Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Stupid Reason Not To Have More Kids

The real Gilbreth family of "Cheaper By the Dozen" fame

A baby-oriented business whose page I follow on Facebook recently asked a question to its 'fans': How many kids do you have?  Do you feel like you're "done"?

The responses, largely, were quite depressing to read.  Moms proudly exclaiming "one and done!!"; overly-personal comments about how they'd been "fixed" after having two;  a note-worthy number of women saying they'd love more, but their husbands had emphatically said "absolutely not" (I found this latter type of response to be the saddest of all for some reason).

One of the comments especially struck me.  The woman replied, "our car is full, so yes, we're done."  I reflected on that for awhile.  How something so trivial as the way cars are manufactured - a product which, if you're honest with yourself, is not in fact necessary for human existence (although, granted, damn useful) - could determine something so important as the number of souls we bring into this world.  This is a problem, I would think, only us moderns have to contend with.

But I remembered how the same issue was almost enough to make us consider "postponing" for awhile too.  After Stella was born, Tom and I sat down and forced ourselves to have the dreaded conversation about whether we had the "serious [or "grave" or "just" depending on who you talk to] reasons" required for moral use of NFP according to the Catholic Church to postpone another pregnancy (something neither of us are entirely comfortable with, for various reasons).  Our finances were pretty stretched, but were they so stretched that it was inconceivable to support another?  No...God would see us through, we knew.  Did I feel like getting pregnant again, a month or two after giving birth?  Um, no.  But that didn't seem like a sufficient reason to us.  But then I brought up the issue of our car, and how there was NO way we could fit a third carseat in the back.  I had to take Tom outside and prove it to him.  But he conceded that it was true.  And, we knew, there was no way we could afford another car.  Well, that settled it.  We couldn't have another baby until we could afford a new car.

Luckily, we quickly came to our senses and realized that this was pretty poor reasoning, probably stemming more from our fears than from good sense.  Practically speaking: we're still making payments on our current car, anyways...if we sold it, and bought a bigger one (possibly on a loan) would probably end up costing about the same amount out of our budget each month anyways.  Nothing would seem to change.  And beyond that, we can't let our family size be dictated by something that's ultimately fairly trivial and able to be got around somehow.

Thoughts?  Are we being appropriately "generous"?  Too scrupulous?


  1. Maybe that lady has a Latin-Mass mobile and can't afford a school bus. :)

    I think it's really a subjective and very personal matter. The Church doesn't have a sliding scale for how many kids a given family can afford. You are trying to discern and that's good. You've formed your consciences as best you can so now comes the trust part. Which they don't tell you is the harder part!

    But for our own definition of serious reasons: Is it serious enough that it would make sense to abstain from intercourse altogether if we were living in the Dark Ages of a pre-NFP world?

  2. The car issue came up with us too. DH had a prius that we'd bought new and paid off with money we'd saved before he lost his job and he loved that car. It was his baby. He was always out there washing it.

    When we found out we were expecting number 3 we sold it back to the dealership and bought a used van that cost a fifth of what the car has been sold back for.

    And a couple weeks ago I realized that our old beat up mini van can actually hold five car seats, so we're good for a while (there are three in it right now). Hopefully it will last through two more babies (if we're so blessed!).

    I can totally understand battling with what constitutes a serious reason... even when one is staring me in the face. We really hope to never use NFP, but after three c-sections my doctor is adamant I need twelve months between pregnancies (which has always happened for us) but as I observe my strange cycles without charting this time I have to say I'm a little nervous!

  3. I don't feel qualified in any way to tell you whether or not your decision is the right one. It's a very personal matter between you two and God. I do admire you for your trusting choice, though.

    We have three kids in a Buick LeSabre. It has six seats, and if we turn off the airbag we can put a carseat in the center front. Though we know it will not be looked upon as the safest choice, it's probably what we'll do at least for a while when we are blessed with a 4th child. The car thing doesn't factor into our reasons to avoid pregnancy. We don't have much, but we are careful with our money and affording a used van should not be a problem when the time comes.

    When we got married, we didn't know anything about the how-to's of NFP, naively assuming that we'd rely on ecological breastfeeding to space our children. It has since become apparent that conception is likely for me as early as 3-4 weeks postpartum even following the principles of ecological BFing. We learned NFP and we use it, but it's something we always feel somewhat uncomfortable with. Every month, we find ourselves in long discussions as to whether or not it's time to stop avoiding. It's a very hard thing-and as Mary pointed out, the trust in God part is definitely the hardest!

