Saturday, December 29, 2007

Consumerism

This time of year I always think I have too much "stuff". This year, it's epsecially sad that I think I have too much "stuff", since the majority of my "stuff" is packed away in boxes waiting to be able to move into new "stuff" (aka "new house").

My Mr. and I are having a contest to see how long we can go without spending any money. It's proving to be difficult though, since yesterday we had to go buy a new bike helmet to replace the one that santa brought our 3-year-old (the one who apparently does not have a 3-year-old sized head). I don't count that since we returned something first.

Today we have to buy some trim to finish up a bit of molding in our old house that is still unfinished (anyone want to buy a house with some minor finish work to do on the trim?).

It seems never ending, this need to acquire more stuff. In my need to compartmentalize things, I'm temped to stop buying anything made in China. That accomplishes two things- less chance of lead in our "stuff" and stops supporting a country which is still (I believe) the worlds top polluter. It's hard to have principles like that when you have children. Sorry kids, no more matchbox cars for you, they're made in china. Sorry kids, you'll have to play with these crude wooden cars that I fashioned out of old twigs. That doesn't sound so bad to me, but my kids are having a hard time not buying into whatever commercial they see on TV (maybe we need a TV made out of twigs).

I guess we do what we can, but I have to say that the best gift any of my sons received for christmas was the small wooden saw that my dad made (with my 3-year-old helping) the day after christmas.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Book Recommendation

I received several new books for Christmas. My brother gave me a book titled Look Me In The Eye by John Elder Robison. John Robison grew up with aspergers before anyone knew what aspergers was. He had some amazing life experiences that he shares in the book, but weaves them together with his insights and the things he learned about acting "normal".

I couldn't put it down, and read it all day Christmas day, and finished it up this morning. If you're looking for a good book to read, I highly recommend this one.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Least of These

My heart aches for people who, for whatever reason, are without a warm place to sleep, a place to feel safe this winter. Sometimes it feels overwhelming that there are so many people who are in need of help. I can't fix much of anything for these people.

The North Salt Lake City Youth Council is holding a drive to benefit the Road Home. They are collecting blankets (any size), bath towels, gloves, hats, and other items.

Fleece blankets are on sale 3 for $9.99 at Albertsons, and I understand that Family Dollar has similarly priced blankets.

Donations can be left at the NSL City building (20 South HWY89, North Salt Lake), or can be dropped off to me (email me at alliegator321atgmaildotcom).

It may not be much, but maybe a warm blanket will bring some comfort to those who have so little.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Here are some recipes for some fancy gourmet baby foods (and you can say you made them yourself!)

Making homemade baby food is difficult...

Peach Pie

Combine the following: Baby cereal, a scoop of formula (used as a weight gainer), mashed peaches (home canned), and water or breast milk.

Green Bean Casserole

Baby cereal, a scoop of formula (used as a weight gainer), mashed beans (home canned), and water or breast milk.

Banana Bread Pudding

Baby cereal, a scoop of formula (used as a weight gainer), mashed bananas, and water or breast milk.

You get the idea.

Next week we're trying a sweet potato dish. (steamed sweet potatoes, peeled, mashed, and thinned with a bit of water or breast milk (with some formula as a weight gainer).

(My baby wasn't gaining weight fast enough if you were wondering. He's fine though.)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

To the Women of the Church

From President HInckley:

Some years ago President Benson delivered a message to the women of the Church. He encouraged them to leave their employment and give their individual time to their children. I sustain the position which he took.

Nevertheless, I recognize, as he recognized, that there are some women (it has become very many in fact) who have to work to provide for the needs of their families. To you I say, do the very best you can. I hope that if you are employed full-time you are doing it to ensure that basic needs are met and not simply to indulge a taste for an elaborate home, fancy cars, and other luxuries. The greatest job that any mother will ever do will be in nurturing, teaching, lifting, encouraging, and rearing her children in righteousness and truth. None other can adequately take her place.

It is well-nigh impossible to be a full-time homemaker and a full-time employee. I know how some of you struggle with decisions concerning this matter. I repeat, do the very best you can. You know your circumstances, and I know that you are deeply concerned for the welfare of your children. Each of you has a bishop who will counsel with you and assist you. If you feel you need to speak with an understanding woman, do not hesitate to get in touch with your Relief Society president.

To the mothers of this Church, every mother who is here today, I want to say that as the years pass, you will become increasingly grateful for that which you did in molding the lives of your children in the direction of righteousness and goodness, integrity and faith. That is most likely to happen if you can spend adequate time with them.

For you who are single parents, I say that many hands stand ready to help you. The Lord is not unmindful of you. Neither is His Church.

May He bless you, my beloved sisters who find yourselves in the situation of single parenthood. May you have health, strength, vitality to carry the heavy burden that is yours. May you have loving friends and associates to bear you up in your times of trial. You know the power of prayer as perhaps few others do. Many of you spend much time on your knees speaking with your Father in Heaven, with tears running down your cheeks. Please know that we also pray for you.


Do the best we can, we know our circumstances, the Lord is mindful of us all. Read Sister Beck's talk, see what you can take from it to grow and learn, but know that God is mindful of us. Know that he wants us to do our best, not more than we are able. He loves us and doesn't want us to drown in the despair which satan would sneak into our minds.

Man (and woman) is, that he (and she) might have joy.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Blame the Men!

Continuing off of my last post about Sister Julie Beck's conference talk, Women Who Know, I'd like to talk a little bit more about why it is that so many women feel overwhelmed by what they view their roles as being as a woman in the church, and no I'm not blaming the men (entirely anyway).

Conner Boyack has a post right now that talks about the role of men in the family. After reading from an article by Brent Barlow, he says, Barlow notes several trends that are still (if not more so) applicable 35 years later. One such trend is the diminishing of the role of fatherhood in the family. A prime example of this situation is found in modern sitcoms that revolve around a family. Whether it be The Simpsons, Everybody Loves Raymond, Family Guy, or Home Improvement, the father is portrayed as a witless buffoon. He is just another one of the children that the wife/mother has to look after and care for. If women are viewing their husbands as an extra child to clean up after and care for, no wonder so many of us are feeling overburdened and under-appreciated.

I'm blessed to be one of six sisters-in-law in my husband's family. While this may not always be easy for our mother-in-law, it is wonderful for us to get together and share joys and frustrations (especially where many are the same), over Thanksgiving the we talked about the need to ask our husbands to watch the kids. I talked about it more with my parents recently and they have experienced something similar. Fathers, when they have an activity they want to take part in, have a much easier time going and participating. Mothers in similar situations either end up taking children with them, or asking fathers to watch the children, because it is assumed that the mother is the main caretaker. In the discussions with my sisters-in-law we one of us mentioned how her husbands first thoughts when planning anything revolve around his needs, and he's not doing that to be selfish, at least not intentionally, while her thoughts revolve around how the activity will affect the children.

How do we get to where we are truly equal partners? Equal doesn't mean that we do all the same things. Connor quotes Elder Oaks saying, "The family proclamation gives this beautiful explanation of the relationship between a husband and a wife: While they have separate responsibilities, “in these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners". I think equality means that we recognize each other as having equal worth and value in our separate responsibilities (and by separate responsibilities I am referring to however a couple has worked things out for themselves).

I truly don't mean to male bash. I have a wonderful husband who does so much to make my life easier. I think, most of the time, we have things right. We're partners working together trying to get through life as easily and happily as possible. I do think that men and women need to be careful and make sure they are sharing the burdens and the joys that come along with raising a family in the church.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Julie Beck and Women Who Know

I just re-read sister Beck's talk, after reading a post at Red State Blues. I remember when I listened to it the first time thinking that people were going to be upset over it, but reading it just now, I don't think there's really anything to be upset about. Church leaders have said repeatedly that individual circumstances require people to do what works for them. Sister Beck is just highlighting what our priorities ought to be if we are in a circumstance that allows it.

Have children if you can. Only an individual (Or couple) can determine what "can" means to them in the context of what our church leaders have said.

