Life in coupons

My wife’s status update:

Clipping coupons today. There was a Jose Cuervo coupon (had to buy 2 bottles of course), then on the next page a Trojan (her pleasure of course) coupon, and on the opposite page was a 1st Response pregancy test coupon. This should be a good way to explain the “where babies come from” lesson.

She makes me laugh.

Separation anxiety

I’m living with my in-laws. My family is still in “transition” so living with the in-laws is a good thing. (Have I ever mentioned I have great in-laws?). Honeybun and Sunshine are still living in Colorado while I’m here in New Mexico until we can make it work to move them down here.

So for the time being, we are involuntarily separated. The good news is that they came down for a visit and will be here for a week and half, through Labor Day. Last night I got to put my daughter to bed for the first time in 3 weeks, and today I came home at lunch to eat with them.

Lunch with Bailey
Me: "Do you know how much I love you?" - Bailey: "So much."

I think Honeybun summed it up best when she told me last week, “You got the perfect job in the wrong state.”

July 4th

Great day yesterday.

Started just hanging around the house. One of our bushes plays host to a number of ladybugs. Bailey loves catching them. Afterwards she was giggling over how they tickle her fingers.

Bailey and ladybug
"I caught a ladybug!"

We had been looking forward to taking Bailey to see fireworks for the first time. The weather wasn’t wanting to cooperate though. The day had been mostly cloudy and rain storms were passing over. I decided to take Bailey to the park anyway. Honeybun met us there later and brought extra clothes (Bailey already went through one change for getting wet) and the canopy.

The rain began again about a half hour before the fireworks were to start and the temperature was going down. We lowered the canopy as far as it would go. It was 54 degrees and we were bundled up under blankets and a tarp to keep the rain off. We could see other fireworks in the distance so we were hopeful the show we were at would not be rained out. But start time came and went with no fireworks. The rain was still coming down and just when I thought it wasn’t going to happen, flash…”boom!”

Huddled together watching fireworks.
It was cold and wet, but there were fireworks.

Coldest 4th of July I ever remember, but totally worth it.

Another proud Daddy moment

Friday mornings are gym class. One of Bailey’s favorite activities there is swinging on the rope over the foam pit. I put her on the rope and let her swing out. This is normally met by her calls of “Higher!”. She has been getting as high as I can boost her for a few months and has increased the degree of difficulty by swinging from one hand before sliding down the rope and dropping off.

Today she asked to go higher and I told her that she would have to pull herself up if she wanted to go higher, which she promptly did.

Bailey climbing the gym rope-climb
Bailey climbing the gym rope-climb

I was cheering like it was overtime in the Super Bowl.

For some perspective, the rope below her feet is about 8 feet above the floor. She figured out how to bring her feet up and put them on the ball then stand while pulling with her arms. Then she was able to hold on to lift her legs around the next ball that she is grabbing with her legs in the picture. Maybe next week I’ll get some video.

Funny thing to me is that she is the only one in her class that will go higher than the knot at the bottom of the rope. Don’t little boys like to climb anymore?


Honeybun bought me guitar lessons for Christmas. I had my first class on Monday night.

Turns out that today is the 50th anniversary of the Day the Music Died. I was practicing a bit in our basement today. Judging from Honeybun’s response, I can’t say the music is really dead, but I seem to be doing my best at killing it by torture.

Can you have too many children?

The Duggars are expecting their 19th child. I have seen a number of Catholics commending the Duggars for their openness to life (I know, the Duggars are not Catholics but there are many Catholics who celebrate their example). But as their family continues to grow, my unease about their decision to have as many children as possible grows as well.

Obligatory disclaimer: I reject the claims (mostly from environmentalists) that large families are irresponsible and that children harm the earth. I believe that low birth rates in Europe and North America are hurting those societies. I also believe that other reasons given for small families, like the ability to provide financially, are exaggerated and focus too much on material concerns.

I have been trying to figure out what about the Duggars bothers me. Don’t they exemplify what the Catholic Church teaches?

The world says that we should have sex purely for its pleasurable aspect. But the Catholic Church teaches that sex is properly understood as being both unitive and procreative. In addition, the Church teaches that we should not be controlled by our base urges. Just because we feel the urge to have sex does not mean that we must submit to that urge. Engaging in sex purely for the pleasure rejects God’s purpose of sex between a husband and wife.

Now the Duggars have come to understand the unitive and creative aspects of sex that the Catholic Church teaches. They are open to life, so much so that they are producing as many children as is humanly possible. I have tried arguing with myself that they should be celebrated for rejecting the contraceptive culture and for embracing life.

Still the nagging feeling I had about the Duggars remained. Yes, they are open to life but it is obvious that there are consequences to that openness. Their decision to continually increase their family does have serious economic concerns. Before their 16th child, they exceeded their financial capabilities (even with their frugal and debt-free lifestyle) to the point that the TLC network and other companies stepped in to complete a new house for them. Now they are able to support their family with the income from their TV show. So they are self-sufficient.

But is their example really in accordance with Catholic teaching? I went to the USCCB to get more information.

Let them [husband and wife] thoughtfully take into account both their own welfare and that of their children, those already born and those which the future may bring. For this accounting they need to reckon with both the material and the spiritual conditions of the times as well as of their state in life. Finally, they should consult the interests of the family group, of temporal society, and of the Church herself. (GS, #50)

With regard to man’s innate drives and emotions, responsible parenthood means that man’s reason and will must exert control over them. (HV, #10)

Quotes taken from USCCB Responsible Parenthood (PDF)

Catholics should be aware that there is no teaching that requires us to unthinkingly procreate. In fact, the Catholic Church teaches responsibility for making these decisions. A “let the chips fall where they may” attitude is not taking responsibility. Producing as many children as biologically possible is not a teaching of the Catholic Church. Our bishops teach us that we do have control over our sexuality and we must exert control over our innate drives and emotions.

The Duggars have not yet discovered this aspect of sexuality.