Our Lady of Fatima... Pray for us.
Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament... Hear us.
Our Lady of the Rosary... Strengthen us.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Feast of Saint Jerome...

     Today, we celebrate the Feast of Saint Jerome. For information about the life of Saint Jerome, click here, from Holy Spirit Interactive, Daily Saints.
     Did you know that Saint Jerome once removed a thorn from the paw of a lion, and the lion became his pet.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Look who is rallying on the Mall this weekend...

     No. It's not Glenn Beck again. 
     It's the anti-8/28 Restoring Honor Rally-rally. A veritable who's who of Marxists. Progressives. Anti-capitalists. Democratic socialists. All endorsed by our president.  
     See the complete list here, from The Blaze.
     Sunlight really is the best disinfectant. 
     If you want to know what the original 8/28 Restoring Honor Rally was all about, click here, and here.

A World Transformed...

     Watch Glenn Beck this Friday, when he explores a government document called Global Trends 2025...  A World Transformed. Set your DVRs. Don't miss it.
     Find out if this is the new world you've always dreamed of.
     Glenn Beck. Friday, October 1, 5pm on Fox News.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bob Newhart... Stop It...

I saw this over at one of my faves, Creative Minority Report, and had to share...
Bob Newhart... always funny.

Friday, September 24, 2010

FGF Delayed... Funny Gal Friday

    And now, a message from Funny Guy...
    For those of you tuning in for this week's FGF, hang in there, it is coming. BUT be warned ......I have a guest host. Last week, my wife and kids took off to New York City for the day and did so without me. My lovely daughter has some thoughts about the Big Apple and she will share those with you when she gets home from school.  Enjoy!
    By the way, if you like it, she is just like her old man. If you don't like it, blame her mother.  As I always say when something goes awry-----Blame MOM!    
     Okay, so here it is... Funny Gal Friday...

     I sat there and watched out the window as we drove through New Jersey, thinking to myself, New York here we come! 
     As we got closer I could see the beautiful skyline of New York City. There was a thin layer of fog (smog?) covering the city, but that didn’t stop us from seeing the looming skyscrapers towering overhead. Since we had the day off from school, my mom had agreed to take us and some friends to New York City, and boy were we in for an interesting day.
  As we arrived in the City, we were instantly bombarded with the aggressive traffic (boy, a lot of New York drivers were anxious to let my mom know that they are No.1) and were swarmed by yellow taxi cabs, but that was all part of the experience. 
     After finding a parking garage near Battery Park, we walked to the harbor where we boarded the Staten Island Ferry to get a good look at the Statue of Liberty. I was very excited as we inched away out of the harbor. 
     We enjoyed the view, but were all a little hungry and could not wait to get back and eat at my mom’s newfound “favorite restaurant" in Chinatown... a restaurant that my mom had never actually been to, only heard about. Our growling stomachs were all we could think about as we hurried to the subway.
  The subway was a new experience for all of us, and I didn’t quite know what to make of it at first. After getting our metro cards, we passed through the gate to the platform and waited. 
     As we waited, I was standing and talking with my friend when suddenly my mom let out a blood curdling shriek. We whirled around and saw what my mom was pointing to... Rats. Big rats. Yes there really are rats in the subways of New York City... it is not something that film makers just make up to make their movie more interesting, as I had thought. 
     Luckily, just as I was starting to think that I couldn’t handle being in an unfamiliar dark place with a ton of rats, the train pulled up. The ride to Chinatown was quite pleasant and we even got a little bit of entertainment from a few very talented gentlemen. I am happy to report that the rats got off two stops before ours. 
  Yes! Finally we were in Chinatown, and were all starving at this point, and couldn’t wait to eat at this great restaurant that my mom couldn’t stop talking about. Chinatown is a great place to be, with its shops, restaurants and smelly fish markets. However, NOTHING is in English, and to make things worse, we could not find this mysterious restaurant. 
     We went to look at a map to find another place to eat, when a man helpfully pointed out the only thing in Chinatown that we could understand... The Golden Arches. Yes... there was a McDonalds right up the street. 
     The six of us hungrily trudged up the street, led by my always-enthusiastic mother. As we sat there eating our hamburgers and fries, it seemed like a gourmet meal because of how hungry we were, and I couldn’t help but think, Go figure... we had walked through Chinatown for more than an hour trying to find a restaurant... and we ended up eating at an all too familiar McDonalds.
  Soon it was time to head back to the car to do some sightseeing and go home. Now, I had thought we had seen everything there was to see in New York City... the Statue of Liberty, Chinatown, the rats in the subway, and just the city itself... but I had forgotten something. I had forgotten that New York City isn’t the safest city, and that in most movies that take place in New York somebody always get robbed. 
     Like with the rats, I had thought that this was another trick filmmakers use to add drama to a movie, but I found out that I was wrong again. 
     We were standing in line to purchase another subway fare card, when suddenly, a lady ran up and asked very frantically for someone to call the police because there had been a mugging. 
     Up until this point I had been holding my mom's purse, and I now practically threw it back at her for fear that we were the mugger’s next target... every man for herself. Love you mom. 
     The frantic lady went on to explain that a man was just robbed by five people. I believe her exact words were, “A man was just robbed by five kids! There were five of them, two boys and two girls!” 
     Now, I will admit that math is not my best subject, but these numbers just didn’t add up. I fought to keep a straight face, as I realized just how street smart New Yorkers are. We managed to get through the subway ride unharmed, finished our sightseeing, and headed for home.
  So our trip to New York might not have gone exactly how I had imagined, but I had a great time, and most importantly, we found an old friend in McDonalds... which lent its yummy support in our time of desperation and need. 
     Did you know that McDonalds in Chinese is McDonalds? Great in any language!  