Make sure that those children know that you love the gospel (she's not saying we have to have perfectly dressed children, that was just an example of how some women in poor countries were showing their children that sacrament meeting is important to them).

Take care of your children and your homes. She's not saying that men have no part in those things. She's just saying it's important.

Be strong, and lead by example.

Don't miss out on opportunities of teaching your children the things that you value.

Don't get so busy doing good things that you miss out on essential things.

Be strong, and do the best we can. When Sister Beck says that we should be "the very best in the world at upholding, nurturing, and protecting families" she means because we have been given so much knowledge about how to do those things, we have been well prepared. Where much is given, much is required. She's not saying that we should do more than is possible or feel like failures because we are not perfect.

It's interesting to me that the only times I have felt discouraged about my ability as a mother has come from other women. Women in general put a lot of pressure on each other to look good, and have well behaved children, perfectly decorated homes, etc... I have never felt that coming from the church, so I think we need to be less up in arms about the words Sister Beck spoke and listen to the spirit of what she was saying. It's easy to grasp onto one sentence that we don't like on turn off our ears to what is really being taught.

I think if women in Utah really listened and embraced what Sister Beck said, there would be far less need for antidepressants. We don't have to do it all, we don't have to be perfect. What we can do as mothers to really make a difference in the lives of our children is simple, and doesn't involve perfect hair, expensive clothes, perfectly decorated homes, children who always have their hair combed and their clothes ironed. It involves simply loving, teaching, and not giving up.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Power of Suggestion...

A's life is a musical. He sings everything. Today he was singing "I don't know, I don't know, I don't know what I can do" to the tune of Mary Had A Little Lamb. As I was getting ready for the day, I sang, "A knows how to listen to mom, listen to mom, listen to mom. A knows how to listen to mom, because he is a smart boy!".

It didn't take long for him to mix a bit of that into his song.

Maybe I should sing the multiplication tables or something. He'd be the smartest 3-year-old around.

(I'm really thinking about signing him up for a kindermusic class. There's a teacher close to our new house, so that would be really convenient.)

Worth every penny?

The Tribune has a follow-up story on Paul Moore defending his $214,000.00 Salary from the BSA Great Salt Lake Council.

Here's a gem...

Wiping away tears during an interview, Moore was worried that public disclosure of compensation could hurt fundraising efforts and other activities. Scouting ''is a treasured part of this community, and I would hate to think that my compensation damages in any way our ability to make a difference in kids' lives,''-- Paul Moore

If he cares, perhaps he should take a pay cut.

Just a few weeks ago, I donated to our local Friends of Scouting drive. I kind of always figured that the money I donated went to pay for our local scout troop and their activities. After talking to a scout leader, I discovered that is not true. The local troops don't see any of that money, at least directly, and even indirectly it's questionable.

The troops still have to come up with $1600 a year just to be an official troop. All books, awards, and uniforms purchased are done so by the troop, and are not purchased at cost, or anywhere near to cost. It's interesting that I can go to the distribution center and pick up a manual for cost, or very close to cost (I don't know, I haven't researched it, all I know is that they are inexpensive) but if I want to pick up a dinky little merit badge book, they're at least $3. That adds up fast.

Monday, November 12, 2007

H.R. 676

The United States National Health Insurance Act establishes a unique American national universal health insurance program. The bill would create a publicly financed, privately delivered health care system that uses the already existing Medicare program by expanding and improving it to all U.S. residents, and all residents living in U.S. territories. The goal of the legislation is to ensure that all Americans will have access, guaranteed by law, to the highest quality and most cost effective health care services regardless of their employment, income, or health care status. With over 45-75 million uninsured Americans, and another 50 million who are under- insured, the time has come to change our inefficient and costly fragmented non- health care system.

Who is Eligible

Every person living or visiting in the United States and the U.S. Territories would receive a United States National Health Insurance Card and ID number once they enroll at the appropriate location. Social Security numbers may not be used when assigning ID cards.

Health Care Services Covered

This program will cover all medically necessary services, including primary care, inpatient care, outpatient care, emergency care, prescription drugs, durable medical equipment, long term care, mental health services, dentistry, eye care, chiropractic, and substance abuse treatment. Patients have their choice of physicians, providers, hospitals, clinics, and practices. No co-pays or deductibles are permissible under this act.



Here's a link to the full bill: H.R.676

Contact your representatives and ask them why they don't support health care for all.

If you'd like to, please sign the petition at HealthCare-Now.org in support of H.R. 676

Wordy?

One more thing you don't have time to be doing.

I'll admit that I only made it to 41 (which is several points lower than some of my gardening friends). I'd not do well in scrabble against my sister(s).

Friends of Scouting not so Friendly Afterall...

Voice of Utah posted about the salary for Great Salt Lake Council Executive Paul Moore.

I don't personally enjoy sending money to support exorbitant salaries, so I think I might just say no thank you, or pass along a note explaining why I'm not donating the next time the friend's of scouting drive comes along.

I'll happily buy scout shirts for boys who need them, and I'll do anything else I can to support scouts. I'm sure as a mother of three boys, I'll be sending plenty of money along to scout headquarters. But really, $215,000?

I thought there was some sort of salary cap on non-profits...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lets go eat school lunch, e-coli is on the menu...

This story from the Chicago Tribune appeared in the Trib this morning.

WASHINGTON — One federal inspector calls it the "E. coli loophole." Another says, "Nobody would buy it if they knew." The officials are referring to the little-discussed fact that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has deemed it acceptable for meat companies to cook and sell meat on which E. coli, a bacterium that can sicken and even kill humans, is found during processing. The "E. coli loophole" affects millions of pounds of beef each year that tests positive for the presence of E. coli O157:H7, a particularly virulent strain of the bacterium. The agency allows companies to put this E. coli-positive meat in a special category—"cook only."

...Some cooked beef products end up in the National School Lunch Program, which is administered by the USDA. The agency bought 2.8 million pounds of cooked beef in 2006, according to USDA records.

School Reform To Really Leave No Child Behind

I posted this over at One Utah in a post about the fall of vouchers and what comes next. If we don't come up with some ideas (and likely, even if we do) vouchers will be back.

Of course we want to privatize public education! It works so well with health care. A few people are getting really rich and the rest of us are out of luck. Lets do that to our kids too!

Here’s my suggestion (besides smaller class sizes and paying teachers more)… There is a charter school near me that is grouping kids into “pods” for various subjects. If a student excels at reading but is struggling in math, the “pod” they are in for reading will include other students who also do well in reading, and their math “pod” will be with other children of a similar ability so that the teacher can focus on the needs of that group of students instead of trying to teach to everyone and leaving some students bored and some confused.


I think that implementing this type of ability grouping would require smaller class sizes, or at least some teaching assistants so that classes can be mixed and broken down into small groups of children.

As children master a concept as a group, the group can advance, as children master concepts individually, they can move throughout the different groups as needed. No on gets lost in the classroom, and no one sits bored because they have already mastered what is being taught.

It will be interesting to watch test scores at this particular charter school over the next few years.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Quote of the day

“When the people fear their government, there is Tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.”
– Thomas Jefferson

Us and Them

I was reading this article on MSNBC about Nancy Pelosi and Iraq financing and troop withdrawl and thought to myself, how did we get this way? The House wants one thing, the president vetoes it, half of the senate wants to pass something, and the other half does all they can to block it. Why do we pay these people?

I'm registered as a democrat. I have family who are registered as republicans. Does it really matter? No one is ever going to agree with another person on 100% of issues 100% of the time, but partisan fighting does nothing to improve our country, or make life easier for the citizens here.

We can disagree on issues and how issues ought to be handled, but when the disagreeing prevents us from getting anything done, it's time to watch Mr. Rogers reruns and learn how to compromise and work together.

It seems like it's time to stop worrying about labels and start worrying about the health and safety of people.

Interpretations

Connor has a great post on President Hinckley's War and Peace talk. I too have heard the same talk used to justify the war and to oppose it, so I really appreciated his thoughtful post.

On President Hinckley's War and Peace.

