Sunday, September 28, 2008

Brittney and the Parable of the Two Sons

We're visiting my cousin Brittney in the hospital yesterday and today before we need to head back home in a couple of hours so I can be at work at 7 tomorrow morning (it's about a 3 hour drive). The girls have been behaving remarkably well and seemed to have learned a major lesson about wearing seatbelts. Now that Britt is pretty well cleaned up and looking more like herself (and not as sensitive to noise in the room), we let the girls come in and see her and join us in praying for her.

In the middle of all this, we did manage to make it to Mass this morning. I'm really glad we did: it always seems like, at times like this, the readings speak to exactly the situation we're in. Today the first reading, from Ezekiel, and the Gospel from the 21st chapter of Matthew both spoke about how we are given free will to choose to follow God's command and live or to turn away from God and face the just consequences; not only that, though, they both tell us that we are not stuck with bad choices we make at first, but can repent and choose God later, and still be just as saved. This message was of some consolation to me thinking about not only Brittney, but her whole family as well. When Britt was just a little girl, her parents--for reasons I'm still not sure I really understand--stopped going to Mass. This became a fairly big source of tension in the family because my mom is Brittney's godmother and, rightly, saw it as her duty to try to make sure the Britt and her sister were receiving an education in their faith. This, if anything, wound up pushing the girls further from the Church (obviously through no fault of their own) because my aunt and uncle felt pressured by my mom and seemed to get defensive about it.

A few years ago, though, when Britt was probably about midway through high school, her grandfather on the other side of her family died. The really amazing way our parish priest at the time handled these issues and interacted with Britt's family went a long way toward bringing the family back to the Church; not too long after, Brittney and her sister received the sacraments of communion and confirmation and fully entered the Church. From that point on, with a few glitches here and there, they've generally been very active in youth group and other activities in the parish, and have often acted as St. Paul reminds the Philipians to do: "humbly regard[ing] others as more important than [them]selves."

Brittney's a sophomore in college and, as so often goes (including with myself), has sometimes acted out more of the "fool" part of the "wise fool" year. But I feel pretty confident in the state of her soul and, regardless of how her medical condition goes from here, comforted knowing that she, eventually, did "go out and work in the vineyard."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Prayer request!

Sorry I've been MIA...but I am resurfacing today to ask for prayers.

Hubby's cousin, Britt, was in a very serious car accident Thursday night. She was not wearing her seatbelt (she was a passenger), somehow went through the back windshield AND had to be extracted from the vehicle.

We are still not sure if she will pull through, but things are looking much more hopeful.

She fractured her skull, lost an eye, and broke a leg in several places. To the best of my knowledge, they have not done anything with the leg yet. She is in a medically induced coma, and had surgery yesterday to remove a blood clot and place a drain. She also had to have some brain tissue removed. Unfortunately, the tissue is saturated with blood, so the drain isn't helping as much as it would otherwise.

No one is allowed to speak to her or touch her, as the doctors don't want her brain stimulated.

Hubby and I are heading up to the hospital after he gets off work to be with the family. We aren't going to let the girls see her, but I think that hubby's aunt and uncle, cousin (and his parents who have been at the hospital with them) will be happy for a little distraction from them.

So, please pray for Britt, her parents, her sister (who is having a really hard time with the whole situation) and also for Britt's friends who were also in the car, but all sustained fewer injuries.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Okay, it's over...I didn't make it 30 days...

I'm currently working on listing 16 books to paperback swap, and I am no longer on vacation from it...

Yesterday we went to the K of C meeting, and I had 3 hours with the girls. We went to Walgreens, used up that last register reward and got out of there with only $7 out of pocket. Then there was a little street fair thing going on, and we went over to check it out for a while. Well, I gave in and told Eva she could do one of the inflatable things (can you believe $3 per thing? She chose a little maze type thing, and got to go through it $3 for about 3 minutes of entertainment for one kid!) but she had to trade me a WalMart gift card for it (she still had 5 $5 cards...don't worry, I used it to buy her some school supplies!)

Then we headed over to WalMart, and I still did okay, less that $60, and that included a month's worth of yogurt, lots of food items (good coupons for things that aren't carried locally, like name brand pasta, etc) school supplies, vitamins, new dress shoes for Eva, and from the clearance aisle (paid for with gift cards) a Disney Princess dance a long thing (I've been singing "Bella, Bella, Bella dancerella" ever since hubby put the DVD in before 7 am!)

We ate at the pot luck, and went out to visit grandma and grandpa on the way home (their town has the cheapest gas pumps in the region...) Overall, it was a really good day, but I did break my no debit card rule...and didn't do too well with the 30 days of nothing!

Today, I ended up ordering catalogs and one new sample for the games that I sell, because the catalogs I have will no longer be valid starting October 1st, and I talked my MIL into doing a party for me in just over a week.

So, I had a good run with my 30 days, but I didn't make it this time. Maybe if I try again in the future, I'll make up my mind BEFORE the month begins!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Day 19 - Keep on truckin'

I have to admit, that I REALLY want to quit...

It's not really that the challenge of 30 days is too much for actually doesn't feel like much of a challenge at all...just a slight irritation.

Maybe if I had been able to stick with the $100 of groceries for the whole month, it would've felt like more of a challenge, but I didn't, and so hubby is getting the second $100 and picking up a few specials at the store in the next town over. Today he is working at an office about an hour away (1 way time) and he'll be back there next Friday, then the following Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and is going to be a lot of gas (particularly since we usually fill up his gas tank once a month!), but he is getting paid mileage (but not drive time) and it will get him a few extra miles and hopefully show management that he is willing to work hard and travel.