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Jumping the Shark...

     You may be old enough to remember an episode of the 70's hit show Happy Days, when Fonzie went to Hollywood and had to water ski-jump over a shark to prove he was brave. He was wearing his swim trunks and his leather jacket.
     It was a turning point for the show. That scene was so ridiculous, that no one could ever again take that show seriously.
     And so the phrase "jumping the shark" was born. It means that the best of something has passed, unlikely ever to return.
     You always know the point at which something jumps the shark. Until now, I have heard the term applied mainly to TV shows.
     The 80’s hit Moonlighting jumped the shark the moment Maddie and David's relationship turned from adversarial banter to romance. 
     Remember when Rosie O'Donnell went ballistic on Tom Selleck? She very definitely jumped the shark that day.
     The same happened with American Idol when they sent Chris Daughtry packing early.
     Well, I don't watch much TV anymore, but I do follow politics. And lately, everyone seems to have jumped the shark. 
     Karl Rove is just the latest. But you can put Charles Krauthammer with him, due to their condescending and disparaging remarks about the Delaware conservative candidate for the U.S. Senate, and the people of Delaware who elected her. Her primary opponent was a tax and spend progressive, but Rove backed him because he thought he could win, and the "R" next to his name is apparently more important than how he votes. Even after the people of Delaware had chosen the conservative, Rove and Krauthammer still disparaged her as weak and "nutty." FYI... Her democratic opponent is a Marxist. Maybe he's a sophisticated Marxist. 
     Newt Gingrich jumped the shark when he supported the bailouts. So much for the free market. And Peggy Noonan jumped the shark with her elitest fawning over Barack Obama during the presidential election.
     It's hard to remember just exactly when the so-called mainstream media jumped the shark, but they long ago traded away their journalistic principles for political correctness and the ardent promotion of the progressive agenda. 
     The entire Federal Government has jumped the shark with its gluttony, expansion, waste and corruption. 
     The president and first lady jumped the shark, with their endless talk of "We are all sacrificing," in spite of their ongoing extravagant and opulent lifestyle. Maybe they mean that we ordinary folks need to sacrifice. Let them eat cake.
     Additionally, the president's Keynesian economic experiments and socialistic dreams, despite repeated failure everywhere they have been tried earn him a pair of solo skis. Good thing the American people are waking up and smelling the shark.
     And of course, Congress has completely jumped the shark. Corruption. Cronyism. Greed. Unquenchable lust for power. Political favors. And the spending. The unstoppable spending. With a complete disregard for the U.S. Constitution and the American people.
     When a certain TV show jumps the shark, you usually find one that hasn't. 
     Television is one thing. Our government and our economic system is quite another. Because our kids will have to pay. And pay dearly.
     We must find a way to change the political channel. Away from the elite establishment. And away from the destroyers of America.
     Remember in November. And two years after that. And two years after that. 
     And pray for our country.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Global Warming... Er... I mean... Global Climate Disruption

