Friday, October 31, 2008

I'm not lazy: Updated

So, it's Halloween already, and our jack-o-lantern is not carved. It's been here for a week. Just haven't gotten around to it. And don't feeling like doing it tonight before trick-or-treating.

So, I had the idea to save it for tomorrow. Because, after all, we will be celebrating All Saints and All Souls for the whole weekend. We'll teach the kids about the religious aspect of the holiday while we work on the pumpkin.

See, I'm not lazy, I'm creating a "teachable moment".

Update: Now I'm officially lazy. November 5th and it's still just a pumpkin. Whatever. Halloween is almost as dumb as Christmas (regarding the secular aspects).

Wow... not sure where to go with this one!

In the car during our weekly commute for allergy shots, Snookie asked:

"Mommy, how do you SPELL - W?"

Um, I think I have failed at some point in his home eduction if he thinks you can SPELL LETTERS!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Great Pumpkins of '08

Although the boys were coughing, hacking, sneezing, and blowing the noses endlessly we were able to get to one of our fall crafts... pumpkin painting (my take on small children and pumpkin carving, we lose a lot less fingers this way).

The boys seemed to really get into it. There was a lot planning on their parts, and even naming of their pumpkins.

I bought 'googly eyes' that we hot glued to the pumpkins and then I let them have at it with paint and ideas just started flowing. Trust me, I have come a LONG WAY in 4 years... my inner perfectionist when it comes to kids and crafting has really settled down and I didn't offer any real advice or take over the paintbrushes in a misplaced sense of helping!

All in all they came out cute, funny, and VERY original!

Notice the number of eyes (5)!

Check out the RED HAIR!

Bobcat added a yellow mustache!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ummmm, not quite my dear!

Bubba: "Mommy, do you want to hear the song I remember from last year?"

Me: "Um, sure."

Bubba: "Jing-O bell, Jing-O bell, Jing-O always"

Me (interrupting): "Well, that's not quite right... the phrase is JINGLE BELLS!"

Bubba: "Oh right, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle al-ways, oh MY fun it is to ride one horse open sleigh, HEY!"

Me: "Yeah... still not quite right."

I sang it to him the right way... he was like 'Okay whatever' then turned around and walked off... not singing it the right way and seemed a little frustrated that I had corrected him. Poor little Bubba, he just can't catch a break!


Embarrassed to admit that this post at IMAO really had me going for a minute! It's not right to confuse people who haven't had their coffee yet.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More Snookie Revelations

It's interesting what kids think, right?! Take Snookie for example, after many conversations about adoption he has come to his own conclusions about who and why some people are adopted and why people look a certain way... and he is never shy about announcing his findings for all to hear.

Case in point... Daddio comes back to the car to retell this little gem: Friday, at the allergist they were waiting for his appointment. In walks an African American mom and little girl... Snookie announces something to the effect "Look Dad she's adopted because she is brown." He never took into account that she 'matched' her mom, or that not all 'brown' people are adopted! What Daddio didn't know was that the morning before at breakfast he was asking if girls could be brown like boys!

Funny thing is, this is somewhat of an improvement... he used to not remember that HE was adopted!

Monday, October 27, 2008


We got a flyer in the mail today, inviting us to a new church called "The Exchange". They are having a lecture series called The Real Jesus. I guess I've been worshipping the fake Jesus all this time. Anyway, the first lesson is entitled Why Jesus Hates Religion. Really? He even hates Christianity? Seems strange to me. When did "religion" become a bad word?

Too much?

Aticles like this one by Mark Levin are interesting, but I wonder if they're doing any good. I need to spend more time reading the whole thing, but my initial thoughts (that's how blogs work, right? - post before you think) are that this type of language is a little over the top:


Levin doesn't use the term "Antichrist", but I've seen it other places. Every modern influential leader is at one point or another called the Antichrist. According to Tony Alamo, I'm the Antichrist!

I'm not saying Obama isn't dead wrong on every major issue. I'm not saying he's not a little more worrisome than Clinton. Obama comes across as more ambitious, and with a grander vision. But, don't you think that most of what he says is just designed to get votes? The Democractic Party gambled on the "Extreme Makeover: Government Edition" strategy, and it seems to be working. Once he gets in there he'll be as old school, do-nothing, useless as this Democrat congress has been. I don't know. Maybe I've been so focused on the single issue of abortion that I haven't studied the other, secondary issues so thoroughly.

