Saturday, November 29, 2008

Our Thanksgiving Weekend

We had a very nice Thanksgiving weekend. On Thursday, we did the whole turkey dinner thing, and then started decorating for Christmas.

On Friday, we went to Besh-Ba-Gowah Archaeological Park outside Globe, Arizona. It was really neat. The kids enjoyed getting to grind some corn meal. I really loved the cool fall weather and beautiful autumn colors on the drive through Tonto National Forest.

Today, I finished decorating the house for Christmas, and started wrapping some presents to put under the tree. I also finished the kids advent calendars, and will be posting pictures of them next week.

Below are some pictures.

Justify Full

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Breast is best... and especially better than melamine

News reports like this one make me eternally grateful that all our children have been exclusively breastfed:

FDA finds traces of melamine in US infant formula

Monday, November 24, 2008

Another day, another freak call

Here is another one of those posts that will get those readers of my blog who hate me all up in arms. Not sure why they keep stopping by here, but hey, I don't want to disappoint them. :)

I am the wonderful person who answers the church phone. Basically, there are three types of people who call:

1) Nice, normal people with a legitimate question or issue

This includes our church members, people asking about service times or needing a ride to church, etc. I love these calls, so obviously this post is not about them.

2) People asking for money

Before your heart starts bleeding for these people, consider this: We get scores of calls each week, and they all follow the same basic pattern. An unlisted number calls, the person on the other end asks "Hello, is this the church?" and if asked "What church are you looking for?" they start stuttering because they are just calling through the phone directory. Then they ask whether we offer rental assistance/motel vouchers/help with bills/Christmas gifts for their children etc. I then tell them that we only offer financial assistance to our members and that they should check whether their church offers a similar program. No, I don't know whether these people actually go to church or not, but since when has God become an ATM machine for people who do not even care about Him enough to go to church anywhere? Mostly, at this point they say "Okay, thanks" and the call is over. Occasionally, they might say something smart like "I didn't know you had to go to church for God to help you!". You don't. You can pray and ask God for help without ever going to church anywhere. But I am not God, and you are asking us for money, not Him.

I understand that sometimes people just get down on their luck and need help, but we have to draw the line somewhere. We can just hand them all free money because they call on the phone. When people like that actually show up at church and ask for help, we usually do help them out.

The people who irk me the most are young men who call up all suave and friendly, acting like we have been best friends since grade school. Depending on what mood they catch me in, I might just tell them to go get a job. The Bible does say that "if any would not work, neither should he eat". This one particular guy called me every single Monday morning for several weeks in a row, always using the same "sales pitch" which he had down quite well. I finally told him to get a job and hung up, and thankfully he hasn't called since.

Once a couple drove by me in our church parking lot as I was walking in for the service. While cruising past me, the girl rolled the window of her HUGE, late-model SUV down and asked me if we offered financial assistance. Yeah, sure! NOT.

Some people may think that if we would just fork over the cash, these people would be falling down crying, asking me how to be saved, and living for God the rest of their life. But instead, they are doomed to hell because we are tightwads. Such is not the case. What these people need more than anything is that they hear the gospel preached to them, which we do through door-to-door evangelism every day.

3) People calling to complain about our church

Let me clarify that these are never people who have actually attended a service, or even just someone on whose door we knocked, but rather these are calls from complete strangers who find us on the internet. They might find any number of things offensive, such as (but not limited to) my husband's preaching, his materials on YouTube, our church's doctrinal statement, my blog, etc.

Lately, my husband has had several people e-mailing him informing him that they did not like my blog because I am just too radical. This is very funny to both of us because I am actually very mild and benign compared to him. Let's see, if you don't like it, why do you keep reading it?!? One person actually wrote me suggesting that I make my blog private because even though she did not like what I had to say, she couldn't keep herself from coming back to my blog again and again.

