Monday, December 21, 2009

Beer me a Nog!

Office fans will understand the title! If you're not a fan of The Office... well, I'm not sure we can be friends anymore... anyway...

This weekend we finally made a drink that we love... but always just buy from the store... EGGNOG. I seriously love this stuff. I'm addicted to it, really! While I'm fully aware (because Daddio reminds me every time I make a comment about nog) that it is a drink you sip gently... I would rather enjoy a tall frosty mug (as in my tall frosty beer mug I keep in the freezer) of the stuff!

Last year I wanted to make it from scratch but couldn't find a recipe that was for a small amount. I didn't want to waste all those ingredients to have it turn out terrible. This year, I finally found a recipe that makes one pitcher full (6-7 drinks it claims).

Saturday, after watching Food Network and some really tasty indulgences being prepared... we could hold back no longer... we leaped to the kitchen and bowls started flying...

When all was said and done... FREAKIN' AWESOME NOG!

I'm weird, and I'm fully aware of this fact!

This could be revealing just a little too much about my obsession with the Mavs... after a great game last night (even without Dirk and his elbow injury)... I had a really cool dream where I got to meet all my favorite guys and hang out with them.

Sad, I know...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Oh how time flies...

Nine years ago... right about now, actually, I was arriving at the church to start preparing for one of the greatest days of my life. I had already had my hair and make-up done, and was beginning the process of getting all gussied up for my pictures.

(This shot is actually from this morning... this is only the second time in the nine years I've actually pulled it out of the bag and had a good look at it!)

I can remember being surprisingly calm that morning. There were no jitters or anything of the sort. Mostly I was just annoyed with the wedding coordinator from our church... she was a real pain. Although as the morning progressed, I was slightly concerned about the photographer... he was very ill that day (concerned he might ruin my dress due to his illness), and most of the shots were actually taken by his assistant.

By 11:30 my portion of pictures were done and I went back to the lounge to hang out and wait... and wait... around noon my aunt generously went and grabbed me a burger (I thought they would also check in on Daddio and grab him something too... sadly I found out when we were both kneeing during the ceremony no one got him anything).

Finally it got started! There were a few surprises during the ceremony... like the choir lady singing the Ave Maria when we thought it was going to be instrumental (while grandma's/mom's walking in), and some weird communion song that neither one of remember picking.

Finished up the mass, took more pictures... then off to the reception. That's when things got... WEIRD! The DJ didn't show, the wedding cake wasn't what I had picked out, oh, and neither was the food... the cake was fine, the inside was right... the food wasn't bad, just not the stuff I had picked... the DJ... that was enough to drive a poor bride into a little FRUSTRATION! Thankfully our car was already packed for the following day's drive to Houston... and we had our CD's with us (including the song we had chosen to dance to)... so the club just played our music piped through the house speakers.

We danced, we mingled, we took a few more pictures... and then we blew that popsicle stand!

Nine years ago we walked out young newly weds... nine years later we are livin' the life we had no idea we would be living, and loving every minute of it!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Ink blot testing

This morning at the dentist each boy got to leave with a prize... they each picked a knock off magnadoodle thingy to keep in the car. Now it's been a few years since we had a set of these in the car... so it was big fun that everyone got one today even though only Snookie was there to have any work done!

Okay that's the set up... now for the story...

We're headed to our next destination when this conversation occurs!

Snookie (holding up the drawing tool and showing it to his brothers in the back): Hey guys, what's this look like?
Boys (responding together): I don't know?
Snookie (a little frustrated): No guys, seriously, what does it look like to you?!
Boys (annoyed): We don't know, what is it?
Snookie: That is what I'm asking you, I don't know what it is... I want you to tell me what it looks like.

SERIOUSLY... Snookie drew... something... not sure what it was and wanted someone else to interpret his work. I wish I could say that this is the first time a conversation (including a drawing) has gone like this.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Let's make a deal!

A few weeks ago we were out doin' stuff... oh it was part of Bobcat's birthday adventure... anyway we stopped for dessert at a local ice cream shop. While eating a super tasty bowl of ice cream, Bubba piped up that the next time we get to go out for dessert he would like a banana split.

Could Bubba eat a 3 scoop banana split on his own... abso-freakin-lutely! You've never seen a kid put away food like my dear sweet Hubba Bubba (and he is still super thin... must be nice).

Anyway... while sitting there first Daddio said that when he turns 13 (I think) was when we would order one for him... then Daddio paused... and came up with genius plan! He's really good at this stuff :-).

Read 25 books, and once you reach that... then we will go out for banana splits.

After a little more thought we modified just a little. So here are the rules:

Bobcat: Read 30 books, write out the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be in cursive with tidy handwriting.

Bubba: Ready 25 books, write out the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be in his choice of cursive or print with tidy well spaced handwriting.

Snookie: Read 20 books, write out the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be in print with tidy handwriting.

We won't nag them to do any of these things... we will only keep tally. It is up to them to get it done! Oh, and the books have to be read to us for credit. They can read them to themselves or brothers as much as the want... but the only way to get it marked is if we hear it and it is read well (not with a lot of help from us... this mostly applies to Snookie who would rather ask you what it says than to give it a go on his own).

