Tuesday, May 27, 2008

If I won the lottery...

I don't want anyone to think that I spend all day thinking about what I would do if I won the lottery. The whole thing seems stupid and irresponsible. I can't say it's a moral issue, although I do suspect that many people who really can't spare five bucks spend their kids' milk money on lotto tickets. That doesn't make the lottery itself immoral, but that and the ridiculous odds keep me from buying tickets ordinarily.

However... my office wanted to set up a pool when the mulit-state powerball or whatever it was approaching $200 million. I really hated to part with my $5, but I sure as heck wasn't going to be that one bozo interviewed on the news the next morning explaining why I chose not to play along. So, I succumbed to peer pressure, and naturally I spent a few minutes in the car on the way home deciding how to spend my winnings. We'd have had to split it 24 ways, which would only be $2-3MM after taxes, but let's assume I had it all to myself, or how about we just say I had enough money to buy whatever I wanted, okay?

First of all, yes of course, charitable contributions, sharing with relatives and friends, etc. etc. I would have to give all that a lot more thought. But today I'm just thinking about what I would buy for myself, once I'm done being generous. So here goes.

-House - No matter how wealthy I was, I would feel ridiculous living in a mansion. I just don't care to have more space than I really need. In fact, we probably wouldn't even leave our current house for several months because we'd be too busy traveling (get to that in a minute). But once we were ready to come home, I'm thinking we'd be more interested in having a pretty little plot of land. The house wouldn't matter much because you wouldn't be able to see it from the road. I don't know how many square feet exactly, but I'm thinking we would like one big bedroom for the boys to share (I know, billionaires and still making our kids share a room, how cruel... but I think it's good for them to be together, and they actually like being together.) MommaLlama would like a craft room, and an ultimate homeschool classroom. I'd like a separate office (our computer is in the master bedroom these days). Really nothing too extravagant. It's about a few wooded acres and a modest swimming pool. I've always liked Spanish mission style architecture with stucco walls and tile roof. Other than that, the house is not too important.

- Car - I have always been a huge car nut. This would be a tough one because while again I would feel guilty owning a car that costs more than most homes, I really really really want a Ferrari. Red, of course. My latest crush is the new California roadster. It just does it for me. I might convince myself that a Corvette was enough. Or I might convince myself that the Ferrari was a good investment/collector's item. However, I intend to actually drive my Ferrari as much as possible. I don't care what that does to the resale value. I'm rich, remember? I think my Mazda would still be fine for day-to-day use. And our current SUV would still be fine as a family car, see no need to upgrade there. No Rolls Royces or Mercedes for me, I would feel like a show off driving something like that. The Ferrari is different though. That's not showing off - that's driving the car that I had posters of as a kid. That's a dream come true, not just conspicuous consumption. Are you buying that excuse?

- RV - I would definitely need an awesome Class A motorhome. I'm not talking those crazy $2 million gold-plated rock star tour buses. Again, that's just over the top. And I don't want lots of TVs and electronic junk in it either. Just something big and comfy so that we can take homeschool on the road for a few weeks at a time. Unit study on geography, and then a trip of the Grand Canyon, the desert, the Rocky Mountains, the Pacific Coast, all the way up to Alaska. And a convertible Jeep towed behind it, because you need something small to get around in once you park and set up the motorhome. Nothing extravagant, but the boys like convertibles, and going off road.

- Travel - Rome would be first. Not sure what next. I don't think we'd want to be gone all the time, but we would want to see many interesting places. And we would fly first class because it is really cool. I had the chance to upgrade with some of my frequent flyer miles in the past couple of years when I was traveling for business a lot, and it is just really comfy up there with all that leg room. I know it's kind of wasteful, but you know, that's how we roll.

I think it's a pretty short list. I'm more about interesting experiences than simply acquiring things, you know. Alright, so that was all silly and frivolous, but there you go. Feel free to do your own and let us know in the comments.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Compassionate Communism

And you thought the Chinese government was cold and heartless...

China Makes One-Child Policy Exception for Earthquake Affected Families

"If the couple's legally born child is killed and the couple is left with an illegally born child under the age of 18, that child can be registered as the legal child — an important move that gives the child previously denied rights including free nine years of compulsory education."

How generous...

Especially today, I truly thank God for the life we enjoy as Americans.


I've been reading Fulton Sheen's Peace of Soul. It is fascinating. I tried reading it before, a couple of years ago, but got distracted and put it down. They play some of his old recorded sermons on the radio early in the morning, and he is such a powerful speaker that I decided to try the book again. It's not the easiest read (if most of what you read is fluffy and entertaining) but it is worth the effort.

