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Wow, I can’t believe the last time I posted was almost five months ago!

Lots has happened since then, and the next few months are going to be super busy for this little family of three. I will try to keep everyone posted, and hopefully after the transition I can begin to blog more often!

What’s the transition you ask? Well for those of you who don’t know, The Other Half has recently gotten a new job! He starts in about 10 days. Wow – that seems so soon. We have been here in North Carolina for almost five years now. We thought we would stay here indefinitely, but recently we decided that we would try to move back towards home. Randomly, luckily – and much sooner than expected The Other Half (THO) found a job in Hershey, PA. He starts soon. Peanut and I will be sticking it out down here until the end of summer school though. I can’t leave my students at this time of year, and Summer School is REALLY good money! I can’t pass it up. We are super excited for this new chapter in our lives. We are glad to be moving closer to home, family and friends. I am ecstatic that Peanut will be able to grow up knowing her family, and not just seeing them a few times a year.

In addition to the move, we have decided that I am going to be a SAHM once we relocate. I am looking forward to this, but am also a little apprehensive. I have literally worked since I was 15 in at least some capacity (except for maternity leave when Peanut was born). I can’t wait to spend time with my daughter, and watch her learn and grow. She is growing so quickly, and I swear she gets funnier everyday! On the other hand, I feel as though I will be losing a bit of my independence. As I go through this transition, I am eager to see if the grass is really greener!

Gotta go! Lots to pack.

What transition are you and your family going through? How are you coping? Please share!

Yes I’m Atheist. Yes I celebrate Christmas. I know – that seems like a contradiction.

I was raised Episcopal, and married in a Catholic church. I didn’t become an Atheist until after I married. Our family has always celebrated Christmas.

For me, even as a child, it was never really about religion though. Jesus wasn’t really the reason for the season. I remember being very little and going to church on Christmas, but I don’t think I really understood it. I think my brother and I were even in the Christmas pageant once or twice. We just thought it was fun. To give you a little idea of how religious we were, we walked into a store one year, and there were statues of the three wise men up as decorations – my brother yelled “Hey Dad, check out the gypsies!” Clearly we didn’t even know the basics.

As kids we loved to see all the Christmas lights. We loved decorating the tree. And year after year, I remember pulling ornaments out and talking about where we got them from, or who made them, and what memories they remind us of. I remember our neighborhood used to have a luminary and we would all walk up the hill and sing Christmas carols around a bonfire. Then Santa would come on the fire truck and pass out candy canes. I remember playing with my brother’s train set for hours. We set it up so it goes around the tree. It used to have little people and lights and a train horn. I’m pretty sure we used to try to run the cat over with it! I remember waking up on Christmas day and sitting at the top of the steps with my brother waiting til our parents woke up so we could get up and open presents. We had to wait for them to wake up so that they could make sure Santa wasn’t still there! I also remember trying to wake up in the middle of the night and catch Santa leaving presents. We left beer and cookies out for Santa one year, and still talk about how my brother drank the rest of the beer the next morning. I remember some of the presents that we got through the years. Some of the big ones like power wheels, a computer, and a puppy stand out. After all of the presents were opened, we always sat down for a yummy breakfast. Then we went to our grandparent’s house and my cousins, brother and I all got to check out our new toys. I remember my great grandmother always got me underwear for Christmas! Oh, and we always got some super comfy, super festive Christmas pajamas to wear on Christmas eve. I remember Mom always spazzing out about the Christmas decorations going up. She still does, and they always look so pretty. Dad would put tons of lights outside on the bushes. Or house always looked so pretty around Christmas.

My point is that Christmas is all about the memories we make with our families, and the time that we get to spend with them. I want Alayna to be able to have all of those memories. I want her to get to experience the magic of Santa. We aren’t going to overwhelm her with tons of presents, and we aren’t going to take her to church. But we can continue some of our family traditions, and create new ones.

Last Christmas Alayna was too little to understand anything. This year, she is still confused I think. But she loves looking at the lights, and taking all of the ornaments off of the tree. I think we put between five and ten back up each night. The whole bottom of the tree is bare. But to me, those are the things that we will remember, the stories that we can tell her when she’s older. She cried when we went to see Santa last weekend, but smiled once I picked her up off of his lap and let her see him again. We have a tree and a few decorations up in our living room – stockings and snowmen and a few Santa Clauses. We had a good time taking out our decorations this year. Pictures of Alayna from last year remind us of how much she has grown in such a short time. Some other decorations are pottery that the other half and I painted years ago when we lived in Arizona. To me, that’s the best part of Christmas!