     So, now that We the People are wide awake, and learning more and more about what is true and what is bunk, President Obama's Science Czar, John Holdren, is urging people to stop using the term Global Warming. The new term is Global Climate Disruption. Read this article from CNSNews.
     Ahh... That's better. Thank you Czar Holdren for enlightening us Homer Simpson types, who are so easily manipulated, as your fellow Regulatory Czar Cass Sunstein put it.
     It's the age-old strategy... When the message you've been pedaling loses its worth... Change the language.
     Then, if you can't convince the people to change their behavior through words... you simply nudge them with taxes and regulations. Remember President Obama's comment on nudging people into healthier behavior? It's for our own good, you know.
    Finally, if all else fails to achieve the desired outcome, you just force the people into submission. Remember what Union Boss Andrew Sterns said, "We like to use the power of persuasion first. If that doesn't work, we try the persuasion of power."
     These people all think the same way. It is always about power.
     Manipulate the people. Start with the language. And go from there.
     Stay awake. Stay aware.

The Modern Day Pharaoh...

     The following is a sermon from a church in Virginia. Thank you to a dear family friend for forwarding it to me. The note says, "Perhaps we should each decide who our real leader is. Very little has changed in 4,000 years." 
     I had seen it before, but it is still worth the read.
     Here is the text...
     Good morning, brothers and sisters...
It's always a delight to see the pews crowded on Sunday morning, and so eager to get into God's Word. Turn with me in your Bibles, if you will to the 47th chapter of Genesis, we'll begin our reading at verse 13, and go through verse 27.
     Brother Ray, would you stand and read that great passage for us? ...(reading)...
     Thank you for that fine reading, Brother Ray.  
     So we see that economic hard times fell upon Egypt, and the people turned to the government of Pharaoh to deal with this for them. And Pharaoh nationalized the grain harvest, and placed the grain in great storehouses that he had built.  
     So the people brought their money to Pharaoh, like a great tax increase, and gave it all to him willingly in return for grain. And this went on until their money ran out, and they were hungry again.
     So when they went to Pharaoh after that, they brought their livestock --their cattle, their horses, their sheep, and their donkey -- to barter for grain, and verse 17 says that only took them through the end of that year.
     But the famine wasn't over, was it? So the next year, the people came before Pharaoh and admitted they had nothing left, except their land and their own lives. "There is nothing left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our land.  Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for food, and we with our land will be servants to Pharaoh."  
     So they surrendered their homes, their land, and their real estate to Pharaoh's government, and then sold themselves into slavery to him in return for grain.
     What can we learn from this, brothers and sisters? That turning to the government instead of to God to be our provider in hard times only leads to slavery? Yes.. That the only reason government wants to be our provider is to also become our master? Yes. But look how that passage ends, brothers and sisters!  
     Thus Israel settled in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen. And they gained possessions in it, and were fruitful and multiplied greatly." God provided for His people, just as He always has! They didn't end up giving all their possessions to government, no, it says they gained possessions! But I also tell you a great truth today, and an ominous one.
     We see the same thing happening today - the government today wants to "share the wealth" once again, to take it from us and redistribute it back to us. It wants to take control of healthcare, just as it has taken control of education, and ration it back to us, and when government rations it, then government decides who gets it, and how much, and what kind. And if we go along with it, and do it willingly, then we will wind up no differently than the people of Egypt did four thousand years ago -- as slaves to the government, and as slaves to our leaders.
     What Mr. Obama's government is doing now is no different from what 
Pharaoh's government did then and it will end the same. And a lot of people like to call Mr.Obama a "Messiah," don't they? Is he a Messiah? A savior? Didn't the Egyptians say, after Pharaoh made them his slaves, "You have saved our lives; may it please my lord, we will be servants to Pharaoh"? 
     Well, I tell you this -- I know the Messiah; the Messiah is a friend of mine; and Mr. Obama is no Messiah!  No, brothers and sisters, if Mr. Obama is a character from the Bible, then he is Pharaoh.  

