture of Katie in her fort with Daddy. You will notice that she is using afghans made for her by her great grandmother, a small blankie made for her by her Aunt Ginny, pillows off our bed, and the chairs I assembled for her and Phillip so they could have their own toddler-sized book nook. Upon completion of the fort, Katie made it known that "No babies are allowed! Only Mommy, Daddy, and Katies are allowed in the fort. Not Phillips." She was very emphatic on this point.
Later, when Phillip was taken out of his play yard to roam freely among the house (I affectionately call it "free range baby time"), Katie was so worried that Phillip would enter, touch, or somehow interact with her carefully constructed fort. Well, Phillip just maneuvered around it and he had not a care in the world to be involved with the fort. Phillip just went about his normal business of tearing the house apart....everything BUT the fort. It is like he understood her previously-stated dictum and acted like the fort did not exist. Go figure.

Finally Back Up and Running...

Thank you for your patience. It has been quite some time since last I posted and for that, I apologize. It is not like I have not thought about blogging. It is just that I felt uninspired. Sure, ideas for entries came to me, but I seemed to have writer's block when it came to the actually crafting of entries. I know, I know. The only way to get through writer's block is to write. It is a cruel joke if you ask me.

So, I am back up and running. More to follow soon....

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Rummage Sale

So, I am trying to get items together for a tag sale.  "Trying" being the optimum word.  It is not easy with the kids under toe, but I will prevail.  Yes, sir, I will!  Of course, there are the distractions.  I have come across some old writer's notebooks.  Oh, the writing could use so much work, but there are some gems hiding.  Here is a sampling (I won't bore you with the full entries):

  • Tears silently crept down my cheeks as Dad, still holding the almost-transparent paper looked at me and said, "I am so very proud of you."
  • Fifth grade was the year that changed my life.
  • Disorganize Your Life - Okay, let's admit it, folks.  Too much emphasis is placed upon organizing everything including the dust bunnies under your bed.  Really, what is wrong with a bit of organized chaos?
  • Why do I carry it?  The memory of when the letter was ever so tentatively handed over to me, makes me smile.
  • I see her face, but who is she?  At once both unrecognizable and did she come to be?
  • It seems to me that childhood is not fair.  Some people, like Ralph Fletcher, have what I would term a "normal childhood".  Others like Naomi Shihab-Nye have a time of conflict.  Perhaps the conflict is the normal piece.
  • Often times when I peruse my baby album, I wonder who it is that I am looking at in those photos.  Some memories float in and out of consciousness.  Stories I have been told get another chance to share their perceptions.  The skinny bleached blond smiles, eyes all a twinkle as if she is happy to see me.  But is she?  When I was born, she refused to hold me.  People have said they heard her say, "She was supposed to be a boy."  The funny thing about all those stories I have been told is that they can haunt you.  Memories can, too.
  • Despite the engaging discussion, my eyes wandered as I looked around the backseat of this 1986 Buick.  The dusty blue -it was literally dusty- headliner bubbled over the passenger seats.  I wondered if I pricked it with a pin, would it pop or just unceremoniously deflate.  Below the front passenger seat lay a substantial buffet of crumbs.  No wonder there was an almost moldy smell.  Turned off by the crumbs, I chose to look straight ahead.  The driver's copper hair, restrained in its black band, was so smooth, so full of amazing luminescence.  Some strands were actually auburn while others were golden.  What was her secret that made her hair behave like glass?  Absentmindedly, I reached up and gingerly fingered a curl of my own.  It was soft, but not smooth like hers.  "So how would you do it?" and I was forced to look away  from her hair and answer.  I don't remember what I said in response, but I do remember the ashtray.

There is much more, but I procrastinated long enough.  One day I will return to my writing.  Maybe I will finally write that book  that still eludes me.  You know, the best seller.  HA!  In my dreams.  Until then, back to tag sale preparation (and vacuuming, and dusting, and laundry, and....)

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Okay, I have a confession to make...I am not really understanding this whole Facebook thing.  Perhaps I am getting old.  (Gasp!)  It really seems like a tool for high school and college kids, but then I heard that one of the largest groups on FB are women over 55.  

Okay, I get that younger people are using it as a way to invite folks to join them for events.  Other people are using it to reconnect with old friends.  Some even use it to find relatives.  In theory, it seems like a great tool that will just be embedded in all that we do (like email).  Still, I don't quite have the hang of it.