So far each have read 3 books... this may take longer than our pizza reward from this summer (each only had to ready 20 books).

One more time and they are GONE!

That is the law at the moment for my sweet and very frustrated Snookie.

I'm not a structural engineer and neither is Snookie :-).

One thing our boys are into is MODIFICATION. They produce, write, and perform in their own version of Pimp My Ride... known around here as Pimp My Legos! It doesn't matter what the item is that we've worked on, following all the instructions provided in the books... the moment they stand up from the coffee table and head back to their room with it... they are making slight modifications. Once in their room it becomes a complete overhaul! Personally I think it is sort of frustrating, but it is what they like to do and they are being creative in their own way so who am I to judge!

That brings me back to Snookie and my structural engineer comment. Once Snookie starts making changes to his creations they don't always stay together or work the way they should. Even worse are the times that the image in his head can't be translated into the creation due to his skill level or lacking the right sort of blocks (not to mention the kid won't use WORDS when he is trying to explain what he wants, instead opting for a much less effect set of hand motions that I was not taught in Mommy School, this leaves us both nearing the teary eyed mark).

Fortunately with the other two, even if things aren't working quite right the world doesn't come to an end for them. They either move on to something else or continue to try different things until they are satisfied. Snooker once again goes for the less traveled road (oh but it is traveled by him DAILY) of throwing it across the room (legos will remove paint from a wall), yelling at the poor little plastic pieces, full on crying with the begging of the legos to just do what he wants them to do, and then the earth shattering throw down temper tantrum that two year olds' have perfected at WalMart. Did I mention the part where this happens DAILY!?!

After he finishes school in the morning, I remind him about his temper with the legos... and every day we go through the frustration of the legos, then the doom of having to take some time away from the legos (which, dude if you get so angry with them, you would think a little break may help your situation... but no). So today, I told him... "Honey, what am I going to say about your temper and the legos?"

"Don't get frustrated with them, ask for help if I can't do it, or put them away and play with something else or read!"


"Now my sweet little Snooker (yes I actually call him that... always have), I will have to take the legos away until SATURDAY if you can't control yourself, do you understand?"



We've had a few close calls already today... thankfully one of the other brothers stepped in to remind him "about [his] temper"...

For those who know the boys... this was the same type of problem we had with wooden train tracks until he was like 4! Fine motor skills are not his bag!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Government health care

I've had a problem with the President's argument for compulsory health insurance from the beginning. I do not like his argument that requiring people to buy health insurance is the same as requiring drivers to buy auto liability insurance. I never took the time to organize my thoughts in writing, but this article by George Will nails it.

There's a difference between regulating something that people freely choose to do, versus requiring people to do it. They can make you buy liability insurance or be otherwise financially responsible, to protect other drivers. But they can't make you buy a car! (Or is simply BEING ALIVE now some great privilege that the government is allowed to regulate???)

He also takes on the issue of the so-called "right to privacy". If they can invent such a right to allow abortion, then we can claim the same right to reject government health care. Interesting point... Now, I don't think that is the best strategy. I do believe it is still possible for Roe v. Wade to be overturned, and I wouldn't want to strengthen its precedent by using it to argue against something else. But it is an interesting hypocrisy.

I wish I could find the article now, but I read something awhile back that explained how health insurers have to be licensed to sell policies in individual states. If the rules were loosened so that they could sell across state lines and develop standard forms and rates and guidelines, the prices would go down considerably. But the federal government refuses to allow that, claiming that it is a question of "states' rights" and that they shouldn't interfere... HA! Since when does THIS administration give a damn about states rights? They certainly don't support states' right when it comes to restrictions on abortion or same-sex marriage. I bet you anything Obama will, in his second term if there is such a thing, push hard for the Freedom of Choice Act and for a federal "gay marriage" allowance. And in fact, the constitution actually does give the federal government the right to regulate interstate commerce. Here is one area that they actually have a legitimate authority to intervene, but they refuse to excercise it because doing so would screw up their plans for a federal health care plan. They use the federalist argument only when it suits their own strategery.

They claim they can pay for the new plan by increasing taxes on the very rich (you know, the people who use their money to invest and grow and start companies that give people jobs - another topic for another day), and by "reducing waste, fraud, and abuse" in Medicaid and Medicare. Okay, great, so do that anyway! Go ahead and reduce the waste, fraud, and abuse! Is ANYONE opposed to reducing waste, fraud, and abuse??? Of course not.

If you can save half a billion dollars, then do it already! But that doesn't mean you have to turn right around and spend it all on something new! It's like looking at your family budget and saying hey, I just saved 15% on my car insurance my switching to Geico! Now we can buy a jet ski! No no no no no. You don't have to spend every red cent you earn.

Bottom line - there is a lot they could do to revise the healthcare industry and improve prices and access without growing the federal government in the process.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What a difference a year makes!

This time last year was our first big FOOD holiday dealing with Bobcat's celiac disease and being a GF family. I was on EDGE to say the least. We weren't having Thanksgiving at our house which meant I needed to put together an entire meal for him and then bring it with us (thankfully the first Thanksgiving dinner we celebrated that year was just 20 minutes from our house). We survived... I survived the night before (just barely)...