A One-Issue-Voter

In the last presidential election, I know many people who voted based on one or two issues: Abortion and Same Sex Marriage.

Those were the driving factors behind choosing who to vote for. It seems that strategy really hasn't done much for us. I'm proposing a new one-issue.

Health Care.

Here's a letter I sent to my governor, senators and congressman.

I have been watching my health insurance premiums go up, as the level of service goes down. I watch friends who find out they have illnesses and are told they are no longer covered by insurance because their condition was preexistent (even though they had never had symptoms or been treated before).

People seem to think any sort of socialized medical care is evil, but what is truly evil is the system we have now, where people are going bankrupt because of medical bills, or people are suffering or dying because they can't afford treatment and CEO's are getting rich.

I don't have a problem with people making money doing their jobs, but when CEO's of insurance companies are making millions and those who the insurance is supposed to help are struggling to get the care they need, something is wrong.

Health care has to change. I'm at a loss as to what I personally can do about it, so I'm writing to everyone who represents ME in our government to tell them that access to quality health care for everyone is my number one issue. Too many voters in Utah have made abortion and same sex marriage their number one issues, those things are diversions from issues that we should really be working on.

If you want my vote in the next election, I expect something radical to make sure that all Utahns are taken care of.


I've been laughed at for suggesting we do something here like what Canada has. People can say what they want, but it works there, it should be able to work here too. We should be able to take care of each other. It sickens me that in Utah, a state where we pride ourselves on caring for the least of those among us, that we continue to go about business as usual, and let people slip through the cracks. If we don't see it happening, life is fine, right?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Barack Hussein Obama: Oh what a evil man!

I got this email forward today:

Senator Barack Obama, Governor Bill Richardson, Senator Hillary Clinton and Ruth Harkin stand during the national anthem.
Barack Hussein Obama's photo (that's his real name)......the article said he REFUSED TO NOT ONLY PUT HIS HAND ON HIS HEART DURING THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE, BUT REFUSED TO SAY THE PLEDGE.....how in the hell can a man like this expect to be our next Commander-in-Chief????



First off, I find it incredibly irritating that the email assumes we should all be outraged at Obama's name. If he has a name like that he's probably a terrorist, right? Maybe President Bush should just lock him up as a preventetive measure.

Second of all, what does the picture really tell us? It bothers me that things like this are forwarded soley to be divisive and lead people to jump to conclusions.

At Snopes.com I looked up the picture and discovered that Senator Obama wasn't refusing to say the pledge. The picture wasn't even taken during the pledge.

From Snopes: The photograph itself is real, one of several images of the Iowa steak fry event published by Time, and shows Barack Obama standing with his hands clasped just below his waist, while New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, New York senator Hillary Clinton, and Ruth Harkin (wife of Iowa senator Tom Harkin) stand with their hands held over their hearts. It's difficult to judge exactly what's going on from a single still image (it's possible, for example, that the photograph captured an instant just before or just after the national anthem was played, and Senator Obama had not yet raised his right hand or had just lowered it), but other accounts (including the following ABC News video of the event) indicate that the picture is as described:



(It's also not clear from the photograph or the video just what the candidates are looking at. The Flag Code advises that they should be "standing at attention facing the flag," but none of them is facing the flag displayed behind the platform on which they're standing. Presumably there's another flag off to the right of the platform, since most of them are facing that direction.)

Such an act would be consistent with Senator Obama's response when he was asked in October 2007 interviews about his not wearing a U.S. flag pin in his lapel, a gesture which he said he had abandoned in favor of actions he considered more meaningfully patriotic:
The truth is that right after 9/11 I had a pin. Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we're talking about the Iraq war, that became a substitute for, I think, true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security. I decided I won't wear that pin on my chest. Instead I'm gonna try to tell the American people what I believe what will make this country great and hopefully that will be a testimony to my patriotism.

Somebody noticed I wasn't wearing a flag lapel pin and I told folks, well you know what? I haven't probably worn that pin in a very long time. I wore it right after 9/11. But after a while, you start noticing people wearing a lapel pin, but not acting very patriotic. Not voting to provide veterans with resources that they need. Not voting to make sure that disability payments were coming out on time.

My attitude is that I'm less concerned about what you're wearing on your lapel than what's in your heart. And you show your patriotism by how you treat your fellow Americans, especially those who served. You show your patriotism by being true to our values and our ideals and that's what we have to lead with is our values and our ideals.


As for whether this incident was an "accident," whether Senator Obama habitually declines to perform the hand-over-heart gesture, or whether there's any particular meaning to the (non-)action, an Obama campaign spokesperson said:
Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't. In no way was he making any sort of statement, and any suggestion to the contrary is ridiculous.

We could not find any information substantiating the claim (made in the text accompanying some versions of the e-mailed photo) that Senator Obama "refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance."

Sunday, November 04, 2007

We all want what is best for the children

I'm moving, and my son will be in a different school's boundaries. We're keeping him where he is for the rest of the year. Moving causes enough trauma, so I'm trying to limit it where I can.

My dilemna has been what to do about next year. The "neighborhood" school that he should be going to next year is nowhere near our neighborhood, and he will have to ride a bus. The school also scores lower on the yearly testing than his current school, as well as both of the charter schools in the area. I'm thinking about applying to the charter schools, but I've tried to get him in before and his name wasn't drawn in the lottery, so who knows.

I could look into a private school, but I'm not aware of any local private schools that are so superior as to make them worth the extra money (vouchers or no).

I've kind of decided that he will be fine no matter where he goes to school. Partly because he's very bright, happy to be in school, and because we (his parents) are involved in his education. I think more parents, when finding themselves in a difficult situation with their children's education, instead of trying to find a better school, ought to first ask themselves how involved they themselves are in their child's education (but what do I know, my kids aren't struggling).

On the up-side, I discovered that the bus drop off is just at the corner of our street, three or four houses down.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Ugly Chickens

I went out this morning to check for eggs (there weren't any yet today, or any from yesterday), and it looked like a chicken had exploded. Feathers everywhere! The chickens are molting, and boy are they ugly...


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Mobility

The baby has two new tricks. Yesterday he started clapping, and recently he's started scooting to reach things. It's fun to be mobile.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Curbside Recycling in North Salt Lake

Awhile back there was a message from the NSL Mayor about garbage cans being like recycling cans because the garbage in Davis County (except for Bountiful I believe) goes to the burn plant, which sells energy to Hill Airforce Base. I'm glad that the burn plant is able to harness the energy from the garbage. I'm also glad that disposable diapers are not putting fecal material (that's poop) into landfills where it can leach into our water supply untreated.

I think calling garbage cans recycling bins is stretching things a bit though.

There must have been others who agreed with me, because on the NSL Website there is currently a poll asking residents if they are in favor of a 3.35/month utility bill increase for a city wide curbside recycling program. Even more interesting, is that of the the 73 votes (as of 10am this morning) 64 of them were in favor. $3.35 a month would save my family some money, since we signed up with with a private curbside recycling company at a price of $10/month.

I would like to know more about the city program. Who would operate it? Where would the recycled materials go?

I Love You Batman

Today A and I were walking to school to pick up J. A said, "I'm Batman, and you're my boss, because batman has a boss to tell him what to do".

"Okay", I say.

"Hey Boss?"

"What Batman?"

"I love you boss."

"I love you too batman."

Then a few minutes later as we crossed the street, he held my hand and said, "Batman always holds his bosses hand to cross the street".

Later, getting ready for bed, batman became Jeepman (because his batman pj's were dirty, but his jeep pj's were available).

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I am a Democrat because I am a Mormon, not in spite of it.

Thanks to Frank for the link to Harry Reid's talk at BYU.

If you haven't read it, take a few minutes to do so.

Harry Reid at BYU

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Tasty Lunches


Yesterday a photographer in our ward, along with the bishop, bishop's wife and two nice sisters came over to bring me some treats (and to take a picture of it- it's for enrichment night or something, I can't remember- I heard treat and said okay to the picture).

