Monday, August 31, 2009

A Blessed Day...

Just have to post the amazing news!

TWO families in our TORCH group were blest with new little ones today!

Mary Klopcic gave birth to Natalie Faith at the stroke of 10:00 a.m. This precious little one weighed in at 8 pounds 10.5 oz, and she is 19.5 inches long. Sounds like the whole family is thrilled to pieces. They just welcomed a new daughter, Andrea, a couple of weeks ago by adoption. This brings their beautiful, international family to a grand total of 12. Six boys and six girls. To get to know the Klopcics, go to Mary's Blog.

Leocea Mclanahan brought Elina Rose into the world at 4:36 pm. Elina is baby number five. Another sweet little blondie? What a blessing for all the kids to have each other. I can't wait to meet the new little bundle!

We are so blest to have so many wonderful families in our midst.

We pray for health, safety and much Grace for all our dear frinds.

First Day of School!

Today is the first day of our school year.
The boys have been working hard and I have been trying to figure out how I missed ordering a spelling book for John and a reading book for Paul.

Most of the books that I am using this year were already on the shelves. I thought I had all the Faith and Freedom readers through the 8th grade, but apparently I was mistaken.

This year John is tackling Saxon 87. We have everything on the materials list except a Scientific calculator. Hmmm.... this may be the year that I get the CDs that go with the lessons.

John is also going to be part of a Science co-op for labs this year. He will go to the home of a very generous mom, who has offered to share her Science time with John and one other boy. They will get together once a week. The book that they are using is a two year program, and I think John will get a lot out of it. I am hoping that working with the other boys will make it more fun.

Brendan and Paul will be doing an introduction to Chemistry, Biology and Physics this year. The program is called Real Science 4 Kids, and I think the two boys will easily be able to go through it together and there is a lab every week. That will be something we will do on Thursday, while John is doing his Science lab. Should work out just about right!

History for John is going to be rather complicated, but I think he will get a lot out of it. He will be going to a co-op on Monday afternoons, and working out of one type of text, and then the rest of the week he will do the book that I have chosen for this year, Catholic World Culture. The co-op will be exploring literature and other elements of world history, and I am hoping that it will merge well with what we do here.

Brendan is joining a First Lego League team. The kids will be planning, building and competing with, some lego creation having to do with transportation. Right up his alley.

Today is going well. It is a day for getting familiar with new books, ironing out the rough spots in the schedule and getting ourselves back into the routine of getting going in the morning, our daily chores, and sticking with the subjects, even with distractions. It's hard to be so pushy. We had such a relaxing summer, and it was NOT long enough.
Getting started this week though, will allow us to finish at the end of May, and that will make NEXT summer much longer! That's OK with me!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Little "King and I" Costume Preview

Today was costume fitting day for "The King and I".

It was a very smooth process. The costume ladies have been working very hard and the costumes look great!

Here are a few pictures...

Paul and the Hauf boys clowning around...

a couple of lovely royal wives... Celeste, that color is so pretty on you!

The wives in review...
Photos courtesy of Celeste Hauf!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Winding Down the Summer

We've had a nice time, over the last few days, with Laura, Lucy, Molly, Nina and Lilly visiting.

On Sunday, I met Laura and the girls in Whitemarsh and brought them home for a few days. We had such a nice time. Nina and Lilly were around and Lucy and Lilly had a lot of fun playing together. Nina has a cute new haircut!

Molly just had a lot of fun with whoever she could find to smile at. What a happy kid.

Today we went down to DC to pass the day.

Andrew is working in Arlington for a few days and Laura will stay down there until they all go home.

We went back to the National Gallery, and it was just awesome. This time we spent more time in the East building, which contains more modern and American art. We were disappointed that there were no MC Escher works on display, but we will go back sometime to see them because that was all Brendan wanted to see.
There were still so many really wonderful works there! I loved this huge cutout by Matisse, but I think that's because it looks like a fabulous quilt. The boys didn't care for it.

I also like the French painters.