  4. Serious and grave reasons vary from couple to couple. Even Father Jim won't tell me if my reason is grave or serious during confession because that's completely up to me, Brian, and God. As long as you are prayerfully discerning such things, you can't go wrong. And the thing I love about NFP is that we get to constantly reevaluate those reasons each month.

    In terms of a car, when Brian's Altima died, we were still making payments on it. We rolled that loan into a new one and had very, very high car payments on our van for a while. Luckily, it was prekids so while we were both working we paid that down very fast, refinanced and have lower payments. I would assume that selling a working car, you may be able to fully pay off the rest of the loan and then get reasonable payments on something else. There is always a deal out there, especially if you are wiling to walk away and come back. :)

  5. It's a matter of personal conscience. Personally, I believe (and I believe that the Church teaches this, though you can find people within the Church who will teach all sorts of things) that practicing periodic abstinence though mutual agreement of spouses is morally neutral. So is tracking fertility signs. Contraceptive mentality is evil, but that is an internal problem. I see it very similar to the sin of pride. Pride (also an internal problem) is the greatest of all sins, and it could manifest itself in all sorts of ways, like seeking a prominent position in the Church, but would we ever say that seeking a prominent position in the Church is evil? It's all a matter of heart and as much as we could want for there to be an external way of avoiding the sin altogether (say- we never use NFP, therefore we are always perfectly open to life) you cannot avoid the reality that ultimately these issues require more then just that (we need prayer and a devout interior life and frequent confession).

    We've never used NFP for more than a few months. We've used it for a bunch a small reasons (we're tired, I want to focus my energy on the family that I have right now, the Navy is going to have us move in 8 months and do we really want to move, find a new doctor, work out labor delivery plans, have kids adjust to new home, new state, new baby all at once?) And then the one big reason which is just that my body cannot support a pregnancy and breastfeeding at the same time. My milk dries up. If getting pregnant 6 months postpartum means weaning my baby way before he's ready then I don't think it's prudent for me to get pregnant. It means denying the child that I already have a basic need. Sure supplementing with formula isn't the end of the world and it isn't 'grave reason' in that someone will die. But I don't want to go through that again and The Church doesn't say that I need too. So, there it is. Different people make the opposite decision all the time and since I couldn't possibly know fully their interior motivations I am not able to judge their actions. Because again, I see contraceptive mentality as an interior sin. A very real sin yes, but not as much about NFP as many choose to believe.

  6. You could also just not take all three kids anywhere at the same time for a little while, if you had to, ha ha! Your decision process make sense to me!

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. I greatly enjoyed reading your post on NFP. You obviously take the need for a grave reason to practice NFP very seriously and I admire that. You also seem to imply that there are objective standards by which a reason is either grave or not. Even though there may be some cases where only a couple can determine if it is grave (such as emotional reasons), they can still be advised by someone such as a priest and there are many reasons that can be objectively determined by both the couple and by someone outside (such as financial reasons or serious health concerns).

    I admire your adherence to the Church's teaching and hope to live up to the same teaching in my own marriage. I'll keep you in my prayers.

    1. Unless the priest is a close family friend and knows my every want, need, and everything about my prayer life, he has no way to determine if my reason is grave. That is between me, my husband, and God. There is a reason the Catholic Church has not made an objective list of acceptable grave reasons. It is not black and white. I may feel my financial situation is grave and the guy next door could think we're living the high life. I may feel that getting my body back into shape for health reasons is a grave reason and the woman down the road could care less about that and think I'm nuts. We are asked to determine the graveness of our reasons through truthful and honest soul searching through prayer. Although I have asked a close priest for advice about the gravity of our reasons, I am thankful he turned me back to God and Brian. As close as we are to Father Jim, he doesn't know the inner workings of our household and our hearts and he is right to say that he does not have the authority to determine if our reasons are grave. We and God have that authority.

  9. You are a blogging superstar these days ;0)

    At the risk of causing you to become prideful, I have to say I'm even more impressed with you than usual(which is a lot). I agree with all the comments that "grave" reason is discerned by the couple and God but I also have to tell you that we're in the same position as you. I tell my OB that we're using NFP to humor him but we're not...I can't come up with a good enough reason. Nothing seems urgent enough to postpone another miracle if that is His will.

