Friday, May 15, 2009

I've been published!

It's just a photo in an online travel guide, but still pretty exciting, I think. Apparently the editors of "schmap" saw my Texas Stadium photo on flickr and decided to include it. Follow this link:

...and you'll see it there credited with my name. Cool, huh?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Human Weeds

I'm sure most of you have seen much of this information before, but I thought this video was very well done.

This stuff really strikes close to home now that I actually have "Negros" in my own family. This is utterly despicable. It just makes me so angry and literally sick to my stomach.

I am truly hoping and praying that by sharing this video with my own pro-choice family members, that their love for my sons might help the message sink in and they will reconsider their terribly misguided views.


25.1 pounds, woohoo. The last five took the better part of three months, so I don't know if I'll ever get to the final goal (another 15-20). Don't expect before and after photos or anything, but it's still nice to hit this interim milestone just before going to the beach.

Repeat after me...

Let's rehearse a few important lines, shall we? Repeat after me:

"I'm sorry, I have to hang up now because I'm getting into a crowded elevator. I'll call you back later."

"Hi, I can't talk right now, I'm driving. I'll call you back later."

"Hi there. Sorry, but I'll have to call you back later. I'm at the table with a friend."

"I'll text you back later, I'm at band rehearsal and my section leader told me to leave my phone in the car."

Please use these liberally, so that I am not forced to take your cell phone, stomp on it repeatedly, and shove the broken pieces where the sun don't shine. Thank you.

PS - There is no line for store clerks because if you are on the clock and have a customer, you LET IT GO TO VOICEMAIL YOU STUPID PIMPLE-FACED PUNK!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hmmmm, okay...

So I went and got a hair cut today... it needed to be trimmed and re-shaped. Thankfully no one else was waiting so the nice (tattooed, blonde on top/black on bottom hair) took me back and started spraying my hair down and asking what I wanted done.

She proceeds with the hair cut, and after she finished I asked if she would just blow dry it out since I had another errand to run and don't want WETHEAD. And off to work she went, blowing, teasing, and going banana's on my hair. I should probably insert here that I'm not real fashion or hair savvy. Once she felt it was dry and massive enough she started putting in products of different sorts. I decided to make a little small talk and ask what she was using. After the names she said, "it's what I use in my own hair!" (Isn't it always interesting the hair styles of those we pay to cut our own hair.)

I did my best not to laugh, and all I could muster was "Hmmm, okay."

All in all I'm pleased with the cut... it isn't much different from what I had done back in February... just all cleaned up in time for vacation!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

85.8 degrees

That's the water temperature in Port A right now. T-minus four days...

Monday, May 11, 2009


Okay y'all. I rolled my eyes when she showed up with him. I told us not to get attached. We're just babysitters. Yeah, well, that didn't work. He is too perfect. And I saw our boys in him, and thought of how I hope someone else loved them so much until they became ours, and how I just can't understand, if I am in love after just two days, how a parent - a mother - could abandon them.

Our boys fawned all over him and asked if we could get him baptized. Believe me, I did the research. I almost baptized him last night in the bath tub. It would have been illicit but technically valid.

Plus he has my wife's little mouth and chin and I just. can't. stand it. I NEED to put him in my pocket and take him everywhere and smoosh him and kiss him.

You know all those eloquent prayers about submission and "Thy will, not my will", etc. I can't get myself to say them. All I got is, "Oh, please please please please please please please please please please..."

Unfortunately, the party is over, and the baby had to go "home" tonight. I told MommaLlama that she should be sure to cry - a lot - when she drops him off. She says it's too early and would appear desperate. So I told the baby (hereby dubbed "Bean") to cry all night long and to irritate everyone from siblings to dogs, but especially grandparents, with such terrible behavior that they would want to send him back. MommaLlama told him to make them cry "Uncle!" EXACTLY! I'm the uncle, get it? ;)

Oh, Bean. Hope to see you soon.

Admit it...

"Golf Analyst Feherty Sorry for Pelosi Joke in Dallas Magazine"

Here's the joke:
"Despite how the conflict has been portrayed by our glorious media, if you gave any U.S. soldier a gun with two bullets in it, and he found himself in an elevator with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Osama bin Laden, there's a good chance that Nancy Pelosi would get shot twice, and Harry Reid and bin Laden would be strangled to death."