All I'm saying is, every generation has feared that things couldn't possibly get worse. And yet they always do! (That's supposed to make you feel better.) And the world keeps spinning. And the Lord still sits on His throne.

Rich Mullins put it so well:

The Lord in Heaven laughs
He knows what is to come
While all the chiefs of state plan their big attacks
Against His anointed One
The Church of God she will not bend her knees
To the gods of this world though they promise her peace
She stands her ground Stands firm on the Rock
Watch their walls tumble down when she lives out His love

Where are the nails that pierced His hands?
Well the nails have turned to rust But not so the Man
He is risen and He reigns
In the hearts of the children rising up in His Name
Where are the thorns that drew His blood?
Well the thorns have turned to dust but behold the love He has given
It remains In the hearts of the children
Who will love while the nations rage

Sunday, October 26, 2008

All I want for Christmas...

Mind reading

I am starting to suspect, like the guys at CMR, that certain Catholics actually want Obama to win despite his pro-abortion stance. They like Obama so much on other issues that they are eager to "disqualify" McCain because of ESCR. They can't vote for Obama because of his rabid pro-abortion stance. But they do hope/expect Obama to win if they waste their own vote on a third party candidate or abstain.

Too much mind reading, probably. But I can't shake the feeling that if they wanted Obama to lose, they would vote for the only guy who stands a chance of beating him. They ridicule that option by saying that you can't vote "against" someone, you can only for "for" someone. Okay fine, I vote FOR the guy who is AGAINST Obama.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

drum roll, please...

Saturday weigh-in: down another 2.4 lbs.

I failed to obey the self-imposed rules at least five times this past week, and I just knew it would cost me something. I was hoping for a break-even, and expecting a small gain. Go figure. I guess I did more good than bad. I also suspect that the total lack of beer for a month has something to do with it. I never drank heavily, of course, just two or three beers a week. I really like beer. But I decided to give up (most) gluten in solidarity with Bobcat, so have switched to wine. It's like a perpetual Lent. Now I think beer may have been a bigger dietary problem than I knew before. Or, more likely, I did know better, but I chose to ignore it because I really like beer.

I do plan to be good this week, though. No more eating out or trips to the candy dish in the office. The total loss since I began counting is -15.3 lbs. I still have a ways to go toward the final goal, but I'm encouraged by the progress.

Friday, October 24, 2008

On a lighter note...

I took today off from work because it's been three whole weeks since we went camping and I am not accustomed to being in the office that many days in a row. (Poor, pitiful me. Hey, I've got tons of FTO, I intend to use it.) After a morning doctor visit and a long nap, we went out to the Grapevine Botanical Gardens to take some outdoor family portraits. MommaLlama was lookin' fly and the boys were very sharp in their new jeans and polo shirts. We obviously opted for a more casual look this year, maybe we'll do formal portraits next time. Perhaps one of these will make our Christmas card this year.

Then we went to the pumpkin patch. We opted out of the $5 per person corn maze (maize maze?), but the kids had fun running around and playing with a wagon. I am so pleased with my new flash and its ability to softly fill the entire outdoor scene and eliminate harsh shadows. I'm still working on my technique (and want a couple more gadgets - wireless shutter release and a diffuser) but overall I'm really happy. Here are a couple of shots from today.

I just don't get it.

Please watch this video:

My kids understand this. Why do so many adults have such a hard time with it? I just can't think of any words to describe my feelings right now. It is so obvious that life begins at conception. It's so simple. It amazes me that there is any doubt in anyone's mind whether babies should be protected or not. The only word I can think of is insanity.

Is an insane man fit for the Presidency of the United States? If he has such poor judgment, such twisted logic, that he cannot see the value of human life, is he qualified to make decisions regarding taxes and wars?

Hell yes, I'm a single issue voter. My single issue is COMMON SENSE.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Where is it? *Update*

We were supposed to have a high of 67 degrees today and rain! At the moment (noon) it is 73 degrees, and NOT RAINING. Where is the cold weather??? Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...

Okay, you maybe asking yourself, "why is the Llama so angry about such little matters?"

Well my friends, I'm making GUMBO today... for the first real cold snap of the year... and IT BETTER BE COLD OUTSIDE (or who knows what this little ragin' cajun might do)!!! That is all part of wanting it TODAY, because it was going to be, well not cold but way very much cooler!

Well, by 1:00 the temp dropped down to 61 degrees... and now at 3:00 we are at 55 degrees... PERFECT for gumbo!

Good news...

The blood work is in, and has been verified... Snookie and Bubba do not have Celiac Disease!