    I admire your attitude because you are ever so much younger than I. I feel like I have an easier time saying "whatever His will" because, let's be serious, I probably have 5 more years at most. If I started at 25, I hope I would have the same attitude but I will never know. It's refreshing to hear someone who does.

    I agree that the car thing is a funny discussion. At this point, we would have to go to an econoline and extend our garage to make it fit (or park it on the street in our 'hood') both of which we will do, if needed.

  10. There seems to be a misunderstanding of why the Catholic Church oposses contraception. It is not about family size or materialism or lack of trust in God. Contraception alters the sexual act. This is why it is intrinsically evil. The couple who uses contraception in response to a serious medical condition and the couple who uses it because they want to bring their 2 child family to Disney world every year are sinning in the same way: by altering the nature of the sexual act. The only difference is a possible difference in culpability. NFP does not alter the nature of the sexual act in any way and if you have a well formed conscience are using it prayerfully there really is no need to have misgivings about it.

    Think about in vitro fertilization (IVF). It is also condemned by the Catholic Church for reasons completely independent of intent. The IVF couple and the couple seeking conception through the help of licit hormonal therapy could have the same intentions and the same result, but IVF is immoral and most (or maybe all?) hormonal therapy is moral. This is not an issue of splitting hairs. IVF alters God's plan for sexuality and procreation and hormonal therapy does not. Also, I don't think most of us would accuse the latter couple of not trusting God completely. Sure, sitting back, doing nothing and believing that God will give you a baby if and when He wills it could possibly be a good sign of trust but I don't think it's right to suggest it as the default course for sub-fertile couples.

    Anyway Christine, you seem to have a good head on your shoulders. I enjoy your blog and it's so encouraging to see other Extraordinary Form people out there (even if I know so few in reall life). It looks like you want a large family and this would be a tremendous witness in a culture so routed in materialism and control (this is a result of contraception though, not NFP). The car example may very well be trivial. We have never had financial reasons to delay children and I have no idea what they would look like. It's just that when you say that you don't feel like getting pregnant 2 months after birth but that this doesn't seem like a good enough reason to postpone it makes me wonder if you are being too scrupulous. Only you can know that though. And we should be scrupulous only in reaction to true Church teaching, not just out of a desire to do what we may feel is the most extreme opposite to contraception. You and Tom appear well able to welcome more children and the Church certainly does not ever teach that NFP is mandatory for all couples. God bless.

    1. Thank you for writing and sharing your thoughts. I completely agree with you on contraception and why it is wrong. NFP is not innately immoral, the way contraception is, but it is true that it's meant to be the "exception, not the rule" - a potentially licit option for postponing another conception, when we have serious reasons to do so.

      The fact is, I think the Church does not emphasize enough these days that married couples have a legitimate DUTY to procreate. That, in fact, having children is the primary purpose of marriage, with its other purposes (such as mutual help, and calming of concupiscence) secondary. This is also one of the strongest reasons why homosexual "marriage" doesn't make sense.

      It has never been spelled out this clearly, but it is my understanding that "accepting babies as they come" should be the default, and "postponing babies through licit means" is an option we can use during exceptional circumstances.

    2. The Church does not emphasize this because it doesn't teach this. Having babies is not THE primary purpose of marriage, it's unitive and procreative together and it's an important distinction. Infertile couples, whether they are infertile as a result of disease or simply because the woman is past menopause, are every bit as married as fertile ones, they are still doing their 'duty' to God and their marriages are still considered fruitful. If the 'fruit' does not result in children (whether biological or through adoption) we need to affirm that God still uses these marriages to good end. Non-contraceptive sex that is known to be infertile (such as during pregnancy) is no less of a good.

      I would suggest from reading Humanae Vitae that responsible parenthood should be the default, and that Pope Paul VI was purposefully vague about what this means (and since he didn't clearly spell it out we probably shouldn't either). Like I said before, we have only practiced NFP for a few months total in our 5 year marriage, so I suppose one could say that it has been the exception for us. I just don't think the exception is that, well, exceptional. The most important thing is to follow God's commands and not be anxious.