Why not call someone or send them an email?  If you just want to send a quick wondering or observation, then why not send a Tweet?  Want to share pictures?  Use a photo sharing app like Flikr or Picassa or even Kodak or your local pharmacy.  Like I said, I don't quite have the hang of it.

Then there is the other issue --friending.  How do you handle the person who wants to "friend" you, but you never really liked them when you were in school?  I tried ignoring someone, but then they kept sending requests.  Almost daily!  Then there were the messages attached to the request.  It was suggested that you friend the person and then "unfriend" them.  Umm...what is worse, ignoring someone or delisting them?  Seems to me that either way the person will be upset.  What is the proper FB etiquette in this situation?

Lastly, I wonder how secure Facebook postings are considering that nothing is ever truly safe in cyberspace.  I think that FB may make everything public soon.  Scary.  

So, while Audrey's photos are simply addicting and another friend's observations of the world crack me up, I might just quit Facebook.  But is it a mistake??

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Okay, I have to admit that I am addicted to Pandora.  After having toddler songs stuck in my head and searching through radio stations to find one that either is not at commercial or playing something that -Gasp!- I don't find "hip", streaming Pandora is a perfect remedy.  My only problem is that I have such an eclectic taste that I could make multiple "stations", just as I have numerous playlists in iTunes.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Something Larger Than Ourselves

I believe that I am part of something much larger than myself. My soul has a purpose and there are life lessons I am here to learn. The spiritual plane is trying to help me realize my life’s purpose. Since childhood, I have had quite prophetic dreams. It is only recently that I have learned not to be scared by what I see in my dreams. In fact, I now welcome my visions. They are a way for me to communicate with the other side.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I had a fun time with my father in a dream after the variator broke on his 112. For those of you who remember, it would always seize up on him. Frequently Dad would have the 112 apart and carefully making all the necessary repairs.

You all know about the dreams where I saw my children, what they looked like, and what their names would be long before they were born.

I also saw my father’s death at the exact moment it happened. That morning, I was already up and dressed. For some reason I cannot explain, I felt the sudden need to immediately put my head down. Once I did, I was in a deep, relaxed trance. Suddenly, I was in a beautiful open meadow and an elk appeared (the symbol of my paternal grandfather). He spent some time with me and then my attention was drawn to the most mesmerizing blue butterfly (the symbol of my father –long story behind that one). We, too, spent time together. Then the butterfly began to flit away from me. I gleefully chased after it until I realized that it was leaving me. The butterfly landed on the antlers of the majestic elk, and the elk looked in my direction briefly before turning away and running off into the light. I immediately woke up. Yet, I was at peace despite knowing what everything meant. Shortly thereafter, my grandmother called to tell me of my father’s passing.

It is not just dreams that help my soul advance with its life lessons. I also have spirit guides who were chosen by my soul prior to birth. They help me along my path. Their impulses are what I used to call intuition. They are the little voice, the subtle guiding hand, the sudden epiphany … my muses, if you will.

I believe that angels exist to help me along my path, too. My children were able to see them when they were infants. Often they would laugh and giggle at what seemed like thin air, but I learned that they were playing with their angels: in particular, my mother-in-law and my father. As I got older, I observed life with a scientific eye. While there is nothing wrong with the rational perspective of things, it was not until I began practicing meditation that I relearned how to see that which is inexplicable. I have a lot more work to go in this area.

Sometimes the angels send me signs that they are with me, but I just have to learn to listen to them. When thinking about a particular person who has passed away, I have seen faces in items one moment and then the faces disappear. The signs are also things like seeing the numbers on the clock in numerical order after I just thought about someone (like 1:23, for example) and seeing a specific animal I associate with the spirit. Not everything is a sign, though. The signs have to be directly connected to my thinking deeply about someone. Everyone can do it because we are all born with some form of psychic ability. It is just that not everyone takes time to hone their skills through meditation.

While many people get nervous when you begin to discuss spirituality, there are many more who secretly nod their heads in agreement. The spiritual closet is quite a crowded place because it is scary to openly admit that you believe in things like an afterlife, spirits, and reincarnated souls. It is unnerving for me to think that if I have the courage to openly state my intentions to the universe, the universe will make it happen for me. I believe that the universe operates on a completely different time table than I do and that leads to my frustration because I tend to be impatient. Hmm…perhaps one of my life lessons is to accept that things happen when they are meant to occur. At the same time, free choice can either interfere or facilitate the universe’s plan for myself. So confusing! I just have to take a deep breath and trust in God’s plan.

