Monday, March 31, 2008


Bob has posted an update on one of their foster children, affectionately nicknamed Linebacker Dude. One line that he wrote caught my attention, regarding the way their boy has trouble with appropriate emotional responses. He apparently tends to observe what other people are doing and then "copies" them.

That got me thinking about our boys, and wondering to what extent they display that as well. As an example, our youngest (Snookie) thought he was afraid of dogs for a few weeks when they first came home to us. He had never met a dog or had a bad experience with a dog. But the oldest one (Bobcat) was absolutely, irrationally, obsessively terrified. Occasionally, Snookie would be laughing and playing with a dog, and then when Bobcat came around the corner and began to shriek, Snookie would cry too. Weird.

Above is a very early picture of the boys in the back yard. As you can see, Snookie is going under to pet the dog, Bubba is having a look (from a safe distance, but fairly brave), and Bobcat is very unhappy that we let them out at all. We wondered how to deal with that fear, how long to allow it, when to force him to confront it, just trying to find that right balance. One day in week five or six, I simply let the dogs out of their kennels and told the boys, "I promise they will not hurt you. You can stay on the couch as long as you want to." Snookie was the first to come down. They all got over it pretty quickly.

To this day (three years and seven months) we see things now and then, and we just aren't sure what to make of it. Whether it be irrational fears, over-reactions to minor stress (play time is over, breakfast isn't ready yet, time to go to church, other scheduling conflicts), or stubborn refusals to do school work. There are many displays of overly affectionate and precocious behavior around other adults. Baby talk, wanting to be held, to touch other people's faces and hair, to ask too-personal questions, to share personal details of their own. We struggle with boundaries sometimes - kisses are for family, hugs are for friends, handshakes are for strangers. It doesn't help that they are small for their ages. You would not attempt to pick up a normal-sized seven-year-old, but a tiny, cute, well-behaved one is somehow irresistable... Even some of our extended family members find these inappropriate behaviors cute and encourage them.
And we wonder, whatever we're seeing at that time, is it an attachment issue? An "adopted thing"? A "homeschooled thing"? Is it something WE are doing wrong? We try not to over-analyze and over-protect, but we want to make sure we are doing the right things. Then sometimes we talk to friends whose perfectly healthy and normal biological children have some of the same issues, and we wonder if our boys are just normal too? ML and I disagree occasionally about what is normal - shy or precocious child-like behavior - and what ought to be corrected. What is a reasonable expectation? We've learned to discuss these things calmly and patiently (at least we're trying). We wonder, do we just not know what "normal" is because we didn't know them from the beginning? Never had a baby, watched him grow, bonded with him from the womb, learned what makes him tick, what comforts him, how to read his nonverbal cues...
So, how should we, or any parents, deal with these questions and fears?
Number one is to trust our instincts. I believe that if you remain in a state of grace, then your "instincts" and your "conscience" are really the Holy Spirit's and your guardian angels' way of guiding you. So do what feels right, it probably is. The grace received through the sacrament of matrimony is special and powerful and sufficient for the raising of the children that God sends you.
Number two is to anticipate and even embrace "abnormal" behaviors when they show up. We expect them to regress a bit from time to time, and then take that opportunity to nurture and comfort and heal and bond with them. To refill their "love tanks", so to speak. I teased my wife's cousin about that notion a few years ago, but in retrospect, I think there's something to it. There are needs that they had unfulfilled early in life, and we should be happy that they are looking to use for satisfaction. It strengthens our bond. And they do get more confident and happy every day, and in turn so do we.
And finally, number three, we've decided that despite all of the stress and anxiety and wondering, we are going to make the most of the time that we have. They are growing so fast, and life is too short to obsess about whether everything is perfect. Just be together. Steve Wood of writes that love is a four-letter word spelled T-I-M-E. So whether we are on some weekend adventure, or just puttering around the house, being together is what the boys want the most. You don't even have to engage them all the time, just be in the same room while you read or write or sew. You're a comforting presence. And they'll ask you where you went if you leave, and they will come and find you, so you might as well hang out with them! I think foster/adoptive, even biological parents need to do their due dillegence and read up, study, investigate, even seek professional help when necessary. Try to understand what you are up against. But in the end, don't cling to those theories so tightly that you get yourself sick with worry. Just be together, and they will eventually become more and more secure and mature.


