Marburg—Similar to Ebola

Since Monday, I have been tracking the news about an outbreak of the Marburg hemorrhagic fever, a really nasty virus, in Angola.

Try this article for some scary reading, especially the following (emphasis mine):

“The latest figures available show the disease had killed 117 out of 124 people known to be infected by Tuesday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta says the usual death rate is 23 percent to 25 percent, but few infected patients are reported to have recovered this outbreak. There is no known cure.”

Recommended Reading: The Demon in the Freezer, by Richard Preston, and The Hot Zone, also by Preston.

Potty Time

[nichelle]Well, I’m quite impressed by this, with good reason, I think. Naomi, now just 17 months old, came into the kitchen this afternoon and pulled down her pants partially. I asked her if she had to go potty and she nodded her head yes and walked to the bathroom door. Her brother was in there at the time. She waited, and we went in. Now, Naomi is not potty trained, and I would not even have attempted to do that for at least another year. So for her to do what she did was pretty good. So, I took off her diaper and put her on the potty and she sat there at first and then wanted to get down. No problem with that. Then she wanted to get back on again. She didn't go potty, but the realization that she wanted to use the potty was amazing to me. I decided to get her potty, which hasn't been used in several years. I got it ready and she couldn't wait to sit down on it. Still nothing happed, but I wasn't actually expecting her to do anythiing. Well, Naomi wanted to use the big potty again, along with toilet paper and so I gave her some. She used it, incorrectly, but no problem there and put it in the toilet. She got down and wanted to flush. About an hour or so later, she soiled her diaper and I got her cleaned up and took her to the bathroom to flush it and I wanted her to see what I was doing. At that point she wanted to try using the potty again. The fact that she does answer by nodding her head if she has to go poop, is unbelievable. So I'm not going to push this, starting too soon can cause problems, too, but I'll see what she does today.

Other Naomi News:

Naomi loves to mimic things, like putting on lotion or brushing her teeth, doing her hair, trying to get a drink from the fountain at church, putting a CD in the drive to play a game on the computer, flying her baby in the air making the sounds and then (and this is not mimicked, but something she does) dropping her on the floor and covering her mouth and laughing. She does pick up her baby and give her a hug and pats her back, but then she goes back to the flying thing again. She loves to play rough, but she also does “the little girl things.” Typically every morning, when I go to get her out of bed, she stands up and looks down at the floor and smiles or laughs because lying there next to her crib are her babies and their blanket.

She has the Ocean Wonders Aquarium which plays music on her crib. Her bedtime routine includes reading her book, singing a song (usually “Jesus Loves Me” in Engllish and then Spanish), laying her down and then I pray with her. A few times, I tried putting her music on when I put her to bed, and she would reach up and shut it off. She only likes to play her music in the morning. She doesn’t like to fall asleep with it on.

After I’m done reading her bedtime story, she stands up and grabs her “lovey” (a small, pink blanket) and the blanket she loves to sleep with, walks to her bed, and waits for me to put her in. It’s so very sweet. I love our little girl, and am very thankful to God for giving her to us.

We Have Other Children, Too:

I also love our boys, and am thankful for them as well, in case some of you may be wondering.

I tell my kids often that my prayer for them is that they will grow up loving and serving God with their lives and throughout their lives. We are accountable to God for what we teach our children, and we need to be careful that we teach them as we ought, too.

Time goes by so fast. Isaac is nearly 10 years old, John will be 17 in June, and David is already 6 and eager to graduate from K5 and enter Mrs. Grennon’s first grade class. He's reading now, and going through his school reading books very quickly.

Pray for us as we teach and train our children. I praise our Savior for my family and for all that He does in our lives. I am reminded of a song sung by Steve Green, and the words from the chorus:

Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful.
May the fire of our devotion light their way.
May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey.
Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful.

It’s a great song with a wonderful message.

And That’s … Bad?

The following is an excerpt from a Reuters Article (which probably won’t be available a month from now). I say, anything that gets kids to stop watching television is probably a good idea.

Commercial Leaves Kids Too Scared to Watch TV

LONDON (Reuters) – A Marmite commercial that parodied 1950's science fiction film “The Blob” has been banned from all children's' programs in Britain after leaving kids too scared to watch television, the advertising watchdog said.

Six people complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that their toddlers had been terrified by the adverts, with four refusing to watch television after seeing them and two suffering nightmares.

I am amazed at how early children can identify with what is on television. One evening Naomi, at age 16 months, picked up her paper “Zoo Pals” plate, held it vertically in front of her face, and hummed a little song as she rotated it back and forth slightly. Nichelle told me that Naomi was mimicking the commercial.

