Saturday, August 27, 2011

Why I Should Avoid Library Book Sales

Do you finish every book you start?  I wandered into the library book sale on it's last day when you could fill a bag for $3.  Brought home quite a few books that the kids were drooling and/or fighting over so it was obviously money well spent.  But into the bag also went a book by an author I had sworn off a few years ago because his writing was starting to get on my nerves.  The almost idiotic portrayal of all female characters in the books and the overdone and unnecessary Irish brogue he threw in all the time was very annoying.  I've also found myself frustrated by his apparent attempts to constantly prove that the people were right and the hierarchy was wrong and the Catholic Church was a bit of a relic to be a bit off putting when being written by an ordained priest.  Call me crazy but it seemed rather inappropriate after a bit.  But a copy of Priestly Sins went into the bag anyway while I figured I'd give him another shot.  I made it to the end of chapter three before I tossed the book to other side of the couch while muttering a few not so nice words about the book.

A few weeks ago I also found myself unable to finish the book Absolute Friends because it was just too slow and not pulling me in at all.  I'm currently battling my way to the end of a Kimberly Hahn book that I am supposed to do a review on but struggling with because I'm having a hard time swallowing the preachy everything we do is perfect and you'd better do it no matter where you are in life attitude that is oozing from the pages.

So I'm wondering if this is just a sign that I am getting picky.  I can say that all 3 of these books will either end up being donated back to the library of being listed on PaperbackSwap shortly.  Hopefully the next few books sitting in my stack will be more entertaining.

What Love Is

One of my favorite scenes from the movie "Yours, Mine and Ours."  The original, of course.  Just ignore the ad.  This is the real message we need to get across to teens, young adults and all folks getting married today.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Love and Marriage

So does anyone else have the theme song from "Married with Children" going through their heads now or is it just me?  See, I watched way too much crap tv as a teenager and am hoping to help keep my own kids from making the same mistake.

Alan is super busy this week working both jobs pretty much full-time this week. Which means he leaves before 5 am and gets home sometime between 10:30 pm and 1:00 am.  Kind of depends on how busy they are at night.  This means I am pretty much on my own this week and I find I have slipped into my business trip/deployment/whatever mode.  This means for some reason I am getting way more done than normal.  I wish I could understand why this seems to happen.  When Alan's gone I suddenly become way more productive. It's not as if I truly rely on him to do much for me when he's home but I guess I keep waiting for his help or input when he's around.  I suppose I really should keep myself just as motivated when he's home.  It would probably keep things going a tad smoother.  Not that I sit around and wait for him to do things.  I recall thinking when someone told me they needed their husband to show them how to unclog a toilet that I really wanted to laugh.  It seems the kids manage to clog at least one toilet a week. If I waited for Alan to fix that, we'd be in trouble.

I'm kind of wondering right now why we in general as a society do very little to truly prepare people for marriage. I guess that was the point here.  I seem to be programmed to be rather independent and sometimes have a very hard time figuring out the living with another adult thing even when it's an adult that I like.  Most of the time, at least.  So how do we help prepare people for the reality of marriage?  I know our pre-cana program sucked big time. Most folks I speak with say the same thing.  Listening to someone talk to you about how marriage is all puppy dogs and rainbows, just never go to bed mad and remember that sex can sometimes be healing is enough to make you want to throw something at someone.  Or just roll your eyes inwardly (or not so inwardly as the case may be).  I want to know why we aren't talking about the reality.  Why don't we tell people the truth. That there will come a day when one of you wants to walk away.  That you will go to bed angry.  That you may wake up one day and realize you don't really like the person laying in bed next to you.  That maybe the money won't last to the end of the month or 5 things will break at once on the same day that one of your kids walks up and shows you that they just shredded their last pair of shoes because shoes apparently make great brakes when riding your bike.  That half the people you see today are not as happy as they act but no one wants to talk about it and admit maybe right now things aren't great.  That the hardest thing you'll likely have to do is pray for your spouse when what you want to do is pick up some heavy object and hit them with it. Repeatedly.  We focus on bridesmaids, flowers, music, photographers, painting the house for guests, caterers, the perfect image to impress other people. But we almost never focus on the reality of day to day life.  Instead of stressing and arguing over the little stupid details that make no difference, when was the last time you heard of a family coming together to pray for a newly engaged couple?  Just rambling here I guess because I've realized that I've only seen really one wedding that I can remember where it appeared the focus was in the right place and I do truly worry about the state of marriage in our society today.