My new low golf score! Well, we only played 12 holes because of the rain... but still. I was on track to break 100. Okay, probably not, but at least it was mathematically possible! My old boss who is teaching me to play only did 16 strokes better. Sounds pitiful, but it was a lot of fun. I obviously need a lot of practice and probably some real lessons. But I had a few sweet shots, and even some decent putts. And it was FREE (well, pre-paid), gotta love that Eagle Card.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Another new recipe

Grilled stuffed jalapenos. These were good, and very simple. Cut the pepper in half, remove the seeds, insert a Lil' Smoky, wrap in bacon, and grill. Get the biggest peppers you can find so that you can fit the sausage in there. The boys liked them too, definitely not too spicy if you get all the seeds out. ML liked hers with some ranch dressing as a dip. This was my first time making these, got the recipe from a friend, and will definitely be doing them again and again. I used toothpicks, ML suggested putting them on a skewer next time which would make them even easier to handle. I might also try to get some cheese in there somehow. Anyway, this was the highlight of my weekend. Another trip to the ER (will post more on that later), my lost wallet (don't worry, I found it again), and the rain will probably keep me from golfing tomorrow afternoon. At least the food was good!

And the weather was nice too, the boys made the most of it by spending almost the whole day in the back yard.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


I typically avoid political discussions at work. But insurance people love this Eliot Spitzer story. He caused a lot of trouble in our industry, making himself out to be the truth, justice, and anti-corruption crusader. So the topic of his untimely political demise comes up from time to time in more casual conversations. I was politely and quietly eating my lunch today when the group I was with began ripping Spitzer a new one. One lady I know, very nice lady, loves to see pictures of the boys, very friendly and all, but she happens to be a big Democrat supporter, and I just had to throw in my two cents.

I said, as sarcastically as possible, "Could you imagine if a President of the United States did something like that? Surely he would resign out of shame and embarrassment... And his wife would probably walk out on him immediately and hide her poor face from the spotlight."

Her response was, "Well, that wasn't illegal, just immoral."

I didn't say anything else, but I was a little stunned. As if we shouldn't expect moral behavior from our President? As if it would have been worse if Monica had been paid? Is it just me or is taking advantage of a young intern and maintaining a relationship far worse than hiring some random hooker for a quickie? And, by the way, what Spitzer did is probably not even illegal in some places (Nevada, certain places in Europe maybe?)

I just can't understand why anyone wants anything to do with the Clintons at this point. Even Democrats have to be embarrassed by them, right? You'd think the Party would have asked them to quietly go away so that they could rebuild some credibility with the people. I'm really hoping she gets the party nomination because I just refuse to believe that a majority of Americans would actually put them back in the White House. It just can't be possible. Once things really heat up in the summer and fall, all of Bill's old dirty laundry will be aired again, and people will be reminded of how disgusting he is and was. I just have to believe she would lose.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Another music post

We recently purchased an album called, "How Great Thou Art: Gospel Favorites from the Grand Ole Opry"

We bought it because we happened to hear the Carrie Underwood version of "How Great Thou Art" on TV and were absolutely blown away. It is a very nice and simple arrangement, not a lot of "decoration" or "artistic license". Just pure and beautiful, with a slight Southern touch. And WOW, what a finish. Again, not a "diva" version, but man does she have some pipes. We immediately jumped on iTunes and bought the whole album.

And I am loving it. These are mostly old standards for those familiar with Southern gospel music. As Catholics, we don't know them all so well, but are really enjoying them now. The one getting the most play on my iPod this week is the Dierks Bentley version of "House of Gold", and I thought I would post the lyrics here:

Verse 1:
People steal, they cheat and lie
For wealth and what it will buy ...
But don't they know on the Judgement Day
That Gold and silver will melt a- way.

