Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Kids Are Rednecks....Just Like Us

You must click HERE to watch the funniest video ever of my kids!

Hee hee !! Haw Haw!!

(It expires on Jan 15th, so hurry!)

~H

O Come, O Come!!



He's almost here....

~H

Monday, December 22, 2008

Planned Parenthood Covers Up AGAIN



And they're all for women's rights? Sure.

~H

It's Cold

Yesterday, my family and I braved the cold to go to Mass. Not that we need a medal or anything. I didn't even know how cold it was until we started loading kids in the car. I may have decided to keep everyone home if I had checked the weather beforehand. Ergo the point of this post.

When I did get home and was able to check the weather, it was -4 degrees outside. Negative. Four. The "high" for the day was -3. The low was -10. (Fahrenheit people - I live in America.)

Do we even need these numbers at this point? Can the weather man and The Weather Channel and the internet sites just say, "It's *^!*ing cold out! Stay inside!" Or, a more family friendly way to put that might be, "It's cold beyond all reason. Don't leave the house!"

I mean really, do the numbers mean anything at all once you get to, say, 0? That's already 32 degrees below freezing. The freezer compartment of my refrigeration unit is set at -1. If it's colder than my freezer outside maybe the news stations could say, "If you'd like to warm up after coming in from the #*!%ing cold take a tour of your freezer - 'cause it's warmer in there."

Don't get me wrong. I like to be informed of important upcoming changes in the weather. It's nice to know when a blizzard is coming (like last week and this weekend). But I'm really not sure that I'm getting any more "informed" by knowing that today it's -3 and tomorrow it's going to drop to -15. Am I going to feel a difference? Probably not. I'm just going to say, "#$%* It's COLD!"

~H

Pro-Life Rosary Meditations

Joyful Mysteries

The Annunciation
Mary is troubled by the angel's greeting, yet rejoices to do God's will. Let us pray that those who are troubled by their pregnancy may have the grace to trust in God's will.

The Visitation
John the Baptist leapt for joy in his mother's womb. We pray that people may realize that abortion is not about children who "might" come into the world, but is about children who are already in the world, living and growing in the womb, and are scheduled to be killed.

The Nativity
God Himself was born as a child. The greatness of a person does not depend on size, for the newborn King is very small. Let us pray for an end to prejudice against the tiny babies threatened by abortion.

The Presentation
The Child is presented in the Temple because the Child belongs to God. Children are not the property of their parents, nor of the government.
They - and we - belong to God Himself.

The Finding of Jesus in the Temple
The boy Jesus was filled with wisdom, because He is God. Let us pray that all people may see the wisdom of His teachings about the dignity of life, and may understand that this teaching is not an opinion, but the truth.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Michigan Abortion Clinic

See what was found in the dumpster outside this abortion clinic. This is grafic. Please view before allowing your children to view.



This is real. This is what is happening. Become a voice for the unborn.

~H

It's Almost Time!!

Happy 4th Sunday of Advent!

God Bless you and Merry Christmas (it's OK to say Merry Christmas, folks!)!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Prayer To End Abortion

Lord God, I thank you today for the gift of my life,
And for the lives of all my brothers and sisters.
I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion,
Yet I rejoice that you have conquered death
by the Resurrection of Your Son.
I am ready to do my part in ending abortion.
Today I commit myself
Never to be silent,
Never to be passive,
Never to be forgetful of the unborn.
I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement,
And never to stop defending life
Until all my brothers and sisters are protected,
And our nation once again becomes
A nation with liberty and justice
Not just for some, but for all,
Through Christ our Lord. Amen!

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Cutest Baby Hat Ever!!!

It's a hood. It's a hat. It's a scarf. It covers the ears!

It's ADORABLE!!!






Is it just me? I *heart* Etsy. Got this at Lyalya's shop. So awesome!! Makes me want to just eat him up!! Or buy a matching one for myself!! Don't go and buy it before I can.....
~H

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Bone to Pick.......

.....with Pillsbury.

Let me explain.

In my short lived experiment with couponing (read about it here) I had purchased some Pillsbury refrigerated cookie dough. I know, I know. I usually make my own cookie dough - it's cheaper and tastes better.

But, I thought, I have a baby and a toddler, and a COUPON, so I'll buy some dough. It'll save me the time of having to make sugar cookie dough, then refrigerate, then roll, then cut out, then bake, then frost before eating our Christmas cookies. I get to skip two steps! Woo-hoo!

Was it worth it?

Um, not so much.

Perhaps a picture demonstration would be better? Ok. Here you go:


Exhibit A -




Notice the size differential between the cookie cutter and the resulting cookie? WTF! When I make my own sugar cookies THEY RETAIN THEIR SHAPE AND SIZE. Period.

Not enough, you say? Want more evidence? I give you Exhibit B -



Star of Christmas Cookie Cutter and resulting blob of confused squares. Again, I do not know what happened to these cookies. Does Pillsbury put some kind of super-human strength baking powder in their cookie-dough? Do they not understand that while it is OK for your chocolate chip cookies to conquer and divide among the cookie sheet it is quite impolite for sugar cookies to do so.



And, yes, there's more. Exhibit C-



Went in a Gingerbread Man, came out Frosty the Snow Man. This poor guy gained about 50 lbs. just because he agreed to undertake baking.



Exhibit D -


From left to right starting at the top: heart, bell, heart, bell, stocking, heart, stocking, gingerbread man. Oh-so-wrong on so many levels.
And finally, for your viewing pleasure, finished and frosted cookies-


To top off this wreckage of cookies, we had placed the remains of cutting out shapes into a blob and decided to bake a "large" sugar cookie by itself. It was the last "batch" that went in the oven. It was forgotten. Forgotten as the other cookies cooled. Forgotten as we made frosting (the green frosting is mint flavored, YUM!). Forgotten as we frosted the cookies. Forgotten until 30 plus minutes after it went into the over I got up to pee and smelled something off.
Found a large, brown hockey puck in my oven, complete with putrid smell of burnt popcorn wafting through the air.
Ah, the joys of baking. The cookies taste ok, although nothing compares to real butter, which Pillsbury obviously forgot about. And it was fun to see the little kids all covered in flour as Wobbs tried to roll out the dough. And his funny face when he realized his line of paper-cut-out gingerbread men had become poor souls that needed surgical help to regain their shape. My Flower, being the wisest of us all, refused to touch much less take a bite of the cookies.
Happy Advent!!
~H
P.S. Blogger has gone stupid and will not respect my formatting wishes in the above paragraphs.....melding then together as only Pillsbury could do!!! An ironic twist of fate, maybe?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ramblings from the busy Mom....

I just need to ramble a few things today. Bear with me.

Diaper pins. Hate them. I am soooo glad I don't have to use them on a regular basis. As of this moment, I have only had to use them twice (counting right now).

My Lovey is currently wearing not a "diaper" but a flannel receiving blanket. These cannot be secured by my ever-trusty Snappi. No, my friends, flannel cannot be Snappied. You must revert to diaper pins.

