Wednesday, April 30, 2008

DId You?

Click the link in that sticky? You should. She continues with excellent 'reporting on the reporting.' Are you at all concerned? Or do you figure that they're twisted cultish people and they're probably abusing the kids, so due process shouldn't apply to them anyway?

Do YOU have any twisted, cultish beliefs? According to the state, that is. The belief that things like marriage and motherhood are good, noble aspirations? See, that's not okay. Teen pregnancy, free birth control, and abortion are fine with the state. Peer pressure to have sex at a young age is okay. Seventy percent of California's 'underage' pregnancies involve older men. That's a pretty big statistic. I think Californians should have all their kids forcibly removed too.

All those newest headlines about the 30+ "new" teens that are pregnant? How do you figure they know that? We've heard about how their birth certificates and driver's licenses are untrustworthy (this age of identity theft and all). You'll love this... They are classifying them as minors because they look young. SO scientific, and definitely strong enough evidence to start destroying families! ... Just a thought; I'm 30, but put me in a pink puffed-sleeve prairie dress, do my hair up all old-school, feed me fresh veggies and sunshine, then put me in a foreign environment that has the power to destroy me, and I'm gonna look younger! There's a thought...

Just so you don't jump all over me; I'm not saying there's no abuse. I'm not saying that these people are all innocent. But I'm definitely not saying that the evidence so far has shown legitimate reason to do this. Same sect or not, we can't use testimony from someone who left the same belief system five (or more) years ago as proof that these people are doing the same things others have.

Really, do some reading. She uses links to articles and quotes and all the stuff I'm not having time to do. Please.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Character Education

I think we need some. Little Artist shows signs...

Big Sister: Mama, why did God make starlings?

Me: *sigh* I have no idea, honey. Why did he make mosquitoes and yellow jackets?

Big Sister: I know why he made those! So fish and spiders could have something to eat!

Me: Oh, you're so smart.

Big Sister: You told me that!

Me: Oh, did I? I'm so smart.

Big Sister: Why did God make bad people?**

Me: He---

Li'l Artist: I know! So we could kill them!

**Really, we HAVE had the conversation that all are sinners and all have choices...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Since my last post dealing with my thoughts on the FLDS compound raid in Texas, I've spent (probably way too much) time reading about the FLDS in general and the Texas raid in particular, especially noting recent developments.

I still don't like the culture of polygamy or underage brides or welfare-fraud. But I'm also not impressed with Texas' handling of the situation.

Some things I have a problem with:

1. Removing all children from their mothers. At first, they allowed mothers of children under five to remain with their kids, now every child is being removed to foster care. If there is such 'danger' to these babies, why were their mothers let stay for 2 weeks? As far as I understand it, the allegations are about underage marriage, not infant and child abuse. It especially irks me that the Judge is not sympathetic to the nursing mothers. This doesn't seem to be serving the children's best interests. Cell phones have been confiscated, effectively limiting attorney contact.

2. The seeming trial of culture vs. the investigation of specific crimes. Again, I wouldn't mind seeing polygamy disappear, but apparently that's not the crime here. Polygamy is only a crime if you are legally married to more than one spouse at once. It's (obviously - look at any public high school) not illegal to have sex with whomever you choose, married or not (barring the age issue).

3. The fact they only just realized that they're holding 437 children instead of 416. Are you kidding me? Child welfare? Looking out for each child's best interest? How absurd.

4. Giving the mothers no options to "earn" back their children. Apparently some have offered to move away, get jobs, sever ties.... and apparently that's not enough.

5. The obvious hypocrisy that if these young girls were having intercourse with different partners (that would seem more of 'choice') and wanted birth control, the state would be all for it. Somehow, being limited to one partner (for the women, anyways) and bearing (and raising) your children is suspect.