I'd rather be in a deep dark grave
And know that my poor soul was saved ...
Than to live in this world in a House Of Gold
And deny my God and doom my soul.

Verse 2:
What good is Gold and silver, too
If your heart's not good and true?
Sinner hear me when I say:
Fall down on your knees and pray.

I'd rather be in a deep dark grave
And know that my poor soul was saved ...
Than to live in this world in a House Of Gold
And deny my God and doom my soul.

The tune is beautiful, and the lyrics are the perfect message for me at this time. It keeps me grounded at work, and reminds me that I "work to live, not live to work" as the saying goes. A lot of people in my company, especially now that I work with producers on larger accounts, are very driven and motivated by sales and commissions. Nothing wrong with that in and of itself, but some of these folks really push the line. There's certainly nothing unethical or illegal going on, but for lack of a better word, many of them are just not very nice. You know what I mean? They're pushy, demanding, willing to bend the rules a little. And a lot of their families suffer as a result of their insane "work-aholism."

Having the iPod on something inspirational and uplifting during the day seems to help me stay on the right track. To work hard so that, yes, I will be successful and support my family, but also so that I can get everything done and come home on time. And to be charitable when I must be firm, and to avoid gossip (because I can't hear most of it!). So, I would highly recommend this album to any of you. Even if you are not a big country music fan, anyone could appreciate and enjoy the authentic and wholesome vibe, and make your music collection a little more eclectic.

I don't know Jack

I was playing solitaire on the iPod and tried to teach the boys how to play. Here's us discussing the Jack.

Bubba: What is the J for?
Bobcat: Is he the prince?
Bubba: King is the K, queen is the Q. Prince does not start with J. Right?
Me: J is for jack.
Bobcat: Is the prince married to a princess?
Me: Well, a princess can be a wife or a sister. But the jack isn't a prince. I think.
Bubba: The prince's name is Jack?
Me: No, it's not his name. He is a "jack". That's his title. Or his job.
Bobcat: What does a jack do?
Bubba: I think he's like a prince.
Me: I'm really not sure what his job is. I don't know what he does. I'll have to look it up.
Bubba: Oh, so we just call him Jack because we don't really know who he is?
Bobcat: No, he's just A jack! (rolls eyes)
Me: Be nice, Bobcat. We're all a little confused here...
Bubba: So, can we watch you play that other game now with the fireballs?
Bobcat: When I'm a grown up, I'm going to play lots of video games.

I'm going to go look up the Jack on Wikipedia now.

Update: According to Wikipedia:
"As early as the mid-1500s the jack was called the knave (meaning a male servant of royalty). The card came to be known as the jack during the middle of the 19th century, when card manufacturers began to label playing cards to indicate their value with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K, A. The obvious confusion between "Kn" and "K" led to the renaming of the knave, being out-ranked by the king. However, books of card games published in the third quarter of the 19th century evidently still referred to the "knave", and the term with this definition is still recognized in the UK."

There ya go.

Vote for Kevorkian...

...or else! You must check out this post from the Creative Minority Report. Too funny.

Seder Meal Wrap-Up

The Seder Meal on Thursday was by all standards here a success.

Fun was had by most, and every one was a good sport about trying new and exotic dishes!

On the mend

Hello (cough, cough) all... I think I'm finally on the mend. It literally has been a week of non-stop yuckiness in my head, but the coughing... hacking... and the all too fun drainage have made the pronounced appearance usually signalling the conclusion of my once a year blow-out illness! This year seemed to be the worst with the new and improved fever... many times over the last several days it would rise to 102 leaving me more exhausted than normal.

(hack, cough, clear thought, swallow hard)

With my voice still a shadow of its former self, and the cracks it makes from time to time... life is starting to return to normal.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Once upon a time...

Snookie is quite the story teller. Sometimes he sticks to the original script, but often times lately he breaks free with his own creative improvisations. He amused us for hours by the campfire last month, so I thought I would transcribe one that he was telling us this evening. This is pretty much word-for-word. Enjoy!