What's really bugging me is how depressingly empty our refrigerator is...not that we are lacking food! We have plenty of canned and boxed foods in the pantry (though we are low on cereal AGAIN) and lots of frozen foods...but this is an inventory of what our fridge looks like today:

1 grapefruit
1 banana (I keep the really ripe ones in the fridge so they last longer)
2 triangles of Laughing Cow Light cheese (garlic and herb flavor)
2 almost empty coffee cans (regular and decaf)
2 sticks of margarine
1/8 th of a bottle of AppleJack
Brita cube full of water
lots of condiments (most almost empty) such as ketchup, mustard, salad dressings, mayo, vinegars, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, hoisin sauce, jellies and preserves, leftover pickle juice (I'm planning on marinading some pork chops in it) and also about 1/8th of a quart jar of yeast all in the door.

That's it...I look back on my days as a kid opening up my parent's fridge and whining "there's nothing in here to eat!" and just laugh...I wouldn't blame my kids for saying that at this point!

Sadly, I could probably make three healthy meals a day for over a month from the pantry and freezers...

On Sunday we are going back to the city with Wal Mart and Walgreens because hubby has a 4th degree Knights of Columbus meeting. The girls and I are going to do a little shopping (go buy some yogurt and string cheese for the girls, use up my Register Rewards from last time), and then I WAS stressing out because I didn't know how to deal with the fact that we would need to eat while we were up there, and hubby came home from his Knights meeting this week and told me that there would be a potluck God has provided (I definitely can make a potluck dish that will be safe in the car!)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Day 17 - more frustrations from falling off the wagon...

Well, today is hubby's day off from work, so we are visiting his parents again. I really really really wanted some caffeine this morning, so we ended up stopping at an unnamed convenience store that has several numbers in their name...

Well, since we were stopping for drinks (I wish I could say that we were stopping for gas, but honestly, the drinks were the reason) hubby suggested topping off the tank, since the price of gas in our town FINALLY fell (and the price rose in my MILs town where we normally buy our gas!) Of course, they require pre-paying...but at most pre-pay stations around here, I can go in, tell them the pump, and they'll start the pump while I grab drinks.

Of course, the one cashier (there were 5 employees in the store, but only one working the register) was busy when I got in, so I grabbed the drinks and then went to the register. I told the girl that I also had a pump, but I wasn't sure if it was done (it looked like hubby was pumping) and she said that he hadn't started because of the prepay thing. So, I asked her to start the pump.

Well, she informs me that I have to give her money before she can start the pump. I pointed out that I was standing right there to pay, and was going to hand her my card as soon as he was done. She told me that that would not work, and that I needed to give her an amount. I told her I had no idea how much it would be, but that I wanted to fill up the tank. The guy sitting behind her (I think that he was doing inventory) said "just put $85"...well, I flipped out. First of all, our Buick has NEVER taken that much gas, and I was just trying to top it off. I told her that it would be $25 tops, so she put it on, and I had to finish paying before she would start the pump (I think that this is possibly the most inane and retarded store policy I have ever heard.) So, I told her that I was going to stay there until it was done to make sure that either all $25 was used, or to make sure I wasn't charged the full $25.

Well, the girl (I'm having a hard time resisting calling her a "chicky", but I'll try to be mature) walked off, and about a minute later she came back and discovered that she sent the credit to the wrong pump. Thankfully, this being at about 9am, they weren't busy and no one was at that pump. Finally, she got it to the right pump..hubby pumped the gas, she told me he was done. I asked her if all $25 was used, and she said "yeah, he used it up."

So, I finally get back to the car, and tell hubby how VERY annoyed I am at the whole situation, and I mentioned that she told me he had used all $25...and he pointed out that the pump said $ we pulled up to the building, and I went inside...had to wait for the same chicky...errr...I mean girl, to be done ringing up another customer, and when I told her that she had lied to me (okay, I didn't flat out call her a liar, but technically, she DID lie to me) and that I wanted my money back, she told me that the amount from the pump was charged to my card instead of the amount I signed for, and I asked for a receipt to prove it...she rolled her eyes, and printed me a receipt (am I being unreasonable here???) and I left.

One would think that companies would want to make it convenient to purchase impulse items along with your gas, but apparently not!

I have letters written in my head to both this company's corporate office and the corporate office of Walgreens...but I probably won't write them, as it serves me right that both times I fell off the wagon this month, I had major frustrations with the transactions...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Day 16 - just waiting for the squeaky dryer to be done with the diapers...

Well, hubby opened Quicken of his own accord for the first time EVER! (I think it is the first time he's opened it up, period, he thinks he may have opened up Quicken somewhere between 5 and 20 times in our 9+ years of marriage) Apparently, the way to get him to care about finances is to tell him how much money a politician he doesn't like very much gives...

I have to admit, that I knew this going into marriage. One day when we were dating, I was at his apartment when he got the mail. He opened up his bank statement, glanced at it and threw it in the trash can...I freaked out and attempted to fish it out of the garbage...he seemed confused and told me that he had already looked at it, and that he still had money in his account. I asked him how he was going to balance his checkbook if he threw away his bank statement. He stared at me blankly, and mentioned that he had never actually sat down and balanced a checkbook.

Actually, I asked him last night, and he STILL hasn't ever actually sat down and balanced the checkbook.

Of course, at the time we were dating, I kept all of my receipts, and took all credit card receipts and stapled them to the credit card statement that they were on (after paying the credit card in full) and filed them away. I kept them ALL until Eva was born...then I got a life, and I no longer am THAT anal...

No spending yesterday (having no money left that I can get to easily helps that). I don't think I actually left the house all day either (is it bad that I can't remember much about yesterday?? I do remember that my kitchen was spotless for approximately an hour between lunch and dinner.) No spending today, either. I did go up to church to count collection (yes, I volunteer to count money...surprising? Not really!) and hubby took the girls to the park. I'm also going to go give blood this afternoon (when hubby gets home again) and get a free soda and free cookies...gotta love the snacks there!

I'm looking forward to Friday, when I will be able to get money out of the bank (gotta love paydays!), as our fridge is VERY empty at the moment (we have lots of frozen stuff...but we're down to less than half a gallon of milk, and Eva doesn't like "that yucky milk you made" so I'm thinking that I'll be serving a lot of water and iced tea until Friday). Of course, my plan is to get out $100 to get us through the 30th.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Three-tenths of one percent?!