The other day, I had a guy calling me because he wanted to ask me some questions about my blog. He was referring to an old post I wrote as a parody of an actual e-mail I had received from someone who wanted me to pray for the right kind of neighbors for them. Anyone who reads this post can figure out that the "horror neighbors" I am describing is actually our family, since the post says their name was Anderson and they moved to Tempe, AZ. Not only that, but the post itself actually states that it is a spoof. Well, this guy must have had somewhat limited intelligence because he was calling to reprimand me for being so unkind about our neighbors. I laughed and told him I didn't have time for his call, wished him a good day, and hung up. Of course, he called back (they always do), so I briefly told him it was a spoof, reiterated that I didn't have time for him, while he was muttering "whatsoever things are lovely" in reference to Philippians 4:8. He then asked to speak to the pastor, which I said he couldn't, and then hung up again. With five young children in the house, one just a week or so old at the time, I can't waste my time with pointless phone calls. This man then proceeded to call back in excess of 60 times within the next hour - literally. I silenced the phone and went about my business as usual, but I did briefly wonder what was so pure and lovely about him ringing my phone off the hook? I was thinking about sharing his home phone number on this blog post since he obviously has no life and likes to hang on the phone. Maybe some other person who hates my blog could befriend him, that way and they could commiserate.

Of course, I got a comment on my blog from him later that day (these people are so predictable), and just to show what a fool this guy is I will share it here:

Trying to look trashy?? Wow, coming from a pastors wife, that is quite shocking. You seem to have a very critical spirit. Does she need to have an image consultant? Does God look at our clothes? Or at our heart? Interesting that when a fellow christian "rebukes" you (as we are called to do by scripture) you proceed to insult their intelligence, lie to them about the incident, and then refuse to let that person speak to your husband, the PASTOR of your church. No wonder people these days hate christians. Your are such a wonderful example of the light we are called to be. If you are the only Jesus someone ever knows, they're going to hell for sure.

So it is "quite shocking" for me to say that Michelle Obama looks trashy in her sweatpants, but he is calling me across state lines to rebuke me? Sounds like he has a critical spirit himself. God does look at our heart, but man looks on the outward appearance, and a First Lady ought to dress like she has respect for her husband's position. Besides, Jesus said to clean that which is within the platter FIRST, that the OUTSIDE may be clean ALSO. Michelle Obama is trashy inside and out because both her beliefs and appearance are in opposition to the Bible. I get so sick of so-called Christians defending the wicked president-elect, Obama, who sees nothing wrong with partial-birth abortions, not to mention so many other issues. This man is evil, twisted, and perverted, and the sooner he drops dead the better.

Of course, just because my husband is a pastor does not mean he is obligated to talk to every moron who calls. Nevertheless, I actually asked my husband's assistant to call this stalker back a few days later because he kept calling me several times per day. Instead of seizing the opportunity and getting all his complaints off his chest, he just muttered something unintelligible and didn't want to talk any more, but rather started bombarding my husband with lengthy emails again. Ah well, hitting "delete" takes no time at all.

I could probably fill a small book with anecdotes from the strange calls and emails we receive on a daily basis. But I won't waste your time or mine. We have thought about passing the task of answering the church phone off to my husband's assistant, but I just don't want to miss the fun.

The next post will be a friendly one, I promise! ;)

Friday, November 21, 2008

A fun way to kill some time

This website is too funny. Here's a sample:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Grocery Game update

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you may remember me talking about the "Grocery Game". I won't repeat here how it works, but you can click here to go to their website and here to read all my old posts about it.

While I have not mentioned it in a while, I have been doing the grocery game just about every week for almost two years now. Lately, I have been breaking new records on how much money I save because the sales and coupons at this time of year are very good. On Tuesday, I bought all the stuff in this picture for $9.89.

There are 6 packs of pasta, 7 bags of chocolate baking chips, 3 packs of cream cheese, 2 boxes of oatmeal, bananas, cooking spray, a pack of toilet paper, and a tub of frosting (which I only picked up because it ended up being free after using the coupon, I plan on giving it to someone who eats that because I always make fresh frosting). Compared to the regular shelf price total of $52.35, that is a savings of 81%. Unfortunately, the store was out of the 5 lb bags of C+H sugar, which I would have been able to get at 50 cents each. I had the clerk write me a rain check, because I had five coupons and I was planning on stocking up on sugar for the baking season. 25 lbs of sugar for $2.50 is pretty cheap!