While we are still working hard to keep the house GF, it is nice to know that there are times when those two can have what ever when we are out and about!

Right now we are waiting to hear back from the GI in regards to Bobcat's bone density screening from Monday... and then we are done with testing for about 6 months!

Don't Mess With Texas

Last one, I promise. For now.

I remember when I was a little kid and the anti-litter campaign "Don't Mess With Texas" seemed to be promoted everywhere. My mom caught me throwing a little gum wrapper or something out the window of our car, and she explained to me that while one little piece of trash doesn't do much harm, what would happen if everyone felt that way? The trash would add up in a hurry.

I've been to a few Central American countries and seen the results of this lax attitude. Trash is just everywhere, and nobody cares. On the side of the road, even in relatively nice areas. People just don't care. They've given up. They don't think they make a difference by not littering, or by adding a tiny scrap to the huge mess.

Don't toss your wasted vote on the side of the highway just because most of the rest of us keep it 65% clean.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Awfully quiet

I might be spending too much time blogging on a blog that nobody reads. I bet half of those 16,000 hits are mine. It does help to organize my thoughts in writing. But maybe I should just get a journal. Maybe write some letters for the boys to read when they're older. I just don't feel that I'm accomplishing much by hijacking MommaLlama's blog. I'll stick to photos and jokes and save the preaching for a while.

more thoughts on the hopeless third party

Just so you know, godparents, I'm still wrestling with this political stuff. Why must you make me think so hard? ;-)

The Envoy Magazine voter guide is way too long IMHO, and full of advertisements; I didn't even read the whole thing. Seems to focus on abortion versus war and the relative importance of issues. But I thought I would pull out this interesting comment:

The virtue of prudence suggests that we sets our sights on projects ... that have "reasonable hope of success" (to borrow from the Just-War criteria).

What this seems to say is that voting for the third party candidate without a chance is a wasted vote, and possibly even a vote for Obama. I've heard a couple guests on Catholic Answers Live use that exact phrase - wasted vote.

I'm convinced that the war is not a proportionate reason to vote for a pro-abortion candidate. But I'm still trying to find something that persuasively counters Mark Shea's argument that McCain is not actually pro-life because he supports ESCR (lately being referred to as FSCR - F for fetal, which I like because "embryo" is less personal and human than "fetus" don't you think? After all, "fetus" is just Latin for "baby"). Anyway, I have the idea in my head but have a hard time expressing it in writing.

I guess it boils down to limiting the evil, as there are only two potential outcomes here. I've got to go against the greater evil.

Update: One of the commenters on Mark Shea's blog has it right on, I think.

Bishop Vasa wrote, in part:
"As far as third party candidates are concerned it would seem to me that voting for a candidate who has NO possibility of winning is a symbolic vote which has some merit but it is the same as casting a vote for the person whom you deem LEAST suitable for the position since it takes a vote away from that candidate who has values closer to ours but is not entirely right on all issues."

Monday, October 20, 2008

Is there still hope?

(October 7, 2004) AP Poll: Kerry Holds Small Lead Over Bush (50% to 46%)
"Among 944 likely voters, the Kerry-Edwards ticket led Bush-Cheney 50 percent to 46 percent."

"Obama's lead over McCain has dropped to 3 points, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll released on Sunday. Obama leads McCain 48 to 45 percent among likely U.S. voters, down 1 percentage point from Saturday."

If nothing else, maybe they can just steal another one...
Was the 2004 Election Stolen?

(That was a joke.)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

weekend update: updated

Well, there are no photos to show because it doesn't look like much, but we accomplished a lot yesterday. We got all three of the flower beds in the front of our house ready for spring. What a big job. One bed had nothing but irises which have multiplied like crazy over the past four years since we planted them. Another bed had only gladiolas, which also seem to have multiplied a dozen times over in just three years. The third bed had nothing but some dead stuff that we hoped would return. Why do "perennials" never actually return the next year in our garden? I blame the climate. Our plan was to add a lot of tulips, and spread everything out over all three beds, to have color all season long. First the tulips come, then the irises, then the gladiolas, and finally canna (which we will plant in the spring). I *think* all of these will come back on their own every year and we will have a very colorful, zero maintenance garden. (Probably will have to add more tulips every year, but that will be easy enough.) So, it only took us 6 hours to dig everything up, divide the bulbs, mix in fresh compost and bone meal, spread the bulbs, cover with dirt, and cover everything up with mulch. Still need two more bags of mulch, we always under estimate that stuff. But, it's mostly done, and it will look amazing in the spring and summer. Can't wait to see the fruits of our labor!

