Tag Archives: twins

Runaway baby Jesus

My 5th grade CCD class has been busy since the Thanksgiving break preparing for our Christmas pageant. My class provides the readers for a fairly simple production. They read the Christmas story, while the third grade class acts out the drama, dressed as Mary, Joseph, shepherds, and so on. We have had three practices, and so far, while it won’t be a Broadway production, it won’t be a fiasco either. But it did come close.

Initially, one of the co-teachers volunteered her one-year old son to play the role of the baby Jesus. This was not a great idea. Young Brady was entirely too much into crawling and pulling himself up on anything that was handy. One of the third-graders (who is playing Mary) is disabled and has a motorized wheelchair. Brady pulled himself up onto the front of the chair and grabbed onto the control knobs. The chair took off with Brady hanging on for dear life.

It was very exciting.

For about five feet.

Until they ran into a pew.

Fortunately Brady was not hurt, which is what made the incident hilarious. In any case, the child has been cut from the pageant team in favor of a younger, more docile child. I think Brady was disappointed. If he could talk, I think he wanted to say, “That was fun!  Let’s do it again.”

The fifth grade reader team.

The fifth grade reader team.

The big show will be at 4 pm Mass on Christmas Eve. Looking forward to it.

While we are on a Christmas theme, our friends Sam and Beth stopped by the other day with our “adopted grandchildren” Helen and Brittany. Mrs. Poolman and I got them each an animal-theme throw-blanket. One was a frog and the other a monkey. Too cute!

The monkey and frog.

The monkey and frog.

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A rainy, but party weekend.

Just checkin’ in after a busy, but not particularly noteworthy weekend. A few short thoughts…

Mrs. Poolman and I agreed we really should not have pool parties on both days of a two-day weekend. It’s fun, but between the initial clean-up prep for company, entertaining and then the post-gathering clean-up, nothing else gets done and we are pooped. We need to balance things out.

Our friends Lynn and Sam brought their twins (Helen and Brittany, 20 month-old twins) over on Saturday.  A few other friends heard about it and came over too. The cloudy, rainy weather we’ve had for the past two weeks has kept the pool temperature in the low 80s. That’s August-warm for the northeast, but it is ice-bath cold for some thin-blooded Southerners. The girls were perfectly happy to entertain themselves with some sidewalk chalk. I had to blow-out to read at 5:30 mass, but most of the group was still there when I returned.

One of our friends did bring a couple of frozen pizzas over, so that took care of Saturday dinner.

Mrs. P and I watched the second segment of the Swedish version of the Millenium series “The Girl Who Played with Fire” on DVD Saturday night. Actually, I should say that I watched it. Mrs. P fell asleep sitting up before the last opening credits were finished.  Like the first movie in the series, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” I really liked it. The movies follow the books very closely. The actors, especially Noomi Raspace who plays Lisbeth Salandar, are excellent.  Aside from having the dialogue in English, I’m not sure how the next American production (Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara) can do better.

One important note – there are great films for adults, but they are not for children. They are rated “R”. Believe them.

We got up on Sunday and started the clean-up in prep for our second “party” of the weekend. We had long-planned an end-of-the-year party for my fellow CCD teachers. I started the yard and pool clean-up around 10 am and finished up everything I had to do just in time to get a shower in advance of our 3 pm start-time. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate very well. It was cloudy and drizzly off and on, and I think that scared away some of the families from a pool party. As it was, the eight or ten people who came enjoyed themselves, and the kids never got out of the water.

We had a ton of hamburgers and hot dogs left over. Mrs. P called our children and told them there is a free meal available for dinner tonight at our house.

We’re on a roll this week

One of my brother’s and my fun summer activities when we were growing up was picking black rasberries or blackberries.  Actually, what we really liked was eating the pies and sundaes that were the result of our harvest.

During most of our childhood, our family lived in a hill-top neighborhood, in suburban Wheeling, West Virginia.  The area was called Bethlehem.  Our neighborhood consisted of a single road that winded up a wooded hillside from the main highway and then threaded itself along the ridge of a series of tall hills. We called them “mountains” but I’m not sure that was totally accurate. While some of the surrounding countryside was steep and heavily wooded, there were large areas of grassy fields, probably land cleared for old farms. Many of those fields were full of raspberry and blackberry bushes.

We would set out with our bowls and pitchers in search of the ripe berries. The black rasberries ripened in June. The larger-kernel blackberries didn’t sweeten until mid-July.

On a good day we would return home with a gallon or more of berries, more than my mother could ever hope to use.

All of that is just background to explain my impulse-purchase of a quart of blackberries at the produce stand last week. On Sunday, we had some friends over to swim, so I tried my hand a pie. It didn’t turn out too bad although I seriously under estimated the amount of corn starch needed. Even cool, it was still fairly “runny.” So I served it in bowls with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  I didn’t hear any complaints.

