Friday, September 26, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Just wanted to post some pictures of Zach's first soccer game this season - his new team is called "The Blitz." I didn't take these photos, Zach had asked me if I would leave my camera at home (apparently it made him upset ??) - another mom took these.
He scored two goals this game, and 5 goals in his second game. Not that we're keeping score or anything, this is afterall, just a fun league where they practice and learn to play! :)
Click this link here for a slideshow. He looks like he is working so hard ... he really does try - most of the time! :) Enjoy:
Monday, September 22, 2008
This post is dedicated to Zach ... who officially is 4 years old! (Well, not officially - he won't be until about 630 tonight) but here's a collection of photos from when he was born, through the current days.
Things are sure different today than that night I had you ... but one thing that will never, ever change is how much I love you! You are a royal terror most of the time (And don't worry..I'm looking forward to telling you all about it, I've already put the mother's curse in for my revenge) but I truly love you to pieces. You are the cutest thing and the things you say out of the clear blue make me melt inside! I don't know what I'd do with out you, buddy! I'm very proud of how good you're doing in school and soccer...you're an ALL STAR! Happy FOURTH birthday, Zachy! xoxoxoxoxoxox
Love you lots...
If you're having trouble viewing, go to: www.kodakgallery.com/tramontana
Saturday, September 20, 2008
The JTA asked to talk to Scully about why he chose to include the Pegler quote, if only anonymously attributed. In the meantime, the McCain camp says it’s “unbelievably ridiculous” to think the quote suggests Palin has any sympathy for Pegler’s views, racist or otherwise. (We don’t disagree, but we still think it would be interesting to understand the thinking behind quoting a person with that kind of baggage). "Frankly, I would not be surprised to learn that a lot of people involved in American politics 50 years ago were anti-Semitic,” a spokesman told JTA. (www.jta.org)
I also read this article, which furthers my voting decisions...and I hope gives you some more information:
Now that she's John McCain's vice presidential candidate, Palin's abortion policy (among others) is undergoing renewed scrutiny. The Alaska Republican has long declared herself pro-life. And her credentials on the topic make her the belle of the ball among religious conservatives. But Democrats and abortion rights advocates say her stance, specifically her unwillingness to grant her own child a choice to end a pregnancy induced by rape, is drastically at odds with public opinion -- even among many Republicans.
"This is absolutely outside the mainstream. Even in South Dakota they rejected [outlawing abortion in cases of rape] in '06 because it has gone too far and everyone can identify that in a case of rape or incest a woman should have the chance to make the decision with their family or doctor," said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro Choice America. "Women voters are going to reject both her and John McCain, and I think we see it specifically because we reach out to Republicans and independent pro-choice women. They live in the suburbs and exurbs. They are very much part of the mainstream America. And woman in general will reject that ticket."
Palin makes no secret of her abortion views. A member of the group Feminists for Life, she told the Alaska Right to Life Board in 2002 that she "adamantly supported our cause since I first understood, as a child, the atrocity of abortion." In an Eagle Forum Alaska questionnaire filled out during the 2006 gubernatorial race, Palin again stated that she is against abortion unless a doctor determined that a mother's life would end due to the pregnancy. "I believe that no matter what mistakes we make as a society," she wrote, "we cannot condone ending an Innocent's life."
But it's not just abortion policy that has Democrats up in arms over Palin. In that same 2006 questionnaire, the soon-to-be governor said she would fund abstinence-only education programs in schools. "The explicit sex-ed programs," she added, "will not find my support." The stance, which reflected the priorities of the GOP, nevertheless led to an incredulous editorial in the Juneau Empire.
While Palin's positions have drawn the ire and concern of the pro-choice and progressive community, they are largely -- save abortions in the case of rape -- in line with John McCain's own stances. The Senator is against federal funding of birth control and sex education. He has called for the overturning of Roe v. Wade and received a zero rating from NARAL. Once, aboard the Straight Talk Express, McCain was asked if he supported the use of contraception or President Bush's abstinence-only education program to stem the spreading of AIDS.
"After a long pause, he said, 'I think I support the president's policy.' Does he believe that contraceptives help stop the spread of HIV? After another long pause, he replied, "You've stumped me."
