Tuesday, July 31, 2007

14 Years Ago Today...

...I would have never guessed that 14 years from that time, I'd be sitting in my living room, pregnant with my umpteenth child all from the man that I married on that day! I didn't have any future ambitions with Butch, I was just happy to finally be with him and looking forward to whatever was going to happen to us, together.

It was a hot day. I mean HOT. There was a flash flood in the morning (so it was pointless to even do my hair that day, as evidenced by the wedding pictures) but the rain did nothing to alleviate the humidity and steam coming off of the sidewalks. The whole day was a blur and I only had about 1 glass of wine all day!

Today it was pretty, dang hot, but it wasn't as hot (even on my two mile run this afternoon) as it was under 3 crinolines and a very heavy, satin dress...With long sleeves...That were poofy. Really poofy:

Okay, I'm getting sidetracked...

The wedding day was one, teeny blip on the radar screen of our lives. If I were to do it all over again I would have eliminated all the fluff, gotten a simpler dress, gathered flowers from the garden instead of paying through the teeth for "professional floral arrangements", invited only close friends and family, had a night (candlelight) ceremony, and had a daytime reception in the backyard, made a yummy desert instead of an icky ol' cake, had ONE maid of honor and ONE best man and THAT'S ALL for a bridal party, and I would have had some kind of pig roast or maybe a prime rib roast instead of lame-o chicken.


I can't do it all over again because, holy man, why would I want to get married again? I did okay the first time and I'm still with that guy! He wanted to watch a movie tonight but I am going to work (I got a very part time job at a children's store in the area for at night, when the kids are in bed and I'd be up on the computer or reading anyway! I pretty much spend my income on the super-sale priced clothes that I get for an extra 30% off!) so I think we'll move the festivities to the weekend.

I love him very much and would like to do another tribute to him, but I'm afraid I'd bore you all with the mooshy gooshy stuff. Let's just say that, even after all these years, he still makes my heart go all aflutter. Especially when I see these, sexy things sitting around the house when he comes home from work:

AWWWW, Yeah, baby! That's the STUFF! I swear there is nothing hotter than a pair of Redwing work boots that someone actually WORKED in! Okayyyyy, it might not be for every woman. Some ladies really get all cranked up by guys who are all unnaturally buff, wear designer clothes, and get manicures. It may seem strange to those ladies that I find a trim waist on a guy to be kind of disgusting, but it's true! Give me a well-fed, naturally muscled (from actual WORK), slightly scruffy guy over those pansy guys any day of the week (oh, except maybe Sunday, I wouldn't mind if he actually styled his hair or spiffed up a little for church!)! No pretty boys allowed!


There's something so endearing to me about the manly-man stuff like, oh, I don't know...Working, taking care of your family, practicing ball with the kids (even in the house), teasing everyone and loving them so much that they don't so much mind the teasing, vacuuming, and just being a great husband who makes a woman feel so loved and desired at all times (yes, even when U.G.L.Y like when my eyes were puffed shut after having Mari and I cried, got all bloated, and went crazy for a couple of days after I got home from the hospital. If he could stay with me after THAT, he either has REALLY LOW standards, or is very love-blinded).

Alrighty, I said I wouldn't go on and on about that guy, so I'll talk about some girl stuff now.

I lost the diamond out of my wedding ring about 3 years ago. The prongs got entangled in the carpet when I was playing with the kids, and one day I realized that the "big" diamond was missing. There were two, teeny diamonds on either side of it and the bigger one was set up higher than the other two. It was VERY simple, which is how I liked it. I didn't mind so much not wearing a wedding ring set because my hands are so ugly and short-fingered, wrinkly, and freckly with short, bitten nails.

I thought that I would never really get around to getting it fixed, and even toyed with the idea of not replacing it with a diamond, but a CZ or something instead. I started to bring Trina to the custom jewelry shop to make a ring for herself with some of the other homeschoolers (Katheryn said she wanted to help someone learn about what she does and I was happy to oblige! She did this on her own time and for free) and I finally brought my ring in for Katheryn to look at for some ideas. My sis gave me the idea of a colored stone. It's my October birthstone (pinkish-purpley) in tourmaline and she added some white gold in the crack of where the engagement ring and the wedding band were fused together. She used half round bezels instead of prongs and replaced the two, little diamonds because she said she ruined one when she was making it all. I think they are much prettier and I can't believe how little she charged me. I think she gave me such a discount because I helped her when she needed a wine-pourer for her grand opening (again, happy to oblige!). She's a very talented woman and a very sweet friend! Here is a picture of how it turned out. I took it at night so it's kind of hard to see:

Pretty, huh?

