Tuesday, January 31, 2012

There Comes a Time

When we announced we would indeed be moving to Utah, the JayP protested loudly.  It was understandable that our very social high schooler was upset and even angry about the move.  Although he had always been home schooled, the last several years had been difficult on him, as he truly wanted to go to school.  In Maryland that was just not possible.  There was no way we would even consider sending him to the local public high school, and the cost and transportation to private high schools was just not worth it, no matter how strong his desire.

While considering the job, Wingnut and I researched the possibility of sending the JayP to a Catholic high school.  Wingnut found a fairly promising school in Ogden. When in Utah for his job interview, he had the chance to visit and tour the school.  He was sufficiently impressed and we began the process of applying for JayP to attend. Fortunately, he was accepted into the school and we were able to find classes that he would be able to merge into fairly easily.  The school offers a wonderful Catholic education, is unafraid to proclaim it's Catholic identity, and is affordable.  The only draw back has been the 30 minute drive to and from school and the increasing likelihood we will not find a carpool from our neck of the woods (we may be one of only two non-Morman families in our little town).

It has been worth it.  The JayP has, for the most part, been a different kid.  He loves school, actually works hard at it, and is much more pleasant around home. The chemistry teacher was convinced JayP would fail his class, and has had to eat his own words as JayP continues to soar past the teacher's low expectations (I'm not sure what the chemistry teacher thought JayP was doing for chemistry before attending this school, but I have a feeling he will now hold home schoolers in a bit higher regard). He's made several new friends and has joined the basketball team.  He's happy to be out of the house, and we are happy to have him gone most of the day ;)

I've tried not to put limits on where I would allow homeschooling to take our family.  I had always taken the idea year by year. I also never truly dreamed I'd put any of the children into conventional school, but there comes a time, even for the most dyed in the wool homeschooling mom, when conventional school is where a particular child should be.  I'm ok with that. Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, January 30, 2012

Humble Pie

I wasn't going to blog about this until my dear husband decided he needed to email dear friends about his experience.  I've been cleared hot to post his writing.  It's good for a laugh, if not a cautionary tale against engaging in "food challenges".

Dear B,

I am writing to you from the passenger seat in the van as I return home a humbler man.

Maurisa told me about a spicy food challenge here in Salt Lake City-The Hellfire Sushi Challenge at a restaurant down south.

It sounds simple. Eat 6 pieces of spicy sushi, get a t-shirt and your picture on a wall.

But first you gotta prove you're up to the challenge. Eat a couple of pieces of levels 4, 5 & 6 spicy hot sushi.  No problem. Lil' Wingnut ate a piece of level 4.

Once I proved my worthiness, I had to sign a waiver and eat 2 pieces of level 6 and one-half.  That's when my ears first started to ring.

Undaunted and having proven my chops, they brought me the first 2 pieces of level 7, which I dispatched in short order - only to discover that it had a lingering, building spicy effect.

No problem. It took a few minutes for my next two pieces of Hellfire to arrive, but I made quick work of them. Not as quick as the first two, but quick enough.

Unfortunately, the twelve pieces of sushi I had eaten was mixing with the six or so glasses of Coke, two waters and an uncounted number of ice cubes to make a very uneasy feeling in my tummy.  Could I finish?  Absolutely . . . if I didn't mind the impending consequences that would be both certain and dire.

In short, I gave up.  No t-shirt is worth what I'm going through now much less what I would be going through had I eaten those last two pieces. 