We went over to the West building because there was a great exhibit called the Art of Power. You can read about it here. I wasn't able to take any pictures because it is a private collection, but it was absolutely amazing!

We enjoyed seeing all the really old icons and religious art as well.

I think my favorite was this one by Da Vinci though. Wow.

I want to go back by myself sometime, so that I can just sit and look and soak it up. The boys were AWESOME, but they only want to see so much and once they have seen it, they want to move on.

Monday, August 24, 2009

New Roman Missal

I was perusing the American Papist blog and I found this page at the website for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops: Third Edition, Roman Missal, from the committee on Divine Worship.

These are changes to the Roman Missal that will be implemented, over time, at Mass.
I just wanted to post it because I love the beauty of the language and the way it brings a clarity to the prayers. The words are so specific, and they have so much of the dignity and grace of the original Latin. There aren't that many changes, but the ones that have been made are inspired.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Home Again, Home Again...

I flew back from Seattle yesterday, after spending a week enjoying the company of Mom and Dad, in a less than enjoyable setting, for Mom especially. Boy, is that lady a trouper!
She is so determined and is doing so great!
She is on the way home in a day or two for sure.
Seattle was at her best...This is the view from Mom's window at Virginia Mason.

This is from the park next to the convention center.

While I was there, Mom had so much company from so many very special people.

My Brothers Dan, Mike, Chris and families were there off and on the whole time. Mike kept coming and going. Dan stayed over night, and we had a great visit.

Chris and the family came all the way back over, after he had been away all week for work.

Brooke, Josh, Rachel and Cathy came for a visit and we enjoyed watching videos of Rachel online.
Julie, Katie and Amanda were able to come over and brought Mom flowers and smiles. Wish I had gotten pictures!

Mom's brother, Mike, was up from Portland and visited, along with his son Matt and Matt's Fiance, Jen. She is a sweet girl and it was really nice catching up with Mike and Matt.

We went out and had a long lunch at the Cheesecake Factory...

The time in the hospital has been trying for Mom. I know she has had a lot of pain, and there has been uncertainty and concern. Having so many people, who care so much for Mom and Dad, around all week was so encouraging.

Yesterday was a long haul across the country. I was missing my guys SO much and they surprised me with roses, decorations, and a very clean house!
I am so glad that I went and I have some really nice memories of time with Mom and Dad, although it would have been nice if it had been under different circumstances...
Well the next visit will be at the farm and we can all go together!

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Latest...

Today is a beautiful day in Seattle! Glorious weather.

Mom is doing better and is making progress today.
She is looking very strong when she walks and gets up. Her color is good and she has been all over the floor.

The doctors came in this morning and made a few changes, left some things status quo.
The epidural pain meds are still in place and seem to be a good buffer, to keep the abdominal pain at bay.
There are plans for a couple of units of blood. Seems like there is a post-surgical anemia problem.
As far as eating goes, Mom has graduated to a clear liquid diet and they will see how all that sits.
Maybe some soft foods tomorrow, who knows?

The hospital floor that we are on is pretty busy. Lots of coming and going.
Mom is, of course, making lots of friends and everyone loves her. She is very open with everyone and prays for them.
I am really hoping that she is getting back to normal very soon!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Speaking of Healthcare

We are so glad that Mom is getting the best of care.
Let's not take that for granted...

You’ve Had a Good Innings
Ultimately, government health represents the nationalization of your body.

By Mark Steyn

Some years ago, when I was a slip of a lad, I found myself commiserating with a distinguished American songwriter about the death of one of his colleagues. My 23-year-old girlfriend found all the condolence talk a bit of a bummer and was anxious to cut to the chase and get outta there. “Well,” she said breezily. “He had a good innings. He was 85.”

“That’s easy for you to say,” he said. “I’m 84.”

