Thursday, December 18

Another little outing

This time it was a much overdue outing with the next oldest in the family- Zach. The venue: gun range.

It seems many a hunter's son has gone through the same step-by-step epiphany: "We finally aquired sufficient 3-month food storage, now what if someone comes to kill us for it? Better get a gun. As soon as we can afford it. Oh, crap, Obama was elected. Better get a gun NOW."

You guessed it- Zach, Zach the hunter's son, went to the store and got him a gun.

When someone asks me what kind, I use my most casual I-have-a-clue voice, and give the scripted response, "A 9 mil." I'm thinking a 9 mil is considered kind of a wimpy gun, because whenever someone asks Zach, the name changes to "A-9-mil-so-my-wife-could-use-it-too."

He's used to guns called "oozie" and "mag" and uh- A-R 15 or something. I know- I went shooting with him a couple of times.

Picture it, Utah- August 2005. It's an interesting ride to the shooting "range"- a big wide open field where it's legal to dump as much lead into the scenery as you want. On the way, Zach, his brother, and his dad talk up their apparently very awesome arsenal. We finally arrive, and my sister and I exit the car, trying to shake off the testosterone- me hoping the bun in my 8-month-old oven hasn't suffered any harmful side-affects.

Three years into marriage, I'm still finding where I fit into my new family. One of my attempts at assimilation:
Zach would like it known that the weapon I am weilding here is fully-automatic. Happy, hon? Yep- he is. ;D

And speaking of side affects- I've always wondered if maybe there's an actual reason for Mia's selective hearing.

Today I was more worried about my hearing. No sooner had we found our lane and gotten our targets hung, than the two guys in the lane right next to us started shooting a - wait while I ask Zach what that was called- a Smith and Wesson 500. For those of you- hang on, he's telling me something about guns and helicopters, okay he's done- who have no idea what a 50 caliber is, it is something that makes a noise akin to a sonic boom when you are standing next to it and it goes off without a warning from it's operator whom you suspect thought it would be funny to get a good reaction from you. Once my heart realized I wasn't dead, and it still had a job to do, I caught my breath and went with Zach to the back of the room. Mr. "Wesson" fired off three more rounds, and each was just as disturbing as the first. Luckily, each bullet cost him $4 and he only had 12. I went outside to witness the ego-trip through the bulletproof glass. I kept my earplugs in and still jumped a little when he fired. One of the gentlemen from the sales counter came up and told me the price of each bullet. He laughed at my reaction and said, "Yeah! Some guys have more money than brains!"

One minute later, when the $48 was good and blown, I came back and we proceeded to make short work of the middle of our targets. We decided that since this gun is for self-defense, we would practice point and shoot instead of sight shooting. Which is good, because I actually have really bad vision in my right eye, and needed both anyway. Zach was proud of me and called me a "dead eye," and a "show off." Apparently, one-handed is a cool thing. I already knew the show off part, but dead-eye was a fun new one.

The Smith and Wesson guy next to us told me to tell Zach to lean forward to help his aim, and explained to me that he was a very experienced shooter. So I did. It didn't help- Zach had already been doing really well and was now kind of distracted. But that intrigued me about the guy's aim. Must be pretty good if he's willing to advise someone who filled in the "expert" box on the sign in sheet. Halfway through our session the guy asked Zach if he wanted to trade guns (he had rented a different kind that was basically ours, only bigger) so he could try something that actually hit the target. Then as they went to shoot, he warned Zach that it "shoots low- way low." So Zach compensated a tad and ended up with a hole at the top of the target. The rest he got in the middle. When we pulled it back the guy looked over to see how he did. "Huh..." *scratch the head* So much for the "lean forward" tip. No wonder he was shooting low.

I wanted to part the curtain of ego every time I stepped back to the firing line.

We made it out alive. Our little target man wouldn't have. Got that food storage stealer/killer/bad guys? Target man was toast.

I need to bake something.

Tuesday, December 16

Little outing

A couple minutes up the street there is a great mall. They displayed some reindeer for a few hours, so I took Mia to go see. Zach stayed home with the twins and studied, 'cause it was kind of rainy and we figured they wouldn't enjoy it anyway.

The guy who brought the reindeer said they are a cross between caribou and deer, and that they lose and regrow their antlers every year!

There was also a huge tree. A gal suggested we take turns taking each other's picture. When it was our turn, I think her husband misunderstood me when I said "us in front of the tree," and heard "we would like a picture of the Cheesecake Factory." You can see me starting to tell him to point the camera down and to the left. Whatever.
There was also a huge set up of four different trains loaded with presents on four winding tracks. Mia was a lot more interested in them than the reindeer- "It's coming! Here it comes!!" I can't blame her- the reindeer weren't moving and carrying presents on their backs.
Another thing families were taking turns on was the Nativity. Not to view it- to let their kids ride on it. Each of the parents watched their kids, kind of awkwardly giggling, not sure if the display was meant for such things. It was right out in the middle of the square, and the sturdy looking animals were perfectly sized and situated...

Fun little spot. It was nice to have some alone time with Mimi. I'm looking forward to being able to take the whole family to do stuff like this.

Monday, December 15

Saturday, December 13

Oh, crap.

There's a distinct kind of discomfort seeing how well you haven't been cleaning the kitchen when the sun comes out for the first time in two weeks.

Wednesday, December 10

Let me entertain you... later.

I'm finally done with Christmas. My "labor of love" turned out to take longer than I estimated, so I've been on Photoshop instead of the internet for the majority of the last week.

We got flu shots for the girls on Tuesday. Monday night I decideed I'd talk to Mia about it. I asked her how well she liked throwing up in the toilet the other day. (We've all been sick around here. Plus side was Mia learned how to tell when she's about to hurl. She was sitting next to me and said "Mom- I think I have to puke." My first instinct was to ask her where she learned the word puke. But I repressed that one and told her to hurry and put it in the toilet. She ran over almost in time and got most of it in the throne. A little was on the floor- but hey- I'll take that over carpet scrubbing any day!) She looked at me funny, and I could tell she was thinking, "Is she going to try and convince me that was FUN?" She shook her head. I told her that if we went to the doctor we could get a shot so she wouldn't have to throw up again. She looked suspicious. I told her that shots hurt for a second- like when Anya pinches you. She decided she didn't mind throwing up- especially since "I'm not sick now!" I didn't expect her to look forward to an injection- I just didn't want her to feel ambushed the next day. I was curious how she would handle the trip to the doc.

Luckily, I'm really ditzy, and forgot I'd offered to watch Mia's best buddy at the same time. So instead of just saying "We're going to the doctor, now!" I got to say, "We're going to pick up Abby and go to the doctor!" She didn't blink an eye, and we actually got out the door a little early.