Why I am using a receiving blanket? Because I am currently running low on diapers that are the correct size for my ever-growing, very brawny and stout not-so-little baby. He's a giant, for Pete's sake. We all love a good giant around here. He has outgrown all but 9 of the diapers I own. I have traded some items in my home for some new "fluff". But the new fluff has yet to arrive on my doorstep. Right now, I am washing my 9 diapers and waiting it out in a blanket (not me, him).

Back to the diaper pins. They are horrible. How did the previous generations survive? No wonder disposable diapers were such a wonderful relief (aside from the whole not-having-to-wash-them thing). I do know there are some "pin-loving" mamas out there - and I mean no offense to you ladies. But it is very difficult with my squirming baby, what with his constant kicking during changes and all, to push those pins through the fabric without stabbing him and especially ME. (Can you tell that maybe I've stabbed myself once or twice, or everytime!!!?) I can't imagine using this form of fastening for every diaper. I love my Snappie. And I also love, love, love my diapers that have snaps to fasten them, like these and these.

Moving on.....

I got the Jesse Tree up. I, unfortunately, did not get any ornaments on it until the 13th day of Advent. Since then, no more ornaments up either. Part of the problem I am having is that I have a slight OCD issue with having to read the scripture that goes with the ornament. I can't just put the ornament up each day unless we read the reading. And I don't have time to do the readings everyday, and then they build up and we have a bunch to read....and then I'm overwhelmed and nothing happens for days and days. Yep. That's just how it goes.

We also have no Christmas tree yet, and no Christmas decorations. We are hoping to get out this weekend to cut down our Christmas tree but there is a huge storm headed our way for Friday, so we'll just have to see.

We also have been "Church" shopping. My husband has a diversion to the "big city" near us where we've been attending Mass so we are seeking out our options to find a place that fits us better. We do really like the fact that our Bishop presides frequently at the parish in the "big city", but we need to do what's best for us as a family and staying out of the city is a big priority right now. Unfortunately the parish in our own small town is, well, "spiritually lacking" is the term I would use. It leaves one very thirsty for a deeper experience.

I pray you all enjoy this season and are able to celebrate it for what it is! God Bless!

~H

Monday, December 15, 2008

Not "Enough"

Lately, I have been tempted to feel not "enough".

Sometimes, it's not Catholic enough. Others, not "crafty" enough. And there's always the not blogging "enough". Not a good mama enough. Not a good enough cook (ok, well, really I am a good enough cook, I take that one back). Not thin enough. Not pretty enough. Not able to keep up with everything enough.

Why do we allow ourselves to feel this way?

As women, I think it is easy enough not to feel enough ALL THE TIME. Look at mainstream society. We are bombarded with images of "adults" looking like preteen, super skinny, airbrushed, "perfect" creatures. It takes a true turn to look at what God intended for us to realize how fake indeed that idea of beauty is.

Women were designed to have families. Families prevent us from being perfect in society's eyes, but not God's. When I look at myself in the mirror, I *try* (very hard) to see not an imperfect body, but what my body shows I have done for my family.

My soft, round middle is the purple heart for the three glorious children I have bore, without the need for drugs, thankyouverymuch. My overspilling (yes, they overspill) breasts are proof positive that I have nourished my children in the divine manner that God gave me. My short hair is end product of being able to keep my baby near me at all times, even when I shower. My jeans are snug fitting because instead of taking time for Pilates or Yoga, I surrender myself to attachment parenting and know that my children are receiving the best care I can offer them. Period. My clothes aren't the most fashionable, because my money and time are better spent caring for my home than for my wardrobe.

As far as those other "enough"s are concerned:

I try not to take things others do too seriously. Sometimes when I am out in the bloggy world it is too easy to get caught up thinking, "How come they have so much time to write such inspiring things? Why does their blog look so cool? How come I'm not making people want to read my blog?" I realize that these are temptations of satan himself trying to make me feel inadequate and lure me away from my true responsibility, that of sole care-provider for my home and family.

Sometimes, at Mass, I am tempted to feel not Catholic enough. Is there such a thing? Or is this yet another hit the devil takes at me to make me feel lacking and unqualified?

I see other families with perfectly behaved children, Mom and Dad in their Sunday best, no snacks, no one distracted. But my children are children. They act like regular kids. They don't always pay attention and we could never make it through Mass without a bottle of water and some cheerios.

Are jeans really that horrible? My husband has been away from the Church for the majority of his life. I thing God is pretty darn happy that he shows up at all, jeans or no.

And when my kids are sick, or I am 2 weeks post-partum, I have to believe that God understands that I can't make it if I am to fulfill his request that I tend to my vocation as mother and care for my children. Sometimes also, it's just too cold to take the little ones out of the house.

And so, I will try to feel instead of "not enough" that I am in fact doing just as He intended for me to do. Enough.

~H

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thankful This Advent Season

I am thankful for my $200 heating bill this month.....because it means I have a home to heat.

I am thankful that my jeans do not fit....because it means I have enough to eat.

I am thankful for the constant "noise" of my home....because it is filled with love.

I am thankful for the chaos of my days.....because it means I have a reason to organize.

I am thankful for the kids bickering....because it means I have been blessed with a large family.

I am thankful for the dirty laundry.....because it means we have clothes to wear.

I am thankful for the dirty dishes....because we have food to cook.

I am thankful for occasional argument with my spouse....because it means neither of us have to be perfect.

I am thankful for confession....because He has given us a Sacrament for His Forgiveness.

I am thankful for the Mass.....because it means we have a Savior.

I am thankful for my cross....because it brings me closer to Him.

~H

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Too Busy

I have been too busy to write anything. He's a (really) quick look at what we've been up to:

Right now, I am up with the Wobs running a hot steam shower to get rid of his croupy cough. He sounds like a baby harp seal.

My husband has been working like he's the only sheriff in town. People are breaking the law left and right my friends.

I am soooo tired because I cannot sleep when the seasons change and it is officially winter here, snow and all. My hubby's had the snow blower out 2 times already.

Black Friday appauls me. Really. I am happy the Lord has really helped me to fight the consumerism I was raised to worship.

But......I am getting addicted to cloth diaper hunting again. My Lovey is outgrowing the size he's in and I've got to get new (used) ones. I found a forum where I can trade for dipes instead of buying them. I'm trying to trade some of my Mama Cloth (yes, I use cloth menstrual pads. They are the BEST!!!).

Or.....I can try and use the potty, like I did with My Petite Flower. The diapers are just easier, what with having a toddler and baby.

My marriage needs time. We are so busy, some days I have to remind myself to say "I love you." (I do Sweetie, love you that is. I'm sorry we're so busy. And thank you for the cards.)

Advent has started. I got my Jesse Tree out today and my Advent Wreath. Only 1 day late! A new record for me.

I've been reading up more on the Culture of Death and Abortion. I've got some good ones coming.

Couponing has been OK. But I save lots of money by just going to the right store.

Penciled in a time for Baptism. Now I just have to confirm with all involved parties.

I'm at least thinking about St. Nicholas Day. I don't know if we'll do anything.

God Bless you all!!! More to come soon......

~H

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Give Thanks to He Who Gives You the Ability

"Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the Lord promised on oath to your forefathers. Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and revering him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land - a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil, and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and
your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God.

You may say to yourself, 'My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.' But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today."