One thing I'm aware of about myself is the propensity to become overly proud of having done the right thing; this in turn taints the original, good reason for having done it and makes others (and sometimes even myself) wonder if I didn't just do it to be able to pat myself on the back later on. Case in point: charitable giving. MM and I feel very strongly that we should be generous with our time and money, especially to our parish. We believe, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it in paragraph #2243, "...The faithful also have the duty of providing for the material needs of the Church, each according to his abilities." (Thanks to American Papist for this citation.) But we generally don't talk a whole lot about how big a percentage of our income we give and whatnot; one, because I so easily get prideful about it and two, because both sets of our parents already think we're a step away from the poorhouse as it is and the idea of us giving money away would worry them unnecessarily.

The news that Joe Biden (who, like us, professes to be a devout Catholic) only averaged $369 of charitable giving per year over the past 10 years has me sputtering, though, and I can't help but compare our two situations. The Bidens reported earning $319,853 last year--not that much compared to many of his colleagues in the Senate, but plenty by most reasonable standards--yet donated only $995 to charitable organizations. That's three-tenths of one percent of his income to charity. And that was the most he had donated in the past ten years. By a lot.

This year, we'll probably earn between 10 and 15 percent of what the Bidens reported last year, but--as of today, with two and a half months to go in the year--we've already given more than double what they did last year. By the end of the year, we should pretty easily have given six times their average annual donations over the past ten years.

I'm not trying to show how high and mighty we are, or even how bad a Catholic Joe Biden is (even though that is obviously a little bit of an obsession for me recently). To be fair, the Bidens claim they gave more every year but just did not report it on their taxes. This could be true but, if so, their accountant should be fired because they're paying more taxes than they need to be. The point is, this is a man who really does not share the same values I do...and, for somebody who claims to be a big champion of "the working poor," he just doesn't seem to put his money where his mouth is.

By the way, you may notice later on in the story that John McCain is described as giving away about a quarter of what he personally earns per year (his wife's income is much higher, and we don't know how much charitable giving she does--though she does have a long history of philanthropic work around the world). This has served to renew my interest in a book that came out a couple of years ago called Who Really Cares, by Arthur C. Brooks. The premise, as I understand it, is that conservatives--especially religious ones--tend to view it as their responsibility to care for the poor, while liberals--especially secular ones--view it as the government's responsibility; in fact, they consider working to redistribute income as a form of charity in itself, with the main difference being that it's not their money they're giving away. Convenient, huh?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

100 Book Meme

Well, I'm at my MIL's house right now, and hubby and his dad are watching the Broncos game, MIL and the girls are playing outside, and the second TV automatically switched to "Murder She Wrote" which is recording, so I figure I can do this fun meme that Christine over at Good Company has up. I do have to say though, that I am not the world's biggest "literature" person...I would much rather read a how-to book:

Bold--I've read it.
Italics--I started it.
Gold --I want to.
Nuttin'--I don't care.
Red -- Have no interest and will never have an interest.
Green -- Seen the movie. (I'm not much of a movie person, so I'm not going to bother with this one...but I have seen all the Lord of the Rings movies, and all the Harry Potter and Narnia movies that have been released so far)

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien (I've started this, but I really WANT to finish it someday)
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights -Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Phillip Pullman
10. Great Expectations -Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy (I'm sick, I LOVE Hardy)
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19. The Time Traveller's Wife -
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams (read all the books in the *ahem* trilogy several times)
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky (too much Russian lit class...I love Russian novels)
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
37. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
38. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
39. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne (although I'm pretty sure I'll have to read it to Eva)
40. Animal Farm - George Orwell
41. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
42. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
43. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
44. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
45. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
46. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
47. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood (I LOVED this book and have read it a dozen times)
48. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
49. Atonement - Ian McEwan
50. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
51. Dune - Frank Herbert
52. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
53. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
54. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
55. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
56. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
57. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
58. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
59. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
60. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
61. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
62. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
63. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
64. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
65. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
66. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
67. Bridget Jones' Diary - Helen Fielding
68. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
69. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
70. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
71. Dracula - Bram Stoker
72. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
73. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
74. Ulysses - James Joyce
75. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
76. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
77. Germinal - Emile Zola
78. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
79. Possession - AS Byatt
80. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
81. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
82. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
83. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
84. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
85. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
86. Charlotte's Web - EB White
87. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
88. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (too many "are you gonna marry Watson" jokes from my youth...the kids weren't really smart enough for a good insult!)
89. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
90. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
91. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
92. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
93. Watership Down - Richard Adams
94. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
95. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
96. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
97. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
98. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
99. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
100.The Outsiders -S. E. Hinton

Day 14 - NFP class

Well, hubby and I have our 3rd NFP class (ending our first series of classes today) to teach this afternoon. And, I have to admit, I fell off the wagon today.

It probably started with yesterday...

My MIL called to find out if we had Saturday night Mass in our town this weekend, and we didn' was in the next town over. So, she decided to drive down, pick up the girls and us, head over to the evening Mass and then eat at Pizza Hut afterwards (her treat, so no expense there). Well, I knew that the grocery store over there had a coupon for the store brand margarine for 29 cents, so we stopped at the store, and I purchased the margarine, another several lbs of bananas (2 lbs for 89 cents...I bought a little over 4 lbs) and a big container of Quaker Old Fashioned Oats (on sale plus coupon got them for $2).

I also knew that I wanted to stop by our store for peanut butter ($1.66 per jar for store brand and we are OUT), but it was too late by the time we got home. Since we slept in this morning (until 8!), and had a lazy morning I sent hubby to the grocery store with the rest of our grocery money (until Friday) to get some donuts, some diet coke and the peanut butter...Donuts and Diet Coke are clearly NOT in the spirit of the 30 days. I know my total pretty closely, now...$111.53, since I started with a $100 bill, and hubby stopped by the store and spent $11.53 on Friday.

