Monday, September 29, 2008


My pirate name is:

Mad Ethel Flint

Every pirate is a little bit crazy. You, though, are more than just a little bit. Like the rock flint, you're hard and sharp. But, also like flint, you're easily chipped, and sparky. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

Saturday, September 27, 2008

GF Nirvana

We have found gluten free Nirvana today. It is called "Healthy Approach Market". We didn't know it existed, but the literature from the Dietician recommended it. It's only 15 minutes away from home. It's not just a gluten free store, although I have heard of such things, but they have every gluten free thing you could imagine. Buns, pizza crusts, cereals, breakfast bars, snacks, cookies, mixes, you name it. Quite a selection of frozen foods too. GF TV dinners, fish sticks, frozen waffles, etc. An entire aisle and three freezer sections are devoted to gluten free items. And the prices are better than Central Market or Sprouts or even Kroger.

We've discovered that "completed" products like GF crackers, cookies, and bread are quite expensive. Mixes are also fairly pricey (cake mix, pancake mix, cookie mix, etc.), but it's nice that they have so many to choose from. The way to stay on budget is to buy individual ingredients and make things from scratch. Even the various flours are a lot more expensive than regular old wheat flour. For example, we paid $22 for a 6 lb bag of garfava flour. But, we had not even been able to find that item before today. We had almost decided to order it online, and pay shipping. This store sells all of the various flours (rice, sorghum, tapioca, potato, etc. ) in larger quantities, which brings the eventual price per loaf way down, to about the price of a decent, name brand whole wheat bread from the grocery store. Of course, it takes time, but I suppose we can count this as one more huge benefit of home schooling. We're even feeling pretty optimistic about our camping trip next week.

Anyway, I just wanted to share the happy news. Everything we could possibly need was right there. She can continue to use the nearby Kroger for ordinary things, and then just stop in there for our GF items. It even has a kids' play area, which is wonderful because when you're browsing in a store like that, you need time to read labels and contemplate things and ask questions (their staff is very knowledgeable and friendly). Oh, they're even closed on Sundays "for family and worship", so we're supporting a Christian business.

Then we went out for GF lunch at Chipotle. Apparently all of their ingredients are GF, except of course for the flour tortillas, so instead you order a bowl, and ask the cook to change her gloves (to prevent cross contamination). They were very accommodating. And we're convinced that you get more food in a bowl, they really heap it high. We asked for two empty bowls and had the boys share one meal. Worked out great.

Hope you're all having a good weekend!

Friday, September 26, 2008


There is a blog that I visit occasionally called I don't agree with a lot of what they put on there. Much of it is silly and juvenile (I don't even get a lot of it). But it is nice to see some political humor from the right every now and then. This recent post made me laugh. Excerpt:

"Liberals are an excess of civilization. You have to reach a certain level of society where useless people no longer starve to death before liberals can exist."

Is this guy for real?

Another minister has been accused of impropriety with a minor.

I decided to look him up. No, "Tony Alamo" is not his real name. Yes, his church is in Arkansas. He denies all charges, of course. Mostly, I was taken aback by some of his other writings. Just, wow... I had no idea there were still people like this.

In support of polygamy:
"The main benefactors from plurality will be women. Scripture denies that the practice gives rise to jealousy. That vice thrives most luxuriantly when ‘the other woman’ is loved in secret. Open, godly polygamy destroys the evil at the root. Godly polygamy is not degrading for women. ... According to many reports, true godly women will always prefer a tenth share of a first-rate, scriptural, godly, Christian man, and be assured of getting to Heaven, than the exclusive possession of a second or third-rate ungodly one and wind up in hell."

Regarding Catholics:
-Lincoln was assassinated by a Jesuit.
-So was JFK (because he said he wouldn't take orders from the Pope).
-WWII was a secret Vatican Inquisition.
-Monks who make fine wine in monasteries are actually being forced into slave labor.
-The Pope is the head of all world governments.
-You will have to put a mark on your hand or forehead which can be read by laser beams, so the Pope can keep track of your purchases.
-John Paul II, as a young man, sold cyanide to the Nazis for use in gas chambers.

I won't link to the guy's site, you can google it yourself if you're interested. It's almost funny, but mostly it's pretty sad.