Deuteronomy 8

Monday, November 24, 2008

Quick Takes (Vol. 4)

--1--

My friend with the new baby here is very upset about my other friend (who is a closer friend to her than me) here who just lost her baby.

I feel utterly helpless as well. My friend with the new(er) baby is having such a hard time delighting in the joy of her wee one as it has been overcast with the shadow of the death of another baby.

This too will come to pass. And God's love will get us through.

--2--

The assortment of "Sympathy" cards at the store(s) is pathetic. They suck. They're all "so sorry for your loss", blah, blah, blah, "God loves you", blah, blah, blah. Not that God loving anyone is bad or something to make fun of. It's just the cards sound so damn fake.

Of course God loves us. I think that a mourning mother and family need to hear something more real. Like, "I bet you are really pissed at God right now. I would be too. Don't worry, He doesn't mind and He understands."

I really wish there was a card that said this: "I know we aren't really close friends. But as a mother I feel a connection to you and I want you to know that I understand that your pain is unbearable and that no one truly knows how bad you must feel right now. If it were appropriate and if I could, I would pick you up in my arms and hold you until it all went away. I don't know how bad it is. I feel guilty that my baby is OK, and I feel guilty for being so happy that my baby is OK. Please don't hate me for that. Please know and believe that my heart is with you."

Where's the Hallmark for that?

--3--

As a recent convert to Catholicism, I have never attended a Catholic funeral. I am kind of nervous about what to expect. I have also never been to a funeral for an infant, so I am twice nervous.

--4--

Hey God,

Why did you need that baby back so soon?

Sincerely,

H

--5--

I still need to set up my baby's baptism. I feel like it should be done TOMORROW, just in case. But I know it's best to allow for the funeral before I start calling the parish secretary to set up the baptism. Not to mention, I haven't checked with the God-parents for dates yet.

--6--

Hey God,

Is this thing on? Sorry. Just kidding.

Me again. I know that babies die everyday. This was a humble reminder very close to home about how precious these children are. Thanks for letting me have Yours just a little bit longer. I promise to try to not take them for granted.

H

--7--

His timing is perfect.

~H

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hold Them Tightly

Today, news......news that I cannot even bear to type came. Friends of ours unexpectedly lost their 7 week old baby last night. He died in his sleep.

As wonderful as the thought of him sitting in God's arms is, I cannot help but feel sorrow and sadness for his family. As a mother, I know there is nothing I can say or do that will make it any easier for his mother to grieve. I pray for God to give them the strength to carry on and to shower them with His love and grace in the months and years to come.

I find myself saddened and joyful today. I am saddened by the news of his passing. He was only a part of this world for such a short time. He gave his family unmeasurable amounts of joy and I know his family, and especially his mother, loved him very much.

I was able to speak with her late in the afternoon yesterday, before any of this had occurred. It was the first time she and I have really been able to talk since I had my son and she hers. She was so happy, so full of that elated euphoria that comes with having a new baby. We consoled each other on the sheer exhaustion of caring for a newborn and a toddler, comparing our situations, her nursing the toddler and the baby, and me just nursing my baby while trying to get my toddler to sleep without that tool. We had such a nice time talking. It was so good to see her and her family and hear that all was going well.

Later that night, I received a phone call that prayers were needed. The baby was going to the ER and not many details were known. My son and I prayed that God's Will be done and that He help the family stay strong and the baby stay healthy.

This morning, I awoke to the phone ringing. Another of my friends called with the news. I was absolutely in shock, and I think I still am.

I have spent the day praying and feeling some guilt at the other side of the coin of sadness - the joy I feel. I feel absolute joy that He has allowed me to keep my children. I realize very humbly today that they are indeed His children and not mine. He can call them back whenever He wants them or needs them. The cross He has given this family to bear is not one that I feel I could carry so graciously if it were given to me. I marvel at His Works. I don't understand what His plan is, but I do have hope and faith that He does everything for a reason.

The cross I have been given to bear in this life feels a little lighter today as look down upon my healthy children. I feel truly blessed with the gifts He has given me on this earth. My children are beautiful, healthy, and happy, most of the time. Their faces bring joy to my life everyday and I have never been more thankful for their presence than I am today.

Please lift up this family in prayer. Their hearts need the fullness of God's Love.

~H

Turkey Screw Ups

You must go visit Cake Wrecks. It had me laughing so hard my kids were wondering why Mom was crying.

~H

Saturday, November 22, 2008

You Want Me To Put My Hand Up What?!!

Stuffing. Some call it "dressing", but I can't figure out why. All I know is that in order to prepare this stuff (no pun intended) and make it taste as yummy as possible you must stuff your hand up a turkey's ***. Or as my 8 year old would say, "Up his donkey."

And where did this weird stuff originate anyway? I found some neat online trivia on the history of stuffing. It appears that people have been "stuffing" foods, namely animals, for EVER. Ok, for years. But ever has such a nice ring to it. Apparently stuffing a turkey for Thanksgiving really caught on once Stove Top made it possible to do it very simply and cheaply. Thank you Ruth Siems.

The Victorians, I read, were not all that happy with the "improper" sounding term stuffing. They are the ones who decided to call it dressing. (Who knew?) It was originally called farce, from the Latin farcire (see #6 in the link on farce). I particularly like the term forcemeat. As in, force the meat up the animal's donkey - if you catch my drift.

Although I do not agree with any stuffing recipe (for Thanksgiving, or any other holiday meal for that matter) that calls for meat in the stuffing. I prefer, as my family has gently pounded into my preferences for 20+ years, a simple, yet eloquent, stuffing. No need to "change it up." No trying to "one up" last year's stuffing. No folks, holidays are made with simplicity of tradition. And in our house, that tradition involves not f'ing up the stuffing.

I will never forget the year that my mom let her sister-in-law bring the stuffing. It was the last year she ever let anyone help with food, ever. There were, I am not kidding, water chestnuts in the stuffing. Water Chestnuts. In. The. Stuffing. I shall not comment much more about this horrible memory.

But just for nostalgia's sake, imagine you are eating a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Turkey. Mashed Potatoes. Gravy from a jar. Green Bean Casserole. Sweet Potatoes. Canned Cranberry Sauce, in the shape of the can. Homemade Stuffing. Savory, smooth, salty, satisfying, er....ow!! What the heck was that? Why is there something crunchy in my stuffing? Did I just lose a filling? You put what in the stuffing? Water chestnuts? Aren't those traditionally used in Chinese cooking? Do I look Chinese? Do they roast turkey's in China and serve them on the fourth Thursday in November?

Oh it was fun let me tell you.

Of course, I have lots of other *fun* Thanksgiving memories involving food screw ups. Years, and years let me tell you, after the Water Chestnut Incident, as it's referred to in my family, came the Mouthwash Mashed Potatoes. Would you like to know how those three words got strung together?

Well, my mother has always been a pretty good cook when it comes to Thanksgiving. It was one of the very few times during the year when I was growing up that she cooked a meal, so we were very happy to have it. Not only that, but really, it was good.

As the years went on she kept cooking this meal but she also began another tradition with Thanksgiving - getting completely sloshed the night before. Most years this was no big deal. But the year in question she had apparently stayed out a little too late. Like until the sun came up the next day.