One of the sisters brought some homemade flan. I'm not a huge fan of flan, but I'm going to try some because it was a gift. The other sister is from Japan, and she brought battered and fried vegetables and a few pot-sticker type things (I think they're fried won tons). I'm having them for lunch. This picture isn't exactly what they looked like, but you get the idea. I ate the fried won tons first, then the vegetable things (what are they called, I'm having a mind blank, even though I just googled for the image!). Some were onions, and some were green beans and carrots in fried little pile-o-vegetable-goodness.

(are you jealous Adam?)

(I just realized I don't have a "food" label. How can that be!)

Monday, October 08, 2007

Hateful Comments and Being Neighbors

As far as local news sources, I prefer the Salt Lake Tribune. I read online, and occasionally check out the Deseret Morning News website, but for the most part, I like the Trib better. By now, I should have learned to stay away from the online comments. It's a guarantee that anytime there is an article that is even remotely related to the LDS church (maybe someone in the article had a cousin's friend's uncle who was a member) the comments that follow are numerous and hateful.

What's the point? If the LDS church bothers someone so much, why would they spend so much time thinking about it?

I know there's a frustrating level of mixing of church and state because so many of our state officials get "carried away" and forget that their positions are to represent the residents of utah, not the members of the church.

Glendon Brown over at One Utah has a really good post about the liquor laws and how mormons and non-mormons talk around and around but never really talk to each other.

It would be really nice if we could start talking to each other instead of at each other. It would also be nice if LDS people could remember that not everyone wants to be preached to, no matter how good the intentions, and if non-LDS people could be content to simply not be a member and not constantly attack the church or it's members for their apparent short-commings. (I realize that not all people fall into the two groups I just listed, but the people that don't aren't the ones causing problems.)

I recently received a new list of Relief Society sisters to visit. There was one sister whom I had never met before, so I stopped by one day and left a plate of cookies since no one was home. I tried again a couple weeks later and her husband answered the door. He was holding a beautiful baby girl, and from what I saw, he looked like a pretty cool guy, about the same age as my husband. There aren't a ton of neighbors our age, so I was happy to see one. Unfortunately he and his wife didn't want to be visited and he yelled at us until we apologized for bothering him and left.

I really didn't mean to bother him. I didn't want to bother him. Perhaps there needs to be a better way of letting people know if someone with records in the church doesn't want to be visited.

I would like to be friends with the family. It seems really sad that because we belong to different churches, that we can't be friends. I really don't like perpetuating the views that LDS people only want to be friends with non-LDS people if they can somehow get a convert out of the deal. I don't care what religion these people are, they're neighbors and it would be nice to be friends.

I just have to get over my fear of getting yelled at again and introduce myself as a neighbor who is not there to convert them, but just to be neighborly, and hope that they listen long enough to hear what I have to say before yelling.

If someone doesn't want to be my friend because they don't like me, that's okay, but I'd like to not be dismissed just because I'm mormon. I'm sure lots of non-mormons feel the same way.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Be on your guard people....

Liberals in Washington are coming after you and your parental choice.

I was talking to a friend the other day and she asked if I was in favor of vouchers or not. Honestly, I don't think vouchers are going to severely damage our public schools. I do think that the Utah voucher program is seriously flawed. If you claim to want to give parents a choice in education, make sure that the vouchers go to people who because of finances, don't currently have a "choice" not to people who can already afford to send their kids to private schools.

The radio ads that warn us of liberals in Washington make me simultaneously feel like laughing and screaming. They'd be hilarious if I didn't think that way too many people believe them.

Anyway, I told my friend what I thought about vouchers and she said that she felt like the anti-voucher group was telling people what to think instead of presenting reasons and letting people think for themselves. My comment was, "and how are the pro-voucher ads any better?"

So, this election, lets all remember to get past the rhetoric and scare tactics and use our brains when we decide how to vote. Or, if you don't have a brain, borrow mine.

Time goes by way too fast...

Can you believe this onesie was my nephew's? (He's 12 now I think)

Friday, September 28, 2007

Mudrooms


There's an article in the Deseret Morning News today that was kindly emailed to me. It's about mudrooms and how useful they can be. The coolest thing about the article is that it's from the company that my friend's husband (and sister) work at/run (I'm not sure of the specifics there).

Our new house will have a "mud closet" area, our dream home will have a nice mudroom/laundry room.

If you need a mudroom or any other remodeling work done, check out Renovation Design Group.

(It makes me feel famous to know people who are practically famous)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Just Chillin'

CP likes looking outside. He sat for half an hour just looking.


Baby Cereal for the Baby

He's getting big too fast. I've been putting off giving him solid food even though I thought he was ready because I've been enjoying his baby-ness so much.

Today I decided that he really needed more food than he was getting, so I mixed up some cereal and he was a little skeptical at first, but quickly decided it was GOOD, then I couldn't get it in his mouth fast enough.



Toy Recall

It's scary how many toys have been recalled recently. It makes me angry that companies that we trust to provide safe products for children have been so negligent. I don't think any of the recalls affect us, although we might have one thomas train piece that has been recalled- I'm not sure because our train set is packed away currently (I'll print out the recall sheet and tape it to the box), but how do I know that all of the other toys are really safe? Maybe they just haven't been tested.

It's tempting to throw out all toys made in china. I'm going to get rid of all the dollar store type toys that we have, and the name brand things, I'll be watching the CPSC Recall Page for updates.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Funny Pictures of other people's children

These aren't my kids, but most of them very well could be...







Monday, September 24, 2007

Baby Pictures





Here is a recent picture (from about 20 minutes ago) of the baby, and one from the hospital. Since he was so cute, the hospital used us in some nurse training manual they were working on, free professional photos- except they have a random nurse (we'll pretend that's great aunt louisa).

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Quiet

I skipped out on church after the sacrament. It's easy to get up and walk out when you have a baby. Everyone just assumes you're going to feed it or change it's diaper.

I started sneezing last night and thought it was allergies. This morning I woke up with a sinus headache and a horrible sore throat (which still, could be allergies and sleeping all night with my mouth open since I was so congested). I thought I was feeling better, but as soon as we sat down in the chapel I knew I should have stayed home. My nose started dripping and my sinuses were killing me. The only thing I had to wipe my nose on was a baby wash cloth (thank goodness for diaper bags).

I took the baby and walked home.

The house is silent. I've been home alone before and never felt such a stillness. It could be partly that things are empty without the piano and other things we've been moving into storage. It could be that the weather has turned cooler. It could be that my ears are plugged. Or it could be that so many of my neighbors are at church so the energy of people around is much less than normal.

It's kind of a nice feeling, aside from the sick part.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Dinner with Liberals

We had a really nice dinner with Derek and Sara last week. I hope my kids didn't wear them out too much.

It was an unusual, and pleasant feeling to discuss issues with someone more liberal/less conservative than myself. We're planning on another get together soon, possibly to watch Sicko (anyone know when it's coming out on dvd?).

Monday, September 17, 2007

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

People are Cheep

Several weeks ago I posted our range on freecycle. I got one reply, but then the person never came and picked it up. The next week I posted the range on ksl classifieds in the free section. The next day one of our neighbors (from a block over) called about it.

I think I'm quitting freecycle. It irritates me too much. People are always asking for things, sometimes things that are fairly expensive.

Here's a post that came today:

Wanted Bread maker in good condition:
I really wanted one for my wedding, but people are cheep. Needless to
say I didn't get one. I would really like one though. Must be clean,
must work, and must be "newer." If your grandma pasted it down to you,
I don't want it.


This same person also wants a carseat for her baby that is due soon because the one they just got from freecycle "expires soon".

Some people are just cheep I guess. It's too bad really, I think freecycle could be something really great, but I get tired of people asking for so much.

I'll stick to KSL from now on.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Who Knew?

I have a group of "gardening friends". We get together on a discussion forum (The Microherd) and talk about all sorts of things. One of them recently posted about Himself Singing on youtube.