It's been a heavy couple of weeks, hasn't it? The financial stuff, the campaigns heating up. I put up another goose egg for new business this month (thank God I don't work on commission). The home front has been stressful, too. Celiac stuff - still trying to learn where to shop, what to buy, and how to maintain the budget. All three kids visited at least one doctor this week, for one reason or another (blood work on #2 and #3 to see if they also have celiac, and Bubba's allergy shot today, and appt withthe dietician). Oh, we're going camping next week and we need to figure out what kind of food to bring for that, all gluten free... Also, MommaLlama had an appointment yesterday with the parish DRE to discuss home school options for sacrament prep, and the DRE didn't show up for the appointment. This weekend we have a concert, and have several errands to run. Gotta buy new glasses and contacts before our prescription expires and a new exam is required.

It's been a little overwhelming. But the Lord spoke to me this morning, through Fr. Larry Richards on the Catholic Answers Live podcast. Fr. Larry mentioned how St. Peter was able to walk on water as long as he looked at Jesus. When he looked at the wind and the waves, he became afraid again, and he began to sink.


Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Happy Birthday to Bubba!

Bubba is seven years old. Wow! It's pretty neat that we've had him for a little over four of those years. He is a wonderful boy. He works hard and plays hard. He's really looking forward to preparations for his first holy communion. He has the most adorable oversized front teeth (I really hope he grows into them!). Bubba is a friend to all and just plain fun to be around. He always has a soundtrack - if he can't talk someone into turning on a favorite George Strait or praise and worship CD, he just sings it for himself. He gives the best hugs. His little body is changing; he is lean and mean. I suspect he will be a very good looking young man. Fortunately, he still has his little forehead that gets bumpy when he is grumpy. It's exciting to see him grow, but I'm so glad he is still small enough to pick up and swing around. And he will always have that infectious giggle. What can I say, he is just such a joy to his parents. He is very funny, although little bro Snookie has taken over as class clown. Bubba's humor is still in there, you just have to coax it out sometimes. I love them all, but I do feel a special connection with Bubba. For one, he is the middle child, like I was, so I feel a bond there. Also, we share a first name. I remember the day our adoption case worker called to tell us their names. I was so excited to have my name already in there! Those birth parents got something right! I knew from the first moment I met him that he was mine. He is my constant sidekick and the first to volunteer for helper duty when I have a job to do outside. And, as I've written before, he is always there in the morning, waiting to hear my keys jingle so that he can spring out of bed and meet me on my way out and his way to the bathroom. I love starting my day with him. Bubba, we love you!


Monday, September 22, 2008


They honestly thought this was supposed to be funny? I don't buy it. From

'SNL' Palin-Incest Joke Falls Flat In Sketch Lampooning New York Times

The "joke" was that the NYT is so snobby, liberal, and disgustingly biased that they wold insinuate that Todd Palin had molested his daughter. I suppose they thought they were being, ahem, 'fair and balanced' by picking on the NYT. Trying to prove somehow that they make as much fun at liberals' expense as they do at conservatives'?

I call BS. Any number of writers in that meeting could have said, no, that is too far. Here's a handy rule of thumb: Incest and child abuse are never never never never never EVER appropriate material for humor! There is no such thing as a funny child abuse joke. I'll share a few more tips for these idiots. There are no funny n-word jokes, there are no funny rape jokes, there are no funny abortion jokes. How in the world did they justify the decision to run with that sick 'joke'? There are countless other ways they could have accomplished the same alleged purpose, i.e., to ridicule the NYT. They knew that the true result would be just as much a crack at backwoods red state country folk. If nothing else, it proves that SNL and other so-called comedy shows are truly biased and despicable.

This is one more reason for me to vote for McCain. This betrays, like Obama's infamous "guns and religion" and "arugala" comments, that liberals simply DO NOT GET IT.

Friday, September 19, 2008

For La Familia

"They All Got Dead"

At least that is how Snookie would say it...

This morning I received the phone call from Bobcat's biopsy... and all the vili were DEAD, and he absotively posolutely has Celiac Disease. We already knew that Thursday of last week when the dr. came out and met me after she performed the biopsy/scope... but it was much more final when I received the call.

We've already begun the process of un-glutenizing our house. A few trace objects are still around because the other two still need to be glutenized for their upcoming blood work and possible scopes... but as far as our purchases and meal prep, we are GF (gluten-free)!