    3. In regards to infertility, or natural periods of infertility, etc., I'm completely on the same page. Marriage as a Sacrament exists for certain reasons (having and educating babies, helping each other to heaven, etc.), but I'm not saying that if these purposes aren't fulfilled it invalidates the marriage, or that it's necessarily anyone's "fault." I just want to be clear that I'm certainly not saying ALL sex must occur during fertile times, or result in conception. I'm talking more generally of the reasons why marriage exists, and the duties expected of husbands and wives.

      Most of the sources I have read on Catholic marriage(which are largely older out-of-publication books) do hold procreation as the primary purpose. I've looked into it a bit, to find out exactly what is said in some more current sources. Here's what I found that seems to be the most relevant.

      From Code of Canon Law of 1917:
      1013.1. The primary end of marriage is the procreation and education of offspring: the second is mutual assistance and the remedying of lust.
      [See - I wasn't just making this up! haha]

      The corresponding passage from Code of Canon Law of 1983:
      Canon 1055.1. The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman establish themselves a partnership of their whole life, and which of its own very nature is ordered to the well-being of the spouses and the procreation and upbringing of children, has, between the baptized, been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.
      [it doesn't discuss an "order" for the two purposes anymore. Does that mean such an order does not exist? Is it possible for the Church to have been wrong about it in the past? I'm asking legitimately here, because I'm unclear.]

      And in Humanae Vitae:
      "By safeguarding both these essential aspects, the unitive and the procreative, the conjugal act preserves in its fullness the sense of true mutual love and its ordination towards man's most high calling to parenthood."
      [though in this case, he's discussing the conjugal *act*, rather than the nature of marriage itself. Perhaps this is where we are disagreeing? Is it possible that marriage itself (as a non-tangible thing) has one end held primary over another, while in sex, since it is a physical act has both aspects - unitive and procreative - necessarily equal in importance? Total speculation here, and it's clear that I am not a theologist.]

      I certainly agree that both purposes of marriage we discussed are very important. But are these documents even saying they are equally so? Perhaps they get interpreted that way a lot of the time, but I think the documents are unclear. Do you know of any better passages that might clear it up?

      Anyways, I know what has been the tradition of the Church on this issue for ages, so that's where I'm coming from.

      Also, check out this great piece, which I think sums up my thoughts on NFP pretty well:

    4. Christine and Anna, I think the answer is both. Procreation IS the primary purpose of marriage. Procreation and mutual help are both essential to marriage. Essential but not equal.

      Now that it's clear as mud, I think Christine hit it in saying "Marriage as a Sacrament exists for certain reasons." Christians can (and should!) all help each other to avoid sin and build each other up in faith. Procreation, however, is absolutely unique to Marriage in the natural order. Marriage is not absolutely necessary for mutual assistance. It IS absolutely necessary for children. It helps to think about marriage in the abstract, rather than in terms of what ought to be the priority in my marriage personally. In truth, the two are NOT in competition with each other. I think a great number of well-meaning but misled people say things like, "God is #1. Husband is #2. Children are #3." In practice that's ridiculous. You and your husband together have a duty to your children, and in loving your husband as you ought you are also serving your children. All of which is your duty given you by God. It's dumb to try to force into competition what ought to be complementary. Kind of like the battle of the sexes, but I digress.

      That said, retaining and even emphasizing the teaching that the primary purpose of matrimony is in fact the procreation of children is very important in our day and time of contraceptive mentality, even among NFP-ers. If procreative aspect is acknowleged to be primary, it's harder to flippantly dismiss the gravity of avoiding pregnancy. As Christine said, we have an absolute duty to be open to life. Not the same as a duty to procreate, because that is never altogether within our control. This applies even to infertile couples, because it is a spiritual state of receptivity, rather than a physical reality. That's why it's so hard to pin down.

    5. Mary,
      To me, and I discussed this a bit down below, procreating and rearing children go together. They are almost always discussed together in terms of being a primary purpose of marriage. And herein lies the rub. If being tired and irritable makes me lose my temper at my 4 year old all the time and spacing children a bit further apart will help me with this than I say space them out (and I have never seen NFP-ers go crazy in this regard either, by 'space them out' I mean that my kids are at most 21 months apart). There is a heavy school of thought right now which seems to be that 2 1/2 year spacing will make everything perfect and this of course is nonsense. There's no way around my need to deal with original sin. But that does not mean that there is no truth to the idea that giving yourself a rest sometimes is just a good thing all around for you and your children. I think this is often the case and not very exceptional at all. We always have the well-being of our current children in mind when we choose postpone pregnancies which is why I really don't think postponing is ever going against the primary purpose of marriage but is in fact working in favor of it.