PS - down another 2.8, go me.

Update: Ouch. Apparently we haven't been using all of those muscles so much lately. Still feelin' it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Oh... 700 posts on this blog...

That's definitely an achievement :-). Speaking of numbers... the boys and I attend a Signing Times lesson once a week with our dear friends at a local library. Let me tell you, the boys and I are totally into it (see, Bubba gets that from me... TOTALLY).

We've gone through 5 lessons I believe, and are up to 145 signs! Woohoo!!! I really wasn't exactly sure how they would take to it, but it is something very near and dear to my own heart... and really hoped they would enjoy it. All 4 of us look forward to Tuesday afternoons with great anticipation! Heck, in the evenings even Daddio likes to learn the signs while we do review.


I should have all my mail forwarded to the boy's doctors offices... because they seem to be the only places you will find me these days.

But anyway, I thought I would regale with some of the interesting questions and conversations we had while Bubba had his food allergy testing done. Bobcat was full of questions today!

"Mommy, how do we speak? Where does the sound come from, how do we make that sound?" (Bobcat)
As luck would have it, I know enough about vocal chords and sound to get this one.

"Mommy, how do we hear?" (Snookie... follow up to the previous)
Thankfully I also know a little about the ear drum... serious AP biology THANK YOU!

"Mommy, do you remember the planet that is like this (demonstration) that is blue with a ring like this (another demonstration)?" (Bobcat)
Umm.... does Neptune have a ring (search memory bank... no I don't think so)...

"Mommy, he is talking about Uranus!" (Bubba in some what of a frustrated voice that I hadn't supplied any information in the 30 seconds of looking at the ceiling.)
Thank you Bubba! Um, unfortunately Mommy really isn't the planet person... that is Daddio!
(note... Daddio, they would like you to tell them about Uranus again!)

Then in a very sweet gesture Snookie and Bobcat gave sweet kisses to Bubba who's back was inflamed with raised spots, redness, and itching as we continued to wait for the dr. for an addition 10 minutes after the 15 minute timer had gone off... poor kid, he was a real trooper.

Thankfully once all was said and done only three real allergies existed. The overwhelming reaction was simply because right now his little system is so overloaded that it is ultra sensitive... he had to go 5 days without his allergy meds in order to have this test! So what are his allergies... cantaloupe (which is also one for Bobcat and I know for a fact Snookie as well), barley, and oysters!

Next up for allergy testing... Snookie... oh what fun that will be!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The beauty to change!

One of the wonderful blessings of homeschooling is the ability to make changes when things aren't going well... and things in the Llama house haven't been going well...

As Daddio mentioned last week, I believe, math has been a constant source of anguish for dear sweet Bubba. This year we moved to a different program, and while I know it is the best program for him... he is still so beaten down from the previous years that he can't see it! Then there is my relationship with Bubba, which has always been a very fragile one.

Something had to give, we couldn't keep butting heads and never getting anything accomplished... cue Daddio! Daddio came up with a new plan... THANK YOU DADDIO! Instead of math in the mornings with me, math is held aside until Daddio gets home (well usually after dinner). They all watch the videos together, then the workbooks, and finally a few extra problems on the floor with the manipulatives... all with Daddio! And not just Bubba... all the boys!

There are so many positives to this... first Daddio is more involved, frees up some time in the morning for all the other things we have going on, and there is another set of eyes and ears accessing them. We were able to talk in the evenings and compare notes... I have a chance to watch him work with the boys and see what's working, he was able to point out things to me that I hadn't noticed before and request certain 'math' exercises to do earlier in the day that may help but wouldn't be so overwhelming, and we both see a marked improvement in attitude!

It has worked wonderfully so far, and the boys really love having daddy work with them.


So the boys are sitting in the office with me... I'm working on some stuff for next week's school and they are reading.

Daddio makes fun of some of the things I say... and it brings him to his knees crackin' up when he hears to boys saying something very Llama-ish.

So Daddio this one's for you.

"I can TOTALLY read this, I've read it before!"

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

For all of our dear friends!

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is to promote Support, Education and Awareness for grieving parents nationwide (and worldwide).

Too many families grieve in silence, sometimes never coming to terms with their loss. Our goal is to help others relate to our loss, know what to say, do or not say, not do and to help families live with their loss, not "get over" their loss.

