Thursday, December 31, 2009

Breastfeeding by the Numbers

I found the below graph interesting. While everyone has different reasons for or against (and for when to stop) breastfeeding, it is informative to see the raw statistics in the United States. From personal experience, I can say that breastfeeding, like many eating choices, easily becomes a lifestyle. I count it as a significant blessing for our family.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Girls

My girls: Where would I be without them? Yes, estrogen flows without restraint throughout the house. But, that's a welcome thing since my girls are also the ones who provide me with such joy, love, and laughter. Each has grown and matured in her own way throughout the past year and my relationship--unique and special--with each of them continues to evolve and augment with time. One of my greatest joys is being able to provide for you and offer the gift of myself. I love watching you interact. I love seeing the little girls play together. I love seeing the facial expressions and antics that they come up with. I love to see you, Mares, being silly with them--all too frequently the head hoodlum in the ruckus. The love between you is so strong. I can only hope and pray that these relationships continue to grow. It would be unrealistic to hope that we, our relationships, and our circumstances remain the same, since they inevitably will not. Life is ever changing around us. Nevertheless, I hope that we can all grow together. While there are always doubts about the future, I know I never need doubt your love. The fact that we'll weather the future together as a family is of great solace and assurance to me.

All too often, I feel like words fail to capture or express the emotions I have. Words--no matter how well chosen or eloquently spoken--fall short of relaying to you all the true love and devotion I have for you. Sometimes, I will hold you, Madge and Pita, in my arms and look at you in the eyes and say, "do you have any idea how much I love you?" I don't know much you understand or how much my words convey. I hope, however, that this message can be read from looking at my eyes (all too often moist these days from the joy of having you) and from my actions of service to you. It could be a simple thing like going down to the kitchen one more time for an ice cube for your water before you go to bed, Madge. It could be climbing the stairs with you on my back ad nauseam, Peach. Either way, I hope that the message gets across to you loud and clear: you are loved, you are safe, you are secure, you needn't worry, Daddywads is here. As for you, Mares, I know that you understand my words, but I still feel like they're inadequate. I guess all I can do is keep bringing you bottles of water and tickling you to show you my love. You can also look forward to more bunion massages, head massages, extra pillows at night, and a listening hubby when you feel huffy. (Not that that ever happens.)

Thank you for all the joy and love you give me. I doubt I will ever truly appreciate you for the gift that each of you is to me but I will surely live and die trying. I love you.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Little Princess

A couple funny princess stories. As a general rule, we try to avoid all things princess since I believe that the princess concept engenders sentiments of entitlement, wimpiness, and a distorted vision of the world around us ("happily ever after"...not in this world!). That's not to say that we in any way discourage pretending or dress-up--something we really do enjoy and encourage. But, princess, um, no. (On the flip side, parents can use the princess image to encourage positive behavior such as gentility, proper manners, grace, etc. Undoubtedly there are sociology and psychology books dedicated to the topic somewhere.) That being said, below are two Madge princess stories:
  1. A couple weeks ago, Madge told me, "Dad, my name is Maddy. But, you can call me 'princess' if you want to.'" I said, "Thanks, Madge. I'll note that." Not going to be happening soon, but nice to know I have her lady's leave to address her as such.
  2. Two days ago, Madge said, "Dad, my name is Madge, I'm a girl, I'm three, and I'm a princess." Okay, Madge. I got the memo!

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Simple Pleasures of Life

I am just about to sit down to finish up some Christmas cards. Beside me I will have my beautiful Canadian candle, given to me by my new friend Meghann a couple of days ago; the smell of its aroma; pine branches; sweet and tangy oranges; and a cup of hot tea on my new little hand-sewn coaster (very girly:) made by another person, a new friend, who at this point, remains anonymous. The only thing I know, which was the best part of the gift, was that she made it for me while praying a Hail Mary for me. So, amidst the glow of my beautiful candle and the taste of hot tea, I will have Our Lady there too, helping me to do a better job as a wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Interesting Graph

From American Thinker:

Source: 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005. (ACT apparently stopped reporting separate homeschool results starting in 2006.)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