After our class, we'll head up and get the girls, and spend the evening visiting with my in-laws. Then, it's back to work and school! Other than a trip to the library some time next week, counting collection at church, a blood drive, and a Knights of Columbus meeting, we've got a pretty empty week!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Day 13 - planning for school...

The girls are currently napping (YEAH!!!) and my MIL is coming sometime this afternoon to pick up the girls for an overnight so that hubby and I can practice for our 3 and final NFP class (our first series of classes) and then teach it tomorrow afternoon. We'll pick them up tomorrow evening.

So, I am sitting at the computer desk working on school stuff for next week, and tweaking Eva's schedule. Things I found out I didn't like this week:

-Doing Spanish on day 1 and day 4...will do day 1 and day 3 instead
-Doing PE...period...but will soldier on (I need to come up with something fun!)
-Doing Religion class 4 days a week...will skip Religion on days we go to morning Mass (so, if day 4 ends up being Friday, which it probably will, then we will not do religion as long as Father has Mass and we go)
-Along the same lines as Religion, in two weeks storytime at the library starts again, so on day 3 or 4 (whichever one falls on Thursday) we will skip reading, as long as storytime happens and we attend.

I also decided that I needed a better system then a towering pile of books on top of our bookshelves all I got out 4 file folders, labeled them "Day 1", "Day 2", "Day 3", and "Day 4". In each day's folder, I am pre-tearing out the worksheets from phonics and math (and eventually handwriting, when we start that book) and adding in any extra worksheets (spanish, reading comprehension, art, etc) so that all the worksheets for the day are together. Then, I'll stack the 4 folders with the books needed (religion books, science, the Usborne handwriting book we are using right now, reading stuff) on the top of the bookshelves. Hopefully it will look neater and work better.

So far, so good on the spending thing, as I haven't left the house yet today (don't know that I will, either!) I still have two more days of school to plan, hubby just got home, and Charlotte is waking up!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Day 12 - Rain, rain, go away...

So, it was raining when we woke up this morning (at 6 am...thank you very much Charlotte!), it was raining when we went to Mass, it was raining even harder after Mass (so I made hubby stop at the grocery store instead of me and the girls!) It was raining while we did class, it was raining while we ate lunch, it was raining while we took naps (I even got one today...and the rain makes a lot more noise in our room now that we have a sidewalk directly behind it!) it was raining when we woke up, it was raining while the girls watched Cinderella, it was raining when hubby got home, and it finally stopped raining right around dinner time. (Trust me, for here, that is a LOT of rain!)

Things have been going pretty well since my shopping day on the 10th.

As I mentioned, I sent hubby to the grocery store today for hotdog buns, a gallon of milk, bananas and a side dish (he brought home macaroni salad...I was so fried that I just didn't have the energy to come up with anything) He spent $11.53, bringing my total to $92.16. I'm thinking that I was a little overly ambitious with my thought of spending $100 for the whole month...I'm going to get out another $100 on payday (week from today) to finish out the month. I guess $200 isn't that bad...when we were Dave Ramsey-ing it a couple of years ago to pay off all our debt (except for our mortgage) I budgeted between $225 and $300 a month. Of course, grocery costs have gone up since then.

I do plan to pick up a few more items this week (we have been out of peanut butter for most of the month, and it's on sale 6 for $10, we're also out of butter, and I'm betting we'll have another store run for milk and bananas.)

We also completed Eva's first week of school...I'm in trouble...she whipped through a week's worth of phonics in two days, and two week's worth of math in 4 days...

I guess it's a good problem to have!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Yes, I am a religious fanatic...

So, this just cracks me up.

Our Bible Study group has done Secret Sisters for several years...I've been involved the last two (and I opted out for this coming year...I'm just working towards distancing myself from the social and drama aspects of the group.) I didn't go to the secret sister reveal on Tuesday night, so one of the ladies dropped it by our house I got home to a black trash bag with a gift tag on it, with the top of this peeking out. Also inside was a little scrapbooking display.

Back to the's nice, and very heavy and HUGE!!! And we live in a 2 bedroom house with somewhere between 1300 and 1500 sq ft. I have no idea where I am going to put this yet...but it just makes me wonder what my secret sister was thinking when she picked this out for me..."gee, she's the biggest religious fanatic in the whole group, I'd bet she'd love a GIANT CROSS!"

So, here is the really large cross, with my big and little girls!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Day 10 - fell off the wagon...

Well, today ended up being a shopping extravaganza...

And to top it off, I think that I am annoying hubby enough with this challenge that I may have to quit before the month is out (we'll have to see, I guess!)

We spent the day with my MIL. First thing in the morning Eva had her 4 year checkup with 4 shots! She cried a little, but the prospect of getting to go shopping with Grandma perked her up a lot. As did the bug juice that I bribed her with when she didn't want to get her shots...

Hubby paid for drinks at the convenience store...but I have to admit, I succumbed to temptation and got a diet coke...

So, we went with her to the nearest real city (you know, the kind with a Wal Mart and a Walgreens...) and I did quite a bit of shopping (part of being so isolated, it's a big deal to go shopping...)

First was Walgreens. I bought $54 of OTC medicines with our FSA card (we have a lot of money still on it and we'd lose it at the end of the year...) and I was SUPPOSED to get a $10 Register Reward and a $4 Register Reward. It didn't work out right, and the assistant manager was a big JERK about the fact that I wanted the $14 in RR to spend on other items. Finally, after about 20-25 minutes of waiting around, he ended up getting me 3 $5 Register Rewards instead. I was so fried that we figured we'd go back to Walgreens on the way home.

So, on to Wal Mart where I spent just under $40, and Eva spent 3 of her $5 gift cards (my brother gave her 8 of them for her birthday) on a small toy and a new booster seat for the car. In that $40, I got some groceries, a bunch of diaper wipes and dog food.

