Sunday, November 16, 2008

What do you feed 9 kids and one adult?

Very early this morning I took Amelia to a local clinic in a hospital to be checked for strep throat.  Luckily she doesn't have it, but everyone in this house is sick and the two of us have it the worst right now.  Amelia is miserable and every day she comes to me and says, "go home, mommy, go home".   I think she's having a tough time in such a busy household after just the two of us in our little, quiet home.  Today she came up to me with my car keys and told me "jacket, mommy"  (she wants me to get my jacket so we can go).  But she is also having a good time with the kids, it's just a little harder for her to share mommy.  

When we came home, all of my nieces and nephews had conspired to make a breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes and sausages.  The dining table was set and they were waiting for us to get home to eat.  It was so cute!  Recipe books were everywhere and the pancakes had a heavy hand with the baking powder, but made delicious with love!  Here are some other things we've made this week:

Italian Sausage Lasagne
Hamburgers (eli made those)
Home made Pizza with home made Pizza Sauce 
Hamburger Helper
Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas
Red Thai Curry Chicken with Brown Rice
Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies
Ice Cream Cones

Christmas Cards for Wounded Military

My mom sent me the following information, and I thought it was a great idea so I am posting it here for anyone who would like to do it.  If anything ever happened to Rafe, I know I would feel so grateful for those who sent cards.

When doing your Christmas cards this year, take
one card and send it to this address. If we pass this on
and everyone sends one card, think of how many cards these
wonderful special people who have sacrificed so much would

When you are making out your Christmas card list
this year, please include the following:

A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue,NW
Washington,D.C. 20307-5001

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Whew! I'm tired.

My brother in law is on a business trip this week.  Since I was headed to Texas anyway, he asked me to come a week early so he could invite my sister to go with him.  So for 8 days, I'm watching 9 kids, ranging in age from  10 months old to 16 years old.   Her oldest (18) came home this weekend to give a hand with the running around and dropping kids off at events.

I'm on Day 6!  Two more days to go.  6 baths (f0r the ones who can't bathe alone or bathe themselves), 30 meals, 2 dishwasher loads and 1 trash run DAILY.  And I'm barely covering the stuff my sister normally does.  I don't know how she does it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I think Amelia can spell!

Tonight I went to the grocery store and we parked the van and all my nieces got out except for Amelia.  I was unbuckling Amelia and she started talking, gazing out the van door, saying numbers and letters slowly.  I thought it was kind of odd - she said the number 7, then R, then O, then W.  

I looked up to gather the girls... We had parked next to a sign that said ROW 7.  

I had no idea she was actually spelling something purposefully until I looked up and saw the sign!

Someone with a 2 year old will have to tell me if that's normal or not.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Bon Voyage!

Tomorrow we're off on a trip for the holidays and won't be back until the end of December. We're traveling to Dallas, Denton, Kansas City, the Ozarks and Colorado before coming back home. I'll be checking email about once a week and my voicemail goes straight to my email while I'm gone, so I can still receive messages.

Happy Holidays!

Back to our regularly scheduled programming

Amelia gets extraordinarily excited at seeing the moon and stars; but especially the moon. She will squeal with delight every time she sees it, and looks for it in the daytime too (which she often finds it hanging in the sky this time of year). Every time she will yell, "MOON, Mommy! Da MOON!!" and giggle and laugh.

Every time she does this, she reminds me of Rafe, who loves the moon and the stars and the sky. I can so see the two of them outside at night someday looking up at the sky with a telescope and chatting about the moon and stars. He was the first one to show her the stars. When Rafe came home the first time after she was born, he took her around the back yard and went to everything he saw and pointed it out to her and let her touch it. Trees, leaves, grass, you name it, they did it. I can hardly wait until he is home with us again full time.

I really want to move on

but I can't seem to get over the fact that Americans had a chance to elect the equivalent of a well balanced, nutritious gourmet meal and instead they settled for fast food. Temporarily satisfying, but terrible for you in the long run and doesn't meet your real needs.

