Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Hubby Refreshed

Mr. Clean attended a men's retreat with our church this weekend so the kidlets and I decided somewhat last minute to take the journey to my mom's house. Due to the hinky (that is a technical term) weather we were expecting on Friday we decided to leave Thursday night and spent a great weekend at my mother and stepfather's house introducing them to Iggy.

We got home today about an hour before Mr. Clean and were able to excitedly greet him as he came home. It was wonderful to see him recharged in his mission as the leader of our little clan and refreshed due to time spent in the Word and with other godly men.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pray For Mr. Clean

It has been a tough week for Mr. Clean at work. He is a long time employee of a national/international company and has worked his way up the corporate ladder pretty much right out of college. During this time he has seen many changes and survived a couple major corporate upheavals. After the latest he was the only original employee left in his division.

Throughout the last 11 years during his "climb" he has had amazing managers who he really liked a lot and who were always pleased with his work and work ethic. All of whom have left the company.

Now he has a new one who is quite stressful and presumably under quite a bit of stress himself. There is only one level of management between this gentleman and Mr. Clean so there is a small buffer, but he does have to work closely with this manager.

Mr. Clean is a Project Manager and therefore in the field quite a bit working with sub-contractors and the like. The other gentleman is a numbers guy. He does not go into the field, he manages from high up the ladder and has to rely on Mr. Clean and others to help him project cost, completion dates, etc. Except he does not always listen to the advice of his field teams and decides on his own on which date a job should be completed. As you can imagine this causes stress for all the parties involved.

Mr. Clean had always thought he wanted to retire with this company, back in the day when it was still the original entity. He could easily see clocking 40 years with this company. Now he is not so sure, but having a job with a large company such as this one in this economic era is a good plan. There is plenty of work right now for a nationally based firm.

And while we have a lot of friends in the area we love and a church family we adore, we have never really been tied to this neck of the woods. We both can imagine ourselves packing up and moving out almost anywhere, as this part of PA has no family ties or childhood memories. Until now. Leaving here would mean leaving

So pray for Mr. Clean and this manager. Mr. Clean has been praying for him and understands that this man's job is probably 100% more stressful than his own. Pray that this week that has left Mr. Clean pretty downtrodden would either perk up or be a big opportunity for growth in his walk and obedience to the Lord.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Schools Pull Children's Book About Same-Sex Penguin Couple

Reason 8,952 I homeschool. Why does this have to be an issue in elementary school?

By Lawrence Jones
Christian Post Reporter
Tue, Feb. 19 2008 02:26 PM ET

A children's book about two male penguins that hatched a chick together was pulled from school library shelves earlier this month in Loudoun County, Va., for its pro-gay message.

The 2005 award-winning book, "And Tango Makes Three," draws on the real-life story of Roy and Silo, two chinstrap penguins at the Central Park Zoo in New York. The book, recommended by Simon & Schuster for children ages 4-8, says the two penguins sleep together and attempt to make a nest like other boy and girl penguin couples. At one point, an observer in the book says that the two "must be in love." Roy and Silo then name their chick "Tango" because it takes two to tango.

An unnamed parent at Loudoun's Sugarland Elementary School objected to the book several months ago and said it promoted a gay agenda, according to officials.

Following the complaint, the school principal and a district review committee comprised of principals, librarians and teachers convened to review the book. The group did not find the book inappropriate. A similar opinion was reached by a second committee that examined the book after the parent appealed the first review.

The final decision came from Superintendent Edgar Hatrick, who overruled them. He removed the 32-page book from the shelves of 16 elementary schools in Loudon County and placed it in the professional collection at each school library. Students can still access the book through the request by a parent or teacher.

According to officials, "Tango" is still in the general collection at one middle school and two high schools in the county, reported The Washington Post.

Wayde Bayard, spokesman for Loudoun County Schools, told Fox 5 News in Washington, D.C., that Hatrick thought the book's content might not be developmentally appropriate for some students.

"It might just explore some mature themes that younger children may not particularly understand," said Bayard.

He said it was "fine" that children were exposed to such themes but advised that a parent, adult, or teacher be with the children as they read the book.