Then on to Dollar Tree, where I bought two shave gels in a tube (hubby doesn't like cans of shaving cream because they rust in the shower...he's kind of strange) for $2.14

Finally, back to Walgreens, where we really should have done three transactions to use all three Register Rewards, but we were so fried that we did two, and have one left over, that hopefully we will use before it expires when hubby goes up to that town for a 4th degree Knights of Columbus meeting. I had about $23 on a gift card from last months rebates, and used that all up, plus an additional $9.45 (for diapers).

I now technically have $22 left for the month, but hubby is warning me not to get too legalistic on this whole thing.

Monday, September 08, 2008

I've got 11 minutes left until my pickles are ready...

So, I figured I do an update of today.

I did end up going to the grocery store:

1.61 lb white onions $1.27
1 gallon milk $3.79
2.86 lbs bananas $1.97

So, another $7.20 towards my grocery total for the month. I'm up to $31.18.

I've also noticed that we drink a lot more milk at this house when we don't have any pop around...we used up our last supply for Eva's birthday party, so we haven't had any in the house most of the month (I think the last few cans were finished on the 1st). It's probably way better for us all around...less junk food, less soda, more veggies (if only massive amounts of cucumber salad!) and more home cooked meals.

I ended up making the goulash that hubby asked me to learn how to make for his top ten dishes, but ended up using this recipe instead, since hubby looked up the recipe I found and didn't think it was close enough to his mom's version. He found the second one and said it was closer. The only changes I made were to leave out the stewed tomatoes (don't have any in the house!) and the green pepper (all our pepper plants died within a week of transplant this year).

Sadly, I still have 4 minutes to go...guess I'll go check some blogs!

There's "hope," and then there's "Hope"

Some references to "hope" should be taken very seriously. Others are pretty much just empty words. But sometimes you run into an instance in which you really have to wonder what people are thinking.

Now, I'm as optimistic about wind energy as the next guy (unless the next guy happens to be T. Boone Pickens). Living in a part of the country that is mostly occupied by sunshine, sand, and wind, I'm all for pumping money into our local economy rather than sending it to the Saudis. But to equate the hope that comes from a more renewable energy policy to that which comes from God sending His only Son to redeem mankind...well, that's just bizarre. And not in that funny of a way, the more I think about it. By the way, maybe the most forehead-slapping aspect of the whole thing is that the card comes from a catalog called "Holiday Classics." If that's classic...!

While speaking last month about St. Teresa Benedict of the Cross and St. Maximilian Kolbe (who both died at the hands of the Nazis), Pope Benedict XVI said, “He who prays never loses hope, even when he finds himself in difficult situations.” That's the kind of renewal that we should really be putting our hope in.

Day 8 - First Day of School!

Well, today has been a highly productive day for me...particularly since we started Kindergarten for Eva today.

My trial schedule worked pretty well today:

Eat, showered and dressed by 8
Religion - 15 minutes
Reading - 15 minutes
30 minute-ish break (today it was the length of Backyardigans)
Phonics - 30 minutes (15 mins of handwriting on alternate days)
Art - 30 minutes (Each day different: Art, P.E., Music, Science)
Break (today not a very long one, I just unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher and got the laundry transferred) Hubby got home during this break
Math - 15 minutes (30 minutes on days with handwriting)
Spanish - 15 minutes (on first and fourth days)

So, we are doing school 4 days a week, which allows a day off to coincide with hubby's day off (this week, Wednesday) and to do other things (this Wednesday, Eva has her 4 year checkup and we'll be visiting grandma)

My meal schedule for the month has started, too. It seems to be going well, also. I figured I needed a fairly flexible meal plan to be able to use pantry and freezer items more effectively, but I needed a plan for each day, so I wouldn't give up and have us go out (as much fun as having lunch out on the first day of school would have been!)

Here's the general plan:

Mondays - soup for lunch, pasta for dinner
Tuesdays - sandwiches for lunch, crockpot meal for dinner
Wednesdays - leftovers for lunch, misc. dishes for dnner (pork chops, roast, chili)
Thursdays - pancakes or waffles for lunch, meatloaf for dinner
Friday - hot dogs for lunch, Pizza for dinner
Saturdays - conveience food for lunch (stuff from SHARE in the freezer), Fish for dinner
Sundays - Fend for yourself for the meals we are at home (it's looking like 2 this month)

No shopping so far today, but I do think that I'm going to end up making MORE pickles this I'm hoping we won't need a grocery run, but I haven't checked yet.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Moving to the country, gonna eat me a lot of peaches...

Otherwise known as Day 7 of my 30 days.

Last night, we left my MILs house with 10 packages of hamburger, 5 lbs of potatoes (she was sent home from her brother's house with about 100 lbs) and a slightly less than 25 lb box of peaches. (She bought them from a student selling them for a school club, but accidentally bought from two students. She did the same thing last year, and a bunch of the peaches rotted before she got to freezing them...not to mention that this year she got a 5 gallon bucket full of peaches off her peach tree!)

We also ended up almost hitting a calf in the middle of the road on our way home. Of course, it had the family brand, so we got to turn it around (we scared it, and it was heading away from its pasture) and drive it back with our big ol' Buick. I think it may have been the first time it drove cattle...amazingly enough.

So, after church today (and after clipping a kazillion coupons from this weeks paper!) I canned 7 more pints of peaches, and froze another 1 1/2 quarts.

We did have to stop at the grocery store for ice (we were hoping to stop by the liquor store, because their ice is cheaper...but apparently though both liquor stores in town are NOW OPEN SUNDAYS!!! They don't open at 9 am...) so, that was another $1.62 towards our $25.00 this week. Since I did need to peel the peaches, and since the most effective way is blanching, and since we don't have an icemaker (or normally make ice in ice cube trays) I figure the ice purchase is okay.

