Friday, January 30, 2009

What a Grand Friday!

Today was such a nice day!
I got to spend lots of time with Laura and Nina, my best girlfriends, and I also got lots of special time with those darling little girls!

We went to Mass this morning and Lucy was just so good! She is very quiet and serious during Mass.
Then we came home and the boys spent a long time outside in the snow. They did have school to get done, but the snow was perfect for sledding, and it will be gone very soon, so what could I say when they asked? They just did PE first, that's all.
Lucy watched all the fun from inside.
Then they did come in and start some of their work, but it wasn't long before Lilly and Nina showed up and well, you just can't do school work with the cuties to play with.
Nina came up for lunch and we celebrated her birthday two days late, by ordering chinese and having an ice cream cake for dessert.
The little girls provided the entertainment.
Nina left awhile later and then Laura had to get going to get back to the Cookes so that Lucy could get a good nap.
Lilly came back at 3:00 and we had a nice afternoon.
Oh, and the boys did finish their work.
Three Spelling tests, two history tests, three math lessons and lots of music practice.
And they all got good scores on their tests!
All in all, a very good day!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It Came, and it's going...

The snow fell off and on yesterday and then started again last night.
It's so pretty, but the freezing rain has started and it is going to be gone before I can get any pictures of sledding or snow men.
Well here are a couple I took this morning.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Something Worth Thinking About...

Demographic Winter: "Schools will be turned into nursing homes. Playgrounds will become graveyards."

By John-Henry Westen

WASHINGTON, DC, January 26, 2009 ( - Celebrated columnist and pro-family leader Don Feder gave a jaw-dropping presentation on the coming 'Demographic Winter' at the Rose Dinner which closes the official March for Life festivities every year. Speaking to hundreds of attendees, Feder suggested that the demographic problem of worldwide declining birthrates "could result in the greatest crisis humanity will confront in this century" as "all over the world, children are disappearing."

"In the Western world, birthrates are falling and populations are aging," said Feder. "The consequences for your children and grandchildren could well be catastrophic."

Feder noted, "In 30 years, worldwide, birth rates have fallen by more than 50%. In 1979, the average woman on this planet had 6 children. Today, the average is 2.9 children, and falling." He explained the situation noting, "demographers tell us that with a birthrate of 1.3, everything else being equal, a nation will lose half of its population every 45 years."

Beyond an inability to pay for pensions, it is likely that euthanasia will be one looked-to solution to the aging crisis, he said.

"Demographic Winter is the terminal stage in the suicide of the West - the culmination of a century of evil ideas and poisonous policies,'" he said. Among them he listed:

"Abortion - As I mentioned a moment ago, worldwide, we're killing 42 million people a year. It's as if an invading army killed every man woman and child in Italy - then repeated the process every year.

"Contraception - For the first time in history, just under half the world's population of childbearing age uses some form of birth control. Some of us remember when births weren't controlled and pregnancies weren't planned. With all the wailing about man-made Global Warming, carbon footprints and the ozone layer, wouldn't it be ironic if what did us in wasn't the SUV but the IUD?

"Delayed marriage. People are marrying later and later. After 35, it becomes progressively harder for a woman to have children.

"The decline of marriage and the rise of cohabitation. Not surprisingly, in relationships without commitment, people have fewer children. By the way, the left's contribution to the coming population crisis is to push the one type of ‘marriage’ (and I use the term advisedly) that can't conceivably produce children.

"But perhaps,” he concluded, “the most important factor is a culture (including Hollywood, the news media and academia) that tells people that children are a burden, rather than a joy; that pushes an ego-driven, live-for-the-moment ethic; a culture that tells us that contentment comes from careers, love, friendship, pets, possessions, travel, personal growth - anything and everything except family and children. It's a culture that can look at Sarah Palin and her beautiful family and ask why she had to have 5 children and why she didn't abort her child with Downs syndrome."

For more see the first documentary on the plummeting birth rate:

"Demographic Winter: the decline of the human family"

She's doing her part!

Doctor: Eighth Baby Was a 'Tremendous Surprise'

This is amazing! And they all made it despite the doctor's concerns!

Snow Day!

Yes, it is snowing!
We are taking a modified snow day, because we have a lot to do if we hope to take Friday off to go back to DC.
The snow probably won't be deep enough to sled in anyway.
It is pretty and peaceful out there and it's nice to stay tucked in at home.
The big news may come tomorrow of we get an ice storm tonight.
We'll update!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday, Sweet Sunday

Today was one of those rare, relaxing Sundays that just seem to be made to enjoy.
We all got up late, because the boys camped out in the basement, which meant watching a movie until all hours. Then of course, since they were sleeping in an unusual place, they all got up off and on all night for various reasons. But that was OK because we COULD get up late!

