Thursday, July 31, 2008


Want to hear something exciting... (okay so it probably will rate in the negatives on your own personal excit-o-meter)... my Math-U-See order came today. I placed my order on Tuesday morning, and this afternoon I had a knock at the door from the lovely brown truck!


I love ordering season... it's like my birthday all over again!


The boys and I were out and about this morning running a few errands (Daddio's birthday is Monday and we needed to get the loot)... and I hear this from Snookie...

"Mommy, I know how to talk with my lips closed!" "Mmmmmammmmoooommm mmoomommmmmaammmmm."

The kid has talent!

It finally happened

I mentioned before that MommaLlama get addicted to stupid movies. She recently rented a movie called "Strange Wilderness". It's one of those dumb teenage movies that's supposed to be so shocking and absurd that it makes you laugh. Sadly, it was just plain stupid. Terrible story line, terrible acting. I'm serious, this wasn't just one of those "I'm offended and I refuse to laugh" kind of movies. We have a pretty high tolerance for those. We've seen Super Bad, Napolean Dynamite, Meet The Spartans, even Borat. We would never let our kids watch them, and certainly would never pay to go to the theater to see them, but I admit that we are always curious enough to put them on our Netflix list. But, this one was truly just so BAD that we couldn't imagine why anyone would be amused.

So, it finally happened. She shut it off halfway through and did not finish it. I had already taken a short nap and then got on the computer to do something else. I assumed she would see it through to the bitter end. But amazingly, she turned it off.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A morning funny...

Daddio sent this to me in an email this morning, and I thought you guys might enjoy it as well... and if you think about it for a few seconds you can almost see B16 doing it!


The Pope and Hillary Clinton were on the same stage in front of a huge crowd. However, both of them have been in front of crowds before, so, to make this time more interesting, Hillary said to the Pope, 'Did you know that with just one little wave of my hand I can make every Democrat in the crowd go wild?'

He said, ' O.K., show me.'

She waved. Sure enough, every Democrat in the crowd cheered wildly. The cheering then subsided as quickly as it started. The Pope, not to be outdone by such arrogance, thought about what he could do to answer her stunt.

'That was impressive,' the Pope said, 'but did you know that with just one little wave of my hand I can make every person in this crowd go crazy with joy? What's more, this joy will not be a momentary display like that of your people, but will go deep into the hearts of this crowd. They will forever speak of this day, and they will rejoice.'

The senator doubted this, of course, and said with a smirk, 'One little wave of your hand and all people will rejoice forever? Show me.'

So the Pope slapped her.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Working Dinner

Last night on the way to rehearsal, Daddio and I stopped for dinner... a working dinner. Why working? Well, I needed to make my homeschooling curriculum order proposal to him... I had 7 variations to what I wanted to order and wanted to run it by Daddio for his take on the situation. I think he was kind of laughing at me just a little... I had everything organized in spreadsheet format (including individual prices, and total cost - without tax/shipping though), checklists of what will be covered in the new math program we are switching too, and even the information on the Latin program I was considering. I had everything printed out so that he could look at the information as I made my pitch. To tell you how anal I am about my ordering and organization, I've been working on it since January. I've spent all this time going to all my curriculum providers (and the ones I don't use) to see who is starting what and when, what the different homeschool forums are saying about different books, are there any new editions, and can I find them cheaper anywhere. I take my role as homeschool mom very seriously!

We ended up going with Option F (I had A-G), and this morning I placed my orders! Woohoo!!!!!

Now I patiently wait (ha ha ha ha ha ha, patiently, ha ha ha ha). In the meantime I'm creating my own lesson planner/calendar. The last three years I've purchased them from different teacher stores, and every year I find one just a little better than the year before... but never just right... so now I'm just going to make it myself... and wait!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sorry, Al Gore

Sorry, Mr. Gore. We're keeping our SUV.

$120 for a tank of gas is a pain, but we can cut back on driving. I will not put my children into one of the fashionable clown cars that the liberals want us all saving the environment in. My Mazda3 is about as small as I am willing to go. It was affordable and gets good mileage and has many airbags. But I know enough physics to understand that, depending on who hits me, I could lose, no matter how safe my car is. I accept that risk. Did you know that federal crash tests are mostly performed with collisions between cars of like size and weight? A 5-star safety rated subcompact is still going to get creamed by a 3-ton truck. There's just no way around it. Airbags are nice, but size matters.

