Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Meme

I've been double dog dared by Carol at Sardines in Can. Having just watched 'A Christmas Story' I am particularly susceptible to the double-dog dare and since I have a million other things to do today I will take 20 minutes and do this meme. :D

The Tree
1. When Do You Put Up the Tree?
Third Sunday of Advent

2. Real or Fake?
Fake. We used to do real but I got sick of cleaning up needles into July and the hives I get from touching the tree during decorating and watering are icky. Of course, someone else could do the watering but let's be honest if I didn't do it we'd end up on the 10 O'clock news or in a fire dept 'don't let this be you.' safety tape.

3. Lights - What Color?
I like all white. Kids like colored. We have both.

4. Garland?
No. No tinsel either. Yuck.

5. Theme or No Theme?
Theme? BWHAHAHAHAHA. Our theme is and will be for the foreseeable future..."Breakable ornaments up top, non-breakable down below"

6. What Kind of Topper?
Angel. Karen, Nancy and I all bought the same angel topper many, many moons ago at Bridgewater Commons. They have probably moved on but our pretty little Victorian angel will probably top my tree forever.

7. What's Your Favorite Ornament?
Probably the Lenox train ornament.

8. What does your tree skirt look like?
my mom made it. It is reversible with two Christmas fabrics and eyelet trim. The cat loves to sleep on it :P

9. Where Do You Put Your Tree?
In the corner of the living room by my bedroom door. I prefer it in the dining room window but I am outvoted.

10. Who Decorates the Tree?
We all do, mostly the kids. I just try to keep the peace.

11. What's Under the Tree?
The cat. He thinks he is all sneaky and 'jungle-like' under there. Gifts go under on Christmas Eve after Midnight Mass.

12. Do You Put Candy Canes On Your Tree?
You have GOT to be kidding me. My kids. the sugar addicts who eat all my chocolate chips before I can make cookies, mooch all the cookies before I can give them away. You really think candy canes would stay on my tree as decoration? Really?

About the Food:
1. What's Your Favorite Christmas Cookie?
Creme de Menthe bars. Always have been.

2. Do You Bake Cookies and Give Them Away?

3. Any Special Foods You Have Only at Christmas?
Yep. A lot of the cookies are only made at Christmas, same with Peppermint Bark and fudge.

4. What Do You Eat Christmas Eve?
We have no special tradition of food on Christmas Eve. It is usually something super simple as Christmas is our big eats day.

5. What Do You Eat Christmas Day?
Cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. I think I would have a mutiny if I tried to skip this. Real hot chocolate too. Dinner later is usually ham, sometimes something different, but is a big meal. Not quite as big as Thanksgiving but more then a typical dinner.

6. Do You Like Eggnog?
Yup. So do the kids. I buy HEB brand. It's one of those things I 'just don't make'

7. Do You Like Candy Canes?
Not a fan.

About The Decorations:
1. Where Do You Hang Your Stockings?
On the fireplace.

2. Do You Put Lights on Your House?
Yes. At this house whatever Chris feels like doing. In CT I did it as I hung them inside the porch.
3. Got Any Outside Lawn Decorations?
No and I have a particular dislike for inflatable decorations. Yes, I'm a snob. I've been contemplating a blog post on our 'cartoon culture' but this one sentence will probably be as much as I ever say on the subject.

4. Do You Put Up a Nativity?
Over the years my breakable on has been well, broken and I didn't even bother bringing out what we have left-Mary, Joseph, baby jesus, maybe a shepherd and a couple Wise Men. We, unlike it seems every other Catholic family on the planet, do not have a Fontanini set or intend to get one. I have two advent calendars-one which doubles as a nativity set when done and I just bought a Playmobile nativity set which has been a HUGE hit and I can't believe I didn't get one sooner.

5. Do You Hang Mistletoe Over Your Door?

6. Got a Wreath on Your Front Door?
Yes. Usually a basic evergreen one with a red bow. This year Chris picked up a fake red berry one with some Texas-y iron stars etc.....I think it is cute. Jack hates it. Jack hates anything that isn't the same as last year. He is having issues with the 'bunched ornaments' on the tree among other things.