     Bow with me in prayer, if you will...
     Lord, You alone are worthy to be served, and we rely on You, and You alone.  We confess that the government is not our deliverer, and never rightly will be. We read in the eighth chapter of 1 Samuel, when Samuel warned the people of what a ruler would do, where it says, "And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.."
     And Lord, we acknowledge that day has come. We cry out to you because of the ruler that we have chosen for ourselves as a nation. Lord, we pray for this nation. We pray for revival, and we pray for deliverance from those who would be our masters. Give us hearts to seek You, and hands to serve You, and protect Your people from the atrocities of Pharaoh's government.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Funny Guy Friday... Back to School Night...

     School is back in session and with a new school year comes Back to School Night. You know Back to School Night. You love Back to School Night. You go to your kids' class rooms and sit in tiny little chairs with tiny little desks and listen to how wonderful the school year is going to be and how wonderful the kids have been so far. You think to yourself, It's been two weeks, lady, give it some time.
     Every year, Back to School Night is the same for my wife and me. I leave in the morning and remind her that I have practice that night, or a meeting to attend, or something to do that has been on my schedule for weeks. She tells me that I cannot go to my practice or meeting that night because we have Back to School Night.
     I ask, Do I have to go? and she hits me with, You would think that with _______ (fill in the blank for whichever kid it happens to be that night) starting his/her _______ (fill in the grade level of the affected child) grade and spending the whole day with teachers and other people at that school, that you would want to go to find out what is going on in their lives. 
    I respond with a very meek, I don't... I... I really don't want to go.
    She then goes in for the kill with, You are a responsible adult. You can decide what you want to do. 
     Accusing me of being an adult, and compounding it by throwing responsible in there is a low blow. She knows that I am not a responsible adult. This is just code for You better be there or there will be ramifications.
     Personally, I don't think that Cheryl is actually capable of ramifications, but I don't know for sure because I have never missed an event preceded by her accusing me of being an adult, much less a responsible one. But for the record, in an effort to prove that I am not completely afraid of her, I get there late!
     Now, every year, it is becoming clearer that one of two things is happening, either I am getting older, or the teachers are getting younger. That could not have been more evident than this year's visit to Grace's new high school. When I arrived (late, I might add), I had to find Cheryl in this very big school that I had never been in before. Fortunately, there were students in the hallways sending parents in the right direction. When I finally found Cheryl, we headed off to Grace's Geometry class.
     Outside the class was this very nice young lady, a Junior or Senior perhaps, assuring us that we were in the right place. As the session started, this very nice young lady walked in and began to address the parents and I thought she must be the teacher's daughter. She wasn't, she was the teacher.
     One thing that caught my attention was her recommendation about the calculator that the kids would need. She said that they would be able to use them for a long time, and that she bought hers when she started high school and used it through four years of college so it has lasted for eight years now.
     Wait a minute... since I am in math class, let me do a quick word problem:
     If teacher A, Miss Young, starts high school in the ninth grade at the age 13, and buys a calculator that lasts through her four years of high school and then four years of college and the calculator is now 8 years old... How old is Miss Young?
     The answer is 21. Barely old enough to buy a drink.
     How can this be possible? At 21, she is not even old enough for my wife to accuse her of being a responsible adult, for crying out loud!  
     I suppose that both things are happening. I am getting older and the teachers are getting younger, but it is all relative. Recently, Grace asked me if I could guess who she thought was good looking for being an older actor. I guessed Paul Newman and then Clint Eastwood. She did not know who they were and then she told me her answer... Tom Cruise!
     Even Tom Cruise would think that her Geometry teacher was too young.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I am a Conservative... Not a Republican...