So, all in all, today turned out to be like most days but I like most days. So that's just fine by me!

I look forward to many more years and maybe many more children with this hunk of a man. Happy Anniversary Hubs!

Ah loves yew.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Mari Reads

Mari is only 17 months old and already she can read. Watch as she reads to each, chosen member of the family with such inflection, such precision, and such animation! However, I can't understand her particular language, so if there are any blog readers from Korea...or maybe Iceland who could translate, it would be greatly appreciated!

P.S. Ignore the white blobs on my walls, I've been patching and in the process of painting over for so long now, the kids think that it is part of the actual decor!

Time For Tea

I met some really great MN bloggers in person yesterday!

Paula is a super cool chick from out in the boonies. She is a fiery, spicy gal that I totally relate to. I was so happy to meet her and hear all about her recent wedding and her struggles to get the Tridentine Mass said in her area. She's what you'd call "A Good Woman".

Mary is the sweetest, funniest, most open lady you could meet. She is unassuming and wide-eyed and wants to know all about you...and actually CARES what your answer is! She is expecting a baby and is just glowingly beautiful right now. I'm happy to have met her and enjoyed her company tremendously!

Tracy is not a blogger yet, but she knew some of the ladies from some homeschool message boards and I actually realized when I saw her in person that I had met her before. Her daughter and mine were in Little Flowers last year. She just had a little girl 3 months ago and I saw pictures. I hope to see her and her kids again soon and maybe help to get her involved in our homeschool group since she's been looking for one and she only lives a little ways away from us.

Margaret was the main photographer and got some good shots which she posted on her blog. I don't exactly know how I found her but I think it was a while ago off of someone else's blog and I was attracted to her "Minnesota Mom" moniker. I saw her on Danielle Bean's blog when Danielle came to MN for the homeschool conference and stayed with Margaret and they both posted pictures which I thought was cute. I guess when I first started to follow Margaret's blog, I was always hoping to meet her in person and I finally got to! She is so lovely, composed, and pretty. Very unlike me. But I admire someone who thinks before they speak and doesn't have to stick their foot in their mouth or stammer with a lot of "like"s and "ya know"s. She is so kind and hugged me TWICE when we parted which was really sweet and meant a lot to me. She has a way of making one feel special, and really listens to what you have to say (even if it's the idiotic stuff that comes out of my mouth). That is a very awesome quality!

One, funny thing that happened: At this table next to us, two older ladies were enjoying tea also. When we asked the hostess to take our picture a bunch of times "because this will be seen all over the world!" the ladies' ears perked up and they asked us how THAT would happen. After our picture was taken, we explained to them that this was the first time we had met in person and that we have known each other from the computer only up until this point. They stared at us blankly and went, "Ohhhhhh!". Heehee, it was kind of funny to see the wheels spin in their heads of how on earth that kind of thing could possibly happen! I thought about how I'll react to technological advances when I'm old(er) and how, even now, I'm mystified by text messaging and why the heck anyone would want to do that silly thing!

I hope I can meet more blogging friends in person in the future. It was a great experience. I hope I can get together with these particular ladies again someday soon! It's so nice to know that I can be a part of their lives as they share them on their blogs and in emails. Whatever the bad stuff on the internet, the good far outweighs! I would probably never have met or gotten to know so many wonderful people if it weren't for the blogs. I am so blessed!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Parker is a Pure Gift

Oh, how I hate to read stories like these. Yet, I torture myself by reading them so I can pray for the people going through these things because it's the only way I can help. I know that someday, that could be me or someone in my family and I would want as much love and support as possible. So I read, cry, and pray. Is it wrong to hope that nothing like that ever happens to me? I don't think my heart could take watching my child suffer so much. I guess that's the point. It's not up to me to "take" it, I'm supposed to trust that God knows better than me the reasons for the sorrows of life. I never question why a thing is so beautiful or why a person is so nice, so why do I question the seemingly bad things of life so much? Please click on the link and help in any way you can. Things are very bad for this precious and beautiful, suffering, little boy.

Love for Parker

Parker's Story (blog)
The Contest

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Lighten UP, Wouldja?

