Sunday, August 31, 2008

He's On To Me

Big Brother just wandered over here asking me for a blank CD, which I handed over to him as I reminded him to say, "Thanks, Mom--you're awesome."

He went one better: "Thanks, Mom--you're awesome, and you could definitely beat my Friend Who Rules at Video Games in Guitar Hero."

Then he walked away saying, "That's like the equivalent of a verbal Milky Way."

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Scary Gustav

Picture source: Weather Underground

I complained about Fay and how she ruined our vacation.

That was nothing compared to what Gustav has been up to, and what is yet to come in the Gulf states.

Big Brother and the Habitat for Humanity group at his school have plans to spend a week in Mississippi, rebuilding in the Katrina-hit areas.

There may be nothing left for them to build by the time Gustav is through.

Pray for the safety of all those in the path of this very strong, very scary storm.

UPDATE: Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle has a beautiful litany to Our Lady of Prompt Succor, if you're looking for a specific way to pray for those affected by the storm.

Roundup on the McCain/Palin Ticket

Some fascinating reading here:

From Sheila Wray Gregoire in Canada, Thoughts on Moms in Politics

The Kitchen Madonna links to a WaPo article that's worth reading, and shares a specific way to pray for Sarah Palin.

Margaret in Minnesota has a wonderful article on voting prolife.

Mary Ellen Barret has a piece in Catholic Exchange on how Palin is an example for our daughters.

I'll be adding to this as I find more. This is the first time I have been so interested in an election!

How Well Do YOU Know Your Husband?

The Regular Guy has this quiz. Like Jean, I figured I'd play along as a meme.

1. Sitting in front of the tv, what's on the screen?
Fox News, the Weather Channel, or Home Improvement reruns (if he's watching with Middle Sister)

2. You're out to eat; what kind of dressing does he get on his salad?
bleu cheese, oil and vinegar or MAYBE the house vinaigrette, but that last one is a reach

3. What's one food he doesn't like?
Tuna casserole

4. You go out to the bar. What does he order?
He doesn't drink, so he will have an iced tea or root beer. And don't forget the hot wings!

5. Where did he go to high school?
The public high school in his hometown.

6. What size shoe does he wear?
11 wide

7. If he was to collect anything, what would it be?
He's not a collector

8. What is his favorite type of sandwich?
Italian hoagie

9. What would this person eat every day if he could?
See #8; also chicken parmesan and rib-eye steak

10. What is his favorite cereal?
Cream of wheat with cheese on it

11. What would he never wear?
"low" socks, despite everyone else's best efforts

12. What is his favorite sports team?
He only follows sports when a local team makes the playoffs

13. Who will he vote for?

14. Who is his best friend?

15. What is something you do that he wishes you wouldn't do?
Any "type A" behavior qualifies

16. How many states has he lived in?

17. What is his heritage?

18. You bake him a cake for his birthday; what kind of cake?
Yellow cake with vanilla frosting OR strawberry shortcake

19. Did he play sports in high school?
Cross-country and tennis

20. What could he spend hours doing?
Programming computers, following political news, watching the Weather Channel

Friday, August 29, 2008

Quiet Boys

Little Brother and Adventure Boy are busy playing a game of Pokemon Monopoly (we inherited this game from Boy Next Door).

They don't have a good idea of the rules of the game, and Little Brother is choosing to ignore the instruction booklet.

He's carefully piling money according to color while Adventure Boy painstakingly stacks the little clear blue square thingies that are this game's version of "houses and hotels" but which resemble Legos more than edifices.

Light-sabres are standing by in case there is any dispute about the game, and Adventure Boy even arrived here dressed in is Obi-Wan Kenobi costume. Obviously he's ready for anything.

I've never heard these two play so quietly without being up to something. Guess I'd better enjoy it!

An Impressive Choice

I leave most of the politics around this household to TheDad, preferring to stick to my own pursuits (reading, cooking, homemaking, and matters Franciscan). But I have to say I am very excited about John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin, Alaska's governor, as his running mate.

