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.