Here is B's response:

Dear Wingnut,

O.K. Now, 5 hours later my sides stopped hurting. Let me understand this; YOU QUIT?!!! My dear friend you have slipped into civilian life too quickly. The Lt. Col.  I knew never quit. I can't believe what a few months have done to you. You clearly needed an eating partner. What a loss.
So, let's go over this. Are you saying that you ate 14 pieces and was starting on 15 & 16? How long did all this take? Was there a time limit? I'm trying to understand where you went wrong. Soda is definitely the wrong thing to drink in any eating competition. That's probably the bulk of what happened. You got too full of gas. If I know you well enough, Pain was not an issue. Right? So we'll blame it on "carbonation".
Was "carbonation" the reason you couldn't drive home? By the way, D wants photos of you recreating your facial features at different points of this competition. Are you going to put the family up in a hotel for the night so they won't hear the earth shattering screams emanating from the bathroom tomorrow morning?
Believe me, I am most intrigued by the prospect of trying this competition. There's got to be a way. Maybe, by then, you'll have built up a tolerance & can walk me through nuances of each level so that we both can have our photos on the wall.
Thanks for the laugh & challenge.

Rest assured, B, if Wingnut dares to accept your challenge, I have let him know he will be sleeping in the doghouse for a week!  No t-shirt is worth that, I am sure! Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sometimes the Baby Eats Crayons

For those who may think my lucky children live in some perfect utopian home schooling home, there are days, like today, when I wonder why in the world I do this.  In a five minute snippet the baby dumped out all the crayons and pencils from one of the pencil boxes and sat under the table happily eating crayons.  The 9 year old sat and stared at a simple two step math problem without writing a single number on her paper because she still hasn't memorized her times tables.  The 5 year old finished his math, but then proceeded to ask his typical endless stream of requests for video games, movies, and food. He had breakfast 15 minutes ago.  The 12 year old, bless her heart, has learned to block it all out, and just continues to plod away at her algebra.

I do believe, in the end, it is all worth it, but sometimes in the muck of it all I dream of sending the kids off to school. Unfortunately, I'm sure the baby would still be eating crayons. Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, January 26, 2012

{P,H,F,R} It's Cold Out There

round button chicken

These photos were taken nearly 3 weeks ago on a trip to frozen over East Canyon Lake, Ut.  The kids had a blast walking out onto the lake.  It was amazingly beautiful and bitterly cold!

Our lovely almost 19 year old.

This is "K", she's Skoshi A's BFF and her parents graciously allowed her to make the trek with us out to Utah.  She flew back to Maryland two weeks ago with our oldest daughter.  We miss her so much.  I loved her pretty, sweet smile in this photo.


Skoshi A has a true sense of adventure.  She could not wait to get out on that frozen lake.  She is fearless!

You never know what kinds of expressions you might have captured until you get up and upload your photos.  These candid, funny faces of Lil' Wingnut 

and Special K are priceless.


Did I mention the bitter cold.  Lil' Lamb, wasn't too sure what we were up to.  This is his "What the????" face.
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Where's the Love

(Lil' Lamb at 11 months)

This post may seem a bit on the self-pitying side, but my baby doesn't love me.  He loves his daddy, he loves his brothers and sisters, and he especially loves Skoshi A, or Junior Mommy.  I'm just a milk cow.  His love for me only extends as far as meal time.  The rest of the time he prefers anyone but me and it's patently unfair. I only provide 24-hour-round-the-clock-7-days-a-week care to him and what do I get?  A slap in the face.  This little guy is a brute.  His idea of playing with me is to slap and pinch and then get all offended when I tell him to be nice.  It's really starting to hurt my feelings.  That, and at my age, it's becoming increasingly unlikely I'll be able to "replace" him.  C'mon, Lil' Lamb, where's the love? Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Musical Rant

We have happily found a parish that suits us.  The priest is wonderful and was completely unafraid to preach the Truth on Prolife Sunday.  He wore a traditional cassock and a beretta and spoke church architecture and communion rails.  We felt right at home.

My only quibble with the new parish is the music.  The Gather worship book should be out and out banned.  The music is uninspiring and many of the lyrics are just theologically muddy. Down the aisle processed our very traditional appearing priest and deacon to a most insipid and tediously difficult contemporay piece that almost none of the parishioners could sing.  It was truly off-putting.  Really, no music at all is much better than bad music.  Sometimes I believe Catholics have forgotten the wonderful spiritual benefits of sacred silence.  Do we really need to sing meditation hymns?