Now... we are once again the night before a FOOD holiday, it's been a year, and once again we are taking this show on the rode... further, down to Buffalo Tx (about 3 hours). NO WORRIES. I'm done, actually at 6:37pm. No, I didn't cook all day, I didn't even start till after we finished our own dinner for the night. No, we didn't have pizza for dinner (which apparently is the big thing the night before)... I made a lovely roast with carrots served on a bed of rice.

So what is on the menu (that I prepared) you may ask... well, let me tell you:

  • Bourbon and Brown Sugar Glazed Ham
  • Caramelized brown sugar over sweet potatoes
  • Brownies

No pie this time. I wasn't able to get to the health food store to pick up the almond flour and a few other odds and ends I need to make GF pie crusts. But do tune in soon for a new gingerbread recipe (rum soaked raisins, and rum cream on top... YUM).

Friday, November 20, 2009

Weighted what?

I mentioned in my last post that I sewed a weighted blanket for Snookie, here's a little bit of the back story on that whole thing... blanket information at the bottom!

A few weeks ago we attended a seminar at a local adoption conference on Sensory Integration Processing Disorders.

We've felt for sometime that Snookie is wired just a little different. All three show a few symptoms that fall into the Sensory Integration set of issues... but Snookie most of all. In the seminar they passed out a set of question that would help us understand how these issues most frequently manifest themselves:

Ever Wonder Why Your Child Does The Things He/She Does?

•Do you wonder why they are excessive risk takers - jumping and crashing into anything they can ?
•Why they can’t do puzzles - write well - or find the coordination for riding a bike or hitting a ball?
•Why they cry or cover their ears with every loud sound - even vacuums, toilets or hairdryers ?
•Why they don’t like to be touched or can’t be touched enough?
•Why they will only eat macaroni and cheese and pizza?
•Why they will only wear certain clothes or need you to cut the tags out of their shirts?
•Ever wonder why you can’t seem to calm them down or get them to sleep?
•Why they won’t put their hands in anything messy or use glue, Play Doh, or play with mud?
•Why they fear playground equipment or being tipped upside down?
•Why crowded stores bother them so much leading to major meltdowns in public places?

So what exactly is sensory processing disorder, here's the definition we were given: Difficulty in the way the brain takes in, organizes, and uses sensory information. Information, causing a person to have problems interacting effectively in the everyday world. What's happening: The child's central nervous system may not receive or detect sensory information. The brain may not integrate, modulate, organize, and discriminate sensory messages effectively. The disorganized brain may send out inaccurate messages to direct the child's actions.

Within the world of sensory input world, there are three systems that can be affected... normally they are working together in harmony, but a person have problems with one, two, or all three systems and that can lead to some real stress! So what are the systems?

-Vestibular Sense: Provides us with information about our bodies in relation to our environment. It affects our balance, movement, and hearing. This is where our Fight/Flight/Freeze response comes from. It includes reflex maturation, and inner ear. Stimulation (or over stimulation) comes from the environment.

  • Willfulness and uncooperative
  • Thrill seeker
  • Difficulty remaining still
  • Likes/dislikes swings, teeter-totters, trampolines
  • Fidgety or clumsy
  • Limp when lifted
  • Sits in "W" position on the floor
  • Has difficulties with digestion and elimination
  • Poor fine and gross motor skills
  • No established hand preference
  • Low tolerance for mental stress

-Proprioceptive Sense: Provides information about our body parts. Affects praxis, calibration, and arousal modulation. Works in conjunction with Vestibular and Tactile Senses. Skin and muscles are its stimulation (or over stimulation) issue. Soothing and calming can come from stretching of deep muscle movement.

  • Prefers to remain still
  • Picky eater
  • Deliberately bumps and crashes into people or objects
  • Head banging, nail biting or knuckle cracking
  • Tight fighting clothing
  • Constantly chewing on objects
  • Aggression
  • Poor body awareness
  • Breaks crayons and pencils (writing with too much downward force)
  • Poor posture
  • Rigid; sticks to what they know
  • Timid or dis regulated in unfamiliar situations

-Tactile Sense: Affects learning, body awareness, calibration, attachment, and social skills.

  • Responds negatively to light and unexpected touch
  • Dislikes having hair brushed or shampooed
  • Over responds to pain or pain agnosia
  • Dislikes brushing teeth
  • Avoids kisses
  • Doesn't like baths
  • Avoids walking bare food or walks on tip toes
  • Wears warm clothes even in the summer
  • Only aware of intense touch
  • Poor body awareness
  • Extreme
Now, I would say a good portion of these would fit the majority of kids... what they are talking about though, is these things are so prominent that they affect how a child (or adult) interacts with the world.

