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