There are times...

when I'm not qualified to answer questions from the children because I'm overly doped up on allergy meds... this is one of those days!

Unfortunately that doesn't stop the questions from coming at me.

"What does God need powers for?"

"Could you explain again how the satellite on the house works, again?"

"Mommy, how does a tornado work?"

Normally these are fine questions, but I'm having trouble formulating thoughts on ordinary stuff... I'm in no condition to go down these roads!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sneezy, Coughy, Drippy...

Cloudy, Foggy, Stuffy... no not the Dwarfs... these would be the symptoms that Daddio and I have been suffering with for several days now... YUCK.

Somethin' blew in, and it just won't seem to blow out!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Odds and Ends

Thought I would share a few random thoughts..

First off, yay for reasonable gas prices. Never thought I'd be happy to see $3 gas, but it sure beats $4 gas. Also, yay for nice weather. I haven't had to use the AC in my car this week and got 33 mpg on this tank.

Have you seen an LA Fitness parking lot on a Sunday morning? You can tell who those people are worshipping...

Having made that cheap shot, I will proceed to bore you with news of my recent weight loss. Apparently the gluten free diet works for me. I suspect it has to do less with gluten and more to do with all the junk food I've had to eliminate. But, in the past three weeks since we've converted, I've lost 10 lbs. I promise not to turn this into a recurring theme, as I understand that nobody cares about my weight. I do have a goal, but I won't share it here. If I don't update this topic, you should assume that I am being modest, not failing. ;)

Interestingly, the week before we got Bobcat's diagnosis, I came dangerously close to a certain number on the scale that I thought I would never exceed, much less draw near to. It was depressing. And then I went to spend a Dillard's gift card from the in-law's and was again depressed to move up to a waist size that I swore I would never have to wear. I blamed it on the designer. Isn't that was girls do? In my youth, I could eat anything at all with no consequence. Eight years ago, I began to gain some weight, and people actually told me I looked good, and that I was too thin before. Then, this little cajun girl kept cooking and I kept eating, and here we are today, nearly 30 years old and finally learning that there are consequences. I've know it for a while, but I always claimed, sincerely, that I was too busy with work and parenting to be vain about my weight. There's been a total double standard - the kids have always eaten very healthy, and then we break out the goodies after bed time. I still believe that many people are way too vain. But I also want to feel healthy and look as if I take care of myself. Again, I won't share exact numbers, but I will say that on our wedding day, my inseam number was the same as my waist number, if not a bit lower. I know those days are gone for good, but I'd like to keep it within a certain arbitrary range that seems to be a psychological barrier for me. I don't know if it's proper to say that I am blessed by Bobcat's celiac disease, but it is at least a nice side effect. I may have to actually exercise at some point (shudder...), but for now eating better seems to be doing a little good.

Finally, a couple more photos from the camping trip.

Broken Bow Lake

Snookie learned how to swing all by himself. Finally!

The boys, taking a break from throwing rocks and sticks and acorns and stuff into the river.

Friday, October 10, 2008

"College" versus "Education"

Slow afternoon at work. Been writing quite a bit on my coffee breaks.

Warning - this post is going to offend someone. (If nothing else, that will keep you reading!)

The TV series about the Duggars (you know, the ones with 18 kids), and a commenter on Red Cardigan's blog got me thinking about things. Joshua Duggar, age 20, is getting married. He is ready to support a family as he already owns a home and a successful used car dealership. Red wrote about how these times may actually take a greater toll on dual income families than on single income families. The commenter wrote about how the current economic crisis is causing some consternation about paying for their children's college education.

I've read some interesting comments from Catholic writers lately about how parents don't "owe" their children a college education. That struck me as odd the first time I heard it. I am still paying off my student loans (maybe I should apply for a government bail-out?…) I always felt that I would not want my children saddled with that burden.

But, I also know several people who did not have to pay their own way, and seem not to appreciate what they've been given. Perhaps the first lesson in college should be simply to work hard and to view your college education as a job and not a birth right.

If you ask me today, I am currently leaning towards junior college for our boys' first two years. Basics are basics. Maybe if we continue to home school through high school, they can do some concurrent enrollment or begin JC early. I want to help my kids more than my parents helped me, but I'm thinking it will come in the form of stronger guidance and help with making good decisions. Unless they are dead set on going away somewhere, and have the means to do so, I would like to be there to help guide them into adulthood a little more easily. I'd have them live at home, work and save their own money, and then complete their degress at a good public university with an active Newman Center to nourish their spiritual lives. Texas A&M is a great example. I also have high hopes for our own North Texas, I've heard the diocese is increasing funding to support a new full-time college chaplain or lay minister.