Our grocery total so far is: $23.98

Not bad, since tomorrow is the beginning of week 2!

My brother's keeper

Well, I just finished reading the transcripts from today's "Meet the Press," in which Joe Biden essentially repeats the ridiculousness that got Nancy Pelosi into trouble with the American bishops. He, like Pelosi, insists that the teaching of the Church on abortion has not been clear or consistent--which, by the way, the bishops continue to disprove--and updates Speaker Pelosi's citation of St. Augustine to the much more modern and biologically enlightened...St. Thomas Aquinas. Seriously. Senator Biden also essentially pulls out that tired old slogan, "I'm personally opposed, but won't impose my beliefs on everyone else." Tom Brokaw tries to get Biden to address the fact that, if Biden truly does believe abortion to be evil, then his votes are a participation in that evil regardless of whether they impose his beliefs on others or not. But Biden squirms and flails until there's no real choice for Brokaw but to move on.

Coincidentally, today's readings really couldn't be more relevant to the Pelosi/Biden situation. A quick recap: the first reading (from Ezekiel) is a warning that, even if a wicked person persists in being wicked after being confronted, whether a believer confronts him or her makes all the difference. The wicked "shall die for his guilt" either way, but if "you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked from his way," you will be held responsible for his death. In the second reading, St. Paul exhorts the Romans to "love your neighbor as yourself." And finally, the Gospel is Jesus advising his disciples on how to respond if your brother sins against you: first, confront them personally, then bring a couple of other people to provide witnesses that you've tried, then tell "the church," and, if the brother who has sinned against you still will not listen, "treat them as you would a Gentile or a tax collector," i.e., exclude them from the community of believers.

Fr. J presented a very good homily about the nature of "loving your neighbor as yourself" and the importance of Cain's response when asked what had become of the brother he had just killed: "Am I my brother's keeper?" First, Father established with us that to love ourselves is essentially to do all we can do to make it to heaven, as the greatest act of love in history was God sending his only Son to redeem humanity. So, loving our neighbor is, at its heart, trying to help him get to heaven as well. In this light, confronting the wicked person as urged by Ezekial is a great act of love. So, going back to Pelosi/Biden, the bishops are truly being compassionate in their public corrections. Further, as Jesus teaches in today's Gospel reading, they will be acting wholly appropriately to "treat [Pelosi and Biden] as you would a Gentile or a tax collector" as a last result if the public disobedience to the Church continues.

But maybe the greatest lesson here is this: Speaker Pelosi and Senator Biden think they are serving women by allowing them to choose for themselves whether to abort their unborn children or not. Unfortunately, what they are really doing is allowing women to commit a grave evil when it is in their (Pelosi's and Biden's) power to prevent them from doing so. In essence, they aren't saying, "I respect your beliefs and don't want to impose mine on you;" rather, they are saying, "Am I my brother's keeper?" That response is as emblematic of their sin as it was of Cain's...and for that, God "will hold [them] responsible." (Ez. 33:8).

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Day 6 - Over the river and through the woods...

Well, we are at grandma's house right now (my MIL, the beloved grandparent!) and things are still going okay with the 30 days.

Yesterday after hubby got home from work, he was really wanting to get out of the house and relax...he asked if it would count against my 30 days if he suggested that we go to Pizza Hut (40 miles away) for supper. I said that if he really needed to get out of the house, we could do it, but that I was more than willing to make homemade pizza. So, instead of about 80 miles round trip and the cost of pizza, I sent hubby to the grocery store and he spent just over $10. (I don't have the receipt with me)

Our grocery list was:
bananas (do you notice a trend? My girls LOVE bananas)
milk (not quite out, but getting close)
dozen eggs
bottle of pizza sauce (kind of a splurge, but the squeezable pizza sauce lasts nicely in our fridge until I can use it up...otherwise, I find moldy pizza sauce in the back of the fridge...)

So, I'm claiming a victory for averting a meal out with $10 at the grocery store, and another movie checked out from the library (which we haven't watched yet).

Today also has gone well...I really had a desire to stop by the pop machines and get 25 cent drinks...but Charlotte would want one, and always spills in her carseat. Honestly, that's probably the only reason I didn't break down...but I did admit that it wouldn't be in the spirit of the challenge to stop for drinks.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Day 5 - Payday!

I love payday...because I can spend time dealing with money, moving it around and paying bills (I may be the only person in the world who actually likes the process of paying bills...of course, I'd rather keep the money!)

So, I was just updating Quicken with hubby's new contribution to his retirement account, transfering money from one account to another so that I can write a check to pay for our foundation repair (which, thankfully only ended up costing $350) and making a contribution to Charlotte's college fund (we alternate months between the girls).

I'm feeling pretty good about this month so far. Obviously, I consider both the foundation repair bill and the college fund contribution to count as necessities.

I do have to admit that everytime I update retirement accounts or college savings accounts, I get a little sick to my stomach. You see, we've put in $950 (before today) for Charlotte's account and it has lost $125...ouch!

So, I have to make myself look at it from this perspective: Better to buy low and sell high! I know it sounds really simple, but I find myself having to work against my emotions. I just want to stop contributing to the funds and build up our emergency fund faster...but I don't really want to, I just don't like seeing the money go down.

Now, if I were a good Dave Ramsey-ite, we would have built up our emergency fund BEFORE we started contributing to retirement and college savings. We made our decision to slow down our savings to do these things, and now I feel like we need to stick with them. Of course, that decision would be reconsidered if anything major happened in our lives.

I am hoping that these 30 days of nothing help us to build up our emergency fund, and get us back on track towards saving, rather than wasting our money, as we so often do.

(Sidenote, we were having a discussion last night while I made dinner...I'll admit it, I was whining a little bit about having to cook and clean up after another meal, so I was trying to put that into perspective by remembering how blessed we are to have a home, a kitchen, food in our fridge and pantry, dishes, a dishwasher, etc. etc. etc...hubby was teasing me and said "you just wish there was someway to have someone cook for you and clean up afterwards" and I pointed out to him that there is such a place, and it is called a restaurant...)


