Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It's the little things

We called the mechanic yesterday and found out that our car will be ready later today, it'll be nice to have it back home (though I will miss the cruise control, lol). I am thankful that we will have the money to pay them now.

I was watching the kids last night, a very regular occurrence when you only have heat in 1 room of the house, and it is so wonderful to see how much they have learned in the past few months. The middle 3 are becoming quite proficient with the computer and internet, thankfully they really only like to play the Nick Jr games. I was a bit apprehensive but my 3 yr old has learned so much from the games, matching, patterns, colors, counting, and the list just goes on and on, that I don't mind it as much. I do think we will be instituting a time limit though as I don't want them to get sucked into the computer.

My oldest came to me this weekend and told me that I was right about the video games being too violent, he really does not like what he is seeing and hearing at school from the other children who seem to play them a lot. I am glad that he has matured enough to look at these things and make up his own mind.

It has been cold, but having this time together as a family has been really warming and to be honest I don't know if I'm in a big hurry to get it fixed. NOT!! Seriously, a nice warm shower is still very welcome, lol. But I will miss the closeness as the house warms up and they are off playing elsewhere.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Pregnancy, Christmas et al

Well I went for my "big" ultrasound last week and cried as I left, the nurse told me nothing, didn't offer me a picture and couldn't tell the baby's gender. :( It had already started as a crappy day and that just made it worse. In general however, the pregnancy has been pretty quiet, nothing much to be excited about and we are very thankful for that. Please pray that things continue to be that way.

Christmas threatened to be a complete bust but was saved by heading to OKC to meet up with my family. I must say that I am really impressed with Embassy Suites, they have an awesome made to order omelet buffet along with just about everything else your heart could desire for breakfast, I highly recommend staying there if you ever get the chance. The heated pool and the open bar was nothing to sneeze at either :) The kids had a wonderful time and although dh had to leave to go milk and feed the animals, it was wonderful. On a side note, HG was sick all of Christmas day (I blame IHOP) but made a speedy recovery once we got home.

We changed the hose to connect the stove to the propane and there is still a leak, we are still trying to get someone out to the house but haven't had much luck. At least we know that it is the pipe and won't have to waste time trying something else.

On a financial side note, I am very thankful that our savings was able to make it to the end of the year. We will have just enough to pay the deductibles for the car and house. I will begin paying off medical bills as soon as everything finally settles down and we have a bit more to work with. I pray that that will be soon.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Quick update on us

Well, we are still without access to the propane in our tank as we were unable to get someone out. We will have to make alternative plans for tomorrow. We are still praising though as we know that things could be much worse. Thank you all for your continued prayers.

For those travelling, I wish you a safe trip and for everyone, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas. Don't forget to go to Church :) God Bless.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Gas leak

Well the stove is now installed. The flame is a beautiful clear blue. Imagine my surprise to wake up to the smell of propane permeating the kitchen. :( I got the kids dress and then dh arrived with the expedition so that they could be out of the cold, wind and rain. I then left for work as the very nice guy from the co-op arrived to check the place out. The verdict . . . the propane tank has now been red flagged and shut off until official clearance by a certified professional. :( Dh and the kids waited for the propane smell to dissipate so that they could go back inside, thankfully we had the little electric heater and nothing more serious happened as a result of the leak. Pray that this will not cost an arm and a leg to repair. Thanks

In the mean time I leave you with this song I was very amused by:

Monday, December 22, 2008

A wonderful Christmas surprise


A new friend from work offered to give my kids some stuff that her son, niece and nephew had out grown/no longer use or play with, I felt really blessed as I was heading to Goodwill this weekend to see if I could get the kids a few things anyway. All I can say is, Praise God. She mentioned that I might be there a while since they had just moved but I didn't realise it was because there was so much stuff. AR was blessed with a new wardrobe of clothes, EE and HG also got some clothes an shoes and I have and entire room filled with toys that will need to be wrapped. We are so very grateful for the wonderful blessings we have received this Christmas season. I am hoping to have the girls dresses made today so that I can get to finishing up the living room and start working on food prep for the big meal :) Thank you all for your prayers. Have a very Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Have you ever noticed . . .

Have you ever noticed that it is right when you try to stay focused on God and the good that He has done for you, that satan swoops in and stealthily tries to shift your focus? That was my day today. I was all happy and got to work and suddenly I found myself positively consumed by a crazy person and their issues. I'm done thanks, I'll be getting off this ride. So now I'm back to my praising. :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Praising!!!

My mom always says, "when things are going wrong, just start praising". I have decided that from this point forward that's what we'll be doing!!! So here is my list of praises from the last few days:
1. God's love and Grace is sufficient
2. Dh was not hurt in the accident
3. Our fireplace works
4. Our house suffered only cosmetic damage
5. Our dog Sammy survived
6. Our insurance agent is awesome and quick to respond
7. Dh's manager is understanding when he needs to call in for lack of sleep
8. All my samples have been submitted for approval
9. My sis and her hubby are always there for us
10. I have some great co-workers
11. We have food in our freezer
12. People are willing to help out in a pinch with great ideas
13. Our children are awesome and don't mind a smaller scale Christmas.
14. My mom had a great birthday yesterday :)
15. We both still have jobs in this tough economy


This is my opening list to kick this off, feel free to add your own praises to the list. :) God is good and He will provide.

And the hit's just keep on coming . . .

Last night we received a bill for $24K for HG's brief hospital visit, our insurance paid nothing. We called this morning and they (insurance CSR) said that they will resubmit the claim. Please pray that they will pay this and all the other bills that came in from that night. It's like a billing bandwagon, I have gotten so many from every possible medical payment processing between Kansas and Oklahoma. :( Thanks in advance.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

When it rains . . .

Well, I was hopeful for a better week but no such luck. Dh called this morning to let me know that I would have to pick him up and drop the kids to school as he had spun out, hit the curb and almost landed in the huge ditch at Wally World. As a result of his little incident the front wheel is now rubbing against . . . something or other and the back tire is now flat, joy! The maintenance guy helped him push it into a parking space. Thankfully I live in a small town and my insurance company is always on top of stuff, they got us a call back with the adjuster in minutes. We were really happy to know we have rental coverage, though the 1K deductible is gonna hurt :( I'm not sure how Merry this Christmas will be anymore :( I'm gonna talk to the kids about a smaller scale Christmas, after all it's not about presents, it's about being together and that we've got. Wish me luck!! Anyway, I've got to get some work done, I only just made it in and they watch every minute of my time now. :(

Monday, December 15, 2008

I want a do over!!

This weekend was . . . so many words come to mind, but dreadful probably sums it up best. The winds picked up early Saturday morning and took with it 1/3 of the siding on my house :( The pieces were left littered all through the yard. (The adjuster will be contacting us soon). In the midst of all the commotion we didn't realise that we had also lost power, i.e. no heat. Thank God for the fireplace, dh and AR went to gather fire wood (nicely littered through the yard thanks to the great winds).
Just after we got it all nice and started we wandered the living room looking at the work that lay ahead, we are re-painting the room. Imagine our surprise when we hear a knock at our door (front door no less). He was very soft spoken and you could tell he was broken up about the whole thing, he had run over our Sugar. He thought for sure he'd also hit Sammy but he was safe and sound in the yard when we looked out. The kids took it really hard, they were looking out the window before dh got back to tell us the news and they could see her laying on the road. :( They cried for a bit but our 3 yr old really took it the hardest, he kept crying and asking where his sugar was. Dh tried to cheer him up and took him with him to do his farm chores but that only worked to distract him for a little while. He is doing much better today.
Dh left to get money to pay the hay guy while the kids and I worked out breakfast. As I sat by the fire I called for AR to get my cell as he had said something about going to his friend's house for a project. As I turned it back on I got 2 messages asking me to call my hubby. I figured he was talking and hadn't made it home yet, turns out he got stuck in a ditch trying to find our hay guys house. I got the kids in the Expedition and headed over to find him, he then called the hay guy. When I got there I was expecting to have to pull him out, only to realise he had called so I could spend the time with him. I was not very happy at that point, I left to get gas as there was practically none in the vehicle. As I turned the corner I saw the hay guy heading his way, and just as my tank finished being filled he called to find out where I was. He met me at the gas station and we went home.
I decided to start painting the walls while dh took a nap. I have now figured out why the previous owners used such a busy pattern on the walls. We haven't yet figured out how someone can put in such a beautiful fireplace and have such a crappy job done on the walls. Every seam is visible :( But it had to be done, so we are working through it and taking suggestions.
By Sunday evening I had a migraine and went to bed, there was no salvaging the weekend and frankly I just wanted to sleep off my headache. I was hoping that this would not spill over to this week but when I woke up it was 6 degree with a wind chill of 16 below zero, oh and the kids forgot to get my leggings in the wash. On the upside, my deductible is lower than I thought it was so I'll get back to you. In the mean time, I hope you had a much better weekend and a great week.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Stove buying