In my zeal for solving the big problems of the world and touting my oh-so-important personal philosophies...I got a little sidetracked. The really important things are happening all around me and I do pay attention to them, and actually photograph them once in a while!

Okay, first is a big event that I missed blogging about...Sofia's (my brother, Pete's 3rd child) baptism! It was a nice, Saturday evening Mass with our new associate priest. He had only done 1 baptism before, I think, but he did a great job and got 'er done just fine! We sat toward the back of church near the baptismal hot-tub (as I like to call it, I don't care if I sound like a big meanie, that thing is hideous), and then during Mass, Father came back to the font and the whole congregation got to share in the baptism and the renewal of our baptismal vows. I sure do like a baptism during Mass! I don't know if it's super-liturgically proper, but it is nice. Like having a wedding, or an ordination, it seems more proper to celebrate the sacrament with Mass. Here is the best picture I've got (I know Nellie has better ones) of Butch and I (the GODPARENTS, did I mention WE GET TO BE THE GODPARENTS???) and little Sofia. Can you see the family resemblance? The date on the picture is the date of the baptism. I held her last night and I can't believe how CHUNKY she is! She is going to need liposuction pretty soon. Her rolls have rolls. She's such a sweet baby with hugemongous dimples! Her chins have chins. Did I mention she's a butterball?

Next is Analise's birthday!
She preferred to have a family party which left her the choice of one, big present. She chose a Nintendo DS so she could play with her big bro and sis (it's interactive) and I didn't mind because it's something to keep them distracted in the car, in the winter, and they have fun at night "pictochatting" (they sketch messages and pictures like on a "notepad" then "send" them to each other, it's pretty cool, kind of like text messaging) from their bedrooms (I hear them giggling late and have to tell them "enough!" but I think it's cute.

We had the neighbors over for a small party and this picture was taken immediately after she had opened her pokemon card pack she got from them. They all chased her into the classroom and she stood up on a chair to begin the negotiations. It was hilarious! They looked like wall street a few minutes before bell or whatever signifies the end of the market's day. They were all shouting and waving their own cards, "Weazy! Weazy! I want to make a trade! Pick me! Pick ME!". Trina, Matty, Brenden, Brady, and Jacie were all crowding around her and she was loving every minute.

She turned 7 on 7-6-07. All I can say about that is that I hope this is her "lucky year"! She is a really good big sister and a really trying little sister. Soon she won't be stuck completely in the middle, so I think things will look a lot brighter for her when the baby is born. I felt so sorry for her for being kind of "left out" of the bigger kid's club and too old to be treated like a baby, but she's finding her way. The best thing about Weazy is her spirit. She is always enthusiastic about everything and like me, has great hope. It's a good virtue! Her eyes are always wide with wonder and she has a good grasp of humor. If I were to guess, I'd say she will be involved in entertainment in some capacity. She's very, VERY imaginative and dramatic (in a good way, most of the time) and I hope she develops that and doesn't mature her way out of it!
She also shows more love than most children and that's another, invaluable virtue.
I love you, Weazy!

Matty tried baseball for the first time this year. He really didn't know much about it when he started but at the end of the season, the coach had said that Matty was the most improved. He also found his baseball niche...he is a great catcher! Even on those stuffy, hot days he played catcher and did a REALLY good job! He sometimes caught the whole game. They ended the season not winning in the tournament but playing a game they could really be proud of and Butch also enjoyed watching Matty play and helping him during practices when he could. It was good, bonding stuff, I tell you!

This last picture is just a day that we went to my brother, Nick's pool. His son, Johnny and our Mari were born about a week apart and I like to photograph them together whenever I can. They were all chilled out, floating in the water for the longest time, just enjoying each other's company and lounging in the sun.

About the only family resemblance between these, two goofballs are their peppermint Chiclets bucky beavers. I love those things!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Comments on Comments

In the most respectful way, I'm going to post a reminder about anonymous comments.

I moderate the comments on my blog to avoid anonymous posters. If I've posted some in the past, it's because I actually knew who posted the comment.

If you have something to say but don't want us to know who you are...start your own, dang blog. If you start a critique of something I have to say with "You are arrogant to say blah blah blah whatever whatever..." then you are arrogant to say that I am arrogant. It's totally arrogant to claim that someone else is arrogant. If that makes me arrogant, then so be it, but at least admit that you have some in ya, too.