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Well he LOVES school.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Love the moon here
Not the best picture (focus-wise) but love the moon and how lit up everything is....
Looking up from the bottom
Looking down from the top (of the first level)
Looking up from the 2nd level to the 3rd level ...
Here's a couple videos we took of the Eiffel Tower - of the lights twinkling - this is just before it's getting ready to happen. Apparently, from what our tour guide told us, they turned the twinkling lights on for New Years of the millennium and they plan to leave them on until New Years of 2010. They go on (after dark) every hour for 10 minutes.
OH - ONE LAST THING BEFORE I FORGET!!!
Believe it or not, I've only shared JUST a FEW of the pictures (LOL) that we took in Europe. (Yeah, right.) If you want to see the whole 500 and something, just go to our KodakGallery, www.kodakgallery.com/tramontana (it's the first album). There are many wonderful photos, but just too many to put on our blog. They're not labeled, but they're in order of our trip (I basically just dumped them off the camera when we got home and onto the Kodak site.)
Ooops forgot two things I wanted to tell you!
First, the diet cokes. These cost 22.00 at an outdoor Italian cafe in Paris at lunchtime. 22.00 Euros. So that was like 30.000 American. Umm, yeah. For one "large" and one "medium" diet coke. With no ice, and no alcohol. Oh and no refills!! We loved Paris, but JEEZ, it was expensive...particularly restaurants. (The food was hardly more than the drinks, believe it or not! They make fabulous pizzas in Europe, everywhere we had pizza it was great.)
And the rainbow. If you read my first post after our return, you remember that our flight from Frankfurt, Germany to Philadelphia went off with no problems - which was amazing considering the problems we had GETTING to Germany, then the subsequent problems with our luggage being lost for 3 days. Remember that our flight from Philadelphia to Virginia was cancelled because of a massive storm? They actually shut the runway down for awhile and while we were in line waiting for a shuttle to HOWARD JOHNSONS (US Airways kindly put us up in a hotel because we'd been travelling for so long) - the rain stopped for awhile, the sun sort of poked through the clouds, and we see this rainbow. Yeah. I think I shed a tear or two over this rainbow and not ones of joy either - it was like a cruel joke, lol.....I just wanted to get home to see my kids.....and we couldn't .... and then there is a rainbow right after the storm. I HAD to get a picture.
Too dark, I know!
The stained glass in this cathedral....incredible.
Monday, September 15, 2008
I’ll start by saying that I know all politicians no matter what their “party” are mostly crooked – they change their statements time after time and when it suits them. They ALL do this, it’s nothing new, and if you think your candidate isn't wishy washy on some topics or hasn't flip-flopped … think again. They have. If you think they haven’t lied or told half truths to get them where they are….think again. Unfortunately, it’s the nature of their game – tell the American people what they want to hear.
I think as I am getting older politics in general, especially around election time, interest me more. I think it’s the hope and promise for a better future for our children, one where there is equal treatment for all, where women continue to have the right to choose, where everyone has the opportunity to have good health care and can get a good education. I am not as interested about the taxes. I know I should be…but either candidate is going to raise our taxes, it's a fact. We have to know that by now. (Otherwise how are they going to fund all these wonderful programs they keep telling us about?) I am more interested in seeing what our presidential candidates – and their “teams” can do for our planet and becoming less dependent on foreign oil so that we don’t have to live in as much fear that when the gas price hits a certain dollar amount how are we going to afford to get to work?