I'm especially sick of hearing how excited the world is and how it proves we're a democracy. As if it would prove we weren't if we elected a president you wouldn't approve of? Give me a break. Leaders are rarely popular. They are respected. Iraqis are thrilled Obama is president, as they told my husband. They were quite excited about it right up until the moment he told them it meant the Americans were all leaving the country. We aren't leading the world, we're leading the US.

Oh wait. Unless... you want someone to lead the world. One world leader....

I heard Vicente Fox on the radio talking about how interested he is in the commitments the US will make to Mexico, and that will determine how good Obama is as president (paraphrase). You've GOT to be kidding me. Yes, he said that with all seriousness. Vincente Fox needs to commit to his own country and create a place that no one wants to leave. It's not up to us to bail out Mexico.

Ack. I'm so sick of people talking about Obama like he's the savior of the world. Oh wait... Unless... you want someone to lead the world. One world leader....

As an FYI, Barack in Arabic means "winged horse". There's significance in that, for those who care to find out.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Text of McCain's Speech - a true leader

transcribed by CQ Transcriptions:
MCCAIN: Thank you. Thank you, my friends. Thank you for coming here on this beautiful Arizona evening.

My friends, we have — we have come to the end of a long journey. The American people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly.
A little while ago, I had the honor of calling Senator Barack Obama to congratulate him.
To congratulate him on being elected the next president of the country that we both love.
In a contest as long and difficult as this campaign has been, his success alone commands my respect for his ability and perseverance. But that he managed to do so by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans who had once wrongly believed that they had little at stake or little influence in the election of an American president is something I deeply admire and commend him for achieving.
This is an historic election, and I recognize the special significance it has for African-Americans and for the special pride that must be theirs tonight.
I've always believed that America offers opportunities to all who have the industry and will to seize it. Senator Obama believes that, too.
But we both recognize that, though we have come a long way from the old injustices that once stained our nation's reputation and denied some Americans the full blessings of American citizenship, the memory of them still had the power to wound.
A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt's invitation of Booker T. Washington to dine at the White House was taken as an outrage in many quarters.
America today is a world away from the cruel and frightful bigotry of that time. There is no better evidence of this than the election of an African-American to the presidency of the United States.
Let there be no reason now ... Let there be no reason now for any American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this, the greatest nation on Earth.
Senator Obama has achieved a great thing for himself and for his country. I applaud him for it, and offer him my sincere sympathy that his beloved grandmother did not live to see this day. Though our faith assures us she is at rest in the presence of her creator and so very proud of the good man she helped raise.
Senator Obama and I have had and argued our differences, and he has prevailed. No doubt many of those differences remain.
These are difficult times for our country. And I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face.
I urge all Americans ... I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.
Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans. And please believe me when I say no association has ever meant more to me than that.
It is natural. It's natural, tonight, to feel some disappointment. But tomorrow, we must move beyond it and work together to get our country moving again.
We fought — we fought as hard as we could. And though we feel short, the failure is mine, not yours.
MCCAIN: I am so...
MCCAIN: I am so deeply grateful to all of you for the great honor of your support and for all you have done for me. I wish the outcome had been different, my friends.
MCCAIN: The road was a difficult one from the outset, but your support and friendship never wavered. I cannot adequately express how deeply indebted I am to you.
I'm especially grateful to my wife, Cindy, my children, my dear mother ... my dear mother and all my family, and to the many old and dear friends who have stood by my side through the many ups and downs of this long campaign.
I have always been a fortunate man, and never more so for the love and encouragement you have given me.
You know, campaigns are often harder on a candidate's family than on the candidate, and that's been true in this campaign.
All I can offer in compensation is my love and gratitude and the promise of more peaceful years ahead.
I am also — I am also, of course, very thankful to Governor Sarah Palin, one of the best campaigners I've ever seen ... one of the best campaigners I have ever seen, and an impressive new voice in our party for reform and the principles that have always been our greatest strength ... her husband Todd and their five beautiful children ... for their tireless dedication to our cause, and the courage and grace they showed in the rough and tumble of a presidential campaign.
We can all look forward with great interest to her future service to Alaska, the Republican Party and our country.
To all my campaign comrades, from Rick Davis and Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter, to every last volunteer who fought so hard and valiantly, month after month, in what at times seemed to be the most challenged campaign in modern times, thank you so much. A lost election will never mean more to me than the privilege of your faith and friendship.
I don't know — I don't know what more we could have done to try to win this election. I'll leave that to others to determine. Every candidate makes mistakes, and I'm sure I made my share of them. But I won't spend a moment of the future regretting what might have been.
This campaign was and will remain the great honor of my life, and my heart is filled with nothing but gratitude for the experience and to the American people for giving me a fair hearing before deciding that Senator Obama and my old friend Senator Joe Biden should have the honor of leading us for the next four years.
Please. Please.
I would not — I would not be an American worthy of the name should I regret a fate that has allowed me the extraordinary privilege of serving this country for a half a century.
Today, I was a candidate for the highest office in the country I love so much. And tonight, I remain her servant. That is blessing enough for anyone, and I thank the people of Arizona for it.
MCCAIN: Tonight — tonight, more than any night, I hold in my heart nothing but love for this country and for all its citizens, whether they supported me or Senator Obama — whether they supported me or Senator Obama.
I wish Godspeed to the man who was my former opponent and will be my president. And I call on all Americans, as I have often in this campaign, to not despair of our present difficulties, but to believe, always, in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here.
Americans never quit. We never surrender.
We never hide from history. We make history.
Thank you, and God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you all very much.