In the waiting room, Mia stopped playing for a moment and looked at me with a solomn face. "I'm getting a shot." I don't know what this says about me, but instead of feeling sorry for her, I was really proud of the fact that she knew what was coming, and was being so brave about it. I just nodded sympathetically and said it would be okay. I just love getting to know this new person. She introduces me to myself a little each day. I had no idea.

She ended up getting the mist sprayed in her nose. Bree cried for a second. Anya whimpered a little. We have to go back and do it again in four weeks.

Wednesday, November 26

Cabin Fever

You'd be surprised how many people actually ask what you've possibly wondered yourself at least once. Three little kids, mom at home, teeny house- What do you guys do all day?

Before, when we had outdoor play as an option, we spent at very least an hour in the backyard every day. Preschool for Mia took up a couple hours twice a week during the twins' naptime. Storytime at the library. The park. COSI every other week.

Plenty to do. 'Til the weather hits. I'm a chicken when it comes to cold weather. In my experience, take kid out in the cold= sick kid. Every. Time. What's the deal? I remember freezing my extremities off every day as a kid, and only getting sick about once a year. I'm not talking runny nose. That's pretty much a given. These guys get one look at the word October, their temperatures spike and they start puking.

Bree got sick a couple of days ago. A little fever and a little spitting up. The same day my back went out. After just a couple weeks of chilly weather, the unhappy circumstances exacerbated the hint of winter blues we'd already been feeling. (Look at that face- ha! We had to snap it.)

Meanwhile, we've been forced to get creative with our passage of the cooped-up hours.

And when our ideas run out, there's always Dora to be creative for us.

Who knows, maybe this bug will stop with Bree, and I'll be proved mercifully wrong. But now that backyard and park are pretty much eliminated, we're left with... not a lot. You got any ideas?

Tuesday, November 25

True thanksgiving

Do you know why we celebrate Thanksgiving?

The latest comment on the first Prop 8 blog:

KatF said...
I am a Baptist Christian who lives in Georgia. I believe homosexuals can be Christians, and that they have the right to use the word marriage if they so choose. You spoke of double standards; what of your double standard that the homosexual community must conform to your way of life, but not you to theirs? Can they vote on YOUR marriage? Can society vote on how many children you have, or where you live or work? Laws exist to keep an orderly society. Things like murder and stealing have laws against them because of the harm they cause to other humans. Homosexuality would only someone's family, religion, or children if they let it happen. People spread fear because they themselves are afraid. What word usage are we voting on next? What happens when a group of people decide to put the definition of a religion to a vote? If we can decide whether or not someone can be married, what else can we decide about one another's lives? Funnily enough, my objection to Proposition 8 has nothing to do with my religious beliefs. Just because I may believe something is wrong does not it so. Christians have a habit of thinking they are absolutely right about things. To my knowledge though, Jesus is the only infallible person alive.
Monday, November 17, 2008 10:24:00 PM

Summer said...
Proposition 8 doesn't force anyone to live my way of life. It protects an institution. We are all equal under this law- no one can marry someone of their own gender. The only difference is that some people want to. That desire is not something we're trying to legislate. It is just something that, through normal democratic proceedings, the whole of society has (this time) chosen not to condone. It is how the government works with every issue.

Now whether or not you believe what you say you do- that's your business. If I were you, I'd figure it out before I affiliate myself with any church. Either you believe something is true, or you don't. "True for me, but not for someone else," just means you have no idea what you truly believe. Knowing Jesus was the only infallible person alive is a good start.

Your own concern is the very reason this Proposition had to pass. "What word usage are we voting on next? What happens when a group of people decide to put the definition of a religion to a vote?" You're forgetting that the "group of people" who decided to put this definition to a vote was the gay community. What happens when that community, and people like you, who don't know what they stand for, decide to put the definition of religion up for a vote? Irriligion. Our nation under God will be a nation denying God.

To any of you who have ever thought, “I won’t vote the way I believe because I don’t want to impose my beliefs on others, and that is the Christ like thing to do,” I ask for a reassessment of thinking. Imposing your beliefs would involve tying the hands of others on voting day. This system is set up so everyone has a voice- you included! If you don’t stand up for your beliefs who will? If you vote the way others would because of their beliefs, whose hands are tied now?

You read scriptures that talk about fearing God, not man.
2 Ne. 28: 31- Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.
Do you believe that?

Open your Doctrine and Covenants and start reading from page one.
For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant; They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall.
Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments; and also gave commandments to others, that they should proclaim these things unto the world; and all this that it might be fulfilled, which was written by the prophets— the weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh— but that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world; that faith also might increase in the earth…
He’s talking about us! Today! Do you believe what He says?

Do you know why we celebrate Thanksgiving? It’s not only to commemorate the blessing it was for our forefathers to come to a land where they could worship as they believe, but to celebrate the fact that God has yet again extended mercy to us in our degraded state. After the civil war, President Lincoln instituted an official day to celebrate an already popular observance. He wanted his nation to give credit where credit was due.

By the President of the United States of America.
A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln

We have temporarily staved off another degradation of our society. Now is not the time to stand idly by and let those who oppose God lead our loved ones astray. People have fought and lost their lives for you to be able to think for yourself, and make your beliefs heard. You've read the Book of Mormon. You know what happens when the righteous back down and whole of society is left to do what "feels good." The attitude of cowardice is becoming too popular, under the clever guise of “true Chrisitanity.” Raise your voice. Stand up for yourself. DO SOMETHING!! A good place to start? Count your blessings.

Sunday, November 23


I'd like your honest opinion.

Question 1: What can I do for you?
Question 2: What would you do if you were me?
Question 3: Are there any words you consistently misspell?
Question 4: If the lyrics to the Christmas songs they play on the radio weren't about Christmas, would you actually listen to those songs?

Saturday, November 22

5 Things

Lucky for you, I got tagged by Erika, and can tell you some really random things about someone I'm assuming you wish you knew more about, or you wouldn't be here (because this blog isn't about three cute little girls or anything.) And now- to appease, somewhat, your burning curiosity:

5 things I was doing ten years ago:
1998? Ugh- any year but 98. Oh, well- here goes.
Getting my belly button pierced
Dating someone who didn't know they were gay
Waiting to hear back from the Rent casting directors after making callbacks
Spending too much money on furniture for my apartment (which is what we still use- TV and all)
Leasing said apartment with a guy I worked with and hating it

Freaky, huh? And, yes, kind of embarrassing. If my life were a fork, I would say I was still on the handle at that point, and the next year turned out to be decision time. I'm still not sure exactly how it happened- but I'm really surprised and relieved by where I've ended up.