That’s where Obamacare leads: You’re 84, and it’s easy for him to say. Easy for him to say what you need — or don’t need. Relax, he assured an audience of puffball-lobbing plants in Portsmouth, N.H. . . . By the way, when I mock “puffball-lobbing plants,” obviously all such events are stage-managed, but the trick is to make it not quite so obvious. When Nixon was campaigning in ’68, Roger Ailes used to let a couple of dirty no-good long-haired peaceniks into the room so his candidate could swat ‘em down: It ginned up the crowd, made for better TV, and got the candidate pumped. “Thought it went well tonight,” he’d say. “Really socked it to those hippies.” In essence, Ailes stage-managed it to look un-stage-managed. If those who oppose Obamacare are merely a bunch of “un-American” “evil-mongers” (according to, respectively, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid), the cause would benefit from allowing the president to really sock it to a couple of them once in a while. To retreat behind a wall of overly drooling sycophants does not help Obama at this stage in the game.

Anyway, there he was reassuring the crowd that provision for mandatory “end-of-life counseling” has “gotten spun into this idea of ‘death panels.’ I am not in favor of that.” Well, that’s good to know. So good that a grateful audience applauded the president’s pledge not to kill them. He has no plans, as he put it, to “pull the plug on Grandma.”

The problem with government health systems is not that they pull the plug on Grandma. It’s that Grandma has a hell of a time getting plugged in in the first place. The only way to “control costs” is to restrict access to treatment, and the easiest people to deny treatment to are the oldsters. Don’t worry, it’s all very scientific. In Britain, they use a “Quality-Adjusted Life Year” formula to decide that you don’t really need that new knee because you’re gonna die in a year or two, maybe a decade-and-a-half tops. So it’s in the national interest for you to go around hobbling in pain rather than divert “finite resources” away from productive members of society to a useless old geezer like you. And you’d be surprised how quickly geezerdom kicks in: A couple of years back, some Quebec facilities were attributing death from hospital-contracted infection of anyone over 55 to “old age.” Well, he had a good innings. He was 57.

This ought to be of particular concern to Americans. As is often pointed out, U.S. life expectancy (78.06 years) lags behind other developed nations with government health care (United Kingdom 78.7, Germany 78.95, Sweden 80.63). So proponents of Obamacare are all but offering an extra
full year of Euro-Canadian geriatric leisure as a signing bonus.

Life expectancy is a very crude indicator. Afghanistan has a life expectancy of 43. Does this mean the geriatric wards of Kandahar are full of Pashtun Jennifer Lopezes and Julia Robertses? No. What it means is that, if you manage to survive the countrys appalling infant mortality rates, you have a sporting chance of eking out your three-score-and-ten. To say that people in Afghanistan can expect to live till 43 is a bit like saying the couple at No. 6 Elm Street are straight and the couple at No. 8 are gay so the entire street is bisexual.

Which brings us to the United States and its allegedly worst health system in the developed world. Here
s the reality: The longer you live in America, the longer you live. If youre one of those impressionable Meet the Press viewers who heard Mayor Bloomberg bemoaning U.S. life expectancy and youre thinking, Hey, Im 77. Just about at the end, America-wise. Maybe its time to move up north or over to Europe, and get a couple of bonus years, dont do it! If youre old enough to be a Meet the Press viewer, your life expectancy is already way up there.

America is the Afghanistan of the western world: That’s to say, it has a slightly higher infant mortality rate than other developed nations (there are reasons for that which I’ll discuss in an upcoming column). That figure depresses our overall “life expectancy at birth.” But, if you can make it out of diapers, you’ll live longer than you would pretty much anywhere else. By age 40, Americans’ life expectancy has caught up with Britons’. By 60, it equals Germany’s. At the age of 80, Americans have greater life expectancy than Swedes.