Meanwhile, I feel better knowing my wife and kids are running around in something heavier. If some punk in a Civic rear-ends her, it'll be his loss. Is it wrong to care more for one's own family than for random strangers who might have to eat your trailer hitch if they tailgate? I don't think so.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Have I mentioned that this weather SUCKS? Perhaps you fellow Texans have noticed as well. You just can't do anything outside but swim. (Angie and Jon, you can expect us to invite ourselves over sometime this week.) And there's still all of August to go.

I guess as a parent, I shouldn't use the word "sucks". I promise I don't use it around the kids. I had a funny conversation with MommaLlama a few months ago, where we agreed that the word "sucks" is really terrible and disgusting when you think about it (stop thinking about it, pervs). But we agreed that it was darn near impossible to come up with a good substitute. I mean, what else are you going to say when something just... sucks?

We also heard a comic on TV recently that said, "I know I'm not supposed to say 'gay' any more, but how else am I supposed to describe a fanny pack?"

Oh, here's a funny story from the weekend. We were at a retreat for adoptive parents Saturday afternoon through Sunday morning (I'm sure MommaLlama will write more about that later) and the first evening was dedicated to strengthening your marriage. We were shown a powerpoint presentation on the meaning of commitment, and told to write sappy love letters and invited to read them aloud to the whole group. So, of course, we did NOT get up in front of the group, despite the facilitator's not-so-subtle prompting! I don't know if we just feel that we really do work on our marriage a lot and didn't need the practice right them. We were really there to learn about adoption issues. Of course we tried to learn something from it and appreciate the experience. But, we ended up sitting at the giggly table. Three other couples along with us could not stop laughing for about 45 minutes while all these other folks got up and shared their lovey-doveyness with the whole room. We felt terrible, but we just couldn't stop. One guy wrote a poem. Two or three sang to their wives. One lady who had arrived in a wheel chair decided to stand up to read her recommitment letter, and we bad kids in the back of the class were just cracking up because it was, for some reason, so funny that she could walk all of a sudden. I mean, she probably could stand for short periods and she just wanted to be closer to him. But we were all, "Oh look, a miracle, their love has cured her!" What is wrong with us? I don't know, but the more we looked around the table and saw other people trying to contain their laughter, the harder it became to not laugh. One lady said we were all going to hell, but she was practically in tears herself. I guess you had to be there. We had a great time. I'd say we actually did bond with each other, even if it wasn't the "right" way.

Dang, I was good!

Warning: This post got really long but I'm too lazy to edit. Read at your own risk of boredom.

Dang, I was good! Was being the operative word. I was once an All-State euphonium player, at age 16, my junior year in high school. I placed 11th out of 12, but I was ecstatic to be there! And I got the huge patch for my letter jacket and was selected to be a drum major the next year, so it was truly the highlight of my young life. I will admit it, I was hot stuff. Band chicks dug me. I had pretty girlfriends (including my future bride) and many great friends.

(Coincidentally, Bubba's godfather made State the next year. We didn't know each other because we lived 400 miles apart. We met in marching band at UNT our freshman year, but didn't keep in touch after I dropped out. Then three years later, our wives became friends and we got together for dinner and went, "DUDE, I know you!" Small world. He is a successful band director today, and I am a repressed band nerd, working for The Man.)

Anyway, a few years ago, MommaLlama and I decided that we should do something musical. We hadn't played in years, but she owned several thousand dollars worth of flute, piccolo, and custom head joint. It was either play again, or sell and buy a new car... of course we had to play! I didn't own an instrument (a good euphonium can cost many thousands of dollars), but I also knew how to play trombone, which can be much more affordable if you only need an intermediate level instrument (well under $1,000). Trombone and euphonium use the same size mouthpiece and play in the same key and sit next to each other in band, so I had learned the slide positions throughout middle- and high-school, so I felt that I could pull it off even though I hadn't played much before.

So, to continue the story, we found a band to join, but after we started our family, and I was traveling often for work, I couldn't commit to regular band attendance, so for a little over a year, there was no music other than singing in the car and shower. Very depressing times.

Fortunately, we have recently contracted the services of some very reliable and conscientious young babysitters and I have been able to rejoin the band. And, apparently some of my 17-year-old swagger is still around. I dusted off a copy of a solo that I played my senior year in high school called "The Blue Bells of Scotland". It is probably the most difficult piece that I've ever played. I absolutely killed it. My range was five and a half octaves without breaking a sweat. I got a first division ranking at the State Solo & Ensemble contest.

Naturally, I was eager to play it again. Perhaps I could get it up to snuff and ask our director to let me play it at a concert in the not too distant future. I've hacked away a couple of times, and I have learned a couple of things:

1) I am severely out of shape with regard to my stamina in the upper octaves.
2) While I was incredibly fast on euphonium, which uses valves (i.e. "buttons"), moving one's arm quickly and accurately to play such a piece on trombone is really really difficult!