7. How Long Does it Take You to Decorate?
One evening to do the tree, one evening to do the rest of the house.

About the Movies/Shows:

1. Favorite Christmas TV Show?
Old Rankin/Bass Rudolph.

2. A Wonderful Life / Miracle on 34th Street / A Christmas Carol
Miracle on 34th St. I loved, loved, loved this movie when I was a kid. I looked forward to watching it every year. I like it is A Wonderful Life but can survive not watching it. I don't like A Christmas Carol, never have

3. Favorite Christmas Movie?The Polar Express, A Christmas Story and Elf

4. Have you ever seen the Nutcracker Suite Ballet live?Nope but every year mean to take the girls but always fail to deliver.

5. Ever Been to the Radio City Music Hall Show? No. Despite living within 60 miles of NYC for most of my life. I have been to RCMH, just not the Christmas show.

6. Ever Gone to the Movies on Christmas Day?
Yes. When we were in CT it was one of the few times a year we had a babysitter :D Thanks Mom!

Other Christmas Things:

1. Favorite Christmas Books?
Anything by Tomie dePaola.

2. Do You Stuff Your Stockings With Any Types of Food?Yes. Candy is my default, "oh crud, I don't have enough stocking stuffers!!!" stocking stuffer.

3. Do You Go to Church on Christmas or Christmas Eve?
Midnight Mass. A) because the boys are usually serving and b) it is so much nicer to get up on Christmas and not have to go anywhere.

4. Have You Ever Gone Caroling?
Yes but not for a long, long time. The kids have gone around the neighborhood the last few yeas.

5. Favorite Christmas Carol?
O Holy Night - Josh Groban singing.

6. Do You Believe in Santa? St. Nicholas or Santa Claus? In our house Santa Clause is a fun game-right up there with other pretend play but is no more real then Spiderman or imaginary friends.

7. Do You Leave Santa Cookies?

8. What About Rudolph?See above.

9. What Was Your Best Christmas Gift?Dollhouse my grandfather made me.

10. Worst Gift?
I honestly can't think of one.

11. Do You Go To a "Work" Christmas Party? Most years. In CT Chris' work usually through a REALLY nice party, I looked forward to it all year. Here, they have a nice one, not fancy but nice and I enjoy seeing friends from work. Yes, I am friends with people Chris works with.

12. Do You Hate Going?

13. Do You Send Christmas Cards?
I try. Some years I succeed, others I fail. Let's just say I am super grateful for photo cards and internet ordering.

14. Do You Make a List?
A) I'm Arlene's daughter. If I didn't make lists I'd be tossed out of the family.
B) I have 8 children. Eight. If I didn't have lists I'd be in big trouble.

15. Do You Check it Twice and Thrice?
Constantly. I can't ever remember what I've bought for who.

16. When do You Start Shopping?
When the money's there.

17. Do You Shop on Black Friday?
Rather chew glass.

18. Are You Ready for Christmas?
I'm doing OK. I need to send some packages today and then cross my fingers that when the USPS says 2-3 days for priority they mean it, even this week. As for the 'in house' stuff I'm set except for a lot of wrapping and maybe 1-2 small things.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Could *you* forgive?

I'm a fan of Imaculee Ilibagiza. She is a survivor of the Rwandan genocide and has written two books on her experience. Left to Tell is a brief biography and the story of her survival during the 3 months the genocide went on, and a bit of her life aftewards. Led By Faith, is her follow up about her journey to forgive and her life after the genocide including marriage and emigration to the US. Sure, I had heard of the Rwandan genocide and watched the requisite Hollywood films but I didn't have the understanding of the scope and horror until I read Left to Tell. Still I have to say it wasn't Left to Tell that impacted me the most, it was Led By Faith. It took strength, faith and endurance to survive what she did, but I can't help but think finding it in herself to forgive, to really forgive those that perpetrated this evil was the truly heroic act. Now there has been a documentary made about the journey to forgiveness of the entire country. Due to the impossibility of prosecuting and imprisoning the 40,000 confessed murderers the gov't of Rwanda made the bold and controversial decision to release them back into society.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Not mine.

I am so looking forward to this film. Babies, motherhood, life......the universality among the diversity is just wonderful. You can't tell me that that opening scene hasn't been witnessed by mothers everywhere for all of history.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

UT priorities

The University of Texas at Austin is ending participation in the National Merit Scholarship Program, the largest single campus departure in years from the program, which enjoys considerable prestige in some circles but is controversial in others. The university plans to shift the funds to need-based aid.

