Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Dropping Like Flies...and back again

We've had sickness in the house the past 5 days or so. It all started about Thursday or Friday when Ben started to look a little green about the gills but refused to admit it until after the Pinewood Derby on Saturday morning. Once home from that, he felt free to collapse in an exhausted heap in his bed for the next 3 days. Betsy managed the same trick, saving all her most dramatic symptoms for after Saturday afternoon's birthday party. David waited until bedtime Saturday night to spike a 103 fever while Tad and I were out on a date to the theater and I was struggling with a ticklish throat (not a good place to find oneself with a need to clear the throat every 15 seconds). By Sunday morning I was bed bound along with Ben, Betsy, David and Nathan who just stayed home to avoid trouble for Tad in church. So much for my next installment on Orthodoxy...(also made me look like a bit of a poser after spending so much time complaining about how the Orthodox folks don't seem to make it to church on any regular schedule - ha! that'll teach me!)

The Thing seems to start with a cough or a bit of sore throat, then add in fever, major lethargy and, in some patients, muscle pain in the legs. John Michael spent Sunday night in a feverish heap on the sofa and by Monday Ben earned himself a trip to the doctor due to the fact that he was falling over every time he tried to stand up straight. I took Philip along for good measure because he was rolling around on the chair clutching his throat and rolling his eyes into the back of his head. He puts on a good show but I figured he'd be a good test case for a strep culture anyway. Our pediatrician deserves a special place in Heaven for putting up with our family. She accommodated me on the strep tests which were negative and assured me that most of the symptoms should resolve themselves shortly (including Ben's dizziness) except for the cough which we can expect to linger on for the next few weeks ....whoopie.

Fortunately, Ruth and Miriam seem to have avoided this round but Nathan and Miah spent the day acting rather out of sorts. Adora, meanwhile, who had been in denial and bed bound, landed in the ER tonight for her 4th round of severe tonsillitis since last month. She came home with steroids, narcotics and an antibiotic but they won't do any good - this thing will return again. I can feel it in my bones. As I write this, JT is settling in for the night after complaining of a sore throat and leg pain. And he just looks *tired*. I know the feeling...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Busy Day for Ben

Ben's had a busy day. I'm not sure just how much school he's gotten done but lots of other things got accomplished. At Christmas he spent some of his Christmas money on a cute little gingerbread house kit. He and Adora assembled it and it's been sitting on the dining room table ever since. The question over the past month has been what exactly do we do with it now? There is no way this Feingold family is going to consume that thing. The gingerbread seems to be made out of glue mixed with cardboard and all the brightly colored, pretoleum flavored candy...speaks for itself. So today Ben grabbed his equipment and made great sport out of Gingerbread House Smashing. The first blow came from a baseball while the remaining bits were taken care of, well, like this:I love JM's and David's contributions here. I think they were the sound effects guys. As you can see, we don't take kindly to artificial colors and flavors 'round these here parts...

The demolition complete, Ben moved on to something much more productive. Tomorrow marks his first ever pinewood derby and he's been diligently working on his car. Tonight he has the official weigh-in so it needed to be completed. It was all done except for adding on weights and the official number. This is one sleek looking vehicle and I think he's done a smashing job:

This Sums it up

Yesterday's Hi and Lois sort of sums up Life With David these days. The week the girls and JM were off at Grammy's we confiscated all of David's diapers and he ran around butt naked for a week. He's now graduated to being allowed underpants and pants and even socks on most days. Last weekend he got some new boxers (seems to prefer those - maybe his big brother's influence?) and some classic tighties sporting Nemo and the Wiggles. He's off and running and, as he likes to inform us now on a regular basis, he has joined the ranks of "big" kids.

What a Hoot!

My cyberfriend and fellow homeschooling Christian Feingolder, Susan, posted this on her blog today. I just love the way this woman thinks!! (Of course it's sorta cool that she has a JT too!)