I am having the hardest time buying a stove :( The space in my kitchen is made for a larger stove, fitting of a good old country kitchen or a large family kitchen :) The stoves at the store are for the smaller family and leave my space with tons of room to spare. The stove that came with the house was a standard and while the burners work the oven does not :( Since Christmas is the season for baking, that is a little bit of a problem. A stove {oven} must be found!! The delightful pawn shop in Medford buys stoves from restaurant closeout auctions, I called and was told that they may be getting one on Thursday. The problem is, I don't know if I should wait that long. What if it falls through :( My sis is skeptical about used stoves but there is no way a large family can afford a new 36" or larger stove. :( Well, I'll let you know how it turns out, right now I am still undecided. Thoughts?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Green Birthday

My girl loves the color green, so dh decided to make sure she got everything green. :) She is not a huge fan of sweets so while she was excited to have a green cake and green ice cream, imagine her surprise when dh successfully got the local pizza parlor to make her a green pizza. :) This is one of the true benefits of living in small town America, the owner was delighted to give this a try and worked on small batches throughout the day (even requiring his staff to test them out), in preparation for our pizza that afternoon. (Excuse the fuzzy camera phone pics)

Before Baking


After Baking


It was delicious and green all the way through, the kids really loved it. Next year we are supposed to get HG a pink pizza and AR is really interested in a black pizza. The pizza parlor on the other hand has a new promotion for football season and St Patty's day. :)

UPDATE:
Here is the wonderful Gingerbread House (graham cracker) that EE made at school for her siblings (no sweet tooth on that one). :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Jesus take the wheel . . .

This morning I woke up to a cold winter morning. There was no snow at the farm and dh called to let me know to be careful as the roads in Wichita sounded like they were getting pretty bad. There was so little coming down I thought nothing of it. That is until I crossed the county line and saw several cars turned around, it took a while to stop my car but it wasn't that bad (or so I thought). Finally I realised that it was just an accident and moved on past it at a slower speed. There was only 1 truck infront of me and he was doing about 20, thinking nothing of it I attempted to pass him. The minute I attempted to slow down to change lanes is when it all went wrong. Immediately the car was spinning out of control, at first I thought I was going to hit the truck but I didn't, then the fear mounted as I realised I was spinning to the edge of the embankment and at that moment I was certain the car would flip over and down the hill. My only thought at that moment was "Jesus take the wheel", I didn't know else I could do, and it was then the car stopped. I could hardly believe it. I was sitting across the highway now and I looked behind me to realise that there was no traffic coming. Slowly I turned the car around and drove 20 the whole way to the office. I finally unclenched my hands from the steering once I got to the light to turn onto my street.



Thank you Jesus for sparing my life and that of my unborn child this day. AMEN.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Respecting my time

Isn't it funny how a company can act as though they own you, just because you get a paycheck from them. Well last week I had planned out my work and at the last minute (isn't that always how it happens), on Thursday after 5pm, my boss piles on more work that has to be priority #1. I explained that it made no sense considering the other work I needed to do, but I was rebuffed. I opted not to go in this weekend as I had put in 2 12 hour days this week and frankly if I got sick they wouldn't care about how much time I spent only about the time I would not be in. My two days off were wonderfully relaxing and restful. I was amused to see on Sunday that they suddenly (management) realised that the work I had been going on about really did need to get done and they were emailing back and forth trying to see if I would be in on the weekend. NOPE!! The moral of the story is, if you respect the time of your employees then they will be far more willing to give you more of it. :) On a side note: Pray they don't decide to fire me once they get what they need. :(

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

So you're thinking about keeping a few pigs . . .


The very first thing I would recommend is to choose an area that has really good drainage of water, even a hilly location will work wonderfully. While pigs love mud, they can only stand to be in it for so long, then they need dry ground to sleep and be on. That is not an easy task considering that they have a knack for creating a mud pit wherever they are kept (penned). Obviously if your pigs have the good fortune of being able to free range this is not a problem.

Last night the kids were in the school play and we were late feeding the pigs, imagine our surprise when they greeted at our car, lol. Pigs are IMO smarter than dogs and about as daring as a toddler. They will attempt to get through any barrier you put in front of them and in some of the most surprising ways. While it is expected they will dig, it is always a surprise to see them lift gates or work together to lift the fence.

Luckily, since we have had these pigs for several months now they are used to us and associate us and even our voice with food. They come when called and tend to be very interested in everything around, clothing and shoes are great to taste. While they are fairly easy to keep it is very easy to loose them if you are not prepared. Most people only talk about how easy they are and forget that there is a basic knowledge that most new homesteaders will not have from day 1.

I wish you all the best of luck with your pig endeavor and even though we lost most of ours this year, we go into next year with new knowledge and an eagerness to get it right the next time. They have been very pleasant animals.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving and more

We were invited to a have Thanksgiving at a friend's house. Although I don't have a working oven, I didn't want to go empty handed. I began marinating 3 chickens and cooked up my mother's awesome stuffing (YUMMY!!), each bird was nicely stuffed and ready to go by 4:30. I also whipped up a macaroni pie to be baked upon arrival. The pie was ready within an hour but the chickens resisted my attempts to persuade them to cook quickly. It was hours later before they were ready, at which point we had all eaten and were enjoying wonderful conversation and lots pie :) Dh was asleep on the couch as he had to go to work for 10 (BOO!!!!) :( We all had a marvelous time and this may become our Thanksgiving tradition (less the uncooked food that is, lol) :)

We had dropped dh to work on Thursday night, so the children and I were up bright and early to pick him up on Friday morning. His wal-mart seems to clear out of all black Friday traffic within a short time, leaving the average non-crazed shopper time to go through the items left :) Dh was able to get 3 pairs of wranglers for $8 each and our youngest two got their winter jackets at the same price. Of the things left we got about 80% of the items we considered to be of interest, we were happy. We stopped off at the farm supply store and picked up a heavy duty hay ring at 25% off (YAY!!) and the pigs have finally got their feeder and a shorter water dish. Dh called the hay guy (former owner of our home 2 owners ago) and was able to get him out with a bale for the cows, which made them incredibly happy. :) Then we took a nice long, much needed nap :)

Saturday was a crazy morning trying to get everyone ready for the Vows Renewal Ceremony in Oklahoma, planned entirely by dh (Great job honey). It was wonderful, the Priest was the sweetest thing and we may start going to his 11am service, once we figure out exactly where it is, lol. (Picture to come soon). On the ride home we stopped off at a little pawn shop and bought a few items that we found interesting, it seems they buyout old restaurants and hotels. He is looking out for glass milk jugs for us :) We then stopped off at the only restaurant in town and found out why everyone eats at home, lol. Fr Mike told us that most wives cook in their little town so the husbands go home for lunch, I can't argue with that. :)