Last year, Texas was second only to Harvard University in the number of National Merit Scholars it enrolled (281). Some of the scholarships in the program (and all of those at Harvard) are sponsored by companies and other groups, but 213 of those who enrolled at Texas were sponsored by the university, which in recent years has sponsored more of the scholarships than all but a few other universities. (Last year, the University of Southern California sponsored more, 216 -- most colleges don't even top 50.)


University of Texas football coach Mack Brown will be paid $5 million a year, plus annual increases of $100,000 beginning next season and running through 2016, when his contract ends, the school’s governing board decided today.

The revised contract, recommended by UT President William Powers Jr. and men’s athletic director DeLoss Dodds, means that a one-time $2 million “service payment” in February for staying on the job will become part of his annual compensation package. His pay this season is $5 million — $3 million plus the $2 million service payment — but the previous contract did not provide for continuation of that service payment.

Brown’s guaranteed compensation will be $5.1 million next season, $5.2 million the following season and so forth.

For this season, Brown is also set to earn $250,000 for advancing to the national championship. Winning the national championship would add $450,000 to his bank account.

UT says they eliminated the NMS to focus that aid on need-based scholarships. Fine, put more money into the need-based kitty although I hope the decision isn't just based on who needs the money the most but on a combination of need and merit. And why was it necesssary to do away with *all* NMS instead of just cutting back the number they award?

Yet, not surprisingly, there are plenty of funds to make Mack Brown one of, if not the, highest paid college football coach in the country.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Weekend

We had a lovely Thanksgiving with my sister, Debbie, visiting from New Mexico. I was able to cook and *eat* T-day dinner. While I am still feeling pretty green most of the time I am orders of magnitude better then I was at this stage (11 weeks) with Lucy and Tristan.

We went to Garner State Park on Saturday. Most of us hiked some (namely Debbie and the older 6), there was some football tossing and plenty of rocks being thrown into the Frio.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mitchell article

The triple Mitchell ceremony was in the Randolph AFB newspaper and is now on the Texas CAP website.

Three Randolph Cadets Earn their Mitchell Award, November 6th 2009
13 November 09

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – Three cadets members of the Randolph Composite Squadron received a prestigious cadet-level CAP award during a promotion ceremony Tuesday evening.

Stephen Turner, a Randolph High School senior, and his brother, Evan, a junior, joined Jackson Kuplack of La Vernia as recipients of the Brigadier General Billy Mitchell Award, which is presented to cadets who complete the leadership phase of their CAP program.

You can read the rest of the article at:

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I'll get around to it

I will blog about the trip to Austria and Jack's promotion...eventually.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Home safe.

We are exhasted but home safely. ALmost exactly 24 hours of travel door to door to get home. UGH! And yes, I am up at 5:30AM because I caught an awful cold and can't sleep. Chris and I had a fabulous time,many thanks to all the people who made it possible for me to go, Carol, Theresa and Sara, who helped by watching some of the brood. Also thanks to Cindi, Adriana and Martha! I'm working on getting pictures uploaded. It'll take a while. There are a lot and they are huge files. Salzburg

These are straight uploads, completely unedited. I have over 150 pictures, they probably won't all be up until at *least* later today.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

40 Great movie moments in two minutes

Lifted from Rachel over at Testosterhome.
Being an unapologetic movie buff, I just loved this. So clever.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Weather in TX

I think I need an orthopedist on retainer.

The gate is gone. T is proficient at stairs.
Yesterday he started climbing out of his crib. ::sigh::

Thursday, September 17, 2009

DIY Space Camera

This is super cool!!Homeschool project? My worry would be the package landing somewhere like a busy highway or through someone's roof.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Jack's email inbox this morning....

It's official!! The ceremony is Nov 3rd.

Dear Cadet Second Lieutenant Jackson A _________

CONGRATULATIONS! You have earned the Brigadier General Billy Mitchell Award in the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program. Statistically speaking, you are now among the top 15% of all cadets nation-wide.

Your commander will pin the Cadet Second Lieutenant insignia onto your uniform at the next squadron meeting, if he or she has not done that already.

To view your newly-updated cadet record, please visit eServices.