Still, I was feeling confident. That is, until tonight. I downloaded a recording of the solo from iTunes. The professional trombonist Joseph Alessi is just awesome. And I am really not. I probably won't give up. I want to play it again, someday. And we play before some very forgiving audiences (retirement homes, churches, civic functions). If I could play it cleanly at half the speed of Mr. Alessi, it would be quite an accomplishment. But, right now I am feeling pretty sober. We'll see if I am able to pull this off any time soon!

Happy Birthday!

Our first "baby" turned nine this weekend. I'm not a "dog person", really, but there's just something about these critters of ours. I think Daisy has taught me a lot about patience, and hopefully the boys have benefitted. She was my first dog, and I'm glad she's been around. It's been interesting as she grows, because she is sort of a timeline of our relationship. We got her before we were married or even engaged, but we knew that it was imminent. Some people do promise rings, we got a beagle. She lived with Mommy for a year and a half until our wedding. Happy birthday, lazy bones! Enjoy your ginormous rawhide and your new pink collar.

And here's Smoochie. We don't know her actual date of birth. She was from a shelter, and they suspected she was at least two years old because she had all of her teeth. That was about five years ago, so we estimate the age of seven and gave her Daisy's birthday. Thanks for all of the laughs, silly mutt. Enjoy the new purple collar that's hiding somewhere under that fluff. You'll be getting another haircut soon.

Friday, July 25, 2008


So, I've ranted about dumb anti-Catholic nonsense before.

I've found another article to get me riled up this Friday morning.

Catholic critics ask pope to lift contraception ban

Nothing unusual here, it's mostly the same tired old BS. The Pope should allow contraception because we don't think it's a sin. Well, regardless our reader's views on this (I know not all of you are Catholic), you must agree that some of these lines are just plain stupid. For example,

The letter, written in Italian, said the Church's anti-contraception policy "has had a catastrophic impact on the poor and powerless around the world, endangering women's lives and leaving millions at risk of HIV."

Let's take this slowly. First, the part about poor people. What exactly does the Church have to do with the price of contraceptives? What, do they want the Church to give it to them for free along with groceries at food pantries? Do they want Mother Teresa's Sisters of Charity to hand out condoms and pills on street corners, instead of focusing on healthcare and education?

Also, the "risk of HIV". Ummmm... if you wait for marriage and don't stray, where's the risk of HIV? The only ones at risk of HIV are the ones who hook up with HIV-infected people. The Church doesn't want you doing that in the first place. I can't imagine someone picking up a hooker, and when she hands him a condom, he says "Oh no, I can't use that, I'm Catholic." If you were practicing your faith, you wouldn't be in bed with strangers to begin with.

Another excerpt:
The letter was signed by groups such as Catholics for Choice, which is U.S. based, We Are Church, which has branches in numerous countries, and New Ways Ministry, which helps minister to gay Catholics.

Please help me understand why the gay people want contraception?!?!?! They do know where babies come from, don't they? Here's a hint: Two dudes in "love" might be at risk for a whole lot of nasty things, but pregnancy isn't one of them.

Seriously, they're just not trying very hard. I would be embarrassed to write an article that presented such weak and illogical arguments.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bobcat's questions...

Just two of many questions Bobcat had for me while I worked around the house:

What do you call drops of snow?

What do bats say?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


A few more interesting statements, this time from Snookie:

A few weeks ago:
"Mommy, are you looking for hay for to get me with?"

Today on the radio he heard the announcer say 'Wednesday'.
"Wednesday, that is a day for us."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Never thought I'd say...

Things you never thought you'd hear yourself say:

"Is that a burrito in your pocket?!"

I guess he figured he'd save it for later. Bonus points to the first one that guesses which boy this involved.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sue the sun?

This story made me laugh:

New York Parents Say Hot Playgrounds Burning Kids

"Parents in New York City said their children are getting their feet burned while playing on blistering hot playgrounds."

As they say in seventh grade, "No sh*t, Sherlock!" How about putting some shoes on, dummies. Look, I'm all in favor of safety. It honestly scares me to think of some of the stuff that we were allowed to do just 25 years ago. And it makes me sad to think of the freedom we had to roam our neighborhoods unsupervised all day long, and how we can't let our own kids out of our sight these days. But come on now... complaining about hot playgrounds??? What are you gonna do, sue the sun?