6. The other obvious hypocrisy that while CPS argues that the danger to the children is due to the authoritarian nature of the culture, lack of freedoms, and coercion. Really? How has this been handled by the state (and especially CPS)? I'll quote from The Common Room: More than two dozen women of a polygamous sect told reporters they were surrounded by troopers and forced to leave their children in state custody Monday. [how's that for authoritarian?]...the women met with reporters at the YFZ Ranch hours after leaving their children and accused the Texas Child Protective Services of lies and trickery. After a week's stay at two makeshift shelters - described by one woman as a"concentration camp" - state authorities moved women and children to the San Angelo Coliseum on Monday, promising them they were being taken to a "bigger, better" place. They were told they would be reunited with other family members, the women said. Once at the coliseum, the women were separated according to the ages of their children. Mothers of those age 6 or older were herded into a room, each one flanked by a CPS worker. More than 50 troopers, according to the women, lined the room. The women were given a choice: return to the ranch or go to a domestic violence shelter. [they were ordered, you see, to be compliant. CPS doesn't object to compliance. They just wish to reserve that compliance and obedience to themselves]Their children, they were told, were no longer theirs. "They told us the state is in charge of them now," said Donna."They wouldn't even let us go back and say goodbye to our children," said Sarah, who now has five children, ages 8 to 16, in state custody. [in other words, they were authoritarian, and required obedience]

Coercion, false choices, authoritarian demands for compliance all
prompted by an anonymous phone call we now know was a tissue of lies? There is
no 'Sarah,' yet.
Another girl with a name similar to that of the girl in the search warrant was grilled for hours by investigators, Janet said. They kept telling her " 'You are this girl. Why don't you want our help?' " she said. [authoritarian, coercive, denying her the right to make her own choices as to whether or not she wanted their help, refusing even to accept her own self-identification, demanding compliance ]

Medical tests against their will or consent:
One mother said she was asked if her two daughters, 15 and 16, were married or pregnant. She said no. The girls were given pregnancy tests, she said, and the results proved she was truthful.Asked if any teenage girls were pregnant, the women refused to answer. Frankly, I would refuse to answer, too. A 19 year old is a teen, but she is legally of age to marry without anybody else's consent. If they say no and there turns out to be one (whom they may or may not have known about), they'll be guilty regardless. If they say yes, that will be proving the state's case for them. And, in the words of Obama, it would be a distraction. Regardless of whether or not there are pregnant teens, the state has nothing to be proud of in how it is handling this case.Who are the real authoritarians demanding compliance here? Possibly both CPS and FLDS. I know which one is a bigger threat to the rest of us. FLDS can't come and take my kids and yours.

Yikes. Again, I'm no fan of the FLDS or similar sects. I don't think they're generally a healthy way to live, I think they lend themselves to abuses, but I don't think you can charge a cult or a mindset - you need to look individually. I saw one interview with a woman who grew up in polygamy. Her father had 19 wives, and she was one of 75 children. Every time "their paths crossed," she said, her father "had to ask me my name and who my mother was." That is not fatherhood. Nor is looking at a 13-year-old with eyes toward impregnating her to secure your after-life's godhood. But again, it's painting with a broad brush to assume this is true of all families.

I'm still praying. I'm praying that the children are freed. Freed from whom? I don't know. Freed from the heavy-handed tactics of the state, freed from abuse, if there is any. Free to grow up healthy and loved and cared for, in a cult or not, but preferably not in foster care. I just don't know about all this, and I just pray that righteousness will reign.

Friday, April 18, 2008

It Wasn't Me!

Sorry, Teacher Mama, but the dog my sister ate my homework.

I swear.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Abuse or Alternative Lifestyle?

How long until polygamy is another legitimate option? How long until arranged marriages for young girls (to older married men) are okay?

I've not really kept up on the details of the Texas polygamist compound raid, but I hear little tidbits on the radio. I don't watch tv and haven't googled it (yet).

I do have some thoughts though (surprise!)...

I don't think polygamy in itself is an evil. I think it's a poor option; it's in the Bible but never really worked out well for all involved. Over the years I've seen interviews with the wives of Tom Green, docu- and mocumentaries on the FLDS down on the Utah/Arizona border, etc. I've even been known to make the comment, 'honey, maybe we should consider polygamy because I could really use the help around here!'

Forgive me if this only echoes every other blogger out there, but I just want to get it out... I don't think there's anything noble about this sect in Texas. I don't think it's about "family, not sex" and I don't think their leaders are well-intentioned men. I think they are carnal, lustful men who are deceived enough to have wrapped some sort of spirituality around their twistedness to legitimize it (at least in their eyes).