Prior to McCain picking Sarah Palin, I was more “on the fence” with who to vote for. I've always kind of liked McCain, even though he’s a hot-head, he’s always spoken his mind, something I respect. However, since choosing the Palin, my decision is easy. Obama. No question about it. I know that Palin is only a VP contender and not our President, but McCain chose her with the thought in the back of his mind that she would be running this country should anything happen to him. I believe that Palin is a hypocrite (hiding her pregnancy from her constituents until she was 8 1/2 months due), I believe that she is immorally dishonest – she couldn't tell her own kids that she was having a baby with downs syndrome – at least to prepare them – instead she chose to let them figure it out when they meet the baby for the first time. I realize that taking care of a DS infant is not that much different that taking care of a healthy infant and the additional care isn't needed until the child is a little older. However, I would imagine that her kids didn't know that, and that had to be horribly shocking, and even more heartbreaking to know that your mom knew but didn't tell you. And her reason for not telling her kids? “She wasn't sure how to tell them, because she was shocked and unsure if she was ready to embrace a child with special needs” is so pathetic … what are us Americans to think when she has some really horrible news to share with us? Is she going to tell us? Will she be holding something back, hiding it by the scarf she’s wearing? I find it cliche to see her up there talking about her policies when she has in her own state funded sexual education programs that included only abstinence … and yet her own teenage, unwed daughter is pregnant.
Let’s put a couple other things out on the table, since I know you Obama haters are already going there: (Smile)
On Obama voting “present”: He voted “present” 129 of 4000 votes – or roughly 3% of his votes while in the Illinois Senate. For anyone who is interested, a present vote is a third option to an up or down "yes" or "no" that is used with great frequency in the Illinois General Assembly. It has many varied and nuanced meanings that, in the context of the actual bills, border on boring. It's most important use is as a signal -- to the other party, to the governor, to the sponsor -- to show a willingness to compromise on the issue if not the exact bill, to show disapproval for one aspect of the bill, to question the constitutionality of the bill, to strengthen the bill. Basically to me – it says “let’s keep working on this” and it seems to be what he did when he didn't agree with some portion of the legislation but perhaps agreed with the bill in theory. As well, if you look at the facts, in many cases it seems he voted “present” as part of a group strategy. By the way – FYI - you can’t vote “present” in the US Senate. You can miss the vote, but present isn't an option. And to be clear – in this present term of congress, Senator Obama missed 45% of the votes, while his running mate Senator McCain missed 64%.
On EFCA – (The Employee Free Choice Act) This is something I totally and completely disagree with, and I hope that Obama and his team revisit this legislation. I don’t think many people even know what this is and/or how it will affect them. I believe that many union workers today (particularly teamsters – sorry if I’m offending anyone) use the union as a way to work less and get paid more. NOT ALL PEOPLE, but I've personally, first hand, witnessed people who think they are entitled to the same benefits and pay just because they are part of the “union” and not because of their work ethics. And unfortunately, the union backs this theory up. I understand the reason unions were formed, and think they had their place in history, I do not believe they hold many benefits for our society today – which I know is a major conflict to my democratic beliefs. However, with that said, since unions are unfortunately an everyday part of our society - we have to respect their place and try to work with them and those who organize. There are companies who threaten employees pay, benefits, employment …even physical harm should they consider organizing. That isn’t right either. EFCA will mean many changes to our workplace. Here are some other facts you might not know about this piece of legislation, this is very important:
Substantial labor unrest is a strong possibility when these first contracts expire as employers take a hard-line approach in renegotiation's to achieve the terms and conditions they wanted two years earlier. This could result in more strikes and have a destabilizing effect on the economy.
EFCA Makes Increased Litigation Inevitable.
Employees Will Make Uninformed Choices. It is ironic that a law named the “free choice act” is designed to inhibit employees from making an informed choice. Union organizers lawfully can promise employees higher wages, more paid time off, guaranteed pensions, and a host of other “goodies” to induce a signature. Who will give employees the facts about the collective bargaining process? Who will inform employees that union promises are not guarantees? What about employees who want to speak out against unionization?
EFCA Would Create An Atmosphere Of Peer Pressure … Or Worse. The NLRB’s secret ballot election process protects employees from any undue pressure at the crucial moment when they are being asked whether or not they want to be represented by a union. No one ever knows how the employee voted, unless s/he volunteers that information. EFCA would strip away the secrecy of the process and introduce the potential for high pressure tactics in its place. It would subject the employee to the urgings of professional union organizers and pro-union coworkers in an unregulated atmosphere.