Gay rights advocates have criticized the book's removal as censorship and rejects claims that the book is gay propaganda.

But according to Peter Parnell, co-author of the book, presenting the issue of same-sex couples to children was the aim of the book.

In a past interview with U.S. News, Parnell said he "wanted to write a book that treated the subject of same-sex couples that kids will adore."

"Tango is so cuddly. We're hoping kids will love it and beg their parents to read it again and again, since children are bumping into children from these same-sex families at school and at birthday parties. This [book] makes it comfortable for parents to talk about these families," he said in 2005.

The incident with Loudon County was not the first time the book has been protested by parents.

In November 2006, parents of students of an elementary school in Shiloh, Ill., requested that the book be placed in a restricted section of the library and for the school to require students to get parental permission prior to checking the book out. They were turned down by the school superintendent. Other complaints had also surfaced in North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois, according to the Boston Globe.

John Stevens, a school board member from Potomac, recently criticized Loudon Schools in his blog for not having policies that allow parents and gay rights activists to appeal Hatrick's decision.

He intends to propose a new set of policies at a committee meeting on March 4.

Although the book strives to highlight a somewhat success story of a non-traditional family, the two penguins at the center of the controversy have already split.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Just One of Those Days

Every homeschooling mother has those days when she waits anxiously by the door for the school bus so that she may pounce the driver and convince them to take her children on said bus. This was not supposed to be one of those days. I was determined that it was going to go swimmingly. It was even 65 degrees here this morning and we were going to go on a nature walk.

Then the boy caught a small attitude that spiraled out of control. By the time he was back in control I had no interest whatsoever in even acknowledging that I had given birth to him, nonetheless educate him. So I didn't. Xena and C'sa had school while K.Z. moped in his room. He has to deal with Daddy when he gets home and will have to do school tonight while I do something fun with the girls.

The ironic part? The bus isn't even coming today, it's a federal holiday...

Sunday, February 17, 2008


The more I learn, the more I want to seal myself up into a bubble. Or stick my head in the sand so I do not learn anything else. I decided early on that I was not going to be one of those moms who freaked out about every possible germ, but this is just... icky.

Friday, February 15, 2008

This Is Worth Every Sleepless Night

Of course it was not me that Iggy was smiling at, but a stuffed lion on the bouncy seat. No matter, I will take it either way! Earlier in the day he flashed those shiny gums at C'sa as she was talking to him. He is steadily perfecting the art of wrapping himself around our fingers.

It Was Not In "Vein"

I told you how I was officially a blood donor reject the other day when I was turned away for low iron. It was not for "naught" however!

Apparently there was a raffle for all of those who turned out to donate and I was the winner. So I get to keep my reject blood and eat $50.00 worth of food at our local swanky country club!

Maybe that is where I can get my fat juicy steak and raise my iron levels.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

You MUST see this.

This young man proposed to his girlfriend in a way that could never be matched for its beauty, elegance and prayer.

Head to
this website and click on "the proposal" after reading the description of the day from the photographer who captured it all below...

"At the end of April (2007) I had the privilege to shoot the engagement of Robert Gray, Jr. and Keisha Williams.

Robert and Keisha met four years ago at a surprise birthday party for a mutual friend. Two months later Keisha received anonymous flowers with a subtle message attached. It was an additional month before Robert revealed himself as her secret admirer. Robert is a native of Atlanta and Keisha hails from LaGrange, GA.

This past February Robert contacted me to talk about his engagement plans. We met at a Starbucks in Southwest Atlanta. The meeting lasted nearly an hour because Robert was so excited to tell me all about what he had been planning for a year. The surprise engagement was to take place at the Ritz Carlton in Buckhead, Georgia. He even had a name for the the proposal ‘Remember the Ritz’ and an email address!!

Robert had arranged for 10 rooms (on different floors) at the hotel to be reserved. The rooms were to be filled with family and friends reading scriptures, roses that had been laced with gold, and unlimited candles!