As a Mitchell cadet, you may:
- Apply for college and flight scholarships - see
- Apply to attend Cadet Officer School - see
- Qualify for the grade of E-3, should you decide to enlist in the Air Force
- Qualify to enter the CAP senior member program as a Second Lieutenant, upon turning 21.

A high-ranking CAP officer or distinguished leader in your community will present you with your Mitchell Award certificate, which will be mailed to your squadron in the next few days. Please see your commander to discuss the details about your awards ceremony.

Needless to say we are quite proud of Jack. He's been working for this for almost 3 years.

Friday, September 11, 2009

No reminders needed...

of what today is. Pray. Remember.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Men in Uniform

Inspired by Margaret :

Wordless Everyday

Due to a (hopefully temporary) handicap which makes typing (at least decent typing) difficult, I thought I'd post some photo only posts for a while. Different themes.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Another Sweet 16

Katie is in CT for the last few days for her BFF's Sweet 16. Katie and Katie have been friends since they were 6. We all met one day in November 1999 at Wolfe Park in Monroe, CT. It seems like yesterday. I miss the F's but am very grateful that we are able to keep in contact and the girls get to visit once or twice a year.

Three beautiful girls, inside and out!

Katie F.-16, Katie K.-16, Sarah F.-14

P.S. We found my Katie's dress for $19.99 at Ross. SCORE!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Black Bean Chocolate Cake

This was recommended on a list of gluten free recipes a friend compiled. I found the idea intriguing and the reviews glowing so I thought.... what the heck!
I have tons of beans as Chris brings them home from work all the time.
I made it and it is FABULOUS. No, we are not going gluten free in our home but who can balk at losing the nutritionally poor white flour and replacing it nutrient rich beans??

I used the recipe from this blog:Black Bean Chocolate Cake

Healthy Flourless Chocolate Cake (slightly modified from original at Healthy Indulgences)

Makes a single 9" layer cake.

1-15 ounce can of unseasoned black beans
OR 1 1/2 cup cooked beans, any color
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
6 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup erythritol plus 1/2 teaspoon pure stevia extract OR 1/4-1/3 cup honey plus 1 teaspoon stevia OR 1 cup Splenda OR 3/4 cup regular sugar
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon water (omit if using honey)

Mint Chocolate variation:
2 teaspoons mint extract (in place of 2 teaspoons vanilla)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9" pan.

Drain and rinse beans in a strainer or colander. Shake off excess water. Place beans, 3 of the eggs, vanilla, stevia (if using) and salt into blender. Blend on high until beans are completely liquefied. No lumps! Whisk together cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder. Beat butter with sweetener until light and fluffy. Add remaining two eggs, beating for a minute after each addition. Pour bean batter into egg mixture and mix. Finally, stir in cocoa powder and water (if using), and beat the batter on high for one minute, until smooth. Scrape batter into pan and smooth the top. Grip pan firmly by the edges and rap it on the counter a few times to pop any air bubbles.

Bake for 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Cake is done with the top is rounded and firm to the touch. After 10 minutes, turn out cake from pan, and flip over again on to a cooling rack. Let cool until cake reaches room temperature, then cover in plastic wrap or with cake dome. For BEST flavor, let cake sit over night. I promise this cake will not have a hint of beaniness after letting it sit for eight hours!

I used regular sugar, butter etc...pretty much the same as a basic chocolate cake but instead of flour I used liquified canned black beans. I served it 'frosted' with Nutella :D It was divine. I don't do well with subsititutes, I find Tofurkey revolting, don't even show me margarine or 'butter substitute'. Either it's traditional/real or I would rather skip it. Trust me, this cake does NOT taste like beans. It is a 100% better than any box cake and is just about bakery quality in moistness and flavor. Try it. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Half monkey, half-mountain goat

Half monkey, half mountain goat. This is what I tell people my children are made of.
Tristan is keeping the tradition alive. At 14 months old and weighing in at a whopping 20lbs he is capable of getting anywhere he wants (and usually shouldn't) be. This includes on all benches and chairs in the house which leads to to finding him on the kitchen table and trying to climb over the back of the couch. He doesn't say a word though, as is also typical of my kids at this age, with the exception of Emma (and anyone who knows her isn't surprised by that). He is very expressive and gets his point across just fine, just without language. It is interesting to observe how different children develop and now that I am a much more secure mother I can observe and enjoy the differences. When I was younger I would worry and feel challenged if a child the same age as one of mine was doing 'more'.