I’ll hold off posting a recipe until I try it again and get a better handle on the amount of thickener needed. Stay tuned.

Our Sunday guests included our friends Sam and Lynn and their now 11-month old twin daughters, Helen and Brittany. The girls are very even tempered, playful and, as you can see from the pictures, extremely cute.

Brittany

Helen

We had a great time.

Is it summer yet?

It was another quiet weekend around Casa Poolman.

Saturday was a little rainy, which quashed our plans to do yard work. We ran a few errands and puttered around the house. We planned a “double feature” of DVD watching in the afternoon and evening. However, our friend, Susan, called saying she was bored and was looking for playmates. We invited her to join us for dinner. So we spent the evening “visiting” rather than watching movies.

We had a few friends over for an “open pool” on Sunday afternoon. The weather cooled down a little and so did the pool water, so there was not a lot of splashing around — more sitting around the deck drinking beer.

Our friends Steven and Liz dropped by with their two nine-month old twin daughters. The girls were great. They were very happy to sit with and socialize with whoever was holding them at the time. Too cute!

Evelyn

Bridget

Boogers, babies and scarey nuns

It’s been awhile since my last post, so I guess I’d better get to it.

It wasn’t such a great year for my Florida Gator football team, but my pro team, the “Stillers” are making up for it. Ya gotta love the way they manhandled the Jets in the first half last night. Too bad they cruised in the second half and let the Jet’s make it a close game. There were many highlights of the game, but the most amazing clip was a lowlight. Here is Jets QB Marc Sanchez with back up QB Mark Brunnell.

That’s classy!

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Mrs. Poolman called me from her work last Friday and asked me if we had any plans for that evening. Our friend Liz’s husband needed to be out at a work function and she was looking for help with their five-month old twin daughters. Apparently the evening is their grumpy time and it’s a two-person job to get them settled for bed. I went over after work and Mrs. P joined us when she got off. The girls are too cute! We had a fun time.

*    *    *    *

I just finished a book that is very non-typical for me – “An American Childhood” by Annie Dillard. It was recommended to me by my sister-in-law. It is a non-fiction “memoir” of the author’s childhood. In truth, the only thing I found interesting was the setting, the Point Breeze-Frick Park section of Pittsburgh. I’m not that familiar with that neighborhood, but I knew my Dad grew up near there. When I told him about it, I asked if he was familiar with St. Bedes school, which was on the same block as the author’s first home. It turned out that Dad actually went to St. Bedes, although about 20 years earlier than the time the author described.

I related one amusing scene in the book where the author describes being terrified of the St. Bedes’ nuns when she saw them on the street in their old-style black habits. My dad’s comment:

“I knew those nuns well, and they terrified me too!”

‘Why don’t I have a mother?’

Last week it was same-sex-marriages. This week it is same-sex-parents.

I heard on NPR this morning that actor Neal Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser) and his partner have gotten together with a surrogate mother to produce a set of twins (who are yet to be born.)

Neal Patrick Harris (l) and partner David Burtka

I’m not a homophobe. I really couldn’t care less what someone does in the privacy of their bedroom, so long as they aren’t hurting someone else. That’s the problem I have with this trend of gay and lesbian couples having children. There is potential harm.

I believe both mothers and fathers matter to children. Children absorb and learn different things from the different genders. In this case, why would you go through an incredible amount of effort and expense to create a child who will not have a mother? Did your mother not play an important part in your life? Why would you deny your child the benefit of having both a mother and a father?

The nephew of some of our friends went through the same process about a year ago. The two guys ended up with twin girls. While I’m sure these two guys will love and care for their daughters to the maximum extent of which they are capable, but they are limited biologically in what they can provide. Neither is female. The two girls will be raised without a mother or mother-figure. How will that affect the girls? I don’t know, but it can’t be ideal.

It seems like an incredible act of self indulgence. The same-sex parents get a baby to play with, but the child is the one who is missing one parent.

Of course, in today’s climate of “starter marriages,” “no-fault pregnancies” and high rates of divorce, missing parents are all too common with “straight” families.  The difference is that, usually, the parents do not plan to make it that way from the outset.

I feel the same about single women who elect to have a baby without benefit of a functioning father?  I don’t understand the benefit to the child of not having a father.  I guess some mothers really think you are going to be so good as a parent that they can fill both roles. Some of the time, and maybe even most of the time, many parents I know feel they stretching their abilities to handle one job, let alone two.

It may sound contradictory, but I don’t have any problem with gays or lesbians adopting children. Why? Because usually they are improving the lot of a child. By adopting, they are providing a child with a set of parents. While a male-female set of parents would be ideal, same-sex parents are better than no parents at all.

The question is simply this: In the grand scheme of things, is a would-be parent’s desire to have a child of greater importance than that child’s need for both a mother and a father? It’s something to think about.

Ironically, Harris is also the star of the CBS sitcom, “How I Met Your Mother.” That is one story he won’t have to tell his real-life kids.