Yes, I believe in God –Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Unlike some church doctrines out there, I do not think accepting the spiritual plane means you don’t believe in God. The two go together beautifully and seamlessly. After all, everything is born from the Divine…and that includes all things spiritual.

Whew! Heavy topic for today. It came about for two reasons. One is what I said last time when asked about when I would return to journaling, about having multiple entries running in my head at once. The other reason comes from today’s lunch. I was sitting with two teachers who were commenting on the fact that we are all part of something much bigger than ourselves. While I feel I could write volumes on this topic, I have to stop and end my lunch hour. I will admit part of me is scared. Some readers will think I am nuts. Then again, I know I am perfectly sane, so there are no worries.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Okay, I admit the blog entries lately have been quick posts of photos. Not that there is anything wrong with that type of quickie posting, but I have been asked when I was going to return to journaling. I guess there is no time like the present. It is not as if I don’t have entries started. There are several in my head. Just like with my other writing, I constantly draft in my mind, but I need to force myself to sit down and commit to pen and paper –or in this case, keyboard to screen.

So, as a great way to procrastinate from continuing with my essays and poetry, here is today’s topic: tantrums.

Yup, you heard me. Tantrums. All you parents out there know just what I am talking about when I mention that word. The majority of the time, my daughter is an angel. Really! But not mornings. No matter how organized and structured I am with routines (and you know Martha Stewart has nothing on me!), Katie has to start each the day with resistance. Then Phillip cries in empathy (a compassionate trait…compassionate, but noisy). Add in the dog barking as if to scold my parenting abilities to quell little ones, and you get a picture of my mornings. I start each and every single day in the same, loud manner. Twenty minutes later and all is calm. You can set your watch by it.

If only I could find time (and peace and quiet and privacy --you lose all privacy when you have toddlers) to have Calgon take me away...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Phillip Stands Up!

Phillip has started the day off right standing! (I apologize for the poor quality photos, but I did not notice that Peter had changed the setting on our camera. Hence, everything is fuzzy and colors are not in the right place making it look like he has black eyes. Ugh! But what can you do?)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Katie and Her First Bike

Bike .....  $3.99 at Salvation Army

Training Wheels  .....   Free 
(made by Harry with wood and wheels that swivel in every direction)

First Ride  .....   PRICELESS!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Phillip's First Birthday Party!

Can you believe that Phillip has turned one already?!  Time has just flown by so quickly.

Katie planned Phillip's very first birthday party.  She carefully chose the theme (baby Sesame Street characters, especially Elmo).  She also planned the menu ("big chicken" aka whole roaster chicken, salad, and honey carrots).  Katie also made Phillip's cake (French vanilla -four layers- with vanilla filling and chocolate frosting).  She then sent Daddy out to get particular balloons that she had previously chosen.  To top it off, Katie helped Phillip blow out his candles and helped to open his presents.

That Was Then... This Is Now...

That Was Then...

April 29, 2008
3 pounds, 11 ounces
17.5 inches long

This Is Now...

April 29, 2009
19 pounds, 2 ounces
29 inches long
18 1/3 inches head circumference

Monday, April 20, 2009

Toddler Talk

Context: "Elmo Grows Up" was playing in Harbor Yard, but we could not get tickets. The show is about the Sesame Street characters dreaming of possible jobs when they reach adulthood.

Daddy: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Katie: A grandma.
A knowing smile crosses Mommy's face as she locks eyes with Daddy.
Mommy: What a wonderful dream, Katie! Why would you like to be a grandma?
Katie, without missing a beat: Because grandmas are full of love.

I love the fact that my children feel so close to my grandmother. My grandmother is more a maternal figure than a grandparent to me. She is one of the most dear people in my heart.

She has recently been diagnosed with cancer. Her lymph nodes in the groin area are full of tumors and will require chemotherapy. Luckily, the lymph nodes in other places, like her armpits, appear to be normal at this time. I so hope that doctors can stop the cancer from growing and spreading. I have read that if caught early enough, this type of cancer has about an 80% survival rate. Fingers crossed....

When I first heard of Grandma's symptoms, I had that uh-oh feeling. You know, the one that casts an ominous shadow over you, giving you sinking feelings in your gut. That night, I had a fitful sleep and was -Okay, call me strange- mourning. Like previously mentioned, Grandma is an immediate family member in my eyes. She is my last tie that binds, if you will.