I do truly believe that marriage is under a spiritual attack today.  Not that it was ever easy but now society makes it hard to stay married and easy to just move on and try something new.  So pray for your spouse today.  And for those getting married. And for the person God has in mind for your children to marry.  And if this rambling post has made any sense to you, I thank you for listening.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Church Ramblings

I know, I know. You really want pictures of the kids.  Well, not happening yet. Sorry.

Pondering a situation from this Sunday.  Our parish recently clustered with 2 other parishes.  We now have 2 priests working between the 3 parishes.  We have met both of them and they both seem very nice.  With the change in Mass times, we've had occasion to visit both of the other parishes in our cluster and find that each one has a very unique feel.  Parish wise, we do still prefer the church we have been attending.  But since the parish is now under the direction of a pastoral administrator instead of a priest, we are starting to get those nagging feelings.  Yes, our pastoral administrator seems nice.  But today she gave the homily (which according to Catholic Answers is a clear sign of liturgical abuse) and during the homily she compared women wearing mantillas during Mass with the burkas worn by women in Afghanistan.  Because of course the two are the same.  Can you see me rolling my eyes now?  I will admit my girls like to wear mantillas or head scarves at times and it is something I have debated on and off for a few years.  If it weren't for the massive amount of attention we get already walking into church with so many kids, we'd likely already be a fully covering family.  I just have to say that I am rather annoyed by people who can't seem to understand the difference between reverence and a society that is repressive towards women.  Big, huge difference.   May I admit that I am now very tempted to make sure the girls and I all wear head coverings to Mass for the next few weeks?  Ok, that would be done with the wrong intention so it won't happen but I will admit it has crossed my mind.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Wooden Train Track Saga

Like many folks, we have a rather large collection of wooden trains and tracks for the kids to play with.  This usually involves setting up elaborate tracks when they are really into their play.  On occasion the tracks have been known to take up entire rooms of the house and once or twice they have extended down a hallway or two.  This is rather open-ended creative play and usually manages to keep the kids entertained for several hours at a time and over several days.  Ellie has even started getting in on the fun and likes to crawl over the tracks in a Godzilla-like fashion wreaking havoc on everything.

It seems the older children are starting to realize that even though they still enjoy setting up elaborate tracks complete with bridges and tunnels and switch-backs and the like that they are getting to an age where it is just not cool to still play with wooden trains. Luckily for them they have a host of younger siblings and an easy out in this situation and they've learned to take advantage of it.

Child number 1 decides he is going to ask a younger sibling if he wants help building a track.  Younger sibling says "Um, yes" in a way that only he can. This is the same voice and tone he uses while saying "Yes, sir, Mom" and it just totally cracks me up every time I hear it.  So getting the approval, child number 1 sits down and gets busy constructing his masterpiece.

A few minutes later, child number 2 wanders in and begins building a track.  I think child number 1 was a bit worried that his creative space was being invaded so he decided to ask child number "Aren't you a bit old to be playing with wooden trains?"  Child number 2 is always very sure of himself and simply answers back "No, aren't you a bit old to be playing with wooden trains?"  It seems two can play at this game.  But child number 1 has his ready excuse.  "I'm not playing with trains, I'm helping my younger sibling."

I would have happily let the older children "play" with the wooden trains except they made the mistake of telling a younger child that they could not touch the track yet because they weren't done setting it up right. I looked down at the huge expanse of multiple bridges and paths and realized that 5 minutes after the younger children got near it, most of the bridges would collapse and told the older ones to let the little ones play already.