I'm not a big country fan, but it's a nice song. It's funny when you learn that someone you've known for awhile has a secret talent.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Green Ideas for Back to School

It's that time of year again, back to school. I'm thrilled to have a child in school, so I can buy school supplies without my husband looking at me like I'm a little nuts (yes, we need these six pairs of scissors!).

The only thing I don't love about back to school is the reminder it is of the cars idling in the drop off lane. To all parents, consider walking or riding bikes to school, it's good exercise for you and your kids, it gives you more time that you can focus on your child, and it is better for the air that we breathe. I hate to see all the kids out at recess during inversions, and we can all do a little to make a big difference.

If you must drive, PLEASE turn off your car. No one is going to die of heat, or freeze to death in the 10 minutes it might take for your child to get out of the school and into your car.

Thank you.

For more information on what you can do to improve our air quality, see Utah Mom's for Clean Air.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Announcement

It's exciting, and it's sad.

It's something I never imagined myself doing.

My Mr. and I are building a new home in a new development (one that I used to refer to as the swamp).

To keep up on the developments, see Our House, Next Door To Theirs. As you might have guessed from the title, we're building next door to some really good friends, you might say, my best friend (we already had a discussion on how you can have more than one best friend...).

It won't be my "dream home", but it's a step in the right direction.

(if anyone wants to come live next door to me, there are still lots available, and I'm recruiting good neighbors, so lets talk...)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Date Night: Dinner and not a Movie

The boys are having a fun day with grandpa and sleeping over, so my Mr. and I decided we should do something fun. Go to a movie? Nah... Go out to dinner? Hmmm... How about go to Ikea? We can walk around without kids and look at everything, and then eat dinner there.

That's what we did, it was great. Even the food was good (certainly not zaggat rated or anything, but good).

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Squeaky Clean and Squealing


It's been a little too long since baby CP's last bath, so I gave him one tonight, and now he smells so nice and his skin is so soft. If you can see in the picture, his hair is all fuzzy.

There's nothing like a happy squealing clean little baby.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Best Cousins


When I was little, my cousin K and I said we were "best friends and best cousins too". Here's to a new generation!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Lying

What to do....

My six-year-old (I can't believe he's six already!) has been lying lately. He'll tell us that his younger brother did something, little brother will deny it, and six-year-old will say "he's a liar".

Eventually he comes forth and tells us he was lying. How do I get him to understand that he can't lie? What is an appropriate punishment? He already lost TV privliges for a couple of days for spanking an adult at church (he thinks it's funny, but we've told him he can't do it). I guess he'll lose bike privliges too.

I remember going through a lying phase, but I stopped when my mom told me that there might come a time when someone would accuse me of something I didn't do, and if I lied to her she wouldn't be able to stand up for me and say that her daughter didn't lie... I've tried a similar phrase on my six-year-old but he doesn't seem to care.

Sometimes I have no idea how to hande things... :)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Spitting can be problematic and Miscellaneous things

My sweet, beautiful baby is 4 months old. He's growing so fast. Faster than my other children (at least it seems that way). I was talking to an old college roommate (Hi Miss C!) over email recently about how wonderful it is having a third child. Not that number three is better than the first two, but I have finally figured out how to really enjoy him instead of waiting for him to reach each milestone.

Today he's discovered that he can spit. I'd call it blowing raspberries because that sounds better, but spitting is more accurate. He thinks it's hilarious, I think it's one more thing that gets all over my pants. Luckily my most recent pair dries fast and you can't tell they got slobber/spit up/or worse on them (I promise, if they get worse on them, I do change).

To any friends who read my blog that I no longer see every week, I miss you! We should have dinner sometime, or get our kids together to play...

And finally my last bit of news.... I'm Open for business. The inventory is not complete yet, but I thought I'd start with what I have now. I'm constantly working at adding more products, so tell your friends and check back regularly. :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Since I don't have enough to do...


Announcing Green Peas blog, discussion forum, and soon-to-be online retail store for all of your cloth diapering needs.

One word of warning with cloth diapers, they are addicting, and once you start you will want to convince everyone you know to use cloth.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Clean Slate

My friend L is getting married on Thursday (YEA!!!!). Last weekend we had a "girls night" party. We ate dinner at the Mandarin (if I was saying we ate dinner at Applebees, I wouldn't say "the Applebees", but it looks funny typing Mandarin the same way...). Then we went to L's new condo. It is nice! It is so clean, and mostly empty.

Over the last several weeks I've been decluttering and throwing things away, but now I really want to get rid of stuff. I went through a drawer in the kitchen that is always overflowing with pie pans and bread pans and glass measuring cups and an odd assortment of school lunch containers. It looks better now (plus I got rid of the can opener which has never worked well-I prefer the hand type).

My BEST friend N is moving soon, so she's cleaning out her house to get ready to sell it, so I've been looking at my house in a new way... If I was trying to sell my house, what would I need to get rid of? It's kind of difficult since the kitchen is not finished yet and I don't have places to store my wheat grinder or my kitchen-aid vegetable slicer attachment, so they are in the living room on the book case. But I'm doing what I can.

Sometimes a purge feels good.

What I'd really like to do is start over in a new house (and a new car). It's fun to dream.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Not SOCIALIZED healthcare!

Over the holiday I had the chance to discuss the state of health care in our country with some family members. It frustrates me that so many people seem to take the phrase "socialized health care" and run screaming with it.

Socialized health care! What's wrong with that? I hate to point it out, but what we have now is not working. My brother-in-law, who is wonderful in many ways, didn't have any reason for his knee-jerk reaction to the idea of socialized health care other than "people in Canada hate what they have and come here for medical care". Perhaps that does happen, but I can find just as many, if not more examples of Canadians who love their health coverage.

In our discussion we talked about the cost of the babies his wife and I both have had recently. Our medical insurance has a $5000 deductible on maternity, the bills came to $4995. He and his wife are "poor college students" and qualify for medicaid. I'm not sure if he paid anything at all for his baby. Yet, even after receiving free or very low cost health care he assumes that because he is a hard worker, he could pay any medical bills that he had to.

I'd encourage health-care-conservatives to actually read about "socialized" health care plans before dismissing them. The link is to the Barack Obama for President website. Also, it might be helpful to look up the definition of Socialism. I don't think anyone is advocating a complete switch to a socialist state. But what is so wrong with a health care system that is controlled by the state so that all citizens can benefit fairly and equitably. Think "Law of Consecration".

My husband and I have had to opt out of his employer sponsored plan because it has gotten too expensive. He works for a small business, and his bosses have a real concern about the possibility of one employee having a major medical problem and the entire company being priced out of the health insurance plans altogether.

It's passed the time for a change, and if you are lucky enough to have not realized that yet, take a look at some real people sharing their medical nightmares.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Going Tankless

I've been collecting information on things I want to include in my dream home. I'm currently researching tankless water heaters.

I'm leaning toward electric over gas because of the solar panels, but I wondered if any of my readers have any experience with tankless or on demand water heaters. My brother in law said he looked into them and decided not to get one because of the yearly maintenance. I can't find anything that says they require yearly maintenance.

I like the idea of not keeping a tank of water constantly hot. I also like that if we have company staying with us, we won't run out of hot water. My concerns mostly center around what temperature the water will be heated to and how well the temperature will be regulated when the temperature of the incoming water changes throughout the year.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Amnesty and Leniency

I used to read the comments on the Salt Lake Tribune Letters to the Editor section of their online paper. I've stopped for the most part, because it seems like the people who comment are Anti-Everything, and I find it a bit tiring. I did read some comments following a letter praising Orrin Hatch for voting against the immigration reform package (or maybe it was criticizing Bob Bennett for voting for it- I don't remember). There were lots of comments to the effect of, "stupid illegals, we shouldn't give them amnesty! Yea Hatch! Boo Bennett- just wait until the next election! Stupid illegals!" Nice things like that.

Amnesty is a pardoning of past wrongs. No one was suggesting amnesty. Only leniency (see Wikipedia).

