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