You can learn more about Palin from various links at this site. A little to whet your appetite: She's a conservative, pro-life Republican; mother of 5; supportive of small business, our military, and competition in health care. I'm very impressed by her position paper on education, especially the part where she states that early childhood education efforts should be focused on the children who need them most, and that parents are the child's first teachers. She also supports the rights of home schoolers.

McCain/Palin in '08!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Overheard at My House

"My ticklish spots are my armpits and...oh wait, I'm not going to tell you my new one."

For Better or For Worse

Is anyone else following the comic strip "For Better or For Worse?"

I have been reading this comic for so long that the characters feel like a part of the family.

Does anyone else have a bad feeling about what's going on with Grandpa?

We might want to reconsider

...allowing Little Brother to be the Official Leader of Grace Before Meals.

Last night was we all joined hands around the dinner table, he began:

"Ready, set, go!"

Toast on the Stairs

One of the things my kids learned on the cruise was that they do not have to clean up after themselves.

Little Brother was shocked, one morning, to find a plate with toast crusts on one of the staircases. He told me that he would never do anything like that. (Now, that is definitely crossing the line, people. Find a table to put your stuff down!)

Since returning home they seem to have applied the lesson of Someone Else Cleans Up All Messes to our home.

Wrong, bunny breath!

I came downstairs this morning to find a bowl with some lettuce and salad dressing on Little Brother's "art table" in the family room, and an awful lot of stuff all over the place in there: light sabres, Wii games and controllers, pillows, matchbox cars, marbles and batteries (dead or alive? Someone else gets to test them to find out).

They're all lucky I didn't get them out of bed right then and there to pick up this mess.

In the living room I found my paint pens on the coffee table. Middle Sister had borrowed them to embellish her notebooks. I told her that when she was done, she should leave them on my desk. It's 3 feet from the coffee table, by the way...

The remote for the family-room TV was in the kitchen.

There are going to be some busy children in my house today. I imagine there's going to be some yelling, and since it's nice weather, my windows are open.

So I apologize in advance to my neighbors, and even to SFO Girl and Ellen, for what you may hear today. But I've had enough of the toast on the stairs.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

TheDad's Big Day

Yesterday was TheDad's birthday, and his last day off before returning to work.

He made the most of the day, doing such exciting things as dropping off his car to get the timing belt replaced, arranging for Cub Scout recruitment flyers, and holding a Cub Scout planning meeting.

But we celebrated in style with dinner at his favorite restaurant, Outback Steakhouse, and homemade cupcakes for dessert.

After dinner we picked up his car, and then he took Little Brother over to the high school where Big Brother and Middle Sister were helping out at a fund-raiser car wash. (They're raising money to send 20 kids to Mississippi for a week to help with Habitat for Humanity's hurricane-relief effort. Big Brother is going.)

I got back home first and found something near the front door--a little package of Reese's Scoops. I thought maybe one of the Big Kids had dropped it on their way out, but I wasn't sure, so I moved it where no one would step on it.

A few minutes later Adventure Boy appeared at the door. He told me that he had come over with a present for TheDad, and handed me the package of candy. Just then, TheDad pulled into the driveway, and I told Adventure Boy that he could give his present to TheDad himself.

I have the feeling that this candy was Adventure Boy's own treat, that he gave to TheDad after he found out earlier in the day that it was his birthday.

So even though TheDad didn't win the lottery last night, I am sure he knows he received a much more valuable prize.

Happy Birthday!

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Bad Dream

Every parent has nightmares about something bad happening to one of the kids.

While on our trip, I had a nightmare--about Adventure Boy. And it's been dogging me all week.

I guess he is more "mine" than I'd thought.

I hope everything is OK for the little guy.

Terra Firma

It has been an interesting week.

We decided to go on a short cruise to the Bahamas. I said I would only go if there were no storms out there at sea.

When we booked the cruise there was nothing out there. The next day, Fay blew up out of nowhere.

Fay followed us around all week and she is still sticking with us. We are back on land although the ship had to dock at a different port and we were bused back to our cars. The bus ride was scary.

We had reservations at a hotel near our friends in Ormond Beach, but when we got there the hotel was locked up tight. The lights were off and nobody was home. After we visited our friends we headed north to Palm Coast where we found a place to stay.

It's going to be a long, wet drive north.