I hear they're now opening their compound to the media, to 'get their side out' and gain some public support. I heard bits like, "lots of construction equipment... totally self-sufficient... pristine.." And that was the media talking.

Self-sufficient? Every last one of these type, insofar as I know, are anything but self-sufficient. Do you suppose one man in the desert is making enough money to support a handful of wives and a dozen or three kids? Do you think each wife is (at the same time) legally married to her husband? No, and no. So what does that amount to? A bunch of "single" mothers... collecting state money. I did hear that this Texas sect sat down and studied the benefits offered in their state and said and did everything necessary to get the maximum amounts allowable. "Bleeding the Beast" they called it. And now they want "public support?" What, from The Beast?

And apparently it's all so pristine. White temple walls and all. I suppose the bed within is draped in white, pristine linens where the 'elders' (the young men are usually run off) have their oh-so-righteous way with young, pristine girls.

This is not love. This is not righteous. Love doesn't defraud the young, or women, or even Beastly governments. This is not holy or devout or pleasing to God.

But, aside from the rape issues and/or abuse, how can any of this be prosecuted? It can't. Extramarital affairs aren't a problem for the law; how could it be worse when a wife knows and consents to her husband's pursuing other women? Some push for homosexuals to be able to adopt, and there are those - married and otherwise - who live and raise children in anything but monogamous households. I wonder if these FLDS men would flinch if the ACLU or NOW or other radical left-wing group known for defending perversions stood up in their defense...

Now, my heart breaks for these mothers separated from their children. Mothers who, while probably deluded or desperate, love their children more than anything, and fear for them in the mouth of the Beast. It scares me to hear the state say, "no, you can't be with your children because they won't 'fess up about the abuse if you're near." I assume they're being as delicate as they can be, but there is probably little about the 'real world' that would incite confidence and trust in a child used to the 'pristine' life within the compound.

I'm praying. I'm praying that the Truth would set them free, that they don't have to leave any semblance of Faith to leave that twisted place. I'm praying that the Lord of Love will heal the hearts of all the victims of this ideology, and that He will show them that He is sufficient, that He is pristine, that He alone is holy.

A Day In The Life...

...Of Gi-gi.

I just got off the phone with her, and decided I needed to record her goings-on of yesterday for posterity.

Do keep in mind that she is 81 and has macular degeneration, which greatly hinders her detail-vision (though she just passed her vision test - thanks to her freaky binocular glasses - and skills test for her driver's license - again).

Gi-gi was taking a shower yesterday, and she got some shampoo in her eyes. As is her habit sometimes, she sat/leaned against the ceramic soap dish that is embedded in the tile wall while she cleared her eyes. The soap dish gave out, and she and it crashed down to the edge of the tub. She stood up and picked up the thing to examine it, and realized that it had some considerably jagged/pointy protrusions. About this time she also noticed that her feet and everything around them were red... with blood. She of course called 911 immediately reached back and realized that she had a pretty big gash in her, um, gluteus maximus. Blood was flowing everywhere. At this point she of course called 911 immediately decided it was more than she could first-aid herself, so of course called 911 immediately grabbed four washcloths to apply pressure and of course called 911 immediately wrangled herself into a pair of her late sister's compression stockings and got dressed. Then she gathered a few items and got into her car and drove to the emergency room church where she attended Mass and said her Rosary. After this, she got the attention of a close friend and said, "[Friend], I have a first-aid job for you. I fell in the shower this morning and cut my rear. I have some band-aids here and some duct tape.." (no, I'm not kidding)

Shw showed her friend the injured area, and when her friend removed the four blood-soaked washcloths and the blood started gushing again she exclaimed, "[Gi-gi], you're gonna need a lot more than duct tape! I'm taking you to the ER!"

"You are not! [insert tirade about doctors, Medicare, and drug companies here]"

"Well, there's a Doc-in-the-box up the road here, I'll drive you."

"You'll do no such thing. If you drive me I'll be without wheels and I have a luncheon at 1:00."

"Fine, I'll follow you but you've gotta get that taken care of."

Gi-gi complied, probably because her retired-nurse, back-alley, duct-tape trauma care plan wasn't going to fly. She lay on her side while the doctor and nurse practitioner did "running stitches" for 45 minutes. Apparently those were required to sew deeper into muscle tissue for the six-inch gash.