There is a beautiful little girl that shares space with us in the cry room almost every Sunday. She is a first and only (for now) and just precious. She is 3 weeks older than T. She talks. "Up", "Down", "Baby"....and Tristan...he does his best imitation of a clam. Just stares at her with his big blue eyes, thumb in his mouth, Smith in his other hand. (Smith is his lovey) and then he runs away while she sits. She doesn't walk yet. Her mom seems a little anxious about it and seeing mini-T running about makes her almost apologize for her daughters lack of walking. I wish I could tell her not to worry, in a year we probably won't be able to tell who walked first or talked first and in 5 years it certainly won't matter. Enjoy your little one, they grow up SO fast. When she walked and talked and ran are small, small, moments in the life of a child and parent. Like every other mom I dutifully filled in the baby books (at least for Katie) with first tooth, when she sat, when she rolled, when she walked, when she talked. Where are the lines to fill in the first time she shared without being told, prayed without being asked, comforted a friend in need, volunteered her time, stood up for what is right, asked a question I didn't know the answer to....and where are the pages and pages to enter all the things that I did and learned through her??

Saturday, June 20, 2009

They did it!!

Another summer, another CAP encampment. Ian completed his first Basic encampment and Jack completed Advanced Training Squadron. We are very, very proud of both our sons.
If you hop on over to Texas you can read about encampment and see pictures. If you look carefully you may even see Jack and Ian.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Crazy busy.

I haven't been updating because I've just been too busy/tired. Katie's friend, Katie was here and the day before she left my niece, Ceci arrived. I got horribly ill at Emma's recital and then that went through everyone in the house but Christopher. Finally by Monday night, everyone felt well and Ceci had a nice visit. A few hours before I took Ceci to the airport on Wednesday I found a momma dog and her two pups next to our 70mph farm-to-market road and the last couple days have been consumed with taking care of them, taking them to the vet, finding homes and well...having two 7 week old puppies in the house. They are an absolute joy but a lot of work :D Tomorrow they will go to their new home with my friends Sharon and Ron . We will miss them but are thrilled that they will have such a wonderful place to grow up. I am sure they will be very, very loved. I have a few leads on a home for Momma. She seems to be a pure bred Golden Retriever and it shouldn't be too hard to find her a home. All three dogs have super dispositions. One of these days I plan to write quite the letter to the editor of the SA Express News regarding the phenomenon of dumping dogs out here in 'the country'. It is a real local problem, especially since we have no animal shelter in this county.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Must see family movie

No I am not going to blog about 'Up, although I absolutely loved that film and recommend it to everyone, whether or not you have a child to take to the movies.

I'd like to recommned 'The Little Princess, not the Shirley Temple version, but the remake from the 90's. We watched it back when it was released and loved it then. I recently picked up the DVD out of the $5 bin. I am so glad I did. Unlike 99% of remakes it is much better than the original. It is visually stunning and the dialogue is superior. I cannot recommend it highly enough as a great family film, A Little Princess would be wonderful fare for a girls slumber party or for mom and daughters to watch together for a Girls Night Out.

Recital 2009

Emma's dance recital was last night. She and all her classmates did a beautiful job. The dance academy decided not to do pictures this year. Last year's were awful and I think Miss Erin got an earful about it, poor sweet lady. I took some myself and I think they turned out well. I must have been channeling my favorite photographer, Uncle Bruce. :D Seriously, watching him take pictures over the last 37 years is the only reason I can take decent pictures now. His candids of friends and family are more precious to me than any posed shot from a portrait studio.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Robot fight

I was told they were playing "Robot Wars". How pink butterfly wings fits into a robot costume, I didn't ask.

Sweet Sixteen

Katie turned 16 yesterday. Her BFF from CT came down as a surprise and 4 other friends came over for a sleepover. Lots of Wii playing, eating of chocolate and laughing made for a fun evening. Chris took the little kids to see 'Up' and I hung out with the teens.
16 years have flown by.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Banana Pudding


Banana Pudding

5-7 medium ripe bananas, sliced
1 box Nilla Wafers (I use store brand)
2 5oz boxes vanilla pudding, instant
3 cups milk
1 pint whipping cream
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Beat vanilla pudding mix, milk and half of the whipping cream and condensed milk until it starts to thicken. Beat remaining cream into whipped cream.