She had invited me and my husband (now, but not at the time) over for Thanksgiving. It was the very first time she would be meeting her future son-in-law back in that first year when we were living in sin. Unfortunately, she was a bit drunk, er...hungover, when she started dinner.

Anyway, my future husband, being the gentleman he is, took large servings of every dish offered. My brother and I were at the table with him, my mom exhausted and laying on the couch. My brother and I began to eat and both immediately stopped. We gave each other "the look" and knew there was something terribly wrong with the meal.

My husband cleaned his plate, smacked his lips, and graciously complemented my mom on the wonderful food and asked for seconds. My brother and I looked at him like he was nuts. He winked at us and said, "The mashed potatoes are so thin and watered down I could rinse my mouth out with them, " as he turned to the stove to get more. We broke into hysterical laughter while he kept this totally straight face. It was so bad I almost peed my pants.

My brother and I asked him, out of my mother's earshot, why he was going back for more. Clearly, in the absence of my mother's sanity, she had boiled the potatoes too long and then added way too much milk before mashing. He said, "Gotta make her feel good, first impression and all. Now give me that shaker of pepper. I'm going to need the whole thing to get another serving of these down."

We now compare, in absence of my mother of course, all bad food to the Mouthwash Mashed Potatoes. We are an odd bunch I tell you.

Included for you holiday viewing and tasting is my family's stuffing recipe, credited to my Grandfather:

Bread, white, cheap, torn into pieces
Butter, melted
Salt
Pepper
Onions, chopped
Celery, chopped

Mix together by hand, preferably little 3 to 6 year old hands, and shove up turkey's donkey.

**For those of you who may actually try this and want a more "serious" version of the recipe and instructions:

1 loaf of bread per 8 lbs. of bird. (So, for example, 1 1/2 loaves for a 12 lb. bird.)
1 lb. of melted butter per loaf of bread.

Tear up the bread and put it into a big bowl. Chop up some onion, however much you like. 2 medium sized is usually what I do. Chop up 3-4 stalks of celery. I like to include the leafy parts, they have lots of flavor. My family of origin did not do that. Add celery and onion to bowl with bread. Sprinkle with pepper and salt. Melt butter over low heat on stove top. Pour down over bread, celery, onion, salt, and pepper. Mix together by hand. I like to let the kids do this because it's very fun and messy. Shove up turkey's donkey. Cook turkey according to Better Homes and Garden's Cookbook poultry directions for turkey roasting with stuffing. :)

~H

Friday, November 21, 2008

7 Quick Takes - Vol. 3 (Formerly Off The Top of My Head)

Go visit Jen - the original "quick taker" at Conversion Diary......
--1--

I am glad it is time for "Quick Takes" again. I have been thinking of posts all week but been unable to write anything because I've been so busy with the simple task of being solely responsible for my childrens' care, nutrition, safety, and education. It is overwhelming and I do not believe that past societies did this alone, nor did they have the majority of mothers in the work force.

Anyway. It makes it very hard to find time to one's self for the sole purpose of connecting with an online community.

I'll be staying on my soapbox for just a few more minutes.

--2--

I was talking with my aunt this morning about some of the problems with mothers in the workforce in today's modern society. This conversation came about because we were talking about the elderly, namely my grandmother, grandfather, and her husband's (my uncle) dad.

My grandmother spent the majority of last year in a hospital or long-term care facility (a string of words which I doubt would have been strung together 60 years ago). After about 8 or 9 months of that, her condition worse, she died. My uncle's father died a few weeks ago. My grandfather is still doing pretty well and lives alone in the house my mom and aunts grew up in.

The problem I want to mention is that there is no one left to care for the elderly, or the young for that matter. When mothers were not in the workforce, there was always someone there to help care for those that fell ill or could no longer care for themselves. This also helped to foster a sense of responsibility and empathy for our extended families.

That sense of responsibility is mostly absent in today's families and we tend to cart our elderly and our children out to others for their everyday care.

I will now remove myself from my (rather large) soapbox.

--3--

My children are driving me crazy. I really just want a few minutes to finish this post. I've got one constantly yelling some foreign, two-year-old language I can hardly understand. One is crying and cooing for milk, and another is on the phone with my aunt (Hi!) which is just very distracting.

Maybe I should find a more appropriate time to post.

--4--

Christmas shopping/lists/asking for appropriate kid presents/budgeting is going good, so far. My extended family is going easy on the gifts this year which is very encouraging. I am doing well on keeping the gifts to a minimum also. I decided that since Jesus only got 3 gifts that I am only getting 3 gifts for each of my children. My gift to my husband this year is showing him how little money I am spending on the kids.

--5--

I am so excited this year for the season of Advent and Christmas. I am (hopefully) going to be getting out the Jesse Tree on time this year (since last year, I was still making all the parts for it because it was the first year we had it). Ours is a felt tree, with felt ornaments. I am also hoping to incorporate St. Nicholas' Day and The Advent Wreath into our celebrations.

A lovely thing about the Catholic Church is that "Christmas" celebrations start on Christmas Day and continue for another couple of weeks - unlike secular society that stops celebrating it as soon as the day is over.

--6--

Black Friday. This is a new term for me. Apparently the shopping day after thanksgiving has a name. Do you "Black Friday"? If so, where do you go? What time do you get up? Do you take the kids? I am fascinated by this. I know that I could not handle it. I remember going shopping once with my mother on that day when I was in high school, I think. But can you even imagine going with babies and toddlers in tow, probably half asleep and cranky? Ugh. Not to mention that, as an adult, I now loathe shopping. With a big, fat L.

--7--

I think we've got a few (okay, more than a few, but hey - it's just a saying) things backwards in this country. Yesterday my son watched a show on Animal Planet called "Frog Mania". It was about, yeah, frogs. After that was another show about frogs. I don't remember what it was called but it focused on how the frogs are dying from this fungal disease in their skin and we have to save them. They even have a website.

What gets me is that there was an hour long show on TV about how we have to save FROGS. And human beings are being killed at the rate of 4,000/day in this country and we see/hear nothing in mainstream media.

~H

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sorry for the Confusion.....

Yes. You are at the right blog. Yes, I am a little nutty when it comes to choosing a background design. Forgive me for turning things upside down again.

I am a little concerned about how to get the rest of the bathtub picture with the two little ones to show, but I'm sure I'll figure it out soon enough.

More to come.....

~H

Little Bitty Feeties!!!

Oh! My!! My dear friend, neighbor, and God-parent to my children just had a baby!! A beautiful girl baby - whom her Monkey calls "Pumpkin". And she is soooo adorable.

She has the littlest, teeny-tiny feeties I have ever seen. And her hair is soooo thick and dark. It is just the cutest.

Congratulations my dear friend on your new little one. I am so happy for you and your Daddy Roast!!

~H

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

On Family and Baptism

As a new Catholic, and a "new" mother once again, it is time for Baptism. My son needs to be brought into the Church and receive his citizenship in the Kingdom of God. As a parent it is my duty to arrange this matter, choosing God-parents who will be united to our family and child for eternity. The process is close to complete now that my boy is 3 months old (already! 3 months!).