It was Pillsbury Cinnamon Roll day. This is fast becoming a Sunday requirement for John and Paul. Brendan still likes his pancakes. I am a coffee person until 10:00.
I had some household stuff to get done and Tim is still doing odds and ends in the bedroom. He has a few places that he wants to patch on the chair rail, and then of course painting everything we can think of that will need to be painted, before the new carpet gets here.

We got out the door in plenty of time to get to Mass and it was a good thing too, because this is apparently "Catholic Schools Week" and the church was packed! All the kids, teachers and staff plus a few Knights of Columbus and random parishioners. It was a very nice Mass and Father Jay was so proud of his school! It has gone through a rough time over the past year and I think they are finally coming out of it. The new principal seems really well liked and competent.

We got home and I got lunch for everyone and got a little work done on the TORCH website.
I am trying to build a new one, since the old one is through Verizon and is impossible to edit. This new one is a Google site and I do Google. I am told there are rumblings of world domination by Google, but I'm not really that worried. If the world is so bad off that it will let itself be dominated by an entity with a name like Google, then we had better have it out and be done with it. God will sort it all out in the end anyway. Apocalypse, thy name is...Google?

So after we had lunch, we went to Lowes to do "the carpet business".
We picked out a gray that should look nice. We had wanted to do two rooms but we decided not to fork out the extra money. I want to be able to keep the credit cards paid off!
The installers will be here sometime in the next week.
There will be lots of pictures of the finished product after that.
I have been working in there trying to organize things and cleaning up around the edges of all the work.

Nina dropped Lilly off at Lowe's so we brought her home. And she was adorable, as usual.
Laura came down to the Cooke's to wait for baby #2 to make her debut.
We are hoping to get over there soon.

Lilly was here through dinner, then we had a great after dinner playtime. She went to bed around 8:00 and then the rest of us sat down to watch the first part of "Peter and Paul", since today we celebrated the conversion of St Paul. Our Paul surprised me by remembering all kinds of things about of the story of St Paul's life. He has never seen the movie, but he has read books, and I guess the details have really stuck with him.

Tomorrow is a school day and then the boys have dentist appointments. Oh Joy.
It is hard to let go of the weekend.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Vatican's new YouTube Channel!

This is awesome! So much to watch straight from "Home"!
If you are a fan of "Papa Ben" or just curious, give it a look!

Vatican on YouTube

Thursday, January 22, 2009

March For Life 2009

Well we did it and it was such a great day!
We packed up and headed down to DC for the day to join a crowd of tens of thousands of other pro-life people from all around the country, rallying and marching for Life!
It was such a Blest day from beginning to end. Traffic was great all the way down, we drove right up to a parking garage and found a great spot to park for a great rate! The weather was so nice! The sun was out and I think it may have been around 50 most of the day.We passed the fountain above the cafe at the Museum of Natural History, the boys can't wait to go back and go to the museum!

The Rally was inspiring, with speeches by members of congress, including Senator Bob Dornan, Sam Brownback and many, many more.
The boys were so good!
They were too short to see much at the rally and yet they hardly complained. It took a long time to get the March started, but we met up with some of our friends and everybody did great.Here are a few of the kids. And Moms!

This group was great! They are a religious order and most of them were down from Harlem. They had brought their own band, and they were all dancing and having such a great time.

Here is a great picture of how far the March stretched up Constitution Avenue. Yes, there are signs as far as you can see! In the foreground, Mark Hoppel, with the orange backpack and one of the Weber boys, marches ahead of us.

We marched to the Supreme Court Building and people were praying and rallying again.
John, Brendan, and Paul don't realize it now, but this was a historic day, and they were a part of it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Tomorrow we will be heading down into Washington DC to attend the 2009 March For Life.
I wanted to go last year and we had an threatened ice storm, which didn't materialize, and I chose to stay home. Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and around 40 degrees. As good as it gets in January.
Tim is actually taking the day off to go with us, which is a treat!
I plan to take tons of pictures and will post the best of them here tomorrow night.
Please keep all the Marchers in your prayers, and pray for wisdom and enlightenment for all those in positions to make a difference.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Wanna see something really scary?

OK, this is really long, but if only half of it is true, we are in major trouble.
Will someone watch this and reassure me that it's just scare tactics and the premises are faulty?


