Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Article: Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood

Sharon Slater, a mother of seven, innocently walked into a panel sponsored by the Girl Scouts USA at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women a few weeks ago. Almost immediately she was asked to leave. All non-Scout adults were kicked out of the room, which was packed with adolescent girls.

Her curiosity piqued, Slater lingered by the door and when the panel ended she went immediately back inside to look around. What she found has shocked her and shocked Girl Scout moms around the country. Slater found a stack of brochures produced by Planned Parenthood called "Healthy, Happy and Hot" that among other things explained to the girls, "Some people have sex when they have been drinking or using drugs. That is your choice."

Read the rest here: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/mar/18/girl-scout-sex-guide/print/


A few stories of Madge and butterflies.

A couple weeks ago, Madge asked me: "Dad, what should I be when I grow up?"

I replied: "Madge, that's a good question. It's important to think and pray about that as you get older."

She thought for a moment and then said: "Maybe I'll become a nurse like Auntie Mimi, or maybe a doctor, or a butterfly." I was impressed by the maturity of the conversation, but then the butterfly comment brought me back to the reality of a 3-year old. I love you, Madge! There's so much for you to do in life. I hope that Mom and I can give you the inspiration and support you need to achieve all that you desire in life. (Hopefully, sanctity will top that list and butterfly will be further down.)

Last night after dinner, we were getting dressed for going to the funeral home to pray for the soul of Mr. Ruiz (may he rest in peace), a dear old gentleman and friend from our parish who passed away last week. Madge was reticent to get dressed. I reminded her that she is the child and that Mares and I are her parents. And, I told her that children have to be good listeners for their parents. She started to cry--but it wasn't because she didn't want to listen or get dressed. "I don't want to be a child," she wailed. "I want to be a butterfly." (Afterwords, I told Mares that I would have to tailor my message to "Good little butterflies always listen to their parents.")

Finally, butterflies came up again when we were leaving the funeral home. The visit became a nice opportunity to discuss in simple terms the issues of life and death. Madge was curious why Mr. Ruiz didn't move in the coffin. We explained that he was dead, that his body was still here but that his soul had moved on to the next life. When I told her that all of us die, just as all of us are born at one time. She replied: "I don't want to die. I want to become a butterfly."

I think we have to thank The Very Hungry Caterpillar of Eric Carle and Hermie and Friends for her fascination with butterflies.

Gardasil, Toyota, and Risk

Interesting snippet from an article today on Gardasil:
Cervical cancer accounts for less than 1 percent of all cancer deaths, so it was somewhat surprising when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration fast-tracked approval of Gardasil, a Merck vaccine targeting the human papilloma virus that causes the disease, in 2006.

As of Jan. 31, 2010, 49 unexplained deaths following Gardasil injections have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (http://vaers.hhs.gov/index). By contrast, 52 deaths are attributed to unintended acceleration in Toyotas, which triggered a $2 billion recall.

No recall for Gardasil, which is required for sixth-grade girls in D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and many other states. Parents can opt out, but few know the true risks.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My Sweets

My girls, words can not tell you how much I love you and how much joy you bring to my life. The other day Pita wanted you to read a book to her, Madge. She just loves Brown Bear, Brown Bear, and you love to read to her. I had to grab the camera really fast to catch a glimpse of your book time with one another. You take such good care of Pita, Maddy, with anything from asking her why she is upset to trying to tell her what is going on so she will be less upset. I cannot imagine life without my twosome, who very much look forward to the third addition. Lately, you have been asking, Madge, "Why does Pita love babies?" Or, you go and tell someone (like you did to our neighbor today): "Pita loves babies!" We all do, especially our two in you and the one below my heart right now.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Most Recent Sonogram Pics

It's a boy!!! We had wanted to keep it a surprise, but the ultrasound technician blurted out the news with the very first image that popped up on the screen! We were about to ask for the sex to be kept a secret, but the cat is out of the bag. We are happy to know, though, and extremely excited. Little Caleb's due date was moved up a bit so that it now coincides with Maddy's birthday, July 17. (The 10 girl names I picked out will have to wait. :) )

Grandma Gertie, We Love You. Get Well Soon.

Our only Grandmother still with us here is my maternal grandmother, Grandma Marilyn (Gertrude) Young, whom I lovingly call Grandma Gertie. We have shared so many good times together and I love her dearly. Unfortunately, she has been hospitalized twice in the last two weeks for irregular heart beats and the second time for what we now know was a heart attack.

We offer our prayers for her speedy recovery and that our family unite ever more to God and one another in times trying as these. Please join us in praying for her. This afternoon, they put stents in two arteries in her heart that had been almost entirely blocked up. May her heart beat anew.

We had the pleasure of celebrating her 82nd birthday with her this past week when we were in Michigan. As always, it was a joy to see her and spend time with her. Grandma Gertie, we love you. We miss you. We pray that you feel better after this surgery. You and I will always share a common love for butter, bacon, and salt, and all things Irish. The girls send you hugs and kisses.

"Dad, you don't have to think about it, okay?"

