Friday, October 31, 2008

It's Pumpkin Time!

After we bought our pumpkins this year (we had to get 6, one for each of us), Dan loaded up the pumpkins and the kids in the pull-behind cart: Then it was off for a ride around the yard:
Oh, wait! We need to make it a hayrack ride! Let's bring along Mr. Scarecrow:
After dropping off 2 hay bales and the scarecrow at the display site, it was back to pick up a third hay bale, and then off for a long ride around the property:
Dominic thinks this is great fun!
Joseph loved it as well, and stayed put the whole time (if you can't tell, Mommy is now getting a ride, too!):
Here's our big girl Catherine:
And here we are for a photo finish:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Murphy's Law for Moms, #20

If you start to clean the bathroom, 2-3 children immediately will need to do something in that very room, especially if you have already squirted toilet cleaner in the bowl.

Kid Funnies

Catherine: "Daddy knows everything!"


Catherine: "Except when he's making stuff up."


One day Catherine stepped on Dominic's hand and he hollered.

Catherine: "Sorry, Dom."

Dominic: "You're welcome!"

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

If You Live in the Country... might need one of these, you know, to give the kids rides around the place.

The Shower Tree

You might think you know what kind of a tree this is, but you would be wrong. According to the kids, it is a "Shower Tree." Any branch hanging down low enough now has all the leaves stripped away!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Before you vote for Obama, watch this....

No Words Necessary!

The Path

Did I mention that Dan has been doing a lot of mowing? Well, one day he decided to mow a path all the way around the big field in the back (it's 3-4 acres). So now we like to take walks around the path. Here are Catherine and Anne starting out:The back of our house seen from the field:
We made it to the first corner and now the kids are walking along the western edge of the field, which is not the western edge of the property:
Oh, miracle, I got all 4 of them in the picture at once, mostly facing forward!
Some of the grasses in this field are taller than they are:
There is our house in the background. I am standing on the north side of the field, just coming out of the woodsy area:
Just turned the corner from the eastern side and coming down the homestretch. Of course, at this point I am carrying Joseph.
And Dominic closing the gate and "locking" it after our big walk:
What fun! There is always something new to discover!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Some Views Around Our House

Here is the view from the front porch swing. Doesn't it look peaceful? When we got here the landscaping was looking quite atrocious, much of it overgrown with weeds. Dan has been gradually working on it, in between the mowing and the trimming of trees, etc. A view from the deck. Notice the lagoon in the left side of the picture. That is something new for us. No septic systems out here!
The kids love having such a big backyard to play in.
This structure has been named "The Barn-Shed." We have a nice woodpile there left by the previous owners, all ready for our woodburning fireplace this winter. Dan has been adding to it since this picture, from all of his tree trimming.
Looking out east. The small field out there is in the middle of being mowed in this picture, in order to be partially turned into a big garden next year. Also notice the propane tank in the yard, yet another learning opportunity for us.


Recently while at the grocery store, I picked up a couple cans of Spaghetti-Os because they were on sale and I had a good coupon, so they were very inexpensive. They were the kind that were all the little letters of the alphabet and I thought the kids would get a kick out of them. So one day for lunch, I thought of those to go with the one leftover grilled hotdog chopped up in a can of beans. So I heated them up and passed them around and I got the response I was looking for when the kids noticed the teeny-tiny letters: squeals of delight. "I see a K, I see an M, I see a B!" and on and on.

Then after a while, Catherine said, "Mommy, I like the letters, but this doesn't taste very good." I hadn't eaten any yet, so I did, and she was right! They were very bland, not at all like what I remember the one time I had them when I was babysitting long, long ago. Our kids are used to eating whatever we eat, so they have been exposed to a lot of different herbs and spices and flavors.

I think I will have to doctor up that other can (cilantro, anyone? basil? oregano? thyme? anything?).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

While We Were Internetless, #7

We explored our new place. For some reason, the kids love to play in the corral area. Here Joseph says, "I'm going to get you!" Catherine is busy building a pile in the little pebbly area (is pebbly a word? If not, it should be, as it fits):
Of course, the big green gates are an endless source of fascination:
Even Joseph gets in on that act:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Look At Me!