Put half the box of Nilla Wafers in the bottom of a 13x9 pan. Put half the pudding over them and then layer 1/2 the bananas. Repeat. Spread the whipped cream over all, garnish with more banana slices if you desire.
Cover and chill at least 3-4 hours, best if chilled overnight.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sad news

Baby Faith Hope has died. She lived 93 days and passed away peacefully in her mothers arms. Hopefully, her short life will help be a testimony to the value of ALL lives including those that aren't "perfect". 93 days. Quite a feat for the little girl who was supposed to be born still.
Many prayers for her mom, Myah, and the rest of Faith's family.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Last night was the Randolph Composite Squadron Dining-Out. Dining In's and Dining Out's are a military tradition. They are fun, relaxing time for bonding and camaraderie although they are still dictated by very specific military rules and traditions.

There are many, many toasts. The most meaningful is the POW toast that is a silent toast made with water. A lone table is set for a sympbolic POW.

Then you have the grog..... Grog is a vile conconction of nasty stuff meant as a punishment. After declaring a point of order any guest can call out another guest for an infraction of the Rules of the Mess but it must be in rhyme, there can be a rebuttal but it must also be in rhyme. This results in lots of laughter and people (mostly cadets and some senior members) drinking, at this dining-out, a grog of pineapple juice, beanie-weenies, animal crackers and something else I cannot recall. After a while it became apparent that the grog wasn't bad enough so the Vice-President of the Mess started getting creative. The best was when the cadet staff of Randolph (including Jack) had to do the can-can, while singing YMCA and imitating John Wayne.

On a more serious note the guest speaker, a retired colonel with an incredible career, gave an excellent speech about perseverence and serving others. The last item on the agenda was a bit of a surprise but something wonderful to witness. C/Lt. Col Castriatta recieved his appointment to the US Air Force Academy. Castriatta is a wonderful young man, who has done a lot to help Jack and many other cadets and I wish him well on his career in the Air Force.

"To the class of 2013!!"

"Hear, Hear!!"

Rules of the Mess tro be posted later.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Doctors who will do VBACs in San Antonio

Dr. Gail Van Wingerden
Dr. Ricardo Munoz
Dr. Peter Kuhl

Dr.Munoz and Dr. Van use North Central Baptist. NCB is a nice hospital but it has a very high epidural rate and since these are the only two docs that do VBAC's the nurses aren't very comfortable with it from my experience. The NICU there is wonderful, especially Dr.Wearden, who is a driving force behind promoting/supporting breastfeeding in the NICU's all over San Antonio.

The Lonestar Midwives do VBAC's as does Dr. Peter Kuhl with Lonestar OB/Gyn. The midwives only use St Lukes Baptist and Dr. Kuhl uses St. Lukes and Methodist. St. Lukes isn't as aesthetically pleasing as Methodist or NCB but they practice couplet care and the L&D nurses, in my experience, are very comfortable with VBAC and unmedicated childbirth. If I have another baby I will not hesitate to return to Dr. Kuhl and St. Lukes. I've had 9 babies, in 9 facilities with 6 different practitioners (OB's and midwives) and Dr. Kuhl is my favorite. I've had some other good experiences and amazing physicians and midwives but for all around good match with my ideals, Dr. Kuhl and SLBH win.

I hear the Institute for Women's Health physicians also support VBAC but I have no experience or information on them aside from that they use St. Lukes.

The birth center in San Antonio supports VBAC also.

I love discussing my VBAC's and if anyone wants particulars of my experience having a VBAC in San Antonio please leave your contact info in the comm box.

Dressed for Texas

This is the result of telling Lucy to "Go get dressed before you go outside."

Her logic isn't that far off. It was a hundred degrees. We have lots of things that can bite and sting as eveidenced by the 4ft rattlesnake skin we found and the 4ft whipsnake that tried to take up residence in our garage but is now rotting in our garbage can.

Still if that isn't an outfit that screams to neighbors, "Call CPS!" I don't know what is.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hey! Chief!!

Jack promoted to Chief (Chief Master Sgt) last night. I have video but Blogger is having issues...again. I do have photos of the evening but not of Jack's actual promotion ceremony, that is only on video. :sigh:
Chief is the highest NCO rank. Now, he has to get his Armstrong which is just an award, not a rank. After Armstrong is his Billy Mitchell Award, 2nd Lt.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

One year ago.....