    6. That's a really good point. The procreation and rearing/education often do go together. I'll have to reflect on this more. Thanks.

  11. Pius XI in the encyclical, Casti Connubii:

    59. "...Nor are those considered as acting against nature who in the married state use their right in the proper manner although on account of natural reasons either of time or of certain defects, new life cannot be brought forth. For in matrimony as well as in the use of the matrimonial rights there are also secondary ends, such as mutual aid, the cultivating of mutual love, and the quieting of concupiscence which husband and wife are not forbidden to consider so long as they are subordinated to the primary end and so long as the intrinsic nature of the act is preserved. "

    Here, it says that in marriage as well as in sex, the "mutual aid" and "mutual love" are secondary to the primary end. I think these terms are different from the term "unitive aspect" as used in HV. That is a more physical term, which...well, I don't want to be graphic, but I think it refers to certain parts of the male body making actual physical contact with certain parts of the female body! This important aspect of moral marital intercourse also helps explain why certain things are wrong (contraception, IVF, homosexual intercourse, etc.).

    It seems like maybe we are talking about different things.

    1. I think it's true that we may have ended up discussing different things. (which is very clever of you to notice because often marriage and sex really do seem to be interchangable). As it pertains to marriage though, different saints are known to emphasize different aspects as well. St John Chrysostum On Marriage and Family will emphasize the unitive (sorry I'm writing this on the quick so no citations but I highly recommend this one)and St Augustine will emphasize the procreative and we are left to take all the teaching together as best we can. You are absolutely right that procreating and rearing of children is a primary end of marriage and traditionally the most important one. But as it applies to me (and many many others of my acquaintance) procreating children all the time greatly impacts my ability to rear the ones I already have. This is not an exceptional circumstance but really quite common. So perhaps that is where we differ. How exceptional does a circumstance need to be for NFP to be licit, and when do we decide that we need to focus on the rearing and not the procreating for a bit.

    2. Anna, thank you for continuing the discussion. All these points are interesting, and I'll have to keep pondering all this.

      I know not everyone is called to have enormous families, or just keep popping out babies! But I also think that sometimes NFP is "branded" in a way that forgets God's call for us to "be fruitful and multiply", to the extent that we are able.

      I believe it's my duty to be open to as many children as God wants to send, at least until there's a good reason not to be. It's easy for me to say this now, with only two children. There may well come a point where I feel pretty "maxed out" on the procreation end, and ready to put all my energies into the "rearing/educating" end of motherhood! Or maybe I'll never be blessed with another, despite my willingness. Maybe in the future, God will desire that the "unitive" be emphasized, as you say, in our marriage. And down the road, reasons that might not have been so "serious" for us now may in fact have become so, in light of the increased family size or other circumstances.

      I'm not trying to tell other couples what reasons for postponing pregnancy might be serious or not for them. But I did bring up the car example because I really do think it's one worth pondering - the way our modern lifestyle has so shaped our thinking, and the need to step back sometimes and look at what's really important.

      These issues are always complicated, and it can be very difficult to figure out what's the right thing to do. For us, for now, we've decided it's best to give up all control over the question of another pregnancy to God.

    3. I could go on and on about the way NFP is branded and that is largely why it took my unfortunate 'breastfeeding not working while pregnant' circumstance to get us to resort to it all. It's harder to abstain than they say it will be (and we've had previous experience with abstaining because of my husband's deployment; we thought we were ready for it, but abstaining when your husband is right there is, well, harder in many ways). The signs are not all that apparent. Still we learned a bit about each other and all that stuff Paul VI talks about in Humanae Vitae about the value of self-discipline and being masters of charity and all that, of course it all sounds hokey the way some NFPers sell it but they it's all also kind of true. I'm grateful for the experience to learn that. Even so, we were not all that tempted to use it longer than we really thought necessary. Anyway. We seem to mostly agree and the kids are up so I'm going to call it a day. Thanks for entertaining my thoughts. Adult conversation is lovely.