As a former psychology major, I'm finding his critique of modern psychotherapy very interesting. He acknowledges that therapy has its place and uses, but it cannot by itself get to the heart of issues that are rooted in a troubled soul. It can work well alongside good spiritual direction, but it could also lead to deeper problems if not properly applied. He talks a lot about mining the subconscious versus examination of consience.

There are so many great little tidbits that I've been highlighting. Here's one that I think applies well to many current events.

"By denying any ultimate standard outside of self, one can escape all self-blame and go through life on a perpetual mission of face saving. Marxism is one form of the denial of conscience - because it blames our sense of inner tension on economic conditions. Other ideologies trace the existence of the consience to the influence of the herd. Such philosophies all assume that a person is other-determined, rather than self-determined. They deny that man is free, and yet usually claim for every person a right freely to choose is own opinions."

That last sentence really struck me. People who claim "freedom of choice" in matters of sexual perversion, divorce, abortion, etc. have a faulty argument because they have denied absolute truth. They have reduced themselves to animals acting on instinct. But animals do not have freedom. It's a paradox (if I'm using that term correctly) that those who submit to God are the ones who have true freedom. We are able to recognize right and wrong, and we are free to choose good.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Too Much Attention

MommaLlama found this article at Adoptive Families Magazine online:

Too Much Attention, By Marybeth Lambe, M.D.

She has many children of many different races, and she is somewhat perturbed by the frequent attention and compliments that some of them receive, compared to the others. The line that caught my attention was, "Are our darker-skinned children unusually attractive? Or is it possible these compliments mask a subtle racism?"

Very interesting, and I had never quite considered it this way. We really do get a LOT of compliments on the boys. And I always took those compliments as just that - compliments. How nice of them to say something. Thanks, they are beautiful, aren't they! I know, they really are well-behaved today, we're very proud of them. It has occured to me that the attention is frequent and unsolicited, but I assumed that people are just interested in their story. They think it's nice that we've adopted. Maybe they grew up in a time where racism was more prevalent, and it makes them happy to see us doing away with old stereotypes. Maybe it gives them courage to consider inter-racial adoption themselves. We try to assume the best motives in people. I never sensed it as "subtle racism" as the author discusses.

The author notes that her dark-skinned children receive far more attention than her "normal" white kids. That presents a dilemma for all of them - the white kids are jealous, and the brown kids are self conscious and dislike the attention. I wonder if I would feel differently if we had white children as well and noticed a difference in the amount of attention they received.

So far, our boys just love any and all attention. (Maybe a bit too much, as we've discussed previously.) One day Bobcat told us, "Everyone thinks I'm cute!" Maybe one day they'll feel differently, as they get more aware of what makes them different from other people. We have noticed occasionaly some people with just a little too much interest in the boys, to the point of making us uncomfortable. (Especially MommaLlama - her feminine intuition is pretty good, I've learned to trust it.) But I bet every parent has felt that way about another adult at a playground or someplace. Something just raises a flag inside and you watch your child and that adult a little more closely. You don't want to accuse them of anything obscene, but you feel protective all of a sudden. You wonder if your guardian angels are telling you to stay on alert.

So I'm going to think on this a little more. I don't want to be naive. I want to see things from every angle and be able to understand how our boys see the world. I don't want to pretend that there is no racism. But I expected racism to be negative, as in ignoring us, refusal to make eye contact, or even outright rude comments. I would not have expected it in the form of false compliments.

Anyone else have any thoughts on the matter?

Thursday, May 22, 2008


I'm super excited, Daddio just emailed to say that he was able to secure a sitter for an evening away... WOOHOO... we need it, desperately. Not so much because of the boys, but because work (Daddio's) has been super stressful, watching someone elses child during the day (who is a doll, but different), and our non-stop schedule of appointments.

Very rarely do we get to spend an evening (away) together, I have therapy or he has to work late... so Saturday we are heading to a friend's home for a birthday... BBQ and libations!

On the ankle front, I only have 10 more sessions before they (PT's) think I will be released. And as of last Friday I was released from my ortho. He feels that I'm progressing, but I have to be careful due to the fact that I can easily re-injure it and it be WORSE than the initial injury (he's a real confidence booster). So I'm supposed to keep my brace or boot close at hand, and wear them anytime I'm feeling uncomfortable or unsure of the terrain.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


These gas prices are crazy. And we have it pretty good in Texas, compared to some other places. I can't imagine how some folks are making ends meet these days. Young folks and hourly wage folks are spending their first hour's pay just to get to work and home again. I try to keep it in perspective. We're lucky that gas is still a fairly small part of our family budget, and that MommaLlama is able to stay home with the kids and not drive much. But seriously, anything that doubles in price in three years is going to have an effect on most families' budgets.