A year ago today I was standing over a NICU warmer looking at my new and yet to be named baby boy struggle to breathe. His siblings hadn't seen him and wouldn't for a while and Chris and I were exhausted and scared.

Today, Tristan Karl is peacefully sleeping in his crib after sleeping the night through (\o/) getting up to nurse at 7AM and then going back to sleep. He will wake to a raucous house and be swept into someone's arms within minutes of waking. Yells of "Happy Birthday, Tristan" will ring throughout the house and he will smile. He will smile not because he knows it is his birthday or of the cake and presents to come but because he loves his brothers and sisters and they love him. This year started out rough but oh, what a joy it has been since. He has gotten more attention and cheers for all his firsts then Katie ever did. Being #8 is great!

Today, the only thing in common with May 2nd last year is the exhaustion.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MR. T. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

What an amazing weekend

Exhausting but wonderful. Being able to witness 'little' Brigitte marry her Marine was an honor. They are such a beautiful, faith-filled couple and so obviously in love. I was, of course, a puddle when she and her father appeared in the doorway to the church.
So happy for her, so sad for her Daddy, knowing that these days weren't all that far in my future too.

We went from one day celebrating a marriage just beginining to celebrating a marriage that had last 50 years. The party my sil's Joan and Melissa organized for my in-law's was phenomenal. A beautiful setting and more importantly a fairly complete gathering of the entire immediate family and close family friends. After a Mass in honor of Mom and Pop and a renewing of their vows, the family gathered that evening. The best part of the evening wasn't the food or the drink or the chatting or the music. Far and away the absolute best part was listening as person after person got up and told Mom and Dad what they meant to them and in many instances what they had learned from them. Sometimes funny, sometimes nostalgic but each and everytime from the heart. This went on for over an hour but was never boring, no one looked at their watch once wondering 'When will this be over?!' Many of the 'kids' of my generation, deep in the throes of parenting, took a lot away from this celebration. There was much to ponder after seeing the result of 50 years of marriage and parenthood.

More pictures later when Blogger isn't so tempermental.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

I'm still here!!

I've just been crazy busy. Between getting ready for the trip to WA, actually going to WA and coming home I don't know if I am coming or going.
I'll give details, pictures and anecdotes in the next day or two.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I am a bad mother.

Chess tournament results.

My sister-in-law in WASHINGTON pointed out that Jack was in the paper. Oops.

3 of the 4 boys pictured are homeschoolers, BTW.


Scenes from the San Antonio Tea Party

Chris, Katie, Jack, Tristan and I went to the San Antonio Tea Party yesterday. It was a heartening experience. Let me make something clear. We did not go because we are bitter about the election. We did not go because we are pawns of Rush Limbaugh or the Republican political machine ( I happen to know personally one of the main organizers and he is anything BUT a pawn of anyone ). We did not go because we are racist. We did not go because we don't want to pay taxes. We did not go because we are heartless people who don't care about the less fortunate.

We attended the Tea Party because we do not like the direction our country is going. The reckless spending, the massive increase in our deficit, the bills being rammed through Congress without even being read, the interference of the Federal Government in the private sector and in State government, the 'bail-out' and entitlement attitude...these things concern us. We have written and called our Representatives and Senators and we will continue to do so. This peaceful protest was to make it known to all who sit in government, including those we did not elect, that we are not happy, and we will continue to beat the drum until things change.

It was a overall a peaceful rally. We only saw a couple of signs that I really wish weren't there (agendas that had nothing to do with the Tea Party). There were a few people who were protesting the protest. They were hassled somewhat but nothing violent. At one point I stepped in (with Tristan in the Moby) between a few people giving a young man with an anti-rally sign a hard time and loudly stated that he had every right to be there regardless of his opinion. If we are rallying to uphold the Constitution we need to uphold it for ALL even if we don't agree with them. It surprised enough people that they left the man alone as he stood directly in front of me the next 5 minutes before moving on. I mortified Jack, but that was just too bad.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter pictures

Waiting for Daddy to hand out baskets.

Lucy with my sunflower garden in the background.

Sorry, no big boys and no posed group shot.