People broke the law to be here and work, and there should be a penalty for that, but the penalty should be lenient to those who do not break other laws, people who just want to survive. Here's a question, what kind of a crime is illegal immigration? A misdemeanor? A felony? I read something from Tyler at Davis County Watch awhile back about how illegal immigration isn't a crime per se. Maybe he can enlighten us with the specifics, since I can't remember...

A $5000+ fine per person didn't seem terribly lenient to me. Our economy draws these people here, and then punishes them. Yes they broke a law to be here, and many of them broke another law by using fraudulent documents, but we could solve both issues if we fixed our immigration laws. "Secure" the border (as much as is possible), allow people to work legally without using other people's SS numbers (right there that solves a huge problem of ID theft), fine them, or sentence them to community service or some combination of the two, and then enforce the laws.

How long is it going to take before we fix the immigration problems?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Milestones

The baby rolled over today. He decided he had finally had enough with tummy time, and rolled to his back (from his left side if it matters). He was really mad when mom put him back on his tummy to see if he'd do it again (he didn't, but can you blame him! Sheesh mom, I just rolled over, why'd you put me back!?).
He's also been enjoying patty-cake patty-cake lately (for a few weeks anyway). If he's in the right mood, and you can find the right tickle spot, he'll even laugh. There's nothing like a baby laughing to make you feel good.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Phrase of the day

"I'm telling on you!"

In the past it's been, "I won't be your friend unless..."

My three-year-old came upstairs crying (and to "tell on" his brother) because his brother had hit him. I sent him back downstairs armed with the words, "please don't hit me, that makes me sad". I'm trying to teach them to work out their problems themselves. Based on their frequency of trips to report the others bad behavior to mom, I'm not sure that they understand the concept.

At least my children are better behaved than this little boy (Really, what is up with the lack of parenting there! I hope those parents were embarrassed enough by the media coverage that they realize they need to buy a book on child rearing).

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Goodbye New Friend

The dealership called, our van is all repaired. My Mr. just left to take the "fun little rental" back.

I'm kind of sad about it.

:)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Smaller Vehicles

Our van is getting repaired. The transmission went bad (under warranty, isn't that nice!). I scheduled to take it in this morning to get worked on, then we'd have it back by the end of the day, but when my Mr. dropped it off, they realized the transmission wasn't in yet- so they gave us a rental.

It's a pretty metallic green Kia Sportage. I like it more than I thought I would. It's fun to drive and fits all the kids (and the dog) and it feels a lot smaller than the van. It makes me want to trade the van for something smaller (but I can't, so I'm trying unsuccessfully to push the thought from my head).

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Clarification on Wishful Thinking...

Today My Mr. and I were talking to some family members about the sad news of his motorcycle sale. Someone started talking about little boys and crashes and broken bones (which really makes me want to live a motorcycle-free life) and I said something similar to "be careful Mr., talk like that makes me want to ban any future motorcycle purchases...".

My Mr. was not too happy about that, so I feel the need to clarify. I don't love motorcycles, but I do love my Mr. I recognize that motorcycle riding is a big part of his "family quality time". I may joke about selling his motorcycle when he's not at home (which is not what happened, I should point out), I may feel some kind of wishful thinking about a motorcycle-free life, but I would NEVER EVER actually demand that he get rid of his bike forever, or ban him from getting a new one.

Happy Father's Day

Why I Love My Mr...

-He works hard (and he can do just about anything). Yesterday he fixed the plumbing on our trailer where the gray water tank had fallen off last fall, then he welded some steel supports to make sure it didn't happen again. He also recently fixed our air conditioner, and my computer. He does it all.

-He always manages to surprise me. I've mentioned getting a push reel lawn mower before, and he wasn't so thrilled with that idea, but the other day he said that maybe it wasn't such a bad idea after all. Then, of course, there's something else he's done recently that really surprised me, but I'm not allowed to talk about it yet. (Edit: I can talk about it now.)

-He wants me to be happy. On days when he's been at work all day, and at school half the night, he comes home and gives me a foot rub and asks me if my day was okay with the kids, even though I know that he's probably more tired than I am.

-He's a good dad. He talks in a silly voice because it makes the baby laugh. He's good at playing monsters with the kids, and he lets them jump all over him. He also changes poopy cloth diapers.

-He's handsome. I said this in an earlier post... My SIL commented on how my Mr. is aging nicely, and I couldn't agree more. He just keeps getting better and better looking.

Happy Fathers Day Mr.

Sacrifice

My Mr. sold his motorcycle yesterday. He loved that motorcycle, and I know how difficult it must have been for him to let someone else drive it away, knowing that he won't be able to go on rides with his brothers anytime soon. It was actually even hard for me, which I didn't expect. A teenage boy is the new owner, and I kept wondering if he would take good care of "El Diablo". I felt the same way when we sold our pet Ferris the Ferret (ferrets do NOT make good pets for babies or small children). It's easy to get attached to things.

There are several things which led us to decide that selling the bike was a good idea. Here they are, in no particular order...

1.) My Mr. would like a new bike (the blue one pictured is his current dream bike, and is making the sale of the old bike easier to deal with) at some point, and this is a good time of year to sell motorcycles, and his old bike was still new enough that if we sold it now, we'd still get a pretty good price for it.

2.) Having a baby has been more expensive than we expected, and it came down to canceling some camping trips to pay the hospital bill or selling the motorcycle. We all decided it would be better to not have a motorcycle for a year or so and still go camping than to have a motorcycle that you can't ever take anywhere.

3.) My Mr. is currently in school and isn't able to ride his motorcycle much. He hadn't started the bike since february when he went to Moab with his brothers, so it didn't make sense to keep it around when he just doesn't have time to ride.

He may be going through a mourning period, but he'll be okay. I'm grateful that he was willing to sell it (it was even his idea...), and that his priorities are in the right place.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Another Grown-Up post

My last post on age has me wondering....

Sometimes I feel, as a parent, that I'm winging it. Most of the time.

I don't remember ever feeling like my parents were winging it. I never questioned that they knew what they were doing. Now that I am there, I think they must have, and it's an interesting position to be in. Kind of like when my Mister laughs when the boys get excited about "pulling through" in a parking spot because he remembers telling his dad to "pull through" too.

I am the parent now, and I remember how I viewed my parents, and it's scary and strange and fun to think that my kids view me in that same way.

I am the authority, for a few more years anyway.

Am I a grown-up now?

I was writing an email to a friend and said that I could drive my Mister's truck to go shopping for a bridal shower present for another friend, because my Mister would be staying home with the three kids and probably wouldn't want to go anywhere with all of them.

I feel more "adult" than I did in high school, but I don't feel any more "adult" than I did in college. How has time passed so quickly that I now have three children? The scary thing is, is that time will continue to pass quicker and quicker and before I know it, my children will be having children of their own.

Our van needs a new transmission (covered under the warranty thankfully) and I took it in to the dealership to get it checked. The guy/person/man/whatever that helped me was someone who I went to high school with (which is why I have a hard time referring to him as a grown-up person because if he is, then so am I).

The older I get, the more I realize that ages that seemed so old to me, aren't so old after all. My Aunt, who I used to go stay with as a child, will always seem 26 to me. That's the age she was when I first became aware that she had an age. Imagine my shock the year I turned 26.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

On the road again...

I told myself that I would start running again once the baby started sleeping through the night. I took him in for his two-month check up a couple of days ago where the doctor asked how long he was sleeping at night. I told her 3-4 hours at a time, and she said that he really ought to be sleeping for longer stretches than that (tell that to him, is what I thought). Apparently he heard what she said because last night, I fed him around 11pm or so, and he didn't wake up again until 5:45.

After he went back to sleep, I was wide awake and I kept thinking about how good it would feel to be outside in the morning air with my ipod. I tried to rationalize by saying that 11-5:45 wasn't really the WHOLE night, but the lure of the cool air and the ipod were too strong. It's really nice to have a desire to go running that is strong enough to help overcome the torture of the first few weeks of running after a 9-month hiatus.