The Sacrament of Baptism is one that should be relatively easy to set up, or so one would think. Other parents I know have had God-parents chosen for their children by the middle of pregnancy, at the latest, and it seems we are the last Catholics on the block to do so. I have had a very difficult time trying to figure out who I can ask. I have very important people in my life, but not very many that are Catholic, which of course is a requirement of aforementioned needed God-parents. Why is this so easy for everyone and not for me?

Some background maybe?

My family of origin was not what I would call Christian, at least not what I now believe to be a Christian. Not that we didn't believe in God or Jesus Christ. We did what I saw many of my fellow Americans doing - we went to church on Sundays to warm the benches and then lived the remaining 167 hours of the week as if we believed there was no God or at least that we had no knowledge that there could be one.

I was baptised and have God-parents, my Aunt and Uncle, whom I love and adore to this day. But I feel like my baptism was more of a "gotta do it b/c everybody does this when they have a baby and it's the right thing to do people, we don't want to seem like we can't keep up with the Jones, what will people say" reason rather than being the joyous celebration of God's Love that it should be. My brother, born 16 months after me, was never baptised. Guess life was just to busy for another meaningless celebration.

And that, friends, was what Church and God were to my family of origin. Meaningless. We never prayed. We never talked about God. We had this big white bible sitting on an end table in our living room that someone had given my parents for their wedding. It had some pictures in the middle of it. Now I know those "pictures" were actually prints of some of the wonderful Christian artwork to come out of the last 2,000 years. From those pictures, because of course I couldn't read yet, I gained my own idea of who God was and how it all worked. (More on that later.)

My baptism never really signified anything to my parents and therefore they never transferred any great significance of it to me. My God-parents certainly are important to me, but it's because they're my Aunt and Uncle, not so much the God part. That part was never really talked about, nor made important. Twenty-plus years later I find myself having my 2 children baptized, myself being confirmed a Catholic and receiving my First Holy Communion. It was beautiful and I chose for my childrens' God-parents a couple who was very instrumental in planting all the seeds for my conversion.

Here I am now, a Catholic as God intended, with another baby. And. No. Catholic. "Family". Save aforementioned older childrens' God-parents.

How do you choose God-parents? Who is appropriate? My biggest issue was feeling like I didn't know anyone "well" enough to ask them to be united with our family. Do I just ask someone we know from Church? Do I ask someone in our homeschool group? What about my dearest friend who is, unfortunately, not Catholic? How do I include her in something as important as this? Coming from about as far not Catholic as I did growing up I felt so uncomfortable asking anyone to step into this part of our life. I didn't want to make anyone feel obligated, and in my heart I knew that it should mean more to me than it felt like it was meaning.

So what did I do? What any other good Catholic would do - I prayed about it. I prayed a whole lot. I prayed towards the end of my pregnancy and a LOT MORE after My Lovey was born.

Finally, I just asked God to show me who was supposed to be his God-parents. Shortly after I asked that, a very important person who I was growing in friendship with, who is also a homeschooling mom, who also has many (7) kids, who also attends our parish, and whom I greatly respect asked me, "Have you had that baby baptized yet?" "No," I replied. "Oh, good! I thought I missed it. I don't want to miss seeing *******'s baptism!"

Could He have been a little more obvious?

So, after trying to catch this wonderful couple (my friend and her husband) at Mass for 4 weeks, I finally got the chance to ask her at our last MNO (Mother's Night Out). So nervous I was. Is this really OK? Maybe I shouldn't? Will she think it's out of line for me to ask her? I haven't known them that long. I had no reason to worry. She, of course, said yes and she'd, we'll they'd, be honored. Just like God planned. Yes!!! I am so happy. It wasn't too hard to ask, and I am so grateful to have this wonderful family be a part of our lives.

Now to plan the actual ceremony.............

~H

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday, Smunday

I have to admit, I was tempted to nap today. My Flower and My Lovey (new name for Little Man born 8/19, because after all, he is My Lovey) both were quick asleep after we got home from Mass. Instead of sleeping, I am up catching up on blogs and posting to my own. Will I regret this later? I hope not.

We awakened (is that a word?) early this morning to Wobs and his friend playing in the living room - his friend having asked his mom if he could go to church with us. I obviously couldn't say no. They're not Catholic and don't have much of a faith background as far as I could tell from speaking with them on it. I feel like they are in a place that I was in a few years ago and that I better darn well do what I can to help lest I feel the Wrath of God upon me. (And I mean that in a pseudo cute but serious kind of way.)

So, Wobs crazy friend went with us. I can only imagine what it was like for my friends at Mass the first couple of times that I went with all the questions I had. Thank you so much for your patience if any of you are reading this. The child I brought with today was FULL OF QUESTIONS, almost to the point of annoyance. But really, can you be annoyed when someone is wanting to learn more about our beautiful Faith? I think not. I hope that I was able to let His Light shine enough through me without overshadowing it.

Today is a short-post kind of day. I'm sleepy and unmotivated. And My Lovey just woke up in my arms. He needs his milk. :)

~H

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yes folks. It's my birthday today. I will not tell you how old I am. But I will tell you that I am the age my husband was when we met. Hmmm.

To celebrate my birthday I have decided I am going to do a post somewhat like my last post, giving you quick ideas that have come to mind throughout the day and week. But since it's my birthday, I don't have to do any special sorting or thought arranging whatsoever and can put them in whatever order, going forward and jumping back in thoughts whenever I want to.

Let's get started. My new hair-do. Remember Sally Field in "Steel Magnolias"? M'Lynn? Remember when Julia Roberts a.k.a. Shelby told Annelle to style her mom's hair into a brown football helmet? Well, after much consideration upon waking in the morning, my new do is just like M'Lynn's brown football helmet. Here's a picture of it fresh out of the shower for your viewing pleasure:

What led me to chop of my long locks you ask? Showering. Have you ever tried to shower with a baby in your arms? If you haven't, I highly recommend it if only for the exercise in problem solving. Your brain will thank me later.

Seriously though, I got sick of trying to find time to wash my hair. Washing your hair while holding onto a baby is quite the feat. I had to contort my body in all kinds of neat ways in order to shampoo, rinse, condition, and rinse without getting any in my baby's eyes or even on his skin for that matter (because I'm a little obsessive and ALL MY KIDS have funky dry skin and I am convinced that if a drop of my hair stuff were to touch him it would result in instant bad reaction).

And I was always wearing it up in a pony tail or bun, or something like that. Anyway, it was getting to be a nuisance. I love, love, love my long hair. Really I do. Every time we add a new member to our household I try and hold out as long as I can. Once I hit about 2 months I go crazy and decide to chop it off. My husband, bless his heart, always tells me how beautiful it is - even though I know he loves the long hair too. Thanks dear.

How come the second I sit down to write a post somebody needs me. That sucks.

My son spent the night at a friend's house last night. He called this morning to sing me "Happy Birthday". He sang me the "you live in a Zoo" version. Then he said, "You know you do live in a zoo Mom. You have 5 kids." That was cute and sweet. Thanks little Wobs.

My youngest son has spit-up on me twice since I started typing this. Yuck. Good thing I'm not planning on wearing these clothes later.