These 4 days flew by so quickly I was really sad by Sunday. I didn't want it to end though I knew it had to :( Tonight is the school play so we look forward to seeing AR and EE on stage :) How was your Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hmm, maybe I should take it down a notch

blog readability test

Movie Reviews



I saw this on a friend's blog and thought it would be neat to see the result, but now I wonder if I need to use simpler language to attract a larger audience, hmmm.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

AWOL

Some of you know that I am a tax software programmer by day, so to say the least I am swamped right now :( Weekends just roll into the regular week :( You'll be pleased to know though that I have not just sat back twiddling my thumbs :) I rocked the boat, took on the establishment . . . and now I know why most people don't bother :( Ok well that's my alloted time to breathe, I'm going to have to get back to the mine.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A date to remember :) w/ Review

Last night, thanks in very large part to the generosity of a friend and her family, dh and I went on our 2nd date (no kids) in 6 years, YAY!!!! I raced to her house from work to meet dh and we spent quite a bit of time getting lost trying to find the movie theatre, frustrating. (We also got lost trying to find our way back to their house, lol.) Once there we got a large popcorn and a pepsi to share and walked in just as the previews were ending :) There were actually other people there, we were surprised. We enjoyed the movie and were really glad we were not aware of the hype that surrounded the movie. It was not the greatest acting in the world, some stereotypical and others just flat, but overall it was really good. We spent a lot of time laughing and yes there are some parts where I was crying. The thing that struck me the most about this movie was the realistic view of the couple.

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SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER
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Hollywood has spent decades teaching us that love is easy and that a few nice gestures will produce the desired result with a failed love. Reality is that sometimes you can do everything you can to love someone and they will continue to be unreceptive. The main character in the movie discovered that some cheap flowers, candy and a nice dinner cannot erase years of hurt and pain. In fact it is not til the very end of the movie when she finds out that he has spent all the money, he had been saving for a boat, on her mother who suffered a stroke and needed new equipment, that she is able to fully let go of the past hurt and pain and truly forgive him. It's not that she is some kind of gold digger or that she was bought, she realised in that moment that he had truly changed and the things she had seen in him were real. The work involved in making those changes is hard and while it is not possible to really show an audience the ins and outs of it, they made an earnest effort and the audience can feel the frustration. I strongly recommend this movie for anyone who is married, or just thinking about marriage. I would urge all couples to give this 40 day challenge a shot and make it a way of life.

Cheers

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Irritation

Well, after a spectacular parent teacher conference 2 weeks ago, I was informed this morning (before coffee) that my down syndrome daughter is making no progress in any of her 3 teachers opinions (a complete about face from 2 weeks ago btw). Shocked and surprised I asked for their suggestion as they have effectively said she is not performing in a classroom setting nor with one on one instruction with a special ed teacher. Then I got it, all of a sudden I was hearing about a wonderful program at another school, and that the teacher had already been by to observe her and felt she could help her learn to read. They had successfully found a way to pawn her off on another school and maintain their precious high test scores :bravo: I decided to roll with this and after commenting on the fact that they were effectively conceding defeat to my child, I went to see the new school. I was really impressed by the teacher, she seems fitting of that title, unlike the women I had previously met with . . . seriously they should consider a new profession or maybe take the extra classes and move to the gifted program. Teaching is not just about helping the average or above average kids, it is supposed to be about helping all kids learn. If you give up the second a kid throws a tantrum, then you are ensuring that that will continue every time you say something they don't like. I think I might need to go get me one of them diploma's, apparently they don't teach them what they used to. The sad/funny thing is that this is probably thanks to the "No Child Left Behind" Act (ironic name), they have taken a great idea and destroyed it. The point was for ALL children, regardless of ability, to get a quality education without the system leaving them behind. It seemed harsh but bad teachers kept passing kids without regard to if they were actually learning and there was a serious problem. Holding teachers accountable is a great idea but how? Testing is probably not the greatest but it's what we've got, it's what we know. The mistake made is that the special ed kids are tested with the reg ed and so test scores became skewed, this created problems as no one wants the low score. The special ed system doesn't retain students it promotes them regardless of their ability and so causes a severe strain on the schools scores. I think, if we are going to use reg ed testing on special ed then the special ed student must be able to do that level of work to move on to the next grade. This will maintain a healthy balance and produce a truer score. Anyway, I'll be getting off my soapbox now. But let me just say this, shame on you teachers, special ed directors, administrators for forgetting the children and only looking at your numbers.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A long weekend



Well, let me start with the bad news first. Our dear sweet little Spice has gone to puppy heaven :( She managed to get out of the house and was hiding under the expedition, no one knew she was even out and it was upon dh's return home that she was discovered :( Her sister, Sugar, is still coming to terms with the loss and she, Sammy and the children are working through their grief together.

We had the pleasure of participating in one of the oldest scams (Thank you John Robert Powers) in the book. The radio advertised an audition for kids 4 - 17 this weekend and I took the kids down on Saturday to try out. Sure I don't own a tv but what does that have to do with anything! Anyway, my oldest got the callback but it was not an audition, as advertised, but instead a "school" for aspiring actors/models/singer/dancers. The classes ranged from $2000 - $6000, no payment plans available. At first I was bummed, I was still whirling in the glitter and glamour they promised, then I called my sis for that delightful dash of cynicism I know and love her for and I was better :) Hey, life's tough when you have beautiful kids, lol. Anyway, I called the screen actor's guild today to get a list of legitimate agencies in the area, maybe I'll send out some head shots or something when I have some of that free time people talk about :)

Lot has a really diverse palette, dh and I are really impressed. When he came home I was told he liked pears so we decided to start offering them pears, he was the only taker. The other evening dh left the pig food in the wheelbarrow and Lot discovered the grapes, turns out he really likes those too :) I am very interested to see where this leads, I'll let you know :)

I finally got pics of the new trailer (Read:I asked the previous owners for the pics)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Rejoice :)

I am pleased to say that the barter system is indeed alive and well :) Last night we traded the suburban for a 4X7 utility trailer. YAY!!! At first we were a little worried because we couldn't get the suburban started, the poor thing has been sitting for months since the transmission is going out and you can't get up over 40 mph. After charging for a bit it started right up. :) The couple that had come to look at it were very nice, a police officer and his wife looking for a winter project. Apparently he takes on quite a few projects every year. The men took the suburban out for a spin while the ladies stood around chatting. Turns out they have 5 kids too :) Eventually we saw the suburban and just as they pulled into the driveway it died, lol. We laughed so hard, it was excellent timing. He was in love and she was understandably worried about taking it home at that late hour. It occurred to dh that we needed to get the title, that was a very difficult exercise and I am so very thankful that we found it. Dh loves the new trailer and is already dreaming of all the uses he has for it, he'd been wanting/needing one for a while. Well, that's about it for this story, don't you just love a happy ending :) I better get back to work before they notice my happy energy :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Planning and pondering . . .

Well, it looks like our sweet jersey is in heat (AI has a lower success rate than a live bull ;) ) No matter we have the solution to that little problem already on the payroll, lol :) Though I must say that I don't think dh can deal with her moodiness in the mornings, in addition to her amorous admirer as he tries to join her in the stanchion as he cannot bare the thought of being without her (read: less than 1 foot away separated by the metal bar, lol).

After watching P.S. I Love You this weekend, I decided that we needed to stop waiting for our real lives to start to start living. With that in mind I asked dh to quit his job as it was obvious that things were going nowhere at wal-mart nor the other company (that didn't have the decency to call back). I know that sounds crazy but we talked it over and it has been decided that he will quit in time for spring planting. We will work to grow the food we need and stock up for the year.