     The Republican Establishment just doesn't get it. That is why I consider myself a Conservative... not a Republican.
     Oh, I stand for what Republicans are supposed to stand for... limited government, low taxes, a strong defense, Constitutional originalism, the free market, traditional family values, self-reliance, and of course, a respect for life from conception to natural death.
     But time and again, the Republican establishment demonstrates a willingness to back RINO candidates for the sake of power.
     Case in point... last night's Delaware Primary. Karl Rove, much to my disappointment, backed the liberal candidate... and threw the Tea Party Conservative under the bus. Even after she won, he continued to deride her.
     As predicted, the DNC is having a field day, happily claiming a rift among Republicans.
     It doesn't matter. Because the people are awake. And they have spoken.
     I am sad to say that Karl Rove has joined Newt Gingrich in my little collection of political elites in the Republican establishment. In a special New York House election last November, Newt Gingrich backed the progressive candidate who he thought could win, instead of the Reagan Conservative in the race.
     Does it matter to them how these candidates vote? It does to me.
     There may indeed be a splintering among Republicans. But it is merely the voters separating from the elite establishment.
     Remember in November.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Today's Gospel... Every tree is known by its fruit...

Jesus said to his disciples:
"A good tree does not bear rotten fruit,
nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit.
For every tree is known by its own fruit.
For people do not pick figs from thornbushes,
nor do they gather grapes from brambles.
A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good,
but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil;
for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.
"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' but not do what I command?
I will show you what someone is like who comes to me,
listens to my words, and acts on them.
That one is like a man building a house,
who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock;
when the flood came, the river burst against that house
but could not shake it because it had been well built.
But the one who listens and does not act
is like a person who built a house on the ground
without a foundation.
When the river burst against it,
it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed."
Luke 6:43-49

Friday, September 10, 2010

Funny Guy Friday... Welcome Adrian...

     Our Spanish exchange student arrived last Thursday and as usual, Cheryl was correct. God has gotten it exactly right. This boy is a perfect fit for our family, and he seems to be having a great time. His name is Adrian. Ah-drrree-ahn.
     I was disappointed by the pronunciation of his name because I had great nicknames picked out for him. Like, A-train, or A-bomb, or just plain A. Unfortunately, the only thing I can think of for Ah- is Ah-choo... and that's a stupid nickname. Perhaps Sneezy would work. 
     Fresh off the bus from the airport, we immediately learned that he writes English better than he speaks English. He had written some e-mails before he came and they were easily understood. Such was not the case when he spoke to us off of the bus. But he was eager to greet us, and enthusiastically kissed us all on both cheeks... very European. I am not sure that I like European.
     When we got to our house, he jumped at the chance to have a ham sandwich. He has since told us that on that first night, all he heard was blah blah blah blah blah blah sandwich blah blah blah. It was the only word he understood, but he was hungry so he said, "Si," which was the only word we understood.
     At that point we were probably talking a bit too fast, but we have since slowed down and our communications have improved. In fact, in only seven days, his English has improved dramatically.
     Much of the improvement is directly attributable to the efforts of Cheryl. With that being said, Adrian and Cheryl have provided me the material for this week's FGF.
     Their communications go something like this...
     Cheryl will ask, "Do you like to sit in the sun?" Adrian looks at her with a puzzled look on his face. This prompts Cheryl to yell, "DO... YOU... LIKE... TO... SIT... IN... THE... SUN?" This prompts Adrian to cock his head like a puzzled dog gazing quizically at its master... not sure if he is in trouble or if he is about to get a treat.
     You know, I would have bet money that if you yell a phrase in English, it would be more understandable than if you say a phrase in English, or if you speak English with a Spanish accent, it will somehow get through. It doesn't.
     Now things get more interesting. Cheryl will break into a game of charades with the boy. She waves her arms and shakes and shimmies. She continues to yell the words as she goes through these girations. She reminds me of a very loud, very deranged hula dancer.
     Undaunted by the communication gap, Cheryl has attempted to explain politics to Adrian. I would stop her, but he seems genuinely interested in our political system. The conversation prompts our three English speaking kids' eyes to glaze over, and drool to come out of their mouths. But the two press on.
     Cheryl must have been succesful in explaing the political system because Adrien has told my Spanish speaking brother that he is unsure if he should tell her how he feels about some of the political issues, so as not to upset her. Wow, he can spot a crazy right-winger all the way from Spain.  
     Adrian's lack of understanding has brought out the best in Cheryl, and the worst in me. About a month ago, I bought English muffins that were half price. Unbeknownst to me, they were not the regular kind that I like, but instead were honey-wheat... yuck. They have since sat in the freezer. When Cheryl asked if he would like to try an English muffin for his first breakfast in America, I immediately blurted out, "Give him the kind that I don't like. Let's get rid of those."
     As Cheryl glared at me, disgusted by my request, I stated the obvious, "What? He can't understand me, and he has never had the good ones before." Classic no harm, no foul.
     In the short time that he has been here, Adrian has visited Annapolis, gone to a high school football game, eaten Maryland crabs, was treated by our friends at a Spanish restaurant, partied with both the Spanish and American students, toured Washington, D.C., attended a Labor Day picnic at out Church and received a guided tour of the historic grounds from our priest. He even got to go into the priest's home, which I always thought was like Batman's secret cave.
     Adrian takes great interest in everything that he does. This makes me think of two things. First, that there is so much to do and see in this area, let alone this country... And second, my kids aren't so hot... they don't do much. Perhaps like all of us, they take for granted all the things that we have in this great country.