How can this be? Well, amazingly, millions of freeborn citizens
exercising their own judgment as to which of the latest drugs, tests, and procedures suits their own best interests has given Americans a longer, better, more fulfilling old age to the point where there are entire states designed to cater to it. (There is no Belgian or Scottish Florida.) I had an elderly British visitor this month who’s had a recurring problem with her left hand. At one point it swelled up alarmingly and so we took her to the emergency room. They did a CT scan, X-rays, blood samples, the works. In two hours at a small, rural, undistinguished, no-frills hospital in northern New Hampshire, this lady got more tests than she’s had in the last decade in Britain — even though she goes to see her doctor once a month. He listens sympathetically, tells her old age often involves adjusting to the loss of mobility, and then advises her to take the British version of Tylenol and rest up. Anything else would use up those valuable resources. So, in two hours in New Hampshire, she got tested and diagnosed (with gout) and prescribed something to deal with it. It’s the difference between health “care” (i.e., going to the doctor’s every month to no purpose) and health treatment — and on the latter America is the best in the world.

President Obama has wondered whether this is a “sustainable model.” But from your point of view, what counts is not whether the model’s sustainable but whether you are. I am certainly in favor of reform. I would support a Singapore-style system of personal health accounts — and Singapore, for Mayor Bloomberg’s benefit, has the third-highest life expectancy in the world. But, under any government system that interjects a bureaucracy between you and your health, the elderly and not-so-elderly get denied treatment. And there’s nothing you can do about it because, ultimately, government health represents the nationalization of your body. You’re 84, 72, 63, 58, you’ve had a good innings. It’s easy for him to say. And even easier for his army of bureaucrats.

Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is author of America Alone. © 2009 Mark Steyn

Thursday, August 13, 2009

And the Doctor Said...

Looks like Mom is going to be eating again soon!

The fear before the surgery was that the blockage was caused by cancer and that there could be some danger in doing the surgery at all because of the risk of spreading cancer.
Well, they went in and found that the blockage was being caused by scar tissue. A very large, very old ball of scar tissue. It is not near the tumor and so, having dealt with that, the plan is to get Mom up and walking, eating and functioning well, and get her home. After she is stronger and able to tolerate it she will be able to get back to the chemo.

I am hoping to be able to go home with mom and dad. I have to leave on Wednesday and if she can go home on Sunday then I can go and help her get settled at home. I just want to see her face when she gets out of the car and gets to breathe the fresh air and go to sleep in her own bed.
I think that Mom had thought a few times that maybe that wasn't going to happen.

So today was a very good day. God has Blessed us, as He has so many times.
We are grateful indeed.
MOM says "Hello, to all of you out there everywhere. There are so many of you that we want to thank for your prayers and your love, WE LOVE YOU!!! We think of you each day, and hope everyone is doing well. Thanks so much for the cards and wonderful words of encouragement and love"

The whole family appreciates so much all the love and the closeness that we feel coming from so many places and homes.

We are all sitting in Mom's room and she is just getting ready to go down to surgery. We are so hopeful that this will do the trick.

She was able to have Confession, Communion and Anointing by a wonderful priest this morning. We have been praying and talking and enjoying each other's company. It has been a good morning. I will have an update on the Surgery this afternoon.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It's Raining...

Yep, I'm in Seattle!
After a long day of travel and running from plane to plane, I finally landed here at Sea-Tac and got a shuttle to a Quality Inn. I was so tired I could have slept anywhere, but thanks to this place, I didn't have to.
It was an even longer day for Mom yesterday. She had to undergo an Endoscopy, with the hope that it would enable them to place a stent to bypass the blockage. Apparently this was unsuccessful and they were unable to get through.
The next option is going to have to be surgery and they have been trying to avoid that. Hopefully the docs will be able to shed some light on the schedule and what the plan is.
I will update further as I know more.
Mom sounds great and so does dad. Both of them are very upbeat. I am so glad to hear that!
I am heading over to the hospital in a bit and if they have wireless I will update from there and take a few pictures of the area.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Heading Out West...

We had a wonderful weekend up at Andrew and Laura's. We celebrated Andrew's birthday and his brand new MBA! It was awesome, the weather, the family time and the boys having a chance to ride their bikes, fish and relax.