Do all kids love to wear their mother's shoes? He's so cute, he can get away with it any day!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Obama vs Archbishop Chaput

complete article here

Little Murders
by Charles J. Chaput
Oct 18, 2008

In an address delivered on October 17, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput stated that ''Prof. Douglas Kmiec has a strong record of service to the Church and the nation in his past. But I think his activism for Senator Barack Obama, and the work of Democratic-friendly groups like Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, have done a disservice to the Church, confused the natural priorities of Catholic social teaching, undermined the progress pro-lifers have made, and provided an excuse for some Catholics to abandon the abortion issue instead of fighting within their parties and at the ballot box to protect the unborn.''

The following is condensed and adapted from an address Charles J. Chaput delivered at an ENDOW (''Educating on the Nature and Dignity of Women'') dinner, October 17.

Can a Catholic Support Him? Asking the Big Question about Barack Obama

I began work on Render Unto Caesar in July 2006. I made the final changes to the text in November 2007. That's a long time before anyone was nominated for president, and it was Doubleday, not I, that set the book's release date for August 2008. So - unlike Prof. Douglas Kmiec's recent book, Can a Catholic Support Him? Asking the Big Question about Barack Obama, which argues a Catholic case for Senator Obama - I wrote Render Unto Caesar with no interest in supporting or attacking any candidate or any political party.

The goal of Render Unto Caesar was simply to describe what an authentic Catholic approach to political life looks like, and then to encourage Americans Catholics to live it.

Prof. Kmiec has a strong record of service to the Church and the nation in his past. He served in the Reagan administration, and he supported Mitt Romney's campaign for president before switching in a very public way to Barack Obama earlier this year. In his own book he quotes from Render Unto Caesar at some length. In fact, he suggests that his reasoning and mine are ''not far distant on the moral inquiry necessary in the election of 2008.'' Unfortunately, he either misunderstands or misuses my words, and he couldn't be more mistaken.

I believe that Senator Obama, whatever his other talents, is the most committed ''abortion-rights'' presidential candidate of either major party since the Roe v. Wade abortion decision in 1973. Despite what Prof. Kmiec suggests, the party platform Senator Obama runs on this year is not only aggressively ''pro-choice;'' it has also removed any suggestion that killing an unborn child might be a regrettable thing. On the question of homicide against the unborn child - and let's remember that the great Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer explicitly called abortion ''murder'' - the Democratic platform that emerged from Denver in August 2008 is clearly anti-life.

Prof. Kmiec argues that there are defensible motives to support Senator Obama. Speaking for myself, I do not know any proportionate reason that could outweigh more than 40 million unborn children killed by abortion and the many millions of women deeply wounded by the loss and regret abortion creates.

To suggest - as some Catholics do - that Senator Obama is this year's ''real'' prolife candidate requires a peculiar kind of self-hypnosis, or moral confusion, or worse. To portray the 2008 Democratic Party presidential ticket as the preferred ''prolife'' option is to subvert what the word ''prolife'' means. Anyone interested in Senator Obama's record on abortion and related issues should simply read Prof. Robert P. George's Public Discourse essay from earlier this week, ''Obama's Abortion Extremism,'' and his follow-up article, ''Obama and Infanticide.'' They say everything that needs to be said.

Of course, these are simply my personal views as an author and private citizen. But I'm grateful to Prof. Kmiec for quoting me in his book and giving me the reason to speak so clearly about our differences. I think his activism for Senator Obama, and the work of Democratic-friendly groups like Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, have done a disservice to the Church, confused the natural priorities of Catholic social teaching, undermined the progress prolifers have made, and provided an excuse for some Catholics to abandon the abortion issue instead of fighting within their parties and at the ballot box to protect the unborn.

And here's the irony. None of the Catholic arguments advanced in favor of Senator Obama are new. They've been around, in one form or another, for more than 25 years. All of them seek to ''get beyond'' abortion, or economically reduce the number of abortions, or create a better society where abortion won't be necessary. All of them involve a misuse of the seamless garment imagery in Catholic social teaching. And all of them, in practice, seek to contextualize, demote and then counterbalance the evil of abortion with other important but less foundational social issues.