You wanna talk about getting burned? When we were kids, the McDonald's playgrounds were all metal, and they were outdoors. Try sliding down the Hamburglar or climbing up inside of police chief Big Mac's head. And this was in 100-degree Texas heat, not New York. But did the hot weather keep us inside? Of course not! Just slide faster so you get to the ground before you develop second degree burns on your rear end (and your thighs, remember those short shorts, even for boys?) Some people are just so whiny these days.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The car show

Look! A teeny tiny car!
Bubba's favorite (a 3-wheeled Batman motorcycle)

Mommy's favorite (Shelby Cobra)

Bobcat's favorite

Daddy's favorite (Thunderbird)

Snookie's favorite (Luigi from Cars)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A bad after school special... rerun!

"After School Special"... my generation tosses this term around a lot to describe a plethora of situations... at times I feel like I am connected slightly to one. I mean, I have a sibling with 2 children and 2 baby daddies for crying out loud. One of the children is now in the care of my parents (by court order)... that is a freakin' mini series in the making. But that's not my reasons for bringing this concept up today.

Thursday there was a knock at our door just after dinner time. It was our very new neighbors next door. (That morning I sent a very excited email to Daddio announcing that after more than 2 years of that house sitting vacant we finally had someone moving in.) She and her daughters came over to apologize for her dogs and the animated conversation they were having with our dogs up and down the fence line... and to introduce themselves. What started out to be a normal first meeting of neighbors became a lesson in not focusing on what we were clearly seeing... a battered woman. There was no mistaking it from the moment she swept her hair back that had mostly been covering her face. Black eye, bruised forehead, swollen lip. Once we noticed that, our eyes also found marks on many other areas of her body that were exposed. Soon our first encounter with out neighbor was over and we all went back to our respective homes.

Of course inside, it was just a matter of moments before Daddio and I turned to one another and began discussing what we had just seen.

Cut to yesterday... Friday... after dinner Daddio took the boys out front to play while I finished cleaning up the kitchen. I came out for a short time to see how things were going. I noticed when the new neighbor turned to me that her face looked worse. Not five minutes later Daddio was ushering the kids quickly in and telling them to shower... come to find out there was a police officer next door speaking to her... and my boys LOVE the police and were naturally inquisitive, but didn't need to hear any of what was going down.

It was after this that she confided the obvious. Daddio came back in, and we had a little chat about what it means to us living next to this situation. She's left her husband, but the abuse is still occurring and there are children involved. We pulled together resource information (the local women's center hotline) as recommended by my SIL (who counseled in that environment). And as bravely as I could muster (um, I hate being even the least bit confrontational... you may remember Daddio teasing that I don't even like calling to order the pizza, there is some truth to that) I walked next door and gave her the information and began a long conversation with her.

Like the cheesy and poorly acted after school specials, came this comment from her... "He's a wonderful father, he's just a bad husband." SAD!

We know this perpetrator will be in our neighborhood at times for pick-up and drop off of the children. I would be lying if I said that I'm NOT worried... I am!

My dear friends and readers, I ask that you pray for this family and that no further crimes are committed!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Something to do...

Last weekend was pretty lazy for us. This weekend I feel like doing something. Searched the interwebs and found the Christian Classic Cruisers car show. We actually drove by last month's show on our way to a band concert and were totally bummed that we didn't have time to stop. I think I saw a new Ferrari F430 out there, and a whole bunch of Corvettes, old and new. So tomorrow night we are heading out to nurture the boys' infatuation with fast cars and to play with the camera. Any readers nearby should meet us there!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Do you have the time?

I'm working out a new plan... I get so frustrated with the constant parade of "is it time for lunch?", "when are we eating dinner?"... I worked hard (I thought) teaching time in the spring to the boys but even Bobcat had a really tough time catching on. So now I'm teaching practical application (till we start school up again).

Today was the first day of our trial... at 10:00 I was asked by Bobcat if I could fix lunch... after I said no (and tears began to stream down his face), we walked over to their practice clock. I explained what time it was at that moment (showing the practice clock and the real clock in their gameroom), then I told him we would be eating lunch at 12:00. We worked through the practice clock and the real clock... and then I headed off to work on more of my chores.

At 11:00, Bubba annouced that it was nearly time for lunch... he got his 'hands' confused. So we again we went through the song and dance of which 'hand' is which and what they mean. We went back to the practice clock and worked it out again. They are happily playing again, and watching for noon to roll around.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Randomness Wednesday

1. Cough, cough, sniff, sniff, SNEEZE, SNEEZE, SNEEZE, SNEEZE... repeat! That is Bobcat's theme song right now! Why? Well, we can't give the poor kid any allergy meds because of a dr.'s appointment on Friday... for allergy testing! The worst of it is when he is still... sitting at a meal, nap/bedtime, or reading time. Just a few days left, and we will hopefully have something for him that will help ease his sufferings! (Sidenote... all play has to be indoors to try to help him out due to all the cruddy allergies outside right now... ugggggggghhhhhhhhhh).

