Friday, September 28, 2007

Beer Bread

1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer
3 cups self-rising flour
3 tablespoons white sugar

1. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and flour. Add beer and continue to mix, first using a wooden spoon, then your hands. Batter will be sticky. Pour into a 9 x 5 inch greased loaf pan.
2. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees ) for 50 for 60 minutes. The top will be crunchy, and the insides will be soft. Serve topped with butter or cheese spread.

Looking ahead

In November we will be attending what looks like a really great adoption conference called Tapestry Adoption & Foster Care Fall Conference.

They have an interesting line-up of presenters, and really good topics for the talks.

It's been just a year since our last adoption conference. That one focused mainly on the marriage relationship post-adoption... and if you're in that situation you know the added stress that it can cause. While the conference itself was interesting, what was really neat was to be surrounded by couples that have done the same thing or similar to us. It's really something when the first thing out of the other person's mouth is not 'you must have your hands full', but 'our first adopt was a sibling group as well'. And we were pleastantly surprised with several couples who homeschool as well.

Anyways... back to this year's event... I'm super stoked... I found a sitter for the boys, and Daddio and I have the whole day to network with other families and enjoy some great presentations.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


"Mommy, Mommy, Mommy MOMMY (the sound of Bubba coming down the hall way), what comes out of the back of these holes (pointing to the jet engines on the back of his toy plane)?"

Mommy pauses a moment... "FIRE"

"OH SWEET, boys FIRE comes out of these, that is so COOL!"

Yes, Bubba, so cool.

While I know that technically that is not the right answer, it is the answer I knew he would understand and LIKE.

Doc, Doc, Goose...

This week as been busy. We had yearly check ups for Bubba and Snookie. Bubba ended up getting a flu shot, and Snookie got a flu and a Hept. A shot... oh the agony fun. That was Monday... next up the dentist (today).

Check out these choppers!

Bobcat is cutting his upper 6 yr molars, Bubba is cutting his lower 6 yr molars... and Snookie, um, has good spacing :-).

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Happy Birthday Bubba

This is Bubba at his first birthday with us... his 3rd!
This is Bubba this weekend on his 6th birthday!
Bubba ... or is it Batman?

Happy birthday Hubba Bubba!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Momma or House Painter - YES

It was brought to my attention that I'd never shown the finished product of my living room paint job from a few weeks ago... so here you go:

The entry way before the new coat of paint.
New coat of paint:

Wall o' Windows before new paint job:
After my paint fury:
It's not a huge change, in color... but a change in tone!

Married on a Crucifix

by Michael Mullan, LC

Imagine a world without divorce. Imagine families without separation.

Imagine no children or hearts torn apart.

May 08, 2006 / Imagine a world without divorce. Imagine families without separation. Imagine no children or hearts torn apart.

People of one place in this world do not have to imagine.

In the town of Siroki-Brijeg in Herzegovina not one of the 13,000 inhabitants can recall a single divorce or broken family.What is their secret? One look at their marriage rite says it all.

When the bride and bridegroom go to the church to be married they carry a crucifix with them. The priest blesses the crucifix and exclaims, You have found your cross! It is a cross to love, to carry with you, a cross that is not thrown off but rather treasured.

When they interchange the marital vows, the bride puts her right hand on this crucifix and the groom puts his right hand over hers. Both are united to the cross. The priest covers their hands with his stole while they pronounce their promises to love each other in good times and in bad.

Then they both first kiss the cross, not each other. If one abandons the other, they abandon Christ on the cross.

Afterwards, the newly-weds cross the threshold of their home to enthrone that same crucifix in a place of honor. It becomes the reference point of their lives and the place of family prayer.

In times of difficulty and misunderstandings, as all human relationships experience, they do not turn immediately to the lawyer or psychologist, they turn to the cross. They kneel, cry and open up their hearts begging for the strength to pardon and implore the Lords help.

The children are taught to reverently kiss the crucifix daily and to thank him for the day before going to bed. These children dream of enthroning one day a crucifix of their own.

The family is indissolubly united to the cross of Christ. Is this simply a morbid outlook on marital and family life? Or is it a piece of wisdom that few in our modern world can understand. Until our world does, it will continue to imagine and long for the unbroken hearth.

-Information taken from Marian Observer Feb. 2002.

Monday, September 24, 2007

JUICE ... Man...

Many moons ago I wrote an entry about the Juice Mafia... and people thought I was crazy. I don't buy juice boxes/bags to keep here at the house for kids to drink, and when we are with others I usually prefer (my kids) they have water... I do on rare occasions give in and let them have a bag o' sugar but that occurs some where in the neighborhood of once a month. Why? Don't all the ads say made with 100% juice, takes the place of one serving of real fruit... I don't feel the need to give them sugar water with some added 'fruit juice' when they eat real fruit and veggies everyday.