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

New Map

I'm trying out the map from MapLoco now. I've swapped it out for the one that was at the top because it gives more details about the location of visitors. Now if you click on the map you can see where your IP address is reading from with a corresponding pin on the map. Thanks to Luci's Mama for the idea! The old one is still there on the sidebar. I just didn't want to delete it and give up India, Germany, France, Hawaii and the Phillipines - call me vain...or just plain desperate for somebody to read this thing.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


It's been snowing for about 7 hours now - good, wet snow that comes down in big and little as Philip so astutely pointed out and clings to everything. We have our big, plastic bowl out collecting enough to make snow ice cream for everyone later. I don't think they actually like snow ice cream but they sure do like the idea of it. It's so pretty but I really hate snow. The only who seems to hate it as much as I do is Adora. Snow means putting on
  • 10 pairs of mittens and gloves (I can't find my miiiiiten? Has anyone seen my hat? )
  • 10 pairs of boots (I can't get my booot oooon! Those are on the wrong feet! Where is my other boooooot?!)
  • 1o winter coats to zip up (Why are you outside without your coat?! My zipper is stuuuuuck! I can't get my zipper with my miiiiiitens ooooon!)
And then all those getting wet and cold and dumped on the laundry room floor....Ick...
It is pretty, though, before all those little feet trample in it and the four footed critters, well....you know....
Of course everyone has to eat it.....
Which seems to work better without the mittens on....
And shovel it.....
Uh, huh, that's helpful
And sled in it...
Even when there is no hill

Or just plain enjoy the view through the tassels of a silly hat.

Defining Terms

When Betsy was about JM's age she came up with this brilliant idea of what to call the various laundry machines. Lately she's been passing her knowledge on to her little brothers.



Cold Feet

I told Grace's mom about JM's special gift he's saving for her and she sent this email back:

That boy is just too cute! I told Grace this morning about his thoughtfulness & she said, "Mom, That is really nice, but how are you so sure he is my type of Guy?"

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Third Commandment

Noah has a bit of a speech delay. At 2 years and some months, he still only has a vocabulary of about 5 words that we can understand. There are several more in the works but those still fall under the "if we only could break the code" category and so, until we do break the code, we're stuck with the same 5 words. Unfortunately the most commonly pronounced word is Mommy which he says ad nauseum. Our conversations often go like this:




Yes Noah?

ahaheeea doo da?

Um, I don't know.





Yes, Noah?

ahaheeeea doodoo da?

Golly, Noah. I just don't know.




Noah, go play.





My name's not Mommy, it's Fred. I'm not answering to Mommy.





Noah, please go play unless you really have something to say to me...

Mommy? aheeedadoodoo da

I just don't know how to answer that. Please go play.

He goes and plays. ....for a full 45 seconds....





Yes Noah?

eeadidida cup?

Cup? You want your cup?


Yes please?

es peese.

Oh Good! Cup I can do. Here is the cup.

Thank you (yes, for some reason this is perfectly articulated)

Put it on the table when you're done.

He carries it into the living room and dumps it on the sofa.




Ah! Noah! What?!




Noah, I'm Fred, remember? Now go play!




And so it continues for the remainder of the morning until I can feed him lunch, put him down for a nap and give my ears a break.

I now understand the reasoning behind the third commandment. I'm sure God puts up with this innumerable times in a day.

Oh my God!

Yes, did you call me?

Oh my God!

Yes? I'm right here. What can I do for you?

Oh my God!

Um, do you have something to say or shall I move on to the next person?

Oh God!

Ok, that's it. I'm now officially ignoring you.

Jesus Christ!

Um, this trick didn't work on my dad, it's probably not going to work on me either.

Jesus Christ!

Yes? I'm perfectly willing to wait around if you have something you need to discuss.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

Ok, that's it buddy. Leave my mom out of this!

Oh my God!


Oh my God!

Right here, how can I help you?

Oh my God!

and so it continues except He has many more charges doing this than I do and they don't all nap at the same time. I suppose when I consider my own circumstances it's a small cross to bear compared to how much God has to put up with this but I still feel justified in coming up with the same response after about 300 repetitions of this routine.

Mommy. Mommy. Mommy. Mommy.


Mommy. Mommy. Mommy.

Noah, stop taking my name in vain!

Monday, January 14, 2008

More Plans for the Future

JM, Betsy and Miriam just returned home last evening after almost two weeks with Grammy and Tata. Now Grammy has this fun habit of collecting every prayer card, scapular, plastic rosary and saint medal she gets from various religious groups looking for money and passing them on to the grandchildren. So I wasn't surprised this morning when JM was sitting on the steps with what looked like a prayer card and a saint medal.

Hey Mom, look!

He handed it to me and it was indeed a holy card with a picture of St. Anthony and the Christ Child and a medal attached to a silver chain.

Oh, John, that's nice. Did Grammy give that to you?

Uh huh.

What are you going to do with it?

