Kathy Petersen’s Blog

Job Description?

Posted in children, Uncategorized by Kathy on March 16, 2010

Recently, I registered for something online (Financial Times), and they had the following fields for me to choose for my “position”:

Let’s see,

  • I’m certainly a partner in my marriage  – √
  • Definitely the CFO (chief financial officer — my husband hates dealing with money) – √
  • Director — Oh, certainly! – √
  • VP — I would say yes – √
  • I manage and supervise children all day long, so √
  • Secretary/Treasurer — yes to both – √
  • Department Head… yes, I head up the Mommy department 🙂 – √
  • Advisor — certainly, I advise my husband in money matters, because I’m the nerd – √
  • Other management — yes, I manage my laundry and manage to clean house too √
  • Tired – √ … oh, did it say REtired… no, I guess I’m not then 😉
  • Controller/Financial Officer — maybe according to my husband, I’m a little too much of a controller… √
  • Government official…. well, I do make the laws in my home and see that they’re enforced, so √

Next there was Job Responsibility…

  • Finance/Accounting — certainly! √
  • Strategy/Planning — oh, I plan my days and strategize how to get the most done in the least time, so definite √
  • Training — yes, I trained my children to pee in the potty and am trying to train them to be good citizens and loving brothers √
  • Banking and investment — sure √
  • financial adviser – yep! √
  • Research/ development — does cooking count? √
  • Consultancy… yes, my husband consults me before he does anything big… √
  • Money Manager and Money Management – √
  • Public Service… well, yes, I think I’m doing a public service to raise good children √
  • Student — always learning! √
  • Technology — yes, I like technology too and use it all the time √

Finally, there was “Industry”:

  • Banking – √
  • Financial Services – √
  • Communications and Media — yes, this blog plus my facebook – √
  • Govt/Public Service – as above, yes I make the rules in my home and I’m doing a public service by raising mannerly children √
  • Education – certainly, I love to learn stuff √
  • Manufacturing – does making stuff with construction paper count? If so, √
  • Other business services — certainly, busyness is my middle name! √
  • Transportation and logistics — oh, yes, taking my kids places, and trying to figure how best to do things √
  • Engineering/construction – yes, I’m really good at building with blocks √
  • Consumer – yes! √
  • Consultancy, with my husband √
  • Info management – all the time I deal with info – √
  • Property management — yes, I manage my house which is my property √
  • Real estate – yes, I’m trying to sell my house √
  • Fuel – for me car – how else am I supposed to get around? √
  • Energy/utilities – yes, I’m the one who pays the bills, and constantly turns stuff down or off

Yes, I do a lot. So I settled for “N/A” – “not applicable.” 🙂

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We’re going the wrong way!!!

Posted in children by Kathy on October 20, 2009

Recently, I’ve read several articles and blog posts and facebook stuff that is talking about how horrible America is for not providing maternal leave — the “best” we have is 12 weeks unpaid leave following the birth or adoption of a child, or for a primary caregiver to take off of work to care for a sick family member. One woman said that we need to “demand” paid leave, and that every country has paid maternity leave, ranging from a few weeks up to a year (I think Canada gives 52 weeks paid leave). The running theme through these posts is that paying mothers not to work after having a child is showing that maternal-infant care is a high priority, that the breastfeeding relationship is a high priority (because, really, how many working moms are able to successfully 100% breastfeed their children for the first 6 months, which is the AAP recommendation, and continue breastfeeding for the entire first year?), that “women count,” and all sorts of other feminine/feminist/woman-centered catch phrases and lingo that is designed to grab women’s attention and get them to say, “Yeah!”