Of course, she kept them in stitches for the duration with tales of previous back-alley trauma-care events.

They told her she couldn't take a bath for awhile.

"I haven't had a bath in 30 years."

She's very proud that she "has the skin of a 50-year-old."

She's also proud that she has "so much good, healthy red blood." She thanks her vitamin E and other supplements for that.

She told me she really has a "high tolerance for pain."

And she made it to her luncheon on time.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Organic Baby

That's what we call her... I guess she pretty much is, so far! Hasn't had any shots/treatments/drugs as of yet, and has a pretty simple diet. We are following Nourishing Traditions ideas on baby feeding, and it's interesting, to say the least. They recommend beginning around 4 months by feeding one egg yolk daily to your little one. Now, this egg yolk needs to be a decent one; we use our homegrown ones. Nice orange yolk. You boil the egg for 3 1/2 minutes only. Of course, egg whites (the protein part) are to be avoided, so removing the (still VERY soft) yolk from the white can be a challenge. Into this, stir in a dash of sea salt. We use RealSalt.

Beginning around 6 months, Baby can start eating mashed banana. Banana has it's own amylase, the enzyme required for it's digestion, so is a good choice. Also at six months, you can begin grating 1/2 tsp. of raw*, organic, grass-fed beef liver into the egg yolk. Yes, I said liver. Yes, I said raw. Yes, I know it's gross. But mother's milk is low in one thing - iron - and liver is a great source of iron. Raw because of the tremendous amount of helpful enzymes (which are denatured when heated) in it. Before reading Nourishing Traditions, I thought lions and other predators were 'gross' for eating the organ tissues first from their prey. Now I know they'd probably not survive otherwise.

That's pretty much it (except for nursing, of course). This will continue until around 10 months or so, when I'll start introducing cereal grains and other fruits and vegetables (and meat). Why be so backwards from conventional baby-feeding ideas? Well, biology will tell you that a baby's digestive system is geared for one basic thing; mother's milk. Eventually it develops the ability to produce the enzymes needed to digest (hopefully) all foods. Mother's milk is rich in fat, with only one basic carbohydrate; lactose. Of course, milk has lactase in it, which is the enzyme required to digest lactose! Baby's system doesn't need to produce lactase (sidenote: ever heard of 'lactose intolerance'? That condition exists because milk is pasteurized (cooked) which destroys the natural enzymes in it, including lactase - hence the difficulty some have ingesting lactose). Baby's system is first ready to digest animal fats and proteins. Cereal grains are among the last things they develop the ability to digest well, so it makes sense that egg yolks come before rice.

So far she's enjoyed our backyard egg-yolks, some appropriate liver from my mom's freezer (thanks Mom!), and the occasional organic banana. I wish she could figure out the difference between swallowing some food and spitting it right out. Seems like she's taking longer to master that! In any case, since we renamed Li'l Artist, we thought Baby deserved a new label too. As she's so organic and all, I'll be henceforth referring to her as Organique. Rhymes with Monique, kinda.

So here she is: Our Organique!

*Freeze liver for 14 days to kill any possible parasites.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

It's About Time...

Mark the calendar for posterity's sake. As of today, April 13, I have divested myself of the all-important, constantly-worn Long John's of winter. Of course, I'll probably have to put them on again tomorrow, but right now, right here, our fun little weather station thingy says it's 85.1 degrees!

What? It snowed 3 days ago? Yes, I know, but it's 85 right now.

Yes, I know it will probably snow tomorrow, or have driving wind and rain at 40 degrees, but it's 85 right now.

What? Yes, I know the whole house is a mess and I'm woefully inconsistent in blogging, but it's 85 right now, and I'm going back outside!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Little Artist

Little Monkey is (mostly) outgrowing her Monkey-ness. Which is good, considering I'd have big fines for my evil racism based on calling her that. I'm thinking about changing her name to "Little Artist," but then she might outgrow that too... We'll see.

I love having more than one child. The first child is "default." Everything they do is 'normal' and they set the bar for subsequent children. Also, they add an influence in the lives of subsequent children that the first/only doesn't have.