I'm not going to lie and say, "oh this is no big deal" or "not a problem to switch everything over"... cause it's really not that simple. Sure reading labels and not buying things that have gluten in them is somewhat straight forward, but that doesn't mean that the stuff I CAN buy is stuff that I want to buy or know what to do with.

Thankfully Daddio has been very patient and generous to me in my moments of being completely overwhelmed. I'm a creature of habit, and my habit just got kicked in the rear-end. My usual once a week trips to the grocery store have turned into every other day (or everyday) stops because "I didn't realize that had gluten in it and I don't have the right things to make it from scratch without gluten... aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhkkkkkkkkk."

As always around here, even this has a silver lining... it could have been worse, and it wasn't!

So what am I cooking? Did I completely chunk our old meals out the window and try to build a whole new cookbook... NO! Right now, slowly I'm going through our tried and true favorites and seeing what I need to do to them to make them GF. Once I'm confident in that, then new dishes will be added.

As always, Bobcat is a real trooper. Even today at Daily Mass when I was bummed that there was no Low-Gluten host available, he received the Precious Blood with a smile knowing that at least he can still receive Our Lord! Truly a blessing!

My feelings of being overwhelm and unprepared will pass... as they always do, but until then my posts and thoughts will be SCATTERED!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bobcat's observation

"Mommy this says 'Reading 3 for Young Catholics'... hey, I'm a young Catholic!"

Why after 4 weeks that dawned on him... but it was a revelation that he was quite pleased with.

Monday, September 15, 2008

We'll call it a success

I'm sure MommaLlama will post more details which I'm sure you all await with baited breath. I'll give a quick update to hold you over.

The first loaf of gluten free bread came out quite well. The second loaf was a little less, uh, fluffy. However, it was a raving success with the children because it had cinnamon. These children are certainly not picky eaters, which is a huge blessing. MommaLlama has ideas for fine tuning the technique next time. Overall, quite a success.

And we had a nice time just being out together on Saturday. My little sister came to watch the kids, and we headed out in the hurricane (not too bad, only got two inches of rain). We went to B&N and found a couple of books. Grabbed some coffee and learned how to shop gluten free. We went to Central Market which had a decent yet very expensive selection. Then we went to Sprouts and they had better prices, but less stuff. Then we tried Tom Thumb and they had practically nothing. There are a couple more stores we want to try, but we did find enough of the speciality flours to blend together and bake the previously mentioned loaves of bread. We also got a new loaf pan, and found a good deal on long sleeved t-shirts and casual pants for the kids at Kohl's. It was a lot of work, but we are feeling a little more confident. Pre-made bread, cereal, etc. is very expensive, but making things ourselves will actually not be too bad on the budget. Just more work.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It's official... --- updated

Well, not quite official. They will send the sample to pathology. But the doctor who did Bobcat's scope this morning says that she's never seen such an obvious case of celiac with her naked eye. There are a lot of thoughts and emotions as we learn to deal with this and how it will affect our entire lifestyle. We will have to have Bubba and Snookie tested.

We take comfort in the fact that it was discovered early. It wasn't left untreated and allowed to develop into something more serious. And, it could have been far worse. (We both admitted that we didn't want to say it out loud and worry each other, but we would not have been surprised if they went in and discovered something far worse requiring surgery or something... I had visions of feeding tubes...)

So, as always, praise God! This is manageable. It's "just" a dietary change. He is expected to gain weight and grow normally within a few months. I have utmost confidence in my dear wife to manage our new diet well. The Lord sent these children to us because He knew that she would love them and care for them and see them through this challenge. She is a highly acclaimed "good cooker" (according to Bubba, and believe me, that's the highest compliment he could ever pay), so I'm sure she will make even healthy stuff taste good. Somehow.

Basically, we will be going gluten free, and I guess sooner rather than later. Did you know that gluten is in almost everything? I decided to make an attempt at humor by taking inventory of our pantry to see what is safe and what must go. Here's the "bad" pile. Remember, this is only the pantry, we haven't even looked in the fridge yet...

And here's the "good" pile.

Isn't that pitiful? At least, we think this much is safe. We pulled out everything that listed wheat or "glut-something" as an ingredient. I'm sure the nutritionist will explain to us some ingredients that we didn't recognize before. And we've probably cross-contaminated everything anyway.