We do not delude ourselves to believe this will be easy. We are committed to the fact that it will be very hard and there are deep cuts that will be needed to be made in order to succeed. The thing is we have to give this an honest shot or there's no point. Disclaimer: This plan is subject to change at any moment given that I'm pregnant and completely hormonal :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sorry for the silence - for my desk at work

Alright, I have been AWOL for the past few weeks as my busy season has gone into full swing, on top of which my computer at home is temporarily out of commission :(

So let's do a very quick recap:

HG (our middle child) found her self on the wrong end of an oak china cabinet :( The small spider monkey within must have finally taken hold because my sweet princess decided one fine afternoon (while I was on my way home from work) to climb up the old cabinet, left over from the previous owner, and in the process pullet it down on herself :( Fortunately, dh was in the bathroom (less than 10 feet away) and was there to push it off of her within seconds of the fall. Barefoot he scooped her up and got the children in the car as they raced off to the emergency room. The building was locked, he went to the little grocery and they directed him to the correct building. When I got to the hospital they were both covered in blood and she was very tired. Scared does not quite do justice to the feelings I had at that point. With the exception of her going for the x-ray I couldn't leave her side. They determined that nothing was broken but felt that she should be transferred to the bigger hospital in Wichita (an hour away), just to be on the safe side as they do not have a CT Scan machine. We agreed and waited patiently for the ambulance to arrive. The EMS worker noticed that she was not on a spine board while they knew that it was not needed, they didn't want to have to deal with the doctors at the other hospital throwing a fit. I looked on as dh went on ahead of us to pick up food and meet us at the hospital. My little princess was now in pain and I asked how long she would have to endure this, to which the response was: "until they clear her". I said NO!! That was just unacceptable. She was not in pain and they were causing her to be in pain, suddenly they realised that I was serious. They began working to make her more comfortable, imagine, they had that option the whole time. Anyway to make this short, she was fine though the doctors in Wichita couldn't believe it so they kept her for observation. They didn't release he until almost dinner time :( Once she had had a "good" night sleep she was up and about ready to go again. Praise God she escaped this entire ordeal with only a few bruises.
Pic from the hospital:

Pic yesterday:


We did luck out on that trip however as the child life department brought us a nice assortment of costumes for our dress up box. We are still collecting pieces now that Halloween (we don't celebrate) is over :) AR turned 11 in the midst of all this drama and had the pleasure of going to his first ice hockey game, he loved it!!

Lot is finally back home, YAY!!! We missed him, so did the girls. It was a bit of an adventure that can be read here

HG celebrated her 5th birthday this weekend and is in the midst of planning her 6th, lol :)

I found a new doctor and really love his office. For one thing instead of the usual ob office decor a la contraceptive manufacturer, this guy has awesome assortment of NFP posters and reasons to avoid contraceptives. I was really pleased to see an office that was willing to give families information about the effects of contraceptives on the marriage and their correlation with the ever rising divorce rate. *NOTE: we do not use NFP but do consider it the only option should it be truly necessary.

We watched P.S. I love you this weekend *Disclaimer: if you're a guy reading this, you may wish to avoid this movie, lol :) I cried for the whole movie, it was such a beautiful love story.

Not much else, dh had the pleasure of chasing after our cows who had escaped when the barn doors were blown up again :( It worked out alright though, Lot who had stayed with his new main chica Treva, wandered out behind dh and called the girls home - he probably figured that it was time to get some grain and didn't want that held up, lol :)

Well, I'll update again soon. Thanks for the comments and emails. :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Post # 200 :)

In light of this historic event I am going to attempt to regale you with stories of my youth :) Just kidding. Things have been moving along slowly but steadily and except for the excitement of hearing coyotes last night, there is little to report. The pregnancy exhaustion should hopefully be coming to an end in the next few weeks and that should help us get life back to normal. Lord knows my house needs it. The plumber should be coming out on Saturday to assemble and install the water softener (yes I know I bought that thing months and months ago). I am really excited to see what he can do, and get a feel for what other project we might get him to tackle.

For anyone in the Wichita and surrounding areas looking for a handy man his name is Joel and he is divorced dad looking to get on his feet by starting this handy man service business. I referred him to one of the supervisors at work after hearing his story on the radio and he got rave reviews after the job he did for him.

I am hoping to do an inexpensive bathroom addition in the baby room, which will double as a birthing area, can we say whirlpool, lol ;) But seriously, it would be an excellent addition as the master bedroom does not have a bathroom at this time and the baby room is behind my closet.

The project will not be a quick one however as today is the historic day we cut up all the plastic and move to a cash basis. I am hoping to barter my way to some of the things I need and save where I can for others. We are starting the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover approach and we will be working to be debt free. If you want to join this challenge leave a comment to give yourself that accountability. I will be adding a tab (hopefully this weekend) for the debt-free goals. We can do this :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The lesser of two evils

I was reading this thing and the guy nicely pointed out that the lesser of two evils is still evil. Funny how you never really think about that :( So this election (as with all elections) we must once again choose the lessor of the two evils presented to us. So I started looking at things the candidates had to say and more importantly to see what their priority would be when taking office.

I really wanted to give a full length clip but the one posted by the Obama Camp conveniently neglected to include the question and answer portion of this evening. I think it is important to really read the Freedom of Choice Act (so nicely named) to really understand what he just claimed as his first priority. Here is the shortened Wikipedia version . I'm still looking for McCain's priority, but I'm guessing what ever it is, it's not an attempt to get me to pay for abortions for all, nor forcing hospitals with religious affiliations to provide services that are in moral contradiction to their beliefs. It's funny how the "freedom of choice" winds up being the mandate of their views and policies on others who don't believe the same. (I know what you're thinking, how ironic). So here is my issue with abortion in a nutshell, the basic laws of science tell us that for every action there is an equal an opposite reaction. The Bible tells us that actions have consequences. (the two are the same principle by the way). Abortion is an attempt to destroy the consequences of ones actions while pretending that that very action produces no consequences of it's own. In Obama's speech (the long version) he claims that the big medical boards etc say that there is no evidence of psychological harm to women who choose to have abortions. Hmmm, I found that to be interesting so I went looking for more information and found this, I thought it fascinating that the APA has withdrawn this claim but Mr Obama seems to have missed that memo, or maybe it's that the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology refuse to stop making this false statement as it doesn't serve their interests. To be fair though, I knew they were not about serving my interests when I educated myself on home birthing.

So can we find common ground? Is there some way for me to look at the big picture that I'm being accused of not seeing? Let's see. I agree I want my daughters to have the same opportunities as my sons. Wait, that has nothing to do with abortion, hmmm. Or maybe what he means is that because the girls have the babies they are the ones stuck. A great point, so are we saying therefore that instead of holding our men accountable for the choices they participate in making we want to go ahead and murder the consequence of that choice because our daughters weren't strong enough to say no? Oops I'm sorry, I meant that they made the wrong choice, so basically, boy makes wrong choice (off the hook, no call for accountability), girl makes wrong choice (off the hook, free to try again + whatever psychological issues that accompany this choice), baby made no choice (murdered). I remember my mother used to say to me that 2 wrongs don't equal a right, I guess 3 wrongs must.

Have you noticed that the organization is called planned parenthood, but they don't assist with planning of a family, only destroying it? They offer no prenatal services, no child care programs for lower income, nothing by way of planning for life, only death. I decided to read their website and was impressed that they finally added things about pregnancy: Considering Pregnancy and Pre-pregnancy health. I decided then and there I was definitely not ready to have children (oh, right I already have some lol). Let me just say that that was the most depressing read on examining ones readiness for a child. Here is what they had to say concerning "thinking about parenting" How did abortion become an option for those thinking about parenting? I love the warning against crisis pregnancy centers, funny, since I have never heard of anyone getting counseled to keep a baby, be if to have it adopted or to raise, that has entered a planned parenthood establishment. I guess there is no where for a confused newly pregnant person to turn for good advice.