2. The dogs need to be bathed, and I'm not sure I'm up for it today!

(Men scroll down quickly, now!)

3. I'm pretty sure that my left ovary has a spoon and is trying to tunnel out... holy crap does it hurt (it started up on Sunday)... and now the pain is radiating up my back... STUPID OVARY! (Hence why I don't think I'm up for puppy baths.) At this rate I don't even think I will be able to get on the bike for any length of time today... yesterday it nearly killed me the 15 minutes I was on it.

(Okay, it's safe now... no more female talk!)

4. It's circular day! That means I will be waiting for the mail to show up, sitting down with them, going through my pantry and my coupon box and beginning my plan for shopping... Oh what fun. (Oh, I just got my email circular from Kroger and the whole front page is 10 for $10... let the games begin!)

5. Speaking of shopping, Daddio thinks I need to buy "old dog" formula for our pooches because Daisy doesn't seem to be digesting the way she should... and she is getting old (she'll be nine on the 25th)!

6. A gas station around the corner from us is over $4.00 now ($4.03 to be exact)... the first one I've seen to break the $4.00 barrier. Oh, Daddio could have listed one of my quirks to be calling out and ridiculing gas station prices... I've done it for as long as I can remember... and to think I once complained about gas when it reached $0.95!

7. We are number 3 on a waiting list for an adoption conference the last weekend in July... the lady said that we are a shoe in and to get childcare set up (it's an overnight stay in a nice hotel with talks on Saturday and Sunday)... so I did, and now I'm just waiting for the confirmation from the lady that we are definitely getting to attend. I REALLY WANT TO GO...

Six Quirks Meme - Take 2

Here are the rules:

-Link the person(s) who tagged you
-Mention the rules on your blog
-Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours
-Tag 6 fellow bloggers by linking them
-Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged.

And then the spin for this blog is that Daddio did my six quirks, and I'm to do his!

Red over at And Sometimes Tea tagged us for this fun little mid-week activity!

1. Daddio blows his nose in the shower... loud and long fog horn blows that ring through the entire house (especially quirkish when wifey comes through to get headache medicine and the volume is more than she can bear).

2. Daddio can sleep ANYWHERE, at pretty much any time. If he is sitting idle for more than a few minutes, he's out. On planes, cars, school (senior year AP English... even the calculater tetris didn't keep him awake), chairs, at the movies... gameroom floor while the boys are yelling and jumping about. I suppose in some ways this could be considered a gift...

3. He talks in his sleep. Not real often, it usually happens when he is sick or really congested (I guess he doesn't actually get to the deepest part of the sleep cycle when he is having a hard time breathing normally, or something).

4. He steals sheets... I will wake up in the middle of the night and only be covered by the comforter and he has all the sheets. I have no idea how he does it... especially considering that he rarely will have himself all covered up... but he has all the sheets! Oh and he usually has a foot hanging out too (sometimes both... out of the foot of the bed)... oh and speaking of quirky bed things... he shakes his foot while it's out so that the whole bed shakes! But I think that has more to do with getting my attention... to see if I'm awake, or by some weird chance he can't fall asleep and is bored!

5. He gets his lean on... He is always leaning back in chairs. It has gotten better over the years, I think due to the fact that he sits more in office chairs that rock back... so he gets it out of his system before he sits in a normal four legged chair... but oh my gosh... before that he was always tipping his chair back on the back two legs. (To be fair this is something I usually can't do because my feet hardly ever reach the ground comfortable, let alone with enough spare to push a chair back, so maybe I was jealous and noticed it more :-).)

(By the way, this is harder than it looks... coming up with your spouse's list... we've been together for so long that his quirks are so second nature to me that I hardly notice them at all... making it very difficult to pick them out.)

6. He claims that he doesn't write enough to keep up a blog... but if you are here regularly you will know that he writes pretty often :-). Honestly, though, I like that he writes it here instead of his own... it is pretty much how we do everything... we do it together! So technically it isn't a quirk, but our natural inclination :-).

Okay so he tagged four people and wants me to tag a few more... hmmmm... how about the lovely couple over at Just Me, and one of my oldest friends... Christie over at My Boys & Me (maybe Matt will join in on the fun too).

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Six Quirks Meme

We were tagged by Red Cardigan for a meme. (Yes, we. It's MommaLlama's blog, not mine. I'm not trying to monopolize, I'm just too lazy to start my own and then to try and get traffic there. Sorry, babe, you married a mooch.)