One of the homeschool groups my family belongs to has a monthly "Mother's Night Out" or MNO. This month it just happens to fall on today, my birthday. Yippi!! I found myself ignoring these opportunities to get out of the house last year. I thought it was silly and where were all these moms finding time to go out. I had better things to do. But this year, I decided to go to one. After the first one I was hooked and I absolutely decided that I was an idiot and a little pompous for judging the other mothers last year (sorry guys!).

They were onto something good. Getting out of the house once a month without your family (meaning without anyone who doesn't need you for a food source, nurslings are always welcome and mine definitely goes!) is a great way to take a break and recharge. It also gives you something fun to look forward to all month. And for my new venture into frugality, something to save for each month and feel good about rewarding myself with. This month is Japanese.

Frugally speaking, it was suggested to me by a friend of mine and fellow blogger that I add a new category to my blog entitled "Frugal Fridays" where I give you a breakdown of my savings for the week - good deals, good coupons, good garage sale buys, etc. I think she might be onto something.....

Anyone out there have a husband working nights? Anybody? I have a question just for you. Do you, or shall I say, does your husband try to keep on the "night" schedule on the days he has off, or does he stay up and get all screwed up on sleep just to spend time with the family? Which do you think is more beneficial/works better for your family and why? We are having a hard time adjusting to this whole Daddy works at night thing.

Thank you to the commenters from the last post. It is sooooo nice to get feedback and comments. And to know that someone is reading this. :)

I hope I didn't jump around too much for y'all (a little of my Texan beginnings coming out there).

Friday, November 14, 2008

Off The Top of My Head

*Jen's Quick Takes have inspired these posts. There is a link on her website back to this and others with their 7 Quick Takes for the week.......

--1--
The coupon game is a lot harder than I thought. After trying it out this week, I was not as pleasantly surprised as I thought I would be.
Being damned, er, blessed with OCD I took all the receipts from the big warehouse-type grocery store in the "big city" around here and typed up a spreadsheet with prices off all the foods I buy on a regular basis. I printed this out and went to the closer "small-town" store in the next town over. I compared prices and brought a little hand held file-thingie with all my Q-pins in it.
Even with the coupons, I could still buy stuff cheaper at regular price in the "big city". At least I know I haven't been wasting my time (and gas) driving there for the last 2 years to shop since we moved here. And if I use the coupons there, then I can feel like I'm saving even more.
This week's total grocery shopping savings: appx $35
--2--
What part of "Do not make your little sister scream while your father is trying to sleep" is so hard to understand? Can you understand it? It is in English? Right?
--3--
I have a problem with stinky diapers. No, not the regular stinky diapers. My baby's cloth diapers are stinky. They smell fine when the come out of the dryer. But as soon as he pees in them one whiff of it can knock you out. I'm sure there is some really nifty way you can "strip" them, but I've tried a couple of different methods that I found online and nothing is working. Any tips? Anybody?
Oh, and he's still only pooping about once every 5 days. So the poop is not the stinky problem. Except for yesterday, when he pooped and then I took the diaper off to change him, and then he pooped even more all over my hand. In My Bed. On My Side. Yuck.
--4--
Raising Teenagers is Like Nailing Jello to a Tree.
You heard me. I know I've said this before, but it's so true I just wanted to make sure you heard it.
--5--
On the way to the grocery store the other day I decided to take some extra dough my Grandpa had sent for my upcoming birthday this weekend and treat the kids to some drive through at McDonald's. He sent me $10 and I'd already spent $3, so I figured I could feed myself and the three little kids on the 7 bucks left. That was not a problem. 2 double-cheeseburgers for me, a small fry and double-cheeseburger for the Wobs, and a double-cheeseburger for Flower, one small Hi-C Orange for us to share. $6.33, tax included. Not bad.
The part that I must share with you is this: Despite our lifestyle taking a major change to frugality (which I am convinced God is calling us to) and therefore not many a Micky D's trip have we had in about 2 months, my two-year-old daughter spotted the Golden Arches from about 1/2 mile away and starting yelling "Buuur-gerrr!! Buuur-gerrr!!" until we actually pulled into the parking lot.
--6--
Do you ever feel like you just want everyone and everything to be quiet? Today alone I have been asked "Can I.....", "Why not.....", "Mom....." about 50 times. I feel like I am going to explode if one more person asks my permission to do something that I don't feel like talking about. Argh.
--7--
Why aren't there any wholesome TV shows anymore? Remember "Little House on the Prairie"? I have recently found this gem on the Hallmark channel in the afternoons. It's nice. There's no low-cut shirts. There is an actual storyline. Humor isn't just stupidity.....it's actually funny situations, even irony sometimes. The language is appropriate for even my 2-year-old to hear. The storyline does not involve sex, or someone trying to get sex, or someone having gotten pregnant for sex they shouldn't have had, or someone being upset because they decided to stop having sex with so and so and "oh my God! What will everyone think!" crap. It's nice and refreshing to watch something that isn't completely morally questionable - like the shows on ABC Family Channel that are anything but family appropriate.
******Note: The formatting on this post is not working correctly!! And it's driving me nuts!! Sorry for the hard to read, unspaced paragraphs.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Must Stick To the Plan!

I am keeping to the no nap rule. However with the addition of Daylight Savings Time (read post about this crazy thing here) and Daddy moving his work schedule to nights, the inevitable has happened:






We are now sleeping while we eat. Yes folks, this is My Petite Flower, asleep with her hand in her macaroni & cheese, head bobbing like, well, a bobble head. You can't see her bobbing because this is just a two-dimensional photograph. But I assure you, bobbin' it was.








I rather like the "macaroni in the front of her dress" look. The new fall fashion for toddlers - coming soon to a kitchen near you.

She did finally keel over and get into a deep snooze. So deep, in fact, that when I took the tray away, did the dishes, and came back to her, she was still asleep. I gave her a rather vigorous rubbing with a wet washcloth (to get all the cheese off, for Pete's sake!) and she still slept. I decided she must be very tired to stay asleep through that and transferred her to the couch.
So now, it is midnight and guess who's still awake? *SIGH* I guess we'll try again tomorrow.
~H

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

And The Verdict Is.....

No naps. Definitely a BIG FAT NO. As in, "I hate the days that my daughter naps and then stays up until 11pm or later!" Like today.

It wasn't even on purpose today. I was holding My Little Man and he was asleep. I was on the phone, talking to my dear friend C., whom I haven't spoken with in a while, and My Petite Flower climbed up onto my lap. Pretty normal. Happens all the time.

However, I was distracted by the phone call and didn't realize she was snuggling in to me to fall asleep. 'Cause guess what? That's exactly what happened. And by the time I realized it I just couldn't bring myself to wake her up.

About an hour after this I had to move because I could no longer feel my legs, er, I mean, I had to drive my son's friend home from his "playdate" at our house. Even after I picked her up and set her down uncomfortably on the ottoman......she still slept. Oh well.

So definitely, completely, totally (feelin' a little 80's tonight) going for NO NAPS. None. Zero. Zip. Nada.

~H

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bearing the Cross

Dear Daddy,

I am having such a hard time dealing with this cross you have given me. I am very angry and hurt. It hurts so much sometimes that I don't even want to get out of bed. Just when I feel the weight being lifted a little bit, like Your holding a little of the weight for me, it seems like You drop the whole of it back on me again.