I know I know I digressed big time from Obama to planned parenthood, but since he seems to be in bed with them I figured you wouldn't mind :) If you did, come back tomorrow when I am no longer on my soap box. Now, on to the socialized medicine plan, there is not a single developed nation or developing for that matter that has been successful with socialized medicine. In fact in a real emergency, most attempt to come to the US for diagnosis and treatment. I'm not saying that nothing should be done, I'm just saying that won't work.

Also, how can you expect people to believe that taxes will be lowered when the public must bear the cost of the programs? The cost of healthcare and the additional costs associated with insurance having to cover elective abortions etc, how will that lower my tax bill again? Oh that's right, I forgot it is a complete socialist type system we're striving for "redistribution of wealth", I am part of the middle class and I have been part of the poor, and let me just say that I do not approve that message. There is nothing wrong with working hard to get the things that you need, want/desire. He talks about his grandmother and his mother and he does them no justice by using their life's work as an excuse to offer a handout paid on the backs of people like them who have made good lives for themselves.

So on to McCain, what is the deal with this guy, I mean seriously. When he was just that guy no one thought would win, I really started to like him. Then he became the obvious choice and I didn't appreciate his back peddling. I mean, he talks so much about being a Maverick and stuff and now he sounds more like a puppet. I want to yell, DUDE GROW A PAIR ALREADY!!! Sorry. What is it with elections that make leaders lose their soul. :( The truth is while I don't like John McCain, I don't have any specific issues with his policies or his stances on the issues. I just wish he didn't have to talk so much, or maybe it is that I wish he didn't have so many badly written speeches. He was fine on his own, a bit off color in his humor but I am ok with that imperfection (I figure it's part of the political incorrectness of age, lol).

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pitter Patter and little nippers

Dh saw an ad on craigslist for some free 3/4 border collie 1/4 red heeler puppies. He showed me the pics of the available puppies and I instantly loved the top two pictured. It turned out that it was early enough to call so he did, the guy was very nice and explained that he only had 2 left. Dh asked which two and wouldn't you know it, it was the two I wanted :) He was apprehensive about holding a puppy for 2 days since our respective schedules weren't able to match up for the next day but once dh explained that we wanted both he immediately agreed and removed the ad. The puppies were coming from a really tiny town east of burn,ks and the owner offered to bring them to burns to a little place called the soda pop hair shop. Dh was so amused by how small the town was, in fact the soda pop hair shop was closed that day as the owner had a cold.

Our only concern was Sammy, he has never really liked other dogs or animals for that matter. The moment dh got the puppies into Sammy's old cage, he was immediately sad. He wanted so badly to be in with them, lol. Once we got home it was as if they had always been together :) He is like the uncle that looks over them for now, but it won't be too long before they are much bigger than him. He is working quickly to establish his authority now, lol :)

The kids are in love with the puppies and would carry them around all day if we'd let them. They don't like sleeping in their cage at night and can be found snuggled next the AR or dh. They do sleep quite a bit still but that's understandable they are only 6 weeks old. They love the fresh milk. They seem to be trying to herd Sammy by nipping at this ears and heels. It is so funny to watch them all play, there are times it looks like they are being tickled.

Ah the pitter patter of little nippers :) Oh, we named them Sugar and Spice. The previous owners told dh that they had been calling one sugar so we decided to stick with it, especially since the other was a beautiful spice color. The black and white looks like the traditional border collie (freckles and all), the other which has 1 hazel eye and 1 blue eye, has a beautiful tan color instead of black, and is tan and white. Pics are coming, as soon as I figure out what the kids did to the camera.

We hope to train the puppies to herd the cows and bring them up from the pasture and move them, when we need to, from one pasture to another etc. Their genetics should help a little ;)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Knock your boots!

I tell the kids daily, "knock my boots out before you bring 'em to me". My dh would laugh and ask if it's to make sure something didn't eat my face (long story, I have issues I know). Anyway the point is, the kids humor me at this point and they all (even my baby) knock out the boots. Imagine dh's surprise this morning as he was half asleep getting ready to milk Treva when he found that there was a mouse in his boot, lol. Who's laughing now, lol!!!! So please remember that even if you don't live in the country it is a good practice to knock your boots before butting them on. :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pig Adventures: Part 10

I wish that this were happy news but I woke up to find that 6 more pigs had died last night. Dh was so frustrated. I stayed home today and we moved the remaining pigs to the barn as I had intended to do this weekend. I called the vet and he confirmed that they died of drowning. With all the rain there was no dry ground left for them to lay down, eventually they became tired of standing and drowned :( I wanted to cry, if I had known that all they needed was some dirt I would have set them loose, I was so worried about them getting sick from being out in the rain that it never even occurred to me. They didn't really bother with the pallets as it wasn't the ground. He checked out the pigs and they are all healthy, in fact they sound great. I am so thankful that we found a vet willing to come out to a little farm. He looked at our setup in the barn and recommended a different watering can than what we had but said there wasn't any hurry. He guesstimates the pigs are about halfway to their ideal butchering weight. I am saddened by this experience but I am thankful that dh is still interested in keeping pigs again. It's amazing the things you learn the hard way :(

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pig Adventures: Part 9

Another 2 pigs are gone :( I got home and it was still pouring rain, dh came in from milking and announced that they were gone, I am not quite sure what happened to the one in the middle of the pen but I expect it was a case of drowning in the mud :( That was definitely the case of the 2nd who was found nose down, butt up under the shelter. We put up the tarp around the back of the shelter to give an extended area with less wind/cold. We put in several wooden pallets to elevate them out of the water. So far they seem to approve, though I wish we would have been able to do a larger area. I have promised them that they will be moving to the barn this weekend, hopefully when the rain slows. Dh and I were freezing as we worked. I feel so sad for my piggies, this has been a definite lesson on what not to do :(

A visit to Carlos O'Kelley's


Well today I had had enough, I couldn't bare the thought of eating another sandwich, I needed food damnit!! I walked downstairs to the middle eastern cafeteria and they were not serving anything but sandwiches and salads, no real food!! I met up with GG and she suggested Carlos O'Kelley's, I had never been there and decided what the heck. I got there and was immediately discouraged by the menu options. I flipped to the back and there it was my saving grace, the Margarita Grilled Chicken :) The only thing on the menu that did not include a tortilla of some form and fashion. :)
Margarita Grilled Chicken
Two hand selected plump chicken breasts, grilled and glazed with our legendary margarita mix featuring Jose Cuervo Especial. The alcohol cooks away leaving only the flavor behind. Served on a bed of Mexican rice and crispy Southwestern croutons.

Anyway, while waiting on our order GG invited me to try the salsa and I wish I could say something positive about it, but I can't. It was a horrible, the tomato overpowered the mix and there was a very acidic flavor. There was little compliment for the cilantro and onion that should be involved. As for the atomic well let's just say, it is obvious that someone is unclear of the use of peppers when cooking. It is a misconception in this country that pepper is supposed to burn your mouth, it is supposed to be hot but is should compliment the flavors of the dish. If all that come through is the heat then you might be better off eating the pepper raw.