Alright, back to the blanket (sorry that turned out as long as it did... but I wanted you to have a little snippet of understanding as to how it all works inside you ;-)... one of the recommendations to help calm a child and sooth his sensory system is to use a weighted blanket at night. When we got home from the conference I pretty much went right to the computer to find out more about these things. The website we were given at the conference was: After looking at their selection and price, I decided that I wanted to see if I could give it a go on my own! We have several of those fleece blankets around, and it just so happens I have three of exactly the same thing... I thought to myself "Myself, I could use those two blankets as the outer shell... now how would I build it?!" That's when I came across a website (that I can't seem to find) that had an easy pattern for making your own (if anyone is interested in the PDF, leave a comment and I can email a copy to you).

Anyway, since I already had the material... all I needed was the filler. I wanted something washable (there are patterns out that utilize pockets so that the filler can be removed for washing purposes... that's not the direction I went). I went to my local craft store and was able to buy doll filler. This worked out pretty well... as far as getting the right weight (there's a formula for finding the right weight for the person... 10% of body weight plus 1 pound... so Snookie's blanket needed to be 5 pounds).

I completed the project Saturday afternoon, and he has been sleeping with it since Saturday night. Have I seen a difference? Um, I'm not sure. Does he like it? HE LOVES IT. He loves that it stays in it's place (this was one of his biggest problems at night... constantly getting up to try and readjust the blanket so that it was just so). He loves being tucked in tight and not even a sheet around him would stay because he would kick around at night. So far every morning and after nap time he is in the same place he was when I left when he went down, and so is the blanket! So I call it a success!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Quiet on the western front

It's been a while since I've come over here to post... mostly because we've been a bit on the busy side. Here are a few of the things that have kept us on the busier side of life:

Bobcat turned 9 on Saturday (the 14th). Daddio took the Friday before off so that we could have his birthday adventure. We headed out to the Lego City store. Boy it was so nice to go to the mall (which I'm not a mall shopper) when it was EMPTY! The boys even got to ice skate at the mall rink. Then we headed to Boston's for some tasty GF pizza (ours actually wasn't GF, but he got one all to himself!). We headed home for a short intermission, and dinner... then we were out again to see a CHL game - the Texas Brahmas. Wow... the fans were awesome, sell out crowd (I was surprised), and a huge WIN!!! Woohoo, 'Let's Go Brahmas, Let's Go Brahmas!'

Saturday was filled with jobs. Daddio remarked after we finally made it to bed "I would never make a good day laborer... I'm just not cut out for 8+ hours of outdoor manual labor." Poor guy. He did work really hard... planted 100+ bulbs in the front beds, put another coat of primer on the back door frame, wash/waxed his car, and did all of the yard work. He did have a helper (or chat your head off and only stay interested in something for about 15 seconds and move on to play with an assortment odd things - helper) in Bobcat. Normally I would have been right there with him, but I was inside building a weighted blanket for Snookie... which took me a while, did the grocery shopping (alone, ahhhhhh), and took care of odd jobs around the inside of the house.

Sunday our director and his wife came over... small world... we went to school with his wife, she was actually my suite mate in college. Funny how things all fall into place.

Now we are half way through our week and I just don't know where the time goes.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Weekend Sighting

Since Bean left us 6 weeks ago, up until this weekend we'd seen him twice for a total of about 5 minutes. But as luck would have it, this weekend was my parents weekend to have the boys and so he got to come to the party and we got to spend a little time with him.
It is a bittersweet thing to have had him here. It was wonderful seeing him, but so upsetting to have to let him go again (once the door was closed, house put back, and life back to ours... there were tears). I have really struggled over the last six weeks, emotionally, not having him any more. To have had him for a little more than 4 months, and then really no contact... well, it felt like I lost my baby... I've held onto the prayer that at least for those few short months I did the best I could for him, and that was what I was called to do. Now I have to trust that our Heavenly Father will protect him.

Did someone say chocolate...

This weekend we celebrated Bobcat's ninth birthday. Here he is with the loot from his party! Notice the light saber in front... take a wild guess how the other two brothers reacted when they saw that and realized that they do not have one and it isn't nearly close enough to Christmas to rectify the situation... and usually something THAT COOL means they have already received one exactly like it, but they are without... NICE WORK GRANDMA! Seriously, it was pretty funny to watch their reaction as they realized what it was. The SHOCK was priceless! Going into this party I had no idea what sort of theme we were going with, and neither did Bobcat. I knew he wanted a chocolate cake with chocolate icing, and to complete the dessert he wanted chocolate ice cream! Do you see a pattern? Well, Daddio and I finally came up with a chocolate party (I know, shocking :-). So everything was decked out in brown and silver (Hersey's wrapper style)... and his cake looked like a big Hersey's bar. Now I will freely admit while the idea in my head was SPOT ON... the finished product was not my best work. That being said nobody really cared because.... IT WAS CHOCOLATE! Other tasty treats include chocolate dipped strawberries, chocolate dipped marshmallows... and of course chocolate bars and kisses!
That party was fun, the food was tasty, and the boy was happy :-). What more could you ask for!

Fast vs. Slow

Last night we were able to sit back and enjoy two sports games. We had previously recorded the Mavs v. Raptors, and the Cowboys were playing... so to build up some time on the DVR during the Cowboys game (because we hate watching commercials now), we watched the Mavs.