(Belated Post) Photos from Our Visit to Michigan

(Belated Post) Photos from Our Visit to Seattle

(Belated Post) Beeba and Uncle Joe Visit to Help Us Move

A couple months belated, but want to share the photos from our time together...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Crafty Crank

Dear Madge,

Mom is currently putting you to bed. We had just taken showers and got dressed for bed, followed by a book and yogurt in the kitchen. It was past 7:30pm. You were a crabby butt. You had three tantrums within a 20 minute time span. Boy, sometimes you can test our patience! But, you also made me laugh. One of your tantrums occurred because you wanted Mom to put your pajamas on you. Since Mom was putting Pita to bed, she was unable to put your clothes on and I carried out the task. You settled down after a few minutes as we read your book and slurped yogurt. However, when Mom came down the stairs (Pita already asleep--woohoo), you started to cry and request that I take off your pajamas so that Mom could dress you. I looked you in the eyes and said, "Madge, the pajama conversation is over. We are not going to talk any more about pajamas. Do you understand? If you do, there will be no more book or yogurt." You paused, then began a new plea, "Dad, I want Mommy to put something on me." I gave you the look. "Dad, I said something, I didn't say pajamas!" All true, but.... Needless to say, I had to refine the small print of the discipline contract.

I hope, dearest Madge, that when you read this twenty years from now, you'll be able to look back with fondness on all these memories of our time together. We're working our very best with you now to provide you with the discipline you need. Even more important than the formation of the intellect is the formation of the will. I hope that we can help you tame that little ole will of yours (unfortunately blighted by bloody original sin). If successful, that will be our greatest gift to you.

We love you now and for always,

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sweet 17

My Dear Little Guadalupe,

Happy 17 Month Birthday, Peach! Today you have officially been in the outside world with us for seventeen months. We have already formed so many wonderful memories with you. You have impacted in our lives in ways that one couldn't even begin to fathom. Personally, I can't imagine life without you. You're quite the little character. You've always seemed wiser than your age. Even now, you seem so aware of everything going on. You interact with us so much, even though you lack the words. (Mom told me that just this morning, when she asked who wanted to walk to feed the ducks at the river, you raised your little hand and said "eee".) You run around the house non-stop and babble in equal measure. My favorite part of the day is invariably returning home after a day at the office. You and your sister are always there, waiting at the door, with exultant faces and armed with hugs and kisses.

I love you, Peach. Thanks for all the love and joy that you have brought to our family, to our life. I enjoy every moment with you and look forward to the rest of our lives together. Never forget how much I love you. Thanks also for keeping your mother and me on our toes: you're so busy that we're constantly chasing you around!

the Dad who loves you soooo much

Monday, November 30, 2009

Confessional Confessions

This evening we went to confession. We figured it would be a nice start to Advent and the liturgical year. It is always an adventure to go to confession with the girls. We try to do the "hand-off" as we switch turns in the confessional.

I fondly two remember ironic confession stories: one at the National Shrine in DC and one at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Honolulu.

At the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in DC, there is frequently confession before Mass. One afternoon, Mares and I were going to confession together (pre-marriage days). There are four confessionals located in each of the four corners of the confessional side chapel, off the side of the crypt church. Typically two lines form, one on each side of the chapel, that feed into the two confessionals on the respective side. On this fine day, there was only one active confessional, the two lines basically blended into one, since they were all feeding into just the one confessional. Little by little, Mares and I pass from the line on one side to the line on the other. We're getting closer. The clock is ticking...15 minutes before Mass begins. The line continues to grow behind us. A second and third confessional open up. Woohoo. The line moves a bit faster. A lady (a confessional crusader) who was near the back of the line decided to reform the line situation. She announced out loud to everyone in the chapel that now one line would go to the two active confessionals (on her side) and the other line would go to the other confessional. She justified her fiat command by saying that she was trying to make Mass. I imagine that everyone in the group was trying to make Mass. Either way, the line continued to flow just the way it had before, even after her announcement. She was visibly huffy in the aftermath. We fortunately made it to confession and to Mass. Moral of the story: tread cautiously when trying to upset confessional etiquette.