  12. Thank you for posting about this topic. I started reading your blog when your son was injured. Someone had posted a link to your blog on a Mommy Forum that I read every now and then and asked the community at large to pray for your family. I have been reading since then, but haven't commented.

    Anyway, I wanted you to know that my husband and I have been praying about the addition of another child to our family. One issue we were considering was our car. We cannot afford another right now (it is paid off) and it will not safely hold two rear facing car seats. I felt like the Lord was calling us to try to conceive, but at the same time I was worried (yes, worried!) about how we would manage. In desperation I suppose, I asked the Lord to clearly show me His will for our family. The next day I read this blog post. For us, a car is definitely a silly reason to avoid pregnancy.

    Thank you again.

    1. Praise God! This is an awesome story, and I'm so happy that God used my little blog in such a big way. Best of luck to you - you will be in my prayers :-)

    2. That is great! I'll say a prayer for you too. I don't know the age of your child, but it's quite likely that you'll be able to have your eldest facing front by the time a little sibling arrives. We drive a little Chevy Cavalier. The pumpkin seat has to go in the middle. I was worried about my son harrassing the baby while I was driving, but it has not been a problem at all!

  13. Lots of good discussion, and I wanted to add, spread the word far and wide when you are ready to look. I have met three larger families over the years that have said that when they sell their current van, either to upsize to an even bigger one or to downsize as their kids grow up, their purposely look for a growing family with a need like this and make them avery good deal. :)

  14. This is a topic that is so personal and you get a vast majority of (passionate!) opinions about it! I very much agree with everything you have written above. It is interesting to note that until very recently, the Church taught that primary end of marriage was the procreation and education of children, and the secondary end was the mutual help and comfort of spouses - it's only in very very recent years that they are no longer ordered that way.

    We have a similar car issue - we have 3 carseats in the back of our little car, but baby #4 will be joining us this summer, and we will have to buy a van. We will go from no car loans to a car payment, and I'm sure we could make the argument that we can't "afford" one, but when it comes down to it, we can make it work. I think spacing births both for physical and emotional health is certainly permitted, and on a month-by-month basis seems to be the best way to be genuinely honest about what your true limitations are. I have found myself at 6mo postpartum thinking "I don't know how I could handle getting pregnant right now!" but 2 months later, life is much more calm and peaceful. That being said, my #1 and #2 are Irish twins, and I am SO GLAD we decided not to hold off. I cannot imagine doing it any differently; to see how much they treasure each other and how much joy that little boy has brought us! So I struggle to use it except for the most serious of reasons, because if we followed the advice of many good Catholics about child spacing, he would probably not be here at all. What is God's plan for one family is not for another, and I'm so glad we discerned His plan for OUR family!

    I wrote about this a while back, after reading several blogs in which women expressed that they felt like they were being looked down upon because of their "too-close" spacing, and speaking with friends who were being told they were doing something wrong. It wasn't meant to be a case AGAINST NFP! It was just supposed to be a boost of encouragement for those who didn't feel called to using it. But it stirred up a huge controversy (and got posted and ripped apart by a famous Catholic blogger, so that was fun...)

    I really do not think there is one answer, and discussion of it merely opens up more questions, thoughts, things to pray on. You will find different priests say different things, and you can use Humanae Vitae to make your argument, whichever way you swing on the topic. But it's a good discussion to have. I know that ideally, I wouldn't care at all about what other people think, and would be completely open to accepting as many babies as God sends us and other people's opinions wouldn't matter (because in the end, it's between us and God!). But it's not that easy! Prayers for you and Tom as you discern!

    1. Colleen, I was so happy to see you joining in the discussion here. I stumbled upon your post just recently, and I felt like it really summed up so much of what I feel about the issue - thanks!

    2. I also meant to say that I have been reading your blog for a while, I think I discovered it when someone shared it on Facebook asking for prayers for Sly. I felt like we had quite a bit in common - teachers turned stay at home moms, we're both pretty young and have very little kids, Catholic and attend the Extraordinary Form - and I have really enjoyed reading all your posts. I have not been much of a blog commenter in the past but I'm trying to change that this year, because I really appreciate and enjoy others' writings and need to take the time to let them know! So, out of lurkdom. I enjoy your blog. :)