The older children have now gone off to find something else to do with their time but I hope they realize how lucky they are to have younger siblings who give them an excuse to stay young just a little bit longer.

Wish I Was Surprised

I just have to get this out. The actions spoken of in this article are truly pathetic.  I'm struggling to come up with a polite term for someone who would take the personal tragedy and anguish experienced by so many families and use it boost his ego or make himself look better and claim it is done in the interest of "transparency" and respect.  All I can see is a lack of respect for the men who gave their lives and for their families. No photos published means no photos you dunderhead. 

Mommy Awesomeness

I think the best part of my day right now is when Ellie wakes up and gives that super big grin of hers that says "You are Mom, you are my favorite."  I am making a conscious decision to bask in the world of mommy awesomeness because I know this time is fleeting and certainly won't last as long as I'd like.  But there are days when I think we could all use a little ego boost in the form of a small person who thinks we make everything better simply by being there.  There are times when this responsibility becomes a bit hard to handle.  It will be a little bit of a relief when someone else can easily put her to sleep or comfort her when she's hurt or feed her but for right now I will soak up every single moment of adoration that she will give me because I know in a few more months I'll miss them.  The days certainly can be long but the years are much too short.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

15 Years

15 years ago this guy
and this girl
 got married.  Happy anniversary babe.

Friday, August 5, 2011

It is Official

We now have a mobile baby who can actually get to where she wants to go on her own.  Now if she could only find a way to convince all the big siblings that she really is ok being left on her own to play every so often.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cooking from the Pantry

We are cooking from the pantry for the next few weeks.  Ok, we have been doing so for at least the last month and likely will continue for the next 6 weeks or so.  The budget and grocery needs are not quite meeting at the moment so we are falling back on the food storage.  I have an overabundance of beans (something like 88 cans plus 9 lbs of assorted dried beans and soup mixes),pasta (at least 40 lbs of various kinds) and rice to work with so it's not like we will run out of food. What I lack is meat, produce and flour (we opened our last 25 lbs of flour last week).  I'm looking at this as a mental challenge.  Thankfully the local farms are producing lots of fresh fruits and vegetables right now so I know we can get stuff cheaply if we buy in bulk.  Our peaches should be ready soon as well which will help.  If the darn chickens would start laying, I'd be incredibly happy.

So I am trying new recipes right now.  This is a good thing. I have finally found the perfect sandwich roll recipe.  Super easy and the rolls taste and look like the ones you get from the grocery store bakery.  If you follow the directions perfectly, you get 6 large sized rolls. I doubled everything and made a few smaller rolls for the younger children.   Honestly, I think you can double the recipe and make between 18 to 20 of the slightly smaller rolls. They were delicious with BBQ beef sandwiches last night.

I also tried a new chili recipe earlier this week.  Ok, as usual based what I was cooking on this recipe and tweaked it a bit. I used less meat and more beans and tomatoes than called for to stretch things a bit. We served it over rice the first night and will be adding corn and pouring corn bread batter over the rest of it tonight to make more of a casserole.  It is delicious just as a soup (it's been my lunch the last 2 days) but we are trying to stretch anything made using meat a bit at the moment so I was a bit more creative for dinner.

So here is the request.  I need some fresh ideas for using up all of these beans.  I have canned kidney, pinto, black and great northern beans as well as some refried beans.  I also have dried pinto beans, white beans, great northern beans and split peas.  Since it is summer and a tad warm, I am trying to avoid soups because it's just not fun to eat soup in the summer. I imagine I'll turn some of the great northern beans into baked beans.  Any ideas for combining spicy Italian sausage with the beans would be a plus since we have a bit of that.  But nothing using ground beef since we are out.  So give me your best ideas please.  I know you have them.

A bobcat caught in the the wild.

Hey this is Alan.  This morning I decided to take some pictures of the work that they did in our front yard, and I could not pass up this picture.

a bobcat caught in the wild.

I am sure Cheryl will post more pictures later.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Just a Song

Just a song I am sharing.  We often forget that there is tremendous value in suffering.  Nothing else has quite the capacity to shape our lives.