I thought I'd start easy with my two-mile loop, but as I was going I decided I could do the three-mile loop. It took me about 30 minutes, which I thought was pretty good for my first time back. Now lets hope I can keep it up.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

White Horse Prophecy

I've heard about the "constitution hanging by a thread" before, but not of the "official" (or unofficial) White Horse Prophecy until I read the article about it, and subsequent letters to the editor in the Tribune.

To find out more, I googled, and found an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal.

Here is a nice little excerpt...

"There have been several Republicans that I have known who thought that they were that individual," says Mr. Hartley [executive director of the Utah Republican Party], citing Todd Nielson, a GOP congressional candidate who failed in the 1996 state primary and Republican LaVar Christensen, currently vying for a seat for Utah's Second Congressional District. They have intimated to him that "the Constitution's hanging by a thread, and that they would be there to defend the Constitution," says Mr. Hartley.

...[but] frankly, I would worry about anybody who thought they were fulfilling prophecy".

I apologize for the (minor) change in context. It made the article more amusing.

Naked Bottoms

This morning after swimming lessons, I told my 3-year-old to go sit on the toilet. During the time it took me to set the baby down (still in his car seat), my 3-year-old had gone into the baby's bedroom and wet his pants (and the floor).

After that, he sat on the toilet, but of course nothing came out. When he was done, he couldn't find any underwear, and I couldn't go look just at the moment, so he's been half naked ever since.

Being naked is a good thing for toilet training, because he hasn't had any accidents since this morning, and he has run up the stairs to tell me "mom, I have more pee". "Okay", I say, "Go put it in the potty!". He even pooped on the toilet (today may be the first day in a long time that I have not had to rinse a poopy diaper or poopy training pants out in the toilet...).

I'm so proud.

So if you see a naked 3-year-old at the park, don't worry, we're just potty training.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The new working class

Today during swimming lessons, I sat and watched several workers at the pool. They're installing the big slide inside and working on the splash pad outside. One thing that I noticed is that most of them were hispanic. Several years ago it would have been teenage boys doing that sort of work. When I was in high school, fast food workers were generally all high school students as well. One of the criticisms I have hear about the guest worker program is that it creates a new working class. It seems rather obvious that there is already a new working class, but it's a working class without the protections that a guest worker program would have provided (to all of us).

I'm disappointed that the immigration bill wasn't passed. There were several things about it that I wasn't thrilled about, but I recognized that there were going to have to be some major compromises. Now we get to just keep going the way we are with no solutions to the immigration problem. And people who are so desperate to work here get to do so by using fraudulent documents.

Our government owes it to all of us to fix this problem, and we owe it to our fellow human beings to give them the opportunities that we enjoy because we were lucky enough to be born where we were.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Free Movie in the Park

The North Salt Lake Youth City Council is sponsoring a free movie night at Hatch Park in North Salt Lake.

Hook

SATURDAY June 16th

Movie starts at dusk

Bring your friends and family (and a blanket to sit on)

The youth council will be selling concessions, so come enjoy the movie, and support the great youth of North Salt Lake!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Second Day of Swimming Lessons

Today someone pooped in the pool.

A few minutes into my 3-year-old's class, they moved the class to the other side of the pool, set up cones, and brought out some bleach. There were three or four teenage boys with nets, scooping very small brown chunks out of the water. I briefly wondered if it was my boy who was responsible, but his teachers didn't get him out of the water, so I figured it must have happened during an earlier lesson.

After the lessons were over, we went to a family dressing room where I started getting the kids rinsed off. As I was rinsing, I noticed that my 3-year-old had pooped in his swim diaper. One of his disgusting poops. Not the grainy ones, but the chunky flaky poo ones. (sorry about that, I hope no one plans on eating ever again)

My son pooped in the pool. I'm so proud...

(and to all the other parents of children in the pool... I'm so sorry... (although I guess there's so much chlorine in that water that the poop probably wouldn't hurt anyone))

On another note (sort of) those nasty poopy diapers are not because of a lactose intolerance. We had him tested and everything came back normal. The labs didn't find anything wrong with him. The Dr. suggested seeing a GI specialist at primary children's. We're debating.... The cost...The pain (for the 3-year-old) of getting poked and prodded... We're weary of the nasty poop though, so maybe we'll go.

Monday, June 04, 2007

First day of swimming lessons

My 5-year-old went happily off to class with his teacher. This is his 3rd or 4th session of swimming lessons, so he knows the routine.

My 3-year-old lost his enthusiasm as soon as we arrived at the pool. He wasn't at all interested in joining the "fun" no matter how much his poor teacher tried to talk it up. I sat with him and nudged him until he was sitting at the edge of the pool. With about 5 minutes left in class, he finally decided it might be fun enough to make it worth climbing into water that he considered far too cold for regular enjoyment. He did try to escape a couple of times though...

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Masonry Heaters

I've been doing a lot of reading about things I would like to have in my "dream home" (we're hoping to build it in the next few years).

My dad mentioned these to me, and the house plan we are looking at is passive solar and has a nice big brick fireplace that fills one wall. A Masonry Heater would be perfect there.

I'd like one that looks kind of like this: but it would also have a bread baking oven on the taller side (that's the side that would be sort of in the kitchen.

Masonry Heaters are designed to burn one quick fire at very high temperatures, which keeps it very clean, then the heat is stored in the thermal mass and slowly released into the house for somewhere between 12-20 hours (I've read varying times). The Thermal mass that the heater provides will also work with the passive solar design of our house plan to absorb heat from the southern windows in the winter.

Rain Gardens



A rain garden is depressional area that is created to hold rain water and let it infiltrate into the ground rather than running off the lawn. Its planted with plants that can tolerate varying moisture conditions from very wet to very dry. The plants also have deep fibrous root systems that soak up the excess water that has been directed to the depression.

Roof downspouts can be directed into a rain garden, or it could just be a low area that your driveway drains into. Rain gardens usually have native plants, but can include non-native plants as well.

There are two main benefits that I see for having a rain garden. First, more water is absorbed through the ground, keeping pollutants out of the groundwater. Second is that a rain garden means less grass to mow and water.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Order your t-shirt now!

1) Already smarter than Bush. (On an infant's shirt)

2) 1/20/09: End of an Error!

3) That's OK, I Wasn't Using My Civil Liberties Anyway

4) Let's Fix Democracy in This Country First

5) Bush. Like a Rock. Only Dumber.

6) You Can't Be Pro-War And Pro-Life At The Same Time

7) If You Can Read This, You're Not Our President

8) Hey, Bush Supporters: Embarrassed Yet?

9) George Bush: Creating the Terrorists Our Kids Will Have to Fight

10) America : One Nation, Under Surveillance

11) They Call Him "W" So He Can Spell It

12) Which God Do You Kill For?

13) Jail to the Chief!

14) Who Would Jesus Torture?

15) No, Seriously, Why Did We Invade?

16) Bush: God's Way of Proving Intelligent Design is Full Of Crap

17) Bad president! No Banana.

18) We Need a President Who's Fluent In At Least One Language

19) We're Making Enemies Faster Than We Can Kill Them

20) Rich Man's War, Poor Man's Blood

21) Is It Vietnam Yet?

22) Bush Doesn't Care About White People, Either

23) Where Are We Going? And Why Are We In This Handbasket?

24) You Elected Him. You Deserve Him.

25) Impeach Cheney First

26) When Bush Took Office, Gas Was $1.46/gal!

27) The Republican Party: Our Bridge to the 11th Century

28) 2004: Embarrassed - 2005: Horrified - 2006: Terrified

29) Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity

Monday, May 21, 2007

Urban Legends and Cookies

My mother-in-law came to visit the new baby a few weeks ago and left us a bag of homemade cookies when she went home. One kind was a chocolate peanut butter cookie (which was pretty good even though I don't like peanut butter) the other kind was what she called "Revenge Cookies" because the recipe was circulated online after a woman was tricked into paying $250.00 for it. My mother-in-law guessed it was probably not a true story, but the cookies were very tasty.

Here's the info on the "Revenge Cookie" urban legend at my favorite website Snopes.com.