We all know that people will pass over to the spiritual plane sooner or later. It is just that we hope -scratch that; pray- it is later...much, much later. Somehow, I keep thinking of Grandma as being the same age she was when I was toddler. I know that sounds ridiculous. I am cognizant enough to know that people age. But when you view the world with your heart, you see the poetry that hides from the scientific, analytical eye.

So, here we are. Katie and Phillip all smiles at the mere mention of Grandma's name; Katie insisting we call Grandma "just because"; everyone wanting to either visit Grandma or have her visit us; and Katie wanting to be a Grandma when she grows up because she is "full of so much love."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Reeds Go to Pennsylvania

Get out the slide projector, grab a handful of popcorn, and take a seat.... 

We decided to go away for a long weekend because we have not had a vacation in a couple of years.  It was Peter's birthday/Easter weekend, so what better time to get away from the stressors of everyday life.

We left Friday afternoon to allow Katie time to attend her gymnastics class (a favorite pasttime).  I also thought that since it was such a long car ride, it would be good for the kiddos to get the morning to play with friends, then grab lunch, and leave when they were both ready for their naps.  You know, make the trip go faster for them.

Good plan in theory.  While there was no traffic on the GW Bridge, New Jersey was a nightmare.  It was stop and go the whole way.  UGH!  

During our travels through Pennsylvania, though, we stopped at the King of Prussia Mall (  One word- AWESOME!  All my favorites were there: Nordstrom's, Bloomingdales, ... and all in larger than life buildings.  The place is h-u-g-e!

We arrived much later than planned, checked into The Amish View Inn, and discovered Jenny's Diner for dinner.  It was a "throw back" to the 50s, quaint, and much tinier than Orem's.

On Saturday, we woke up to rain.  While the egg hunt was still occurring, we did not join in the festivities simply because we had no desire to get soaked.  So, we opted to go to the outlets instead.  While there, we saw an adorable puppy who was lost.  She had a collar, but no tag.  The manager of Carter's took her and contacted the Humane Society.  That little black pup with a white star on her chest almost got a new home in Connecticut (wink).

After the outlets, it began to clear up and we headed to Kitchen Kettle Village.  It was neat to see the canning.  I totally love that kind of thing, as you well know.  Next, we drove on a scenic road recommended by AAA.  We passed through many adorable towns.  One such town was Lititz.  There we saw Linden Hall, the Moravian Church, Sturgis Pretzel, and more.  Very cute place.  

Did you know that on Easter Sunday the Trombone Choir of the Moravian Church go to the street corners and announce the Greatest Good News at -Are you ready?- 3:30AM?  Then there is a sunrise service at 6am, followed by a breakfast, Holy Communion, Easter egg hunt, and worship ceremony.  It takes up most of the whole day.  Amazing!

Peter and I kept commenting on how cool it was to be in such a devoutly Christian place during Easter weekend.  We could not get over how business all throughout Lancaster County (as in gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants) have signs that say things like, "Jesus saves" and "Bow your heads; He has risen."  It is something that you simply do not see up here.

We learned that there are Amish, Bretheren, and Mennonites in the County.  Not all Amish drive buggies, and not all buggy drivers are Amish.  The three groups are Anabaptists and believe that you are not born into a church, but rather you should choose your church when you are a young adult.  

The Amish do not use electricity simply because -and, this is amazing- they refuse to support a corporation that makes people work on Sundays.  So instead, they all use a combination of solar panels, windmills, propane, and diesel engines to do everything that we use electricity for on a daily basis.   Oh, gosh.  There are so many facts we learned, but there is only so much time to write this post...

Anyway, back to Saturday.  We ended the day with the Peter Cottontail Express, a train ride in Strasburg.  It was an old Victorian era steam locomotive that chugged through farm country up to Paradise and back.  The seat backs moved so that you could always face front no matter which direction the train was traveling.  Very cool.

On Sunday, we took a day trip up to Hershey Park.  The street lamps shaped like kisses (alternating between ones that are "wrapped" and "unwrapped"), the main road colored like chocolate, the smell of chocolate... We first did the tour of the fake factory as you cannot tour the original plant anymore.  Then we went to Zoo America.  It was a fantastic zoo; I highly recommend it!  All the exhibits focused on what is found in North America.  Then we saw the garden.