I know some women truly have to work; and others just want to work although they could stay home. But a large percentage of working moms who are currently griping about not being able to afford to live on one income, or who can’t take 12 weeks unpaid leave, could actually do it. It would just require quite a bit of sacrifice on their part. I know, because I’m living it. Other than socks and underwear, I can’t recall the last new article of clothing that I bought in the past 5 years. Most of my clothes are older than that, and the remainder have been bought at yard sales or thrift stores (probably less than $50 total), or were given to me. Same thing for my children — they have my brother’s sons’ hand-me-downs, and an occasional yard-sale purchase, with the extremely rare new item of clothing. The only ones I remember, in fact, other than a bag of socks, was when both my kids got car-sick and threw up on themselves in the car, and we bought them each a shirt ($4 apiece, I think) for the ride home. Most of the gifts we give them are likewise from garage sales and thrift stores, with an occasional new item. Sometimes when I look at an item, I think, “It’s not so much the cost of X, but the cost of X plus all the peripherals it requires to run optimally!” — Like an iPod — while that’s expensive by itself, then you have to get a sock (or several socks, so you can be “unique” like everybody else), an arm band, a wrist strap, the earphones (and earbuds and headphones, depending on your mood), and then you have to pay to download stuff or have a subscription… It all adds up. Or satellite TV — not just the cost of installation and the contraption, but the monthly bills, plus the ever-present temptation to increase your service so you can get this or that channel, and the occasional pay-per-view thing… and then because you have such a nice satellite, you want to get a bigger TV so you can see better, or enjoy it more… and then because you sit around watching TV all the time, you gain weight, so then you get a Nintendo Wii, which is expensive for the contraption, plus you have to buy wrist straps and hand-gadgets, a step thing, and multiple games…  Because you do it a little at a time, it creeps up on you, and you’ve spent your entire annual income with nothing to show for it, and at tax time, you wonder, “Where did it all go?”

The generation before mine didn’t have to worry about that as much — there were very few electronics on the market, and they tended not to be “the gift that keeps on taking” with all the peripherals and monthly fees. But there’s peer pressure now, and the “I see it, so I wanna get it” pressure, and “everybody’s got one, I want one too” pressure. And it’s not easy! It’s not easy saying, “No!!” It’s awfully tempting to leave my kids so I can work for stuff — stuff I see that other people have and enjoy, and I would like… but I choose not to.

And that’s one thing that really bugs me — I have made the choice, the sacrifice, to stay with my children rather than have a bigger house, nicer furniture, better clothes, more gadgets; and then there are people who are feeling like it’s their “right” to stay home with their kids, and make somebody else pay for it.

That’s the “going the wrong way” bit — I would LOVE for somebody to pay me to stay at home and take care of my children. I would LOVE to generate an income from doing what I’m supposed to do. But until some rich person comes up to me and offers to pay me to watch my own children, that ain’t gonna happen. What will happen, though, if legislation like this ever were to pass, is it would make women less employable, because such a law would undoubtedly color an employer’s decision on whom to hire. If they choose a man, they won’t have to deal with this whole paid leave thing, and trying to find somebody to hire for the weeks or year after a woman gives birth. [That has been one of the unforeseen problems with the Americans with Disabilities Act — fewer disabled people were hired, out of fears of future legal problems.] Such a thing may even be unconstitutional, unless men are likewise given paid leave after the birth of a child (the old “equal protection” clause), and that would more than double the problem. Secondly, who is going to pay for this maternal leave? The company? The government? Either way, it screws things up. If Walmart suddenly has to pay thousands of people not to work, what do you think that’s going to do to prices? And if “the government” (that’s you and me) has to pay, then that’s going to result in much higher taxes. Either way, somebody else will be required to pay for you to take your paid leave. And if the collective “us” (either as consumer or taxpayer) has less money in our pockets (due to higher taxes or prices), that means more people will have to work more hours, in order to be able to afford to eat, live, and buy things. And if there is less money to spend, that means that women who would have chosen to stay at home with their children, and been able to do so on one income, no longer can, so they will be forced into working outside the home, thanks to women “demanding” that somebody else needs to pay them not to work.

Here’s what I don’t like about a lot of kids’ videos…

Posted in children by Kathy on June 12, 2009

The basic story line of far too many kids movies and TV shows is that you have a kid who is some form of brat — yells at his mom, lies to his dad, is sullen because he has to visit his grandparents, etc. — and then over the course of the movie, he is transformed from rotten child (through the power of Barney or whatever) into a good-natured and/or happy kid. I don’t mind the ending, but I don’t like the bratty beginning. In addition to the near glorification of the bad behavior (since the brat is invariably the hero of the show who ends up saving the day), it seems also to reward the bad behavior rather than punish it. Take Home Alone as an example — Kevin is a bratty kid who is accidentally left behind while his family goes to Paris for Christmas, and he ends up saving his home from being robbed. The silver lining (aside from the fact that it is a hilarious movie and I enjoy watching it) is that he is at least punished for his brattiness early in the movie, by being sent upstairs for his rotten attitude. But too many movies don’t show the punishment, or (as in the case of Home Alone), the punishment is too mild for the “crime.”