The fact that you came to the conclusions you did meant to me that you didn't read the followup comments or even read my entry with full knowledge of who I am or what I'm really about. My drunk neighbor couldn't think of anything to insult me with (she hated me for some reason that night) so she said I was "MEAN". I don't respond well to unreasonable insults. Come up with an original one, if you must. You are not a friend of mine (obviously) and even wish to remain "anonymous" which is the most cowardly way to state your opinion about anything in life. If you really believe in something you wish to say, then stand up like a man and say who you are! Give me a small break and stop reading my blog. Go visit some other, more saintly person who lives up to your ideal of what a person should talk about. There are PLENTY of them on the internet. A lot of them are listed on my sidebar.

This special message isn't for "guess who?". I didn't post YOUR comment because EW! Hahaha!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Hey, Anna, It's The REAL "Grizzly Man"!

"Oh the flower-sniffers are gone, and the vegetarians are gone, and the heretics are gone, and the sinners are gone..."

(Photo of the amazing Fr. Corapi stolen from The Cafeteria Is Closed)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Irght No, Rm. Hesa!

Ok, this is the last time I'll talk about this (I think), but you really have to read this article, it's not long and it's got the topic NAILED! Especially the part where he writes:

"And so I defend Harry. Then, when I'm done defending him, I have to defend myself from questions like, "You seem to really be invested in these books. Don't you think they have too much of a hold on you? Why are you so obsessed with them? Don't you think you should be reading the Bible and not Harry Potter?"


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Observations on Humanity (or the new title...) What NOT To Tear

We saw so many different kinds of people, heard so many different languages, heard so many pretty accents, experienced so many different kinds of temperaments this past week! One of these encounters kind of disturbed me and I don't quite know why so I'll illustrate it for you and maybe you can help me figure it out.

As we were waiting for my suitcase (which never came) a load of people got off a plane and among them were a family. The mom looked to be about 50 and one daughter looked to be in her early twenties. There was a little 4 year old boy and a 2 year old girl. I thought maybe the two, little ones were the children of the older daughter. (I did eventually ask the mom and she said they were all her children) We were standing there for quite some time so I couldn't help but make up a story in my head about the people around me.

I'm always curious about people's stories and what makes them tick and I think it's odd when people try to sneak by through life and are never curious about other people. Anyway this lady had a long dress and so did her two daughters. Their hair was perfectly/artfully braided, they wore no makeup and the older daughter was wearing a medal (you know, the secret code for "I'm a Catholic!"). They were doing the normal mom thing of trying to keep the little ones close and out of trouble and I casually asked the older lady if they were her children and she said they were 3 of the 9 and then did one of those grin smiles and waited for a reaction from me. She kept looking over my head and kind of acted snobby.

I thought that if I told her I was expecting my 6th and that I was Catholic that she might relate to me better and chat with me but she didn't seem to care too much about hearing about me. I felt myself wanting to explain how I was part of the "club" (being that I didn't run into too many people that were like us, if you know what I mean) then I realized that I was wearing a short skort and a polo shirt and even though I had two babies with me, I didn't exactly scream "CATHOLIC HOMESCHOOLING MAMA" and I knew that she didn't want to bother with getting to know me. Every time I started to speak, I couldn't think of any kind of introduction. The best I could do was, "Hey, I am the mother of lots of kids, too. I agree with what the Holy Catholic Church teaches and professes and I regularly go to confession! I want lots of kids and I homeschool!" but I think if I had said it out loud, she probably would have not believed me because of the way I looked. The whole thing was weird.

Why do I have to wear the "uniform" to fit in? Quite frankly, she looked like an Amish/Mormon person rather than a Catholic person although it's getting harder and harder to tell these days. I'm kind of skipping around here, but I guess I just don't really understand why some people choose to look kind of "dowdy" or "square" and then make it kind of a point of pride. I think maybe it's a form of uniform for real. Yeah, I like people in uniform. We saw so many military persons in uniform this past week and it sure made us feel safe. Maybe if you're wearing a uniform YOU feel safe, too. Kind of like a nun's habit? I don't think I'll ever get it. I don't think I could do the jumper thing or the long, flowery dress with the peter pan collar and the high booted 1980's shoes.

That's another thing.