     As I watch Cheryl talk with him, I can't help but notice the great care that she takes in making sure that she understands him and that he understands her. It is easy to give up and move on, but she lovingly persists.  
     It reminds me of the times when our kids were young and learning to speak, and she would spend hours trying to understand what they were saying. She would never give up and would always encourage them to tell her things in different ways so she could know exactly what they were trying to say. It did not matter how trivial the matter was or how long it took. She lovingly persisted.
     When we agreed to take an exchange student, Cheryl boldly predicted that God would either give us exactly what we need, or He would give the student exactly what he needs. God has done both.
     As for me... I watch Cheryl with Adrian, and it also reminds me that I have married the most faithful, the most patient, caring and lovely person that I know. This young man has been in our home for seven days and he treats Cheryl as if she is his mother. His goodnight kisses seem perfectly normal.
     He has already figured out what our family already knows... that she is the most positive influence that a person could have in their life. I often say that Cheryl is the nicest person that God has ever put on this earth.
     Today is her birthday.
     Happy birthday.
     I love you and thank God every day that you are part of my life.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Easy Layered Salad...

     My sister Sue is a foodie. I am not. But even I can make this easy layered salad... From Pioneer Woman.
     Thanks Sue... I am going to try it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Top Ten Reasons Why I Love the Labor Day Festival at our Church...

#10... Everybody smiles all day long.
 #9... Everywhere you look, you see a friend's cute kids.
 #8... Pony rides... and hay rides... never disappoint.
 #7... Everybody wins a prize.
 #6... The food is delish... Italian Ice, so refreshing.
 #5... A bag of books only costs one dollar.
 #4... Free tickets for the kids, from Monsignor.
 #3... The volunteers are all so friendly.
 #2... Where else can you laugh it up with the Blue Nuns?
 ...And the number one reason why I love the Labor Day Festival?
 #1... My kids have a great time, while we raise money for a great parish.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Funny Guy Friday... Up and at'em...