For me personally, I enjoy basketball more... why? It's faster. Things can be corrected quickly (usually), and there is always something happening. Not to mention that you are both offense and defense... there aren't two groups within the one team. I think that is COOL!

This difference was greatly exaggerated last night, watching the two games back to back... what I can say is... hey, at least both of our teams won... no matter how fast or slow it seemed!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Stupak amendment "victory"

"We are going to steal your car. If you ask really nice, we'll let you get your briefcase out first. Or you could let us take the car with the briefcase. Better decide quick."

So, it is a "victory" because I got my briefcase out before they stole my car?

IMHO, this was all Team Obama strategery.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


I found myself ruminating today over things I don't have. Some of them trivial and material. A couple of them good and worthwhile, at least I think so. Some within my control, I just need to have some discipline. And some well beyond my reach.
But, I should reflect on the blessings I do have...

Nope, no complaints here. Thank you, Lord.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Jumpin' Jelly Beans

"Jid you see dat!" as Snooker would say... the Mavs game last night. SERIOUSLY... we shot an abysmal 33% until the last 8 minutes of the 4th... all of a sudden Dirk took matters into his own hands. Then it was all hands on deck... OH MY GOSH!!!! What a game... if my foot were acting right I would have been jumpin' all over bed going bananas.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Some day you will my son!

"Mommy, do you know what I want to be when I grow-up?"

"No, Snookie, what?"

"Someone who does really cool tricks!"

Monday, November 2, 2009

2 down - 2 to go!

Today marks the second half of our fall semester. We started the first week of September, and have logged in 37 days (including today)... okay some of you math people may be trying to figure out how we've only come up with 37 days in two months time... 4 day school week!!!

I'm fairly pleased with our school term so far. I'm a perfectionist my nature, so I always see room for improvement (on my end).

I still really like the software I'm using to track everything... it is super easy and I love having everything at the click of my mouse.

So along the path we are traveling... and we will reach Christmas before we know it!

Manly Men

My boys are really earning their man cards this week. You've seen Snookie's first bloody sports injury. That is so cool, right? They are also learning "tricks" on their bikes that make Mommy anxious but look awesome - lifting their feet off the pedals, crossing their legs, etc. It won't be long before we go hands-free.

Well, one major rite of passage came during trick-or-treating this weekend. MommaLlama's sprained foot is acting up again, so she stayed home to hand out candy while I walked with the boys. Many in our 'hood went all out with decorations, music, smoke machines, etc. Several "haunted" garages. The boys were much braver than in years past, going up to several spooky doors by themselves.

Getting to the point, the boys actually went into a haunted house all by themselves! I was not going to force them against their wills and give them bad dreams and make them feel unsafe with me, etc. But I was gently encouraging. We ducked our heads inside the first one, and decided that it was too much, and left. As we approached another haunted garage a couple blocks later, I overheard another parent asking the homeowners to offer a mild and un-scary experience for her little girls who were only five years old. The homeowner happily agreed, so I decided to give the boys a little nudge and talk them into it. They still weren't having it, until the music coming from inside started playing none other than Vader's Theme Song! Well, that was it. My little jedis just had to see what that was all about. So they summoned all their courage, and all three of them went inside! Four-and-a-half seconds later, they emerged from the other side. The lady with the candy then followed them out and offered them some... apparently they had gone so quickly that they didn't even see anything or stop for candy. But it still counts! My young men bravely faced their very first haunted house!


By the way, in case you are curious, I thought I would share some of our thoughts on the whole debate about Halloween as innocent fun versus evil paganism. We teach our boys about the Catholic meaning of All Hallows Eve and the feasts of All Saints and All Souls. If we can make it to a saints party, we do (couldn't make it this year because of hockey practice). That is a fun and educational thing to do. But we take a both/and approach, and don't have a problem with trick-or-treating in and of itself. In fact, while church and other similar gathering (trunk or treat) are nice, I think it's good to be in your own neighborhood with the lights on for the benefit of all the little ones and parents who go walking along. When I was a kid, our neighborhood was fantastic, and almost every house participated. Today, it seems like maybe a third participate, while most lights are turned off. That's not bad. There were hundreds of kids and families out, and we certainly got plenty of candy, and exercise. As for costumes, last year they actually went as saints. This year Bobcat and Bubba really wanted to be Jedis, and Snookie wanted to be a knight. (Although he changed his mind once we got outside, and when people asked him if he was a knight, he told them he was in fact a jedi-knight. Whatever!) We won't allow gory or innately evil costumes, but our boys' temperaments don't seem to gravitate towards such things anyway. (Or downright slutty costumes, if we ever have girls...) For trick-or-treating this year, they recycled last year's Franciscan monk and Goliath gladiator-style outfits to be Jedis and a Knight. Noble, virtuous figures, even if not overtly religious. (Forgot to take pictures until they were already undressed and digging into the candy...) As for decorations, we have generic "fall" decorations in the house. For one, we don't wish to make devils and witches appear cute and innocuous. But also, we are pretty frugal and we like our "fall" decor to last all the way from October to Advent. (It's pretty much the same with spring and Easter.) To account for others' taste for the darker things, we explained to the boys that those scary decorations are there to remind us of the end of life and our need for repentance and faith in Christ. Sort of the Mexican Dia de los Muertos take on things. I don't have a problem with visual reminders of death. We have no fear death, because of our hope in the resurrection. Obviously many, perhaps most, secular decorations cross the line these days and are simply horror for horror's sake. I have never liked horror movies or gruesome haunted houses. I don't enjoy being frightened, and would not allow that type of thing in my home. But we can still be "in the world but not of the world" and enjoy a secular holiday with our friends and neighbors, as well as remembering the religious significance as a family.