At Sts. Peter and Paul (located in the center of Honolulu--near our favorite Hawaii mall, the wonderful Ala Moana), confession was start at 4:30pm before the 5pm Saturday vigil Mass. We arrived with Madge in the stroller around 4:20 for confession. There were people scattered throughout the church, but no one was standing in the confessional line. We prayed for a few minutes at a random pew. Still no one had begun forming a queue for confession. I looked at Mare, and, shrugging my shoulders, headed over to stand alone by the confessional. It must have been a classic case of human game theory. As soon as others saw me in line, everyone from around the church made a beeline to the queue. Within a minute, there was a line of 30 people. I felt some people behind me staring daggers. To their justification, they may have been there 2o minutes before me, but what was I to do! No one had made a line! We made it to confession that day, fortunately. Unfortunately, not everyone made it before the confessions had to stop for Mass. Moral of the story: confessional etiquette is important, but don't be afraid to start the line. Otherwise, you may miss the boat.

These stories take us to last night. A line had formed behind the English confessional, but there was no priest. As there was no line at the Spanish confessional, I decided to go in Spanish. I am glad I did, since an English-speaking priest never showed. Moral of the story: talking about your sins in confession in another language can be different, but God's pardon is always there. I hope he rewards us for our flexibility. :)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Post-Thanksgiving Commute

I am thankful to God for my post-Thanksgiving commute. Door-to-door commute time today (while catching a slug) was 20 minutes. I can't beat that! If only traffic were like today every day!

PS. Hopefully post and pics to follow on wonderful Thanksgiving celebration.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Was I?

The other day when Maddy and I were talking in the kitchen, she was telling me that sometimes she says "No!" So, I told her that she doesn't say it much, and when she does it's not yucky sounding (like the way she was explaining). She went on to explain how she was as a baby. I told her that she was a very good baby, and that I used to think that the baby we had after Maddy would have to be harder because Maddy was so easy. I said, "You were a good baby, Madge," and she scrunched up her face and said, "Was I?" Yes you were, and yes, you are a wonderful little girl!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

King of kings and Lord of lords

.. Glory, hallelujah!


Christ Jesus, I acknowledge You King of the universe.
All that has been created has been made for You.
Make full use of Your rights over me.

I renew the promises I made in Baptism,
when I renounced Satan and all his pomps and works,
and I promise to live a good Christian life
and to do all in my power
to procure the triumph of the rights of God
and Your Church.

Divine Heart of Jesus,
I offer you my efforts
in order to obtain that all hearts
may acknowledge your Sacred Royalty,
and that thus the Kingdom of Your peace
may be established throughout the universe.

(Taken from:

Friday, November 20, 2009

Similarities and Differences

Madge Story: The other night at dinner, Maddy had a little chill and realized that her hairs were standing on end. At the sight of her little peachy strands, she grew quite excited, much to my surprise. She exclaimed: Dad, I have hair on my arms just like you! I congratulated her and provided affirmation for her discovery. I was confused about why she got so excited. It hit me yesterday (when I took her out on a little date) that people, little kids included, are always looking for commonalities or connections with those around them. A tried and true parenting cliche is that the child can do such and such when they get older. I became so accustomed to discussing the differences between adults and children that I forgot to recognize the similarities. Thank God that little kids are able to remember the similarities that bind us together. Thank God for hair on our arms...both on daddies and on little girls.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What Would I Do If I Were a Widower?

Answer: I don't know. But I'm sure extreme (to the 1000th power) sorrow, depression, and angst would be some initial emotions.

Last night in our Men's-Father's Group at church, Fr. Smith related that he met with a 28-year old man who lost his wife this year. This type of story (and other stories like parents losing their children) tends to resonate quite strongly for me. While cognizant of the fact that God can take any of us at any time, I realize how frequently I take Mary for granted. We have so much together that I have no clue what I would do if she were taken from me.