These two links both came from The Drudge Report.
He has put them both on his page at the same time.
You have to see this for yourself!

First read this one:

President 'has four years to save Earth'

US must take the lead to avert eco-disaster

Then go here:

If you're wondering why North America is starting to resemble nuclear winter, then you missed the news.

holy scientific schizophrenia Batman!

Speaking of Heros

If we want to find someone to point to to teach our children about what one person can do to inspire change, lets look to Dr. Martin Luther King.
He was a true force. He wasn't willing to just speak platitudes, he went out and led.
He was also a Republican, by the way.

Read about that here.

We'll be discussing Dr King today, as we do every year. I want my kids to learn from his courage and sacrifice.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

And the work continues...

Tim has almost finished with all the trim in the room. Next will come the little finishing touches; countersinking the nails, touching up the paint and a few other bits and pieces. The carpet has to go in before we are all finished, and we don't know yet how long the wait is for installation. With the deal we are getting on that from Lowes, we really can't complain. They will be up to measure some time this week. Here are a few pictures from this last week.
The Lamp in the Corner is what we got, along with two smaller "touch lamps", for Christmas from Mom and Dad. Thanks!!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I am doing my best to be open minded and hopeful about the new direction that our country is about to embark on. I am praying for the new president and for the challenges that he will face, and I am praying for our country, as we go through one of the toughest times we have been in since I have been alive.

I do have to comment on the Obama/Lincoln comparison track that the media has become so fond of.
There may be some exterior similarities. There may be a poetic sense in the fact that Obama is the first black president and Lincoln was the president that proclaimed the emancipation of African Americans in this country.
But I have to withhold my judgment in putting anyone on par with the great Abraham Lincoln.
I am going to need to see the works, not just the words.

Mr Obama,
Abraham Lincoln led this country through a war that ended with the declaration of personhood for a group of people who had been unjustly persecuted for hundreds of years. He had the fortitude and courage to stand on the side of the marginalized and oppressed.
Do you have that courage Mr Obama?
We share a grave similarity, at this time in our history, with the country that was then divided by slavery.
We are divided by the battle for the lives of the marginalized and oppressed in the womb. They are every bit as trapped by circumstance as any slave ever was. They are powerless to fight their own cause. Some brave folks are fighting it for them.
Will you stand on the side of the powerful and proud, or will you find it in your heart to defend the defenseless?
Until I can see that kind of comparison, I see only contrast.
Until you show me that you have taken to heart the lessons learned in that terrible time, I will never be able to see even the shadow of so great a man in your presidency. Legacies are made by heroes. Who is your hero, Mr Obama, and whose hero will you be?

We can only keep up the fight, and hope that you will join us.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Welcome to the new kids...

I just had to post this real quick tonight.
We added some new members to the family today, and considering the species, I thought it prudent to welcome them as soon as possible. It may be a short stay.

Anyway, John had been noticing that Brendan was constantly talking about fish. He wants to do his bedroom in an ocean theme, he wants to visit the Aquarium, he has been asking all kinds of questions about fish! So, since John had some allowance saved, he decided to give a gift of a goldfish to Brendan, and since he didn't want the fish to be lonely, and since these particular fish are EXTREMELY affordable, he thought he should get one for Paul too. The fish are cheap, the setup is not, really. So it cost him all of his allowance, plus some of mom's funds, to outfit these little guys for his brothers. This may have gotten me into even more trouble, as now Brendan says he wants a complete aquarium for his birthday.
Paul wanted a gold and black one, and Brendan was taken with the beautiful white and orange.

So, without further ado, may I present:

Cody and Sparkla. Proudly named by their respective owners, Paul and Brendan.

It's Friday...

And there are 153 people and their families that are going to have a GREAT weekend!
Praise God!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

New Year's Recital

Well tonight was the annual Piano recital at Ms. Petra's house.
Petra Rohrbaugh is our piano teacher, and she has done amazing things with the boys!

John has been playing for 3 1/2 years and is coming along so well. He is very good about practicing and music has really helped him in many other areas. It was so neat watching his performance.

Brendan is also doing very well. I don't think he enjoys getting up in front of people very much, but he did great! Petra has such a positive effect on him. He does enjoy playing at home, though, and he knows that "Spring" by Vivaldi is one of my favorites!

Paul has been working hard. He hasn't been playing very long and he really has taken to it. I am very proud of him!