Well, today at the doctor for Snookie and Bubba's yearly well check, my opinion of juice was vindicated. Studies have shown that regular consumption of juice (instead of water) stunts growth and leads to childhood obesity.

Hmmmm, they'll have another glass of water please!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Who are you?

Take the 100 Acre Personality Quiz!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Fears and Anxiety

Heidi Saxton, over at Mommy Monsters Inc., has written a great piece on post adoption for moms: When Mom's Grieve: The Dark Side of Adoption

This is something that I have struggled with... like anything, you have good days and bad. And in one article it talks about the fact that it can become compounded with you through struggles with infertility... or anything else really that is demanding of you emotionally or physically.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Bubba's birthday prep

Saturday Bubba turns ... SIX! I can't believe it. It was a huge shock to my system when Snookie turned 5, and man, this really adds to it.

Today I spent a few hours creating Batman capes. I didn't have a pattern per say... I was over at my mom's house (to borrow her surgor), and kind of did a mock up based on a Superman cape she had. I think they turned out great... 6 handmade capes (our three boys, our two nephews, and my niece) cost all of $28 in materials, and will be a fun party favor for each of the kids.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Friday, September 14, 2007

What else can we do?

This is the question we have found ourselves asking when it comes to consequences and the boys lack of obedience as of late. Here is our newest consequence:

Disobedience got them mopping up the entry way.

Unfortunately, it didn't take the first time... so we moved on the the bathroom.

Sadly, they still didn't understand what the rules were (even though they've been the same for 3 years), and we had to move on to the dinning room floor.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Apples... FALL.... MMMMMMMM

This week it has been very Fallish. Low temps, kind of foggy mornings, overcast afternoons... it has made me really ready to kick into fall gear.

So to get Fall started around the house, I made this (and boy did it leave an amazing smell drifting in the air):

Homemade Apple Sauce
3 pounds apples - peeled, cored and chopped
3 cups water
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1. Place apples in a large saucepan and just barely cover with water. Simmer over medium heat until apples are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Run cooked apples through a food mill or blender. Stir in the sugar and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat for about 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Let cool, and serve!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Missing the point...

The last few weeks have had some very good gospel readings about serving others, taking your seat at the bottom of the table, and the last on Earth being the first in Heaven. Of course with three boys, everything is a contest around here: first to wash his hands, first to open the car door, first in the shower, first on the potty, first to turn on the lights, you get the point. Perfectly normal brother stuff. Well, we've been asking them a lot lately, "Where would Jesus want you to be in line?"

So what do we have now?...

Fighting for the end of the line, of course... "I WANT TO BE FIRST IN HEAVEN!!!"

Ummm, I think we need to review this concept a little more. But it's a good beginning.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

NEA Resolutions

I got onto this topic because of an email from the Texas Home School Coalition. Here is the National Education Assocation's (the country's largest public school teachers union) Resolution on home schooling:

"The National Education Association believes that home schooling programs based on parental choice cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience. When home schooling occurs, students enrolled must meet all state curricular requirements, including the taking and passing of assessments to ensure adequate academic progress. Home schooling should be limited to the children of the immediate family, with all expenses being borne by the parents/guardians. Instruction should be by persons who are licensed by the appropriate state education licensure agency, and a curriculum approved by the state department of education should be used.
The Association also believes that home-schooled students should not participate in any extracurricular activities in the public schools.
The Association further believes that local public school systems should have the authority to determine grade placement and/or credits earned toward graduation for students entering or re-entering the public school setting from a home school setting. (1988, 2006)"

Here is a full list of their Resolutions. I write from the perspective of a home schooler, but a private school parent could relate to many as well. These are some of my favorite Resolutions:

A-4 Parental Involvement
They're cool with it, to a point.

A-24 Vouchers and Tuition Tax Credits
Opposed, of course. All your tax dollars are belong to me!

B-18 Left-Handed Students
Wow, they have a Resolution for everything!

B-27 Speakers of "Nonstandard" English
Don't be discriminatin' all up in here, my nizzle.

B-47 Sex Educaton
You can probably guess…

B-75 Home Schooling
As noted above, we're incompetent. We ought to be rigorously supervised and tested. Our kids should not have access to extracurricular activities, even though we pay taxes just like everyone else. You'd think if they were so concerned about our kids getting a 'comprehensive' education and plenty of 'socialization', they'd be going out of their way to invite us to extra-curricular activities.