Already making excuses

"American People... we may not get there in one year or one term... but I've never been more hopeful... than I am tonight" -President Elect No Security Clearance Obama

An example of the quality of people voting for Obama

"Are you happy that Obama won the election?
If not, you need to get your ignorant, naive, racist head our of your A-S-S. Did you really think McCain had a chance after picking such an idiot of a VP. Imagine if McCain had won and died tommorrow. Palin would be our next president. Do you have stronger word for UNDER-QUALIFIED. Besides that do you really think McCain couldve brought the change this country needed? Atleast my faith in Americas democracy is restored knowing that the BETTER candidate has won. CONGRATS OBAMA/BIDEN"
(From a very enthusiastic Obama supporter on Yahoo)

My response to the writer:
First of all, no, I am not happy Obama won.

Second of all, if you are an indication of what we're in for with an Obama presidency, then I can say with all certainty that we're in big trouble. Your first sentence, accusing anyone who voted against Obama of racism is about as ridiculous as me assuming you're black because you voted for Obama. Just because someone doesn't agree with someone else does NOT make them a racist. It makes them human beings with different view points.

I didn't vote for Obama because I felt he didn't have enough experience. I remember what it felt like to be 20, 30, 40... and the older I got, the wiser I became. He has FOUR YEARS EXPERIENCE for the most important job in the United States. That isn't comforting to me. I would much rather have an unqualified Vice President with no experience than an unqualified President with no experience. Where's your logic in that argument?

McCain will lead the largest military in the world, and I have long advocated a president who actually served this country and his children served. He kept campaign promises concerning funding where Obama didn't (can you say INTEGRITY VIOLATOR?). Obama can't get a security clearance yet he's going to have access to the most important documents in the world. He openly campaigned for Odinga, then refuted it (never mind the video documentation). He supports live birth abortions. He wants to share the wealth, instead of having people save their money and take care of themselves.

If you don't think McCain could bring about change, then you haven't done your homework. You haven't watched his record the past 20 years of reaching across party lines and voting his conscience, even when it went against his own party. You haven't noticed that he warned about, and introduced legislation to help protect against, the current economic crisis years ago. You haven't connected the dots backwards enough to realize that it was the Democratic party who legislated the policies that created the current economic crisis.

Your faith in American democracy apparently rests ONLY IN THE FACT THAT THE CANDIDATE YOU LIKED WON. Apparently it had nothing to do with the long lines - peaceful - at the polls. Without harassment, gunfire, and bloody bodies as in other countries that attempt democracy. Nothing to do with the fact that even though the rank and file of the military do not want Obama as their president, they will not attempt a coup, but instead follow the law. Nothing to do with the fact that although Obama didn't care enough to try and get overseas military votes counted because of a glitch in Virginia and McCain did, the military still followed the chain of command set up in a democracy and didn't rise up?

You are the ignorant one, and I mean that in the most uneducated sense of the word. I pity you, and I hope you finally know as much in 20 years as you think you know now.