To me:
Christmas is for family, especially the kids. It’s for making memories, and cookies! It’s for tradition, and excitment. It isn’t about religion or God to me. And for these reasons, this Atheist is going to continue to celebrate Christmas.

Okay, so I am finally so fed up that I feel the need to comment on this whole Penn State scandal. Usually I don’t care too much about big scandals like this. But for some reason, I feel some sort of connection to this one. Maybe it’s because I have had tons of friends that graduated from PSU, or the fact that my grandfather was also an alum. Or maybe it’s because of my connection to education as a teacher. Or possibly it’s because I have a child of my own now and I know how I would feel if she had been abused and no one did anything about it.

First of all, let me state that I am not a graduate of this university. I did however grow up hearing about JoePa and how terrific he was. My grandfather was a HUGE fan and religiously went to and watched the games. I remember wearing PSU cheerleader outfits when I was a kid, and sitting around with Poppy on the weekends rooting for the Lions. I also applied to Penn State and was accepted. To this day I still do not really know why I chose to go elsewhere. While I didn’t go there, I visited plenty. Even after college, I joined my friends who graduated from PSU for a few summers to visit during alumni/ArtsFest weekend. Needless to say, I always had a blast in Happy Valley. In fact, I would even venture to say that I might have more allegiance to PSU than to my own Alma Mater.

With all that being said, I can’t fathom why everyone is still supporting “JoePa” through all of this. He knew about children that were being abused and did nothing about it. And let’s be real, it wasn’t just abuse it was RAPE. I don’t care who he is or what his position is, he had a moral and legal obligation to tell authorities about what he knew. I don’t care how much of a legend he is or what good he has done for that school. I don’t care if he was afraid of losing his job. (He was already in his 70’s when this started happening. He could have easily been hired at another school, or retired.) Hiding something like this completely negates anything positive that he has done in my eyes. What a selfish, self serving JACKASS!

As for the school, I cant help but think that more people knew about this and did nothing. We all know how word travels through the work place. So far there have been so many people that we have heard of who knew what was happening. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are plenty of others who knew as well. As an educator and as a parent, I know that children are sent to school to learn, but also because we view educators and teachers as advocates for children. We expect our kids to be safe when they are at school – whether that be daycare, grade school or college.

I’ve seen interviews and Facebook conversations that start out with “You just don’t understand what he did for the school…blah blah blah.” I say, what if those victims were your child, or sibling? How would you feel if that were the case? What would you think about Paterno and others hiding it then? Put yourself in their shoes. It’s one thing to support the students, and victims, but really people Paterno?!? As far as I’m concerned he is an accomplice.

The victims will have to live with the memories of the horrible things that were done to them for the rest of their lives. Quite frankly, I vote for a slow and torturous death to all those involved at the hand of the victims and their families. Those who knew or participated should have to suffer just as they inflicted suffering on others.

So I haven’t used shampoo in about 3 months now.  At first it was really liberating, and I absolutely loved the results.  I know I previously said that I never wanted to go back to shampoo, but, sadly, I’m giving in.  Not forever though.  I knew that the change in seasons would have an effect on my baking soda and water mixture, and that I might have to change things up a little.  Unfortunately, I can’t figure out what in the world my hair wants right now.  I’m experiencing extremely greasy roots, and static at the ends.  I’ve tried everything – less baking soda, more baking soda, washing less often, washing more often, lemon juice rinse, vinegar rinze, no vinegar rinse, etc., etc. – and nothing has worked.  I’m getting sick of wearing my hair up  everyday to disguise the greasy roots.  Sooooo, I’m going back to poo for a few weeks.  When I get another vacation from work (probably not until Christmas) and I can get by with greasy hair for a few extra days, then I’ll go no poo again, and see what happens.  I’ll also be doing a little more research about how to get the extra oil out of my hair.  I’m totally puzzled.  ARRRGH, I really don’t want to use shampoo again!

The idea for this post came a few weeks ago as school was starting.  We had an open house where the students and parents came in to meet the teachers and we had to be at school from 1pm to 8pm.  The required hours weren’t long, but if you know anyone who teaches, the beginning of the year is super hectic. Teacher’s are not just hanging out in school and setting up our room; we have workshops, and opening meetings, paperwork and lesson planning to do as well.  We have to help orient new staff, and get to know new team members as well.  So that day, I decided to go in to school at my normal time (7am), and get some things done in my room,  I figured it would be uninterrupted time to work, and it was.  Open House is also really exciting for me, because I get to meet my students and their families.  I’ve worked at my school long enough now that I’ve taught several siblings from some families.   It’s always fun to see who I’m going to get next. 

