More stress for Mom

FDA sets melamine standard for baby formula

As someone who has needed to use infant formula, I find acceptance of any level of melamine or any other non-edible, healthy substance to be horrifying. Melamine can be found in packaging materials and in cleaning solutions used in the manufacturing process. That is how it gets in the formula.

Today, I’m thankful for the hard-won ability to give my baby the all-natural, homemade, God-intended and nutritious mother’s milk.

I have to hurry up so I can relax

The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.
– Mark Twain

My computer, apparently, was merely in a coma. Or perhaps it just wanted the day off. Either way, when my favorite IT guy called to offer assistance, it started up and acted normal. Perhaps my brother-in-law’s phone call just struck the fear of replacement into the heart of its hard drive.

So, St. Nick just saved himself a pretty penny. I think he’ll get me an external hard drive so I can back up five years worth of precious family memories as well as my checkbook register (I use Quicken), so the next time she flat lines it won’t cause migraine-inducing stress.

Today, a few items on the school list, wrapping up week 11 for Fritz and Katie (Billy finished week 10 yesterday and I’m leaving him there). Take dog to kennel. Clean house. Load car. Grocery store so we have food on Saturday morning when we get back from Pennsylvania. Wash all cloth diapers so the house smells nice when we get home.

I’m looking forward to two days of having nothing to do.

They just need to cut the trans-fat in that ad

Fast Food TV Ads Linked to Child Obesity, Study Finds

As much as I despise the commercials on TV, and in fact, despise TV viewing in general for its mind-numbing entertainment (I rarely watch, but I do allow my children to watch in limited doses), I know it is ridiculous to think that the ads on TV make a kid fat.

In fact, TV ads do not even make children go out and buy fast food. Really! There may be rare exceptions of 6 year olds with ready cash who live within a bike ride of the nearest drive-through, but I suspect that 99.9% of chicken nuggets are consumed by children whose parents drove to the restaurant and bought it.

Do TV ads make children whine for a flame-broiled burger? Oh, yes. Do TV ads make golden arches more identifiable to the average 2 year old than any other store, restaurant or brand? Definitely. But do TV ads have hidden calories? No, sorry.

“The causes of childhood obesity are complicated…”

No, they are not. And neither are the causes of adulthood obesity. Eat too much, exercise too little, gain weight. Happens to me every Christmas. If not for the New Year’s reality check, or the welcome austerity of Lent, I too might end up obese by the following Christmas.

Banning TV ads will not make kids skinny. Teaching parents how to cook? That’s an idea we can sink our teeth into.

Thou shalt not covet

This story is a good example about how breaking the 10th Commandment leads to some pretty deplorable behavior.

I’m not at all in favor of illegal immigration. I sympathize with taxpayers in states that have a serious problem with illegal immigrants using public funds to school their children or get emergency health care or other services. But I don’t think that somebody’s illegal entry into the country means that legal citizens can seize his property or damage his property or fail to uphold financial agreements.

Nicole Griffin sought to buy a house from her mother’s neighbor, Lorenzo Jimenez. When she couldn’t get an interest rate locked in, she moved in and agreed to pay rent until the loan was worked out. She failed to pay rent, and paperwork issues on the part of Jimenez then delayed closing. When Jimenez tried to evict her, she got nasty. She told the media, the law, the neighborhood all about his residency status and even marched down to his work and tattled to his boss. Jimenez was fired.

“I don’t feel bad for anything that happens to the Jimenez family at this point,” Griffin said recently, “because no one feels bad that all I tried to do was buy a house, and I ended up living back with my mother.”

Read the whining between the lines: “I’m a legal resident. He is not. I don’t own a house. He does. No fair!”

It’s as though she believes the toddler property laws apply to her (but nobody else): if I have it, it’s mine. If I once had it, it’s mine. If I want it, it’s mine.

Sorry, good things come to those who scrimp and save. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that you have the right to own property you didn’t pay for.

Again, I’m not defending the man’s illegal residency. I think illegal immigrants should be deported. I also think our immigration laws are unjust (translation: I think it is too difficult for people from Mexico and southward to get permission to live/work here), but that doesn’t mean that I think we should excuse those who come here without proper permission.

But I am a firm supporter of property rights, and the rights go to the person who paid for the land. He has his American-born daughter’s name on the deed, and her ownership is not in doubt. You can’t take it away from her (or her family) just because you want it.


This past week, Mary climbed up on the step stool to see what she could see on the kitchen counter. She espied a fork, stretched forth her little arm, and wrapped her pudgy fingers around it. Since she held it like she knew what she was doing, I placed a small bit of pumpkin bread on the counter. She speared it with ease and brought it to her mouth and ate.

It doesn’t matter that she is my sixth child. It doesn’t matter that I have seen five other children learn the fine motor skills required to do such a task. It doesn’t matter that it is a mundane activity. It thrills me anew every time.

I cheered. I clapped. I called out to others nearby, “Look what Mary did!” They cheered. They clapped. We all smiled for a few minutes as we returned to our previously scheduled diversions.


This past week, Fritz appeared one morning after breakfast in the kitchen. He was lugging his very full clothes hamper behind him. “Hey, mom,” he said. “I put on the last clean pair of pants in my dresser, so I brought up the laundry.”