Here's the recipe if you feel so inclined. I don't think I'll ever make them since they involve grating a hershey bar (grating!). I'd also cut the recipe in half, because 112 cookies is a bit excessive.

2 C butter
4 C flour
2 tsp soda
2 C sugar
5 cups oatmeal (measure and then blend to a powder in blender)
24 oz chocolate chips
2 C brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 8 oz hershey bar, grated
4 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
3 C chopped nuts
2 tsp vanilla

Cream the butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla; mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder and soda. Add chocolate chips, hershey bar and nuts. Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes 112 cookies.

Friday, May 18, 2007

I'd like to think he gets it from me...

Good common sense that is.

Check out my brother's recent post:

Shenpa Warrior and Global Warming

The most wonderful thing...

I tried to get a picture, but by the time I got the camera out, he was done smiling.

Yesterday was the first day that the baby has smiled in response to me talking to him. He smiled and *almost* laughed- he was trying hard. He also smiled at his oldest brother, who thought it was pretty cool and made some interesting faces trying to get him to laugh.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Authorized User

Today was my "errand running" day. The kids were at kindergarten and play group, so it was just the baby and I (which always makes for easier errand running). I stopped by my Mr.'s place of employment so he could sign a couple of checks that were made out to him so that I could deposit them. Usually, I just sign the checks and deposit them (since it's a joint account, the credit union doesn't mind (unless you are trying to deposit a tax refund check- then they get all obnoxious about it)). Today, one of the checks was a rebate check from our credit card, and I could only cash it at costco, so I figured I'd be safe and have my Mr. sign it, even though our credit card is a joint account...

They wouldn't let me cash it- even though he had already signed it and both our names were on the account. Things like that make me mad. I can understand if my name wasn't on the account, but hello!

Before I got married, I had a Discover card. When Mr. and I got married, I sent a form in to add him to my account. Guess what happened... Discover Card cancelled my account and signed us up for a new one with him as the primary account holder and me as an "authorized user". Unfortunately I hadn't memorized my old number- and didn't realize what they had done until I had been using the new card long enough that I had the number memorized- who wants to have to memorize a whole new number again.

Yes, it's true, my Mr. earns all of the money we live off of, but I'm the one who pays the bills and buys groceries and generally keeps our lives running smoothly, so I don't really think I ought to be relegated to the status of "authorized user". My Mr. (who is a smart man) agrees with me and feels appropriate outrage over the whole thing.

From now on, when we sign up for something, we're using my name first.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

How much will you pay?

Several weeks ago I got an email forward from my Mr's very sweet little grandfather telling us not to buy gas yesterday (the 15th) because we were going to boycott gas that day and force prices down. My Mr's cousin hit reply-all and said "won't we just fill up on the 16th?".

Sad but true. According to today's Tribune, the "boycott" wasn't well supported... Boycotting gas stations for one day does absolutely nothing to bring the price of fuel down. Because, as my Mr's cousin said, we'd just fill up the day after.

I'd like to suggest a more effective boycott. Instead of not filling up on one specific day, how about cutting your gas consumption in half. Walk or ride your bike more. Plan trips in the car so that you can get all your errands done at once. Don't drive unless you have to. Maybe it won't do much to bring prices down (I, like Doug Wright "Don't understand the oil business..") but it will save some money.

My Mr. has been riding his bike and pulling our 5-year-old in the bike trailer every morning to go to school. I've been walking with the baby in the front-pack and the 3-year-old in the stroller, to pick him up in the afternoon. My Mr. has been riding his bike to work every day that he can (his truck is a company vehicle and sometimes they need it for work stuff). Instead of going to the store "real quick" to pick up something, I'm doing without until I have a bunch of errands to run at once- I'm hoping to limit outings like that to once a week or less.

My prediction is $4/gallon this summer. Is that enough to make you change your driving habits? (and I'm really wishing I owned a diesel or hybrid right now...)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Not one more son...

In today's Tribune (I guess the article was published on the 12th, but I read online...) there is an editorial titled Iraq is not worth the sacrifice on one more mother's child written by Kathleen Snyder. Her son was captured and executed after a January 20th attack in Karbala Iraq.

Last night my Mr. and I attended a farewell party for a family member who will be deployed soon. I fear for his safety and I am angered that he is being asked to go. We have very different views on the war and the current administration. He goes because he believes that he can make a difference, and he believes that the US has some sort of responsibility to the people there. I'm not sure exactly what he thinks that might be, and it seemed inappropriate to ask so instead, I wished him safety and said that we would have to have another party next summer, when he comes home.

I'm angry that so much is being asked of men and women and their families, for something that is so unnecessary. We were lied to about the reasons for the war, but each time a new reason is fabricated, so many choose to believe that it's a good reason. We must protect ourselves from the 9-11 terrorists, wait, no, we must stop Saddam and his weapons of mass destruction, wait, no, we must secure Iraq. I don't even know what the reason currently being given for the justification of sending people to fight and be injured or killed.

Kathleen Snyder ends her editorial with this: Death on the battlefields of Iraq does not compare to World War II. The sacrifices being made by American families are not in the proud tradition of generations fighting for their country. Only when all Americans realize the horror of Iraq, realize that the situation is not going to improve, and bring all combat troops home will there be peace for my family. Not until then can the American military be rebuilt to fight the true war on terror. Stop the insanity. Stop the war. Bring our troops home to defend America.

Monday, May 14, 2007

To the women who came before...

Mothers Day 2007 is nearly over. I was gifted with paper flowers and cards, and homemade corn bread muffins. I have been thinking for a week now about my mom and what I could do for her for mothers day. Unfortunately, my good intentions kept getting pushed aside as I changed diapers, washed diapers, rinsed diapers out in toilets, picked up toys, made peanut butter sandwiches, did dishes, washed laundry, had a fish flushed down the toilet (yes, sadly, after surviving the jam incident, otto succumbed after having the entire can of fish food dumped in his bowl), and planted a garden. I'm sure there are other things in there, but I'm too tired to recall.

My gift to my mother ended up being much more last-minute than I would have liked. I picked some roses from my rosebushes and tied them with a ribbon. Then I wrote the card...

In church, the lesson in young women's was on journal writing. The lesson was a bit on the short side, so, to fill in the rest of the time, we talked about various experiences we had with journal writing. I told about my father-in-law who keeps an incredible journal and emails it weekly to the family so that we all stay up to date with their lives. Then I told about one of my prized possessions.

For Christmas in 1991 I asked my grandmother to write down the stories that I grew up hearing her and my grandfather tell about their lives. There's the story of the time my grandmother and her cousin Francis tried to make fudge, and burned it, so they buried it in the back yard so that they wouldn't get in trouble for wasting so much sugar. Then there's the story of how my grandfather got sprayed by a skunk when he was head down in a skunk hole trying to catch skunks to earn money from the skins. There's the story of how my grandfather proposed when they were in the ninth grade after he fell in love with her when he saw her playing "catch" (catcher) on the school soft ball team. She said no, but when he asked again years later, she said yes.

I've always loved my mom, and have been grateful for all the things she did for me, but it has only been since I have become a mother that I have really understood the sacrifice she made for me. She sang me to sleep many many nights, she always gave me a hug when she sent me off to elementary school. She drove me to voice lessons, soccer games, and gymnastics. I'm sure she lost patience with me sometimes, but I have very few memories of those times. It is often hard for me to be patient with my children when they say "why" a million times a day, or when they whine because they are tired or hungry. It frustrates me when they don't listen, and I have to think a lot about how my mom acted in certain situations to help me deal with my own children.

So thank you mom, for making me the person I am, and teaching me how to be the mother I am learning to be. Thank you to my grandmothers for the things they taught me, and the things they taught my parents. My grandmother, the one who wrote her stories for me back in 1991, died a few years ago. After she died, I had an intense desire to know more about her parents. What were they like, how did they influence her to make her who she was? She influenced my father, and so on, now I influence my children by the kind of person that I am, and the cycle will continue. We all influence those who come after us, so to all the women who came before, on this mothers day, Thank you.