     It is 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 31, and I am the only person in the house awake. I am feeling tired and not so funny. Why am I up, you ask? School has started and in our second week, we have gotten into what I am afraid is our normal morning routine. I had such high hopes that this year would be different. My hopes have been dashed.
     For most kids, the first day of school approaches with several days of nervousness and excitement. The children meticulously prepare for days in advance, with some kids laying out clothes for the entire first week.
     On the other hand, the first day of school snuck up on us. We looked at the calendar the night before, thought, Holy crap... Grace starts school tomorrow! (crap is not such a bad word if you put holy in front of it).
     We dashed out to Kohls Dept. store and were actually there until 9 o'clock the night before she started her first day of getting up at 5:30 a.m. to go to her new high school. I only agreed to this shopping spree for two reasons... first, the boys did not start until a day later... and second, I knew that both Grace and her mother would be excited and would rally in the morning.
     Fortunately on Day 1, I was right. They got up, they got out and I got to sleep until the last possible second. After commenting that she had never seen 6 o'clock in the morning before, Cheryl declared that she will now "get up early in the morning and get some stuff done." This school year is going to be awesome.
     The next night we started getting the kids to bed early, around 9:15ish, which I have come to understand is only early to our family.  At about 9:17ish, we got our first complaint of stomach trouble. Matthew made the claim. You're not fooling me kid, you go to the bathroom, and then get back to bed. I was the King of the non-confirmable tummy ache when I was a kid... in fact, I still pull that trick out of my bag every once in a while to avoid a trip to the in-laws. (Just kidding, Grammy.) 
     The tummy ache (I refer to it as a tummy ache to show my complete disdain and disbelief, otherwise it would be the stomach flu) lasted all night with my son waking me every hour on the hour to keep me updated.
     For some reason, my kids feel the need to wake me up to let me know that they don't feel good, that they had a funny dream, had a nightmare, went to the bathroom, got a drink, lost their pillow, can't sleep, their pillow can't sleep because it had to go to the bathroom, whatever.
     For some other reason, they don't feel the same need to wake their mother and keep her in the nocturnal loop. I ended up sleeping with him in his twin bed, while Cheryl snuggled up on the King... the bed, not me!
     Day 2 had everyone up early. Some of us (me) never slept. I find it funny that after I stay up all night with some member of my family, they wake up in the morning saying they did not sleep at all. I find it funny because I am actually awake, not sleeping at all, and I see them sleeping and I hear them snoring... one of us is not telling the truth. But I digress.
     Tummy-ache-boy thought he should stay home. I convinced him otherwise. "Go, you will get there and feel better." He may have his mom fooled but not me. Off he went and I was the greatest dad in the world.
     At about noon that same day, Cheryl checked in on tummy-ache-boy at school, and there was a problem. See... one of two things happened... Either he got to school and some inconsiderate parent sent their sick kid to school and he/she infected my poor kid with a dreadful stomach flu... OR... He actually had the stomach flu the whole time. I am going with the inconsiderate parent... I hate inconsiderate parents. Unfortunately, he had it... and he had it bad!
     Day 3: Things continued to devolve in the morning. Grace's alarm went off and she got up after hitting the snooze a time or two. Cheryl did not get up but I woke her because I had been up all night getting sick updates from my son. I requested that she handle the morning duties while I tried to sleep for an hour. She eagerly complied.
   Days 4 and 5 were pretty much repeats of Day 3 except that I got up to make sure Grace was up and out of bed. Cheryl's wake up time was creeping further and further back but we made it to the weekend. Hooray!      
    Monday morning, Day 6, came and Grace's alarm blasted at 5:15. For some reason she has set her alarm at this ungodly hour so she can build in her four nine-minute snoozes. She also had the volume of her alarm set at sonic boom levels. The noise was so loud, it woke me in my room down the hall, but not loud enough to wake anybody else in the house.
     After her four snoozes, Grace was up and on her way. Cheryl woke just in time to give Grace a kiss goodbye, and then she was back to bed. It is amazing what that woman can accomplish in the morning when she gets up early.
     This morning began at 4:45, with Matthew having a bad dream. Seems some snake did something to somebody and blah blah blah. Whatever it is, he needed me to know about it.
     He crawled into bed with us and we all fell back asleep. The 5:15 train went off in Grace's room. It took her six days, but she finally found the perfect noise level for her alarm... one that only wakes me and nobody else, including her.
     As I ventured down the hallway, I banged my foot on the ironing board in our room, and I tripped over the new Kohl's clothes that were lying on her bedroom floor. I returned to my bed where Matthew was occupying the spot that I had just vacated... like water filling in the open space.
     As I write this, I find myself precariously perched on the very edge of my bed, typing with Matthew's foot in my rib. It appears that Grace is up now... and it looks as if Cheryl may get her head off of her pillow just in time to yell goodbye.
     Yep, we have settled into our normal routine.
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