In Bird-In-Hand, the town where we were staying, we saw many things like one of the oldest hardware stores in the country, a farmer's market, toured Amish farms in horse and buggy, and so much more!  Overall, it was a great trip.  Peter and I would have liked to have stayed one more day, but it was time to head back to reality.

If you ask Katie, her favorite part was seeing all the animals, especially the baby lambs that had just been born on the farm.  And, Phillip giggles at mention of all the cows.  You could say that a great time was had by all!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Even More Images

While that is not the best photo of Katie, she is always a doll in my eyes.  The other two pictures speak for themselves.  (wink)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

And the story continues...

Okay, back to the portrait studio day... Here are some more pictures. The one of Phillip is for pure enjoyment. The only thing missing is his just-too-adorable ear-to-ear grin that he refused to show us until the very second we stopped taking photographs. Go figure!

The one with Peter holding Phillip is classic. You have Katie just about to attempt to wink at me off to the side. Apparently that is her latest thing. Whenever someone tries to take her picture, she tries to wink and ends up distorting her beautiful face into and Igor-like configuration. Experienced moms tell me all toddlers do this sort of thing. Uh, okay, but I want to capture her radiant smile that melts my heart. But that is not what sets this picture apart from all the others. Take a close look. A really close look. Do you see it? Double-click the image to enlarge, if necessary. Phillip grabbed Harry's hair and would not let go. Really! See his little hand with a tight fistful of hair? This photo was snapped right before Phillip yanked Harry's head back. Peter was in hysterics at that point as he knew full well what was about to occur. Can you see his devilish grin starting in this picture? Katie looked at Phillip in disbelief. If only the photographer snapped that exact moment, what a photograph for the family album!

Now, Phillip was not done grabbing people. In the last photo, the one with Phillip and Katie in Grandpa's lap, Phillip kept tugging on anything Katie (hair, dress, arm, you get the idea) that Katie had enough and was contemplating responding as only a toddler can, but she retrained herself. (Thank you, God! I did not need a battle between siblings on top of the other issues of this photo session.) However, Phillip's grabbing at Katie was not without consequences. She refused to look at the camera, let alone smile, out of fear that Phillip would strike again.

Then the photographer had the brilliant idea of having Phillip sit in Katie's lap. Oh yeah, that went well! I refused to purchase a copy of that image. Katie was not about to let Phillip maul her. Like I said before, gotta love picture day!

I wish I could say the adventure stopped there, but alas, it continued. While I was waiting to preview the images - Did I mention I was waiting? Waiting. What is it with JC Penney Portrait Studio that they make you wait for at least 30 minutes before you can preview images? Pet peeve, but I digress - So there I was waiting with more and more people around me by the second when Katie loudly (as in basically yelling) that she has found something for me.

Now let me set the scene. There were about fifteen or so families, maybe more, packed wall-to-wall in the front of the studio. I was up near the registers, so Katie had to weave through the crowd. Next to the studio are other departments. Katie was supposed to be taking a walk with Daddy, Phillip, Grandpa, and Thea. Here comes Katie. "Mommy, I found this for you," she proudly announces in order to be heard over the din of many voices. People part like the red sea to let her come through and bring me a WonderBra with shiny rhinestones in between the cups. I know the bling attracted her attention, completely unaware of the garment's use.

After I calmly herd Katie back to the rest of the snickering family, and suggest that she put the pretty item back where she found it, I wade back through the growing sea of people in a futile attempt to get someone's attention to ask how much longer. "Hi." I turn to my left. It was a family that we know through day care. Their daughter is in Phillip's class. Yup. There were witnesses.

Ahhh, like I said, you gotta love picture day!

Hey Good Looking - Part II

So, I finally did it. I convinced everyone to get a formal portrait taken of the three generations of Reed men. I thought my biggest battle would be Harry, but that was easy. I just reminded him that Aunt Elsie wants to see them together. Then I thought Peter would argue about it, but he was surprisingly okay with the idea. Nope, no problems. Well, it turns out that Phillip was the difficult one. I couldn't believe it! My little man who smiles at everyone and everything would not have any part of the photographing experience at all. No siree, he was not going to participate. I fed him, burped him, napped him, changed him, brought his favorite toy,.... Nope not so much as a grin. So folks, this is the best shot. Gotta love kids on picture day!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009


So, Katie starts preschool today. She is perfectly fine with it. I am the one who is a wreck!