I get 32 mpg and will drive about 14,000 miles per year. Had I bought a Civic instead of my little Mazda, I'd be getting about 2 mpg more, which even at $4 a gallon would only save me about $100 per year. The very low interest rate and much cheaper insurance (apparently Hondas get stolen more frequently) more than make up for the slightly lower mpg. But it's still hard putting $50 into the tank of a supposed "economy car".

I remember the first time it cost us more than $10 to fill up MommaLlama's old Geo. It must have been 1999, and we were used to 8-gallon fillups at about 90 cents per gallon. Parting with more than a $10 bill almost gave us a heart attack. Now, try 31 gallons at $3.72... Yikes! We have yet to break $100 because we usually tank up well before the warning light comes on, but it's only a matter of time.

Until hybrids and electric cars get cheaper, here is a good article for those who are looking to scrape a couple extra mpg out of whatever you're currently driving. To summarize:
1) Inflate your tires properly, perhaps even plus 2-3 psi. Check them every other week. Lower rolling resistance = better mpg.
2) Slow down. The difference between 60 mph and 75 mph can be significant, maybe 20% better fuel economy. And let's face it, with kids on board and frequent potty breaks, what's the point of trying to "make time"? Just leave earlier. An added benefit of not speeding is that you never have to watch for cops, and you rarely have to pass anyone else. Just park it in the right lane, Gramps, you'll get there soon enough.
3) The most efficacious tip is to accelerate and brake gently. No need to beat that other guy to the next red light. Keep your rpm's low, short shift in a manual or watch the tach and let it upshift below 3000 rpm in an automatic.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Another Coupon Installment

A co-worker of Daddio mentioned that the Spanish Paper has great coupon deals... and those come out on Saturdays (and they're free I think). She's been kind enough to pass on her unused coupons for my savings box!

This past week my overall savings percentage dropped slightly, but my actual coupon savings jumped up!

MFG Coupons: $22.74
Plus Card Savings: $14.75
Total Savings: $37.49
Percentage Saved: 22%

I've also had to upgrade my coupon organization system... at the moment I've moved up to a 3"x5" card file with MANY little dividers, instead a 12 pocket coupon holder. I already can see myself wanting a wider box (4x5) or something since many of them have to be folded, but for now (and since I already had one that wasn't being used for anything) I'm happy with it! Plus I love making my own little dividers (and as many as I want) so that, for me, things are easy to find and file.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I beg to differ...

...with Matilda. Camels are adorable. I present the following evidence:

These camels live in a field next to highway 287 in Electra, TX. We've seen them each of the last two times to Caprock Canyons, but never so close to the fence. I just had to pull over and get some mug shots.

This is not rocket science.

I may have ranted on this topic before, but a new post at Creative Minority Report got me off on a tangent, so I thought I would rant (again?) over here.

It's about kids in church. It seems that those of us whose children actually behave in church are in the distinct minority. I'm not saying this to brag. Okay, maybe a little. But I'm telling you, folks, it's not rocket science. We do expect our children to sit quietly for an entire hour. Oh, the humanity.

At first we wondered whether the boys could handle it. We did have some rough days where one of us had to take one or two of the children to the bathroom or the car to address the situation. But we really haven't had to deal with much of anything since Snookie was three years old, and even at age two he was very very good most of the time. These days, we actually leave the boys who are too young to receive communion sitting in the pew alone for a few moments while we go up to receive (the reason for that is our distaste for lay extraordinary minsters giving "blessings" to children - a post for another day, or maybe I've already been there, too), and they do just fine when left alone for no more than 30 seconds (obviously we sit as close to the front as possible so that we can keep an eye on them and the people who pass by them). As MommLlama once pointed out to me, if they can sit for two hours to watch a movie, they can sit for a one-hour mass. Granted, the movie is probably more interesting, but we know they are physically able to sit still, and we do sit in the front so that they can see what's going on.