Saturday, October 31, 2009


It's official, Snooker is a hockey player! He suffered his first blood last night at class... well, actually it happened before class started (during free skate time)... but hey it was on the ice. Poor little guy took a nasty fall and used his face as a brake on the ice! You may be wondering why he has a boggin' on under the helmet. Well, as some of you might know, our kids are small... including their heads. So keeping the much needed helmets on the first lesson was a little difficult... putting the boggin's on under it helps keep the helmet put!

Needless to say when I took a picture of Snooker, the other two wanted to get in the shot as well. Here's their fierce hockey player face... notice my sweet little Snookie just can't make a mean face (when you want him to).
Okay, I don't really get the fascination... but every time we take pictures they always want to do a Jedi pose. So of course we indulge... so here are hockey jedi's!

How's hockey going? Pretty well. They just completed their 4 lesson, and the improvement in their skating is quite noticeable. There's still tons of falling, but there's a whole lot more skating to go along with the falling. Thankfully before the lessons start on Fridays, they have 30+ minutes on the ice for free skate. Honestly that is where I've seen the most improvement. They aren't hanging on to the wall, they are attempting to stroke versus walk, and they are able to avoid other skaters!
We have two more lessons, and then it will be time to decide whether or not to continue. Personally, I like it... I think it is a good exercise for them, and it is a sport (for now) that size really doesn't matter. Bubba and Snookie just went to the dr. for a check-up (only because I wanted them to get a flu shot and I didn't want to pay for it, otherwise I would not take them in by choice to that crack-pot)... anyway they are both in the 3-7 percentiles for height and weight and the chart thinks they will end up somewhere between 5'5"-5'7"... so no basketball players.

Well, that's about it on the hockey front. They think it's fun, I like the idea that it is in doors :-), and so far no serious injuries... it's a winner all around!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The abortion industry is racist.

More proof.

Abortion kills more blacks than the next seven causes combined.

"...abortion has done what the Klan only dreamed of."

Friday, October 23, 2009

To-do list

Bobcat said, on the way home from hockey tonight:

"Daddy, I'm sure glad we went to the circus. Now the only two things I haven't been to are the Fair and a parade."

Duly noted, son.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


There is one week(end) a year in which I don't care that we have aircraft flying over all the time... AIR SHOW WEEKEND!!!! I just took this shot pointing straight up (from our driveway) as they flew over head! I LOVE BEING IN THEIR FLIGHT PATH!!!!

They will be rehearsing all day today (as long as it isn't raining) and tomorrow!!!! I LOVE THE BLUE ANGELS!!!!

Around the barnyard #11

In the CHC newsletter I saw an idea that I thought I would share with you. I, personally, don't know how I would incorporate this in my own household because I don't have a laundry room with enough room for this sort of thing... but I'm still thinking of ways I could make this work.

Create floor or shelf space in the laundry room, and get a box, five gallon bucket, or other container for each child. Sort wash directly from the dryer into each person’s laundry container. Children are responsible for putting away their own clothing.

Right now, I just have the boys move the clean laundry from the dryer to my room where I fold it (they help depending on the items) and then they put them away.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Finding the blessing in our struggles

I recently came across a four part series by Dr. Jameson and Jennifer Taylor on infertility thanks to another website I was reading. While the first 3 parts were mostly known to me because of our long struggle with infertility, the fourth part really allowed me to once again accept my infertility in a more faithful light.

I highly encourage everyone to read this... be it that you are struggling with infertility or if you know someone who is (it will help you see the internal struggle they are fighting).

Part One
Part Two

Part Three
Part Four
Additional Article

Here are a few quotes that really struck me and I thought were worth sharing:

Instead of giving children to God, infertile families can give their suffering to Him, their unfulfilled longing to conceive a baby. God will use this suffering to glorify His name and bring about the salvation of souls (cf. Jn. 9:1-3). Likewise, infertility is the gift God gives couples for the salvation of their own souls, as well as the souls of any children they might eventually adopt. To reject this gift is to reject the specific means by which God wills to lead us to Heaven.

Of course, this is not to say that infertile couples shouldn't use every licit means they can to conceive a child or bring a baby to term. We also do not mean to imply that every infertile couple is called to adopt. Adoption is not a "cure" for infertility because even after you adopt you remain infertile. Each of us, however, is called to "give everything to God," and to serve Him, even in the weakness of infertility.