The Three Billy Goats Gruff

Once upon a time, there were three billy goats named Gruff, and they had swords. There was a bridge with a troll, and the littlest goat went first.
Trippety trap, trippety trap.
"It is I, the littlest billy goat."
"Oh no, wait for my brother, he's much bigger."

Then the second goat came, and then the last goat came, and the troll didn't eat them because they had swords. Then zero goats came, and the troll couldn't eat zero goats because zero means nothing.

Then they got on a spaceship. Well actually first they had dinner. They they got on the spaceship and went to see fireworks. Then they saw Lambikin. Then they had taquitos for lunch. And donuts. No, actually not donuts, they were pretzels and cheetos. Then they watched some other billy goats play baseball. Then they went back home and went to bed, and in the morning they ate cereal. Then they played, and then they did their job. Their job is to pick up their dogs' bowls and put them in the garage (just like Bobcat has to do every day after breakfast). They didn't have to take a nap that day. Instead they did something really fun, and it was Easter and everyone came over to their house. Lambikin came and they found Easter eggs and put them in their baskets, and they they ate carrot cake. Then it was over and they went for a ride in Lambikin's car. He could drive it because he was five years old. Then they went to bed and then they ate breakfast again and then it was Lambikin's birthday and he turned six years old.

The End (he had to go get in the shower)

Sunday, March 23, 2008


A couple photos of my rotisserie chickens from today. This is a very easy and delicious meal. Also pretty cheap as whole chickens are much cheaper per pound than cut-up pieces. These were each about $4. And I reckon they must be fairly healthy, right? We also had a really good ham coated with a mixture of bourbon and brown sugar before baking (a la Martha Stewart on Conan O'Brien).

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Seder Meal

Tomorrow I'm going to make a Seder meal! We've been a part of a Seder Potluck in the past (we did a little of the Seder stuff, then it was a free for all on normal potluck stuff), and I decided that we... our little family could actually do the whole meal.

So I've been doing the research, pulling together the recipes, and gathering the bits and pieces I will need! We even found an appropriate red wine... King David no less!

What's on the menu?

Here's a list... I will share pictures tomorrow or Friday after all is said and done!
-Roast Lamb (by the way, a lamb roast is rather pricey... yikes!)
-Spinache Cassarole
-Green Salad
-Rice Seasoned with herbs

I'm following the information at this website! It's a big undertaking (especially now that I'm not feeling 100%), but I really think that the benefits are much greater than the work to provide a special Holy Thursday celebration!

What are your plans?

It disappeared...

My voice that is. Apparently somewhere in the night some little creatured creeped in and stole my voice. There is literally nothing there when I try to talk. If I try really hard it comes out in this wierd strained whisper that hurts like the devil... add to that a cough that only makes my throat more angry!

What does that mean for our day... play time in the morning, and hopefully finish up our school work a little later when I can actually teach.

Now what could be causing this... oh I don't know, maybe the snow, then 90 degree weather, now cold and rainy. SERIOUSLY, what is going on???? My body can't handle all the sudden changes, I guess it is staging a strike of sorts.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Papier... what????

I thought I would share with you the little project we are working on this week... it isn't done, but I figured someone might be inspired by it and had I waited... it might be too late for them to do it too.

So what is it.......... a TOMB! The boys and I are building a tomb to sit on our table as the center piece for Easter.

Supplies (that I used):
Floral Stem Wire
Floral Wire
Wire Mesh (for clay sculpting)
Cake Cardboard
Wire Clippers
Papier Mache Mix (I made my own, just found a recipe online)

I used the stem wire as the main structural form. It is thicker than regular floral wire (on a spool). Then I cut long strips of the wire mesh to cover the stem wire. I used the thinner floral wire to connect all the joints and mesh together... twist tie style.