On the day of the engagement, I started shooting at 4 PM and ended at 12 AM (8 hours!). There is so much more to explain but I wouldn’t do much justice. My suggestion - pop a bag of popcorn, pull out a box of tissues, and find a comfortable seat. This will be the most elaborate proposal you have ever seen."

The man was serious! "To save money for a proposal that required ten hotel rooms, 400 roses flown in from South Africa, dozens of candles and a personal photographer, Gray rented out his home for a year and moved in with his sister. When asked why he went to such lengths to propose, Robert said, "It was truly a vision from God."

HT to Ivent for this story!

A Proud Momma Moment

I just have to brag. I know it is not polite, but I have to brag anyway, because I am so very proud of my boy.

Last night we had a minor sump pump emergency that could have been bad. Our pump died in the middle of heavy flooding in the area and we have had a flood in the basement before. It had been working hard all day and we needed it to continue, but it died. So the sump pit in our basement started to quickly fill on the brink of flooding over.

Mr. Clean had to race to the store and get a new one while I used a temporary measure to keep the water level in the pit lower than my basement floor. But it needed my absolute attention.
At the time I had the girls in the tub and Iggy was just about due to wake up and eat, and you can set your watch by that baby's tummy. I could not do much for either situation. So I pulled the girls out of the tub while Mr. Clean paced by watched the pit, dried them off quickly and instructed them that they were on their own to get on pajamas.

I raced back to the kitchen to make a bottle for Iggy when my boy, my perfect, wonderful, almost eight year old boy offered to get Iggy and feed him for me. K.Z. has never done this without one of us there to supervise, but my sump pit was ready to runneth over if Mr. Clean did not get to the store to replace the pump, stat, so I agreed that he could. My little man was ready to take on a job that most adults shy away from.

K.Z. expertly fetched, carried, fed and burped Iggy one floor away while I stood guard at the sump pit. Then he played with him to keep the baby happy so I would not be stressed over my lack of being in twelve places at one time. If I were any prouder I think my heart would have burst. I just had to share.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

He Smiled At Me!

This newborn motherhood gig is tiring. I know that this is nothing new to many of you, but because it has been 4 years since C'sa was a newborn, I tend to forget some of the little things. And lack of sleep can make you paranoid.

I decided in a paranoid state that Iggy probably does not like me. Sure he is content and a generally quiet and good baby, but half the time he has an expression much like Archie Bunker (and if you do not know who he is... shame on you, I actually cried when Carroll O'Connor died). Hence, he hates me. Despite all my kisses and late night feedings.

Mr. Clean being the rational one tried to gently remind me that he was sure that all of our biological children had the same Bunker-like expressions on their faces as 1 month olds as well. I was not so convinced, but then again, I had life giving milk being produced by my body so my kids had to pretend to like me or they would starve.

Tonight however, Iggy and I were in the guest room/his room and I had swaddled him for bed while chatting to him. I decided to sit and rock with him for a while to get him a bit sleepier before plopping him in his bed. Wide eyed and while staring me square in the eyes he smiled. Not one of those deceiving "gas bubble" smiles, but an ear to ear, gummy masterpiece. Even his eyes twinkled. And then he did it again. I was in heaven.

Once I went to put him to bed he started to cry and called me "Meathead", but I was too over the moon to care.

You Know You Need To Clean When...

I have really been eye balling Your Price is Far Above Rubies, a study by Delwyn McAlister for a while now. I know women who have gone through it and really liked it and I wanted to get it.

Apparently, I have wanted it longer than I even realize. As I was cleaning out the guest room dresser for Iggy's clothes, I found it. Brand new and unused.

I have got to simplify and organize this house.

Can You Tell Me How to Get, How to Get, to Sesame Street?

Volumes 1 and 2 of my beloved childhood television show, Sesame Street is now available on DVD. Granted, there was not anything else on back in the day (mid - 70's) except a healthy dose of Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood that I was allowed to watch. Unless you count my mother's addiction to M*A*S*H. So needless to say I am kind of excited to watch it and let my kids see what life was like for Momma before digital animation and i pods. Yet there is a hiccup in my plan.