All the kids did an amazing job! There was some real talent in that room. The Hoppel kids and the Moore girls played beautifully, as did Christine Tellup. We are so blest to have so much talent in our little circle. John cracked me up when he said at the end : " I had no idea that so many kids in my Science class were so talented on the piano!" His teacher, Lisa Tellup, said "Hmmm, maybe it's the teacher!" Well, it helps that Petra went to a lot of trouble to be sure that our recital would be with people we know. It makes it so nice!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

School Marches On...

January is kind of a tough month for us.
It's when we get back to work after Christmas break, it's the month of "indoor" activity, which can be hard on boys, it's the time when I look at what we have done, what we have left, and I realize that we are going to have to push through to finish in time to have a summer break!
It's the same every year, so I don't know why I don't do a better job of preparing for it.

Being inside together all day can present a bit of a challenge when it comes to patience. The boys really are very good and they are creative in entertaining themselves, but I find myself wanting to get out and get some exercise with them, it's just too cold!
John uses the treadmill, but I don't want the other two using it because they are still to short.
I am glad that we have two sets of stairs and that they have to go up them multiple times per day!
School does really go better when everyone is getting out a couple of times a day. Our PE plan is to have everyone running a few days a week at the local track and we will get back to it as soon as we can do it without freezing our faces off.
Today it is about 7 degrees out there and it's just not an option. This Global Warming is tough!

I am confidant that we will have at least part of June and all of July and most of August off, but as I am looking at what we need to work through over the next six months, it is easy to feel like we'll never finish! I know from experience that this is just a normal phase of the school year.
The Math books look pretty good. John should finish his by June quite easily. Paul will have no problem and Brendan has a little more to do than the others because I moved him into the 4th grade book in October. He had been working through the third grade all summer and so things were a little off. It will be SO nice not to be trying to get a math lesson in twice a week all summer. They can play math games for a bit each day and that will keep them up on their skills.
Of, course Music goes all summer too. Brendan is making good progress on the piano.
All the work books will be finished with no problem, but History is going to be a challenge.
Brendan is using a very good book, but it takes a couple of years to get through it and I am going to have to push pretty hard to get to the halfway point this year. This year is all about the explorers and early American settlers, it isn't easy to visualize. Next year he will be doing the period from the Revolution to the Twentieth Century. Then we can do lots of field trips! That really helps.
Paul finds History to be a snap. He can do it standing on his head! No really, he actually reads like this. Somehow I can't see him in a traditional classroom...

John is doing a really neat Science unit on food packaging with one of the co-ops from TORCH. It's full of data gathering, teamwork and experiments. I am really happy that he is able to do it. He is also working through the Earth Science projects that we are doing at home, so that he can still finish that book. He is also really enjoying his art projects. He is becoming a rather competent jewelry creator. He started with Rosaries, and has moved on to some other very unique projects. Yesterday they worked with wire, and he made a neat bracelet out of loops, twisted into a pattern. I have several really nice pair of earrings that he has put together from the beads that he has left over from the rosaries!

I think I am going to sign Paul up for a theater workshop that is forming down town. It's with Tidewater Theater, which is a group that the girls used to perform with. I think Paul would love stagecraft. John wants to get into backstage work.

So onward through the chilly days of January. Page by page and chapter by chapter, this family is growing in so many ways!

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Bright Spot

See, even nefarious characters can do the right thing!
This is just too great an irony to pass up!!

Article can be found at

Planned Parenthood makes staff cuts

By Miriam Kreinin Souccar

Published: January 9, 2009 - 2:41 pm

Hit with declines in funding from the economic crisis and the Madoff scandal, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America is laying off around 20% of its staff.

Roughly 30 people were let go earlier this week, according to a source who works for the nonprofit. Executives at Planned Parenthood confirmed the layoffs, but declined to give more details.

“As with many other nonprofit organizations, Planned Parenthood has had to make staff reductions at our headquarters due to the challenging economic times facing our country,” said Maryana Iskander, chief operating officer at the agency. “While taking this action is never easy, we want to ensure the millions of women and men who rely on Planned Parenthood as a health care provider that the reductions will not impact our ability to deliver care to those in need.”

Part of Planned Parenthood’s funding declines stem from the closing of the Florida-based Picower Foundation, which shut down in December because its assets were managed by Bernard Madoff. The $1 billion foundation was one of the few major funders of reproductive rights issues.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I Am

I have always loved this song so much. I just had to put some pictures to it.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Today we painted our room and Tim went to Lowes to get the trim and Wainscot.
The Paint dried to a nice Sage and with the white trim it is going to look pretty good!
Here are some pics while it was still wet. It is darker now and more even, thank goodness!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Oh Yuck...