Nothing makes for a great shopping trip like getting a great deal, and seeing the cashier's stunned face when they ring up my total price.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Recent pictures

Miriam and Rebecca:

Solomon and John at a park in Superior, AZ:

Miriam and Isaac at the playground:

Miriam, John, Solomon and Isaac in church:

Daddy holding Rebecca:

John in his fireman outfit on a real firetruck. We ran into the fire department at the store, and they asked if he wanted to sit on the truck.

John, Miriam and Solomon at Castles 'N Coasters:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pump it up

On Nov.11th,it was Austin's birthday party.For his party,we went to a jumping castle place called
"PUMP IT UP".My favriote thing was the slide.I would slide on my back.You should have been there.In the bouncers place,the staff were running in with the kids and beating them with inflatable bats.The staff were shouving kids under the big flower.Austin was afraid to go in,because he thought that he would get all those things.(They only beat you up if you beat them up) In the obsticle course,when you first get in you slide down,but when you go up,theres no ladder.
(Theres mostly ladders when you go up)You could also box with gimantic boxing gloves.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thirty minutes of my life

I walk into the bathroom and discover that Miriam has been rubbing liquid soap all over her hands, arms, face, and hair for no apparent reason. I am past the point of wondering why she does what she does. I exclaim: "No, not the soap again!" (this has happened about a dozen times in the last 24 hours), stash the soap back in the bathroom cabinet, and pick her up to go wash it all off her. I notice she has a stinky diaper, but that has to wait until I get the soap off her face before she rubs it into her eyes.

While I am standing at the kitchen sink scrubbing her, I notice the grilled cheese sandwiches I am fixing for lunch are getting burned, so I plop Miriam down in the chair at the table and save the lunch. This reminds me to call the older ones, who were playing in the backyard, in to eat: "Wash your hands with soap and sit down for lunch, boys!" Ten seconds after disappearing in the bathroom they are all back and sitting down, and I can guess how thoroughly they must have washed up. Immediately, they all begin to inform me of what I still need to give them for lunch: "Mom, I need a spoon", "Mom, why did you give him the blue cup that I wanted?", "Mom, you gave me too much cantaloupe, I don't like cantaloupe.", "Can I have something to drink, please?"

Once their plates are all fixed, the issue of who eats of what color plate that day has been solved, and they have all other necessary utensils, I go to fix my own plate. Before I ever get to have a bite, Solomon has wolfed all his food down and is asking for seconds, and I start another round of filling everyone's plates and cups. I look over to see a fat fly (which came in when the kids left the back door open again) sitting on my food, and suddenly I'm not hungry any more. Which is good, because Isaac accidentally knocks over his freshly refilled cup of milk. Half of it ends up covering the table and John's plate, which makes John have a crying fit of indignation. The other half ends up on the floor underneath, and combined with the spilled cheerios from breakfast it would make a nice meal if it weren't for how dirty my floors are.

While I am on my hands and knees trying to clean the whole mess, Isaac nonchalantly informs me that John has been passing the time in the backyard by picking up dog messes WITH HIS HANDS. John in defense explains that he was only picking up the ones that had dried. In a very agitated voice, I ask John about how thoroughly he washed his hands before lunch, only to have him tell me that there was no soap in the bathroom. Duh, that's right, but why didn't you remind me of that when I told you to go wash with soap?!? I take John to the bathroom, cut his fingernails as short as I can, hand him the soap and tell him to wash for as long as it takes to sing "Happy Birthday". As I walk out, I can hear him singing in his happy little voice, not phased at all by the reality of how grossly dirty his hands must be.

Back in the kitchen, Miriam has since decided she is not hungry any more, and instead wants to rub her dessert of yogurt all over her face and hair. Once more I take her to the kitchen sink to wash her up, while trying not to slip on the wet mess on the floor. My nose suddenly reminds me of Miriam's dirty diaper. I change her before I get sidetracked again, and put her down for her nap. The baby wakes up hungry and wants to nurse, so I lock the older kids in the backyard while I sit down and feed Rebecca. Suddenly, I realize that I have not had a chance to drink any water, or use the bathroom, in the last several hours, and I need both.