Volumes 1 ('69-'74) and 2 ('74-'79), “
Sesame Street: Old School” is adults-only: “These early ‘Sesame Street’ episodes are intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today’s preschool child”, according to the "warning label".

Could it be that Gordon and Maria had a torrid affair? Mr. Hooper was really part of an underground Jewish mafia selling weapons in the back of the store? Ernie was planning an evil plot with Super Grover to take over the world? Nope. Imagine this sheer horror. Mr. Snuffleupagus was initially the
invisible friend of Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch was actually a grouch and Cookie Monster... well he ate cookies. Not the "PC correct" veggies you can see him munching on these days.

These are really some of the reasons that they do not think the old school shows we all grew up on are no longer appropriate.
Granted, I would rather have my kids munch on carrots vs. cookies and not take social cues from Oscar, but come on... it is just a show. My generation survived the evils of Sesame Street back in the day perhaps because the show was just fun and not our only source of education and training. Our parents were relied upon for that.

I will admit however that I can live without the segment (
pick clip 6) when a young Jesse Jackson is empowering a group of children by chanting, "I am somebody" followed by, "I may be poor, I may be young, I may be on welfare, my clothes are different, my hair is different... yada, yada, yada." Maybe because I was young, poor, with funny hair and funny clothes in the 70's. Or maybe because I cannot stand the "me messages" of the 70's. Regardless, I would let me kids watch this any day. Maybe just to spite the warning label.

Besides, tell me you could watch “
Sesame Street: Old School” without singing "I Love Trash" with Oscar. Come on, I double dog dare ya...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Xena My Warrior Princess!

The road ahead is long and winding.
With eyes of faith, you'll find the way.
And when the journey leaves you weary,
You can rest in the comfort of heaven's arms -
Sweet loving arms.

And peace will follow.
Peace be with you always,
As you go.
For now you know that...

Through the darkness, there's a light.
Remember God loves you.

When you open up your heart,
His love will meet you where you are.
He will always be a part of everything you do.
He is here to set you free,
And give you all the strength you need
To carry on, to carry on.

Through the darkness, see the light.
Remember God loves you.

-from "God Loves You" lyrics by Jaci Velasquez

Big Brother Bravado

"I'll kill them, I will protect you, just follow me..."

It warms the depths of a mother's heart to hear those words uttered by her son to her daughter.

At least when they are playing Lego Star Wars on the XBox.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Home Again

After a crazy drive in wintry weather we made it home all intact from our long weekend skiing in the Adirondacks. Iggy, C'sa and I spent the time shopping in Lake George Village in lieu of skiing, but had a great time anyway.

I wanted to do the right thing and donate blood today at a local blood drive. I was rejected. I am officially a blood donor dunce. Apparently my iron level was a bit too low to donate, so I guess I better get a fat juicy steak and try again in the recommended 24 hours. Or not. They had my arm in their hands once this decade and I have no desire to have to do the "child care dance" for 4 kids twice to have my blood voluntarily drained from my body!

Now back to real life.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

We Can Breath A Little Lighter

I was privileged to come home today exactly as I left, with a baby carrier containing an almost 1 month old baby boy.

Court went as expected this morning, the judge granted the county's request for Iggy to stay in care until his next case review in six months and his mother did not object. So now, he will be with us at least until he is 7 months old and then hopefully longer.

Arriving this morning at the court house I saw Iggy's birth mother sitting in the assigned waiting room so I steered the stroller in her direction and plopped myself down in the seat next to her. We sat there for quite a while with one another trying to make small talk, which is made more difficult by the fact that she speaks limited English, not to mention the awkwardness of the situation. We have never been alone with one another before. The worst part of the day was finding out that today is her birthday. "Happy Birthday Lady, sorry you cannot have your kid back for at least six months." Ugh.

My sympathy wained a bit after she revealed to her case worker that the reason she had missed some of her court ordered urine analysis tests was due to the fact that she did not have the $5.00 required to pay for them, all while sporting a pack of Newports in her jacket pocket. There's your 5 bucks. A tad judgmental I know, but if he were my child I would be doing absolutely everything I could to get him back.