I just don’t think that most kids, especially little kids, make the connection that the bad behavior early in the movie is really bad and ought to be punished, rather than emulated. It seems to me that movies should focus on “good kids” and rewardthem for their good behavior, rather than on the bad kids.

Another thing is that some movies tend to focus on other negative traits, and I am afraid serve to instill fear or anger or whatever in kids, rather than help kids work through it. Maybe I’m lucky, but my kids have never been afraid of monsters or of anything in their room with the light out (although I do have a nightlight). I also am particular about what they watch, trying to minimize the scary stuff if at all possible, and explaining things that might be potentially scary to young minds. But there are movies that portray kids who are terrified of monsters, and although everything turns out all right in the end, it still plants that seed of “maybe there’s something to be afraid of” in little kids’ minds. If a kid is already afraid, then maybe they need to watch the movie to see that there’s really nothing to be afraid of after all; but to take a kid who has no fear but is safe and secure, and show him that other kids his age are afraid of boogiemen, then it makes me think it will make him afraid when he wasn’t before.

That’s one thing I like about Thomas the Tank Engine — the engines are usually helpful and cheerful; and when they have a rotten attitude, bad things happen to them, and they see the error of their ways and apologize. But I’ve turned off some kids’ movies and TV shows because of the snottiness portrayed without swift correction. In fact, this post is inspired by “The Barney Movie” somebody handed down to my kids. I like to screen things before my kids see them, and the movie started off with a preteen boy acting sullen for having to visit his grandparents (I’m thinking this is what it is — I fast-forwarded the very beginning so missed it; he may be sullen because he had to move and leave his friends or something), and then segued into him grabbing his little sister’s Barney toy out of her hand and running through the house hiding so she couldn’t get it. My older son already teases my younger son as it is — he doesn’t need more advanced lessons in the art of teasing!! And I don’t want him thinking (especially at his young age) that there is something wrong with going to visit his grandparents (because he loves to take trips, particularly to see Grandma), nor that he can act sullen with impunity.

I’m not naïve enough to assume that if he never sees bad or negative or sullen that he will never be bad or negative or sullen. Quite the contrary — his heart is already bent towards “bad” so why encourage it?! I hope that by surrounding him with good influences that he will be less inclined to act according to his negative desires, but will be molded into Christian principles — by force of habit at this point, but paving the way for making it easier for him when he gets a new heart, by God’s grace. “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.”


Posted in children, politics, Uncategorized by Kathy on January 9, 2009

This was too funny — a woman took photographs of some artwork her 22 month old daughter did (finger-painting or something like that), and showed them to an art director (without telling him who had done it. The art director was entranced, and put them in his show or gallery or whatever, as abstract art. Kinda reminds me of the time somebody framed (as an accident or for a joke) either the blueprints of the building, or the schematic of the building’s plumbing system, and put it up in the art gallery, where it was hailed as a great work of art. And some people wonder why people like me want to cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.

Adoptive couples I know

Posted in abortion, children, infertility, Uncategorized by Kathy on January 5, 2009

When I hear from abortion advocates who say that only white newborns are the only adoptable babies, I want to scream and laugh. From my small circle of friends and acquaintances, I know numerous white couples who have adopted many children who were not newborns at adoption and/or are not Caucasian. I’m going to write them here, so that next time I come across someone who seems to think abortion is okay because nobody adopts non-white children or older children, I can just direct them here, rather than writing it out again and again. When I say “older children” I’m meaning anyone over about a few months old, typically a child of about a couple years of age. Most of these people adopted because one spouse or the other is infertile, but some of them do have biological children. All couples are American, and all are white (except one person who is half-white, half-Vietnamese).

I’ll start with the only ones I know who adopted only white infants — my uncle and aunt who are both of pure Dutch ancestry, and wanted to adopt a baby who was at least half-Dutch; their two children both have full-blooded Dutch birth-mothers.