If you think this must be one of my worse days, think again. On a BAD day, the baby would have woken up crying and hungry before I ever got everyone else fed for lunch. Isaac would have dropped his glass onto the floor rather than just knocked it over, which would have exploded into a million pieces on the tile. Cleaning a milk spill with leftover, reconstituted food and tiny pieces of glass is no fun. On a worse day than today, Miriam would have decided to change her own dirty diaper, which is more disgusting than anyone would want to experience. She would then have stepped into a piece of glass that I inevitably missed to sweep from some distant corner of the house, and started screaming in pain, just as my husband called on the phone asking to do him a favor.

It's all relative, I guess.

Grand Central Station

No, I did not fall off the face of earth. Things have been unusually busy around here. Having five young children can do that to you. I have been wanting to upload recent photos for a more light-hearted post to give all my liberal readers a reprieve, but I just can't seem to find the time to do so. Maybe I will get around to it this weekend. Otherwise, I guess I'll just have to post what I wrote last week about the dozen or so strange and freakish calls we receive every day. :)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Caffeine during pregnancy?

This is an interesting article about the effects of even small amounts of caffeine during pregnancy. Since I am not a coffee drinker at all, and only drink caffeine-free herbal teas, I have never really given this issue much thought other than wondering how caffeine could be good for a tiny baby when it has such obvious effects on me.

Of course, no pregnant woman will ever be able to live in a bubble free of all environmental hazards. But this one is a pretty easy one to reduce/eliminate/avoid, I think.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Breast milk donation

Okay, I am not talking about Ben & Jerry's here!

Before you declare me crazy, read this post, and then you have the right to call me nuts if you like. I just won't post your comments.

Like any mother of 5 young children, I have lots of spare time on my hands. NOT. Like any woman, I love using a breast pump. Very funny. Like any large family, I have lots of extra room in my freezers. Maybe once the kids leave home?

So why on earth donate breast milk?!? Honestly, because I feel bad for any baby who has to drink formula, and much more so if it's a tiny, premature baby to whom it could make the difference between life and death. My milk supply has been getting better and better with every baby, and I would love to share the abundance.

There are many milk banks out there who take donations. The sign-up process is lengthy, and you will need to have your blood checked for just about every communicable disease out there. The milk bank will cover all the costs for the tests, supply you with all necessary equipment, and take care of the shipping. You will not get paid for the milk you donate. If you have thought about donating milk in the past, you should definitely look into it. If you do, and you are like me, you want to make sure that 100% of the milk you donate goes to a cause you want to support, such as premature infants. There are other critically ill patients using human milk, such as cancer patients who can no longer tolerate food. There are also critically ill HIV-positive patients using it, but the last person I want my milk to go to is some old, decrepit queer. No, not all people with HIV are gay, but I wouldn't want to take my chances. With a newborn at least I can be sure of that.

I signed on with International Breast Milk Project. This particular milk bank ships 25% of their donated milk to critically ill infants in Africa, and uses the rest for premature babies in the US. I wonder what the person who commented on my daughter's birth announcement saying that I am overpopulating the earth because I "don't like brown people" has ever done to actually help children in Africa other than just feeling all fuzzy and pitiful about them.

Anyway... I think every liberal hippie would love me if it weren't for the fact that I am a Christian. I am a homebirthing, babywearing, "co-sleeping", non-circumcising, Birkenstock-wearing, granola-eating, make-up hating, natural medicine practicing and now human milk donating lactivist.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My two cents on babies and scheduling

With five children, I would consider myself pretty organized, and more and more so as our family continues to grow. I have a basic schedule that I follow every day, and I will not go to bed until I finish up at night unless I am very ill. It's just easier for me and the kids when we know what we need to get done when, and who is responsible for it.

Having said that, let me give you my thoughts on scheduling young babies. First off, we do not practice birth control. Breastfeeding, if practiced right, naturally spaces children. So any method of scheduling babies that interferes with on-demand breastfeeding is out of the question for me. There are many books out there, such as My First 300 Babies and Babywise, that I cannot condone for that reason. These books were developed for bottle-fed babies, and the schedules were later adjusted to "fit" breastfed infants. Even if your milk supply will not suffer from feedings spaced that many hours apart, most women will not be able to hold off ovulation that way, and will find themselves pregnant within months of giving birth if breastfeeding is their only form of spacing pregnancies. Obviously, I feel strongly about not bottle-feeding babies, but that is a different post for another day.