More of the My Mom is the Stupidest Woman in the World eye rolling trick before he condescended to tell me

I'm going to give it to Grace when I'm ready to marry her.

I turned it over to notice St Anthony touted as the patron saint of Miracles. So, not only is JM planning out the great Food Store Venture Adventure, but once he earns all his money, he has a very special family heirloom to pass on to Grace and their children... I'm beginning to wonder if poor John and Grace aren't going to be scarred for life by our little betrothal charade...naaaaahhh...JM has it all in hand.

New Blog, New Beginnings

A little bit ago I started a new blog. I call it Thoughts from the Other Side of the Mountain. I like to keep this blog mostly focused on our family fun - it's the one the kids read and the relatives come to when they want to find out what we're up to but I was feeling the need to express some of the realities of raising a large family and raising kids with special needs. I can't count the number of times people have said, "I don't know how you do it", "you must have a lot of patience", or worse "really? She/he looks so normal and is doing so well". We have some challenges to meet here on a daily basis that most people cannot fathom. They sometimes feel like climbing mountains and this blog will let you be a fly on the wall - even on the really bad days.

In addition to having a place to vent my daily frustrations, I wanted to share with the world the adventure upon which we are embarking in our spiritual lives. This afternoon Tad requested a release from his vows to the priesthood and the acceptance of our resignation from the CEC. We've been headed down this path for a couple of years now and have come to the realization that we can no longer support the mission of the ICCEC. So where do we go from here? Well, looks like Orthodox. The orthodox church is a strange new world and we are going to be slowly taking it in as the months unfold. I wanted to share that journey as well. So, come on in and enjoy the ride with me! You can get to the other side of the mountain by clicking on my personal profile to the right here and following the link.

For those of you who may be feeling left out, left behind, abandoned, angry or just saddened, please know that we love you very much, will continue to love you and welcome your correspondence. We are sorry to lose your regular fellowship at church but welcome continued fellowship. We apologize if we have hurt feelings and welcome the opportunity to seek out your forgiveness. Life here is busy and hard and I have always had trouble picking up the phone so don't take our silence as intentional please. Just give us a call, drop us an email or stop by some evening. I hope that those who have already taken the opportunity to do so have been met with open and sincere hearts. We do truly love you and cherish your friendship.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


There's nothing like the sense of accomplishment that accompanies a hard day's cleaning. Without a before picture of the play room there really isn't much to impress but trust me this is a big improvement. I hauled out 2 full trashbags, 3 full bags of toys and books for the Toy Project and put all the games, puzzles and building materials in closets. They will now be closely monitored and brought out one at a time. Now Pickles and I are putting our exhausted bodies to bed. (Oh, by the way, thanks to all the neighbors who occupied the kids while I got this accomplished!)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Happy Birthday JT!

JT's is always our first birthday of the new year - and our last for several months until Dad's in May. Since he turned 11, no party, but we did have some fun with him anyway. He decided he wanted to have lasagna for dinner so I made a huge pan of sauceless lasagna for our stage 1 Feingolders (including JT) and a smaller pan of a more traditional fare. It turned out quite tasty and when pressed for a veggie he chose creamed spinach. (Now this always shocks me that my children all *choose* to eat spinach. I never even tasted spinach until the first time I served it to Ruth in order to boost her iron intake. I have 2 distinct memories of Mom serving this to Dad and to no one else, passing it off with a quick, "You don't even want to try it. I just made it because your father likes it." Huh?! This is the only food I remember EVER not being forced upon us as in "you have to eat at least two bites or you go to bed with no supper" - currently a favorite line of my own with my children, by the way.)

For dessert he requested an ice cream cake. Adora made a chocolate layer cake which I cut apart, layered with mint chocolate chip ice cream, iced with homemade whipped cream and dumped chocolate Sprinkelz on the sides.
As an added bonus, just as we were about to sit down to eat, JT's godparents - Rick and Tammy - showed up at our door. They had a gift for JT and, after being convinced to put their frozen groceries in our freezer, agreed to stick around for dinner with the Birthday Boy. What fun - almost like a real party!

We ate dinner and JT even agreed to donning the special Birthday Boy party hat - but only long enough for us to sing Happy Birthday and eat cake.

After cake we moved to the living room where a giant wrapped box sat on the table, topped with 2 smaller ones. David presented the first gift on behalf of himself, JM (who is in Ohio with Grammy this week) and Noah. It was a bag of Mint Milanos - JT's favorite cookies. Ruth got to present and then promptly covet the girl gift (since Betsy and Miriam are also in Ohio) - a box of marshmallows - Feingold stage 1, no corn syrup and half of them were pink!