(Did I mention that our boys will get something of a scholarship for state college as part of our "adoption assistance"? There's a little plug for those of you who may be considering adoption but have reservations about going through "the system". But I digress.)

Now, I don't want to open up a can of worms about whether Catholic/private universities are worth the price of admission. But I do know that we learned a lot about our faith while going to a relatively inexpensive public university, because we spent a lot of time hanging out at the Cathlic Campus Center. Bible study, adoration (we had never been to adoration before at our home parish!), rosaries, apologetics classes, and of course week night and Sunday masses. I am certainly not opposed to Catholic universities. I'm just not convinced that I should have to pay twice as much to attend one.

Maybe the boys will want to study something in the humanities, in which case I would want the education to be rooted in the Faith. (I would like to see them pursue something a bit more practical that will earn a salary that can support a family, but I know the goal is eternal life, not material wealth.) Or if they just want to attend one, say they become huge Notre Dame fans, and they have saved enough to pay a bigger share of the expense, that is also fine. I know that even the basics - history, literature, etc. - should be rooted in the Faith, but again, if we home school through high school, they will probably already have a solid foundation in those topics in regards to the Faith, well before they even go to college.

In a sense, I think that both their faith life and their educations will be taken more seriously and more appreciated if they have to work harder to achieve them.

Some may believe that this is too utilitarian. Education should be about more than getting a job and making money. I agree. But education is life-long. They are free to read and study and learn about anything they like until the day they die. But is college really the same as education any more? Young men, especially, need to be prepared to support their families right out of the gate, and I do not see that getting any easier in the next several years. Take a pottery class at night. Find a book club. Go get a Masters in Theology on the weekends. Join the City Band (we did).

Call me too practical, but St. Joseph was a builder, not a poet. I'm afraid that the days ahead will require careful budgeting and marketable, productive job skills.

An email exchange

One thing that is nice about our day is that I can email Daddio and let him know what's going on around here, and he can respond... and it is much easier than trying to connect via phone with him, especially if all you have is a quick question that takes less time than going through all the menus to actually get to his office phone.

Then there are those times when an email my save a life... like Daddio's life to be exact, because if the recent email would have taken place on the phone the shrill tone of my voice my have caused his heart to stop beating... let me share:

Bubba was walking down the hall and in his best sing-songy voice announced he saw a BIG DEAD RAT. So I kind of freaked out a little inside... He seemed so excited, and I assumed he either was referring to something fake (please, dear Lord) or something in the house because I hadn't heard him go in the garage to put out the trash. I called him over to me (I was in the kitchen and didn't intend on leaving that area until I knew the situation), and asked him what he was talking about. Turns out that when he (did) go into the garage and turned the light on ... there, where your car is usually parked was a dead mouse, sunny side up. YUCK! So I took the blower and blew him out into the street!

Ummm... yeah, I saw him two days ago when he was alive. I tried to chase him away but he disappeared. I figured he would find the poison, and apparently he did. I did check recently to make sure there was plenty left, there is.

Clarity... ha

Daddio has really stepped up to blogging on a more regular basis because my head has not really been in the game.

Here it is Oct. 10, and I can say for an entire two months that my brain has been so out of it... it all started August when Bobcat's Endo tested for Celiac Disease. Then reaching to the highest level of fear and lack of focus on Sept. 11 when he had his biopsy. Now I feel like I'm on returning to sanity, and starting to get back in control of my thoughts and emotions... and I think it helped that finally after several shoddy loaves of bread I had one that appears to look normal (the boys loved it; I have yet to sink my teeth in it for fear of spiraling down the deep hole of unworthy breadmaking depression).

And then there was TODAY.

I've worked diligently on ridding our diets of all gluten which is primarily found in wheat but also hidden in other items... now we eat (white) corn tortilla's, eat even more veggies, and potato/rice/bean flours have taken the place of wheat flour.