So what are you to do as a mom if you still want to get a shower and get at least the basic housework and cooking done, while your baby wants to eat around the clock?

The first few weeks after your baby is born, you really should just focus on getting rest and holding your baby. Hopefully, your husband or other family members and friends can help you around the house during this time. Once the baby gets to be a couple of weeks old, you will usually be able to see a predictable pattern of when they sleep best (most do so in the morning), and then you can schedule your errands etc. accordingly. So you will be able to follow a simple, basic schedule, but it is one set by the baby, rather than imposed on him/her by an author of a book who probably had 2 kids themselves.

As the baby gets older, the nap times will change (they will be fewer, but longer), until most children will eventually only take one long nap per day (starting around age 1).

I think where many parents miss the boat is that they allow their children to dictate their own schedule as said child gets older and older. This will also make the child want to have their way in every other area of life, and you will soon find yourself with a brat on your hands.

My rule of thumb is that once a child is capable of understanding what I tell them to do, they are expected to do it. So while I can't explain to my 2-week old that she needs to go to sleep on her own, and that I will be in bed myself shortly, a 9-12 month old baby does have a concept of bedtime. I don't think kids should ever be left to "cry-it-out". If they are too young to understand, it is your job as a mother to comfort the child just like it is your job to feed and care for them in every other area of life. But once they get to an age (usually around age 1) where they understand that it is now bedtime, they are not allowed to throw an angry fit just because they would rather stay up and play longer.

Our kids are taught to go to sleep on their own once they only take one nap per day and are around 1 year old. To ease this transition, I start by putting said child down for their naps on their own when they are still awake, but sleepy (as opposed to feeding them until they fall asleep and then laying them down). I will then find something quiet to do in the room as they fall asleep, such as folding laundry. If they get up, I remind them to put their head back on the pillow. It has never taken me more than a week to get them to take their nap on their own. Once they have learned that, I do the same at nighttime, with the same results. Your life will become easier at this point, and your child will have learned about obeying in general, not just in regard to bedtime.

I guess what I am saying is that you can and should expect more and more from your children as they get older, but that it does not mean neglecting your babies. Just like you would not expect a young baby to go to the fridge and feed themselves a meal, you can't expect them to settle themselves down when they are upset and wanting to be held, but you can expect that as they get older, smarter, and more independent.

Just my thoughts.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Wasted Vote

by Chuck Baldwin
October 10, 2008
When asked why they will not vote for a third party candidate, many people will respond by saying something like, He cannot win. Or, I don't want to waste my vote. It is true: America has not elected a third party candidate since 1860. Does that automatically mean, however, that every vote cast for one of the two major party candidates is not a wasted vote? I don't think so.

In the first place, a wasted vote is a vote for someone you know does not represent your own beliefs and principles. A wasted vote is a vote for someone you know will not lead the country in the way it should go. A wasted vote is a vote for the lesser of two evils. Or, in the case of John McCain and Barack Obama, what we have is a choice between the evil of two lessers.

Albert Einstein is credited with saying that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. For years now, Republicans and Democrats have been leading the country in the same basic direction: toward bigger and bigger government; more and more socialism, globalism, corporatism, and foreign interventionism; and the dismantling of constitutional liberties. Yet, voters continue to think that they are voting for change when they vote for a Republican or Democrat. This is truly insane.

Take a look at the recent $700 billion Wall Street bailout: both John McCain and Barack Obama endorsed and lobbied for it. Both McCain and Obama will continue to bail out these international banksters on the backs of the American taxpayers. Both McCain and Obama support giving illegal aliens amnesty and a path to citizenship. In the debate this past Tuesday night, both McCain and Obama expressed support for sending U.S. forces around the world for peacekeeping purposes. They also expressed support for sending combat forces against foreign countries even if those countries do not pose a threat to the United States. Neither Obama nor McCain will do anything to stem the tide of a burgeoning police state or a mushrooming New World Order. Both Obama and McCain support NAFTA and similar free trade deals. Neither candidate will do anything to rid America of the Federal Reserve, or work to eliminate the personal income tax, or disband the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Both Obama and McCain support the United Nations. So, pray tell, how is a vote for either McCain or Obama not a wasted vote?