My order arrived and it looked interesting. I wasn't quite sure what to make of the yellow colored sauce. I cut into my piece of chicken and was a little afraid as it looked a tad undercooked (but I tend to like everything burnt). A little spanish rice and it was a perfect bite. I was very impressed, though I was not so impressed with the amount of rice and salad that was expected to accompany the 2 chicken breasts sitting on my plate. I was left with 1 lone chicken breast and nothing to eat it with, I took it back to work expecting that I would eventually get hungry again and I added a few of the chips to eat with it. The chips were stale less than an hour later :( Oh well, at least there is something that I can eat. The meal came to almost $11 and I only had a glass of water, so to say the least I will not be making this a weekly or monthly trip.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Journey to baby #6: Part 3

UGH!! I haven't been feeling very well lately though I haven't had horrible morning sickness. I have been a combination of exhausted and hungry. An odd combination to be sure, it seem like I am always hungry and if I don't submit to the demands of my stomach I will pay a hefty price. Frankly it seems ridiculous. Anyway I haven't been able to help dh with the milking lately and now my poor Treva has developed Mastitis in 1 quarter. :( Dh went to the coop and the guy sold him some penicillin g benzathine. Now dh has to inject this into my poor Treva (who is understandably not a happy camper right now) and add an extra milking to his routine :( All of the milk is discarded. I will be thankful when the 2nd trimester rolls around and I feel like less of a prisoner.

Friday, October 10, 2008

October is Respect Life month

"At the direction of the Most Reverend Bishop, this letter is to be read by the celebrant at all Masses of Obligation on Respect Life Weekend, Saturday, October 4, and Sunday, October 5, at the time of and instead of the homily. Moreover, a copy of the letter should be circulated with all parish bulletins on this same weekend.

A PASTORAL LETTER FROM BISHOP MARTINO

My brothers and sisters in Christ,

The American Catholic bishops initiated Respect Life Sunday in 1972, the year before the Supreme Court legalized abortion in the United States. Since that time, Catholics across the country observe the month of October with devotions and pro-life activities in order to advance the culture of life. This October, our efforts have more significance than ever. Never have we seen such abusive criticism directed toward those who believe that life begins at conception and ends at natural death. As Catholics, we should not be surprised by these developments. Forty years ago, Pope Paul VI predicted that widespread use of artificial contraceptives would lead to increased marital infidelity, lessened regard for women, and a general lowering of moral standards especially among the young. Forty years later, social scientists, not necessarily Catholics, attest to the accuracy of his predictions. As if following some bizarre script, the sexual revolution has produced widespread marital breakdown, weakened family ties, legalized abortion, sexually transmitted diseases, pornography, same-sex unions, euthanasia, destruction of human embryos for research purposes and a host of other ills.

It is impossible for me to answer all of the objections to the Church’s teaching on life that we hear every day in the media. Nevertheless, let me address a few. To begin, laws that protect abortion constitute injustice of the worst kind. They rest on several false claims including that there is no certainty regarding when life begins, that there is no certainty about when a fetus becomes a person, and that some human beings may be killed to advance the interests or convenience of others. With regard to the first, reason and science have answered the question. The life of a human being begins at conception. The Church has long taught this simple truth, and science confirms it. Biologists can now show you the delicate and beautiful development of the human embryo in its first days of existence. This is simply a fact that reasonable people accept. Regarding the second, the embryo and the fetus have the potential to do all that an adult person does. Finally, the claim that the human fetus may be sacrificed to the interests or convenience of his mother or someone else is grievously wrong. All three claims have the same result: the weakest and most vulnerable are denied, because of their age, the most basic protection that we demand for ourselves. This is discrimination at its worst, and no person of conscience should support it.

Another argument goes like this: “As wrong as abortion is, I don't think it is the only relevant ‘life’ issue that should be considered when deciding for whom to vote.” This reasoning is sound only if other issues carry the same moral weight as abortion does, such as in the case of euthanasia and destruction of embryos for research purposes. Health care, education, economic security, immigration, and taxes are very important concerns. Neglect of any one of them has dire consequences as the recent financial crisis demonstrates. However, the solutions to problems in these areas do not usually involve a rejection of the sanctity of human life in the way that abortion does. Being “right” on taxes, education, health care, immigration, and the economy fails to make up for the error of disregarding the value of a human life. Consider this: the finest health and education systems, the fairest immigration laws, and the soundest economy do nothing for the child who never sees the light of day. It is a tragic irony that “pro-choice” candidates have come to support homicide – the gravest injustice a society can tolerate – in the name of “social justice.”

Even the Church’s just war theory has moral force because it is grounded in the principle that innocent human life must be protected and defended. Now, a person may, in good faith, misapply just war criteria leading him to mistakenly believe that an unjust war is just, but he or she still knows that innocent human life may not be harmed on purpose. A person who supports permissive abortion laws, however, rejects the truth that innocent human life may never be destroyed. This profound moral failure runs deeper and is more corrupting of the individual, and of the society, than any error in applying just war criteria to particular cases. Furthermore, National Right to Life reports that 48.5 million abortions have been performed since 1973. One would be too many. No war, no natural disaster, no illness or disability has claimed so great a price.In saying these things in an election year, I am in very good company. My predecessor, Bishop Timlin, writing his pastoral letter on Respect Life Sunday 2000, stated the case eloquently:

Abortion is the issue this year and every year in every campaign. Catholics may not turn away from the moral challenge that abortion poses for those who seek to obey God’s commands. They are wrong when they assert that abortion does not concern them, or that it is only one of a multitude of issues of equal importance. No, the taking of innocent human life is so heinous, so horribly evil, and so absolutely opposite to the law of Almighty God that abortion must take precedence over every other issue. I repeat. It is the single most important issue confronting not only Catholics, but the entire electorate.

My fellow bishops, writing ten years ago, explained why some evils – abortion and euthanasia in particular – take precedence over other forms of violence and abuse.

The failure to protect life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the ‘rightness’ of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community. If we understand the human person as ‘the temple of the Holy Spirit’ – the living house of God – then these latter issues fall logically into place as the crossbeams and walls of that house. All direct attacks on innocent human life, such as abortion and euthanasia, strike at the house’s foundation [emphasis in the original]. These directly and immediately violate the human person’s most fundamental right – the right to life. Neglect of these issues is the equivalent of building our house on sand. (Living the Gospel of Life: A Challenge to American Catholics, 23.)

While the Church assists the State in the promotion of a just society, its primary concern is to assist men and women in achieving salvation. For this reason, it is incumbent upon bishops to correct Catholics who are in error regarding these matters. Furthermore, public officials who are Catholic and who persist in public support for abortion and other intrinsic evils should not partake in or be admitted to the sacrament of Holy Communion. As I have said before, I will be vigilant on this subject. It is the Church’s role now to be a prophet in our own country, reminding all citizens of what our founders meant when they said that “. . . all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” The Church’s teaching that all life from conception to natural death should be protected by law is founded on religious belief to be sure, but it is also a profoundly American principle founded on reason. Whenever a society asks its citizens to violate its own foundational principles – as well as their moral consciences – citizens have a right, indeed an obligation, to refuse.

In 1941, Bishop Gustave von Galen gave a homily condemning Nazi officials for murdering mentally ill people in his diocese of Muenster, Germany. The bishop said: “Thou shalt not kill!” God wrote this commandment in the conscience of man long before any penal code laid down the penalty for murder, long before there was any prosecutor or any court to investigate and avenge a murder. Cain, who killed his brother Abel, was a murderer long before there were any states or any courts or law. And he confessed his deed, driven by his accusing conscience: “My punishment is greater than I can bear. . . and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me the murderer shall slay me” (Genesis 4:13-14)”

Should he have opposed the war and remained silent about the murder of the mentally ill? No person of conscience can fail to understand why Bishop von Galen spoke as he did.

My dear friends, I beg you not to be misled by confusion and lies. Our Lord, Jesus Christ, does not ask us to follow him to Calvary only for us to be afraid of contradicting a few bystanders along the way. He does not ask us to take up his Cross only to have us leave it at the voting booth door. Recently, Pope Benedict XVI said that “God is so humble that he uses us to spread his Word.” The gospel of life, which we have the privilege of proclaiming, resonates in the heart of every person – believer and non-believer – because it fulfills the heart’s most profound desire. Let us with one voice continue to speak the language of love and affirm the right of every human being to have the value of his or her life, from conception to natural death, respected to the highest degree.

