Tuesday, November 22, 2011

(Belated) Birthday Boy

When you're pregnant with your second child, everyone tells you not to worry about not having enough love for everyone involved – your capacity to love just increases. And while that is mostly true, the things that don't expand are your time and energy. It is trickier to have the time needed to build relationships with everyone involved. My poor sweet Elliot is so accommodating, but sometimes I mourn the fact I can't give him the full force of my mother love like I could during Emily's first year of life. I think it is better for both of them to be more self reliant, but I still know it is a different bond.

Elliot's birthday has come and gone. I wrote my birthday letter to him in his journal on time, but I don't have a blog post marking this milestone. And with comparisons cropping up again, I also don't have the string of “falling in love with motherhood” kinds of posts with him that I did with Emily. So here's a post in praise of the little man.

Elliot is a patient and good-natured little guy. He forcefully lets me know his needs, but moves on quickly if I can't accommodate them. He puts himself to sleep (score!), and plays very well by himself. His favorite thing in the world is to be included. He loves being a part of family games and activities, even if he doesn't quite understand them. He also loves ducks. I recognized his saying “duck” before I recognized him saying mama (his application of “mama” is a lot more liberal than his use of “duck”). I've seldom seen him more enthralled than when we were walking home from the park a few days ago, and there were a dozen ducks in the pond. He giggled and pointed and reiterated “Uck! Uck! Uck!” We sat by the pond for a good fifteen minutes, and only left because it was getting dark. He eats everything. It is great when I'm trying to feed him dinner, but a problem when Emily moves the couch cushions. He loves to climb. His ability to climb surpasses his sense of what to not flop backwards off of, so it keeps me on my toes (how do babies live to adulthood?). He loves to climb over me and grab my nose. He hates when people close doors, especially if they are keeping him out of something.

Happy belated birthday, little buddy.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I didn't vote yesterday. I blame it on the beans.

I take voting seriously. The feminist in me recognizes that a century ago, I couldn't have voted in my state, and that there are plenty of women now around the world that can't do it. The Mormon in me wants to be an involved citizen. And the idealist in me believes in the political process, despite its weaknesses and frequent ugliness. When I vote, I'm not a party line kind of girl, and I've researched every candidate and initiative on the ballot. Not enough to write books on them, but still. I weigh each candidate individually, measuring their strengths and weaknesses against the problems I feel matter most that particular election cycle.

That said, I've only voted in elections on even years. Up until this year, it hasn't been because I was lazy. I've just been so transient that it hasn't felt right for me to vote in local elections. If I don't have kids, is it really my place to vote for the school board? I may love the state parks in Indiana and support increasing taxes to better maintain them, but I would only be paying that increase for one year until I moved again. Voting on community issues felt unfair because it wasn't my community. So I voted on community issues on even years because I couldn't help myself if I was already in the booth, but stayed away on odd years.

I had the realization that I'm no longer transient about a week ago. I'd noticed all the election signs, but just kind of said to myself, “hmm, odd year,” since that is what I've done for the past decade. After I realized that this is my community and kids' future school district, and that I have every moral right to vote this year, I meant to do my research. But every time I sat at the computer to do my research, something always came up. Kids started screaming. Friends called and wanted to talk. I didn't get very far.

So there I sat at 5pm on election day, frantically trying to research the candidates. I'd also made the mistake of choosing today to be the day I decided to give cooking dried non-lentil beans another try (my previous attempt wasn't great). And to do four pounds worth at one shot. Brilliant, I know. I had two slow cookers going, but they still didn't all fit that morning, so when I got home from the zoo, I'd stuck the remaining beans in a pot to try the boiling method, and headed upstairs to research at the computer. The kids were hysterical from their big day, but I was progressing. However, by the time I realized I hated both my state senate candidates, liked both my state house candidates, and decided on school board candidates, the scent of burning beans wafted up to our office. Turns out I'd forgotten to turn down the burner, and it had majorly boiled over. Beany water had spilled down the side of my pot and all over my burners, and had burnt on quite nicely. And the kids were still screaming.

I gave up the fight. I decided that dedicating one hour to learning about the issues probably didn't make me an informed voter anyways, and set about opening windows to let out the scent and cleaning off a burner so I could cook dinner.