But, back to the he cannot win argument: to vote for John McCain is to vote for a man who cannot win. Yes, I am saying it here and now: John McCain cannot win this election. The handwriting is on the wall. The Fat Lady is singing. It is all over. Finished. John McCain cannot win.

With only three weeks before the election, Barack Obama is pulling away. McCain has already pulled his campaign out of Michigan. In other key battleground states, McCain is slipping fast. He was ahead in Missouri; now it is a toss-up or leaning to Obama. A couple of weeks ago, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida were all leaning towards McCain, or at least toss-up states. Now, they are all leaning to Obama. Even the longtime GOP bellwether state of Indiana is moving toward Obama. In addition, new voter registrations are at an all-time high, and few of them are registering as Republicans. In fact, the Republican Party now claims only around 25% of the electorate, and Independents are increasingly leaning toward Obama.

Ladies and gentlemen, Barack Obama is headed for an electoral landslide victory over John McCain. John McCain can no more beat Barack Obama than Bob Dole could beat Bill Clinton.

I ask, therefore, Are not conservatives and Christians who vote for John McCain guilty of the same thing that they accuse people who vote for third party candidates of doing? Are they not voting for someone who cannot win? Indeed, they are. In fact, conservatives and Christians who vote for John McCain are not only voting for a man who cannot win, they are voting for a man who does not share their own beliefs and principles. If this is not insanity, nothing is.

So, why not (for once in your life, perhaps) cast a vote purely for principle Vote for someone who is truly pro-life. Someone who would quickly secure our nation's borders, and end the invasion of our country by illegal aliens. Someone who would, on his first day in office, release Border Patrol agents Ramos and Compean and fire U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton. Someone who would immediately, upon assuming office, begin leading the charge to dismantle the Federal Reserve, overturn the 16th Amendment, expunge the IRS, and return America to sound money principles. Someone who would get the US out of the UN. Someone who would stop spending billions and trillions of dollars for foreign aid. Someone who would prosecute the Wall Street bankers who defrauded the American people out of billions of dollars. Someone who would work to repeal NAFTA, CAFTA, GATT, the WTO, and stop the NAFTA superhighway. Someone who would say a resounding No to the New World Order. Someone who would stop using our brave men and women in uniform as global cops for the United Nations. Someone who would stop America's global adventurism and interventionism. Someone who would steadfastly support and defend the right of the people to keep and bear arms.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A "First Lady" in sweatpants?!?

Sorry to go off on a political rant this morning. What is up with Michelle Obama and her daughter wearing sweatpants on the campaign trail?!? These pictures were taken yesterday in Washington, so it's not like she has hired an image consultant since then. Is she trying to look trashy to appeal to the type of people who would be stupid enough to vote for her husband? How classy. I wouldn't be caught dead in an outfit like that.

A couple of simple science gigs

Here are a couple of my favorite science experiments for the kids to do on their own while I am busy or need to sneak in a nap:

1. Fireworks in a glass

Fill a clear glass cup or jar with water. Mix about 1/4 cup of vegetable oil with 5-10 drops of several food colors (a couple of quick stirs with a fork is enough). Pour oil mixture on top of water in glass. The oil and food color don't mix, but as soon as a drop of the food color reaches the water, it burst into a streak of color, creating the fireworks effect. Here is a picture of our fireworks once they had been going for a little while:

2. Surface tension of water

Lay out various coins for your child, as well as a cup of water and a dropper (you can use one from a medicine kit, an old supplement bottle, ask for one at your local pharmacy, or buy one in the science section of any school store). Tell your child to guess how many drops of water will fit on each coin, and have them write down their guesses. Then have them try and count, writing down their results, which are VERY surprising! They can then try to see if clean coins fit more drops than dirtier coins, or if one side works better than another, etc. Be sure to provide (paper) towels. You can use this activity as an introduction to a lesson about the surface tension of water and maybe even get a couple of library books on the subject.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Bring the dog, but leave the kids

So I am crazy because I think kids should be in church with their parents, while some churches think it is okay to bring Fido to the service. Go figure.