To attach the main structure to the cardboard I simply pushed the stem wire down the the cardboard and taped it down. Originally I that I wanted to have a free standing tomb, but decided for the overall integrity of the structure it needed to be fully attached. Here's the wire tomb. Tomorrow the papier mache will be added, and hopefully if all goes well by Wednesday we will be able to paint it!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Raising Up Mommy

Raising Up Mommy: Virtues for Difficult Mothering Moments
(A Women of Grace® Life Guide)
By: Heidi Hess Saxton

How many Be A Better Mom books have you read? How many times did you feel you were being preached at by someone who’s never walked in your shoes, or the author wrote as if you were a child? That is not what you will find in this handy little guide.

Mrs. Saxton has organized her thoughts and message around the seven deadly sins and their feminine counter virtues. Not sure if you fall into a particular pattern of sin? She has provided easy yes or no questions to better help you assess where your weaknesses might lie. Then with practical application and encouragement she leads you on a path of virtuous mothering.

One of the things I like best about this manual is Saxton’s honesty. She opens her own life, and that of her family to help illuminate the sin at hand. I immediately felt a connection to her writing when she spoke of the “mommy monster” that she struggles with, and any mom willing to put herself out there like that is a mom I want to hear from. She admits that she is on “the journey” just as we are, and her style is that of you and a dear friend sharing your mothering experiences with one another.

Woven throughout the book are loving quotes from the Saints, the beautiful message of John Paul II in his numerous writings on the feminine condition, uplifting scripture, and the teachings in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. She reminds us all of the beauty of the Church and the constant need of the sacraments that give the grace that we need inorder to fulfull our vocation. I truly think this would be a wonderful guide to study with a group of ladies. This is a great tool to explore more fully the beauty of motherhood, and the help and encouragement to be more fully in tune with how our Heavenly Father wants us to nurture.

My recommendation… to all my dear Catholic mothers in search of a helping hand… go and get this little book!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Brother helpin' brother

I had to take care of a few chores, and I've been working with the boys are taking some ownership over their school work... thinking that it might help them focus a little better. Their instructions were to finish the assignments then hit the living room for a little reading time. They could read to each other or read on their own, I didn't mind either way. Passing by the living room this is what I found. Bubba with the book in his lap, and Bobcat patiently helping him when Bubba came to a word he was having trouble with. As I continued about my chores I heard things like "it's okay Bubba take a deep breath and try one more time", and "that is a long vowel"... Apparently all my words make an impact, it just takes a while...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Culture with no tolerance

Yesterday was an adventure!

Daddio stayed home so that I could go to my ob appointment in the morning sans kids (and got a little peak of Nicole's newest sweetness), drop off a prescription, return something, then came home for a quick bite.

Once the boys were up from their nap we headed out for our usual Tuesday shots for Bubba's allergies, then we headed off for a little culture... ART! At the Kimball Art Museum the current exhibition is Picturing The Bible: The Earlies Christian Art. Tuesdays are 1/2 price, and both Daddio and I wanted to see it... and this seemed the perfect opportunity to take in this showing. The pieces they had were amazing. And thanks to the Audio Tour units, you are really able to study each piece without standing there to read every single plaque... walking back and forth between plaque and image to take in all they are talking about (I have to go back and forth because I can't see the wall mounted plaque in such low lighting).

About half way through Bubba got pretty close to a sarcophagus, I should say pointing VERY NEAR... and out of no where appeared a curator who stuck to us like glue the entire rest of our journey through the exhibit. Things were going fine until Bobcat decided several stops later that he too wanted to point out something he saw and ask a question, and so again the curator was right up our crawl. Now, both times we kept the boys from ever actually touching the stone, and they were quickly reminded to put their hands right back into their pockets... but the little man right there... really not necessary to have him literally follow us around!

It was very clear to me that either they should have had taller stand for those items, or they should be behind glass! After recounting this story to Matilda this morning on the phone, she filled me in on a few other's experience with this same museum. It turns out that they are not child friendly in the manner they (the establishment) treat families... including ushering picnicing families off the garden area because they were to close to the outdoor sculptures.

All that said, it was a splendid exhibit! So if are a grown up and live in the area, you should check it out!