Why is it that the so-called "modest, Christian woman" style is mostly ugly 1980's stuff with puffy sleeves? I mean, if a person were to pick an era, why not the 1890's or even the 1950's. I don't know, it's all so strange to me that a person can't just wear the styles of the day and wear them modestly. I admit that I did judge that family on the basis of what they were wearing but I gotta say, they stood out in the crowd and drew attention to themselves by their weirdly long, out of style dresses and dowdy appearance. Whenever I see that kind of little house on the prairie look, I always try to guess what religion they must be but my first choice isn't always Catholic. I've seen the same kind of dress but with those funny, little, white bun covers on their hair at homeschool conferences or out in stores (puritan?).

It seems strange to me that people would want to stick out like a sore thumb and draw attention to themselves in the name of "modesty". Isn't modesty all about NOT drawing special attention to yourself?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Home Again Jiggedy Jig

Well, we never did get to see the Shrine. Trine had to cut out of her class early so we could check in at the airport. After we did, we saw that our flight was on time so we had time to go check out some of the museums that she missed. Unfortunately, it was Saturday, and the lines were too long so we never did get to see anything. It wasted time until we had to go, though. We made it back to the airport and then we saw that our flight was delayed! It all worked out. We got to meet a mom with her two children who were visiting their dad for two weeks then they'll see him at Christmas...and then not until eighteen months later after he's done with a tour in Africa. Boy, oh boy. We are very lucky we don't have hubs in the military but it sure made me respect what the wives and children go through (or any loved ones left behind) when the soldiers have their duties. This family lived on a base so they have support but I still think it would be a very hard life.

Being in Washington D.C. and seeing all of the monuments and being surrounded by friendly, helpful people made me so proud to be an American! I don't care if it sounds cliche'. I think everyone should have a chance to see the Capital of our nation. I'd go again in a second (maybe without babies the next time around)!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Up Into The Wild, Blue Yonder!

We're off to D.C.! Our flight leaves in a couple of hours. It will be the first time on a plane for Trina and Mari. Please pray we have a safe trip.

Things we really want to see:
The National Art Gallery
Arlington Cemetery
Lincoln Memorial
The Capitol (and hopefully we'll get to meet the lovely Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, she's a great lady...but if not, that's okay. She's doing a wonderful job!)

Can you think of any other things we must see?

Monday, July 09, 2007

Another Nik-tastic Bockerism

(This morning, in my bedroom, while I was trying to catch a few winks, I turned on "Go Diego, Go" for Mari when Niklaus came in the room...)

Niklaus: Mama, change it. This show is makin' me BORING!

Evidence That 3 Is NOT The Age Of Reason

Niklaus has been noticing that there's this guy named "Jesus" that people talk about. The other day he noticed the cross on my neck and told me, "Mama, that's for JESUS, right?". I said that it was and tried to explain it a little, but I could see that the very theologically sound explanation skated right over his summer buzz cut and off into the windy, hot day. Then, he pulled on my skirt in church one Sunday (about 3 weeks ago) and asked me who that guy is up there on that cross, "Is that JESUS?". So, because he's shown such interest lately (I don't get too preachy with them too early) I hunkered down and showed him (easier since the bells call his attention!) the very moment that the "bread becomes Jesus, kind of like a magic trick, Niklaus. Jesus said to turn the bread into his body but that it would still taste like bread and look like bread. Same thing with the wine, it turns into his BLOOD but it still tastes like wine and looks like wine! Pretty neat trick, huh? Can you see it? Jesus told that to his friends right before some bad people took him and put him up there on the cross and killed him because he said he was God's son. He did it for US, he did it so he could go to Heaven and open up the gates so we could go to Heaven when WE die and be happy with Jesus for ever and ever!". I've been telling him that same story at every Mass and this morning was no different. At the beginning of Mass, he stared at the altar for a while, then, because things weren't moving fast enough for him apparently, he looked up to me and asked:

"When are they gonna take Jesus out of the gold box?"

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Save the Liturgy, Save the WORLD!