How do we work this magic? Here's the big secret: If they do well, they get a donut. If they act up, we spank them. Profound, isn't it? The spanking only had to happen once or twice. I sure as heck was expected to behave in church as a kid, and we expect our kids to do the same. MommLlama remembers how her mother would carry the wooden spoon that served as a paddle at home in her purse. If she and her sister began to act up, mother would silently slip the handle out of the purse for them to see. My mom would quietly reach over and dig those (fake plastic) finger nails into your neck. We can't figure out why our parents now have such low standards for their grandchildren when they were so authoritative with us. Maybe our kids are cuter than we were.

I suppose everyone is just used to seeing kids standing in the pews and talking and crying and playing with books and games and bags of coco puffs. We've seen the look on people's faces as we sit in front of them. They dread it and sometimes even look for a new seat. I don't blame them, they've probably had many bad experiences. But after about 20 minutes they realize that our kids are actually not terrorists, and then after mass they can't help but praise their good behavior. This praise is received literally almost every week. Sometimes it's an older couple who tells us how terrible their own grandchildren are. Sometimes it's a mother of pre-teen or teenage kids who still haven't learned, and she wants to know what our secret is. We usually give credit to the Holy Spirit, or joke that we aren't above bribery. The truth is quite simple. The boys know their choices. One is tasty and sugary, the other is made of leather and worn around my waist.

Maybe they think we must have been really mean to scare the children into submission. You know what - I'm not too concerned about what they think. Because I'm not responsible for those strangers' eternal souls, but I will have to answer for my boys' upbringing.

And lest you are tempted to agree that we are too strict, I should say that sitting still in mass is only part of the church experience. We read the week's gospel reading at the dinner table the night before and explain what it means and how it applies. Pennies for the candy machine go to anyone who can answer a few simple questions about what they've heard. (Snookie's default answer is, "Jesus was with his disciples." He is expected to dig just a little deeper now...) These days, Bobcat likes to read the gospel passage himself before I read it to everyone - he is so proud of himself for being able to read scripture, and he receives a lot of praise for his efforts. We discuss the reading again a bit in the car on the way to church the next morning. We ask the boys to listen to the preacher, and there is yet another reward at home if they can tell us anything that he said. Overall, it's a challenging, but fun and rewarding experience. Just like anything else worth learning or doing. I suspect that many parents push their kids a lot harder on the sports field than we do at church.

So, I don't think our boys are growing to hate church or religion. They don't always like to wake up (who does), and most days they'd rather go and play. But they're learning to embrace it with a good attitude, and they are confident that they will do well. We were amazed how quickly they learned the responses to the mass. We used to have them sit during the parts where we kneeled. We didn't think they'd be able to kneel for that long, and would be mad that they couldn't see over the pew. But one day, Bobcat and Bubba asked to kneel with us, and the smiles on their faces were so wonderful. They wanted to learn and participate with us. So we decided to keep the bar at the level they had set. They had proven what they were capable of, so we held them to it the next time.

We've long suspected that many people who gave birth to their children just don't know when to draw the line between "baby who doesn't know better" and "boy or girl who should be able to sit still for a while". We got our boys at 2, 3, and 4, so we never knew them as babies. They were our babies, of course, but really they were little boys, not infants. We decided to see what they were capable of, and they kind of blew us away. Were our expectations always reasonable? I don't know. We tried to be sensitive, to admit our mistakes, to trust our spouse's instincts, to allow the boys some regression or acting out. But we always tried to discern the difference between truly "not old enough" to behave a certain way in a given situation, and simply "not trying very hard." We still do try to evaluate ourselves and consider how much school work they can handle in one day, how well they should behave for a sitter (kids gotta cut loose and enjoy "Grandma rules" now and then, but they also have to obey certain family rules no matter what, when, or where), how early they really need to go to bed, how long they need to nap, etc.

And we routinely see kids who must be nearing 10 years old and are still sleeping on a parent's lap or messing with the kneelers or whining about being hungry. And there is simply no reason for that.

Finally, I'll share a great story from a coworker of mine. He has two daughters, and one time when the eldest was horsing around in church, he made her go up to the pastor after the service and apologize to him for not listening. He says she was terrifed and ashamed and cried so much that he could barely understand her. But, she never did it again. Incidentally, this fall she will go off to college on a full scholarship (part academic and part athletic) because he could see what kind of quality she was capable of, and he expected her to live up to her potential.

I'll rant about children's Liturgy of the Word some other time...

Caprock Canyons 2008

If anyone out there is interested in some of the many pictures we took this year at Caprock check it out here: Caprock Canyons - Mother's Day 2008

You will find several sub-ablums... everything from the wildflowers of the pan handle, to an interesting assortment of critters (including a horn frog... seriously, in the wild!!!).