So, here are the rules:

Link the person(s) who tagged you
Mention the rules on your blog
Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours
Tag 6 fellow bloggers by linking them
Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged.

As is our custom, I will list my wife's quirks rather than my own. Much more entertaining that way, don't you think? Let's see if we can make this both unspectacular and amusing.

1) Has a "thermostat foot". When she gets too warm in bed, she sticks out one little foot to cool off. Then when it gets cold, it comes back in and finds someplace warm (i.e., ME) to snuggle.

2) The thermostat foot used to be the left foot, because she slept on her back, two pillows, neatly tucked in. Now she sleeps like me, that is, on her stomach and stretched out. So now the "outboard" foot is the right side.

3) Quasi-ambidextrous. Traditionally right handed for writing and sports. But if she gets frustrated with lack of success in bowling or Putt-Putt, she switches sides and goes left-handed. And I'll be darned if she doesn't do really well that way.

4) Hates preachy commercials with celebrities telling us to read to our kids. Shut up TV celebrity, you're rich and famous for being on TV, you don't really want us to quit watching.

5) Only likes water with ice in it. When the ice melts, she dumps out the water and starts afresh (instead of just adding ice). Won't even take a pill with tepid tap water.

6) Has a weakness for really stupid movies. Gets hooked and can't turn them off. Has seen all three in the "Bring It On" series (yes, the cheerleader movies).

I tag Olive and Turk and Jon and Angie (who are shamelessly attempting to rig a cute baby photo contest and could use the additional traffic!). We'll let MommaLlama tag two more.

It's a start

Bobcat: "Hey mom, come here and see this!"
Me: "On my way."

I come around the corner...

Bobcat: "Look mom, I can juggle. Well, I tired with 5 balls and that didn't work. Then I tried with only 3 balls, and they still ALL fell. Now I'm practicing with one ball."

And there he stood throughing one little ball back and forth between his hands.

Start easy and work your way up!!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008


We made an appointment for confession with Fr. J yesterday afternoon. I think we will do this more often. Fr. J is a kind retired priest, very wise and insightful. He's the one that we chose for Bobcat's first holy communion. Fr. J has a reputation for being a bit long-winded. Which is lovely if you have the time to visit, but can make for some rather lengthy homilies (aka, sermons). And he really likes to take his time in confession, getting to the root of the issue and truly counseling. He takes at least 20 minutes per person, and there are usually 30 people in line. You do the math... Making an appointment is definitely the way to go!

Fr. J said many things during my time, and one of the things that really struck me was this. He borrowed a quote from the (apparently well-known) Methodist missionary E. Stanley Jones. It went something like this. Life is going to throw stones at you. You can stand there and get hit and beaten down and destroyed by them. Or you can catch them, and build with them, and climb on top to get a better view of life. I'm sure I'm not doing it justice, but the way he explained it really blew my mind.

Lazy Sunday

I love the early mass (7:30). It is quiet and uncrowded, and we are home by 8:45 with a whole day free. Totally worth getting out of bed for.

We played Monopoly Junior. Bubba totally whooped me. I went bankrupt before making it around the board once. By that time he had monopolies on three colors. No fair.

A conversation about bees and wasps:
Bubba: How can stinging things sting you?
Me: With their stingers.
Bubba: Oh... Are we gonna have popsicles?

Note the new haircuts that I gave yesterday. I told them they could swim faster this way.

PS - The adult popsicles are still in the freezer. We'll get into those later, after the kids go to bed! Yes, MommaLlama spiked the fruit punch. One of many reasons to love her.

Friday, July 11, 2008

What the?...


Your Superhero Profile

Your Superhero Name is The White Wonder

Your Superpower is Raised by animals

Your Weakness is Vince Vaughn

Your Weapon is Your Ether Stinger

Your Mode of Transportation is Giraffe


Your Superhero Profile

Your Superhero Name is The Scarlet Bulk

Your Superpower is Telekinesis

Your Weakness is Vince Vaughn

Your Weapon is Your Lunar Torpedoes

Your Mode of Transportation is Phone Booth

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The girl is on FIRE!

Total charged = $186.60
Clipped coupons = $25.80
In-store specials = $66.99
Total savings = $92.79 = 50%!!!

Wow! She went to three stores again. Alone. A woman with a mission. She browsed the circulars for the best deals, and then added her clipped coupons on top of that. There were a lot of things buy-one-get-one-free this week. I am seriously impressed with my girl!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

That smell

Bubba: "What's that smell we're having?"

Me: "What?"

Bubba: "I think it's bacon!"