All in all it was an easy and pleasant experience (as pleasant as it possibly could be based on the circumstances) and definitely eye opening. I am an avid people watcher, not in the creepy- get-yourself-arrested kind of way, but in the harmless, sit-and-be-nosy-while-pretending-to-read kind of way. Some of these cases were just sad. Iggy's is quite tame in comparison.

I guess I better go clean out that dresser.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Just A Little Anxious

Tomorrow is Iggy's court date. All indication points to the fact that he will stay in the foster care system for a minimum of 6 more months and come home with me, but that is completely up to a judge to decide in a few short hours.

Twenty-four hours ago I could honestly say that I was not nervous whatsoever about this court date. Just another appointment in Iggy's very booked schedule, after which we will leave for the Adirondacks for a ski holiday. Iggy in tow; or quite possibly not. Now I am a bit anxious.

Bringing home a new baby is an exciting time. But as a foster mother, your exitement is due to the fact that another woman is possibly in mental anguish over the knowledge that she just lost temporary custody of her newborn baby. This is not always the case, some birth mothers simply do not care, but it's hard to celebrate when that sobering fact is hanging out there like the proverbial pink elephant in the room.

I adore this baby boy. If asked, we would gladly adopt him. We would also accept graciously the fact that he goes back to his mother should that be the case. We really want whatever the Lord has planned for his life. Tonight however, I am torn. Do I have the kids say their good-byes to him in the morning, just in case? Do I pack all of his belongings, just in case? Do I prepare myself, just in case?

This, I was not ready for.

And I Thought Hillary Was Pro-"Choice"

Ahhhh, communism rears it's ugly head. So much for a president who believes in "choice", or is that the case only when it pertains to aborting babies?

Hillary suggests snatching wages
Clinton says income could be garnished if workers refuse to buy health insurance

Will Hillary Clinton as president tap into workers' wages to achieve her goal of health insurance for all Americans?

The possibility exists as the candidate was pressed on the matter during a television interview today.

Speaking on ABC's "This Week" program, the Democratic senator from New York said she might be willing to have wages garnisheed if people refuse to buy health insurance.

"I think universal health care is a core Democratic value and a moral principle, and I'm absolutely gonna do everything I can to achieve that," Clinton said. "I think there are a number of mechanisms" possible, including "going after people's wages, automatic enrollment."

Read the entire article here. This pertains to every American.

See the interview for yourself (part 2 of 2, but the bulk of the conversation is on this half - about 5 minutes vs. 20 seconds on part 1 of 2).

Monday, February 4, 2008

This Is A Classic

A friend of mine e-mailed this to me. In the spirit of Super Bowl commercials, here is one that could have been a contender!

Has It Really Been Almost A Week?

I cannot believe I have not posted in almost a week! I guess those February funks really did get me down. Here the best part though... now that it actually is February, the funks are gone. Ain't irony grand?

Iggy is 4 weeks old today and has thoroughly wriggled his way into my heart and soul. He fits now; he is one of us. Which of course will make it harder when and if he has to go home, but we are prepared for that and knew it would happen. But for now, I have been enjoying snuggling with him and whispering secrets into his ear that are just for him to carry along with him wherever he lands.

Wednesday is his court date and I am almost 99.9% sure he will be coming back home with me. The judge is the final authority on that of course, but his case worker and her supervisor are recommending at least 6 more months of foster care with us. The family members that popped out of the woodwork for him and his brothers (who are with another family) are worse off than his mother in terms of suitability. People can be so clueless. So Wednesday I will actually allow him to move in. Maybe I should explain...

For the past 30 days Iggy has been here sleeping in a pack-n-play bassinet in the guest room. His clothes, diapers and other things are laid out on the guest bed for easy accessibility, but moreover basically representing his "visitor status". Until I knew he was not heading right back to his mother at the end of 30 days I simply could not let him "unpack". Packing back up would be a little tough. Now it is something that I may have to deal with in 6 months, but until then I am going to let him have his place in our family, as he already has taken up residence in our hearts. Iggy needs a drawer and a crib. He lives here now and it's time to recognize it. Well, after his court date at least.