So Sad

I will admit I cried this morning, listening to McCain's gracious concession speech online. While I was bracing myself for Obama to win; I was unprepared for how shocked and disappointed I felt when he did.

We lost a great opportunity by turning down the chance to have President McCain in the White House. Other countries are celebrating tonight; and many Americans will take that as a good sign. I don't.

Leadership, true leadership, has never been a popularity contest, especially by those who aren't willing to themselves lead in the world.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Military outrage - Obama silent

Rafe called today and we were able to talk for quite some time about everything. Normal things... like the playdate we had today at our house and how we ended it with praying for our country and our future president (whomever it may be) and God's will, the kids cooking class I did yesterday, making pizza when he comes home, and voting, among other things. It's one of the things I miss most. We are both passionate about the same things, and as much as our temperments are different, the way we think is very similar. He's a lot better at expressing himself than I am, especially in written form.

At the time he called, there was a ruling that Virginia wasn't going to count military votes that were from overseas. McCain's campaign had requested a change and to hold and count ballots up until November 14th. Rafe was really and truly outraged and disgusted that the country wouldn't support the very military that was created to protect them enough to even count their votes. Virginia has a large military presence, so the votes could be significant in the outcome of the presidential race. By the way, he's also outraged that Obama can't get a security clearance but might run the country. As an Intel guy, he knows that you can do some pretty crazy things and still get clearance. You don't have to be perfect. So he's pretty sure that the security investigation uncovered some major violations for him to not get a clearance.

My question is - If Obama wins, what do they tell the military personnel who are denied clearance for far less grievous offenses? "Sorry, there's one standard for the Commander in Chief and another one for you. He doesn't have security clearance but he will be allowed access to the most important documents in the United States, and we're hoping you don't notice the whole ethics and integrity violation thing. And don't even bother asking us about that whole leadership thing they teach you in boot camp. ITS THE CHANGE YOU VOTED FOR - double standards!"

I would bet that if it becomes the deciding factor (as in Obama wins now, but the extra votes give it to McCain) we will never hear the end of conspiracy theories, charges of racism and vote rigging. Sometimes I feel sorry for McCain, even if he wins he will face a lot of opposition from people who just want to be contrary to prove their candidate should have won.

That's ok. He's faced worse and lived to do bigger and better things.
But where is obama? Isn't Michelle Obama's supposed "cause" the military family and spouse? Why aren't they helping these ballots get counted?

What? You don't see them?

That's because they aren't doing anything. That's because most military families are voting McCain. So out of SELF PRESERVATION, they are quiet on this issue.


But now, I have good news for him... at least they are delaying that decision to give enough time to review it.
"Breaking right now is a decision from a federal judge in Virginia that absentee military ballots in the Old Dominion must be preserved until a court hearing on the ballots' legitimacy can be held on November 10th. The campaign of Sen. John McCain filed suit in federal district court in Virginia yesterday seeking to compel county boards of election across the state to count absentee ballots from military members serving overseas. At least one Virginia county, Fairfax County in Northern Virginia, has been refusing to count military absentee ballots, claiming that the ballots required an address of a witness to be considered valid.

But the ballots in question are federally mandated ballots provided for by the Uniform and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Rights Act of 1986. The federal ballot does not require a witness address on the form. A separate Virginia statute requires residents of the state to provide a witness address when using a federal absentee ballot form.

The judge's ruling could throw the whole election into doubt, if the results tonight are close. Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama have been battling hard to win Virginia, and the state could come down to a few thousand votes on either side. Virginia's large military population makes those absentee military ballots potentially significant. In the event that the election outcome turns on a single state, the results may not be known until the hearing in federal court next week.

Update: The McCain campaign issued the following statement in the wake of the court's ruling.
"We are pleased that the judge has ruled to preserve the ballots cast by our men and women in uniform currently serving overseas. This will help to ensure that local election officials do not destroy or dispose of these ballots before the court has had an opportunity to rule on our complaint. The McCain-Palin campaign strongly believes that no military ballot should be discarded as a result of a failure on the part of several counties and independent cities to mail ballots to service members in a timely manner. We believe without exception that the servicemen and women on the front lines protecting our freedoms deserve every opportunity to make sure their vote counts."