Before dinner I was taking some dirty clothes from work down to the laundry room. Madge followed me down and discovered some chocolate treats down there. (We use the laundry room for a storage room of sorts for all the things that don't fit in the kitchen and other misfits.) She asked me if she could have one. I told her that she would have to check with Mom. (Yeah: a bit of a cop-out on my part, but I also didn't have the context of Madge's sugar intake for the day.) As I walked up the stairs, I heard Madge asking Mares for a treat. Mares told her that she would think about it. I then heard that Madge didn't have much of a nap. That prompted me to retort to Madge that perhaps she shouldn't have a treat and that I would have to think about the treat now. In complete seriousness, she told me matter-of-factually, "Dad, you don't have to think about it, okay? Mom is already thinking about it." It was as if she thought she had better odds with Mares thinking about it as opposed to me! Probably true, but I glanced at Mares and we both shared the silent chuckle that parents share. We love you, Maddy. As you correctly recognize: sometimes you get treats and sometimes you don't.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patty's Day

The luck of the Irish go with you! I didn't have a green tie (or suit--phew!) to wear to work today, so my boss gave me a green shamrock sticker. I wore it on my suit coat for a meeting at the White House and felt proud to be Irish.

Mary whipped up quite the feast in honor of St. Patrick, my dad's confirmation saint and one of my father-in-law's patrons. Corned beef, cabbage, red potatoes, carrots, homemade Irish soda bread, and for dessert we had those yummy little Irish potatoes (cream cheese and coconut balls rolled in cinnamon, or something like that).

Some photos below. The girls sported matching green shirts thanks to my mother-in-law.

PS. Mares just had me feel her stomach--the little guy is really moving in there! You can even see movement from the outside. Cool.

Maddy's Drawings: Advanced Stick Figures

Bob the Tomato (of VeggieTale fame)

Larry the Cucumber (also of VeggieTales)

Extended Michigan Family Photos

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Visit Home

We took a trip back to Michigan to visit Caleb's family March 10-15. It turned into a family reunion of sorts on Caleb's side. We had a marvelous time reconnecting with family and hanging out together. Our drive on the 10th began at 5:03am sharp. The girls were good little passengers and we arrived around 2:30pm. We were blessed to have a special day with just Caleb's Mom, Dad, and brother Joe. We enjoyed talking walks, playing on the bed, and chatting. Maddy went out for a special date breakfast with Caleb's Mom and Uncle Joe at the Mirage restaurant. (Meema went on to detail how, even though both of us parents gave food suggestions for Madge to to her, Maddy chose something entirely different all on her own to eat. Good for you, Madge. Keep us guessing!) They then went out birthday gift shopping together. (No, it's not Maddy's birthday anytime soon, but we probably won't see them again until after then.) Caleb's brother, Micah, arrived later on Thursday afternoon from Chicago. We all went out to meet Miriam and kids and to watch cousin Zelie play in a competitive floor hockey game--mouth guard and all, she was wailing on the court. Big family dinners at Caleb's folks were always a great time to chat and build relationships. On Friday morning, the guys went out for a game of tennis before the rain set in. Fortunately, we got in two full sets of doubles tennis. Very nice. Meanwhile, cousins were romping together and walking through the neighborhood. In the afternoon after naps, Maddy and Ari went out for a special time together. Also in the afternoon Caleb's Uncle Dan (Pita's Godfather) came by to visit and Caleb's sister Mary Theresa arrived home from Franciscan University in Ohio. The family is now complete. In the evening, we all went to St. Sebastian's Parish for the delicious Lenten fish fry dinner. On Saturday, a good part of the family made the trek to downtown Detroit to walk through the Eastern Market. (Funny enough, Madge continues to call it "Easter Market." On the way there she kept singing, "we're going to get eggs at the Easter Market....") It was a first for most of us--it was neat to walk through the hundreds of vendors and niche food shops. We enjoyed a breakfast In the afternoon, upon discovering the local CeasarLand and ChuckieCheeses were completely full (thanks to a rainy Saturday), we went to McDonalds with a big playscape to let the kids run around for a while. All our evenings were filled with family board games, food, and the occasional movie--does life get any better than that? Throughout the days, we enjoyed playing on Micah's Wii, particularly Guitar Hero which turned out to be a great multigenerational game. On Sunday, we all went to 8:30am Mass and Mares made her signature crepes for breakfast at the gracious home of Miriam and Natee (conveniently located two blocks away from Caleb's parents). At noon, there was an extended family birthday bash for all those celebrating birthdays in March and April: Caleb, Meema, Beeba, Grandma Young, Joe, Uncle Kirk, Uncle Jim. It was nice to see and chat with all the family members. In the afternoon, all the girls went to the movies to see "The Blind Side." In the meantime, Caleb and the girls went with Beeba and Uncle Joe to visit the girlies' great, great aunt, our beloved Aunt Helen. After breakfast on Monday, we hit the road one more time in route to Virginia. Fortunately, there was good weather, good behavior, and good conversation recalling the great time we had with family in Michigan.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

To Our Dear Daddy and My Sweet Husband

Today is your birthday, and we are so excited to share the rest of the day with you. Maddy was so excited to see you this morning that last night she asked me to wake her-- she really must have wanted to wish you a happy birthday before you left before 6am. Sure enough! She did it! Fuzzy hair and all she walked downstairs and said, "Happy birthday, Dad!" She is excited to share many more secrets with you tonight when we really celebrate! We look forward to meeting you for lunch in a little while and just giving thanks to God for your life and the beauty you have brought to ours through so many aspects of your love. You truly are a channel of God's grace in a multiple of ways and I thank God for that. Without you, our little family would not be here; what blessings they are to us! Happy birthday, to my dear husband, my best friend, the one that makes life peaceful while always inspiring me to be the person God wants me to be. What a happy day this is!