This is a great sadness. As Chicago's Cardinal Francis George said recently, too many Americans have ''no recognition of the fact that children continue to be killed [by abortion], and we live therefore, in a country drenched in blood. This can't be something you start playing off pragmatically against other issues.''

Meanwhile, the basic human rights violation at the heart of abortion - the intentional destruction of an innocent, developing human life - is wordsmithed away as a terrible crime that just can't be fixed by the law. I don't believe that. I think that argument is a fraud. And I don't think any serious believer can accept that argument without damaging his or her credibility. We still have more than a million abortions a year, and we can't blame them all on Republican social policies. After all, it was a Democratic president, not a Republican, who vetoed the partial birth abortion ban - twice.

The truth is that for some Catholics, the abortion issue has never been a comfortable cause. It's embarrassing. It's not the kind of social justice they like to talk about. It interferes with their natural political alliances. And because the homicides involved in abortion are ''little murders'' - the kind of private, legally protected murders that kill conveniently unseen lives - it's easy to look the other way.

The one genuinely new quality to Catholic arguments for Senator Obama is their packaging. Just as the abortion lobby fostered ''Catholics for a Free Choice'' to challenge Catholic teaching on abortion more than two decades ago, so supporters of Senator Obama have done something similar in seeking to neutralize the witness of bishops and the pro-life movement by offering a ''Catholic'' alternative to the Church's priority on sanctity of life issues. I think it's an intelligent strategy. I also think it's wrong and often dishonest.

It's curious that nobody seems to worry about the ''separation of Church and state,'' or religious interference in the public square, when the religious voices that speak up support a certain kind of candidate. In his book, Prof. Kmiec complains about the agenda and influence of what he terms RFPs - Republican Faith Partisans. But he also seems to pay them the highest kind of compliment: imitation. If RFPs are bad, is it unreasonable to assume that DFPs - Democratic Faith Partisans - are equally dangerous?

As I suggest throughout Render Unto Caesar, it's important for Catholics to be people of faith who pursue politics to achieve justice; not people of politics who use and misuse faith to achieve power. I have no doubt that Prof. Kmiec belongs to the former group. But I believe his arguments finally serve the latter.

For 35 years I've watched thousands of good Catholic laypeople, clergy and religious struggle to recover some form of legal protection for the unborn child. The abortion lobby has fought every compromise and every legal restriction on abortion, every step of the way. Apparently they believe in their convictions more than some of us Catholics believe in ours. And I think that's an indictment of an entire generation of American Catholic leadership.

The abortion conflict has never simply been about repealing Roe v. Wade. And the many pro-lifers I know live a much deeper kind of discipleship than ''single issue'' politics. But they do understand that the cornerstone of Catholic social teaching is protecting human life from conception to natural death. They do understand that every other human right depends on the right to life. They did not and do not and will not give up - and they won't be lied to.

So I think that people who claim that the abortion struggle is ''lost'' as a matter of law, or that supporting an outspoken defender of legal abortion is somehow ''prolife,'' are not just wrong; they're betraying the witness of every person who continues the work of defending the unborn child. And I hope they know how to explain that, because someday they'll be required to.

Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., is the author of Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life (Doubleday, 2008). The views expressed here are his own, and do not represent those of the Archdiocese of Denver. Copyright 2008 The Witherspoon Institute. All rights reserved.

While We Were Internetless, #6

While we were internetless, we had our one year blog anniversary: September 7th. Yay!

I really enjoy doing this. For me, it is partly like an online diary of all the little funny family anecdotes and pictures and memories. A good way to remember things we would probably otherwise forget. And a good way to share with our family and friends.

We hope you all enjoy it as much as we do!

While We Were Internetless, #5

In early September, we had some torrential rains (5 inches in 24 hours, some areas close to us had 10 inches in 24 hours!) and the next day after it cleared we got to see this: One advantage to being out in the country is that we could see the whole entire rainbow, in fact it was a double rainbow. Dan couldn't get back far enough to get the whole thing in the picture. The kids thought it was pretty neat. And it was!
Then the puddles all over the yard beckoned to the kids and who could refuse?
We have gotten to see many lovely sunsets

Thursday, October 16, 2008

While We Were Internetless, #4

This was one of our first walks down to the pond after the first time Dan mowed with the new riding mower. It is very refreshing and peaceful. The kids and I go down there almost every day. Catherine is playing with her shadow:
We get to see lots of nature now:
A glimpse of the pond we share with one of our neighbors. On our side there are a lot of trees, so it is a little hard to get to, which is good because of the kids!