It was a good family weekend and now I am preparing to head out to Seattle to have time with Mom and Dad.
I am sure that it will be awesome to be together, I just wish we could all go, but with Mom in the hospital, and the short notice, this wasn't the time.
We are hoping that all of the interventions that the doctors are coming up with, will be enough to set Mom on the right path and get her home! I will be able to help out with getting her home and settled.

I will blog from out there.

Friday, August 7, 2009

He is a Voice...

This young man is a living, breathing testament to what it means to choose life! What a voice he is!
His joy and gratitude for LIFE speak volumes....

H/T to Suzanne at Culture of Life vs. Death

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Something's Fishy Here...

OK, now really. I have not been all that critical of Obamacare on this blog. A snide comment here and there, a bit of humor, oh and I did post that chart of the Democrats health plan. Hmmm...yep that could have been it.

I guess I am actually one of the fishy ones, as defined by the White House:

Facts Are Stubborn Things
Posted by Macon Phillips
August 4, 2009

Opponents of health insurance reform may find the truth a little inconvenient, but as our second president famously said, "facts are stubborn things."

Scary chain emails and videos are starting to percolate on the internet, breathlessly claiming, for example, to "uncover" the truth about the President's health insurance reform positions.

There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can't keep track of all of them here at the White House, we're asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to

Yes, I have been guilty of some "fishy" blogging, and I guess the repercussions have begun.
The boys and Tim found this on the lawn tonight...

No, a dead Catfish on the lawn isn't a severed horse head in your bed, but it is seriously strange, right?

The Feast of the Transfiguration...

Mark 9: 2 - 10
2 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves; and he was transfigured before them,
3 and his garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
4 And there appeared to them Eli'jah with Moses; and they were talking to Jesus.
5 And Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Eli'jah."
6 For he did not know what to say, for they were exceedingly afraid.
7 And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, "This is my beloved Son; listen to him."
8 And suddenly looking around they no longer saw any one with them but Jesus only.
9 And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of man should have risen from the dead.
10 So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what the rising from the dead meant.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Better and Better

Well, it looks like God has answered our prayers, yet again.
Mom is doing great today.
She is back on the nutrition through her port and the blockage appears to be breaking up!
I talked to her for a few minutes this morning and it was just so good to hear her voice.

The doctors are going to monitor the situation for a few days and give her a chance to gather her strength.

I don't know when the chemo will start again, but it is looking good for that too!

All the blood work looked great after last week's treatment, so the chemo is a go.

The blockage is a bump in the road.

Thanks Jesus, for taking such good care of our wonderful MOM!!!

One of the Best Movies Ever Made!

Here is a clip from "The Mouse That Roared" .
The genius of Peter Sellers, alive and well.
This is one of the cleverest, and telling, parts of the film.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Prayers for Mom...

Scary day for mom and all of us that love her.

She has something going very wrong somewhere and she and Dad had to make the drive to Seattle to try to figure out what it is.

It is so hard waiting for information and being so far away. I want to just get on a plane and go out there, but with this kind of thing, I can't act without more information. Mom could go home tomorrow, keep working on keeping her weight up and have another round of chemo on Wednesday.
Or, well who knows. I hate to get into negative thinking without a good reason. Mom is so positive and she is fighting so hard. It's just that something is definitely making her very sick and the doctor is pretty sure it's not just the treatments. But maybe this kind of thing is common. Maybe it is a hurdle and a challenge and part of what happens. It is so darn hard to know what to do. My heart is there. I just have to decide when the rest of me will follow.

No, I don't have to decide. I have to listen to God's voice and go when He tells me. I know He will let me know. He always does.
If things go according to plan, I would like to take the boys back in December because I think that is when Mom is supposed to have a break in the chemo routine.
We will move it up if Mom wants me to go back earlier. I can take school and the kids can do it there, the only problem is having three active boys around the house. They are very good kids, but if someone gets sick, as we usually do when we fly back, it might not go well for Mom. She isn't supposed to be exposed to viruses and such.

The main thing now is to get her strength back and get this problem under control.

Any prayers are so very much appreciated!