Mares, you truly are my inspiration and compass! As I rode the bus into work this morning, I played out in my mind the scenario of coming home to an empty house. These imaginary exercises help me appreciate all the more the many gifts that God's given me. You and the girls provide so much meaning, joy, and peace to my life. I thank God for giving me you: to have, to hold, to love, to grow old with, to bring forth and educate little ones, to laugh with, to live with. Until... Oh, that until. Death is a difficult reality when it strikes one's better half. I can't predict when that will happen, or if I'll be around when it does, or how I'll feel. I can say that I will take advantage of my every moment with you. I will thank God for every new day that I have to spend with you. I love you, Mares. I am who I am today thanks to you. I appreciate you.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

You are My Sweets

Madge, You have done the sweetest things (and said the funniest things) that I want to write here to look back on in the future. We were doing school today and talking about the 5 senses. When we got to the hands and reasons why we use them, you kept jumping into my lap and hugging me around my neck. Yep, that is one good reason to love the sense of touch! I love you.

One day when you were coming out of the sniffles after we had quick changes of weather and allergy-recipe-like-weather, you said to me, "Mom, you can kiss me on my lips now. I'm not sick anymore." I love you, Madge, and I don't think anything could keep me from giving you a little smooch on those pretty little lips.

You have such a sensitive nature, a beautiful thing to be thankful for. You have had the desire from such a young age to come and tell me when things are not ok, i.e. if you did something you think you should not have, etc. So, one day after you had been at "Bekah's" you sat in the kitchen and talked, and talked to me about your day. Then, you said, "Mom? Today I didn't use a tissue to blow my nose." I asked, "What did you use then?" You responded, "My sleeve. Bekah said she didn't have any tissues." Ahh, your innocence and candor. I love you. Never lose your sensitive nature. It will serve you well, especially in the way that you are so compassionate and empathetic to others. We love you dearly, Madge.

Tonight as I was bouncing Pita to sleep, I saw you walk through the door in your jammies. Dad had already put you to bed, and you were waiting for me to come into bounce you and sing to you, our nightly routine. But, as you walked into the bedroom, you said, "Mom, bounce me." How can I resist your little desires of service. I will treasure forever these moments of ours together when you sit in my arms and I sing you songs, like, "You Have Come to My Heart Dearest Jesus." You sweet head lies gently on my shoulder and your little lips and face shine upwards towards mine. You are my love, sweet girl.

This morning you woke up and were whimpering that you wanted to be a baby again like your little baby sister, Pita. I began telling you that we all change from babies and grow, just like acorns have to change and grow in order to become beautiful trees. Still, that was not enough and you wanted to me in someone's tummy. So, how did we compromise? You climbed under my big sweatshirt and laid there for 5-10 minutes, and I just talked to you just like I used to when you really were growing inside me. I sat there and soaked in the moment as I realized how much you understood of what I was saying to you, and you were that same little person in my tummy 4 years ago. Thank you for being my baby. I will love you for always.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Couple Other Favorite Pics from Yesterday


Yesterday afternoon we had a fun time with our friends Tom & Rebekah, Austin & Leticia, and all their kids. We got together for our annual Christmas family photo shoot. You'll have to stay tuned for our family pic, but here is a precious photo of our precious Pita. Any comment I might provide would detract from the picture and its message: Guadalupe.

Friday, November 13, 2009

...hear me roar

Yes, we are women, and we do have a voice. The question is: who is really listening?Do you really want to hear? Read this.
To my dear husband,
I sat and watched you last night as you sorted, like the only person I know who does, your jelly beans... For as long as I have known you you have done this little thing... color-coordinate the little beans before eating them. It is one of the little things I love about you. I appreciate you more than I say. I thank you for all that you are and continue to be in my life. I love you, because...

Song: Because

(D'Hardelot / Teschemacher)

Because you came to me with naught save love
And hold my hand and lift my eyes above
A wider world of hope and joy I see
Because you came to me.

Because you speak to me in accents sweet
I find the roses waking 'round my feet
And I am led through tears and joy to thee
Because you speak to me

Because God made you mind I'll cherish you, love
Through light and darkness through all time to be
And pray His love will make our love divine
Because God made you mine.