The drunk substitute

Check out this story:


My dear wife's response: "I'd be drinking, too, if I had to substitute teach in a public middle school."

And that's (partly) why I love her - her ability to crack inappropriate jokes about disturbing news stories.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A quick plug

for a blog that I'm enjoying: Stuff Catholics Like

It is a group blog that is both funny and informative! Go now, check it out, you'll like it, I PROMISE!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Another Harry Potter Article

I thought this article was very interesting:


Here's a short passage:
"Rowling does not employ the biblical definitions of 'evil' or 'good.' She has both sides relying on the same power source (magical), both sides resorting to similar philosophy for discerning right from wrong (subjectivism), and both sides using comparable acts to further their own, albeit different, goals."

It's an older article, written in 2003, but I just happened to come across it today. I'm sure we've all had enough of the Harry Potter debate, and heard all the arguments on both sides. But I thought this one did a good job of summarizing and was very easy to read and understand.

I haven't read any of the HP books myself. There are several reasons:
-Mostly because I have no interest in that genre. I've never been into fantasy books or movies, not even as a kid.
-I must admit that I don't devote enough time to reading these days, so I'm certainly not going to spend any of the time I do read on that kind of stuff.
-I haven't fully made up my mind about the spiritual aspects of it, but I've read some very convincing arguments against it. Better to be cautious, knowing that there are so many trustworthy alternatives.
-I've also heard that the writing itself is just not very good.
-And there's just a part of me that resists anything trendy. MommaLlama and I are perfectly content to ridicule and mock them.

So I'll probably never bother with Harry Potter. And don't bother telling me that it's wrong to judge them without reading them first. I simply do not have time to read every single piece of crap that gets published or watch every crappy movie, just to determine first hand whether I approve of it or not. It is perfectly legitimate to form an opinion based on reviews by trustworthy sources who have already done the research for me. I hate being told not to be "judgemental". That's what parents do - we judge. It's our God-given right and responsibility to judge everything that our children may be exposed to. Just because we cannot judge individuals' souls doesn't mean we can't discern right from wrong.

Camping Extravaganza!

We're home... as of Sunday evening!

So you read the previous post as to the woes of Thursday morning... unfortunately what was chronicled was really just the tip of the ice berg as it were.

By 12:30pm we still hadn't heard back from the glass people so Daddio re-phoned them and told them that we would be camping out in front of their shop until they fix it... so off we went to their location. Naturally we thought that we were nearing the end of our rough start. Upon arriving we are told to pull around the side (into a Sonic parking lot) and unhitch the camper so that the BEAST can be pulled into their garage. No problem. Daddio pulled around, hopped out and set to work on removing the camper from the hitch... yep, you guessed it, calamity struck again (are you noticing any sort of pattern). While using the jack on the front of the camper it broke... but not before it was quite high enough to come off the hitch attached to my car. Looking around Daddio spots a Jeep shop... surely they will have a floor jack that will get the camper high enough... NOPE... short just about an inch from even touching the frame. In the mean time I run inside and ask the mechanic from the glass shop if he can just come around the side and do the repairs there until we can figure out the hitch situation... NOPE, I was rudely asked how they were to get electricity out there... Hell if I know... don't YOU go to people's homes and repair this stuff without the use of their electricity... I was told they could only do the repair in their garage or wait for another mobile unit to come back to the shop and they had no idea when that would be (it was 1:30pm by this point). While Daddio looked around, prayed, and tried to stay calm, I called the camper guy and explained the situation... Thankfully he was super nice about the whole thing and stopped whatever he was doing and came out immediately (about 30 minutes or so for him to arrive). While we waited we had the brilliant idea of pulling the pin from the hitch extender... and I simply drove forward and we were free... with the hitch extender/ball still attached to the camper.

So into the garage went the Beast with Daddio... I was sent to handle clean up duty! At some point during this whole little escapade Bubba had gotten a bloody nose, and proceeded to SNEEZE all over the backseat before gaining control with kleenex... it was all over him, the windows, the seats, seat belt... so over to the Sonic bathroom for some much needed water and wipes. And to keep the kids out of Daddio's hair we stopped at the picnic tables and order some ice cream to pass the time.

The camper man came, and had the hitch jack thing replaced in about 5 minutes (long before the window was fixed)! Finally at 3:30 we were on the road... camper in full working order, the window (without tint... poor Daddio's left arm), and everyone happy to be on our way.