Part of the pain of infertility, however, is that it is an invisible sign. In our culture, most people assume that if you don't have kids you're contracepting. If you're infertile, they suppose you can easily correct the problem through artificial means. The physical and spiritual suffering caused by infertility is usually hidden. To use an analogy, the generosity of the couple who chooses to have a large family is like a brightly burning sun whose beams produce beautiful flowers that everyone can see and admire. While their love might shine just as brightly, the infertile family has no flowers of its own. Yet, as Fulton Sheen perceives: "There is no sign unless something happens contrary to nature. The brightness of the sun is no sign, but an eclipse is."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Souper Tasty!

It dawned on me that I really haven't put any of our new recipes up on the blog... so here's a tasty soup I made this weekend... in the crock pot!

Now, I have a large 6 quart crock, so if yours is smaller you will probably want to pull back some of the quantity.

Chicken Soup
5 pieces of chicken (I used thighs because that's what I had on hand)
6 cups of chicken stock
1 lb baby carrots (chopped to your liking)
1/2 lb celery (chopped to your liking)
1 small onion (what ever your favorite variety is, chopped)
Dash of Dill Weed (I love this stuff, but you don't NEED it)
Dash of Rosemary
Dash of Red Pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste

Throw it all into your slow cooker, wait 5-8 hours... and YUMMY! This will serve around 8-10 bowls!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Flurry of activity

Or at least that is how it seemed this weekend!

The highlights: Circus and somewhere in the ballpark of a 9 mile walk!

A friend of ours from band gave us 6 vouchers for the circus, so we invited my niece (7yrs) to come with us on Saturday. The boys and my niece have never been, and Daddio and I haven't been since we were around their age.

To be honest, I really wasn't expecting much... but boy was it fun! I will admit that my mommy nerves kicked in with the high flying antics and spinning pendulums of death. YIKES! Based on the laughing, I think all four kids had a great time as well (the cotton candy didn't hurt either :0).

Sunday, after mass we packed up a picnic, the kids, and the scooters and headed out to a lovely park a little ways from us. It was an absolutely wonderful day to be outside! The sun was shining, there was a nice breeze, and temps stayed in the upper sixities/low seventies! This park is filled with great paved trails, some running along side a nature preserve and other areas by a frisbee golf course (which I had never seen in action before... interesting to watch while we walked, but something I have no interest in doing). All in all Daddio figured we were walking at a clip of about 6 miles an hour and we walked for just over 90 minutes... so somewhere around 9 miles. The kids covered a lot more ground... riding far ahead, then coming back to us... but they also did a lot of sitting, while Daddio and I never did take a break. And then it was back to the tables for a refreshing lunch... some playground time... and home for a much deserved nap!

Friday, October 16, 2009


Well, I took Bobcat back to his endo. to see what else they think might be going on in regards to the lack of height and weight... basically they don't know. So along with the bone density test that his gastro. wanted run, we had another blood test to look for a specific growth hormone marker, and more bone age testing done (x-rays of his spine and hip bone).

This morning I got a call regarding the bone density test... within in normal range... THANK YOU! That hopefully means that we won't have any fractures in the near future! Now we are just waiting on the endo's tests. Those should be back in about two weeks.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hey, I might need that stuff!

Boy, when someone touches our stuff... that's what we yell out right? Especially if they might be taking our stuff to the garbage! A similar sentiment I've heard... hey you can't throw that away my kids made that... right!?!

In my youth I would describe myself as cluttered and pack rat-ish. I kept everything... in (neat) piles generally. I knew where everything was, and could put my hand right on it when I (or some else) needed it... but it was a lot of STUFF. I also held on to clothing, for years. I never seemed to actually wear anything out, so I felt like there was no reason to toss it... I COULD STILL WEAR IT!

Then I got married... to a man who didn't really keep anything. He liked a clutter-free life... when forces collide we will say :-). Boy those first 6 months of marriage where challenging to the both of us.

We tell this to our engaged couples that we sponsor for marriage prep... I can remember one day when we finally decided that we needed to sit down and figure out how our life was going to LOOK. We each talked about the things that were most important to each of us, and how we were going to accomplish them so that we would both be happy with the living arrangement!

Pretty much from that point on I realized that I needed to let go of my stuff... stuff that I didn't need, stuff that really had no use, and stuff that I simply didn't have room for both physically and mentally! Now, if there is an item of questionable worth or use... PITCH IT (actually donate it) more times than not.

If by chance I catch a show or read an article on tidiness/or lack there of, it spurs me on to recheck our possessions for their need in our life or would be better suited for someone else (this also happens with a change of seasons, anytime I have to go through the boys clothes I go ahead and hit all of our clothing).

How timely was our Gospel reading yesterday?

As Jesus was setting out on a journey,
a man ran up,knelt down before him, and asked him,
"Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;honor your father and your mother.

"He replied and said to him,
"Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.
"Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
"You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.
"At that statement his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
"How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the kingdom of God!
"The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
"Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."
They were exceedingly astonished and said among
themselves,"Then who can be saved?
"Jesus looked at them and said,
"For human beings it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God." (Mark 10:17-27)

Hoarding, pack rat-ish, messy, or cluttered, this is not what our dear Lord wants from us. I challenge all of you to clean something out... a shelf, a drawer, a closet... find something to donate! Those with kids, this can be fairly easy, they grow out clothing quickly and out grow toys that some other child is sure to need.