New Snookie-isms

1. "Mommy, was I about to say something?"

2. This happened at Mass this past weekend... we attended our local parish... "Daddy do you reNember when Mommy said to Bobcat that we were going to Monk Mass?" Apparently Snookie was just as distracted as the rest of us, and unable to meditate on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that day with all that was going on.

3. If we see impressionist statues and the boys ask about it, my comment is usually "It's ART." On the way home from the gardens on Sunday Snookie spotted something all excited, "Is that AN ART?" Well, actually it was an old satelite dish... you know the large metal ones that look like they belong on a space station or something.

4. The boys all have an old cell phone of ours that they keep in their car seats to play with. From time to time they will 'call' us up in the front, but the latest thing they've picked up is 'taking pictures' with their (non-camera) phones. They simply hold it up, yell out for us to say cheese, then make a clicking sound for the shutter! Well, Snookie took one of me the other day, and I asked how the fake digital image came out on his screen... his reply "oh PERFECT-LY". I think he must have caught my good side!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Take Two

Okay, Spring is back (for now). We went for a picnic at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens on Sunday. There are a lot of things budding and blooming already. The new boardwalk (I say new, it appears to have been built in 2004, but we'd never seen it before) is fun and educational, and there are a lot of great settings for portraits. We may dress up and go back for some more in a few weeks when it's even greener and more flowery. Overall a very fun afternoon, although we were cut short by the rain around 5:30. Here are some of my favorite photos:

Cashmere Bouquet

I believe this is nandina?

Mexican Plum Tree

Boys by a waterfall

Boys in a log

Ode to the time of day...

You Are Sunrise

You enjoy living a slow, fulfilling life. You enjoy living every moment, no matter how ordinary.

You are a person of reflection and meditation. You start and end every day by looking inward.

Caring and giving, you enjoy making people happy. You're often cooking for friends or buying them gifts.

All in all, you know how to love life for what it is - not for how it should be.

H/T to Red over at And Sometimes Tea

Thursday, March 6, 2008

So much for "Spring!!!"...

Remember these? Spring is still under there somewhere...

Daisy prefers warm toes. But the statue looks pretty in the snow.

This is probably the best snow these Texans have ever seen! So light and soft. Not that icy sleety crap we usually get. You could ski on this stuff, I imagine. And you can actually roll a snowball. This Snowman is as tall as MommLlama. We put him on the patio so he'd stay out of the sun and outlive all the neighbor kids' totally weak and lame snowmen. Ha!

We made a fort by filling a 5-gallon bucket with snow. By we, I mean ME. I tried to get the boys to help, but they weren't interested. So I got to karate chop it down all by myself. Oh yes, I did. Just like the Little Red Hen, if you don't help bake the bread, you don't help eat it! Look it up. I'm sure there will still be a lot of snow tomorrow for them to make another one.

Bobcat needed some help getting his boots off.

Wintery Mix

Or so they call it... we had really great snow fall earlier, flakes as big as quarters! Now it is raining, with some snow mixed in. Mostly things seem mushy!

When it rains...

it pours! Both outside and inside we've found ourselves in storm season. Casa de Llama has been anything but peaceful as of the last few months. For whatever reason the boys really never came back from our Christmas break. Most days I'm met with fierce resistance from the troops (Bobcat and Bubba), and to say that my own patience is waining would be an understatement!

Hopefully the new schedule Daddio and I discussed last night on our last minute date will help difuses our stressful schooling.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


I almost always misspell the word "intelligent". I want to put just one L, and turn the second I into an E. I also frequently misspell the word "misspell", as I want to use just one S.

I was going to say those things were ironic, but honestly I'm not sure I'd be using the word "ironic" properly... Maybe I should have been homeschooled. I took A.P. English (and passed both exams), but that was just getting by with the minimal effort required. I think if I had been the only one in my class, the teacher might have realized that I wasn't really trying. I didn't learn to really work hard and apply myself until the third year of college. Not an ideal time to figure that stuff out, with so much on the line. I probably could have had a much higher GPA.