I don't know why this seems funny to me. It's a very serious situation. Major implications for their social lives, and major inconvenience for all of us as we obsess over food. And it will be the same diet for all of us. But what the heck, let's add gluten-obsessed celiacs to the list of things that make us weird - adopted, biracial, homeschooling, religious fanatics. Might as well be those weird food people too.

It's going to cost a lot. I'm thinking the Coupon Queen's weekly challenge just got a whole lot more difficult.

And yet, it's almost comical how unprepared we are. Two frickin' cans of tuna... So very like us. You gotta either laugh or cry.

Thanks for your prayers. Stay tuned for lots of new adventures...

Update: MommaLlama informs me that we can't even eat that tuna for dinner tonight because the mayo is likely contaminated with bread crumbs from making sandwiches... son of a biscuit...


I was listening to the Dr. Ray Guarendi podcast this morning and he received a very interesting call. The caller asked something that I have often wondered about myself. She wanted to know if her kids were going to grow up and rebel because of her strict discipline and "forced" morality in their early years. I've been told that my children only obey because they fear me. I admit that I haven't been perfect. I'm not the most patient person I know, although I have tried to improve on that over the past four years. As Dr. Ray said, when they grow up and leave the house "Will they puke up religion because you crammed it down their throat?" The world tells us that if we don't bargain and compromise and make deals with our kids, and let them choose whether to go to church or to pray, then they will resent us later on.

Well, according to Dr. Ray, that is complete BS. The reason is LOVE. You can be firm and loving at the same time. You can tell a child that your decision has been made, that you made it in her best interest, and that you will talk about it more when she is older. The definition of love is, after all, wanting what is best for another. In time, if you discipline with love, and teach them about religion in the context of God's great love for us, they will remain on the right path. They may push back, they may experiment. But they will see that your love, and God's love, are far greater than the world's love.

That's what I'm hangin' my hat on, anyway.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Draw your own conclusions

Taken from the Social Security Administration website, the following tracks the popularity of the name "Mary":

Decade - Rank - Percentage of baby girls named Mary
1880's - 1 - 5.6%
1890's - 1 - 5.6%
1900's - 1 - 5.2%
1910's - 1 - 5.6%
1920's - 1 - 5.7%
1930's - 1 - 5.2%
1940's - 1 - 4.3%
1950's - 1 - 3.2%
1960's - 2 - 1.9%
1970's - 15 - 0.8%
1980's - 35 - 0.5%
1990's - 39 - 0.4%
2000's - 58 - 0.2%

Draw your own conclusions. I'm not trying to start trouble here, I just thought it was interesting that over one in 20 girls were named Mary for decades and decades. Maybe centuries - the stats only go back to 1880, but I bet the trend was the same before then. And these are national statistics; among Catholics it was probably one in ten, or more! Imagine if all of the Jennifer's we grew up with (at least a dozen in our high school marching band) had been Mary's.

Well, that's depressing...

Everyone knows the tune, but have you ever read the lyrics?

Drove she ducklings to the water
Ev'ry morning just at nine,
Hit her foot against a splinter,
Fell into the foaming brine.

Ruby lips above the water,
Blowing bubbles, soft and fine,
But, alas, I was no swimmer,
So I lost my Clementine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling, Clementine!
Thou art lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine

Well, that's depressing. But I'm still going to use that name some day. MommaLlama laughed the first time I mentioned it, several years ago when we were thinking of baby names. But she's coming around...

And for what it's worth, I was not inspired by the song. The idea came to me from the Hail, Holy Queen prayer (O clement, O loving, O sweet Vrgin Mary...) I looked up the definition of clement - it means merciful - and decided that would be a good name some day. That was many years ago.

By the way, this post is not dropping hints about anything. I just happened to come across that song recently. Trust us, we'll let you know if any new little people show up around here. Right now, we are getting our baby fix vicariously through our friends' pregnancy. Look how big he's getting (in the sidebar)!

Okay, back to work.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Reflections on Snookie's 6th Birthday

I have been planning to post a few thoughts on Snookie, but I haven't had much time to think and write lately. So, a couple weeks late, but here goes...