This is for all of my relatives who maybe don't know about the Pope's "Motu Proprio" and it's consequences to our faith (much anticipated and released TODAY!). A simple (and not a very technical!) summary is that the New Order Mass, the one we're used to on Sunday, was getting more and more squirrely and more traditional minded people were getting ticked (some from the beginning) that the "old Mass" was being replaced with the newer forms and all but forgotten. It seems that if you even wanted to go to an "old Mass" or you were a priest who wanted to celebrate it, you were considered by a lot of bishops to be "old fashioned", or even schismatic and were not given "permission" by those bishops. So, if you did celebrate the "old Mass" without "permission"...let's just say that that and liturgical abuses (i.e. clown mass, improper gestures, downright silliness) in the new Mass caused much confusion among the faithful. For instance, I went to a "mass" in the basement of the Cathedral in St. Cloud one time. Here I thought I would see a really good Mass...it's the Cathedral, right? I left wondering if I had even fulfilled my Sunday obligation. It was that bad! So, you can see where the confusion has been and now, the Pope has come up with a really simple explanation of how the "Old Mass" is not only "allowed" but has NEVER BEEN DISALLOWED! Pope JPII had tried to get people to understand that the "old Mass" should be liberally celebrated and should not be hidden away like some old thing we have no use for anymore, but not a lot of people really got the message. Now the whole world can know what the Church really teaches on the subject and we'll see what happens as a result! Take note tomorrow morning at your church and see if your priest mentions anything about this. If not, maybe YOU could say something to him after Mass? You could ask him if he'll have even a note in the bulletin about where to find info about this subject! The more people that know about this, the more reverence we can bring back to the Liturgy. Bear in mind, I'm know that this will be a slow process because of all of the people who have gotten "used to" the new form of the Liturgy. I don't believe that we will go "back" to the old form in every church in America...but at least the people who WANT the old form will not be looked down upon or ridiculed for not being "with it" anymore (they might be, but it would be WRONG and always has been wrong to do this, the Pope said!).

Fr. Z has the best summary of the whole deal. Here is an excerpt:

Effectively it levels the playing field for people who want to use the older liturgical forms.

Remember: the MP applies to all the sacraments as they were before the Council, not just Holy Mass. It concerns the liturgy, not just Holy Mass. Thus clerics (bishops, priests, deacons), who are obliged to recite the Liturgy of the Hours can use the older Breviarium Romanum as it was in 1962. Benedict is establishing the older form of liturgy, as in was in 1962, as an extraordinary form (forma extraordinaria). The Novus Ordo of the Roman Missal and all other liturgical books remain the ordinary way of celebrating the liturgy.

“Extraordinary”, here, does NOT mean “rare” or “unusual” or “special”. It simply means “out of the common order”. If we turn to how the Church uses Latin in, for example, a pretty good Latinist, St. Jerome, the adverb extraordinarie means “with excessive frequency” (cf. On Ephesians 1 ad. 2, 13). It cannot be argued legitimately from the word “extraordinary” that use of the older forms must necessarily be “rare”. It can be quite regular, depending on the circumstances, while in the larger scheme of things the Novus Ordo remains now the usual way things are done.

The Motu Proprio responds to THREE GROUPS of people:

1) Followers of the SSPX, for whom this form of Mass is a “mark of identity”, even though there are also deeper theological reasons for that break.

2) There are many lay people who also remember the older form of Mass from before the changes. And you don’t have to be to 80 to remember those days. There are people in the 40’s and 50’s who remember living with the old Mass. They have always remained attached to the old Mass or have regained a longing for it.

3) There are those who were neither in a separated group nor remember the pre-Conciliar Mass. These are younger people who have discovered the older form.

As a result, it is unacceptable to suggest that these provisions were made merely to accomodate a bunch of nostalgic old foggies who can’t get with the program. The provisions were made with anyone in mind who wants older forms, for any decent reason. People who want to avail of this extraordinary use are not second rate citizens.

They may not be treated any longer like the nutty aunt in the attic.

Oh, and if this didn't explain it properly to you, at least check out this crazy video! (from Fr. Z's website too but it was created by Fr. Tim)

A Great Analogy

From a great guy!