October is traditionally the month of the Rosary. Let us pray the Rosary for the strength and fortitude to uphold the truths of our faith and the requirements of our law to all who deny them. And, let us ask Our Lady to bless our nation and the weakest among us. May Mary, the mother of Jesus, the Lord of Life, pray for us.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Joseph F. Martino, D.D., Hist. E.D.

Bishop of Scranton

What's the Freedom of Choice Act?

Freedom of Choice Act (Introduced in Senate) Download pdf
S 1173 IS

110th CONGRESS
1st Session
S. 1173
To protect, consistent with Roe v. Wade, a woman's freedom to choose to bear a child or terminate a pregnancy, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
April 19, 2007
Mrs. BOXER (for herself, Mrs. MURRAY, Ms. STABENOW, Mr. BINGAMAN, Mr.
MENENDEZ, Mr. LAUTENBERG, Mr. CARDIN, Mr. SCHUMER, Mrs. CLINTON,
Mrs. FEINSTEIN, Ms. MIKULSKI, Mr. BAUCUS, and Ms. CANTWELL) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

A BILL
To protect, consistent with Roe v. Wade, a woman's freedom to choose to bear a child or terminate a pregnancy, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Freedom of Choice Act'.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress finds the following:
(1) The United States was founded on core principles, such as liberty, personal privacy, and equality, which ensure that individuals are free to make their most intimate decisions without governmental interference and discrimination.
(2) One of the most private and difficult decisions an individual makes is whether to begin, prevent, continue, or terminate a pregnancy. Those reproductive health decisions are best made by women, in consultation with their loved ones and health care providers.
(3) In 1965, in Griswold v. Connecticut (381 U.S. 479), and in 1973, in Roe v. Wade (410 U.S. 113) and Doe v. Bolton (410 U.S. 179), the Supreme Court recognized that the right to privacy protected by the Constitution encompasses the right of every woman to weigh the personal, moral, and religious considerations involved in deciding whether to begin, prevent, continue, or terminate a pregnancy.
(4) The Roe v. Wade decision carefully balances the rights of women to make important reproductive decisions with the State's interest in potential life. Under Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the right to privacy protects a woman's decision to choose to terminate her pregnancy prior to fetal viability, with the State permitted to ban abortion after fetal viability except when necessary to protect a woman's life or health.
(5) These decisions have protected the health and lives of women in the United States. Prior to the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, an estimated 1,200,000 women each year were forced to resort to illegal abortions, despite the risk of unsanitary conditions, incompetent treatment, infection, hemorrhage, disfiguration, and death. Before Roe, it is estimated that thousands of women died annually in the United States as a result of illegal abortions.
(6) In countries in which abortion remains illegal, the risk of maternal mortality is high. According to the World Health Organization, of the approximately 600,000 pregnancy-related deaths occurring annually around the world, 80,000 are associated with unsafe abortions.
(7) The Roe v. Wade decision also expanded the opportunities for women to participate equally in society. In 1992, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (505 U.S. 833), the Supreme Court observed that, `[t]he ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.'.
(8) Even though the Roe v. Wade decision has stood for more than 34 years, there are increasing threats to reproductive health and freedom emerging from all branches and levels of government. In 2006, South Dakota became the first State in more than 15 years to enact a ban on abortion in nearly all circumstances. Supporters of this ban have admitted it is an attempt to directly challenge Roe in the courts. Other States are considering similar bans.
(9) Further threatening Roe, the Supreme Court recently upheld the first-ever Federal ban on an abortion procedure, which has no exception to protect a woman's health. The majority decision in Gonzales v. Carhart (05-380, slip op. April 18, 2007) and Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood Federation of America fails to protect a woman's health, a core tenet of Roe v. Wade. Dissenting in that case, Justice Ginsburg called the majority's opinion `alarming', and stated that, `[f]or the first time since Roe, the Court blesses a prohibition with no exception safeguarding a woman's health'. Further, she said, the Federal ban `and the Court's defense of it cannot be understood as anything other than an effort to chip away at a right declared again and again by this Court'.
(10) Legal and practical barriers to the full range of reproductive services endanger women's health and lives. Incremental restrictions on the right to choose imposed by Congress and State legislatures have made access to reproductive care extremely difficult, if not impossible, for many women across the country. Currently, 87 percent of the counties in the United States have no abortion provider.
(11) While abortion should remain safe and legal, women should also have more meaningful access to family planning services that prevent unintended pregnancies, thereby reducing the need for abortion.
(12) To guarantee the protections of Roe v. Wade, Federal legislation is necessary.
(13) Although Congress may not create constitutional rights without amending the Constitution, Congress may, where authorized by its enumerated powers and not prohibited by the Constitution, enact legislation to create and secure statutory rights in areas of legitimate national concern.
(14) Congress has the affirmative power under section 8 of article I of the Constitution and section 5 of the 14th amendment to the Constitution to enact legislation to facilitate interstate commerce and to prevent State interference with interstate commerce, liberty, or equal protection of the laws.
(15) Federal protection of a woman's right to choose to prevent or terminate a pregnancy falls within this affirmative power of Congress, in part, because--
(A) many women cross State lines to obtain abortions and many more would be forced to do so absent a constitutional right or Federal protection;
(B) reproductive health clinics are commercial actors that regularly purchase medicine, medical equipment, and other necessary supplies from out-of-State suppliers; and
(C) reproductive health clinics employ doctors, nurses, and other personnel who travel across State lines in order to provide reproductive health services to patients.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.
In this Act:
(1) GOVERNMENT- The term `government' includes a branch, department, agency, instrumentality, or official (or other individual acting under color of law) of the United States, a State, or a subdivision of a State.
(2) STATE- The term `State' means each of the States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and each territory or possession of the United States.
(3) VIABILITY- The term `viability' means that stage of pregnancy when, in the best medical judgment of the attending physician based on the particular medical facts of the case before the physician, there is a reasonable likelihood of the sustained survival of the fetus outside of the woman.

SEC. 4. INTERFERENCE WITH REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH PROHIBITED.
(a) Statement of Policy- It is the policy of the United States that every woman has the fundamental right to choose to bear a child, to terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability, or to terminate a pregnancy after fetal viability when necessary to protect the life or health of the woman.
(b) Prohibition of Interference- A government may not--

(1) deny or interfere with a woman's right to choose--
(A) to bear a child;
(B) to terminate a pregnancy prior to viability; or
(C) to terminate a pregnancy after viability where termination is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman; or
(2) discriminate against the exercise of the rights set forth in paragraph (1) in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information.
(c) Civil Action- An individual aggrieved by a violation of this section may obtain appropriate relief (including relief against a government) in a civil action.

SEC. 5. SEVERABILITY.
If any provision of this Act, or the application of such provision to any person or circumstance, is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this Act, or the application of such provision to persons or circumstances other than those as to which the provision is held to be unconstitutional, shall not be affected thereby.

SEC. 6. RETROACTIVE EFFECT.
This Act applies to every Federal, State, and local statute, ordinance, regulation, administrative order, decision, policy, practice, or other action enacted, adopted, or implemented before, on, or after the date of enactment of this Act.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Random

We got the pigs out and have since cremated them and my only real lesson on this subject is, if you ever have to pull dead pigs out of mud, make sure you have some rope handy.

On a happier (a very relative term) note, dh discovered that it is not a good idea to be napping with a curious toddler around. Our little guy got a hold of some safety scissors and gave daddy a little "hair cut", lol. He now adamantly denies any knowledge of the incident, he will make an awesome spy. :)

Treva is a very happy milker now that she have figured out the pay for performance deal, she eagarl moos at us when it is time to be milked and even willingly goes into her stanchion and puts her head through the gate and waits, lol. :)

I am amazed how small the dexter cows look next to Treva. I know what you're thinking, but while I know they are a small breed, Jersey's aren't exactly a large breed. In fact jersey cows settle around the same weight range as a Dexter cow. I can see now why people thought we had calves or why people mistakedly call the Dexter's minitures.