While We Were Internetless, #3

While we were internetless, there were acres of tall grass to mow. When we first moved here, Dan spent hours push mowing about 4 acres. Then we got this: Dan was very happy!

Then Dan spent hours and hours mowing and mowing and getting the place in shape. He even mowed all the way down to the pond and now the kids and I have a very nice to place to walk. It's like having our own park!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Words From St. Teresa of Avila

I found this quote on Karen Edmisten's blog and I liked it so much I had to put it on here.

Let nothing disturb you
Let nothing frighten you
Everything passes
God never changes
Patience obtains all
Whoever has God wants for nothing
God alone is enough.
~~ St. Teresa of Avila

Today is the feast of St. Teresa of Avila. I read these words and any anxieties about the election, the economy, etc., seem kind of small.

While We Were Internetless, #2

While we were internetless, Dan's mom came to visit and when she opened the cooler to show the kids all the cucumbers she had brought from her garden, Joseph just reached in, grabbed one and started chomping away! So they all had to get in on the act:
You would think they had never tasted anything so good. They each ate a whole cucumber!

Easy Meals - Breakfast Burritos

Whenever tortillas are on sale, I buy extra, knowing that I can use them for fajitas or burritos and also for these:

Breakfast Burritos

tortillas (this makes up about 10 soft taco size)
1/2 lb ground sausage, browned
6-8 eggs, scrambled
shredded cheddar
whatever else you want to put in

This is so easy, it's great!

Just put some sausage and eggs in the tortilla, sprinkle on some cheese and roll up tightly. Once you have rolled all of them up, put them on a plate and microwave them for a couple minutes until the cheese melts, which helps hold all the stuff inside.

Easy, yummy and makes a cheap dinner!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

No Respect For Life Obama

I found this poster at Mama Says, a blog by a mother of seven. This is a picture of a 20 week old fetus, safe in his mother's womb. Isn't he beautiful? Here and here are her posts which talks about the poster.

While We Were Internetless, #1

While we were internetless, Dan's brother and his wife had a new baby boy. These pictures are so sweet. Little kids just love babies! If you click on this picture, 2 day old baby Aloysius Bernard appears to be smiling: Yes, there were adults hovering close by:

Monday, October 13, 2008


Just a few quotes I dug up for all you Catholics who think its ok to vote for Obama.

If I had more time I would list them all...


"The Church is never partisan but that doesn't change the fact that abortion is the central social issue of this moment in our national history -- not the only issue, but the foundational issue; the pivotal issue. For Catholics to ignore it or downplay it or 'contextualize' it would be an act of cowardice."

Archbishop Charles Chaput - Denver, CO


"At this point, the Democratic Party risks transforming itself definitively into a party of death"

Archbishop Raymond Burke
Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, President of the Commission for Advocates - Vatican


"To vote for a candidate who supports the intrinsic evil of abortion or “abortion rights” when there is a morally acceptable alternative would be to cooperate in the evil – and, therefore, morally impermissible.

Bishop Kevin J. Farrell- Dallas, TX
Bishop Kevin W. Vann - Fort Worth, TX


"Catholics would commit moral evil by voting for a candidate who embraces abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research, human cloning and same-sex “marriage,” when a morally acceptable candidate is available. "

Archbishop Joseph Naumann - Kansas City, KS
Bishops Ronald Gilmore - Dodge City, KS
Bishop Paul Coakley - Salina, KS
Bishop Michael Jackels - Wichita, KS

Election Novena

Go to Faith and Family Live and see this post by Danielle Bean. It has an election novena, which I think we will sorely need this year.

Crickets and Spiders and Frogs, Oh My!