What can I say about Snookie? I think this series of photos sums it up pretty well:

Yes, he is "that kid". Every family has one, I think. He is such a happy person. Sure, he has his moments - he follows the pattern set by his brothers. Some rough days in school, some rough nights in bed (immediate fun definitely, always, outweighs possible future consequences). He is a little sensitive. He doesn't like to lose at games. Even when he's in trouble, he's smiling. Not to be defiant, but just because he's thought of something funny and he can't help himself. He rebounds quickly from his sometimes frequent time-outs.
It's easy to think of him as the baby of the family. But more and more lately, he really surprises me. He can be very insightful and generous. He will often put others' needs or wants first. He'll volunteer to go last. He is a smart little so-and-so! He is picking up math and reading much quicker than his brothers did. He just gets it more quickly, and don't assume that he isn't listening just because he happens to be looking the other way and singing...
And he is growing fast! He's already passed Bobcat in height, and I suspect he'll overtake Bubba within six months.
Overall, he is just such a joy in our lives. We were not sure we were ready for three children at once. But life without number three would just be incomplete.

A few more photos

A few things that you might not expect to find growing on top of a huge granite balolith.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Time goes by so slowly...

Way back on August 8th we took Bobcat in for a follow-up appointment at his endo's office. That day the visit was with an LPN, and not the dr. for some reason (we weren't told when they made the appointment for us a few month previous to it)... and that was when they had Bobcat's blood tested for anti-bodies associated with Celiac Disease. Now we were quite skeptical, the only thing they were going on for ordering this test was the fact the HGH stimulus testing all came back normal and they have no real reason they could find for him being so small.

The only reason I even agreed to have the test run that day was because it was in the same building and we just had to go downstairs (I didn't have to make a whole new appointment or anything). So we did it and then waited for 2 weeks for the results.

The few places we looked online did mention stunted growth, but also listed a slew of other symptoms he's never had and we convinced ourselves that they (the endo's office) were grasping at straws for some sort of diagnosis... God forbid he be a little short in his life.

At the two week mark we got his results... the antibodies were there (in a high volume) which meant that there was a strong chance he has celiac disease. Next step was setting up an appointment to see a pediatric GI... and that's where we spent our morning today. As of right now we still don't have a firm diagnosis, that will come after Thursday when he has to have an intestinal biopsy done! This scared the bu-jeezes out of me, the information I read online indicated that the child has to be semi-awake and be able to follow simple instructions for this procedure... THANKFULLY THIS IS NOT THE CASE WITH THIS GI!!! Praise God! So they will sedate him, perform the outpatient procedure and we wait a week for those results.

Wait, wait, wait...

I've braced myself that this is Celiac, and that our lives are about to change. I figure if I get my head wrapped around this, come full diagnosis I will have a better handle on it... and if it comes back negative... well great, we just return to normal, no harm no foul. Plus if it is positive then we need to have the other two tested, it's a genetic disorder and most likely one or both of them will also have it (no matter what their results come back as, the house will be gluten-free, but they will need a LABEL on their records for a bunch of other reasons instead of just assuming that they are).

Thinking positively... we've caught it fairly early, and if this is what it is, and we change our diet now... he should see improvement in height/weight within 6 months!!! That's incredible. Not to mention by being pro-active about this we lessen the chances for colon cancer among many other illnesses associated with going untreated! And supposedly this will also help with allergy irritations, and maybe even Bubba's asthma (wouldn't that be something).

So little Bobcat could go from being labeled idiopathic short stature to celiac disease... at least he doesn't need shots?!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Stop, Thief!

This little guy stole one of our chocolate bars. I took them out of the rubbermaid tub that serves as our camping "pantry" because the felt very soft. I left them on top of the picnic table and we went off for a hike. When we came back, he had grabbed it, taken it down to the ground, ripped it open and eaten half of it. Of course I had to throw away the rest of it, and the remaining bar went into the ice chest. I never would have expected that. Seems like more of a raccoon thing to do. Oh well. He lingered nearby almost the whole weekend and I was able to get a few photos of him.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood...

would you be mine, won't you be mine...

It's 9:15 am and the temperature is 73 degrees!!!! Oh and the wind is blowing!!! Needless to say my windows are open, and I'm enjoying the remnants of Gustav that reached our area.

With this kind of weather, I might just break out all my fall stuff... oh, but if you check the forecast the rest of the week we are back in the 90's... so the apples and pumpkins will just have to wait another few weeks!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Enchanted Rock

I'll post more details and observations when time allows (got a plane to catch, back on Friday). But here are a few of my favorite photos. This place is just beautiful, we'll definitely be back.

It looks rather intimidating from a distance.

See the tiny people?

It feels every bit as steep as it looks

We made it!