I don't know why You have given me such a heavy one. Aren't there any lighter ones up there I could trade for this one? Or maybe just a smaller one?

Either way - this one is considerably substantial and burdensome. It gnaws at my very being, at the very Sacrement it defies. I am trying to be a good steward of my vocation, but lately it is just so awful that I am not sure I can go on.

Please help me. I cannot carry this cross alone. I offer You my suffering as a sacrifice, for myself as a sinner, for other sinners, and for the conversion of hearts. You know particularly which one I am talking about.

Daddy, without You I will not make it. Please help me to love You more. Help me trust You and your infinite wisdom. The plan You have for me is not known by any other than You, and I am sure there is a great reason behind this precise burden you have put upon me. Please use me well. Help others to see You Light through me. Keep me from shadowing You so that all others may know Your Glory.

I trust in You. Help me to keep my faith and hope in You alive.

Heather

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Off the Top of My Head

*This is something new I am trying, after getting the idea off of another blog, which she claims to have gotten from another blog. I've seen it titled many things......basically I'm going to give you some quick takes on a few things that I have opinions about, or have been pondering about lately. Take it or leave it, but here it is.

Do all husbands only cook pizza, or is it just mine? When I said tonight that I really didn't feel like making him any food, heating up leftovers or from scratch, he cooked another pizza. He'd already made one for lunch.

Really, I mean, is it that hard?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It's been almost 12 weeks since my baby was born and I still can't fit my wedding ring on. I almost got it down to the bottom of my finger yesterday. I was going to let it sit between my bottom knuckle and joint so it could flatten out the fleshy part that's holding up this whole thing.....but I thought better of it when my finger started turning purple. Makes me rethink the whole titanium wedding rings. You can't size them. Ouch.

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Why are the "newborn" babies in movies always about 3 months old? Really. No woman has a baby that big. No wonder Americans are afraid of childbirth.

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I love the show "Cash Cab." Have you ever seen it? It's on in the afternoons around 3 or 4 on Discovery Channel. I think all cabs should have a guy asking you trivia questions on your way to your destination, money to be won or not. It would make the whole "sitting in car for 45 minutes while you travel across town" thing more interesting.

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Am I the only Mama who is "drunk in love" with her baby? Why is it that once I have a baby I want, like, 10 more? I HATE being pregnant. Let me say that one more time - I HATE being pregnant. It is an exercise in penance for me. I am truly happy to offer my suffering up to the Lord, but when it's happening I always tell myself that I am never doing it again. And then the baby, the baby, comes! And then I am so in love and so forgetting and forgiving about the whole pregnancy thing that I pray for the Lord to bless me just one more time.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

How can we, as a nation, turn a blind eye so easily at the genocide happening all around us at the rate of 4,000 lives per day? Just remember that when we start to call a group of humans something other than "men", "women", "children", "people", or "babies" that we probably are trying to think of them as less than human and therefore not worthy of human rights. That's why the pro-death movement likes to call a baby a "fetus" or "embryo" - makes it easier to sell the killing of innocent lives to the masses.

P.S. Fetus is Latin for "offspring" or "child". It is also a word that uniquely is used to describe the human baby. You would never call the offspring of a dog in the womb a fetus.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Have you thanked God today? Today is a wonderful day to thank Him. He is always there, always watching over you, always giving you everything you need. Remember to say, "Thanks!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There you have it. I hope you enjoy the ramblings of my little mind.

~H

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Like Nailing Jello to a Tree

Parenting a toddler. Or a teenager for that matter - like nailing Jello to a tree.

You try. You try your best and think very hard about how to proceed. Do I slice the Jello a little thinner? What if I use less water when making it? Shorter nails? Longer nails? A tree with a softer wood maybe?

My dilemma this week is: to nap or not to nap?

I've talked often of my issues with sleeping and waking times, here and here - both my own and that of my children. After much hell, er very strict practice, I have gotten into the habit of being up by 8am at the latest in the morning, but usually by 6:30 or 7. My baby gets up with me, the Wobbers gets up about 1/2 hour after I do, no doubt from hearing me muse about the kitchen, and My Petite Flower....well that's the issue. Sometimes she gets up with me and sometimes I let her sleep a little. But usually within the hour of my waking, she's up. That is not, per se, the issue.

It's the problem after she's awake. She's up by 8 or 9 most days, sometimes 7.

If she doesn't get a nap, she's pretty darn cranky by about 6 pm. If she is allowed to sleep then, she sleeps till 8 or so then is up until 12 or 1, which I can no longer handle now that I am not pregnant. If I attempt to drag her through the crankiness not allowing her rest, I can give her a bath at 8, be reading books at 8:30, and lay with her through 15 minutes of crying and she's out by 8:45.

If she does nap during the day, she falls asleep sometime between 1 and 3 PM and sleeps anywhere from 1/2 hour to 2 1/2 hours. As you can imagine, this poses some issues. But the real issue is then she doesn't want to go to bed until around 10 or 11. I can still give her the bath at 8 and try for bed by 9, but the results are fruitless. We end up sitting in bed with me very angry and her making lots of blabbering noises to herself because she's not tired. So we get up and I wait until she is tired at 10 or 11. Then sleep is a little easier.

All of these nights, nap or no, are compounded with the problem of trying to get her asleep while keeping My Little Man either asleep or at least content. If he's already asleep, it's great. I can rest him on my chest and cradle her in my left arm. If he's not asleep and wants to nurse, then I have to try and nurse him while she's trying to fall asleep, all the while having her say, "Arm, arm, arm. Arm. Arm!" Meaning - give me your arm to sleep, Mama. While I say, "In a minute. I've got to nurse Little Man (I say his name here actually, but I'm trying to keep it off the blog). I'll give you my arm when he's done." She doesn't like this one bit. So she tries to grab my arm or thrashes around on the bed a bunch. If she would just calm down and let me nurse him, he'd fall asleep and then we could all sleep. *sigh* But she's just a little girl and doesn't get that. She annoys him by rubbing her hands all over his head, which annoys me, which makes no one relax.

Bottom line: I have to make a decision. Do I go for the nap in the afternoon and deal with a later bedtime OR do I forgo said nap and keep my sanity at night but deal with extreme crankiness?

Things that make you go hmmm.

~H

Frugal Living

In an attempt to stretch my husband's hard earned dollar as far as it will go, I have been doing a lot of "reading up" on frugality. I've run into a TON of information. It's a little overwhelming and mind-boggling.

This morning, I was over at The Coupon Game and I spent an untold amount of time trying to learn what I could and even went to this website and printed off some coupons. I am also really liking the lady over at Like Merchant Ships and her advice/examples. Jen at Conversion Diary had some links posted to Laine's Letters , especially this one about how they paid off their house in 17 years on a minimal income of less than $30K/year and also recommended The Two Income Trap for reading. Interestingly enough, in one of the first chapters of this book the main example she uses about the middle-class being forced into a two income home to keep their place was that of men who were police officers, as mine recently has become.

I've been thinking and reading up on all this stuff for a few weeks now, and I have some questions about this idea of frugality that I believe the Lord is drawing me to.