I was tossing and turning all night fretting over the transition. Will it be too much, too sudden? Should we start in toddlers and then do afternoons in preschool? I bumped into her preschool teacher on Friday and Paivikki said to follow Katie's lead. So, I asked Katie which she preferred: eating breakfast in toddlers or in preschool. She chose preschool. So, Katie showed me her new cubby and we packed it up with her belongings. She hung up her coat on her new hook, and even made her way over to the breakfast room like it was a daily occurrence.

My heart ached. Katie will be fine. I just can't let go easily. How I wanted to stay with her for a while in the room, but I had to get to work. I managed to eek a few stolen minutes because Peter followed us to the center today and got Phillip situated. In fact, Peter was able to stay as I was leaving, so that was good. But not the same. I wanted to be there. I suppose I have to admit that my little girl is growing up.

As an educator, I am torn. I want to give her support, but I do not want to make the transition worse by hovering. Sometimes it is better to make a clean break. But I do not want her to feel alone or overwhelmed. Push, pull, push, pull. Such are the dynamics of parenting, especially at times of transition.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Jill's blog

Shameless plug for my friend's blog ---

I follow several blogs, but I enjoy Jill's a lot. Sure, part of the reason is that she is a friend from "way back when". Sure, part of the reason is that I love following the home renovation. But, want to know a secret? She has posted some recipes that have answered, "What should I make tonight?"

I recently tried the cranberry chicken as I love, love, love cranberries. They are my favorite fruit. While the thought of Catalina dressing and onion soup mix was not appealing to me, I gave it a shot. The chicken came out moist, tender, and delicious. More importantly, it passed the dreaded husband test. You know, the third child of mine who comments if something is too dry, too saucy, too.... Well, he liked it! So, there you have it, folks. If Peter can eat it without comment, then it is worth trying. (ha, ha)

So, check out Jill's blog at!

Hey, Good Looking!

From left to right: Harry Reed (Peter's father), Jack Reed (Peter's uncle), and Henry Horace Reed (Peter's paternal grandfather)
It is funny how genes work. A couple of weeks ago, Harry and I were talking about family resemblances. I remarked (like everyone does, even strangers we come across on our outings) that Phillip is a clone of Peter and that Peter looks like Harry. I added that there is no denying that Peter and Tanya are siblings because they both take after Harry and could be fraternal twins. To me, they are pure Reed. Lynn, however, reminds me of their mother and appears all Hoffman, not a speck of Reed in her. Donna is a mixture. I can't quite say which parent she looks more like as she has features from both sides. Me, I am all Krause. I don't have one physical feature from my mother's side of the family.
Anyway, Harry, who is usually tight-lipped about his upbringing in England, casually commented, "Peter is the spitting image of my father." Since we did not have pictures of Peter's grandfather, I asked some relatives if they could send me one via a scanned attachment. Well, imagine our surprise when Katie opened her birthday card from Tracy Lawrence and family,and out fell the photo seen above! (BTW, each time I see an image of Tracy, I think I am looking at Tanya. Those genes at work again. wink)
Looking at the picture, my jaw dropped. It is like I was looking at Phillip from another era! I made a mental note that I must quickly - scratch that; immediately- schedule a portrait session so that I could capture three generations of Reed men: Harry, Peter, and Phillip. When I post it, you will notice that it is like looking at the same man from different stages of life.
On a related note, Katie was so thrilled that Eliza wrote her a note. And, it came complete with a card of pink and purple sparkly princess fairies magically making pink glitter cupcakes. What could be better! After I explained who Tracy, Neil, Eliza, and Harry were to Katie, she immediately started making plans to have Eliza over for tea and strawberries. "I am going to make purple valentine hearts for Eliza with pink roses. Pink roses for Eliza. She will say, 'Oh, how beautiful' and I will play princess with her. We will play catch with my pink ball. Come on, Mommy, get Eliza for me." Second mental note, take Katie to England sometime soon.
Physical features are something, aren't they? And, they last through generations. Henry Horace to Harry to Peter to Phillip to..... The fun part, though, is seeing the personality and heart and soul develop as that is the most important feature.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Guilt – Responsibility for a wrong action; shame –Webster’s Dictionary

Guilt takes on so many forms, especially as we get older. My cousin sent me a poem about mothers of two children and there was this one line about guilt that struck a cord with me.