Heaven is Having You

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

(Refrain:) It is well (it is well),
with my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pain shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

And Lord haste the day, when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Dear Madge,
It was All Saints' night, and as I placed you in your bed I told you that Jesus would be so proud of you. Soon after that comment, you and I had a long chat about heaven. I had run downstairs to get you some ice for your water. When I came back up you were in tears and were trying to tell me that you were calling for me, but I didn't answer (since I was downstairs.) You then went on to say:

"Mom, I was trying to tell you that at church today I told Dad that I am going to Heaven.
I am going to fly to Heaven, and I am going to leave you. I will ask Jesus if He has any little crosses to carry. First I'll be five." As I sat there, mesmerized at how cohesive your thoughts were, I stared at your little eyes that seemed to reassure me that all was well and that you really were excited to go to Heaven. Madge, I was just lost in your gaze, your sweet and peaceful eyes. As my eyes began to tear up, you showed me how you would fly to heaven. You said, "Mom, I'll wear my skirt and my wings." Then, you began to run around your room as is you were flying to heaven. You even showed me how I can get to heave by moving my hands. (A few weeks before you told me that I could borrow your wings so that I could make it there.) But, you told me that you will come back, you said, "Mom, I'll come back." I said, "Here?" You said, "Yes, here." I said, "Madge, you have to pray for me when you go there." You then asked, "So you don't fall, Mom?" "Yes," I responded, "so I don't fall." Your eyes welled with tears. You told me that you would miss me when you left, and then you said, "Mom, you have to help me and give me a little lift." I said, "I will give you a little boost." You asked, "What's a boost?" You told me that you would get on a plane, a little plane, because Jesus will be a little baby, so tiny. You said that you were going to give Jesus a big hug and showed me how He would smile. At the end of our conversation you began pointing to various spots in your room where Jesus is.You are so right, Madge; He is there, here, and everywhere. How often I miss Him in the most basic of spots, because I am looking too hard when He is right before me in your eyes, in Daddy's, and Pita's, in the crosses of life, in the happy and difficult times. I love you, Sweet Girl. I have no doubt that God has big plans for you, His beloved daughter, who as a baby used to gaze at the picture of the Holy Family above our bed in Hawaii and just coo. No doubt He was talking to you then as He does now. Maye Jesus always be in your heart and on your mind no matter where you go or where you are called. As I came down from your room that night I couldn't help but let my eyes fill. I hugged Daddy and cried, happy tears. How blessed I feel to know that the first place you would want to go is to heaven. There, I know, all is well. A few days later when we were saying morning prayers you looked up at the crucifix and said, "I'm coming to Heaven, okay, Jesus?"

When peace like a river attendeth my way; When sorrows like sea billows roll, Whatever my lot Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul. ~ Horatio Spafford

Thursday, November 12, 2009

To My Dear Little Ones

Dearest Madge,

You're the sweetest little girl! This evening at dinner, you hopped from your chair onto mine and climbed up onto my shoulders. You whispered into my ears, "Dad, can we play together after dinner?" I replied, "sure, as long as you promise to be my little girl forever." Then you smiled and uttered, "I'll always be your girlie, Dad." (Note to self: Caleb, read this blog post thirteen years from now.) You were a cuddler this evening and had me carry you throughout the house. Thanks for being my girl. I love you. You're such a good big sister. After dinner, you were carrying Pita around the kitchen. At one point, you accidentally hit her head on the cabinets. I don't think Pita even noticed, but you immediately began consoling her with "it's okay, my baby; it's okay, my baby sister." You are very considerate of those around you. At the end of the day, when I asked you what your ONE favorite part of the day was, you replied just like your mom would have. "Dad, I don't have just one favorite part of the day, I have three." I love you, Madge Pie.