Our original destination was supposed to be Palo Duro Canyons, unfortunately due to the ridiculously late start that was simply not an option. We don't know the park, and finding your way around so late at night with a camper didn't seem like the smartest move. So we decided that we would stop at Caprock Canyons (which we are quite familiar with), set up for the night then re-evaluate the situation in the morning... maybe continue Friday the rest of the way.

We arrived at the park at 9:15ish pm, went right to the hook-ups and began the process of navigating (backwards... which Daddio had yet to do with the camper attached). Thankfully a wonderful couple that were across the road stepped out of their camper and were nice enough to guide us right in (on the first try... yeah Daddio and Mr. Powell). With the neighbors help, by 10:00pm Daddio was taking a hot shower in the camper and the boys and I were munchin' down on some popcorn!

As it turned out, our neighbors were also headed to Palo Duro... but due to flooding in the canyon, they were told that most sites were not able to be reached due to high water crossings... so it would seem that in all that happened the Lord had once again protected us from something that we were yet to know. If we would have attempted to make Palo Duro that night we would not know about the water situation, we would have been arriving well after dark and business hours, and may have gotten into serious trouble not realizing how deep the water was!

How was the camping trip... WONDERFUL. The weather was fantastic, the camper was a real treat, and our new friends helped us out immensely (seasoned campers in RV's of all sorts, they were always there when we needed help, advice, and a few beers... not to mention their instant affection for the boys... gotta love the grandparent nature)! We decided to stay put the whole time!

All in all my ankle held up well. The camper had a freezer in it, so I was able to bring my ice pack... any down time I iced up! And I have to say, having an A/C was wonderful during the first two nights, and then a heater on the third night when a cold front moved in! Oh, and the potty... if you're a lady and a tent camper, the mornings (or middle of the night) are tough... but not in a camper :-). Oh, and being able to shower in the camper, then blow dry your hair in your camper, that was cool. Mostly not having to lug stuff over to the shower facilities (which are quite nice at this park, don't get me wrong)... being able to cycle all three boys through there, then pitch them right into bed!!! AWESOME! Plus with the current burn ban, we were still able to do all our cooking inside... and eat real -- tasty food.

Will we rent a camper again... YES!!!!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Ready, set, wait...

Well, it just wouldn't be a Llama family event without some sort of setback. I went to pick up the travel trailer last night, and once I got hooked up, the car's battery died. Reminiscent of our slight delay heading to the beach last year...

No problem. We're resilient! Throughout our entire marriage, there have been setbacks in major and minor modes, and we roll with the punches. It all started when the DJ didn't show up to our wedding reception. (Isn't that awful? It's okay, I hate dancing. Perfectly content to mingle and eat! We did have our first dance, as we just happened to have "our song" on a CD in the car, and they played it over the house speakers.) So it's almost become a joke between us - what will happen next? We've learned to expect the unexpected, and to maintain high spirits and a good sense of humor.

Anyway, I got a jump start from the guy who rented the trailer, and drove straight to an NTB store. I figured it may hold the charge and serve us for another year, or it may strand is in the desert... so $120 later, I've got the awesomest battery in the world (it better be!) with a three year warranty. Alright, so we're home a little late, but still plenty of time to pack and prepare for an early morning departure. I'm thinking our "expected unexpected thing" has occurred and we are in the clear. You see it coming, don't you?

After a late night and an early morning, I go outside to prepare some things. It's still dark, and as the sun rises, I walk around to the front of the car and notice that the front driver's side window is broken! Yes, someone has broken into the car! Fortunately nothing was missing except for MommaLlama's Chevron card. I called to cancel it, and there have been no attempted uses. They went through the console and glove box, realized we have a boring factory stereo, boring factory wheels (no "Dubs" for us), no DVD player (it's a matter of principle), and an odd taste in music (besides, even if they did like Gene Autry and Yanni, why steal CD's when you can steal mp3's online?). So they moved on, and there is no other damage to the car. The friendly neighborhood police officer tells me that there were several other cars hit in the neighborhood, which is very unusual for our modest but fairly clean and decent little subdivision. He says we were lucky that they didn't break into the trailer (no kidding! I put down a big deposit!), or steal my tires. The window will be another $200, and of course I carry a $500 deductible in order to get a lower premium.. Oh well, it's cheaper than a windshield (which does have a crack, but certainly not a priority now), and we do have that economic stimulus coming our way in the next week or so.

I'm particularly bummed because I always park in the garage, for this very reason. And I worked hard to organize it well enough to fit both cars in there. But with the trailer attached and nice weather on the horizon, I figured it was safe to leave it outside this one night. Oh well. Praise God that it didn't rain!

