Monday, April 26, 2010

Escape!

This past weekend, I was able to get away from it all for a little while. On Saturday, I packed up all my supplies and went scrapping with my friends! It had been ages since I had been able to sit down and work on some pages, and it seems like it had been even longer since I had hung out with my girlies. I missed them! I think we spent more time laughing and eating than we did scrapping, but that's OK. We always have fun whenever we're together.

One of the best things about our get-togethers is the food! There were honey-pecan li'l smokies, regular li'l smokies, some amazing dips, these incredible cream-cheese cinnamon roll ups that my friend (and host this time) Dyna makes (I've got to get this recipe, it's super simple), and I made cupcakes. But not just any cupcakes, I wanted to try something different this time.


I love making the unexpected, and this time I really did it with french toast and bacon cupcakes! I don't usually toot my own horn when it comes to my cooking, but beep, beep, baby, because these were good! The cupcake part is made with extra cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla for the french toast flavor. The frosting was a fantastic maple buttercream that was super easy to make. The garnish? The bacon, of course! I found the recipe here. It was written very clearly, and was very easy to follow. If you don't want to bake from scratch, you could probably get a similar result from a yellow cake mix, just adding the vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Once I got home, I ran down to the Manhole to spend time with the Husband and Chickenhead. I expected Butters to be on her wheel, running her little legs off. But she wasn't. I looked around in her cage and I didn't see her. Then I looked at the side of her cage- the little lookout hatch was open!! Butters had escaped! I casually asked, 'hey, where's Butters?' You would have thought I had yelled, 'FIRE!!', because Chickenhead and the Husband jumped up from their respective perches in .05 seconds. Poor Chickenhead started freaking out and crying, because he was sure Butters was dead. I calmed him down by telling him that if he was upset, it would scare Butters and it would make it harder to find her. The Husband and I began searching, but it was Chickenhead that found her. Butters hadn't gotten far- she was under the coffee table, less than 5 feet from the table her cage is on. After we got her back in her cage, I decided that I had had enough excitement for one day, and I went to bed.

Chickenhead stayed down in the Manhole as they were watching horror movies. Of course, around 3:30, he came in to my room asking if he could sleep with me, using the excuse of Butters' wheel keeping him awake. I'm sure that was a small part of it, I think it was more the scary movies than anything else!

Probably just like Butters, I'm plotting my next escape, too!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

When Did I Lose All Sense of Control?

Where have the past two weeks gone? My life is a blur these days, and I'm getting tired of it. Let me see if I can take a deep breath and get us all up to speed.

OK, first thing. We have decided NOT to move. YAY!! We're going to stay here for one more year. We have no idea where the hell we want to move to, and honestly, I just could not get excited about packing up 7 years worth of crap to move to a home that I may not like. In a neighborhood that I may not like. When it comes to change, I'm fickle. Minor things I can adapt to with no problem, but big things? I will fight tooth and nail before I finally give in. But the Husband and I decided that if we stayed here for one more year, it would give us time to decide where we want to go, what type of house we want, etc. We don't have to rush ourselves (meaning me, mostly)and we can focus on what we really want.

Chickenhead has a new pet, a hamster named Butters. I'm not a rodent person, so for me to allow this fancy rat in to my home was a huge concession on my part. But Chickenhead adores her! He's in to taking care of her, putting her in her ball, etc. I can tell though, that Butters does not like me! She gives me major bitch-face, her little hamster lips curled up in a sneer while she gives me the side-eye. Whatever, sister. I paid for your scraggly butt, so you better be nice to me!

The school year is almost over, and we have made a huge decision about Chickenhead's education next year. We are going to homeschool! Chickenhead had a great teacher this year, but the problem is the assessment testing. It seems that at our school, they spend most of the class time focusing only on reading and math. Science, geography, history and social studies only get touched on here and there. Also, it doesn't seem like they really learn *how* to study for a test, it's just rote memorization. We think that for Chickenhead, studying at home will be the best option for him. And no, I won't have to wear a denim jumper, grow my hair long or have another 18 or so kids! We're looking at the K12program. In this program, Chickenhead would do all of his daily work on a laptop, and then a teacher would check his work via remote access on the laptop. It will be a chance for him to get the attention he needs in class, and work at his own pace. And, we'll get to focus on the things that really interest him like art and science. There are also local K12 groups, so he can connect in real-life with his online classmates. And he'll still have Cub Scouts, so Chickenhead will have a lot of social contact.

Things got kind of nuts around here for a while, but hopefully, I've got everything under control! Let's hope, anyway.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

What's Goin On

I don't usually use my blog to talk a lot about politics or religion because they are deeply personal and often divisive topics. But the past few weeks have brought to light even more damaging accusations of abuse against the Catholic church, and I'd like to talk about it.