That's one of the many reasons why we homeschool. We're not trying to make the boys into geniuses, but we do want to guide them closely and encourage them to do their best. Your best is always good enough for God.

That's not to say that kids in regular schools can't be encouraged to work hard and persevere. My parents probably could have kept closer tabs on what I was supposed to be doing. But I know from personal experience, and siblings have corroborated, that it was not that hard to get by with a lot of laziness and procrastination. Both at school in a large class, and at home in a large family. If you're not causing trouble, you can just fly under the radar, and nobody's really going to pay that much attention. Again, I'm sure a lot of parents do a great job of keeping tabs on everything and providing the right mix of support, encouragement, and discipline from a distance. I know most of my friends had very involved parents, and I was actually jealous despite their frequent complaints. I never wanted to admit when I needed help. I knew it was my own damn fault for creating the mess, so I was afraid to ask for help. So I just waited until the problem got bigger and bigger, and hoped for a miracle escape. It was a scary and lonely feeling. More often than not, things somehow worked out in the end. The problems weren't usually as bad as I imagined them to be. Once I quit farting around and just got down to work, it wasn't all that difficult. But that wasn't the right way to do it. I was stubborn and lazy, and I needed discipline.

It comes down to personal freedom. You can only force a kid to do so much. A person has to decide for themselves that they will have a good attitude and apply themselves. But I think I could have used a little more "training" in that area, earlier on, instead of getting myself into so many desperate situations.

I think our boys are a lot like I was. They have some really rough days where they don't want to do anything. They won't answer questions, won't read, and act is if they've just seen that flash card for the very first time in their life (2 plus 3 does not equal H!). But their good days are wonderful - they get things done quickly, ask very insightful questions, and read up a storm. We want to form them and help develop that work ethic so that they will take advantage of all that potential. It's about virtue.

Monday, March 3, 2008


Her name is Maggie (short for "Magnificat"), but we call her Smoochy most of the time. That name came from her affectionate nature, always giving little doggy licks and kisses (yuck, but the boys love it). And also because we really liked the movie "Death To Smoochy", which we had recently seen. Anyway, here is Smoochy aka Smoocher aka Smooch aka Maggie Moo aka Magamuffin, before:

And after:

It's her first real haircut. She isn't a breed that requires frequent grooming (we don't do high maintenance animals), but we thought we would give it a try, to see if she would shed less, and require less brushing, and stay cool for the summer. A bit premature, perhaps, as it's supposed to snow tonight... Anyway, we are getting a big kick out of how different she looks with short hair, but a still poofy tail and head. Looks like a Dr. Seuss character to me.

A look at History - March 3

1845 - Florida became the 27th state in the United States.

1845 - The U.S. Senate passed legislation overriding a presidential veto for the first time.

1875 - Georges Bizet's opera Carmen debuted in Paris, to cool audience reception and panned by critics.

1879 - Belva Ann Bennett Lockwood became the first woman lawyer to be admitted to appear before the Supreme Court of the United States.

1913 - A women's suffrage march in Washington D.C. was attacked by angry onlookers while police stood by. The march occurred the day before Woodrow Wilson's inauguration. Many of the 5,000 women participating were spat upon and struck in the face as a near riot ensued. Secretary of War Henry Stimson then ordered soldiers from Fort Myer to restore order.

1918 - Germany, Austria, and Russia signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.

1931 - The "Star-Spangled Banner" was adopted as the national anthem.

Birthday - Railroad car builder George Pullman (1831-1897) was born in Brocton, New York. He improved railroad sleeping accommodations, developing the folding upper berth and lower berth designs. His company went on to become the biggest railroad car building organization in the world.

Birthday - Telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. Bell and his father were involved in teaching deaf persons to speak. Bell developed an interest in the vibrating membrane as a method of electrically transmitting sounds. His very first sentence spoken on the newly invented telephone on March 10, 1876, was to his assistant, "Mister Watson, come here, I want you."

Birthday - Mine! 1979

How did we celebrate...

camping of course!
Some of our trip can be found here!