  • Anna and her husband adopted two children from Ethiopia (their ages at the times of the adoptions were 13 and 7 months old)
  • a couple who are friends with Anna adopted one child from Ethiopia and a black child from America (neither were newborns)
  • Laura and her husband adopted a white child of about the age of 4, after his mother’s parental rights were terminated
  • Curt and Fancy adopted a Hispanic newborn; they wanted to adopt their two (white) foster children (ages 3 & 5 at the start of their foster care), whom they cared for for 3 years, but the children’s mother cleaned up her act and got them back
  • Curt’s brother also adopted a Hispanic newborn
  • one couple I know is a white man and a half-Vietnamese woman; they unsuccessfully tried to adopt a Vietnamese child, then decided to adopt from Russia; recently, they adopted two Vietnamese children (all of whom were several months old at the time of the adoptions)
  • another couple adopted three Korean children some 30 years ago, a girl and identical twin boys
  • one couple in Alabama adopted three children, all in early infancy, a girl and two boys; all of the children are mixed-race
  • another couple in Ohio has “his, hers, ours… and theirs“, as the mother likes to say — they each have at least one child from a previous relationship in addition to at least one child together, plus numerous children by adoption. At least one of the adopted children is mixed-race, and most if not all of them were adopted when they were older — I’ve known them since before the adoption of the last two, who are full brother and sister, and are about 2 & 4 years of age
  • one couple who attended our church for a few years — they already had two white children by adoption — I believe the oldest was gotten as an infant; I’m not sure about the second. This younger child, a boy, has learning disabilities (and possibly some other kinds of disabilities), but I don’t know if the parents know this when they adopted him — I never knew he had any disabilities at the time I knew him, but it became more apparent as he grew older — he’s now about 16 and has minimal reading skills, as an example. Then while they were members of our church, they adopted three siblings who were of Hispanic descent, approximately aged 2-5 at the time of the adoption.

Most of these people may yet try to adopt again (although the older couples are probably done), since most of them have adopted their youngest children only recently — the last year or so.

Cool videos!

Posted in abortion, children, Uncategorized by Kathy on January 1, 2009

I’ll just link to the whole post over on RealChoice. The first video is of a kid who was born with spina bifida “wheelchairing” like some kids skateboard or bike-ride. Puts me to shame. Other videos are of other people who can’t walk, but are still a whole heck of a lot more athletic than I am.

Delaying vaccination may reduce risk of asthma

Posted in children, vaccines by Kathy on December 19, 2008

A study was recently released (in April) that showed a much reduced risk of asthma when the first dose of the DTP vaccine was delayed by two months. Now, this was with the older DTP vaccine, not the newer DTaP vaccine. It remains to be seen whether the effect is similar with the current vaccine, but it shows that at least one vaccine has potentially serious side effects. Parents should use caution, then, and not just assume that vaccines have no risk. The study group began with infants and checked them for asthma occurrence by the age of seven. Most “adverse reactions” that are technically blamable on vaccines have a short window of opportunity for their appearance — say a few days or at most a couple of weeks. Developing asthma several years after the initial vaccination does not fit in that window. But it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, nor isn’t a problem.

Love this poem!

Posted in autism, children, vaccines by Kathy on December 18, 2008

This is just too good. 🙂

Ode to National Infant Immunization Week:   Stick It

I actually don’t mind green eggs and ham.
It’s vaccines I don’t like, Uncle Sam.

Too many children have paid the price
for harmful and deceptive immunization advice.

There is more to health than preventing infections
with dozens of toxic and dangerous injections.

You purposefully ignore all of the parents’ cries
that autism, asthma and diabetes continue to rise.

Since the word “safe” implies “free from harm”,
I’ll choose what’s injected into my child’s arm.

I do not want them up my nose,
or spliced into my potatoes.

I will not drink them in a glass.
I will not let you stick my @$$.

I do not want them for any reason
not even in your “worst” flu season.

For decades now you’ve been trying to hide,
the dangers of mercury and formaldehyde.

You won’t do the research to try to explain
why vaccines sometime ruin a developing brain.

Yet you tell us to just say no to drugs,
but if we question a shot you act like thugs.

Are injected monkey and fetal cells really healthy?
Or are they part of the scam that makes drug companies wealthy?

When you all lay down tonight to say your prayers,
please include all the vaccine victims listed in VAERs.

By Ana Phylaxis

h/t: Baby Dust Diaries

I gotta do something about this

Posted in children by Kathy on December 9, 2008

I know it’s probably normal, but I don’t remember it happening with any of the kids I’ve baby-sat, nor with my nieces and nephews.