For instance, when Big Sister (ok, need a new name for her too) was 3 or 4, she wasn't much for imaginary play. I took notice only because it seemed to differ from my childhood. I assumed that first/only children would be more inclined to imagine, because of their solitary status, but it wasn't the case with her. However, as Little Monkey Artist grew old enough to play with her big sister, pretending became a huge aspect of their interactions. Each of them pretending to be other people/animals, toys taking on their own personality, even bars of soap and eating utensils grew personas.

Big Sister was also not much for drawing or coloring until she was probably 5 or so. She could be entertained for a few minutes only, and her heart wasn't much in it. As she has grown up, she has enjoyed things far more. So I do not know yet if Little Artist is a little artist because it is an innate gift, or if it is because she has a Big Sister to mimic. But oh, she loves her colors! She is not yet four, and can color much better than her sister ever thought to at that age. Take a look:

She colored this a month or two ago, and it's fairly representative of her efforts to stay within lines and change colors where she deems appropriate (interestingly, I recall coloring a page of Sesame Street's Count VonCount all purple. I remember thinking how tedious it was to switch colors and couldn't imagine having so much patience...).

She also likes to draw. Pens, pencils, markers, it doesn't much matter... Almost always it is cute little characters with happy faces. It took me a long time to understand their physical makeup though; from their necks down most looked like a capital 'H' - two vertical lines (legs?) and a cross bar midway. Turns out these are the girls! They are wearing dresses! Daddy (the only non-girl in the family) never has a cross-bar; only straight legs. His hair is usually spikey as well.

She draws and colors all day, when possible. At the school area, at the kitchen table, on the floor - everywhere! I am often picking up (or tripping over) small pieces of crayon dropped here and there (her earlier favorite crayon-hobby was peeling their papers off and breaking them into a few pieces). She takes a ziploc of crayons and a color book, or a pen and paper into the car, and even sleeps with a pile of crayons. Her first and last activities of the day are - you guessed it - coloring.

This last picture is from an old 'project.' One of the pre-we-only-draw-on-paper!-training projects: the back side of a low dresser. It's probably almost a year old (ah, the primitive cave paintings...) but you can see their faces, hair, and the 'H' look. While I can't condone all the non-paper artwork that might go on around here, I secretly adore this; it will be with us for a long time, far longer than she will remain the adorable whirlwind artist that challenges my reliance on the Lord daily.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

We're Back!

The girls and I had a good trip. My dad chauferred us home yesterday, and headed back in his own car this morning. When my mom came last week, it took her 11 hours to drive it alone. With the kids it was more like 14 hours, but we stopped a lot to let the kids run around and to nurse/change Baby. Dad is more likely to follow the speed limit, but less inclined to make long stops frequently. He sure got his workout with the girls chasing him at rest areas though!

It was spring-ier there, but wet and soggy.

Here, still no spring.

They expect a temperature of 70 this weekend. *guffaws*

Today I awoke to snow and a COLD house.

I'm thinking I inadvertently stayed 8 months instead of five days, and am in the midst of December now. It's not very Christmas-ey though, which is what makes December's snow so cozy.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What Header?

Not that anyone's throwing fits (save the monkey in the header), but in case you were wondering why I haven't changed the blog header since February...

Well, when the weather changes, the header will change.

I left it up for March because that was the weather and that was how I felt about it.

April MIGHT bring some change, but the jury is out yet.

Thanks for your patience. :)

You Thought I Was Kidding?

The babes and I are heading out of town for a few days, so I might not be posting here much, but thought I'd at least share these. Remember how she always looks so surprised? Yep, pretty much always!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Obama Loves Kids

Okay, this is NOT a political blog, but sometimes I can't help it. This guy just can't quit... First, he stopped the Illinois legislature from voting to allow medical treatment for partial-birth abortion survivors, then helped write the Mothers Act, now this:

He doesn't want teenagers (who are having unwedded sex) to be "punished with a baby." He follows that up with not wanting them to be "punished with an STD."


Babies, STDs, they're both such over-the-top punishments, you know.

In *my* world they're called consequences, and consequences can be good or bad. If you sin, and are expecting a child that you're not equipped to raise, someone out there is praying for a child to raise. That child is NOT a punishment, it's a blessing (ask God).

Too bad Bible wasn't preached at his 20-year church, eh? Maybe he'd have heard that by now.