Ever since we moved in, we have been finding little critters in our house. Were they here already? Did they move with us, in our boxes perhaps? Several times a week, I'll hear one of the kids, usually from the basement, "Mommy, I found something!" One time I came downstairs to find this: Underneath each one of those cups, Catherine had caught one of those icky black crickets. Yes, they were very much alive. So, Catherine, Dominic, and Anne each picked up a plate and cup and carried them outside and we let the crickets go. That story had a happy ending (at least for the crickets!)

About once or twice a week it is one of those humongous spiders (2-3 inches in diameter) with the very large bodies that ooze bluish/greenish goo when squished. Those are truly creepy and no, they don't make it out of the house alive.

So if you come to our house and see this sitting on the bookshelf:
Don't open it!

Frog Story #1: One night a few weeks after we moved in, Dan went out to the garage and carried some heavy boxes of books down to the basement for me, so I could unpack them the next day. An hour or so later, I hear Dan from our bedroom, "I need a box!" He came out and repeated that, adding, "You are going to freak out." I immediately thought that there must be a snake in the house, but no, it was a frog. We found a box and I let Dan go take care of it, except that I shortly heard, "You have to come help me." So then I went to the bedroom and there in the corner by the nightstand was this little frog. You should have seen what went on in the next 10 minutes or so. Two adults with a box and a towel (to put on top so the frog couldn't jump out), trying to catch this little frog that kept jumping around, getting under the nightstand, etc. I'm sure it was a funny sight. We didn't want to actually touch the thing. Eww! Finally we caught it and took it outside. Whew. At least it wasn't a snake. And at least the kids were all sleeping. Although, they probably would have had fun chasing it.

Frog Story #2 : Last week, I was in our bedroom and I heard this commotion out in the living room, and wouldn't you know, Dominic had found a teeny dead frog under the ottoman. Ick! So, of course, after that Dan had to pretend he was seeing frogs everywhere and the kids would scream and carry on. Until I told Catherine to tell Daddy he had a frog on his head and she did and thought that was the funniest thing in the world. But, what I want to know, how did that frog get in our house and under the ottoman and die? Creepy!

(After reading these stories, we will suddenly have no house guests for the rest of the year.)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Second Half of the Story

When I left off telling about our Big Move, we had just moved in and started the whole unpacking and settling in process. But, that is only half of the story. Once all of our stuff was out of the old house and into the new, then the process to sell the old house started. After some more fixing up and mega-cleaning (when your house is empty, it has to be super clean!), it went on the market on Aug. 12. Neither of us had ever sold a house before, so it was definitely a learning process. Two days later, I got the first call from the realtor's office that someone wanted to go look at the house. The first couple weeks were pretty active, with about 10 different people going to see it. The feedback was good and I was on pins and needles, just waiting for someone to make an offer. Then another week or so later, on Sept. 4, we got an offer. It was a bit low, but we haggled back and forth, and then, on Sept. 9, a contract was signed! Yippee! The best part was that they wanted to close on Sept. 19 (the sooner the better for us). There were a couple minor things on the inspection, which Dan took care of, and then a couple days before closing, we all went to visit the Old House for the last time. Here are the kids sitting on the basement storage shelves that Dan built:
It is so much fun to run around like crazy in empty rooms:
Got to have a little wrestling:
The pot rack that Dan built (I miss that - there is no spot for one in this kitchen):
Outside at the hedge, I don't remember what it is called. Look at all those houses right next to each other. It seems crowded now!

The terraced garden that Dan made. We had cucumbers, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, radishes, and several kinds of peppers this year. I think next year's garden will be a little bit bigger. :)
I clipped the last of the yellow roses that were blooming and gave them to the kids. The rosebush was a gift and it looked half dead when Dan planted it. We were amazed when it went on to become a huge, blooming bush. (I guess I should have taken a picture of the rosebush!)
Then it was time for some fun with the cicadas (the shells only!). Catherine is actually holding one:
I think everyone got a turn to have a cicada shell attached to their shirt. They thought it was pretty neat, after the initial fear was overcome.
So goodbye, Old House!
I don't know how people can stand having their houses on the market for months on end. It was stressful and ours wasn't even on for a whole month. Thanks again to all who prayed. I know that is what got us a quick result. Thank you!