Employees May Lose The Right To Vote On Their Labor Contract. Ignoring the “Employee” in its title, EFCA’s mandatory arbitration provision gives employees no opportunity to ratify their first contract. The union presents its case for the labor agreement it wants, and an arbitrator decides. The employee is left on the sidelines, even though the union expects him/her to be a dues-paying member.
Basically - a union would be considered organized if 50% of the workers just sign union cards. This could put pressure on the workers (who may not otherwise WANT to organize) to join the union for fear of retaliation. There are also a lot of other little things which makes EFCA something we don’t want, but it’s something Barack Obama strongly supports, and the Teamsters are one of his biggest supporters. Unfortunately, some version of EFCA is not something that John McCain doesn't reject so strongly that he wouldn't consider EFCA in conjunction with another bill – for example, he might sign EFCA in order to get an energy bill passed. So EFCA is a very real possibility with either candidate. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed on this one.
On Obama’s experience:
Everyone is commenting on Obama’s experience versus Palin’s experience. Let’s get some facts out:
B.A in political science from Columbia University, with a specialization in international relations
J.D. in Law from Harvard, graduated magna cum laude; President of the Harvard Law Review
12 years (92-04) teaching constitutional law
7 years State Senator: sponsored more than 800 bills
4 years Senator for Illinois, a state with 12.8 million people
Bachelor's in journalism from University of Idaho
4 years Wasilla City Council (8000 people)
6 years Wasilla mayor (8000 people) Left the town in a financial deficit.
1 year "Ethics Commissioner of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission"
20 months governor of a state with 660,000 people
I watched some of the RNC and DNC. I will tell you that I thought there was much more excitement and overall hope for change watching the DNC. Perhaps that is the eternal optimist in a democrat. There was just “joy” – people were clapping and crying and hugging with the prospect that maybe we’ll work towards a better and more peaceful future for our children. But with the RNC, what I saw was mostly anger … let’s win at all costs, let’s drill (remember “drill baby drill”),and we’re going to take down anyone who threatens us…we’re ready! I know the conventions are mostly rhetoric, but I’d GLADLY stand beside someone who was getting people as excited as Obama was – people who WANT to see change and at least TRY ... experience or no experience rather than the same old same old.
My husband told me something that a co-worker said to him – apparently there is something in the bible that indicates that a Muslim/person of middle-east descent will get into power and that will be the beginning of our end, and they believe that if Barack Obama gets into office, that this could be it. Well, if you look back at Barack’s family tree (check Wikipedia) – there is no middle eastern blood running through his veins. He is African and American. His father’s people were from Africa (Kenya) and his mother’s people were from Kansas. His father adopted the Muslim religion because of all his travels to the middle east and found it intriguing, as people have done with many religions. It just shows you, though, how when people hear something, they believe it without checking out the facts! They hear Obama – and they think: Muslim from the Middle East. Ha! How wrong they are!
And I’ll leave you with a couple more differences ON THE ISSUES:
NOTE: Palin is fiercely pro-life and supports overturn of Roe v. Wade and is anti-abortion in all cases EXCEPT in case of risk to mothers life, even in cases of rape and incest. This is probably the biggest sticking point for me on Palin – a woman’s right to choose – I’ve never been in this situation, and I’d never have an abortion, personal choice. However, I am pro-choice because I believe people have the right to make the decision that is the best for them. I believe they will have to live with that decision and will stand up someday and face their Maker with the decisions they’ve made and have to answer for them. I cannot imagine my daughter being brutally raped, and then being forced by our government to carry that baby to term, and my belief (wrong or right) is that our God would understand that. I totally get the "Pro-Life" movement and do not believe in abortion as a form of birth control. However, in cases of rape, incest, etc. - I do not see, and will refuse to understand where ANYONE has the right to tell someone what they have to do with their body, especially after that trauma. (I get that the baby didn't have a choice either.) I also find it extremely disturbing that one could be so pro-life on one hand and so pro-death penalty on the other hand. You don’t get to take away someone right to choose about their body in one aspect – especially if that choice was taken from them by being raped, and then decide for them in another aspect.
I just hope we can get past all the petty crap in the media today and focus on the real issues at hand. Lets focus on the hope that is real and the people (us) who know we can make a difference and elect Barack Obama!!! It's time for a change in our government and we can do it.