Ladies and gentleman (if you're still out there, sir), I am very happy to announce that--even though it rained all night long here--our crawlspace is dry as a bone, our foundation sound as a pound.

That's all I have to say, really...I'm just so relieved that the concrete guys were able to get here and get the job done so quickly after the initial little delay in coming out and giving us a quote. Otherwise I'd probably be down there, in the words of a certain cool governor, trying to "part the waters and heal the planet." ;-)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Cow slippers - Day 4

Almost done with day 4 of 30 days...

One of the things that I had noticed needed replacing was my slippers. I generally wear slippers around the house, as we have a lot of hard flooring. In the summer, we often get stickers in the house, and in the winter, the floor just gets cold. The slippers I've been using I bought before I was even pregnant with Charlotte, so they really didn't owe me anything. Unfortunately, the padding got all bunched up inside them, and when I was trying to fix it, it all ended up getting pulled no more padding in the slippers.

Then I remembered that I had another pair of slippers that I don't like very much (they are fine if I am sick, but if I have to walk around a lot in them, they slide right off my feet) so I went into our closet to find them. I found them...AND a pair of cow slippers (you know the kind...with the head of the animal at the toes) that I put up because my other slippers (the now destroyed ones) were more comfortable and, lets face it, less embarassing to wear around the house. So, I have embraced my cow slippers today.

No spending today. We went to the library and signed Eva up for storytime, which starts at the end of this month, then headed over to the park to play on the slides and so Eva could ride her bike (our streets are a little rounded for her abilities!)

I'm already getting creative with food...

We've had some variety of cucumber salad for virtually every meal (at least 1, if not 2 a day) and there is no end in sight. Next year, I'm planning on a more diversified garden if only to be able to go back and forth between cucumber salad and sauteed zucchini...

Lunch today was roast beef slices with a little cheese and mustard on hamburger buns grilled and pressed down with a second skillet (kinda like a really white trash panini, I guess) with cucumber salad and orange slices. Dinner, I baked potatoes, and made twice baked potatoes with a can of rice and pinto beans (from SHARE...I've never seen anything like it before!) and a little cheese on top, and served it with canned peaches (we could've had another cucumber salad...I just couldn't take it!) We did manage to use up the leftover hamburger buns from Eva's birthday party today.

I'm doing okay with my lack of paperbackswap so far, although I think that I will have quite a stack to list by the time this month is over!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Day 2 (or 3...I'm just not sure how to count this yet!)

So, we are now on day 2 since I made the decision to do the 30 days of nothing yesterday...although, I don't think we spent any money on the 1st either, so I guess maybe I'll just call this day 3 to make life easier...

So, today we went to the grocery store. Our local ad came out, and hubby FINALLY remembered to bring it home (usually I have to ask him to pick it up for several comes in the local paper, but the paper is so badly written, we don't subscribe anymore!) of course, right in time for my minimal buying thing...and there were several items that were good deals that I passed up. Here's what I bought:

1 gallon 2% milk $3.79
3.16 lbs bananas $1.05 (got a good price because they are overripe, but the girls are fine with them now...and if they ripen much more, I guess I'll get to make some banana bread...something that hardly ever happens since the birth of Charlotte the banana lover!)
3 boxes cereal $5.00 (5 for $10, used $1 off 3 coupon)
5 lbs potatoes $2.00 (originally charged me $4.45 instead of the sale price, but I noticed before we walked all the way home, so sent hubby back for a refund.)
Total: $12.20

I really have to babysit the checkers at our supermarket because without fail, several things don't scan correctly...and even with my vigilance, they probably overcharge me by $1-$3 per week. If only we had another option (the nearest other grocery stores are 40 miles away)

So far, so good...of course, I have noticed about a dozen things that need to be replaced around here, but I'm thinking of starting a Christmas wish list for them. My parents and hubby's parents frequently ask us what we would like for Christmas, and I almost always tell them there really isn't anything in particular...mostly because I go out and replace things without waiting for an occasion. Maybe this will help me to have a list for them!

Great column at First Things

Another Coloradoan, Suann Therese Maier, has a great column on the First Things "On the Square" blog today. It is entitled "A Vote for Sarah Palin." A great snip:

I will vote for Sarah Palin because she is intelligent, tenacious and talented. Nobody made her rise easy, and no one is making it easy now. And—is it only moms who notice this?—unlike Senator Biden, she does seem to act consistently on her beliefs about the sanctity of life, at considerable personal cost.

FYI: Suann Maier has a slightly higher profile than the bio on First Things would lead you to believe. In 2005, she and her husband Francis received "induction into the papal knightly Order of St. Gregory the Great as dames and knights," according to the January 26, 2005 issue of The Denver Catholic Register. Here is what that same article had to say about them:

The Maiers
Both 56 and married 34 years, Suann and Francis Maier are the parents of four children, one adopted and one with Down syndrome. Archbishop Chaput described them as “a model of Catholic family love for children with special needs.”
A teacher for 24 years, 20 in Catholic schools, Suann has been active in Catholic and public service volunteer causes for decades as a catechist, coach, board president of a school for children with special needs and a pro-life activist, the archbishop indicated. She has served as an emergency pregnancy counselor, raised the funds for and helped found pro-life clinics, recruited pro-life volunteers, and served in a variety of pro-life leadership positions, including president of the Right to Life League of Southern California, one of the largest pro-life education and service provider networks in the nation.
Currently archdiocesan chancellor and special assistant to the archbishop, Francis X. Maier has served the Denver Archdiocese for 11 years, beginning as communications secretary for Archbishop, now Cardinal, J. Francis Stafford. Former editor of the National Catholic Register, he has provided extensive policy counsel and support to the bishops and vicars general of the archdiocese since 1993, the archbishop indicated. He was the primary staff support in the development of the 1998 U.S. bishops’ pastoral letter, “Living the Gospel of Life.”
Suann Maier recalled that she was dismissing her fourth-graders from a parish school in Manhattan when a parent told her abortion on demand had been made legal. Pregnant with her first child at the time, she said she immediately understood that “abortion was going to be one of the gravest evils of our time, that God was asking us to walk the talk, and that this would be a defining work of our marriage.”
“To get an honor like this is beyond what we could ever have expected or hoped for,” she said. “It’s a beautiful recognition that our contribution is valuable.”