To My Sweet Little Guadalupe,
My favorite part of the day yesterday was arriving home. The rain pummeled against my umbrella as I trudged from the bus stop to our home. As I walked up the porch, I saw you through the screen door as you ran around the house. As soon as you saw me, the biggest smile came to your face and your ran to give me the tightest of hugs. You're too cute! Just thinking of you brings tears to my eyes! Whatever little sacrifices come with parenting pale in comparison to the rewards I receive on a daily basis. You give great big kisses. Needless to say, you made my day when I got home. Now I have one more reason to look forward to coming home. Never forget how much your Mom and I love you. Last night as I went to bed, I found that you had come over to snuggle up next to me. I found your little head close to my chest. Mom always says it, but it's true, your baby breath is the best. Keep up the good work. Just slow down on the climbing, okay?


Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009

Photos from the National Air and Space Museum

The first time I took Madge to the Air and Space Museum, she commented to me, "Dad, I love planes!" There are definitely some things in kids that don't come from their parents. Neither Mary nor I are into planes. Maddy has also turned into a theater/musical aficionado--another preference that came out of nowhere!

A Couple Photos from our Family Vacation in Holland, MI

I tried to upload all 600 photos in a video, but blogger got overwhelmed. Here are a few of our favorites:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Article: Optional public option enters health care talks

Sorry, it was too tempting to resist. How amusing is the title of this article and the concept put forward. Government-speak: "optional public option". The corruption of language (in this case, euphemisms) typically precedes the corruption of ideas and ideals.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Madge Loves Meema

(Beeba's French dressing is in front.)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Romping through the woods behing our house

Pita the Artist

I Will Never Forget You

Yesterday afternoon Caleb arrived home for a welcomed weekend, and soon after walking through the door he pulled up a picture of a preborn baby. I wasn't sure what the reason was, but soon after that Madge went and got the tools to carve our big pumpkin. Caleb had decided to carve a pro-life pumpkin. Awesome. It is the most beautiful pumpkin I have seen carved, because not only is it just awesome to look at a little baby on our pumpkin, but behind that baby the light is aglow. Christ is that light, and He will never let that light, His Life, go out on them. The preborn will never be forgotten, for they are God's message that this world will go on. We are the only ones who can change that plan as a country if we continue to do nothing and pretend that the horror of abortion does not exist and is the cause of our country's implosion. It is real. We all know that two hearts are forever changed when abortion takes place: one heart stops beating, and the other breaks. This Mom speaks frankly of her experience, and that her baby will never be forgotten, not any more.
I am looking forward to having our pumpkin sit on our porch on Halloween (the eve of all Saints), for these little people that our world has tried to forget and pretend have never existed are the little holy ones in heaven and their faces are aglow with the light of Christ's love and peace.

"I will never forget you my people. I have carved you on the palm of My hand. I will never forget you. I will not leave you orphan. I will never forget my own. Does a mother forget her baby or a woman the child within her womb? Yet even if these forget yes even if these forget. I will never forget My own." (Psalm 49: 14-16)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Madge: "Be careful, Fr. Smith!"

Last night Fr. Smith from our parish and some friends joined us for dinner. Fr. Smith blessed our new home. At the end of the evening after Fr. Smith had said his good-byes, Maddy opened the front door for him to exit. As he walked down the front sidewalk, Madge called out from the front porch: "Be careful, Fr. Smith." I wonder if she has heard her mom use that phrase as people get into their cars! :) Rather comical to hear a 3-year old utter those words.

Updates on Gardasil

Interesting excerpts from American Thinker article pasted below. These cause some pause. (Here is a link to an article by Steven W. Mosher and Joan Robinson of the Population Research Institute (PRI), commenting on the talk by Merck consultant Dr. Diane Harper, who helped develop both Gardasil and Cervarix.)
Dr. Harper has on several occasions criticized the rush to market of both HPV drugs. But her October 2 talk at the Fourth International Public Conference on Vaccination in Reston, Va., was framed as emphasizing the benefits of Gardasil. Nevertheless, according to PRI, her presentation openly stated that, 26 million vaccinations after its debut, Gardasil will have no effect on the rate of cervical cancer in the U.S. HPV, the infection that Gardasil can prevent, is rare, usually heals itself, and testing and treatment in the U.S. are very effective in keeping cervical cancer a rare event.