5 things on my to-do list today:
rest my disfunctional back
keep Anya alive
keep Bree alive
keep Mia alive
go to bed

5 snacks I like:
dried mango
sourdough toast
apples with peanut butter
cheese sticks
Yoplait Whips

5 things I would do if I was a millionaire:
pay a bumload of tithing
set up a photography studio
buy a house
go back to Sicily and visit some wonderful people
take everyone to Disneyworld

5 places I have lived:
Too close to the airport

5 jobs I have had:
Olan Mills (manager.) (at 18? No wonder they tanked!)

Big B's (shake maker, icecream cone dipper, crappy cashier)
ShopKo (clothing department)
Goliath's (burger joint in SouthTowne mall)
1-800-CONTACTS (thanks to their insurance, and a cool Aflac plan, we got paid to deliver Mia.)

And that, folks, is all you're getting today.


Five people to subject to all kinds of retrospection and humiliation... hmmm.

Kiley (you've been way too spoiled by all this cruise stuff- back to work.)

Ooh, I can't wait!

Wednesday, November 19

Little Dipper

I was very careful about introducing V8 to Mia. I knew if she drank it thinking of juice, she would be sorely disappointed. But implementing it into her diet seemed like a great idea- a full serving of vegetables in every 8 ounces? And I don't have to peel, boil, steam, cut, butter, or salt anything? Tchaah! Bring on the V8!

So one day we had grilled cheese sandwiches and "dip." Mia's first V8 was on a fatty fat fried piece of bread and cheese. When her sandwich was gone we told her she could drink the rest of her dip if she wanted. She wanted. But it was hard for her to drink it out of the bowl, so we transferred it to a cup. A few months later, after a few more grilled cheese sandwich dipping experiences, she asked out of the blue for dip in a cup. To drink.

This morning, she said she was thirsty, and I asked her if she wanted milk or juice. Guess what she wanted? Veggies in a glass. Don't anyone ever call it that within her hearing- the only easy thing at our house will be gone. Zach gags everytime he thinks of the stuff. I can down it, but not without squinting a little. Mia? I handed her the cup and she said "MmmMMmmm! Diiiiiiiiip," the same way Homer says "Doughnuuuuuts."

I realize I can't complain about the peeling, boiling, steaming, cutting, buttering, and salting. After I go to all that trouble, she actually eats those veggies, too. Pretty cool kid. So, Mia twenty years from now, here's to you. Thanks. I didn't thank you back in the day, because I'm pretty sure telling you that you were doing something preschoolers are supposed to avoid and throw tantrums over would have had a bad effect. And we wouldn't want that, now- would we.

Sunday, November 16

Five Songs

I don't have an MP3 player, but I wanted to do what Kelle's Belles asked and take a turn sharing my favorite songs. I figured my blog playlist was as close as I could get.

"I'm a Believer" by Smash Mouth- Zach, my sisters and I sang a couple Shrek songs at our wedding. We sounded awful, but Shrek still brings back good memories of our fun day.

"Wonderful" by Pablo Conte- surprisingly, this song isn't one of my favorites because of my mission. When I was editing wedding videos for JayLynn Studio, one of the couples wanted this on their "soundtrack," and I thought it worked so beautifully, I put it on our wedding gag reel. I wasn't too happy when Mastercard used it a few years later for kitchen utensils to dance to.

"Orange Colored Sky" NOT by Nat King Cole- My gracious half brother put together an incredible last-minute band for our wedding, and the gal that sang did an incredible job on this number. If there was any way to put the recording of it on here, I would. It was another one that made it onto our wedding video, and has become one of my favorites, despite the fact that it's an oldie.

"Ever Ever After" by Carrie Underwood- Not too hip on her fashion choices, but love her voice. This song, in particular. When I first saw Enchanted I was almost as excited as I was when Little Mermaid enthralled me as a sixth grader. I do not spend money on movies, but as soon as this came out I scheduled a Costco run just to buy it. My dream for a long time was to be a Disney voice or artist. Then I realized that not everything they produced was ahh... wholesome... and kind of got turned off to the entertainment industry in general.

"Keep Holding On" by Avril- hit me hard the first time I heard it, and I could apply it to so many things in my life, it seems like a song I would have commissioned.

So- what are your five latest favorite songs? And why? Leave 'em as a comment, or write a post of your own. I'm curious...

Wednesday, November 12

Making Butter is Stupid

Yesterday Zach and I were dreaming about living in a little house on a lot of land, on a quasi farm out in the boonies where no construction workers will jackhammer on the street 25 feet from our house while I'm trying unsuccessfully to nap.

The conversation reminded me of a sidenote on my friend, Stephanie's post about how she knows how to make butter. Of course, when I read that, a woman with her hair pulled back under a hankerchief, sweating over some huge churn contraption immediately came to mind. Then today I realized, there's no way Steph would do that- what does it take to make butter?

Google search: making butter at home. Huh. Nothing to it. Just shake, drain, and rinse. This would make a good little preschool science project. Mia can help me roll around a jar, and I'm sure she'll think it's cool to see it go in as a liquid and come out all lumpy. I know she'll love eating it. All three of my girls have taken great glee in covertly munching on straight butter at some point. Little Danes.

So during the twins' nap, we went to the store and got some heavy cream. Which cost probably twice what pre-made butter would have cost, but what the heck... we're making some butter today.

We get home and start shaking. The babies are awake, and want to join in the fun. Except whenever they get the jar, their idea of fun is to just sit there and hold it in their lap. We spent a good hour shaking (and not shaking) that jar. Four stories, one diaper change, three tantrums, and two time-outs later, it finally changed. To gloop. I poured the gloop into a bowl and drained the buttermilk into a cup for some later use- probably some delicious buttermilk pancakes tomorrow morning. Okay, probably in our cereal tomorrow morning.

Then it was time to press the liquid out, add cold water, and press again- repeating this until the drained water ran clear. So I went over to the sink and started. And just like she does every day when I'm standing at the sink, Anya squeezed herself between it and me with her chubby little arms upstretched. Whine, whine, whimper, whimper. I lugged all thirty-two pounds of her back to the living room and tried to find her something to do. Twice. In the end, all three of them were in the kitchen playing "stuff the sister in the cabinet," and I was on finger-squishing patrol.

I think I got around to rinsing the stuff eight times before a big glop of butter fell into the sink as I was distractedly draining. The liquid wasn't running off completely clear, but by this time the girls had emptied everything out of every accessible drawer in the kitchen and were finishing with the toybox in the living room, so I figured enough was enough.