Representative Democracy

A few days ago, I saw a comment on a fairly prominent conservative blog lamenting that (paraphrase), "A major party ticket won't be able to have two white guys on it anymore" because of the Palin/Obama effect this year. While I'm not a big supporter of such things as race or gender-based preferences in hiring, I just can't get myself worked up too much about this. Sure, it will probably be the trendy thing to do for a few election cycles to have a woman or minority on the ticket, but so what? I believe these politicians are supposed to be in Washington to represent the people, and I don't think it's wrong to include consideration of race or gender in that idea of representation (even if it should be far from the most important consideration).

That being said, I don't think what has the elite level of the mainstream media, the Democratic Party leadership, and the "Beltway insiders" in such a tizzy is Sarah Palin's gender or even her conservative views on matters such as abortion. Rather, I think it's mostly something that Laura Ingraham touched on during Fox News Channel's rundown of yesterday's RNC highlights: a lot of people (probably including some of the old guard in the Republican Party) can't stand the fact that Gov. Palin went to the University of Idaho and not an Ivy League school, that her parents were public school employees and not governors or senators. A lot of people have questioned whether either Palin or Obama would be where they are now if they were white men...well, where would George W. Bush be if his father hadn't been President? Would Kathleen Sebelius be a blue governor of a red state if she weren't part of a political dynasty? Would Bob Casey, Jr. have any cred as a "pro-life Democrat" if his father hadn't been a political martyr for that cause?

I'm just saying that the part of the Sarah Palin selection that could change American politics the most is not so much that she is a woman, but that she is one of us: she ran off and married her high school sweetheart, she's had some trouble with her in-laws, and her kids haven't always made the best decisions. We can relate to that...and it scares the heck out of the Washington insiders!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

30 days of nothing

Okay, so the title is obviously a little bit of a we have LOTS of stuff...

A while back, my friend Katie mentioned a blog called Owlhaven - she really is into the blog because the blogger has adopted several children from Ethiopia (as has Katie). I read through most of the archives, and I was most interested in an experiment that she did called 30 days of nothing. Basically, she challenged herself to spend minimal money (gave up things like buying books, tried to keep to a very minimal grocery budget and eat from her pantry, etc) and do activities with her kids to show them how good we have it in our lives as Americans (I think they washed clothes by hand one day, do regular vegetarian meals, eat oatmeal regularly for breakfast, etc.)

I brought it up to hubby a while back, and he didn't think it was a good idea. Largely in part (I'm guessing) to the fact that I tend to be very rigid and tend to beat myself up for little mistakes. Also, probably because he didn't want to have to hear about it all the time and listen to my determining if something would fit into the spirit of the challenge. (I can see his point, one thing that bugged me most about the service learning house at our college was that they could spend DAYS arguing over whether or not a pasta fork from the thrift store could be considered simple living.)

So, in a spirit of not torturing my husband about it, I have decided that I (not the whole family, just me) am going to attempt a 30 days of nothing challenge...of course, my definition of nothing isn't really nothing:

I am going to:
-Allow $25 a week for groceries (milk, eggs, bananas) but plan menus to clean out our deep freeze (we are trading my parents our little one for their larger one) and use up some of our pantry stockpiles. If we run out of something, I will buy it if I can work it into the $25 budget.
-Take the kids to the library at least once a week, and maybe even check out some movies for family fun night.
-Work on clearing out clutter from our house in my spare time.
-Put a vacation hold on my paperbackswap account (this is the thing that will hurt the most! I love swapping books!) which means, no more books coming in, and no more books going out (which costs us the postage) for the month of September.

I am NOT going to:
-Obsess about how much money hubby has spent on things (really, he doesn't spend very much at all...but I tend to be a bit of a maniac when it comes to saving money) or how much money we do have/are putting/will have in our emergency savings account.
-Talk about how it is going (I'll probably blog about it, then hubby can have fair warning and can avoid reading my posts if he doesn't want to hear about it)
-Nag hubby about cutting down on trips to see his parents. Transportation will continue as usual, and I won't fret about the number of miles/cost of gas.

So, here it goes, my own 30 days of nothing (starting 1 day late!) There are 30 some other people doing the challenge, so feel free to check some of them out!

"It's like Peyton Place around here!"

To be honest, I'm too young to really know what exactly my mom is referring to when she says this sometimes, but I get the impression that it was basically Melrose Place v1.0: attractive, yet disturbed and/or morally bankrupt people live in (too) close proximity, melodrama ensues.

While that description fits for some of the small towns I've been around, too, the town named Peyton has been in Colorado--and to some extent, national--news lately...and not because life there is like a soap-opera (as far as I know). It's a teeny-tiny town near Colorado Springs that is in some ways similar to the rural Colorado community I grew up in. So I thought it was a little bit intriguing to see it cropping up in two independent stories with national implications. First, Adam Brickley, a 21-year-old from Peyton who is now interning in DC, received a lot of credit for building the "buzz" around Sarah Palin with the blog I linked to here last week, "Draft Sarah Palin for Vice President."

Also, there is Kristi Burton, the 20-year-old law student from Peyton who wrote the "Colorado Personhood Amendment" (which would define personhood as legally starting at conception) and is serving as an at-large delegate to the GOP convention this week. I imagine these two "kids" are probably the talk of their hometown this month, and it warms the cockles of my heart a little bit to see rural Coloradoans out there on the national stage.