My son is just now four years old, and has recently taken to acting out everything he sees while watching videos. I’m pretty particular about what he watches, but I’m going to have to change my criteria, I think. When watching the Dr. Seuss video “The Sneetches”, for example, at one point the Sneetches are going around in a figure 8 pattern going in and out of two different machines (getting stars on and off of their bellies — just go find the YouTube video, or better yet, read the book), and at that point, my son gets up and starts running around in circles for the whole scene. Yesterday, he and my younger son were watching Charlie Brown Christmas while I was in the kitchen, and all of a sudden my younger son started crying like he’d been hurt. Now, I don’t think I’ve ever sat down and watched Charlie Brown Christmas, but I know it’s pretty innocuous, and may even have a good moral to it (and I do know that Linus quotes from the Bible, telling the story of the birth of Christ, which makes it even better), but I’m going to have to contemplate whether I should let the kids watch it again because of what happened. Knowing how my son had been acting out whatever he saw on the screen (previously, he was Tigger “bouncing” Pooh [my poor younger son who is not stuffed with fluff, and who does hurt when he is all of a sudden thrown off balance and banged onto the floor]; or Rabbit climbing on top of Eeyore’s shoulders [also played by my much-maligned younger son, against his very vocal wishes]), I asked him what happened, and he said something about “cracking” my younger son on the head. I can only assume that Lucy whacks Linus or something on the head for being a “blockhead”.

Previously, I never had a problem with them watching things that I might have watched when I was younger, like Charlie Brown, or Bugs Bunny or anything like that. Now, I’m not so sure. I’m scared that he might see Granny’s bulldog grab Sylvester the cat [of course it would be my younger son!] by the throat, and punch him in the face! It’s funny to see Sylvester knocked out of his fur, but would most definitely not be funny to have Seth get a full-fledged smack in the face!

I’ve kinda always poked fun (in my own mind, of course, never out loud) at those people who object to cartoon violence, and would not let their children watch good ol’ Bugs Bunny and what-not. I still don’t think those things are bad in and of themselves. But to protect my younger son, until my older son has more impulse control, or until he realizes that he simply cannot act out everything he sees on the screen, or until he realizes that his brother actually gets hurt when he is hit, kicked, pushed down, slapped, smacked, or otherwise manhandled, I think I’m going to have to join the anti-cartoon violence people. But for different reasons, I think. If I understand correctly, they usually object to it because they think it produces more violent children, and they think that if they can just protect their little perfect angels from ever seeing violence, that they will never be violent. That’s bull, of course — kids don’t have to be taught to be bad — they have to be taught to be good! I don’t have a philosophical reason for keeping my kids from seeing Bugs Bunny — it’s purely practical — I want my younger son not to be a punching bag!

I can only imagine what would happen if I let my kids watch The Three Stooges! Seth would probably be blind from Keith poking him in the eyes, saying, “Why, you…!” Yikes.

My kids, the snakes

Posted in children by Kathy on December 4, 2008

No, I don’t really have snakes at all, especially as pets, and most especially would I not call them “my kids”! This is how my kids are like snakes:

When I make food, I expect my children to eat it, because I am not going to make something different for them to eat — that’s a bad habit to get into! So, when I make something for lunch or supper that they don’t particularly care for, they eat what’s on their plate (barely!) and no more. A lot of times I offer them seconds (and sometimes I’ll offer them something like a PB&J which they love, or a piece of fruit or something), but of course they don’t want it. Every so often, I’ll make them something that they absolutely love. Last night was one of those occasions.

I make my mom’s recipe for soft taco shells (which are made from a batter, not stiff like store-bought flour or corn tortillas; my older son calls them “squishy tacos”). They are about the diameter of pancakes, but thin. My older son ate 6-8 of them, while my younger son probably ate 5-6. I didn’t count, but it seemed like I was making them all the time!  [I take a taco, put a little seasoned meat on it, some cheese, homemade taco sauce, and lettuce. My husband doesn’t like the sauce, and puts our homemade salsa on it and usually some sour cream. Of course, you could put whatever you want on it, but we don’t particularly care for olives, bell peppers, etc. on it.]

Anyway, all our family likes it, and my sons are like snakes — they gorge themselves on tacos and then don’t want to eat for days. [exaggeration!]