There is a little tub of homemade butter in my fridge. We went out for dinner.

Tuesday, November 11

Crazy 8's

The 8 Things Tag...

8 TV shows I love to watch:
1. The Office
2. Lost
3. ummmmm

8 Favorite Restaurants
1. Olive Garden
2. Cap City Diner
3. Tucano's
4. Bob Evans
5. Stratosphere
6. Casa Bonita
7. Garden
8. Sizzler

8 Things that happened today
1. Woke up with the twins at 6:45
2. Watched Fried Green Tomatoes and ate breakfast
3. Gave the twins breakfast
4. Facebooked for a few minutes
5. Straightened the living room
6. Preschool
7. Lunch
8. Stuck a roast in the slowcooker

8 things that I look forward to:
1. New Office episodes
2. Preschool
3. The twins being able to talk
4. Living in the same place longer than two years
5. Being able to load the dishwasher and do chores without "help."
6. Actual "help."
7. Answers to my questions about the "other side."
8. Payday (haha! I copied this one from Ashley- took on a whole new meaning when it became my number 8...) More precisely.. "getting out of debt in ten years or so..."

8 Things on my wish list:
1. Venerday. (an extra day in the week- comes after Friday)
2. One or two inches off my inseam so I could buy girl pants at a store
3. I guess I could just wish for clothes that fit...
4. A baby/grown-up translation dictionary
5. Time machine
6. A back that works
7. A BLT would be nice
8. Instant piano skillz

8 People I tag:
1. Breezi
2. Ally
3. Rhondalue
4. Maury (you haven't posted in forever- c'mon)
5. Zach
6. Kelly
7. Melissa
8. Amelia

Sunday, November 9

Prop 8: The aftermath of a race that came too close

Excerpts from A More Determined Discipleship
By Elder Neal A. Maxwell
Of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy

"We are now entering a time of incredible ironies. Let us cite but one of these ironies which is yet in its subtle stages: We will see a maximum, if indirect, effort made to establish irreligion as the state religion. It is actually a new form of paganism which uses the carefully preserved and cultivated freedoms of western civilization to shrink freedom, even as it rejects the value essence of our rich Judeo-Christian heritage.

M. J. Sobran wrote recently:

“The Framers of the Constitution … forbade the Congress to make any law ‘respecting’ the establishment of religion, thus leaving the states free to do so (as several of them did); and they explicitly forbade the Congress to abridge ‘the free exercise’ of religion, thus giving actual religious observance a rhetorical emphasis that fully accords with the special concern we know they had for religion. It takes a special ingenuity to wring out of this a governmental indifference to religion, let alone an aggressive secularism. Yet there are those who insist that the First Amendment actually proscribes governmental partiality not only to any single religion, but to religion as such; so that tax exemption for churches is now thought to be unconstitutional. It is startling to consider that a clause clearly protecting religion can be construed as requiring that it be denied a status routinely granted to educational and charitable enterprises, which have no overt constitutional protection. Far from equalizing unbelief, secularism has succeeded in virtually establishing it. …

“What the secularists are increasingly demanding, in their disingenuous way, is that religious people, when they act politically, act only on secularist grounds. They are trying to equate acting on religion with establishing religion. And—I repeat—the consequence of such logic is really to establish secularism. It is in fact, to force the religious to internalize the major premise of secularism: that religion has no proper bearing on public affairs.”

Brothers and sisters, irreligion as the state religion would be the worst of all combinations. Its orthodoxy would be insistent and its inquisitors inevitable. Its paid ministry would be numerous beyond belief. Its Caesars would be insufferably condescending. Its majorities—when faced with clear alternatives—will make the Barabbas choice, as did a mob centuries ago when Pilate confronted them with the need to decide.

Your discipleship may see the time when such religious convictions are discounted. M. J. Sobran also said, “A religious conviction is now a second-class conviction, expected to step deferentially to the back of the secular bus, and not to get uppity about it.”

This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions. Resistance to abortion will be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened.

In its mildest form, irreligion will merely be condescending toward those who hold to traditional Judeo-Christian values. In its more harsh forms, as is always the case with those whose dogmatism is blinding, the secular church will do what it can to reduce the influence of those who still worry over standards such as those in the Ten Commandments. It is always such an easy step from dogmatism to unfair play—especially so when the dogmatists believe themselves to be dealing with primitive people who do not know what is best for them—the secular bureaucrats’ burden, you see.

Am I saying that the voting rights of people of religion are in danger? Of course not! Am I saying, “It’s back to the catacombs?” No! But there is occurring a discounting of religiously based opinions. There may even be a covert and subtle disqualification of some for certain offices in some situations, in an ironic irreligious test for office.

If people, however, are not permitted to advocate, to assert, and to bring to bear, in every legitimate way, the opinions and views they hold which grow out of their religious convictions, what manner of men and women would we be?

Our founding fathers did not wish to have a state church established nor to have a particular religion favored by government. They wanted religion to be free to make its own way. But neither did they intend to have irreligion made into a favored state church.

Notice the terrible irony if this trend were to continue. When the secular church goes after its heretics, where are the sanctuaries? To what landfalls and Plymouth Rocks can future pilgrims go?

If we let come into being a secular church which is shorn of traditional and divine values, where shall we go for inspiration in the crises of tomorrow? Can we appeal to the rightness of a specific regulation to sustain us in our hour of need? Will we be able to seek shelter under a First Amendment which by then may have been twisted to favor irreligion? Will we be able to rely for counterforce on value education aided in school systems which are increasingly secularized? And if our governments and schools were to fail us, would we be able to fall back upon and rely upon the institution of the family, when so many secular movements seek to shred it?

It may well be that as our time comes to “suffer shame for his name” (Acts 5:41), some of that special stress will grow out of that portion of discipleship which involves citizenship. Remember, as Nephi and Jacob said, we must learn to endure “the crosses of the world” and yet to despise “the shame of it” (2 Ne. 9: 18; Jacob 1:8). To go on clinging to the iron rod in spite of the mockery and scorn that flow at us from the multitudes in that great and spacious building seen by Father Lehi, which is the “pride of the world” (1 Ne. 11:36)—is to disregard the shame of the world. Parenthetically, why, really why, do the disbelievers who line that spacious building watch so intently what the believers are doing? (See 1 Ne. 8:33.) Surely there must be other things for the scorners to do. Unless deep within their seeming disinterest... Unless... "

Saturday, November 8

Have you heard this one?

"Why was Mrs. Potatohead on the kitchen counter?" Waiting for punchline... No- he really was asking about Mrs. Potatohead being on the kitchen counter.