I remember when I was pregnant after Katie, but before Phillip. I was so weepy for most of the first trimester. I could not imagine sharing my relationship with Katie with another being. I feared that the child would - Dare I say it out loud?- intrude on my bond with Katherine. I was worried that Katie and I would become distant, that I would not be able to love another child as much as I love Katherine. Then I felt guilty for having such selfish thoughts and anxiety. Then almost overnight, I accepted that I was going to have another child, and even got excited.

Peace was fleeting. Around twelve weeks, I lost the child and I became inconsolable. I can still hear the hushed whispers in the hallways outside the ultrasound room. The quick gasp of the technician. The sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach as I was asked to wait in the room farthest from all the other patients. The sound of the hands of the clock. The little voice scolding me for not appreciating the gift while I had it…

It was like my body knew my thoughts and it refused to release the fetus. Despite repeated counselings over the following weeks, I refused a D&C. The doctors kept telling me that intervention was necessary, that too much time had passed. I pushed their advice aside. I pushed Peter away. Guilt.

I don’t even remember driving my car there, but somehow I ended up at Father Palmer’s office. Upon crossing over the threshold, the tears I had been holding inside for weeks came flooding out. Deacon McManus was such a huge help. As the guilt that had been snaking its way through my heart unfurled at his feet, he slayed the shame and put me on my path towards acceptance.

A few months later, I was pregnant with Phillip. This time I was overjoyed and somehow all the anxiety I had before never reared its ugly head. Funny how things like that happen. When I learned that Phillip’s twin died, however, I felt guilt all over again; like a punishment for daring not appreciate the gift of motherhood way back when. When Phillip came eight weeks early due to a rupturing placenta, I felt guilty for working so hard even after I was told it was a high risk pregnancy.

Guilt can be a cross from which you never escape, if you let it. But I guess that is the lesson, isn’t it? Keep just enough to push you towards being a better person without letting it consume you. After all, we attract that which we put the most energy, so why not attract positivity and light into our lives.

Now I am at peace and enjoying every moment with BOTH my children. I make time for just Katherine, just Phillip, and time together. That is not to say there aren’t times when I feel guilty for feeling the way I once did, but I have accepted it. More importantly, I have moved on.

Glimpse Into the Mind of a Toddler

In the same conversation lasting about 10 minutes, Katie offered these nuggets:

"We went on a bear hunt today."
"Really? Tell me more, honey."
"We went into the cave and it was dark. I saw the tiny sparkly eyes and I got so excited, Mom."
Mom?! Since when has she called me "Mom"? I have always been "Mommy" and "Mama". I do not know if I like "Mom" at this young age. I guess my little girl is growing up. I am - Sniff!- proud and -Sniff!- nostalgic at the same time. And we haven't even hit kindergarten yet! Peter better start buying stock in Kleenex (actually, I prefer the Puffs with Vicks) because I am going to be a big puddle by the time her wedding comes around, but I digress.
"We saw a nice little bear. She was so cute! She had pink fur, darker pink. She had a pink dress and we danced. I was beside myself." Now she is sounding like me.

A little while later...

"And we can pile into the car, Mom, and you can drive us to the beach. And we will make sand castles. I will put shells on my castle, but not a crab. Crabs have pinchers." She imitates a crab's claw with her hands.

It is fun to see her imagination grow even more. For instance, last night, one set of alphabet letters got arranged into a circle and she pretended it was a pond. She fished in her pond, but only caught pink fish. Daddy got the purple one, and Mommy got a sparkly fish. Katie could hear the ribbit of her purple frog and the quaking of her pink duck that asked for bread crumbs while perched on the side of her "pond".

Phillip thought this was amusing. He smiled and laughed and made loud (very loud) squeals throughout the experience. Did I mention he was l-o-u-d? He is certainly testing his voice these days!

This morning, during our drive to day care, Katie and I were talking as usual. This morning's topic? Birds that tweet, complete with "Katie Bird" tweeting. Phillip, however, interjected himself into the conversation at several times. We have no clue what he was babbling, but it was great and Mom played along. In fact, Phillip is the one who solved this morning's riddle. Katie just looked straight ahead. Sometimes she just does not know what to make of that baby bear sitting next to her...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Small Things

It's the little things...