Now look, I'm not saying it was appropriate or in good taste. But come on, be honest - you laughed, didn't you? I know I did. It's not even a new joke, that formula has been recycled many times with different characters to suit the current events or political views. Just a joke, people.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mothers Day

Happy Mothers Day to my dear wife. This is her fifth one. Hard to believe that over half of our marriage has been as parents. The majority of our boys' lives have been with us. It has been a truly joyful year. Our first several months of parenthood were pretty tough. We didn't realize it at the time because we were so busy, but looking back we wonder how we did it. (Maybe that's why people always told us that they wondered how we did it!) I would like to think that we are better parents today than we were in the beginning. More patient, more sensitive. We used to feel like babysitters. It took over a year for everything to feel really real and well settled. But this past year has been great. A good school year, just completed, a real diagnosis for Bobcat and time to get used to it and adjust our eating habits. Bubba's first communion coming up in just three weeks. I think we are finally learning to slow down, to not rush ourselves or the boys, to not demand perfection. To just take each day peacefully, and to enjoy this time in our lives. She's been a mom long enough to see how the children progress with time. Poor Bobcat, he was the guinea pig. We stressed over every spelling test. Was he on track? Was he reading well enough? Why was he being stubborn? In fact, he wasn't being stubborn - he was being a kid. One day, not long after his 7th birthday, he kicked into gear and took off academically. She sees Snookie doing everything his brothers used to do, and it bothered us the first time around, but now we know he is just a boy. He will be ready when he's ready. There's a balancing act there - pushing hard enough for them to be challenged, but also allowing some breathing room when they are feeling overwhelmed and anxious. My wife has gotten really good at that this year, and is able to respond to the children with gentleness and patience. She's just a better, more natural mom each year. She is truly the heart of our home, and my consolation when I need her. Here's to another good year, MommaLlama!

No words

I happened to come across this on Mothers Day.

If you voted for that man, you must repent. Period.

Too early

I read this headline:
Pope's address disappoints Muslim leaders
...and thought to myself, "Why don't they like his address? Do they think Rome should be their territory now? What is his address anyway? If you send a letter, do you just write to "The Vatican, Rome, Italy" and some secretary somewhere reads his fan mail for him? If you send him a Christmas card, will he send a reply, like the President of the U.S. does?

Oh, right, the other kind of "address". It's too early in the morning for news. Or maybe I didn't sleep because this guy here woke up hungry several times.

Yup, we have company! My mother- and father-in-law have legal custody of the baby that was written about previously. They got us approved by their social worker as caretakers and invited us to keep him for the weekend so they could get their house back in order and rest up. We gladly obliged!

I'll go ahead and answer the question everybody is thinking right now. The answer is YES, we would. In a heartbeat. But it's very unlikely that he will need us on a more permanent basis. He will probably be in Houston with his birth father in a month or so. But we are sure glad to spend some time with him. Our last chance to play with a teeny tiny baby was with our other nephew whose fifth birthday we are going to celebrate this afternoon. So we are having fun and living in the moment. He didn't mind posing for a few photos. Okay, sixty... but I didn't put the flash in his eyes and he never complained. Very photogenic, ain't he?

Saturday, May 9, 2009


You have to appeciate the honesty. A recent exchange:

Me (finding Snookie sitting on the sofa, where Mommy put him to wait for me): So, why are you in trouble?

Snookie: Because I put my carrots into my cup of water.

Me: Why did you put your carrots into your cup?

Snookie: Because I didn't know Mommy was coming.

Me: (long pause) Yes, I understand you didn't think you would be caught. But WHY?

Snookie: I wanted to see what it would taste like.

Me: And what did it taste like?

Snookie: A wet carrot.

Me: (long pause) Don't do that any more.

Snookie: Okay. Do you want to see the picture I drew?

I've been telling my wife for years to not bother asking the boys WHY they do things. I should take my own advice.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Strike up the band

Today Bobcat and Bubba had their last spelling tests for the year! Snookie has one more next week... don't ask... spelling has been a bit of a challenge for him.

What's left? Math and grammar review all summer. From my stand point... WE ARE DONE (well Bubba and Bobcat)!!! Woohoo!

So congrats to my little guys, and a little pat on my own back for another sucessful year of homeschooling! Boy am I looking forward to next semester already...

We will be adding a few new things to our daily studies: Latin & History

All I need to do now is finally come to a decision about the history curriculum that I want to use. I've been researching for an entire school year, but can't seem to make up my mind... the joys of having a few really awesome choices!

Oh, and it is so nice to know that we are done before we head off to our beach house in 9 days (but who's counting?).

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Thoughts on the Notre Dame Scandal

In short: I don’t care.