I finish wrestling with her impossible pants belt buckle. "I have a seat belt, like Daddy! Now I can pee standing up!"

Sweeping a little too close to Bree in her high chair. She pats my bum and says "Bahm baahm!"

Mia calling from the bathroom, "Mooooomeeeee! Wipe meeeeee!" Anya answers "Kaaaaay!"

Mia's friend's mommy is pregnant, and Mia's friend is convinced she has a baby in her own tummy, too. "Do you have a baby in your tummy, too, Mia?" "No."
Two Christmas stories and a church video later: "I have a baby boy in my tummy! His name is Jesus!"

Mia watching a commercial for Evan Almighty, "The Office! Oh I love The Office!" Errr...

After three months of non-stop requests for the same song, Mia asks me for the gazillionth time, "Mom, do you like Hootie and the Blowingfish?" I decide to mix things up a little and change my answer for the first time. "You know what, Mia? I think I like them now! Yep, I've decided that because you like them so much, and I like you, I now like them. So, yes, Mia- I like Hootie and the Blowfish." Our very next trip in the car- her "favorite" song is already cued starts playing. "Nooo, Mooom!! Not that one again!"

On a more serious note, did you see the rash on Bree in the Potatohead glasses? I'm thinking combination spicy food, windy cold weather. Well, A+D ointment is to my mom like Windex is to the dad on Big Fat Greek Wedding- and I swear by the stuff myself. It looked this way the next day, but I didn't get a photo 'til two days later:

Thursday, November 6

Friday, October 31


As you might know, it is Halloween night.
We dressed up our girls, and told them to sit tight.
True to the characters their costumes portrayed,
Thing One and Thing Two just ran away and played.
The Cat tried to restrain them, but they did not like it.
No, they did not, they didn't like it one bit.
So the pictures their mom got were really quite lame.
But we hope you will enjoy them just the same.

Sunday, October 26

It's like...mandatory, isn't it.

So, when your husband is in med school, and your sole financial responsibility is to try and stay less out of debt, you have to do a lot of improvising. But the other day we did some pretty uncreative improvising. Instead of taking Mia to Disneyland in her "Princess infatuation" years, I took her to.... a Disney show!

I talked it up, and she was pretty excited. She got to go with her best friend Abby, and Abby's mom and I tagged along, too. We plopped the girls in the seats behind the shortest people in the group in front of us, but ended up with them on our laps when the show started. There were dudes in the aisles selling toys that made absolutely no sense: little seizure promoting strobe light wands. I had no idea why the people around us were shelling out $20 dollars for a toy to distract their kid from the show for which they already shelled out $30. And then they spent the rest of the concert trying to get the kid to put the thing away. Why? Because just having the thing in your peripheral vision hurt your eyes, and if looking directly into it for longer than a second didn't cause brain hemorrhaging, it did hypnotize you into buying the other spinning 20 dollar light-up toy.

The show began. A small adult trying to pass off as a little kid came out and flapped her arms to accentuate each syllable as she told the kids she was looking for Mickey Mouse. Mia was... stony. I wasn't too worried. "She'll be excited when she sees Mickey." A few seconds later, out pops the ears. The crowd cheers. I notice I'm cheering more loudly than the kid on my lap. She didn't move for pretty much the whole first half. I tried moving her arms for her. Whispering explanations as to what she was seeing. She was just a little unimpressed stone. "Huh. Maybe she's worried about the very animated actors" who did sometimes look like they were being thrown into epileptic fits by the little seizure promoting strobe light wands out in the audience. Finally some characters she liked came out and she yelled over to Abby, "Look! Tigger!!"

After the intermission, things livened up. Mia's favorites from the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse were on, and she was smiling and clapping after the songs. The choreography for her favorite, "Hot Dog Dance" wasn't very well-thought out. They invite everyone in the audience to stand, and, common sense on their side, the parents stand up their kids while remaining seated. Great- now all the kids will enjoy a break from their seats and Bop to the Hot Dog Diddy. Ah- but no- the performers tell the parents to stand, too. So a bunch of grown-ups get to heave their kids up to their head level to see over the other parents holding their kids up to see over the other parents holding their kids up so their kids can see the Hot Dog Dance.

She's mentioned the show a few dozen times since we went Saturday. I'm thinking we've fulfilled our parental Disney duties. For the next few years, anyway.

Friday, October 17

Protecting Marriage

Fellow blogger, Erika, posted this.

Breezi alerted me to a big ol' debate going on Facebook, specifically about the involvement of LDS people in the support of a "Yes" vote.

I feel so helpless and hopeless lately about the state of our country. A part of what I wrote back to Breezi- "as long as there are people in this country who believe it is okay to leave God out of our government simply because a few people are offended by the idea of Him, we are really lost as a people. The government that our forefathers built this nation on included God, and the assumption that the people of the nation worshipped Him. Yes, they wanted people to worship how, what or where they may- but I don't think they included a back-up plan for when the country decided to bag the whole "Diety idea" completely. Basically, I believe there's no going back. From here on out, it's just going to get worse. I don't think that lets us off the hook- I do believe there are a few people out there whose eternal salvation can still be affected by the good around them."

What drives you to do good? The hope of a better future for your children? The simple knowledge that you are doing what you should- what you wish everyone would? I'm not asking because I want to start up an intellectual dialogue. I am looking for a more positive spin on my thoughts.

Thursday, October 16

Getting your way

When I ask the girls during car-rides "Do you want to listen to music?" I can pretty much guarantee that Anya and Bree will give their usual responses to every question: "YeAAaaaah!" and "NOOoooooooo" respectively, and that a little three-year-old request will inevitably pop up from the very back seat: "I want Hootie and da Bwowingfish!"

I'm not a fan of Hootie, but I've heard "only wanna be wid yeeeoouuuuww" about three times per car ride for the last two months. I'm sure by the time this phase is over, added up, I will have been listening in relative agony for about a week of my life. Thanks a lot, Zach.

Even though I'm not sure why they each learned the exact opposite, I'm hoping the twins keep their all-purpose "yes" and "no" answers. It makes for an exciting Dora watching experience-

"Do YOU see the purple mongolian pygmie striped marmaset?"

And, I can see this working to my advantage. Just ask the appropriate twin for the desired answer.

"You guys want to finish all your dinner, Anya?"

"Do you want your face to freeze that way, Bree?"

"Hey, Anya- do you guys want to clean your room?"

"Bree, are you guys going to keep pestering each other?"

"Anya, do you think mommy is having a good hair day?"

"Do these pants make my rear look big, Bree?"

Oh, that reminds me. My cousin posted this and I thought it was hilareous.