Well, John was sick over the weekend and now I have "it".
It is a nasty and unyielding head cold. I think I have most of the symptoms listed on the Nyquil bottle.
The worst effect of the whole thing is that I have totally lost the motivation to do anything.
I tried to paint the ceiling in the bedroom yesterday and I only finished half of it.

The boys are all in varying stages of the crud and so we are all feeding off of each other's lethargy.

School of some sort has to happen today, but it is going to be an abridged version. We are going to stay home for the day and keep our germs to ourselves.

So what is with all the Armageddon nonsense this week?
Did I miss something? Was there a memo from God over the weekend and I didn't read it?

FOX news has been running article after article about various forms of devastation and destruction.

This morning's good news is about the next Solar Storm "shutting down" the US.
Drudge had the latest on the Supervolcano under Yellowstone Nat'l Park
Which had a link to this website which is just a wealth of information sure to make your day.

It may just be a January thing. I know the humdrum routine and the doldrums of winter can make all of us start looking for something interesting to focus on.

It may also be the fact that the economy is going down the tubes, we are losing our identity as a nation, there are no answers for these issues from the people that are supposed to have them, and most people are thinking that the future suddenly isn't as bright as it was last summer.
So, it's the job of those who inform to let us know that things aren't nearly as bad as they could be: "Look, we could be staring down the barrel of a Black Hole!"
Or maybe they are encouraging us just to go into denial about the future all together.
Hey, if there is going to be a disaster of Biblical proportions, I really don't need to worry about that 401K after all, now do I?

Well, I am sick today and I don't have the initiative or the motivation to debate this kind of silliness.
All I can say is that if all this stuff is giving you pause, then pause and look up.
HE has it all under control, and when it's time, time will end, and the end of all things will be the beginning of what we really have been waiting for.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Al, You should read Fox News!

Sorry Al,
The Global Warming thing is so last year...

What will Obama do about THIS???!!!

Five Ways the World Can End

Tuesday , January 06, 2009

By Paul Wagenseil


But before we get into detail, let's dismiss two things that won't cause the demise of the planet.

How many ways can the world end? We can think of at least five.

Global warming is bad for people who live in low-lying coastal areas and at the edges of deserts, but the truth is that Earth been much warmer throughout most of the past 500 million years, and life did just fine.

On the other side of things, a new ice age would end most human habitation of Canada, northern Europe, the northern U.S. and Russia, but the tropics would stay about the same — and there'd be a lot more land to go around in south Florida as sea levels dropped.

Read the whole story here!

I am partial to the volcanoes, but I think the Black Hole experience could be pretty exciting too.
Anyway, I agree with this article. We all need to lighten up and enjoy God's creation....

...while we can.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Project begins...

Tim and I started working on our bedroom today. This is our Christmas present to each other.

Last night we moved most of the furniture across the hall into the smaller bedroom that used to be Paul's. It is a very tight fit, but we are glad to be able to do it that way, because it is so nice not to have to work around it.
The wardrobe and dresser had to stay, but they can be draped while we paint.
Tim took down all the trim and I vacuumed the walls.
Then Tim started filling all the holes and flaws that we have been looking at for ten years!

Tomorrow it will be dry and he can sand a little bit and we can start painting.

We went to Lowe's today and got some lamps to brighten it up. It was so dark in there.
I also got paint in a Sage color and a flat white for the ceiling.

Pictures of those will have to wait.

In other news...

John went out today and spent the last of his Christmas money on a game of "Clue".

The boys sat down tonight and learned how to play and then they played a game with Tim.

It was White, in the Living Room, with a Candlestick.

The Cooke family came over for brunch yesterday and had their Christmas.

Paul dressed up to entertain us with a clown show.
He got a Cranium book from Laura and Andrew and he loves it!

There was a page in it that showed him how to be a clown, so he got all dressed up and did a goofy act for us. Lucy was quite impressed!
Brendan got a Cranium Activity book as well and he took it to bed and started filling it out. The "Mad Libs" book was also a hit. They are favorites around here.

We gave Lucy her Nursery, so that she can practice her "Mommy Skills".
Laura and Andrew gave us a gift card to the Savage River Lodge. Boy, are we looking forward to our next trip up there!

Lucy got a very special pair of shoes...
Well, school starts back up tomorrow, so I had better go get ready for bed and say my prayers.
I need to ask for an extra boost of motivation, for all of us! We all feel like Christmas break just flew by.
I think I'm going to have to use a shoe horn to get everyone out of bed in the morning.
Oh well, they'll get back into it and soon we'll be on the upswing toward Summer!