D-21 Competency Testing of Licensed Teachers
So, let me get this straight. Homeschooling parents should be required to be certified teachers. And students must be constantly subjected to standardized testing. But teachers shouldn't be required to pass their own standardized tests in order to be promoted...

F-4 Tax Deductions for Professional Expenses
They want to deduct their out-of-pocket expenses for decorating the classrooms, but they don't want homeschoolers to deduct our books, supplies, furniture, field trips, etc.

I-8 Global Warming
They clearly need more science teachers on the Resolutions committee...

I-15 Family Planning
I can't figure why they're so into contraception and abortion. They do need people to have children for them to teach, right? Maybe they've figured out that contraception doesn't work, and they promote it in order to keep the kids coming into the system. More students = more funding.

I-45 Institutional Discrimination
They're against it, except of course for discrimintating against private and home schools.

That's really just scratching the surface. They have plenty of other screwy ideas and hippy dippy statements about world peace, nuclear disarmament, GLBTQ equality, human rights, etc. This must be the document that beauty pageant contestants study to prepare for the Q&A session.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Confession or Purgatory

If you don't want to hear me complain, come back tomorrow, and I will post something nice :-).

On with the show!

After Mass I'm not sure if the confessional is needed or if my purgatory time has diminished some!

After accidently sleeping in (because Snookie decided to grace the family with frustrated screaming Saturday night... all night, because his freagin' blanket wasn't just perfect), we missed the Monk Mass and were left with the option of going to 11am at our parish. (We usually avoid this mass slot at all cost, and usually attend 7:30am or 9:00 Monk Mass... but we screwed that up). So after a morning of getting ready and no food for the grown ups (yep we do our best to stick the fasting before Mass rule), we headed off to Mass. Fortunately we got there early enough to say the rosary as a family (the highlight of the experience), and even had a few moments to look over the readings/responsorial psalm/hymns songs for the day. As usual it was a mix of hippy dippy/Marty Hagen pieces with the only redeeming song being Faith of our Fathers to cap off the EVENT.

The family that sat down next to me consisted of a mom, and two boys around 10 and 12 years old. Both boys had hair that was entirely too long and shagging and all together unkemped and unclean. Oh, and the best part... the younger had a gameboy thingy which he felt was most appropriate to play in CHURCH. Then came the alter boys servers, out of the three boys and one girl, it appeared only one set of parents recognized that their child would be attending church... the others allowed their child to come in play clothes -- shorts, T-shirts, and my favorite FLIP FLOPS! But that's not even the best part... they of course didn't know what they were doing and even went as far as to remove items from the alter (CHALICE) before it was purified by the priest (yeah, we follow that rule at our church usually).

Oh, backing up a little to the music, this was the first week in more than a month that we actually got to hear the REAL responsorial psalm and not some watered down alternate ending with polictically correct wording (which is usually done in grand three headed opera monster style for greater effect)... although I did have to keep my head in the book... why??? Well, I do enjoy football (especially on the first Sunday night of regular season), I just can't stand being signaled of touchdowns during Mass...

Now, lets go back to consecration... I'm not sure the priest realized this... but he consecrated the bread twice and never the wine/blood... since I'm not real sure on the rubrics of that particular omission, I stuck with the Body of Christ this time... although technically we are not to be served under both species in a parish mass as large as ours (but that is just too nit picky now :-).

What other fun was had??? Oh right, the older boy next to me decided it would be way fun to attempt to knock down the pew wall in front of us (we sit the in the front so this is the wall instead of pew). This of course, after dismanteling pieces of the kneeler during the communion procession, and throwing/dropping them on the floor in front of us and then doing his best Harry Potter impression to make it return to his hand. And while technically it didn't fall down, it is simply a matter of time at this point after the amount of strain he put on it's hardware.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Conversation over breakfast

Bubba: "I had a dream last night. In it Darth Vader didn't fight Luke Skywalker, instead he hugged him and told him how much he loved him."

Bobcat: "I didn't have a dream, I was too busy praying to my guardian angel to help me fall asleep."

Snookie: "I had to tell Baby Jag (Jaguar... his imaginary friend) to stop playing around, and just go to sleep."

All are very telling of their true personalities.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

First Day of School

Today was our first official day of school... and it went surprisingly well. Seen in the previous post... we weren't sure if our real boys would show up, or the sadly misbehaved impersonaters that have been hanging out if for the last week.

For this year we have created a new routine:
Up at 7:00 and head off to breakfast.
Get dressed - Uniforms.
Read the Gospel for the day.
Morning prayers.
Work on our school work.
Once school work is done, fold uniform up and put on play clothes.