It may have been rude, but I did ask our priest if the music for the 9:30 am mass is more traditional.  He assured me it is.  Thank heavens for that, otherwise I might spend most masses praying for charity toward the musical director.  Sigh. It really has been too long since my last confession. Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, January 23, 2012


Utahans are downright friendly people.  Wingnut and I cannot get over it.  Everyone is so helpful and nice, it has really caught us off guard.  It's not that Marylanders are unfriendly, I just think Utahans take it to another level.  I am not incredibly familiar with any of the tenets of the Morman religion, but I am familiar with their deep love for family and family life, and so I'm guessing this love extends to their neighbors.

We lived in a nice neighborhood in Maryland and knew many of our neighbors by name, but the hospitality we have received here has been amazing.  On our first day here it snowed several inches.  Our neighbors took it upon themselves to plow our driveway and shovel our walk for us.  A couple days later one set of neighbors called upon us to introduce themselves and brought along two loaves of freshly baked bread.  That same night more neighbors called and brought homemade maple glazed cinnamon rolls.  The next night another family brought chocolate chip cookies.  Talk about a warm reception!  Each offered their help in any way we could need, gave us their home phone numbers and welcomed us fondly.  It was truly as if they were welcoming Christ, himself, into their midst.  What a wonderful example they have all set.

Lord, help me to be a kind and good neighbor.  Help me to welcome and love others as you welcome and love us. Amen. Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, January 20, 2012


Moments of Grace Baby Boy
born January 20, 2012
at 7:58 am
19 inches
5 pounds 7 ounces

It was a rough go for mom and baby.  The sweet boy's heart rate began to drop with each contraction after mom was put on a pitocin drip to get labor going just before 3 am.  Last I saw they were heading for a c-section and unless he came finally on his own, I'm assuming a c-section was indeed performed.

Thank you for your prayers for our dear friends.  If you could just keep Mallu Mom lifted up a few days longer as she recovers.  Pax! Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Please Pray . . .

. . . for our dear friend, and Lil' Lamb's Godmama, Mallu Mom, at Moments of Grace.  Her water broke in the wee hours this morning and it's been nearly 18 hours without regular contractions.  They are doing everything possible to have this precious baby naturally, but if all else fails, induction will be the order of the day.  I'll post when the baby finally arrives, along with all his stats.  Saint Gerard, pray for Mallu and baby boy! Print Friendly and PDF

{P,H,F,R} A Bit Behind

round button chicken

These photos were taken during the cross country trek, when we stopped for two days in Colorado Springs.  Tonia, Eric, and family, at Life in Our Zoo, hosted our family in a most warm and welcoming way.  It was wonderful catching up with our dear friends and the children appreciated the break from the van.  While in the Springs, Wingnut and I took the willing on a little hike through The Garden of the Gods, where I got a chance to try our my new telephoto lens.

 The weather was gorgeous and the rock formations are pretty amazing.


Special K, our budding geologist loved the time spent with her daddy, walking hand in hand.


 I found this lone fire hydrant in the Garden to be hilariously out of place.


Lil' Lamb wasn't too sure about the baby back pack carrier, but this will be his reality as we hope to get out in the wild more often in the months to come.
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Monday, January 16, 2012

Progress and Set Backs

For the most part, I'd say this move has gone rather smoothly. Our household goods arrived on Thursday, and we've been unpacking the more than 200 boxes since. I kept asking myself, "Why do we have so much stuff?" until one of our movers reassured me we had about as much stuff as a typical family of four. Still, we really do have way more than we need. I'm weeding through things and have set aside items to donate and others to sell.

Unpacking was going well until Saturday morning when Wingnut developed an excruciating pain in the flank of his lower back. He was nearly incapacitated, so I ran him over to the nearest emergency room to be treated for what we believed were kidney stones. Today he is still in some pain, but he hasn't passed anything, and after a consultation with a flight doctor, he now believes he may have actually torn a muscle in his back. This makes sense between the moving, sleeping on overcrowded and uncomfortable beds for nearly 2 weeks and he used much too heavy weights in his workout on Friday. He had an X-ray this morning, and we should find out if his pain is or isn't due to kidney stones.