Naomi is also enthralled with “Blue’s Clues,” and David, somewhat reluctantly, had to share his stuffed Blue dog with Naomi until Nichelle was fortunate enough to find one costing only a few dollars for Naomi. We have some old episodes on tape, and Naomi loves the program. Singing the theme song (which I do very poorly) is enough to get her dancing. I find this impact of television both fascinating and a bit frightening. (By the way, if you have heard a rumor that Steve Burns, the original (and best) host of “Blue’s Clues,” is dead, then you have been misled.)

Warning: I Am Posting Something Nice About the IRS

We, like many Americans, are waiting for our tax refund from the Treasury Department. I was poking about the IRS Web site, and discovered an online tool that will tell you when the IRS received your return, and when your refund check will be mailed. Give it a try!

Of course, I lean Libertarian (although I understand the needs of a Federalist system), so I want much more of my tax money back, but that’s a different topic.

I am an Idiot

[doug]Nichelle is making me post this, because I used it as leverage to get her to finally post an update on all the cute things Naomi is doing.

As you know, we had some computer problems, which seem to have all been solved. However, after upgrading to Trillian 3.0, Nichelle complained that she was not hearing any sound from Trillian.

We tested sound from other sources, Media Player, Flash animations, etc., and everything was fine, so I logged on to her screen and checked the Trillian preferences. Sound was enabled, and I looked everywhere trying to see what was wrong.

A few minutes later, she looked through the sound preferences for Trillian, and discovered that, despite the fact I had looked at the setting three or four times, I completely overlooked the checkbox marked, “Do not play sounds when I’m away.” Nichelle was, of course, as usual, in “away” mode all the time, because she tends to just be at the computer for a few minutes.

So, I get an “F” in troubleshooting for that day. ::: sigh :::

America Leaves a Lasting Impression (A Brit’s Love Letter to America)

I was moved by the BBC’s Washington Correspondent Rob Watson’s farewell address as he prepared to leave the US after 10 years of residency.

You will want to read the whole article, but here are a few brief excerpts:

As infectious as their happiness is their optimism and “can do” spirit, the sense that there is no problem which does not have a solution.

As a European, what I found most refreshing here was the remarkable lack of envy in American society.

When Americans see someone doing well, they do not grumble about it being all right for some, instead they say, one day that could be me.

I have marvelled too at the country's ability to absorb so many immigrants, from so many different places, and at the ease with which Americans adapt to change.

Driving it all is the American dream, which still motivates immigrants and those born here alike. A belief that tomorrow is always a better day and that there is nothing you can not do if you really put your mind to it.

Until I return, I will not mind telling anyone that the rest of the world has far more to learn from you than it has to fear.

Naomi News

A day doesn’t go by that I don’t tell Doug the things that Naomi is doing and I’ve been told, “You should be blogging this.” Well, I’m finally doing that.

I'll start with the most recent:

  • Naomi will be 17 months old on March 13.
  • She has been putting on her own shoes on the right feet now for a little over a week. I think that’s pretty good.
  • She has 10 teeth now, and 3 or 4 are on their way in.
  • Yesterday, I went to get my hair done (the braids are back) and it took only 5 hours. For those of you who say, “Five hours!!! No way!” I have to say that, at the place I used to go to, it took up to 8 hours. So I was very thankful to get out of there in only 5 hours. Anyway, Naomi came with me again. Before we left from home and during the trip to the salon I was praying she’d do well. She’s been teething, and the night before in church she wasn’t very happy and her mouth was very sore. Anyway, Naomi was angelic the entire time I was there, really. The only time she fussed was when one of the owners of the salon tried to hold her (she didn’t like that), and one other time she tripped and cried. Both times though, she cried only for a very short time, and then she was back to her playful self. Naomi was highly praised by the other hair stylist and customers for being so good for that long, and even without her nap.
  • She’s been saying the following words: “erit iz” for here it is; “Ankoo” for thank you; “Eez” for please. There are others, but they’re not coming to me right now, as I’m a bit sleep deprived. I will have to add more another time.

Lightning Out of Lebananon

The American people have an amazing capacity to ignore the important while obsessing on the trivial.

I am not usually a big fan of Terry Gross or her NPR program, “Fresh Air,” but her show from yesterday was unusually good. She interviewed law enforcement expert Tom Diaz and journalist Barbara Newman warn of the presence of Hezbollah militants in the United States. They are the authors of Lightning Out of Lebanon: Hezbollah Terrorists on American Soil, who say the cells could potentially be more dangerous than al Qaeda, estimate Hezbollah has cells in 14 cities.

Give this frightening story a listen.