Snookie is done first and is sent off to gather books to read.
Next Bubba finishes, and meets up with Snookie for reading time.
Then Bobcat finally is done, and reads while I get the school room transformed back into the gameroom, and make any last notes in my book that I need to.
Depending on the time, there is free time - play time.

Lunch time, then nap time.
After dinner Daddio works with Bobcat and Bubba on reading/flashcards/math. And Bobcat works with Daddio and me with his 1st communion prep (that will start in a week or two).


It's a full day, but so far so good.

Monday, September 3, 2007

I wonder if Guiness would be interested... the world record for the longest time out. Unbelievably, the children were messing around in their beds again, at nap time. Total elapsed time out is nearing 4 hours. Seriously. It seems extreme, but I'm afraid I'll lose my cool if I so much as look at them. At least they're safe in their corners.

This is getting REALLY old. I am completely out of ideas. For the two who were in trouble last night (the 4th night in a row), they had plain toast for breakfast while the rest of us had donuts this morning. Usually loss of food is a pretty strong motivator for Bubba. But at nap time today, the temptation to climb up the bunk bed and play with Bobcat was just too strong. Original sin in its purest form, right? I think I can understand why God was always smiting people back in the day.

So, I was planning to make them run laps after dinner, but it's raining. I guess that doesn't have to stop us though. Bobcat still can't run (two more weeks of limited activity on the healing leg), but he could walk. I told them in my best scary dad voice, "You're not tired enough to sleep??? Believe me, you will be BEGGING to go to bed when we're finished tonight!"

What other creative punishments have you devised?

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Weekend Update

Hey, y'all (please note the proper spelling of y'all, it is not ya'll, that's just a pet peeve of mine),

I'm back from a week of training in lovely Wausau, WI. Home of my employer, Wausau Insurance. I'm all trained up on our "TotalValue Proposition." Please ask me how I may help you to control your total cost of risk with my expert, decisive risk management solutions.

Training is usually a beating - presentation skills, time management, group projects, etc. But actually, this week wasn't too bad. They could have cut some of the fluff and covered the really important stuff in just two or three days, but I met some nice colleauges that I look forward to staying in touch with. (Ending a sentence with a preposition is not a pet peeve of mine, in fact I think I read somewhere that it's allowed these days.)

And it's a lovely part of the country with many lakes and hills and tall trees. The harsh winters can be tough, though. My heart is in Texas. But central Wisconsin is very pretty . The weather was simply gorgeous this week. Highs in the 70's, lows in the 40's, trees already changing color. It's definitely given me the camping bug again, which I wrote about last week.

It's great to be home, and just in time to do my part battling the snot monster MommaLlama wrote about. It's coming under control somewhat, and it's nice that all the boys are capable of a good, hard blow of the nose. Bubba can really put some force into it. I thought a nice long, hot bath would help clear up some of the crud.

Snookie is really becoming more photogenic, with a more natural smile for the camera. They are all growing so fast. I talked with one of my coworkers at dinner this week who has three sons in their late teens and early 20's. He encouraged me to treasure every day with my little guys. And the absence really did make the heart grow fonder. When I'm traveling, I like to show people the family pictures in my wallet, from three years ago and last fall. That image stays in my mind, and it's a bit of surprise to come home and remember how big they are now. They seem taller than when I left, and Bobcat's limp is very much diminished, and their senses of humor and wit are maturing.

They are not quite at the level of sophistication required to appreciate such a fine work of cinema as Mr. Bean's Holiday, which we saw this afternoon. Maybe the Llama and I have quirky senses of humor, but this guy totally cracks us up. We thought the boys would enjoy all the goofy faces and crazy noises he makes. But they mostly sat there bored. I think they were disappointed that it wasn't animated... Oh well, at least it was matinee prices.

And, last but not least, the Llama's unbridled creativity and spontanaity have struck again. She has a tendency to paint rooms when I'm gone. She didn't quite finish before I got home, so I snapped a couple photos of her finishing up this evening. Isn't she cute on her ladder?



Not two minutes after I sent this post, we checked in on the boys' bedroom, and Snookie and Bubba were playing around, out of their beds, for what must be the 10th time in a month. Grrrr.... It is 10:30, and they were dead asleep when I woke them up from their naps this afternoon. I assumed they'd be exhausted from all the playing and the cold medicine. I even kept them up a little later than usual. Yet somehow they manage to find the energy for doing the wrong things at the wrong times. This is what I get for being all romantic and sentimental earlier in this post...