The day went by quickly, and I did get quite a bit finished.  Not to mention, all of my students showed up to Open House, which has never happened for me before.  I think we were dismissed a few minutes before 8pm, and I got in the car to drive home.  I didn’t feel stressed as I left work, and I wasn’t really tired.  I got home, pulled in the driveway, got out of the car and unlocked the front door.  And as I crossed the threshold of the front door, a HUGE sense of calm washed over me.   It was like my body knew I was home, and it was time to relax.  I went to check on the baby, and curled up on the couch with my husband.  It was a long day, but I was home, and nothing else mattered at that point. 

We may not have the biggest house around, or the prettiest yard, or nicest cars.  My couch has dog and cat hair all over it, and there are toys strewn all over the floor.  The laundry is clean and folded, but not put away.  There is toilet paper clumped on the floor from the cats playing with it.  The dishes are clean, but still in the dishwasher.  It might be a mess, but it’s home to my little family and me…Home Sweet Home!

I remember my grandfather saying this often as I grew up. He would buy something from the store, use it a few times, and then it would break. Sometimes he just needed someone to blame for his own mistake, but lots of times he was right. The tool, or item really was a piece of crap.

Recently, I found myself saying the same thing as I yanked my inherited 1967 Electrolux vacuum out of the closet the other day. And, NO, that’s not a typo. It is every bit of 44 years old. But it is by far, the most AMAZING vacuum I have ever owned!

My Dad is a “rug man.” My family owns a flooring company that’s been in business for over 50 years.* I remember them going through vacuums like crazy when I was a kid. It seemed like everytime I went to work with my Dad, there was a new one. I remember Dad always saying, that when it comes to vacuums, just get a cheap one because they all work pretty much the same.

Then my stepdad came along and swore by this Electrolux. He used to sell20110901-083806.jpg them, and knows all about them. The one that he and my Mom had got too heavy for her to cart around. They bought a new one that was made of plastic and not metal, but still made by the same company (which is no longer called Electrolux**). So he asked me if I wanted the old one. He showed me how it worked, and all the parts and attachments. Honestly, at first, I thought he had this kind of crazy obsession with vacuums. After all, his theory on a vacuum was completely opposite of what I had been taught my whole life. But I figured I would give it a try.

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I have pets, 4 of them, and they are very furry. We also let them on the furniture. In the past ten years I have probably had between 5 and 7 vacuums. We currently have a Bissel vacuum, that is totally designed for pet hair. It’s a piece of crap! But I thought it was great until I tried the 44 year old Electrolux. I used to have to use the pet attachment from the Bissel and go over the couch 4 or 5 times to get all of the hair off, and then there was still some left. Now, I just stick the little brush on my Electrolux, and it sucks everything up right away. If the hair is really bad, I might have to go over an area twice. Another thing I have noticed is that when I vacuum the carpet, there is SOOOO much more that comes up!

For me it’s hard to go against my Dad’s philosophy, but I have realized that we use vacuums for two totally different purposes. When he puts a rug in, the carpets are clean and brand new. He just needs to get up the big bits of carpet that are easy to suck up, and vacuuming is just the finishing touch.  Who doesn’t love a freshly vacuumed carpet, especially when it’s brand new?!  As for me, I need to get up dog hair, crumbs, dirt, and everything else that life tracks in my house. Now I swear by the Electrolux. I’m sure you probably think I have some sort of crazy obsession with vacuums now too. But come try mine, you’ll be sold for life. Sorry Dad :(, but I think I’m sticking with the Electrolux.

* To all of my Southeaster PA readers: Dad’s business installs flooring of all types, for less than most chains. My grandmother still runs the showroom, and Dad, my uncle, and my brother install and do estimates. It truly is family owned, and operated. They may not be able to be there the next day, but they do an awesome job!

Check them out: L.H. Stewart Carpet & Sales. The phone number is 610-449-1914. Address is 61 W. Eagle Rd. Havertown, PA 19083.

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**Electrolux has a new name. If you are interested in buying a new vacuum they are manufactured by a company called Aerus. They are expensive, but you may never have to buy a new vacuum again. I can’t wait to see how much longer mine lasts!

WOW…Time flies when the school year begins.  School has started and I think that I’m back into the swing of things.  I’ve been sick, the little one has too, and it’s been chaotic around here.  Hopefully I’ve got my act together again, and I can start blogging again :o)



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  • currans2cents: The original blog that sparked all of your angst was written purely as an OPINION piece. As you stated, we are entitled to have them. I truly am int
  • Mychal B.: It doesn't "seem" like you are only picking on JoePa, you ARE only picking on JoePa. Mike McQueary has received no disciplinary actions against him fo
  • Mychal B.: Um, I never claimed to understand anything about the war. I wasn't aware that the war had anything to do with this case. I also never said that becaus