So MommaLlama has taken Bubba to the allergist, the dogs to the kennel, and herself to PT for a good ankle wrap, in my car, while I've been vacuuming up glass and packing the car and trailer. The glass repair man is supposed to arrive by noon. (We are insured by my employer, so I will be very disappointed if the service isn't excellent.) It's 9:46, and I had hoped to be gone by now, but we'll still make it there with plenty of time to spare, assuming that all else goes well!

So, faithful reader(s), please say a prayer for the rest of our trip:
-that we drive safely
-that we not damage anything as we learn to use an RV for the first time
-that MommaLlama's ankle will behave
-and that the weather will stay beautiful

We'll report back with photos on Sunday!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The perfect crime

We saw this story on the news last night and I just had to laugh.

"Tracy Roberson's husband, Darrell, found her in a compromising position inside Devin LaSalle's truck on Dec. 11, 2006. He shot and killed LaSalle after his wife falsely claimed she was raped, prosecutors said. The grand jury declined to indict her husband on murder charge, instead indicting Tracy Roberson on manslaughter charges. After deliberating for hours, a jury sentenced the 37-year-old mother of three to five years in prison Monday night after convicting her of second-degree manslaughter on Friday."

Now, you know the husand is secretly pretty pleased with the whole situation... I know, I know, difficult emotions, feeling bad for the dead guy's family, he deserved to be punished but not to die, casting the first stone, etc. But dude, come on, he gets to shoot his wife's lover AND she goes to jail! I'm sorry to be unchristian (again...) but this is AWESOME, right?

Another excerpt:
"Defense attorneys had argued that Darrell Roberson never believed his wife was being raped when he caught her with LaSalle. They portrayed Darrell Roberson as a man who was out to kill LaSalle regardless of a rape accusation. "He's a jealous, controlling husband, and he was racing home with the expectation of finding something," defense attorney Jill Davis said."

Ummm.. hello! It's not like the poor innocent wife never gave him any reason to doubt her faithfulness. "He was just expecting to find something..." and he did! Bang. How convenient that she cried rape. Justice is served.

Of course the husband says he feels sorry about everything, regrets the death, thinks his wife should have gotten parole... Yeah, right. I bet he also told her he'd visit every weekend...

Read the whole story:

Monday, May 5, 2008

In response to "truequest"

I received an interesting comment to my previous post about the abuse scandal. I'd like to respond.

The commenter wrote: "Did Christ say to strike others when they strike you or did he say to turn the other cheek?"

The bible reference is taken way out of context. There's a difference between forgiving those who sin against me, and being outraged and desiring justice for those who harm children. If I were to come home and find a burglary in progress, should I turn the other cheek and offer him my wife's jewelry box in addition to the electronics he has already loaded into his van? Should we turn the other cheek and not fight against abortion? Slavery? Child prostitution and labor? Don't be absurd.

The commenter wrote: "Most pedophiles are married --HETEROSEXUAL-- men."

Thank you for helping to prove my point that celibacy has nothing to do with the sex abuse scandal. And, be careful not to put words in my mouth. I did not say most pedophiles are gay, I said that most of the priests accused of sex abuse were gay. I did not even use the term "pedophile". In fact there was very little pedophilia involved in the scandal. As noted in the following article, "the overwhelming majority of cases involved a disorder called ephebophilia, a term that refers to sexual attraction to minors who have arrived at puberty (i.e., teenagers)."


The commenter wrote: "I ask you to reconsider your attitude towards people who are different from you. I hope you will consider the language you use around your children. What is going to happen when they join the workforce and will be required to work with all types of people including gay men and lesbians?"

How do you know what language I use around my children? I assure that I do not discuss things like this around my children. I agree that "homos" is not the most charitable term, but golly gee, I'm just not feeling very charitable towards these evil men. May God have mercy on their souls, I hope they do repent. But that doesn't mean I have to like them. As a parent of children who came from a dangerous home, and having relatives and friends who have been subject to abuse as children (I will not elaborate here), it makes me absolutely sick when I consider this topic. When the boys are older, I will teach them to be politically correct enough not to get in trouble at work. But I will not teach them to "respect" the many psychological disorders - that's exactly what they are - being promoted as valid alternatives to normal, traditional families and marriages.

This link is excellent.

Yo, 5 things...