So gluten is BAD! Well, a good number of celiacs also have food allergies/intolerances/sensitivies to other foods... and we began the food sensitivity testing today. Bobcat's was this morning and the other two boys will have theirs in the coming weeks. When all was said and done... he has a sensitivity to CORN... corn, people! Now, the allergist assured me that if he hasn't had any adverse reactions then he is probably fine. Many people have a sensitivity to corn, but it doesn't seem to bother them. (Oh and he is definitely allergic to cantaloupe which we already suspected since the last time he ate it, his face swelled all up.) In the words of John McCain "Well, my FRIENDS", he/we didn't seem to know he was having digestive distress with the whole celiac deal... I'm guessing he wouldn't really be able to pin down an internal reaction to corn. So it looks like for at least the time being we will have him off of corn to the best of our ability... giving time for his body to heal and then we can re-introduce it and see if he has a reaction one way or the other.

On a side note, it seems that he has grown a 1/4 of an inch since his last appointment at that office which was at the end of August! That is HUGE for him! And he has put on 1.2 lbs from Monday!


We went to the Life Chain this past Sunday. We knew that it would be an interesting experience because this is the first time we've gone since our boys could read. Our signs read, Abortion Kills Children and Abortion Hurts Women. The inevitable question came up as they read our signs: "What is abortion?"

It saddens us to have to explain this to a child. We want to protect them from evil. And I was very concerned about opening up a can of worms with the whole topic of reproduction. But fortunately, Providentially I'm sure, I had just heard a caller ask this question of Dr. Ray on his podcast (The Doctor Is In), and I thought his advice was very good. So, we explained it something like this.

Sometimes when a mommy has a baby in her tummy, she doesn't think she wants to have a baby. So she lets a doctor take the baby out before he is ready. Then the baby dies because he is not ready to live outside yet.

I was explaining this to Bubba while MommaLlama was explaining it to Bobcat a few yards away. Both of them asked immediately, "Why?"

Why, indeed. I remember that being my first thought when my mother explained it to me. It seemed so obvious that you can't just let a baby die. It still does. I still cannot imagine how some people do not understand this. But, while I am angry that I had to expose my children to this cruel fact, I am glad that we had the opportunity to explain it to them gently, and to make an impression that will hopefully stay with them for their entire lives.

So, to answer the question of Why... We said that sometimes the mommy doesn't know that the baby is already alive in there. But he his. He is very tiny, but he is alive. We are here to let everyone know that the baby is already alive and that we can't let him die. And sometimes a mommy doesn't think that she can take care of the baby so she doesn't want him. We are here to let everyone know that we can help them. If they need help to take care of their babies, the people who love God and love babies will help the mommies and their babies. Or if the mommy isn't ready to keep the baby, there are lots of families that can adopt the baby and give him a good home.

It really wasn't as bad as I thought. As you can see, you don't have to go into "birds and bees" stuff regarding how the baby got in there. All they need to know now is that people have babies after they get married. We can fill in those details as they mature. But for now, I was glad to know that it is possible to explain the sanctity of human life to a child, without scaring or horrifying him, or violating his sexual innocence.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Debate

DarwinCatholic, posting at American Catholic has some interesting ideas to spice up the debate. As I wrote previously, that last one was pretty boring to MommaLlama and I. We may not even watch the last one. We probably will start it, but no promises to stay awake.

Anyway, I was thinking, I don't see the point of these "secret" unknown questions. Why not give the campaigns their questions beforehand so they can prepare well? I know that I would rather not be judged on my ad libbing. It's not like we don't allow real presidents in real situations to consult their advisors. Encyclopedic knowledge of every topic under the sun is not that important to me. Not that I want them memorizing and delivering speeches, there can be some follow-up questions and interaction from the moderator or audience. But the only topic that they should truly have to extemporize on would be their general political philosophies. They should be able to explain themselves and their principles without doing a lot of homework.

But what do we gain when they try to trip up Sarah Palin by mentioning some obscure foreign leader who she is not an expert on, or even tricking Joe Biden into saying something stupid (as much fun as that can be)? It's just fodder for SNL. We learn nothing from it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

That other sound you just heard...

...was MY head exploding. Bubba just doesn't understand. I can't tell if it's true inability or just a terrible attitude. Maybe it's me. Maybe we need to drop back for a while and focus on the basics again. Even when he does get the higher concept correct, he stumbles on simple addition. Praise God for the flexibility that home schooling offers.

I'm telling you, it's hard for an honor student with a perfect SAT score (the Math part, anyway) who never studied math a day in my life to father a normal child who doesn't like math. I know I'm the freak and that I lack patience. But this is tough.

Bubba's guardian angel, please guide us and help us to discern the right course for this precious child.

The holy high ground

Don't un-godfather me for this < that was a joke ;) >, Olive and Turk, but I think we disagree on this matter. I am open to conversation and will read anything that you point me to. I want to inform my conscience. But at this time, I feel the following.