TO COME: Middle Sister gets a 2-tone cast, and a rant on shipboard child care. PLUS: thoughts on wastefulness inspired by the cruise buffet.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Prayers are Working!!

Prayers are working! Here is the latest from SFO Girl:

TODAY..she feels like a new girl and wants to go home. They are puzzled
and her creatinine came down from 10 to 7 unexpected trend. Still high...

For whatever reason...DIVINE? There is no place on the schedule open to do an
IR port...until Tuesday....Waiting for the nephrology docs to do rounds and see
if the plan is the same or another wait and will go ahead as planned.
God is in charge

She woke this morning like a new girl...yesterday she appears as if she were
shot down and in misery until 4 AM

Her BP's today lower than the last 2 months....Off the IV BP meds.

God be Praised for all the miracles great and small...even if one is just feeling
human this morning. She is STARVING and wants to get on the move...complete
turnabout....Waiting for new labs and Neph docs...

Appreciating the prayers ...may they rise to the heavens!

More Update on N: Continued Prayer Request

N's family has received the news they did not want to hear. Her dad sent an email to family and friends:

Yesterday she was admitted to the hospital with acute kidney failure; her doctors feel that her kidney of two years has reached the end of its serviceable life and has become a liability.

Today she will receive a hemodialysis port - she will have hemodialysis for the immediate future. She will have surgery to remove her transplanted kidney in the days to come.

Needless to say her spirits (and her family's) are very low at this time as she embraces this reality.

You know what to do.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Wrong Tool for the Job

Adventure Boy showed up here this afternoon toting one of these:

I've never seen one of these toys in action before and was rather amazed that this toy vacuum actually WORKS!

I had just finished vacuuming the living room, dining room and stairs with my vacuum

and here comes Adventure Boy to show me that his vacuum picked up a whole bunch of stuff that mine had missed!

Apparently I could have saved us a whole bunch of money if I'd gone for the toy Dirt Devil. BONUS: it's so small that only a child can use it. What genius invented this toy?

Adventure Boy has been vacuuming in here for more than an hour this afternoon (I never asked him to). I felt that some appreciation was in order so I invited him to stay for spaghetti.

Prayer Request!

I just received an email from my friend SFO Girl--her daughter N is in a health crisis right now. Having received a kidney transplant nearly 3 years ago, N has to be very careful about her health. They are on their way to the hospital. Please keep N and the whole family in prayers!

UPDATE 2:30 PM: I just spoke to SFO Girl. N has been placed in the ICU. She appreciates all the prayers--please continue them.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Time for Flexibility

The S--z Family Vacation is almost upon us.

This is not a time to see me at my best. If you want to see me at my worst, though, just hang around here this week (as we plan) and next week (as we travel). I know that we are blessed in being able to take a family vacation.

The past couple of summers have not been too bad. We've spent 4 vacations running at the New Jersey Shore and it was about as painless as it gets. Yes, I had to cook and clean the house. It was just like home, but with more sand. But I knew my way around town and we had our own sheets and towels, and the familiarity was comfortable.

We won't be going to the beach this year. With Middle Sister's broken foot, the Jersey Shore is out of the question. That means there will be no familiarity, no comfort.

TheDad is talking about needing a GPS. The kids are putting in their two cents regarding travel plans, destinations and who gets the coveted Way Back Seat in the van (probably Middle Sister, who needs to put her foot up!) We have no reservations, no itinerary, no plan, no tickets.

So it is time for me to officially Flip Out as I consider what must be done this week!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

That Book I Just Read & Reviewed

Remember that book I just read and reviewed--A Civilization of Love by Carl Anderson?

Mr. Anderson really puts his money where his mouth is.

This morning over at Portiuncula (one of my favorite blogs on a Franciscan theme) there's an article called "Supreme Knight of Columbus Calls for a Long Overdue Change on Abortion."

One point made in this article:
"It is time that Catholics shine a bright line of separation between themselves and all those politicians of every political party who defend the abortion regime of Roe vs. Wade."

Don't stop here. Read the whole thing.

Friday, August 08, 2008

And the #1 Reason Why... should not go into my refrigerator and just blindly grab a jug and pour yourself a beverage.