Then on to the big box. Now, Ben and Philip had a computer game ordered for him which had not yet arrived, as did his dad and I. So, to mix things up and make it more fun, Adora and Ben spent an hour wrapping box inside of box inside of box. JT opened the first box and was quite surprised to find...another box which, when unwrapped revealed that he had received a box of diapers? Nope, just another box which, when unwrapped revealed that he had received a box of his favorite cereal? Nope, just another box which, when unwrapped revealed that he had received a box of baby gummies? Nope, just another box which, when unwrapped contained two little pieces of paper. One from Mom and Dad with a small picture of Madden 08 on it and one from Philip and Ben with a teeny picture of FIFA 07. JT seemed to enjoy our little charade but at the end of it all, could only look at me and wonder......why? To which my only response was, "Hey, without a party I needed something to put in my blog, son!"

Our Dirty Little Secret

I make my own vanilla extract.

There, it's out - our family's dirty little secret.

You see, in order to make my own vanilla extract, I have to buy vodka...which involves going into liquor stores. I have been seen, with anywhere from 1- 10 kids in tow, headed into liquor stores all over town. I buy the vodka (preferably imported), hit up ebay for quality vanilla beans then combine the two and allow to sit in my dark pantry for a couple of months.

For awhile my vanilla extract supply was dwindling at an alarming rate and I was beginning to think we had a budding alcoholic in the family until I was informed that the girls had been helping themselves to vanilla milk every morning. I'm not sure how much vodka-laced vanilla was going in that milk but it may explain their inability to articulate themselves clearly much before 10:30 in the morning (of course mental retardation could explain that as well...)

Last night Ben and I were out on some errands. We headed into a grocery store I don't usual frequent and found a convenient liquor store in close proximity so I gleefully dragged Ben into the store. Our conversation went something like this:

Oooh Ben! A liquor store! Let's go get some vodka!

Um, ok.

Oooh Ben! Look! They have Russian vodka! We haven't had Russian vodka in a while! Oh, wow, they have a much bigger selection of vodka than the other liquor stores.

Mom, you better not get that big bottle.

Yeah, we only need this smaller one.

Yeah, Betsy and Ruth might drink it all for breakfast.

We checked out and I now had a dinstinctly bottle-shaped brown paper bag. I shoved it into my purse as we non-chalantly re-entered the grocery store.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Pro Life Tragedy

Our pro-life activities aren't on the front lines but we are in the trenches here - adopting the unadoptable and taking in the moms who choose life and then have no place to go. Sometimes I envy the ones on the front lines - the ones who make a direct life and death difference on a daily basis but the cost is high. I received this article and had to pass it on. It's a shame that our press won't ever give this side of the story but I can do my part and post it here...

By Michael Whitcraft

At 6:30 am on Saturday, December 22, while most were snug in bed, resting up for Christmas activities, veteran pro-lifer EdSnell was arriving at Hillcrest Abortion Center, in Harrisburg,Pennsylvania. He had come with two other activists to persuade women entering the clinic not to abort their pre-born children.The group customarily meets at the clinic and has saved many lives. In fact, they have been so effective, that the clinic erected a 7-foot privacy fence to cut off all communication between the women and the pro-lifers. However, their efforts were scuttled, when the activists began bringing ladders so they could speak over the fence.

Mr. Snell, age 69, preferred to stand on a more solid foundation,so he constructed a plywood platform on the roof of his car to elevate him above the fence."This platform gives him a real steady base and a commanding view," said fellow activist and eyewitness John McTernan.

As Edstood on his platform that morning, a man and woman exited the parking lot and proceeded towards that door of the abortion mill.When Mr. Snell tried to counsel the woman, his words were cut short when the man became furious, jumped the fence and, in the words of Mr. McTernan, "leaped on the vehicle with Ed and catapulted him off of the vehicle and onto the ground." Mr. Snell hit his back and head on the pavement and was knocked unconscious. His medical report outlines the extent of his injuries: "multiple trauma, right subarachnoid hemorrhage (bleeding in the area between the brain and the tissues that cover the brain),compression fractures of four vertebrae (T3, T4, T5 and T10),right scapula fracture and fracture of the fourth and fifth ribs." Before doctors were able to stop the bleeding in his head, they even feared Mr. Snell would die.