He looks so grown up and serious here...he's going to be twelve in another month (twelve! unreal!!)
Zach's got a lot to look up to as he gets bigger ... and I think he'll have fun as he gets older and gets to go out and visit and see Ben play in his games! Dad's going out in a couple weeks to see Ben play in a couple football games.....he's very excited!
Here's a picture of Ben playing hockey last year and also one of him after he won an award for being the "Scoring Machine" for his team. (How cool is that??)
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Sam took me to Cheesecake Factory tonight for my "official" birthday dinner - that's where I've been dying to go - and we had a great dinner, though we did sit at the bar because it was an hour wait ... already at 6:00! They don't know anything about portion control there - both of our entrees had two full chicken breasts and Sam's dessert could have fed 6 people easy, maybe more. Seriously, so much good food has to go to waste there. I had vanilla bean Cheesecake........yum. I was going to take a piece home for our nanny - they had this chocolate cake I know she would have loved but it would have been all melted by the time we were done with the movie. One thing however my delicious (and I mean YUMMY) martinis did NOT go to waste there! Ha!!
Speaking of the movie - we saw Brad & George's new juncture.......Burn after reading..... It's a Coen Brothers movie (guys who did Fargo) all I have to say - it was frickin' hysterical. :) It was very serious and hysterical too. Brad Pitt plays a character you're just not used to seeing him play ... very funny.
Well it's 1:00 AM so I should hit the sack. Sam's already sound asleep. (bummer!)
Catch ya later!!!
PS: Are any of you guys going to Disney on Ice or the Disney Playhouse thing?
Great kicking Zach!!! Good kick!
That's a Beckham move right there! (LOL) He likes his new friends!
Playing red light green light
Spreading the trees apart .........
Getting the talk from the coach the night before...
Here he is at our house in his uniform...getting ready to go .....
Here he was last year getting ready to go.....looks about the same size, hasn't grown too much!
Zachary did good in his first official game today....he scored four goals but only 2 were for our team. 1 was for the other team (oops) and one was for another game. (huh??) Don't even ask on that one, lol. We went to play park and McDonald's afterwards, lol. Seems to be the "after the game treat."
Anyway, thought you'd enjoy! :)
Friday, September 12, 2008
A friend of mine sent this to me today, and I was so sad after I watched it. I know we are (were) going to be looking at booster seats for our kids in the not-so-distant future...but...I think we'll keep them in the "5 point harness" as long as possible. (Note: There are other 5 point harness car seats that hold kids weighing more than 40 lbs. ... even though this family recommends the Britax ... there are much less expensive options.)
Definitely has opened my eyes. :(
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
When he gets in his bed I always push him towards the wall so I can lay on the outside of the bed (which means I can slip right out once he finally falls asleep). I always joke and say "get in bed, inside boy." And he'll reply back "okay, outside girl." Last night he said he wanted to be the 'outside boy' so I finally relented (easier than arguing with a 4 year old) and he said .. "thanks, mom." I said..."so I'm the inside now girl, huh?" and he goes ..."no, silly mommy, you're not a girl....!" I said "No? Then what am I?" He said .... "you're a mommy. See you're big and tall, and you have mommy hair (he's rubbing my hair) and mommy glasses and mommy eyes (he's rubbing my face) - you're a mommy." I said but "I'm still a girl...." He said "No, just a mommy....you take care of me and sissies and you take care of everyone." I said "Just a mommy then, huh? Is being a mommy important to you?" He said "yes, I'm lucky you're my mommy. Zachy's lucky....." ****Sigh****** So if anyone wonders why this kid is so dang spoiled, there ya go. He's a heart breaker sometimes.
Monday, September 8, 2008
By the way - whenever I ask them what the stuffed animal or baby's name is ... it's always whatever color it is (so if it's a green frog, they'll say hi, I'm green).
By the way, something I realized today, while Zach was taking his first big boy "shower" (which he thought was pretty cool because normally he has to share the space with his Dad, lol!) that singing in the shower - it's something either hereditary or you just learn to do it on your own very young.
Think I'll go sit on my bed now.