Our first attempt at finding a suitable family parish was a complete no-go. While the music was liturgically beautiful, and the church had a truly lovely Marian Chapel, we had serious issues with the priest. Namely, he decided to skip the Gloria and the Creed due to his being under the weather. This could have been understandable and forgivable, if he hadn't then blathered on and on about parish debt reduction and the parish potluck at the end of Mass.

We tried another parish this Sunday, and it definitely has promise. The vestibule was filled with pro-life and NFP literature. The altar BOYS used patens during communion. The priest, although a visiting one, celebrated the Mass with reverence and intact, excluding no prayers. The music was liturgically stinky, but even our beloved parish in Maryland often left much to be desired in that department(can you say "On Eagles Wings"?).

So, we are settling in and enjoying the natural beauty of our new home. There is so much more I could write, but I'll save it for later posts. Pax! Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Made It

I know this announcement is long over due, but we did make it to Utah as of last Thursday, and we are working on settling in. As we drive among the mountains, it seems too surreal that this picturesque setting is where we live now. Our new home is nestled in a basin surrounded by snow capped mountains. We are truly only minutes from Snow Basin Ski Resort. It is absolutely gorgeous!

I love the new house. It is warm and open and inviting. The children are enjoying exploring the new neighborhood and the nooks and crannies of their new digs. Our neighbors greeted us by plowing our driveway and shoveling our walkway after some unexpected, but very welcome snow.

The JayP is happily enrolled in a wonderful private Catholic high school. I spent Monday morning with the principal, who is warm and friendly, but also tough and faithful. I was so pleasantly struck by her, the faculty, and the school, I gave the unsuspecting woman a hug in the parking lot, after she had walked me to our van.

So far we've only had two hiccups. We went ahead and moved into the house, knowing our home goods would not arrive until the 12th, and while I did bring along enough cooking paraphernalia to get by, we didn't anticipate how very uncomfortable it is to have absolutely no furniture to sit on except the one queen size bed I had delivered new to the house.

The second, and more problematic drawback has been in the search for a new parish. Our first try was an absolute no-go after the priest felt skipping the Gloria and the Creed during the Mass was acceptable (there were other shenanigans besides these, but these two infractions were the most glaring). We do have hope for the next parish after speaking to one of the theology teachers at the high school and I've asked Our Lady to guide us in our search. I am sure She will not disappoint.

Once we have reliable Internet and have our computers hooked up, I will begin posting pictures of the house and our new surroundings.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Blogging From the Road

Mallu Mom from Moments of Grace showed me how I can blog from my iPhone. Since I am limited by my slow text typing skills, this will be a very short post.

We hit the road only 30 minutes after our block time and have made steady progress across the country heading west. We stopped in Tennessee for BBQ with Wingnut's Uncle Terry and Aunt Carol and then pressed on to Nashville for the first night. There was very little wailing and gnashing of teeth. Lil' Lamb slept quite a bit on the road and then was happily entertained with singing, treat, and Baby Signing Time videos.

One day two we made it to Oklahoma City and had dinner with JayP's Godmother and her parents at our favorite Tex-Mex restaurant, Ted's Cafe Escondido. Boy, I love that place. We all wished we could have stayed another day to visit some of our old haunts from 11 years ago, but we decided to press on. Once again, Lil' Lamb traveled very well, although he was a complete tyrant at dinner and in the hotel. Thankfully, the rest of the children are wonderful travelers and have managed to keep themselves fairly entertained

Today we'll stop in Colorado to spend two days with two families. We'll relax, stretch our legs and eat home-cooking before hitting the road for our last leg.

Wow, this road blogging is making me carsick! Until next time, God Bless!
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