To elaborate: This ship has sailed a long time ago. They employ Fr. Richard McBrien, for cryin’ out loud. He teaches heresy daily in the theology department. Isn’t that worse than having the President as a commencement speaker? Their faculty don't even sign an oath of fidelity. Now look, I think the honorary degree is despicable, but it's not out of character for the university. Why are we just now acting outraged, as if this has come out of the blue? Let Notre Dame's reputation suffer among practicing Catholics. Let the bishops decry, that is their job. But why should those of us in faraway states go to great lengths to protect it? I haven't even bothered signing the utterly useless internet petition. Not because it's inconvenient, but because it's pointless and irrelevant, and Fr. Jenkins just doesn't care. So neither do I.

More ramblings on college in general:
Besides, I’m not sure I buy into Catholic (or any religious or private) higher education as it exists today anyway. Maybe I’m too practical. I see college as training for adulthood. As such, the “college experience,” in my opinion, is way overrated. I’m sure it’s fun to go halfway across the country and live alone and “discover yourself,” but I don’t think it reflects real life.

I'm still relatively new at parenting, but I tend to favor a solid high school education, likely home schooling, covering the liberal arts, and then onto college as job training. I once knew a fellow from India who was an M.D. by the age of 24. They choose a field, and study that field (only), and then go and get a job. They don’t waste a lot of time with the “core curriculum.” That’s what high school is for. Or your free time in adulthood. Who says you have to stop learning when you leave school? Who says you should be forced to study “the classics” if they have no relevance to your career? College used to be for mature young men and women with an eye on their future. Today, it’s prolonged adolescence.

We have some time to discern our boys' path, but right now we are leaning towards two years of community college, while living at home, and finishing up at a respectable public university with a solid Catholic student ministry. (Most likely Texas A&M.)

It has been my experience that a degree helps get you the job. From there, it’s all about your work ethic, professional designations, etc. to promote from there on. I went to a “second tier” public university, and I have coworkers with name brand diplomas making the same money as I do. Having said all that, I would be fully supportive of trade school or military service if that is what my sons choose. (Did you know that your local Lexus mechanic makes six figures?) But it’s not about the money. They should be able to support a family, but they can live simply - we will teach them that! We are trying to get them into heaven, not Harvard.

I also believe in a good relationship (and reasonable proximity) between parents and children. I intend to help guide my sons into adulthood, and hope that I have a good enough relationship with them that they will be willing to accept my advice. I expect them to already be mature young adults by the time they get to college. If I’ve done my job well, they can handle the inevitable challenges to their faith and worldview that will come in a reasonably priced public university. We will discuss at the dinner table, and they will hopefully gravitate towards fellow Catholic students and chaplains with whom they can share and learn and retain their faith.

Can I prevent them from going off the reservation? No. My own family shows that some people just make stupid choices in life and have to learn everything the hard way, despite every advantage in their youth. But if my own kids do go nuts, should I be spending tens of thousands of dollars on their education anyway? If they aren’t mature enough for college at age 18, I’d prefer they work for a while until they are ready to move on. I don’t see the point of paying out the nose for a protective environment when it's the child's choices that determine whether they will live a good life and keep their faith. In my opinion, if you are ready for college, then you are ready for public college, and your parents don’t “owe” you $200,000. They gave you life. They taught you practical skills. They taught you to study. It’s up to you to make good choices and work hard.

This is especially true at the undergrad level. For higher degrees, I can see that school choice, special programs, reputations, make a difference. If they think they need a fancy graduate degree, let them work and pay for it. I might even help! But a B.S. is a B.S. is a B.S.

This might sound strange coming from a home schooler. We are often criticized for being too protective of our children. Why should they be "in the world, but not of the world" in college if we worked so hard to shelter them the first 18 years? Well, the answer is simple. They will be ready for the challenge by then, if we have done a good job as parents. We won't just throw them to the wolves, unaware and unprepared. Again, we will help them step gradually into manhood. They will be able to think critically and filter out the nonsense at a public university (just as they would have to at Notre Dame!)

If there was an excellent Catholic university close to home and affordable, I'd consider it, obviously. But the "college experience" is overrated and stupid. And to try and return to my original point, that's why I just don't care about the "Notre Dame Scandal". I have no use for a school like that, and I don't mind that they are being exposed as a waste of money.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Worker you say?

Today is a great day! Today is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker! Why is that so great? Well, Joseph is our patron in the Llama house! Why else is today great? Oh, because it is first day of Mary's month of May! Woohoo. Double bonus.

So in honor of such a great day, I finally got around to planting my newest rose bush (that has been sitting in the back yard for a few weeks waiting for just the right time). I'm super excited to see it bloom. It is a Climbing Joseph's Coat! As soon as it blooms I will definitely be putting up images of it!