How much time is prudent to spend coupon clipping?
Does it "pay" to print coupons at home on my printer using my own ink and paper?
Should I start buying the Sunday paper?
What can we live without?
Can I convince my husband to cancel the cable?
Should we drop the car insurance to just liability?
Do we really need a cell phone (or two, as it is in our house)?
What about Christmas?
Can I give up my "name brand" staples, like Heinz Ketchup, Miracle Whip, Kraft Cheese and Prego, for the "store brand"?
How much organic and natural products can I continue to purchase now that I am trying to stay within a food budget?
What is a reasonable food budget for a family of 7?
How can I be a good steward of our earnings and still keep my family happy without seeming like the KillJoy of our family?

As I ponder these questions, I ask you, my dear readers, for some help and advice through these questions:

How much do you spend weekly/monthly on groceries?

What size family do you have?

Is eating out once month/week in your budget (right now, it's not in ours)?

Do you clip coupons?

How do you "bargain shop"?

What other things do you do that really help save money in your home?

Am I nuts to think that I can survive the year buying only used clothing?

How do I convince my extended family that my kids really (really, really, really) don't need toys for Christmas this year? (Because we already have way too much stuff in our house and I'd like to minimize what we already have, and teach them the value of Christmas, i.e. that Christ came to die for our sins.)

Please leave a comment and answer if you can. The more the merrier!

~H

Friday, November 7, 2008

Daylight Savings What?

Here we are again. The time of year where I want to run and scream like a little bitty girlie (oh wait, I am a little girlie!) into the corner and hide.

Why? What do you mean why? Don't you know what happened this weekend? Some crazy power in the universe insisted that we observe Daylight "Insanity" Time, or rather that we revert back to "Standard" Time, whatever that is.

Click here for some neato information on this issue.

However cool the information is, the effect on my family is never good.

I remember my first DST as a mother......

~A CONVERSATION BETWEEN ME AND MYSELF~

ME: Oh crap! I've got to set the clocks back. But how will I know when it is Wobber's bedtime?

MYSELF: Just keep one of the clocks set to the "real" time and you'll be able to tell.

ME: But isn't the "real" time whatever time it really is?

MYSELF: Yes, but this will just be the "sleeping" time clock. You'll be OK, just go with it.

ME: Ok, but if I put all the clocks ahead, no I mean behind, and he should be in bed at 8 o'clock with bath starting at 7 o'clock, then I can just start the bath at 8 instead. Right?

MYSELF: No, you should start the bath at 7.

ME: But the bath was at 7 with the "real" time.

MYSELF: But when the "real" time is 7, it's "real"ly 8.

ME: Argh!!! I hate this.

MYSELF: No wait! Eureka! I've got it! Start the bath at 6 o'clock real time. Then he'll be in bed by 7.

ME: Do you mean real time or "real" time?

MYSELF: What time is it again, right now?

ME: Huh? So you want me to give him a bath when we should be having dinner?

MYSELF: Yep. Hey wait a minute!? When in the heck are we gonna eat?

ME: But if he goes to bed at 6 o'clock what time will he wake up?

MYSELF: No, he bathes at 6, bed at 7.

ME: But isn't that "really" 5 and 6? Or is it 7 and 8?

Yeah. You get the picture. It's not any better here in 2008 when I have a baby, and a toddler, and the Wobbers all going insane the same exact day my husband switches from the day shift at work to the night shift.

Mm, hmm.

~H

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Economics 101

Our Tax System Explained: Bar Stool Economics

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100.

If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. "Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20."

Drinks for the ten now cost just $80. The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes, so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his "fair share?"

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free.

But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

"I only got a dollar out of the $20,"declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, "but he got $10!"

"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I got"

"That's true!!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Posts to Ponder

Please read these wonderful posts. I wish I had written them, or something as meaningful as they seem to me. Alas, I am happy to simply be able to share them with you.

How Would You Know

Your Vote and Eternal Salvation

Why I Homeschool

More Letters From Earthcamp

Why Pro-Life

+JMJ+ Pray For Us!!

On my knees,
H

+JMJ+ Pray For Us!!

As I awoke this morning, a cloud of fear was building around my heart. What has happened in our country?

I drove my two "building school" children to school and my 15 yr. old asked who won the election. When I told her the only words she could think to say was, "That's scary."

She wasn't being sarcastic or blowing it off the way some teenagers in secular society may. She was genuinely frightened at the thought of this man leading our country and even more scared hearing that he had gained that ability.

She isn't the only one.

I, too, am very scared. I could think of nothing other than prayer this morning as I drove back to my home from the school. My husband's reaction has been anger. He is very angry at what has happened. I don't blame him. I don't know why I don't feel angry too.

I am not shocked that this happened, but there is still a sense of disbelief in my mind. I guess I am just so amazed at this man's ability to deceive the people of this nation so easily. Again, my mind goes directly to Hitler and his ability to convince people that he had their common good in mind when he was making decisions.

This morning I am left with these thoughts: What will God think of what we have done? What will be the effect on our country's people? How much more genocide can we endure?

I do not believe that God is vengeful. But I do believe that he listens to what we ask for. I am reminded of an interview that Billy Graham's daughter did on the Early Show. She was asked in reference to Hurricane Katrina by Jane Clayson, "How could God let something like this happen?"

Her answer was the more eloquent than I could have phrased, but makes perfect and absolute sense, especially now - "I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?"

I cannot imagine what protection we, as a nation, are going to lose with this man leading us. I am afraid for all the lives that God himself has created that will be lost to the holocaust of abortion and what protection we are going to lose because of that.

My only hope is for prayer. Prayer is the only answer I can think of, the only chance we have left. I pray that God shows unfathomable mercy on us. That His forgiveness washes over each and every one of us.

I believe that in the coming years the "change" these people were hoping for, some of them claiming to be Christians and Catholics, is going to be so distorted from what they thought that even they will be able to see the evil this man is surrounded by and the evil he has brought upon our nation. I worry that by then, it will be too late.

I am also reaffirmed in my conviction that homeschooling is the right path for my children and family. Taking full responsibility for what my children learn, especially in the area of religious studies, ensures that they will be taught the fullness of the Catechism and the true teaching of the Church.

I pray for those Catholics and Christians alike who voted for Obama with no real understanding that they were doing the devil's work. It is his work that has created the gap and hole in Catholic teaching and understanding of the Catechism and his work that has lead other Christians to believe that it is OK to go against the will of God.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph pray for us! We need your intersession to survive these horrible sins which we have brought upon ourselves.

~H

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Know Who You're Voting For - Volumes 1-9

Just in case you missed any of these, here they are all together:

Know Who You're Voting For
Vol. 1
Vol. 2
Vol. 3
Vol. 4
Vol. 5
Vol. 6
Vol. 7
Vol. 8

Vol. 9

Urine Test
Babies Aren't Mistakes

Please read and feel free to forward the links.....especially to any of your liberal friends.

~H

What You Don't Know About Economics Can Hurt You or Know Who You're Voting For (Vol. 9)

Take the time to read this Obama timeline, especially if you are (for some reason) still confused about who to vote for.

http://colony14.net/id41.html

There are 435 cited references for this article that you can go to to verify its accuracy.

Chilling information - which I first found here, so I can't take full credit for this.