Having just returned from vacation with the family, which when you have kids is not much different than working overtime

This weekend Leta did her first of many things:

1) She can ask for a bottle by name now. She calls it a bobble.
2) She can pull herself up onto a couch without losing her grip, without falling off and denting the dog.
3) She can climb down stairs the proper way, backward, instead of face first or sliding all the way down on her stomach and into a wall.
4) She can maneuver a fork and spoon with a tiny bit of dexterity, meaning that she can bring it to her face, not always to her mouth, but at least in the direction of her own body and not mine.

We spent three lovely days away from the Internet with little access to television. During the entire two-hour drive home we listened to news on the radio, and upon returning home we both had hundreds of email and comments to read and absorb. I don’t want to talk about politics anymore, not having just spent three days with a group of people who have such different ideas than our own when it comes to what should have happened and did happen and what’s to come. It doesn’t matter, because when it came down to it we were all there in that cabin together, one big family with a lot of lovable warts and imperfections. And I really love those people. I’m so glad I have them.

Many of you wrote to tell me about other places on the Internet where we can help out those affected by the hurricane. Here are some of those places, and HOLY SHIT PEOPLE, I am linking to RELIGIOUS WEBSITES. My mother is going to do a little victory dance, I just know:

Modest Needs
Mercy Corps
Strengthen the Good
Crafter’s United
Hurricane Housing
A Clearinghouse for Toys and Supplies for Families Hit Hardest by Katrina
Healing Place Church
Catholic Charities
Katrina Relief Auction on Flickr
CD Baby CD sales to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund
Habitat for Humanity
Katrina Housing
Humane Society of Broward County