There are only two potential outcomes this year - Obama or McCain. I believe we should choose between those two.

The "holy high ground" I referred to previously is where we refuse to get our hands dirty and vote for McCain because we don't like some of his policies (ESCR, campaign finance reform, global warming hysteria, Iraq war). Valid concerns, but not proportionate. Some seem to take it for granted that he will win our state anyway, so they seize the opportunity to "make a statement" and either vote for some obscure third party candidate to show the Repubicans that they have lost their way, or abstain completely to let the Republican Party see our low turnout.

If my vote "really mattered" in Ohio or some other swing state, I would not risk an Obama victory. I would feel compelled to vote for McCain. And so should I do in Texas. Just as the Party takes my vote for granted, I am taking my fellow Texans for granted if I assume that McCain will win here based on everyone else's sensible votes.

I want Obama to lose, therefore I must vote against him.

Let me reiterate - I don't expect pro-life greatness from McCain. My highest hope is that he will maintain the status quo. But Obama's platform is flat-out evil. If I thought Obama would also do no harm, I would be indifferent and feel free to abstain. But as of today, I'm pretty well convinced that Obama's platform is the most extreme and evil pro-abortion stance ever seen before, and I simply have to go against that.

Everyone tell me why I'm wrong and tell me what to read. I'm listening.

Insightful Political Analysis

Are you ready for my insightful political analysis? Here goes:

Same shit, different pile.

Ta-freakin-da. That's all I got. I could link to a bunch of other people doing the real thought provoking stuff. See And Sometimes Tea and Creative Minority Report and others for that. But that smart-alecky one liner above is all I felt watching last night's debate. The candidates repeated a lot of the same stuff from the last one, and they really aren't that far apart on most things. And they can't predict the future. They'll make grandiose promises regarding foreign policy, but they'll react to the circumstances as they arise, and they'll be beholden to Congress to get anything significant accomplished. Maybe I'm too skeptical, but we were unimpressed and bored last night, and fell asleep before it was over (the wine might have helped).

Look, I still want Obama to lose. I expect McCain to do less damage to the pro-life cause. For that reason, I feel obliged to vote and not sit out - despite being in a swing state where "my vote doesn't count". I don't believe in taking my fellow Texans for granted and letting "everyone else" do the dirty work while I take the holy high ground and refuse to participate. But I'm not real excited about any of this.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

That sound you just heard...

...was MommaLlama's head exploding. Not a good week so far at St. Joseph's Academy for Wayword Youths. But, the Math work is finally done, and Bobcat is headed off to bed for a long night's sleep and hopes that tomorrow will be better. Bubba also had some unfinished business, but it was obvious that he had tuned out long ago, so he will have to make up some ground tomorrow.

So, what kind of wonderful fordbidden glutenous crapola should we have for dinner now that the kids are gone?... All I know is that it needs to pair well with red wine, because that's what we have, and we are definitely having a couple glasses tonight.

Oh yes, the "praise God" part. Let's praise God that He is teaching us patience. And for wine.

I know, I know...

It's been a while since my (our) last post, but a ton has been going on and no time to blog really.

Last week we, and a few other families, went on a camping trip. It was different... it always is when you're with others. I'll admit that I'm not the best at going with the flow of others. If I don't like the way things are going, or the schedule others are keeping... I grumble! It's a flaw, I know.

But the campsite was lovely (for our CCC buddies who camped together... this was the first site we all camped at together!). On this trip we rented canoes and floated down the river, we star gazed (and saw several shooting stars), and the kids played with all their pals while the grown ups discussed how to make the world a better place :-).

Being gluten free on this trip had its own set of difficulties, and the food... while tastey, lacked some of the charm we usually experience on a trip! We learned a lot, and so hopefully in the coming weeks we will have another chance to hit the wide open for another trip... and things will go better!

Thankfully the weather held out while we were there during the day, and the heater at night made everything so comfortable.

Coming home proved to be the real adventure of the trip. One of the cars in the caravan lost the tread on a tire just about 10 miles outside of the park. Unfortunately it happened to be the car of the single mom in the group... but not to worry the three dad's in the group were quick to take action... including Daddio who didn't want her to drive the car after the tire was changed. So after a little rearranging of cargo and children, we managed to fit her and her daughter into our car (while I drove), and her two sons into another car. Daddio and another dad drove her car the rest of the way home! Thankfully we all made it home safely without any other real set backs.