These two containers look and feel way too similar.


Thursday, August 07, 2008

A Book Well Worth Your Time

I've been spending some time poring over a wonderful book, A Civilization of Love: What Every Catholic Can Do to Transform the World by Carl Anderson.

Anderson is Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus and he shares plenty of wisdom in this book. I was dog-earing pages all over the place; the chapter on "The Domestic Church" was fabulous. Anderson asserts, "the family is--and will be--the chief witness to the active power of the love of God in the world" (p. 82). Think about that and see how it changes the way you view family life, and your goals for your family.

Each chapter ends with "suggestions for contemplation and action." Those are excellent--don't skip them!

While the book is short, only 173 pages, it is meaty. It's not a fast read. This is a book to be savored in small bits, reflecting over them and considering how to apply the ideas in your own life. I appreciate that Anderson does not talk down to his audience but instead has written a challenging book, realistic but not simplistic.

Consider this:
"ultimately the power of Catholics to transform America into a culture of life and a civilization of love will lie in the power of their example more than in the power of the ballot box, even though the ballot box is important. The early Christians did not take over the Roman Empire by electoral choice: there were no elections to speak of in those days. Rather they did so by their example, by holding out the possibility of a life that was higher, more beautiful, and above all more authentic than the vulgarity, violence and greed of late antiquity. Christians today have the same opportunity to offer another way to a world that is also surfeited with these same problems" (p. 171)

I recommend this book for your personal library as well as for parish libraries.

This review was written as part of The Catholic Company product reviewer program. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on A Civilization of Love.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Things Big Brothers Do torture Little Brothers and Adventure Boys.

They hide someplace, and call the house with their cell phones, and send the little boys on a wild goose chase to find him.

Only 4 weeks until school starts, and then Big Brother will be too busy for such pursuits.

The boys will be sad then. So I guess I'd better let them enjoy it now.

My Inner Seventh-Grade Boy

Little Brother and Adventure Boy are sitting behind me playing with the domino set. First they were building lines to knock over, but then Adventure Boy started turning the dominoes into people.

He held up the double-blank domino, and said, "Look! I have no face!"

Big Brother and I agreed that Adventure Boy has an admirably sick sense of humor.

Of course, Big Brother and I share that same sense of humor. Middle Sister, however, does not--at least not when it comes to animals. Yesterday on the way to her orthopedic appointment, we passed a dead raccoon by the side of the road.

"Ohhhhhhhhhhh," she moaned. I looked back in my mirror to see what had caught her attention.

"He should have looked both ways," I observed.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Solid as a Rock

Middle Sister is hobbling around here sporting a hot pink cast up to her knee. The color here doesn't do it justice. It is neon-bright. It was pretty cool to watch the P.A. build the cast around her leg. I was amazed at how quickly it hardened!

There will be no more swimming for her this summer. The cast will come off on the second day of school (so she will get to show it off to her classmates before it's removed).

With the cast, at least, she is in less pain. The doctor said it's not a "career ending injury" which is a good thing. And she's in-between sports season, for once. The loss of swimming, however, was a big blow to her.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Accident Prone

Shortly I will be off to the doctor's with Middle Sister, who slammed her foot on a concrete shelf in our family room late last night. (I always knew someone was going to get badly hurt on that thing!)

I am thankful that Big Brother is home so that he can watch Little Brother; that Middle Sister is already proficient on crutches (she's way too big for me to carry); that the doctor's office was able to get her in early; and that there is plenty of frozen pizza (not to mention chicken nuggets) so Big Brother can make lunch.

She's hurting. Prayers would be appreciated :)

LUNCHTIME UPDATE: After a doctor visit, an X-ray and a long wait we were sent home to call our doctor back. They gave us the number of an orthopedist--it's a possible fracture of the heel. But the orthopedist's office is on lunch break so I am impatiently waiting until 1:00 (don't get me started).

Meanwhile, Middle Sister commented, "It doesn't look like I'm gonna get my trampoline anytime soon."

MORE UPDATE: We have to wait until tomorrow afternoon to see the orthopedist. So Middle Sister is enjoying a chore-free afternoon with her foot up.