Our New, Little Addition

Okay, now that the word is out, I have to talk about our new purchase. I haven't blogged about it yet because I wanted to get used to it first so as to have an educated opinion about it before I talked about it. We had to turn in our Suburban because we had leased it for 3 years and the time was up. Before that, we had a Durango which we loved, but had gotten a little crowded with the three kids (notice the pattern of increased seating ability?). We thought maybe our next vehicle would possibly be a passenger van after I had seen Serviam's wife's van and started to covet all that space for friends and stuff that all those kids come with. Now, if you know Butch, you would know that anything with the word "van" in it was strictly forbidden to talk about. At first, I thought maybe it de-manly-ized him in some way to have a van stuck in the driveway or that somehow it was "giving up" and admitting that kids have taken over your life and you are no longer in control. Now, though, I realize that it isn't the word "van" that got his boxerbriefs in a bunch, but the word "mini" that terrified him! So anyway, when we went to the dealer he surprised me by poo-pooing the 12 passenger that was the same length as the Suburban and liked the 15 passenger so much that we bought it! Although, he wasn't completely sold on the idea of a van I think until I sat in that thing and lectured him on his skeptical view of a van in the first place (in front of the very red-faced salesman), I said, "Honey, it is SUPER manly to have a van like this! When people see you in it, they'll say 'Holy CRAP, that guy must have a LOT of kids...I know what HE'S gettin' on a regular basis!!!" I argued that it would be so nice for the kids to NOT have to crawl over seats, fight over where each one got to sit, and that it would be easier to clean if I could climb right in and get to the messes. Plus, it would be so much nicer to invite 6 of our favorite 11 kid family to come over or go places instead of having to pick and choose maybe only 2 or 3 because we wouldn't have enough room.

So, we bought it and I love it. Also, now I know Butch's secret plan to fill that thing up in quick order and populate the world with little Butch clones to drive Laura even crazier than she already is (see, I'm writing in third person about myself, now that's just wrong).

Serviam, thank your wife for me for the advice on which van to choose and pat yourself on the back for being a good daddy and getting your wife a nice, big van to fill up (a little faster than us!) to the brim with lots of little ones and making us seem like the small family that's just getting started instead of the freak family who has "all those KIDS!" heehee. Also, I know where you can get a nice, 15 passenger van when you outgrow your little, puny 12 passenger...or maybe we could make a trade for a few years just until we catch up to you guys?

Oh, and the whole "now they won't fight over which seat..." yeah, they don't fight over which seat they get to sit in anymore...now they fight about which ROW they get all to themselves!

(Ours is not bright red, but a nice, subtle light grey...yeah, like anything that ginormous could be "subtle"!)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

4th of July (With Family Update)

Hey, everybody (all 4 of you) I haven't posted seriously about personal stuff lately so I thought I'd post some pictures of the kiddos while I'm waiting to go over to the neighbors for burgers. We are headed to D.C. on Tues and I'm a little excited about that. Well, we are having a nice summer and the kids are growing fast. Mari is finally in the 60th percentile for height and weight for her age (last year she was 50th) so she might be one of us after all! The little ones were a little feverish and sick last weekend but everyone is fine now. Except me, I feel a little peaked today...nothing a little Vlasic and Breyer's won't cure!


Monday, July 02, 2007

Harry Potter and Pokemon...It's Da Deh-boh! *

Every time someone comes with some idea that some modern fad or pop culture idea is somehow "evil" without any real knowledge or discussion on the subject, I hear Kathy Bates' voice in my head from "Waterboy". No, I don't think that people who don't have time to really investigate whether things like that are objectively bad for their children are ignorant, but I do think that it's not right to spread lies or rumors about things which you really don't know anything about.

For instance:
Let's say there was a new lip product from Revlon that you really liked. It was your favorite and you bought three at a time because you liked it so much. Now, you recommended it to a friend because you thought she would look pretty in that color and your friend said, "Whoa, I heard one time that that color/brand was owned by someone who worships satan and sacrifices small animals in the making of the lipstick, that's where they got the color from...animal blood!!!" (I know this is a dramatic example, but it's really not that far off!).
You could be charitable to your friend and say something like, "Well, I don't know about that so I'll have to do some research and when I find out the truth, I'll give you a call!". Another response could be just to do nothing at all, don't say anything bad or good about the subject until you have the time to check it out for yourself. The response I like least is to just believe the friend and tell everyone you know when the subject comes up, what others have told you as a warning to them. You know how some people (a lot of people I know included) just buy the line that sounds more dramatic and go with their "feelings" and the onslaught of rumor or scandal that well-meaning people perpetuate in the name of rooting all of the evil out of their lives.

I never thought it was fair that fundamentalist/evangelical (not all) Christians started a campaign against Harry Potter (which leaked over to us Catholics), many of them never having read the books. I really sat there after reading the first book wondering what all the fuss was about. I had article after article shoved in my face (from those well-intentioned friends) about how HP was EVIL, the author was a satan worshiper, if you let your kids read HP, they will start to follow the devil, etc. etc.. I Just couldn't see it, then or now. I was reading the The Chronicles of Narnia again, recently and wondered how much hubub that series must have caused at the time among Christians? I never researched it or anything, but it would be interesting to see if there was controversy.