I've been tagged... so here goes:

5 things on my to-do list for today:
-Check dog accomodations for this week's camping trip (DONE)
-Make dog accomodations for our beach trip in a few weeks (DONE)
-Make next week's PT appointments
-Play with the 4 boys

5 places I've traveled to:
-Disneyworld (for a band trip in high school)
-Cruise: Cozimel, Roatan, Cancun (well, we sailed past Cancun but couldn't get off the boat due to weather)
-Philidelphia (when I was really little, our last trip there was when I was 4)
-Fort Collins, Colorado (we went with my dad on a business trip when I was in junior high)
-St. Louis (several times now, including once to see the POPE!)
Sorry, I'm not a well traveled person... I'm hoping that will change some day!

5 snacks or treats I enjoy:
-Wheat thins
-Graham Crackers

What would I do if I were a Billionaire (I wouldn't have any debt :-):
-Set up a support fund for foster/adoption ministries
-Buy a larger property so that we could adopted and/or foster more children
-Start a family business (I have no idea what, but something that we would run all together)
-Buy my husband his dream car (and me one too)
-Eye surgery for both my husband and me ... NO MORE CONTACTS/GLASSES!!!

5 places I've lived:
-Lake Charles, La (born)
-FW, Tx
-Denton, Tx
-Lewisville, Tx
-Argyle, Tx
Again, not that interesting!

5 jobs I've had:
-Coffee shop girl
-Wal-Mart Jewelry Counter (HATED THIS JOB)
-Catholic Book store (manager, inventory, accounting stuff... pretty much everything)
-Receptionist at an insurance agency (and personal assistant to agent)

5 people to tag...
If you haven't done it, YOU'RE IT!

Families like mine

On Saturday we spent the afternoon with a new and great adoption group, Families Like Us! What was so cool, wonderful, encouraging, relaxing, and fun about this group had to do with the fact that we all looked similar... Transracial Adoption. The children ranged from african american to bi/multi racial... all shades of brown. It was BEAUTIFUL. Nearly all the children there happened to be boys, and all around the same ages... which was really a happy coincidence. The parents shared their stories while the children ran and played.

Out of our three, Bobcat really recognized the fact that the children were brown and parents were white (which he said something to the effect "I know why the boys were all brown and the parents were white, it's because we were all adopted"), and he thought that was so cool... so cool that in this group we were all the same... NORMAL if you will!

I can't wait to do more things with this group, I really enjoyed the feeling of being ordinary within the group! It was definitely a chance to recharge before going back out into the world where we are different.

Coupon Groove

Okay... I'm starting to feel like I'm hitting somewhat of a coupon groove. I found a store that accepts online coupons!!!! YIPPEEEEE!!!! I've mostly figured out how to plan according to the weekly circulars... it took a while to go off of what was on sale, not what I thought I might be hungry for in the coming week. And overall Friday's shopping went much smoother than the previous week, and saw the biggest percentage of overall savings!

MFG Coupons: $11.50
Plus Card Savings: $27.07
Total Savings: $38.57 (26% savings on total)

Here's a new source of coupons I found... you do have register and get some annoying emails (which I automatically send to 'JUNK'...), but the coupons are pretty good!


Friday, May 2, 2008

Funny clips

This post has three YouTube clips of Craig Ferguson's speech at the White House Correspondents' Dinner last week.


I thought he was pretty funny. Total of about 20 minutes, well worth watching. He took some jabs at both parties, and at the press. I love the President's reaction to his Pope joke.

The President's speech was also very funny, and included some video highlights of past speeches!


Thursday, May 1, 2008


I think this topic will kind of be an on going discussion here... where I discuss, and hopefully you guys will help me :-).

Online coupons are cool! Except when one of the stores in our area (we only have two with in a decent driving distance) won't accept online coupons. That is one of the reasons I'm navigating the newspaper coupon world! All this double/triple coupon talk is also interesting... but there again it isn't quite what it seems. For those few who are also testing the coupon waters and are looking for direction (I don't have much, but what I've found I will share), here are some websites that I've found or been told about.

Online Coupons (these are ones that I've been pretty happy with and don't receive a ton of junk mail from... side note most of the junk can be avoided if you watch the sign up process and uncheck stuff):
Smart Source

Helpful Websites (claiming they can teach you to be an expert couponer, results yet to be seen in the Llama Land)
The Coupon Mom - Free (this is where I learned about the circulars in my area, and she has free E-books with advice)
The Grocery Game - Not Free (She does tons of reseach, there's a nominal fee that I'm not quite ready to commit to)
Biblical Womanhood - E-books (She even offers online courses for better coupon usage)