Monday, November 3, 2008

My favorite gourmet

Me: Did you like your yams?
Mia: Lishus, Mommy!

Me: What are you doing?
Mia: 'tirring (she was stirring black beans and corn together)
Me: Why are you doing that?
Mia: Bedder, Mommy!

Mia: What do-in, Mommy?
Me: I'm making pizza.
Mia: I HEP! I HEP! (as she's dragging a short stepladder over to the counter)

In Two Days, It will All be Over

But in the meantime....

A Democrat's argument against Obama (video)

Obama refuses to answer questions from now until AFTER the election. (I guess he doesn't want to accidentally say something truthful)

I wish I had seen this a LONG time ago

I would have sent it to everyone I know. It's slow starting, but about 2:35 you will find yourself cheering. It gets better and better. I hope this guy runs for office someday; I'd vote for him.

Everything I wished I was smart enough to think of saying first

darnit, I can't get the correct link. As soon as I find it, I'll post it.

***FIXED IT! Check it out and tell me what you think.

The Ten Cannots

In 1916, a minister and outspoken advocate for liberty, William J. H. Boetcker, published a pamphlet entitled The Ten Cannots .

“You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away man’s initiative and independence.
You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they will not do for themselves.”

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Wondering what to do about Christmas?

Consider giving clean water.

The Advent ConspiracyLink

President McCain!!!

I'm just practicing for Wednesday. :)

When Rafe was stationed in Pensacola, we went to the military air museum on Pensacola Air Station. In the back, sort of tucked away, was a remarkable exhibit. McCain had donated items from his personal experiences with the War. It was not the first time I'd heard of Senator McCain, but it was the first I'd ever seen of his time in Vietnam. The story was all laid out by the curators of what he went through, with video footage from that era showing on the screen. I was impressed by the fact that it was the first I'd heard of it - he did not use his experience for political reasons to beat his opponents at the time. Ever since that time, I've followed his career and become even more impressed by his willingness to cross party lines to get things done and to go against his own party if the right answer wasn't with them. In general, as you look back at all his concerns and decisions, they have proved to be the right path we did or should have taken. That's why I voted for him. No one man is perfect and everyone will make mistakes. But his mistakes have been far fewer and far less devastating than most. And when he realizes there is a better option, after he's been educated he will usually change his mind and not worry about opinion polls.

I loved this guys argument for McCain. Something in particular struck me and I'll highlight it below.

Sen. McCain is a true American hero. In a time when the meaning of words like courage, sacrifice, honor, and heroism are being defined downward, John McCain exemplifies the true nature of each. Everybody knows by now that McCain spent over five years as a prisoner of war in a North Vietnamese prison camp; during which time he was brutally tortured, leaving him severely physically limited to this day. But fewer realize that almost none of it was necessary and all of it was practically voluntary. After nearly being killed in a devastating fire aboard the U.S.S. Forrestal, during which McCain displayed great heroism in rescuing another pilot pinned down by the flames, McCain turned down a chance for rest and recovery and volunteered to fly missions from another undermanned ship. Not long afterward, he was shot down on a bombing run over Hanoi, one of the most dangerous sorties flown in the Vietnam War. The North Vietnamese soon learned that McCain was the son of a high-level U.S. admiral, and they offered him early release. It would have been a propaganda coup for the North as well as a blow to the morale of the remaining P.O.W.s. McCain, badly injured in the crash and nearly dead from maltreatment at the hands of his captors, refused. He chose to adhere to the honor code that said the first captured would be the first released. It was after McCain snubbed the North Vietnamese that his torture became much, much worse. It was a display of physical and mental courage, dedication to duty, and commitment to a personal code of honor that is rarely seen. And despite protests from some on the left, it is absolutely a qualification for president.

If someone were to ever ask me how I think my own husband would react in a similar situation, I would say exactly as McCain did. I have seen him already make those decisions to a lesser degree and I know in a more difficult and painful circumstance, he would do the same. I know what kind of man my husband is, warts and all, and I respect him more than anyone I know. And if John McCain is even 1/10th the man my husband is, then we would be better off with him leading the country.