I wanted to cheer and clap. I wanted to shout to the world, “Look what my son did!” This milestone of thinking ahead, preparing for the next day, recognizing a potential problem and taking steps in advance to ensure that the problem doesn’t occur is surely a greater accomplishment than using a fork to feed yourself. Does he not deserve the highest praises?

But somehow such antics seem facetious when directed at a 10 year old. Instead I calmly, but enthusiastically, said, “Great thinking! Thanks! I’ll make sure your laundry is the next load!”

And then I smiled for a few minutes as I returned to my previously scheduled diversions.

I can’t imagine…

Stuck in the car, we have some of the most interesting conversations.

Jenny: Was Daddy ever in a war?

Me: No. (Thank God).

Jenny: What’s it like to be in a war?

Me: I don’t know, honey.

Fritz: Scary!

Me: Yes, I imagine it is scary.

Katie: It’s like walking in the woods, and you have a gun, and you want to shoot the deer, but the deer are coming at you instead of running away, and they have guns too, and they’re going to shoot you.


Me: I suppose if you can imagine that, you might be able to imagine what war is like.

FYI: Although my husband would like to go hunting, he never has, I never have, none of us have ever been hunting, seen people hunting. I don’t think they’ve ever even seen a deer strapped to a car or truck, although they did watch Open Season. They have seen deer while walking in the woods. I don’t know where she gets this stuff.

Don’t worry, be happy now

Now that the election is over and Christmas is rapidly approaching, we are seeing efforts made to fight those ignorant, intolerant Christians.

The Humanists are doing their part by putting ads on DC buses that suggest Christmas without Christ is rational. I can’t wait to hear my kids’ reactions to “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake.”

But attacking Christmas makes sense. Over 90% of Americans claim to believe in a god. And a good chunk of them lean toward the God of the New Testament. But probably half of them don’t go to church, read the Bible, or have any idea about what it means to be Christian except that God loves you even if you aren’t perfect, and you can go to Heaven if you side with the Big Guy. If only the Humanists could get these Christian-in-name-only folks to admit that their winter holiday celebrations are mere sentimentality and an annual nod at a Supreme Being, then real head-way could be made to get rid of all public forms of prayer, cultural references to God (“Bless you” at every blasted sneeze), and other offenses.

Admittedly, the whole lack of eternal life puts a damper on that worldview, since most people think immortality of one kind or another, is appealing. But a huge bonus to taking a god out of the picture is, apparently, lowered stress. As the British Humanists advertised: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

I’m not so sure even the Brits would be willing to bet their immortal soul on a “probably.” That’s like playing Russian Roulette with a gun you just found. It’s “probably” unloaded isn’t going to convince most people to pull the trigger, and my guess is that many people (perhaps over 90%?) wouldn’t do it even if you said it’s “definitely” unloaded.

So, while the Humanists try to get the quasi-Christians to go whole hog and renounce God, the media, bored with the dearth of post-election news stories (especially since the Democrats won and they want to project hope in the coming changes) will turn to their perennial ultimate villain: the Catholic Church and other strict faiths.

The goal here is to marginalize anyone who is devout. Devotion is bad because it induces guilt in those who are not devout.

Recently, I casually mentioned something about the possibility of having more children (my uterus is still intact, and I’m not even 40 yet). “More? You want more?” was the reaction. And I found myself somewhat apologetically calming the listener with the assurance that it was merely a possibility and not an intent. To say, “My faith teaches…” is to claim piety, and nobody likes a Goody Two-shoes.

So the secular media, on behalf of all those who don’t want to look bad when compared to all those next-door neighbors who are trying to follow their religion all the time, is hell-bent (yes, a pun) on portraying people who go to church weekly as evil. The Catholic Church is the easiest target because it is so unwieldy and because they have held the same old “truths,” unchanging, for 2000 years.

First of all, they love to report that over 50% of Catholics voted for Obama. This means, they imply, that there are tons of Catholics ready to align themselves with Secular Truths. It also means, they hope, that there are many more who might be willing to ignore their bishops if only those bishops could be exposed for their sins.

What’s the biggest sin against Secular Truths? Intolerance. “In an impassioned discussion on Catholics in public life, several bishops said they would accept no compromise on abortion policy.” Only tyrannical institutions would be unwilling to soften their stance on such a commonplace procedure, right?

“And several prelates promised to call out Catholic policy makers on their failures to follow church teaching.” It’s downright mean-spirited to ex-communicate politicians just because they champion women’s rights over those of a clump of cells. Worse yet, to pressure politicians in such a way, threatening their immortal soul, is undemocratic and violates separation of church and state, doesn’t it? It would be one thing if they lobbied Congressmen, using money and gifts to garner support, but to call them sinners? Over the top. What’s next? The general congregation? Will they haul out scarlet letters and force people to wear them (never you mind that it wasn’t the Catholic Church who did that)?

In America, the Catholic Church has always been the dog that everyone can kick. We’ll tiptoe around the Muslims, and don’t dare say anything bad about the Jews. But if you want to vilify religion, go for the Catholics (evangelicals are second in line).

Watch for a rehashing of the priest sex scandal. Watch how the media covers the March for Life on January 22nd (two days after the Inauguration…do you think Obama will sign FOCA on the 22nd?). Watch for more news stories about how the church (wrongly) spends its money, who the bishops are attacking in the public eye, prominent mention of the Catholic identity of pro-abortion politicians or other public figures, and feature stories of the common person whose main thesis is “Why I left the Catholic Church.”

In other words, there’s probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.