We're considering dehorning all our animals. Having Treva around we found that we really do prefer no horns. I will probably only get polled animals if I buy more as I don't know how I will feel about this whole dehorning process. Not to mention it will make training our Dexter cows to stand in the stanchion a lot easier. As it is their horns are too wide to go straight through, and while they can turn their head, we'd prefer not to have that particular fight too.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pig Adventures: Part 8

Today was a very sad day in the pig raising world, we lost 2 of our beloved pigs to smothering :( It has been cold and wet these last few days and pigs huddle to stay warm, during their huddle at some point last night and today 2 of the smaller bottom pigs never woke up :( They were found covered in mud laying so peacefully. We'd wondered how they survive all the mud and the rain and in talking to the vet it seems that this kind of thing is not that uncommon.

Journey to baby #6: Part 2

I have been feeling so run down lately, someone said that it feels like we need 14 hours of sleep to be awake for 10 hours a day. I couldn't agree more. It seems so crazy, I would be fine and then so sleepy I could hardly keep my eyes open. Not a fun experience while driving to work. Anyway, yesterday was fruit day at work (the company carts in a ton of fruits for us) and I decided to get an orange since I haven't had one in a while and I really love the smell of oranges, it reminds me of my childhood. Anyway, I was feeling really sleepy until I started to eat the orange and by half way through I felt the difference. It was amazing. I don't think I have ever been so aware of being awake, but I certainly was at that point. I told dh and he picked some up for me last night. I am hoping that I was just needing a big vitamin C boost :) I am pleased to say that with the exception of last nights microwave dinner enchilada meal (never buying that again) I have remained free of the usual nausea. I am continuing to praise God for that :) Here's hoping for another normal pregnancy and safe delivery at home :)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Taking their act on the road

I was in the midst of a great nap when the children came screaming, the north wind had blown through the barn and pushing out the back doors:( The cows were happily exploring the east side of the property. Not that I blame them mind you, there is some awesome grass over there. There was no fear in their eyes as they ran off onto my neighbors field. At that point they must have forgot that I am the least tolerant person when it comes to wayward cows. I jumped into the expedition and began to round them up, I must have herded cattle in a previous life. There was a lot of dust kicked up (thank God it's been dry lately). They ran at full speed around the property, finally deciding that they were better off on the property they went through the trees, feasting on the grass. This went on for a while as they ran back out a few more times:( Finally Dh had gotten all but Christmas and Sweetiepie in and I ran them around a while longer, then just as I thought we were done and they were going to go in, I noticed that Marion and the others were slipping out the back once again :( Enraged I charged them head on and dh opened the back doors and we were able to run them in. Dh and I then fixed the back doors, securing then with more bricks.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Butter Pictorial

DISCLAIMER: PICTURES ARE NOT TAKEN BY A PROFESSIONAL! :)


Noticed the half filled jar :)

Put mixer on high

watch the cream grow

it is beginning to make some ribbons

the rich smooth whipped cream is forming


the whipped cream is starting to change

the yellow you are about to observe is not added :)













the butter milk is poured off and the butter washed. Once it washes clear then you can add any flavors you'd like.

Here is the buttermilk with butter flakes - it is light and nothing like what is found in the store.

this is to give an idea of how much buttermilk I get.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Butter

Ok so I was going to do this long tutorial of how I made butter last night but then I got tired and fell asleep. :) Sorry. Then I was going to do it over again today, but then I was tired and didn't get around to it. So it's on my list for tomorrow. In the mean time, I figured I'd just tell you about my butter story :)

Having looked at a bunch of butter churns I came to 1 conclusion, they are so expensive!! So I looked and thought and looked some more and since I have jars similar to the churn I began to really think about how to accomplish the same results.

Finally I decided to try using the electric hand mixer. The Cream was thick as I scooped* it off the top of the 2 day old milk. I returned it to the fridge so that the jar would also be cold. (Actually I went to milk the cow). When I returned the kids and I were eager to try this experiment. *NOTE: Jar should only be half filled with cream.

I put the mixer on high and watched as the cream thickened, I was excited. At the point it became solid I stopped the mixer, dh announced "you made whipped cream". I was bummed :( Since they were so excited by the whipped cream I had him get the vanilla and sugar and continued to mix them in, at that point I noticed that the whipped cream had denatured and instantly I recognised the fatty blogs, I got butter. YAY!!! Of course I was now bummed to realise that it was sweet vanilla butter but dh and the kids decided they liked it and so I felt better. We still had another jar of cream anyway and now I knew that butter is the point past whipped cream.

The cream we got off those 2 gallons of milk produced a pound of butter 1/2 sweet and 1/2 salted and let me just say that there is nothing better than home-made butter on toast. :) Tomorrow when I do the pictorial I may consider exploring the wonderful world of honey butter or maybe and herb butter :) I'm up for suggestions.

Interesting read - benefits of large families :)

no time to talk, but wanted to share this article with you:

Read Here

I welcome your thoughts on this subject.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Decisions, decisions

So dh spoke to the guy at the job we have been waiting on and the background check has not yet come back :( Very frustrating!!! To our surprise dh went to work last night and after more than a year of trying for a CSM position (which he has been qualified for since he started) the offered it to him! The position pays crappy, the hours are terrible and I would not be able to stay home. Our entire schedule would have to change. I don't think it is a viable option at this point.

On a completely other note, I am tired. Really tired lately, now I know what you're thinking but seriously I'm tired. I know I need more sleep but there never seems to be enough time in the day to get it all done and last night I went to bed really early and I am still exhausted. Dh is getting worried and I don't have any words of wisdom to offer. I am just thankful that the morning sickness thing seems to be at bay. Please keep me in your prayers as my long drive to work has become very difficult lately :( The drive home isn't bad, since I'm fully awake by then.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Milking Chronicles: Day 5

I know, I know, I skipped day 4. I didn't feel the need to subject you to day 4, but to quickly hit the highlights, the flies are back (especially in the evening) and that spells trouble when milking!! The fly in the milk disqualifies the whole batch and makes for very happy pigs.

Well since Lot left we allowed Treva to mingle with the other ladies. I should have known that Marian would try to corrupt my sweet girl. This morning she was out in the arena with the others, she had been returning to her corral even though the gates were open, and was not going willingly into the stanchion. To say the least I will not tolerate this kind of behavior and today she is back in her corral on temporary lock down. She has 2 corrals to wander and graze, and now she has time to think about the kind of cow she wishes to be. :)

On the upside, this morning it took dh and I 30 minutes to milk 2 gallons out. Since we only take 2 gallons in the house we milked the rest out into the bucket and the pigs got whatever was left. She is a great producer and I'm glad we are able to get her milked out daily. My hands are getting more used to it but they still hurt terribly. The new pump will be here soon so there is relief coming.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Our Service Animal :)


Well Lot just left to service the ladies at another homestead. We're all so proud of him for his efforts to provide quality service to others in need, lol :)

He has learned that stock trailers in the gateway are a sign that something is up, he has also figured out that you should not trust anyone trying to lure you into the gateway alone. (An important lesson even for children) We opened the gate and they were immediately excited, the ladies headed our way with no problem, dh, Dan and I worked them away from the entrance, which immediately told Lot that it was time to run. Luckily he is a cube whore and dh was able to lure him :) Once in the gateway he tried to run a few times until finally Dan and dh were able to get him in (I opted to "sit" on the sidelines and chat :))

My big boy is off to the service and we miss him already, thankfully he should be home in a month :)