Yesterday, the AP reported that in 1985, then cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict) stalled the removal of a San Franciscan priest who had pleaded no contest to tying up and molesting two youths in the church rectory in 1978. The notion that the man who is now 'God's representative here on Earth' knowingly covered up and ignored reports of abuse is to me, repulsive. In his words at the time, the Pope said he was worried about what removing this priest did to the "universal good of the church".

When did children become something we use and then toss aside? When did society decide to turn a blind eye to the actions of men (and women)who wrap themselves in the mantle of the divine? I know that many Catholics believe that the actions of the higher ups in Rome don't affect them, or that the money that the put in the collection plate each week doesn't support this massive cover up, but it does.

I read this comment the other day on a Yahoo news story about the allegations against the Pope-

"If you've never had to rush a child to the ER to have lacerated intestines stitched back together; if you never had to hold a child who trembled and shuddered each time he/she had to go potty; if you never had to wash the blood from their underwear or take them to ER to have their esophagus repaired; if you never looked into a pup tent covered in blood from slit wrists or had to chase a tormented child through the woods because they were trying to escape themselves and if you never had to cut a dead child down from a tree, you really haven't seen the reality of what these demon seeds from hell do to kids. I have seen this with my own two eyes. When you can say you have seen those things, then maybe, just maybe, you'll realize this has nothing to do with any church. It has everything to do with criminals and those who protect them. The next time you say it's only God who judges, keep in mind that he gave mankind the power to reason. Do you think it's about time they put it into effect?"


While I cringe at the graphic details of that statement,it made me realize that it's time for us as a society to say 'enough' to the pedophiles and the organizations that protect them. It's time for us to listen to the children and to listen to the adults who were once these tortured children themselves.

Have we as a society become so jaded that we no longer care about the basic well being of a child? Yesterday a news story broke about a Tennessee woman who sent her adopted son back to Russia on a plane by himself, because she couldn't care for him. Who puts a 9 year old child on a plane on a child by himself with a note pinned to his jacket? She found someone on the internet who agreed to meet the boy at the airport for $200. The little boy had no idea he was going away for good, he had no idea what was happening at all. The adoptive mother and her mother claim that he was a danger to himself and to others, but instead of seeking help for him, they shipped him back like they were returning an order to Amazon.

My heart breaks on a daily basis it seems, for the children who have to remain silent, who can't speak up for themselves for whatever reason. I find myself thinking of a statistic I read once. It said that one in four girls have been sexually abused by the time they turn 18. For boys, it's one in ten that have been abused by the time they reach adulthood. There are 28 children in Chickenhead's class; it's a very real and very tragic possibility that one of his classmates has been or is being abused in some way.

I wish I had the answer for how to end all of this, but I don't. I think a place to start is by advocating for children. I think we need to listen to the children in our lives and we need to speak up for them when necessary. We need to stop sticking our heads in the sand, and thinking 'oh that doesn't happen to anyone I know/in my church/neighborhood, etc'. The only way we have any hope of ever eradicating the abuse of children is to shine a light on it and expose it and the perpetrators. Only then can we hope that our children can begin to heal.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hello, Lover!

I have to confess, there's someone new in my life. Hey, I have needs. And there are some needs that the Husband just can't satisfy. Sometimes, I need something hot. Sometimes, I need something rich. So I did what I had to do...



I bought a Keurig!


What were you thinking, hmm? I have wanted one of these babies for a long time. I love a good cup of coffee, but I'm the only one here that drinks it, so making a whole pot is wasteful. Going to the coffee shop every day can get pretty pricey, too. So a couple of weekends ago while I was lazing away on the sofa and flipping through the TV channels, I landed on QVC. I will watch QVC for hours on end, but never order anything. But not this time! Because they had this coffee maker, the water filter, the 'my K-Cup' and and assortment of 48 K-Cups for an amazing price that was split up in to four low payments. It was destiny, destiny, I tell you, that I happened upon QVC at that moment.

So I've spent the past week sampling all the different coffees that they sent me. I have to admit, I'm not wild about the extra-dark roasts, but I'll manage. When the time comes, though, I'll order a milder roast. Or, I can just buy my favorite coffee at the store and use the 'my K-cup'. Either way, my needs are satisfied!

In other news, we're apparently ready for Easter here at the Casa. Take a look at the egg Chickenhead decorated at school today-


Meet John, the Angry Easter Egg. I don't know why he's angry. I didn't really want to ask. I made Chickenhead put him in the fridge. John scares me.