It was bacon. Breakfast burritos for dinner excite our little foodie.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Father knows best

Last night we caught Catholic Compass on EWTN, with special guest Dr. Ray Guarendi. They were speaking on Fatherhood... specifically what has happened to the role of Fatherhood in modern times, and how to get men to step up to the plate and take their rightful place BACK in the family unit.

During one segment they were discussing the notion that men now find their validation and sense of purpose at work, and when they get home they want their peace and quiet... and how women have adjusted to being the sole caregiver in every area of keeping the home and raising the children. Sometimes when the father does try to take some sort of control over a situation the wife becomes angry (as if the husband/father is somehow stepping on her toes).

How true is that, this in the beginning was a real struggle for me! Especially when Daddio traveled a great deal. He wasn't an absentee father on purpose... but he wasn't always home every night, leaving me to handle all things that fell under this roof. Over the last four years I've had to learn my role as wife and mother, and Daddio has had to learn his role... and we've had to call each other out at times as to what we are supposed to be doing.

Fr. asked Dr. Ray, how can a the husband/wife team work more efficiently: "TRUST". Scott Hahn elaborated a little (this is actually a quote from his wife, Kimberly) "I've never been wrong trusting you, and I've never been right distrusting you." I think this is what it truly comes down to, TRUST! Mother's want to make sure it is going to be done right (what ever IT might be), and instead of letting their husband be the head of their household... they simply do it themselves! This is not to say that the husband will do it wrong, but if she has little in the way of experience from her own background of a strong father figure (or sees little in his) then she doesn't want to let it fall through the cracks! Instead as wives and mothers, we have an obligation to our children and our husband to lift up our spouse so that they can the spiritual head of the household.

So ladies, be the helpmates you are called to be... help your husband be the best husband and father the Lord has called him to be. Pray for your husbands, pray for the role model of your children, and pray that your hearts are filled with trust for your spouse!!

You learn somethin' new!

Don't you just love going to Mass, and the priest gives a homily and you learn something new?! I LOVE IT! And every time I see Fr. D processing, I just know that I will get some new insight into the readings that I've never heard before. This weekend was no different... except for when he started his homily mentioning that due to some miscommunication he had prepared for the wrong readings (I'm guessing there was a last minute switch up for which priest would be preaching this weekend)...

Anyway, back to the new thing I learned. This Sunday's gospel (Matthew 11:25-30), Fr. D. focused in on the last verse: "For my yoke is easy, and my burden light." Did you know that when a yoke was made for an ox, it was made for a specific ox... as in custom made, and when that ox died the yoke was destroyed. It couldn't be used for another ox because it would injure or even cripple it because it wasn't designed for it. Fr. D went on to tell a story of a woman who had died, and was standing at the pearly gates gripping and complaining to St. Peter about how difficult her yoke was during her life and how it was really too much for her and that she should have received an easier yoke. So he showed her to a room filled with yokes and asked her to find the one that she felt she should have received instead. She walked around trying this one on and that one on, and finally settled on the one that seemed to fit her just right. St. Peter asked her if she had chosen one, and pleased with herself she motioned to the one that she wished she'd had during her time on earth... and (you know what's coming) St. Peter told her that was the very one she had worn during her life!

On the car ride home, Daddio and I were talking about this yoke... our yokes in specific, and we came to the conclusion that we shouldn't ask to have our yokes lightened but instead pray for the grace to labor under these custom yokes. God has given us what HE knows will lead us on the path of holiness (if we take up the challenge to follow Him), and we shouldn't avoid that which will make us sanctified. We should follow our Father in heaven like children, right? So stop our complaining, and be obediant!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

One more...