When asked on the phone about the vicious attack, the receptionist at Hillcrest Abortion Clinic refused to give a recorded statement and angrily shouted: "He got what he deserved! He earned what he got!" She then hung up the phone. Immediately after the attack, Mr. McTernan ran over to Ed and was frightened to see that he was unconscious and breathing irregularly. He reported the attack to "911" and then shouted to the assailant: "You assaulted him and he is unconscious. " Agitated, the man replied: "I did not assault him, I just pushed him," with an aggressiveness that made Mr. McTernan fearful for his own safety.

Ed was taken away in an ambulance and three police officers arrived to investigate. They went into the clinic, where the assailant was waiting. After a few moments, the assailant and his companion left the clinic freely, got into their car and drove away. (parentheses mine - notice they probably didn't take the time for an abortion - perhaps this incident saved a baby's life?! ) Shocked, Mr. McTernan shouted to the police: "What are you doing? That's him! That's the assailant!"One cop replied: "It is none of your business!"Mr. McTernan: "I am making it my business, Ed Snell is my good friend!" The officer then threatened to arrest Mr. McTernan for interfering with a criminal investigation. Mr. Mcternan replied: "Go ahead and arrest me, I am not afraid. I want to know why the assailant walked away from this scene where an elderly man was left unconscious. We have excellent attorneys and we will sue you if you do not do your job." She angrily responded: "Don't threaten me or I will arrest you!" She then returned to the police car and drove away.

At the time this article was written, the Harrisburg Police Department had not returned a phone call requesting a statement on the incident. Once the extent of Mr. Snell's injuries were discovered, the assailant was arrested. Nevertheless, as Mr. McTernan put it: "I cannot imagine me [as a pro-lifer], striking someone connected with Hillcrest [Abortion Center], knocking them unconscious, the police coming, the injured person being taken away in an ambulance and the police letting me go. There is something wrong with that."

There is also something wrong with the lack of media coverage of the incident. At the time this article was written, a google search about the attack returned no results. Ed returned home just in time to celebrate Christmas with his family. He was released from the hospital on Christmas Eve, just a couple of hours before Bishop Kevin Rhodes of Harrisburg arrived to pay him a visit. Doctors expect him to make a full recovery, although it will take a long time. "Ed is very sore," said Mrs. Snell in a telephone interview, "he is black and blue and the doctor said that it will be a full eight weeks before his bones heal completely." Mrs. Snell is thankful for the prayers that Ed has received and hopes these will continue. She feels confident that, supported by these prayers, he will recover well.

As for Mr. Snell, he is not yet accepting telephone calls, but feels humbled by all the prayers and attention he has received. A man of faith, he feels called to his work and remains undaunted. As Mrs. Snell aptly put it: "I know that the Devil is busy and that he does not like the work that Ed does, but if that is the case, then Ed is doing the right job." Please keep Mr. and Mrs. Snell in your prayers and, due to the lack of press coverage, please email this article to all your friends."

It's all Fun and Feasting 'Til Someone Mentions the Head

I think I have my culprit. Nathan has a way of spreading our personal articles about the house. I've found some unmentionables in some pretty unmentionable places and I'm certain *I* didn't put them there! I once lost my shoe for 3 days and then found it in the basement in the bottom of the laundry basket. Two days ago my glasses were in the CD player and playing hide and seek with holy water bottles seems to be his favorite activity. So I'm guessing little Mr. Nate had something to do with Joseph's missing cranium.

We sat him down to lunch today and he was very merrily chowing down on his chicken leg and gulping down his milk until....

I mentioned the HEAD. All I said was, "Nate, what did you do to Joe?" and suddenly his whole countenance changed, he turned from me and wailed in indignation. Guilty party? I think so. Now if only we can get him to talk...

Heads are Rolling...

Imagine my shock this morning to sit down to my morning meditation and find this:I often use this little statue as a means of conveying my soul out of my current circumstances and inward towards some spiritual reflection. This morning it seemed all I could reflect upon was John the Baptist for some reason....The really eerie thing is that the head is nowhere to be found. I have my suspicions about which miscreant did this and I'll be confronting him later....we shall see how it goes....Hopefully if we can just locate the head, the statue can be repaired. I'll probably find it in my sock drawer in another year or three...

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Reserve That Date!

The Extreme Makeover: Home Edition episode featuring the Luther family will supposedly be aired on January 20th. Reserve the date and watch for some of our progeny on the screen! Anyone have the ability to record this to DVD?