  • The way Peter's eyes crease at the corners when he smiles.
  • Katie's nightly request, "Cover me, Mommy, with [Great] Grandma's blanket. It has her love."
  • Katie calling to Peter, "Tell me a Peter Rabbit story, Daddy," and giggling at the crazy adventures and wacky characters Peter creates just for her.
  • Phillip curled up in his crib, tightly hugging his little blue teddy bear that Aunt Lynn gave him on the day he was born.
  • Katie sitting in her car seat with her sunglasses on (usually upside down).
  • Phillip's toothless smile stretched from ear to ear with genuine enthusiasm at seeing me.
  • Katie running into my arms each day, "Mommmmmmy!"
  • Peter reaching to hold my hand at an unexpected moment.
  • The imagination of a child.
  • Katie reading Phillip a story while he gets his nebulizer treatment, and Phillip smiling at her the whole time.

What tugs at your heart strings?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Baby Bear

Phillip is growing...and growing...and growing.  Like a wee-uh-Reed!  While we are still on the low end of the growth charts, he is growing.

However, he is sick yet again.  This is the cold season that just won't quit.  At least this time, we were able to avoid another hospital visit.  Yes, day care is not helping the situation, but it is a very clean place compared to other locations I have seen.  And, like the doctor said, Phillip is actually quickly building a strong immunity.  There is the silver lining, I suppose.

At the same time, it is so hard to keep up with all these different nebulizer medications.  I feel like a chemist at times!  Mix this; don't mix that; wait so many minutes before administration.

Our little man is all smiles, though.  And boy, what a smile it is!  It perfectly compliments his big, round, blue eyes.  I am so happy that he is happy baby.  How blessed are we to have Katherine and Phillip!

Tomorrow is picture day at the center, so once we have the photos, we will post them.  Katie has long since decided on her outfit as well as what Phillip ought to wear.  She is quite cute about it.  Even though she would deny it if you asked, you can tell that she thinks of Phillip as her "baby bear".

Toddler Talk

I cannot believe Katie is going to be 3 in a couple of weeks. Like last year, she is full of requests. Purple is out. Pink is in. Pink party hats, pink balloons, pink cake in the shape of a castle with pink roses and pink princesses and pink sparkles (Oh yeah, I am going to have fun creating that masterpiece for her!), and everyone is to wear pink that day, including Daddy. Being the animal lover, she would like a beaver, a cat, and another dog as presents. Yup. You heard correctly.

"I want a beaver. A nice beaver, not a mean one."
"Katie, honey, I do not think you will get a beaver. They tend to cause floods."
"He will live in a lodge in our pond, Mommy. He will use him teeth to chop down trees."
"Yes, and then his lodge will make our back yard into a big, wet mess."
"Grandpa likes to chop wood. The beaver chops trees. The beaver will be Grandpa's helper."
"Nice thought, honey, but I don't think Grandpa would like a beaver. Grandpa is the only one who does wood."
"Oh. Sorry, Mommy. I want a cat."
"A nice cat, not a mean cat like Aunt Lynn's, but a nice cat. What will I name my cat, Mommy?"
"I don't know, Katie. You have to pick out the name once you see the kitty. But, I do not think Daddy will like a cat around the house."
"It will be a nice cat. Not a mean one; a nice one."
"I hear you."
"I want a dog."
"Katie, you have a dog. Tucker. Remember?"
"Yes, but I want another dog, too."

And so the conversation goes. I suppose my father is laughing from the spirit world. I used to adopt any stray animal I found (cats, a wood duck) and feed the animals -from my hands, no less!- as in raccoons, chickadees, and so on. Once when I was just a little bit older than Katie, Dad asked me what I wanted for a pet. Being an avid viewer of Wild Kingdom, I said a lion. Not just any lion, mind you.  One with the fullest mane ever and a roar so loud that it rivals any sonic boom!  Dad tried to explain why we could not have a lion in Redding, but after my arguing with him, he got fed up and said sternly, "Enough already! Let me know when you have decided on something other than a lion." Well, time passed. I came back and said, "Daddy, I know what I would like." "What, honey?" "A kangaroo." 

I got a cat.
So, here it is folks. We have finally started a blog. It is an experiment of sorts, but we hope it helps streamline our time. As much as we love to email, to phone, to Skype, to send notes through the post, life with little ones has sapped our energies. And so, without further ado, we present to you the Reed family blog.....a place to relax, catch your breath, and stay updated on the latest news in our lives. Feel free to comment, or not. Just come back often.