This might be my favorite. I bumped up the saturation in photoshop to show the richness of the colors. I just love blue and green ones.
I'll also share a little more info about our evening. We left home at 7:00 and stopped by (evil but delicious) Starbuck's for a couple of venti caramel frappuccinos. We were at our viewing spot by 7:30. It was over 90 degrees, but it was pleasant in the shade with a nice breeze. There was plenty of room for the boys to play. MommaLlama packed us home made popsicles, grapes, and cookies to snack on. I played with the camera and we listened to the country music drifting over from the concert playing about a mile down the river. The hot air balloon you see below didn't take off or land, I think it might have just been sitting there as an advertisement for something. But it made for some fun photos, especially as it grew dark and they blasted the fire every so often to keep it upright. Very neat photos. I sat and watched the kids play and thought about the hundreds of dollars worth of new photo equipment I want. A good wide angle lens for one, but at least a remote control so that I could fire the shutter without introducing any camera shake. At least this year I had a real tripod so that it would sit perfectly still for the entire 4-second exposure required to capture the fireworks as shown. The sunlight before the sun sets is nice and golden and great for photos, so I posed the boys for a couple shots, and then set the 12-second timer and the tripod and ran around to get a full family portrait. We arrived early enough to get a great parking spot and a great veiwing spot. It got more crowded, but we were on the top edge of a steep embankment where the river bends, so nobody sitting beside or in front of us could block our, or the camera's, view of the skyline and fireworks. When it got dark, the boys took their seats. Seems like everyone just did blankets when we were kids, but folding chairs are pretty cool. The boys have their own this year. Now, Snookie has always been scared of fireworks because of the noise. But this year he decided to be brave and sit in his own chair, between his brothers. He held their hands, but it was a huge step for him. I guess we need another baby for MommaLlama's lap ;)
All in all, a really lovely evening. I momentarily considered skipping the whole thing. Thursday night was busy, and we were all tired and dreading the heat. But we decided to make some memories and tolerate the weather and crowds, and we were rewarded with very nice weather and thin crowds. We're glad we did it, and we'll definitely do it again every year.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy 4th!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I miss the heckicoppers

Snookie is definitely still the baby around here. He is maturing a lot, and speaking very clearly for a five-year-old. Perhaps not as well as Bobcat did at his age. Birth order is an interesting subject. I've got a book on that to read, and will report back on that later. But anyway, these days Snookie can consistently pronounce the following words correctly:

Helicopter, formerly "heckicopper"
Motorcycle, formerly "mokokykle"
Elbow, formerly "abb-oh"
Nose, formerly "no" (he drops a LOT of ending sounds...)
"Hold me mommy," formerly "Hold you, mommy!" (As in, do you want me to hold you, Snookie? Yes, Mommy, I want me to hold you!)

But he still struggles with a couple things. Like "baving soup". That's "bathing suit" for you English speakers. And the cutest thing of all, "arken-angel". As in, St. Micheal, the arken-angel. You know him. He's the one that rebukes the evil spirits who proww about the world, sickin' da ruins of souls.

And we are reluctant to correct him, because it's so cute. He'll catch on eventually. But we're keeping our arken-angel for now, because it makes us smile every night.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Wipe that smug look off your face

I'm linking to another article that was included in the THSC e-newsletter. The author suggests something MommaLlama and I have discussed frequently, which is that perhaps those who despise homeschooling (or any other form of moral stand) feel threatened and feel "judged". If we refuse to send our kids to public school, or to do Santa/Tooth Fairy/Easter Bunny, or if my wife chooses to cover her head in church, or if we don't allow sleepovers before we feel the children are ready to leave our home, people feel that we are criticizing them.

I often wonder what we could do better or differently. How can we accommodate others' comfort zone without compromising our own principles? Are we too aggressive, confrontational, sarcastic? Clearly we come across as snooty and self-righteous. I was once called "holier-than-thou", and that was long before I ever had a wife or children. I'm hoping I'm even holier now that the weight of the world is on my shoulders. As much as we try to appear that we are just minding our own business and making our own choices ("freedom of choice", anyone?), many people, especially those closest to us, who are sadly not that close any more, feel that we are judging and shunning and rejecting them.

We seem to have plenty of friends, but our families simply do not understand us or like us very much. We can't enjoy any type of serious discussion with them. We can't bring up children, politics, books, movies, religion, or anything remotely interesting, because our opinions are so conflicting. So we keep it pleasant and shallow, in order to please the grandparents who want everyone to be together and happy. Are we really that unbearable? Could it be that they feel uncomfortable and lash out in anger when they are forced to reconsider their own pursuit of materialism? Could it be that I am reading too much into the whole thing?

Here's the article:
Home-schoolers threaten our cultural comfort

Wouldn’t you just love to wipe that serene look right off her smug face? Is it any wonder we hate her so?

Another reason... homeschool. The author of this article hits on a very good point and gives some good suggestions.

Travel Flexibility: A Home School Dividend

I am sure that most folks homeschool primarily for the quality of the education, so I wouldn't say this is a real reason to homeschool, but it is definitely a nice "perk". In addition to the thinner crowds when school is in session, I find it very easy to take time off of work whenever I want. Not just week-long vacations, but random long weekends. All my coworkers wanted off for Spring Break, but it didn't matter to me. Not only was it a nice quiet week in the office with less chatter and demands, but we were just about the only people at the state park where we camped the week before Mothers Day.

Just in case anyone out there needed a little "incentive" to take the plunge, or was growing frustrated and needed a little reminder of some of the benefits we enjoy.