Tuesday, October 14

Hello autumn

While Mia was napping, I took the babies for a stroll and found the prettiest place right behind our neighborhood. I turned around, went home, grabbed the camera and strolled back. There's something so valuable to me about this once-a-year backdrop.

Monday, October 13

Goodbye summer

It's cold out. After a fleeting summer romance, each of the girls had to say goodbye to their favorite friend.

Anya did.

Bree did.

Mia kind of did.

So hard to let go.


Sunday, October 12

I voted

Yeah. That's right.

I took the advice of the First Presidency, and voted for the candidate that most closely fits my political beliefs. The answer was neither. Couldn't vote for either. So. Here's the Van Wagoner household dream ticket. Ta da!

The toddler grapevine

Zach stayed in nursery to help with the twins and Mia today, and witnessed an accident. So did Abby, Mia's little friend.

When we got home, I found this e-mail from Abby's mommy:

Hey, Abby told us today on the way home that Mia was hit by a car. Is that true? Is she okay? I mostly don't believe her, but I thought I should double-check.

I fell to pieces. After gathering all my strength, I replied,

Actually, yes, she was hit by a car. But it was a toy car in nursery that a boy threw up in the air and landed hard on her head. Traumatic...

Friday, October 10

Another tag!

This tag from McClelland Mania is called the Brillante Weblog-Premio 2008 Award. I don't know why.

The rules: Answer the following questions with one word answers and pass it on to seven others.

Here are the questions:
1. Where is your cell phone? deactivated
2. Where is your significant other? upstairs
3. Your hair color? fake
4. Your mother? female
5. Your father? old
6. Your favorite thing? love
7. Your dream last night? revealing
8. Your dream/goal? settlement
9. The room you're in? all-purpose
10. Your hobby? blogging
11. Your fear? immobility
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? vacation
13. Where were you last night? home
14. What you're not? tactful
15. One of your wish-list items? manners
16. Where you grew up? didn't
17. The last thing you did? console
18. What are you wearing? worn-out
19. Your TV? off
20. Your pet? someday
21. Your computer? used
22. Your mood? assorted
23. Missing someone? someones
24. Your car? extravagent
25. Something you're not wearing? jewelry
26. Favorite store? book
27. Your summer? fleeting
28. Love someone? Zach
29. Your favorite color? clear
30. When is the last time you laughed? constantly
31. Last time you cried? forgot

Melissa, Michelle, Ally, Blogstalker, Amelia, Britney, Zach

Wednesday, October 8


Have you ever had the dream that your teeth were falling out? I feel them crunch, and spit them into my hand, one by one, then two or three at a time, until my hand is full of broken teeth bits.

When we were first married, Zach said he could hear my teeth squeak as I ground my jaws together while I slept. I had no idea.

I stopped for a while, I think.

But a few weeks ago, I was looking at my teeth and noticed the points of my top canine teeth were gone. Gone! They are flat now! They were there less than a year ago- I'm positive.

And then came the pain.

I called the dentist and they got me in quick. This morning I went for my new-patient appointment. The dentist said "You have beautiful teeth. No cavities." I was shocked. I thought I must have a hole the size of... well... a cavity at least.

What was causing the pain?

Me. My clenched jaw. Inflamed the nerve in that tooth.

He said 99.9 percent of the time, the cause of this in adults is stress. He said, "So try to look at what is stressful in your life and limit it." I made it look like I was getting up to leave, and said, "Alrighty- be seein' ya!" They got the joke. Later, the assistant was flossing me and asked if I had kids. When he found out their ages he called the dentist back and said "Hey- I know what her stress has been over!" and told him. It was kind of cute.

But really. It's not like having kids is going to get any easier, is it? I guess things like moving eight times in six years, changing states, and certain unmentionables have definitely added to the levels of AAaaaaaaAaahhhhhh! in my life. Maybe things will get better. I just hate to look at life that way. I want to be able to say things are okay the way thay are. I can handle this. But to tell the absolute truth, I am at a point where I have to rely on a hope of a better future to keep my sanity. There's no way I could live my whole life like this.

A part of me thinks there is something inherently wrong with that reasoning. But another part of me knows there's a reason we age, and we grow, and things change. Because we're not wired to stay in the exact same situation forever.

Here's where my thoughts went.

'Night! *squeak squeak squeak squeak*

Picture Tag

Got tagged by Hollie.

Go to "My pictures." Choose the 4th folder, 4th picture. Tell us about it.

I save everything I shoot. I got to the B'- Barker. A family from three moves ago. This was the fourth shot. No- I'm not proud of my fill lighting. She wrote me to see if we'd be visiting Utah anytime soon. They need a new family shot with their new baby. :( Sorry. I'm seriously thinking I should advertise here in Ohio, though.

Hey, y'all. I'm a photographer. Gitch'er pictures heeeeere! Sigh. My heart's just not as into it anymore. Nowadays, everyone has a business called "Photography by insert name here." Maybe I'm not as much a joiner as I thought. It even bugs me that I'm hearing the name Mia all over the place now. I thought it was relatively unique when we named her three years ago. Maybe I'll dye my hair green.

Okay. Whose 4th folder pictures do we want to see. Wa, Nog, Maury, Steph, Breezi. That should start a nice chain. Tag!

Tuesday, October 7


I can't stand the word verification thingys that make sure robots aren't commenting on our blogs. I took the feature off my blog a few months ago, and so far, no robots have tried leaving their two cents.

In my efforts to allieviate my absolute hatred for typing letters that don't make words, I have created two games.

First game: Try to come up with an acronym that has something to do with the post. I've never shared any with you, because I would have to explain this game in a comment, and I don't want to distract from your post like that. Sometimes, the letters have a kind of personalized license plate thing going on- like when I was commenting on the blog of the gal who has been discussing the LDS church, the letters were something like whyjldks. That one I did share, because it was just so- weird.

Second game: Try and get all the letters in one glance. Usually I need two glances, sometimes three. I think Seinfeld had the same idea with gas fill-ups; stopping on perfect change with one squeeze. When I get a one-glancer, I'm pretty darn proud of myself. Just like finishing boring chores as fast as I possibly can, the point is to get this crappy word verification out of the way as quickly as possible. I'd like to see this game turned into a competition between a whole group of people.

This is going to be big. Bigger than MadLibs. Brush up on your typing skills, in case you get an invite to a word verification party. Soon.

Click here.

Sunday, October 5

Blackmail material

So bedtime got better. Dinnertime, however, got worse.

Now she complains that her booster seat hurts her legs (which it does- they are long, heavy toddler legs and they just dangle off the hard plastic seat. I wouldn't be able to sit like that longer than a minute, either.) We let her sit on the regular chair, but can't strap her in. So between bites, she finds reason after reason to jump off the chair.