I have to say that I think that series is excellent but there are many more references to magic and evil, violence and revenge, disobedience against adults etc. (you know, all the things that people are against HP for) and I just can't square it at all. I won't expose the children to things they aren't ready for or don't understand, (i.e. I won't bring the little ones to the new HP movie or read HP3rd book to the ones under 7) but I will let them read all the books if they want when they are of proper age.
I discussed this a little on this blog post of a review of a new book by a VERY devout, Catholic, homeschooling mother.
Holly Pierlot, a homeschooling mother who wrote a book that I read about home organization called, A Mother's Rule of Life (which was very good), wrote a comment that pretty much sums up what most of the mothers in my homeschool group and friend network go with every time HP is brought up... (not a direct quote:)"The POPE says it's bad, we shouldn't read it!" (that has been proven to be an incorrect assessment of a private letter turned public for dubious reasons). Anyway, I think I've made my point about HP so on to Pokemon...

I've never heard any anti-christian stuff about Pokemon and only objected to the cards because it seemed an expensive and wasteful hobby/game and it bugged me that it was such a "fad" and I hate it when my kids go with the flow and do what ever everyone else does (my rebellious nature, I admit). Also, I hated the dumb Japanese cartoons where the mouths don't match the words and the songs and voices are LAME. A long time ago (before the kids were born) we lived in an apartment and one day I saw these two, little boys in an upstairs stairwell concentrating on two decks of cards with strange things on them. When I asked them what they were doing, they told me all about the game and cards and what the goals were and how to trade them. I didn't have any children, but I loved children and thought it was so cute that they were so serious about a game.

It made me think back to how serious a simple game of tag could become when I was little and how much things changed when we became mature, jaded adults! Fast forward to about January of this year. The neighbor kids had old Pokemon cards and were casually involved in the fad and my kids started asking for cards and card holding books (I still can't stand the cartoons, but that's just a matter of taste and not content!). So I did it. I gave in and let them use their allowance and extra money on Pokemon cards and they have really done well with it. They started this thing where they draw their own "Pokemon guys" and use their imaginations so well! They use colored pencils to draw Pokemon from the cards and Katrina has gotten quite good at it:

(on a side note, did you notice the closeup one is called "plusle" and is covered in plus signs, seriously, what could be more positive? Well, there's also "minun" who has minus signs but he's really cute, too!).

Well, bigotry has reared it's ugly head yet again. The kids heard from a friend that Pokemon was developed by a person who worships the devil. Now, that might not be what that parent believes but that's how their child read it and that's now what they believe that their good friends are involved in. I would be horrified if my children went to a friend's house and the parents let them watch rated R movies without my permission because they "didn't think it was so bad" for their own children...but I KNOW that rated R movies are objectively inappropriate for my children. It's common sense and I've actually seen what Hollywood deems too inappropriate for children. I understand where parents are coming from when they don't allow their children to play at friend's houses who don't agree with their morals for their children. I would never push HP or Pokemon or any other thing like that on my children's friends but I hate that my own children are made to feel like lepers because I refuse to be duped by the anti-everything lobby who won't/can't check things out for themselves.

If my friend preferred no TV while their child was here, or no viewing of a certain movie, I would totally respect that. I think and believe all the same things about the Church that they do but for some reason, we can't have a rational discussion about this stuff (well, to be fair, it's not really on topic most times and we all have lots of kids to attend to all the time!) I hope that my friends know that I love their children with all my heart and treat them as if they were my own and would never expose them to anything immoral any more than I would my own. We really are trying to raise saints here. We are all in this together and I hope someday we can agree on what's truly important and what's just passing through and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I really believe that HP or Pokemon don't have power or influence over our lives any more than the refrigerator or the carpeting does and that the Lord is in this house and protecting us from all evil.

*more about actual themes from HP here

Another Stupid Quiz...

...but when I got the results (after entering my first and last name), I laughed so hard I almost had to change my pants!

Your 1950s Name is:

Connie Bonnie

I admit that sometimes I switch things around on these quizzes, or enter my friends or family members names as a fun distraction, but I didn't spend any time on this one because it made me laugh too hard. CONNIE BONNIE! SERIOUSLY! I don't care who you are, that right there is funny!