PRI's Joan Lewis adds: "To date, 15,037 girls have officially reported adverse side effects from Gardasil to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). These adverse effects include Guilliane Barre, lupus, seizures, paralysis, blood clots, brain inflammation and many others. The CDC acknowledges that there have been 44 reported deaths."

Merck's Dr. Harper told CBS News that a girl is more likely to die from an adverse reaction to Gardasil than from cervical cancer. [my emphasis added]

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

5 Years Ago Today

Five years ago today, we sealed our bond and plan for our journey in life together when you proposed to me atop the bell tower at the National Shrine. I love you so much and appreciate you more and more each and every day. You do so much for me and our family. You truly are a servant, and I love you dearly. Thank you for all of your love. Most of all, thank you for taking me into your life and making me your wife. I will be forever grateful to God. We have beautiful memories from that day of our engagement, the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows and Grandpa Young's death anniversary. I know Our Lady and Grandpa were very much with us that day.

I love you, Sweets.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Grateful for the Best Teammate

Humbly, I have to admit that over the last week and a half, Mares and I have kicked some major bootie in our packing. Over the past ten days, we have packed up everything in our apartment. I have to praise Mares for her flexibility. We knew that sooner or later we would be moving. However, a confluence of events has precipitated our move. Sooner, rather than later, we began our packing and she jumped right into it. I am grateful to God for my partner, my teammate in life. It could've been hellish, but it wasn't. It could've been fraught with frustrations and flaring tempers, but it wasn't. It could've taken forever, but it didn't. Yes, there were a couple times where we got frustrated (always that darn communication--isn't it overrated!). However, the moments were few and far between and always brought us closer together.

Thanks, Mares, for being my better half. You've been the best in this process. I thank God for you, and for 3M, too. (Where would be without awesome boxes, bubble wrap, masking tape and packing tape?) I am glad that we get to spend the rest of our lives together as a team. Though small in size, you certainly pull more than your fair share.

The Why's of Life

Yesterday, Madge and I went out on a little date. On the way to the car, I was carrying some trash to the dumpster. As we were walking down the stairs, Madge asked me, "Dad, why are you so strong?" Talk about a little ego-booster. I told her that I was strong because I love her. That seemed to settle well.

Later on our date, we were picking up some photos. The lady at the photo shop told us that we would have to wait for a few minutes since the machine was going slow after it broke down. I relayed this message to Madge. She replied, "Dad, do you know why the machine is going slow?" I responded, "Because it was broken." She stated rather factually, I might add, "No, Dad. It's going slow because that's the way God made it." Oh, yeah. That too.

Dog Days for Guadalupe

The poor little thing! She has had a rough weekend. The imminent arrival of new molars have transformed her into a drooling machine. The front of her tops have been soaked. The inside of her lips are swollen. She leaves her sweet, little mouth open since the air flow must provide some relief.

Just when we thought it couldn't get worse, she dropped a jar on her big toe!. The nail has gone black and will probably fall out in the next couple days. I hope that she gets better soon.

I Love Every Little Thing

As we went packing-crazy over the weekend, I had a lot of time to think about the little things. 900+ square feet of bubble wrap now covers our prize possessions. Throughout this wrapping frenzy, I was reminiscing on the simplicity of being single. I could fit my entire life into 2 (maybe 3) suitcases. Wow. Wouldn't that make for easy packing! Five years later I am married with two children. The baggage grows exponentially by the day. However, after wrapping a few dozen little objects, I soon realized that each thing we have tells a story. The tacky hot stone from celebrating Mother's Day at a Pizza Hut in Beijing. The gorgeous art work from Maddy. The cute, crystal cherry glasses. Every little thing holds some emotional meaning and, in a way, tethers us together as a family. While it's always great to downsize and simplify, there is something beautiful about objects serving as memories of times together and joys we have shared. I found myself thanking God for the little things. There is not a single thing that I want to get rid of, since they all bring me closer to my family, which brings me closer to God. Now, if only we can finish with the last 100 square feet of bubble wrap....