I wouldn't really have a problem with this, but between feeding two babies, and myself, I don't usually notice that once off the chair, she doesn't come back. She has started building a diaper tower or is using the pulled-off couch cushion as a trampoline. Lately, if I notice her getting off the chair, I stop her and threaten to stick her on the booster seat and strap her in. But what cunning three-year-old is going to let a wimpy little threat like that stop her? Today she used her no-fail excuse: gotta go potty.

Ten minutes later, I've finished feeding the twins, and have started eating myself, when I see Mia's plate, still full of food, and Mia's seat, still vacant of Mia.

"What are you doing, Mim? You need to finish your dinner."

"Blah-hoogah boogah!"

She didn't get a nap today, and it's showing. Mia is in full-blown pumpkin hour. She has one of the babies' pairs of sunglasses on, her winter boots from last year, and never got her panties back on after her trip to the potty. (Sound familiar anyone? ;) I try not to reward her by laughing.

"Mia, get your panties back on and come finish your dinner."

"Dee dee honk honk!" *giggle giggle*

"Mim- it's not funny. If you don't get those back on, I'll take your picture and show it to every boy you bring home. You'll be soooo embarrassed."

"Take a picture!!!" She poses next to her crumpled-on-the-floor Princess panties.

I will not forget. And this picture's future viewers will not have the benefit of my very skilled artistic computer descretion, either. Mwah ha ha ha haaaaa.

Thursday, October 2

One man's trash

I was getting to the point where I got a pit in my stomach after dinner, just thinking of the next "step." Our night-time routine with Mia. We'd start out fine. Put night-time diapers on the babies and stick them in their cribs,(nice routine for those two, ya think?) Then it was Mia's turn.

You know- it only got hard to put her to bed when we introduced a "bedtime routine?" Yeah. Before that- we put her in bed and she went to sleep. We took her binki away when she turned two, and she still did fine. But we thought- "Gee we've taken her away from her home, her grandparents, cousins, and her binki, not to mention divided our attention to her in three ways, all in a few months. Maybe we should give her something for a change." So we bought into the "kids should have a nightly regimen" crap and started singing songs and reading books and praying right before bed. Things went downhill from there. Bedtime became playtime. Not just any playtime. Exclusive really-nice-mommy playtime. Of course she was going to start balking at going to bed! Don't get me wrong. I think all the singing, reading stuff is important, and can be beneficial for some children before bedtime. But she didn't need it to sleep. "If it aint broke..." Duh.

Up until a couple of weeks ago, Mia's betime went something like this:

Kiss daddy goodnight, brush teeth, potty, pull-ups, P.J.'s, three books, three songs, "Goodnight to Mia," (she started saying goodnight to herself in the mirror at some point. "Good night Mia! I love you!" and then hug and blow herself a kiss.) Then prayers, kiss mommy, get tucked in, pull off the covers, "BIG hug," tucked in again.

At this point there was always a new variation. Potty again, need a drink, need socks on my hands (she started picking her lip when we went to Utah for Christmas last year- our solution,) afraid of the shadows, I have to tell you something, I'm hungry.

The ultimate ending to this chaos each night also came in varied forms. Have a gratitude moment, where we tell each other what things we were grateful the other did that day, get a drink, go potty again, sing another song, say another prayer, add a stuffed animal, arrange the furniture. Usually she'd keep whining and whining until the last resort- threatening to take her favorite toy away. Some nights involved doing just that.

It got worse and worse. She started getting out of bed hours after we thought she was down for the count. We realized we had to turn the actual lamp off, and not just use the light switch. We found out we had to block her direct view of the nightlight. The worst- she started getting up at 5:45- 6:00am and yelling for us. And if she didn't, one of the babies did.

Though she'd never asked, and despite all the warnings we'd read not to "go there," we decided to let her start falling asleep in our bed while Zach studied, with the understanding she'd wake up in her own room. For those of you who don't know, Zach is doing the at-home study option for the first two years of med school. His computer desk and homework station are right next to our bed- the only place for him to get peace and quiet during the days. The first night, she fell asleep within ten minutes, no fussing. It was like the first quiet minute after one of the heinous thunderstorms out here in Ohio. The deafening silence feels so good, but you don't quite believe it's over.

We've had to play around with it. She's had trouble getting to sleep a few nights. But she is actually trying to get to sleep! The other night she decided she'd rather sleep in her own bed. Today is the third day she's put herself down for a nap. And last, but not least, somehow, all of this has affected the babies. The same time we stopped the late night crying with Mia, the babies stopped the early morning rising. We've slept until at least 7 almost every morning for two weeks.

Things are better at our house. Even though I've been grateful for it a couple of times, I'm almost to the point where I think no advice is good advice when it comes to child care. We're so worried about how everyone else does it, (and doesn't do it) we let our personal solutions slip through the cracks undiscovered. We have more faith in people who aren't the parents of our children, who aren't living our lives, and who aren't dealing with our very unique situations. I love hearing successes and botch-ups of other parents. But I'm going to keep in mind that's all they are. Their successes and botch-ups.

Monday, September 29

What decade are you?

You Belong in 1999

With you anything goes! You're grunge one day, ghetto fabulous the next. It's all good!

1st prize goes to whoever can tell me what "ghetto fabulous" is...

Oh, and no- you don't get a prize, ya little... Isn't reading my fabulous bog reward enough??? ;D

Sunday, September 28

You're so vain, you probably think this post is about you

I've known some pretty ego-centric people.

But you, my dear, take the cake. You take it, and then you complain that it wasn't your favorite flavor.

Surrounded by people. By wisdom that surpasses your own, by experiences beyond your reach, by perspectives you will never see, and you're the one doing the talking. No one can teach you.

No one can love you. Because despite all your talking, you've decided that no one will ever know your every last self-centered thought. No one will ever completely break down your walls. Because you've created a rule for yourself: keep up at least one brick.

And then blame the brick on the person who made the cake.

Thursday, September 25


My package from Susan, my swap partner, came yesterday!! All day long I listened for a knock on the door, and thought maybe it would be put in the "big mailbox," at the end of the street. The knock must have come while I was putting the babies down for their naps. Zach went to check the mail around 10 last night, and when he came back empty-handed I finally thought to check the front porch (yeah- we're really smart around here.) My box!! Hidden over behind the bushes!

I opened the box and found everything individually wrapped!! Classy. I'm thinking next time I'll do that instead of pink bubble wrap... which was... not so classy... ;D

She sent me a letter explaining each of her choices, which I won't use all of cause I didn't get permission to put it on here..