I've found the less clutter you find your physical state in, the less clutter you find your mind in!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A list...

What do these things have in common?


Hot rods











Accolades to the winner...

Friday, October 9, 2009


Well, if I thought today couldn't get anymore frustrating... IT DID!

We, well, Bobcat had a follow up with his gastro. regarding his celiac disease. He just past the one year mark for his diagnosis/biopsy and I was convinced that we would get another glowing report... like we got in April at his 6-month check-up. Unfortunately he has done little in the way of growing or gaining weight from April till now... and now he is the furthest he's been away from the growth curve over-all.

The celiac disease seems to be under control based on the blood work which came back completely normal... so now his gastro. is thinking that there might be something they've missed... now we have to go back to the endocrinologist and see if they can come up with anything.

My heart breaks for him, knowing that we will have to put him through more testing trying to get to the bottom of this...

A Nobel... really?

So I was watching the Today Show this morning... wanting to see the whole moon thing (which sadly turned out to be nothing to really see on the video), when I'm jarred to reality by the Nobel announcement.

Apparently nobody ACTUALLY did anything of real value because it was given to Obama... not because of what he ACTUALLY did, but on what he would LIKE to do... or at least that is how it was explained. WOW! Heck even Matt Laur said that it was given to him "because he isn't George W. Bush", and the other guy he was talking to agreed with that. NICE... really, Europe?

If the Nobel Peace Prize had any value previously... well it's in the toilet now!

For a far funnier post than mine (and funny comments) head over to CMR!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I'm not sure I'm prepared!

Knee Pads: check
Elbow Pads: check
Helmets: check
Pedi. Ortho: right around the corner
ER: just down the road
Heath Insurance: all up to date

Ready for our first hockey lessons on Friday: CHECK!
*Technically it's called hockey class, but it's really just learning how to skate!*

Monday, October 5, 2009

Campin' Fare

Charlotte asked me (or Daddio) to expound a little on our camping food... how we come up with it and that sort of thing. First let me say it has evolved over the years! We started off easy... hot dogs, steaks, baked potatoes, and s'mores!

I think the first question you need to answer before your next camping trip is where are you going and is there a burn ban (which happens frequently here in Tx, so do your research). We prefer actual campfire cooking, but all that we do can be done with charcoal if need be.

Next up are tools! Tools are just as important as the food you want cooked. First you need a set of heavy duty grill tools (spatula, tongs, fork), and a set of grilling gloves (here's the set I got for Daddio that he really likes!). If you like your arms and hands... these gloves will protect them! Then there is the actual cookware. We have a nice grill to set of the fire (for those sites that don't have a permanent fire ring with attached grill). I couldn't find one like we have... but ours is a heavy cast iron product that half of the top is a grill grate and the other is a flat surface that is great for eggs and bacon and the sort (frying). And last but definitely not least - DUTCH OVENS! We actually have two. A traditional one like in the picture, and a deep dish skillet with a lid that is great for frying things in. The lid has about an inch to and inch and half lip so your bacon grease doesn't drip into the fire, and you don't lose an egg on an uneven surface (using the lid is like having a third pan!!!). Oh, and another must have tool for dutch ovens... the Lid Lifter! It makes life a lot easier and safer :-).

When it comes to our menus... we have a few staples we always make: steaks, s'mores, breakfast burritos and dutch oven peach cobbler. Steaks and s'mores are easy, that's a no brainer. The cobbler, I think this came in the cookbook that came with our first dutch oven. It's a super simple recipe... two small cans of peaches in syrup (or one HUGE can), one box of spice cake mix, one stick of butter. First pour in the cans of peaches (syrup and all), without mixing spread the dry cake mix on top, then cut the butter up into tbsps and lay on top. Place lid on top, and put in the fire pit. Usually takes about 15-20 minutes (depending on how the wood coals are doing). The breakfast burritos are pretty straight forward. Daddio fries the bacon and eggs in the lid of the large skillet, place on tortillas, and top with cheese and salsa... mmmmmm TASTY!

Over the years we've done all sorts of meals in the dutch oven. This time we made up a new one all on our own :-). We cut up potatoes and stick of butter (add salt and pepper to your liking), placed on grill over fire. Daddio grilled a link of sausage for a while, then cut up into sections and threw that into the oven... once the potatoes were nice and soft we added cheese to the top! It made a great side dish for our steaks, and a full meal for the boys! Had we thought of it before hand, I would have tossed in some onion and probably garlic (but alas I didn't bring those items).

Last year we tried a few casserole dishes from Cee Dubs Dutch Oven Show. His show is funny, and all of his food (that we've tried) is very tasty! He cooks with charcoal briquettes instead of fire... so our timing and heat are really much more approximate than his. And we recently stumbled across Primal Grilling! This show is amazing and we've already put into practice some of his techniques!

Just the thought of camping excites my taste buds. Everything tastes different... better when it has been cooked over fire! And really once you have a few simple (well made) tools, the possiblities for meals are endless!