"One of my favorite things to do is cook... "

There were some recipe cards, three of which she had written some of her favorite recipes. Handy- because I'm getting to the end of the index cards from my wedding. She included a jar of apple butter, which was actually one of her favorite recipes. I have to admit, I wasn't as initially excited about this as I should have been. About a year ago, I bought some apple butter with a vague memory in my head of liking it. That particular brand didn't live up to my expectations, (really bland) and I had decided we were done with apple butter. When I opened this jar, I was so hopeful and curious I just popped the top and stuck my finger in- ha! It was just like I had hoped the first jar would be, kind of tart and very.... appley. I knew I like apple butter! But I probably wouldn't have tried it 'til much later if she hadn't sent it- so now my kids will get a chance to love it, too!

"I have also included two of my favorite cooking magazines. I love Rachael Ray because it has a section on budget meals and weekly menu ideas. But, Cuisine at Home is my absolute favorite. It doesn’t have ads and has pictures of each dish and its process. The helpful tips are always good as well."

Perfect timing. Yesterday I cooked this Egyptian rice and lentils dish- trying to branch out a bit. I'm definitely on a try-something-new in the kitchen kick. And she is right- this magazine is incredible!! I hadn't even thought of looking to a magazine- awesome.

Next- Oxi Clean stain remover.
"(It)is the best and I love being able to pretreat stains on the run or get things out of my clothes when I get “slimed” by the kids."
Ha! Amen. More perfect timing. I just lost mine.

And another thing we amazingly had in common... dark chocolate in truffle form, baby.
"I don’t think I have to say anything more than that."
Me neither.

Something I'm surprised I didn't think of- she sent a CD of her favorite songs. It seems we've both got a musical background, and appreciate the effect certain music has on us. What a great idea! I still haven't convinced the kids to let me play it instead of the kid CD we've always got on- so maybe tonight I can enjoy some grown-up songs for a change.

The book "The Wednesday Letters," which neither of us has read. Which is my favorite part about most books- that I haven't read it before. I'll have it devoured by Sunday- how much you wanna bet.

I saved the best for last. I had seen on her blog that she was a rep for a jewelry company, and immediately wished I hadn't seen it, because I got my hopes up, and no matter how hard i tried to not think about it, I still found myself hoping there would be a little box in there. I'm awful. Awful. She picked the perfect earrings (which are the only jewelry I really ever bother with!)
"I am a representative for Silpada Designs and love it. Their jewelry is the highest quality sterling silver and other precious stones. The earrings I sent you are sterling silver, turquoise, peridot, amethyst, red coral and lapis. Silpada jewelry is definitely one of my favorite things!!!"

I've got to tell you- this was so much fun. Not even just the fact that we got to open cool stuff- but the fact that there are so many perfect strangers out there willing to reach out and share a peice of themselves. It's a good feeling from start to finish. I'm glad they did such a great job pairing me with Susan!

Wednesday, September 24

Second Guessing

Before we even decided to have our "second" child, I thought, almost constantly, about the space between ages, and the pros and cons of 2, 3, or 4 years difference from Mia to her sibling.

We were in kind of a unique situation. We knew, right down to the month, when we would be moving out of state, more than a year in advance. And we knew, more or less, that the time and responsibility constrictions with Zach's future schooling would necessitate some creative "family planning."

Basically, we had two choices. A) Have the next kid before we moved- causing them to be extremely close in age, but compensating for the difficulties that would cause by being in the same state as both our families for the first three (and most difficult) months of infancy. B) Wait until Mia was old enough to take care of herself a little better, and hope that would compensate for the fact that there would be no family around, and that Zach would be up to his neck in med school.

Looking back- I can't believe what a difference choosing Plan A meant. There was no way I could have accurately weighed the incredible "pros" we were blessed with, (mostly because we had no idea baby #2 would come with baby #3.)

After realizing I couldn't keep our house clean enough to sell, live in it, have a bad back, and be eight months pregnant with twins all at the same time, I was worried we'd have to move in with my parents longer than the few weeks between selling our place and moving to Ohio. The story behind finding our apartment is kind of long, but it seems so cool to me.

Journal: February 8, 2007
Monday I saw an important ad in the online classifieds. I’ve been checking the baby section every day looking for good deals. Someone put an ad in for an apartment lease. I read it for no reason, other than it was funny that someone put it in "baby items" and it hadn’t been reported and moved yet. 4 bedroom, everything you could ask for in an apartment, plus free internet, a pool and gym, granite countertops and tile floors: $610 a month. When I realized what an incredible deal it was I started thinking how nice it would be to move there instead of my parents’ house. The amazing thing about it- the lease ends in July- the very month we'd need it to end. And you can’t renew the contract. (I found out later it is because the complex is really student housing, and when it was first built, they opened it temporarily to families at that great rate. The catch was- they got kicked out after two years. So this family found a house and it closed really fast. They have to move at the end of this month.) Just for the fun of it, I calculated the difference we would pay, once we got rid of our internet. $100 a month. Hmm. Just for a little more fun, I called the gal who placed the ad. She said all the offers she got wanted to renew the lease past July- which they couldn’t do. I called Zach, who surprised me by sounding optimistic. I called my mom, who also surprised me by NOT saying she would be a tad miffed if we didn’t come live there, and that it was up to us. I looked for the ad an hour later, and it had been moved. We went and looked at the apartment that night, applied for it the next day, and today, Thursday, we signed the lease! Crazy!

A little more than a month before D-day, we had moved into a student ward, with the most well-organized and willing compassionate service set up that I have ever seen.

Some of the forseen cons were actually pros in disguise. I think I would be either be working with two kids in daycare right now, or feeling like a big fat slacker for staying home. But having twins kind of nixed that problem.

Still. Every so often, something comes up that still makes me wonder if we made the right decision. (And I've gotta say- it was more my decision than Zach's. He needed some convincing- so I'm super scrutinizing of this particular life-choice.)

After adding and subtracting all the good and bad about this decision, I think the twins are paying the biggest price. Little conflicts have been escalating between those two- and got way worse when I experimented with having all three girls nap at once. Mia was used to at least a few hours of alone time, but the twins have never really experienced it. Having Mia around during their every waking minute made for some cranky babies, and alerted me to an underlying problem. They share absolutely EVERYTHING.

And are increasingly unhappy about it. The big wake-up call came Monday: Bree bit Anya.

I think the next-highest payer is Mia. I caught her eating her cereal in an odd spot this morning.
"What are you doing back there, Mim?"
"I don't want the babies to get my cereal."


But we'll keep plugging away. Because, whether or not having them so close together was the right decision- it was the decision we have to live with.

Something tells me we'll be okay.