So I officially suck. I'm that apathetic, uninformed American I always mocked. At least I have the consolation that three of the four candidates I'd decided on were elected. Hopefully the fourth didn't lose by one vote.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fun To Do

Yesterday, I played a game with Emily where we sang about what different animals like to do (i.e. "penguins love to swim and slide"). I decided to see what she came up with for what the members of our family like to do. Enjoy:
  • Emily likes to read books.
  • Elliot likes to crawl around and fall down.
  • Daddy likes to turn pages.
  • Mommy likes to sing and sit on the couch.
Can't really argue with that, I guess.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday Favorite: MyUtahLife.com’s Weekend Sports Report for Women

As long as I don't get too lazy, I'm starting a new feature on my blog where every Friday, I'll talk about something I recently discovered and liked. I picture it being a mix of articles or books I've read, podcasts I've enjoyed, or a project that kept my kids entertained long enough for me to blog here.

I'm starting this feature off with MyUtahLife.com's Weekend Sports Report for Women. In full disclosure, my brother is the blogger, but nepotism aside, after I read it, I wanted to tell all my friends about it.

I'm not a big sports fan. With the exception of the Olympics (which I watch pretty much constantly while they are on), I don't watch much. I admire athleticism and strategy, but just have no team spirit. I always want the team that played the better game to win, and unless you're rooting for a team, admiring athleticism can only entertain you for so long.

That said, I have plenty of friends who love sports and love talking about them. And I do like talking about the strategy and drama of sports, but don't particularly want to watch them. Enter this sports report. It breaks down who (in Utah) is playing who that weekend, why the game matters, and gives advice on how to impress your date by talking about it (without getting in over your head). Now I know why my Ute-loving friends have been pretty silent this season, and can say something intelligent when my cougar friends get going. Score! Yeah, I get mocked for being clueless in the report, but hey, I'm down with being mocked if it happens in a funny way.

Anyways, if you aren't a sports enthusiast, but have friends/boyfriends/husbands that are, I recommend it.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Scripture and Politics

I'm a bit notorious for compartmentalizing my life. I've come a long way from the college girl who roomed with strangers so friend time and homework time wouldn't overlap, and wouldn't move into the same ward boundaries as my fiance because I didn't want my church life and romantic life touching (yeah, I'm neurotic). But I don't think I'll ever be the girl who organizes parties of my friends that haven't met. I feel like they fit in different slots in my life, and it feels uncomfortable to have things bump together.

My compartments I've been thinking about a lot lately are religion and politics. We Mormons are taught to “liken the scriptures unto ourselves” - to dig deeply into the scriptures and see how the principles we learn there can be applied to our own lives. I'm a big fan of this, when it comes to our own lives and decisions. My life benefits profoundly from having those guiding principles at work. But applying scripture to my politics? Nope. I don't want those boxes touching.

I've come to a point where I cringe pretty much every time I hear scriptural examples quoted in defense of a political stance, regardless of if I like the political stance or not. I feel like the vast majority of the time, people aren't likening the scriptures to themselves; instead, they use their bibles as weapons to whack the other side of the aisle with. And when we are likening the scriptures to other people, things get twisted. In my original draft of this post, I cited specific examples of ways some republicans, democrats, and libertarians cite scripture in defense of their positions on a similar issue, and why their applications in that situation were inaccurate readings. But, I'm a big fat chicken, and I don't want to offend any of you if you support those arguments. Sue me. But I'll just say that I think politics and religion are areas we all feel powerfully about, and we are more willing to overlook the flaws in our arguments to have the rhetorical oomph and warm happy feelings of having the scriptures on our side.

My instinct has been to limit my scriptural and political overlap to the passages that directly talk about contemporary involvement in politics - supporting freedom of religion, being law-abiding citizens, and the importance of using the political process to try to improve the world around us. But I won't let my scripture and politics boxes touch any more closely than that because it gets too tempting to twist the scriptures to make them say what I want them to. Instead, I'm just prayerful about my choices, and I go off my own moral compass, which I feel has been shaped by the scriptures. I no longer cite scripture in why I feel the way I do on issues. I hope my years of daily study have shaped my morality more than applying one out of context verse or story would.

So how do you negotiate this territory? What is your relationship between your scripture and your politics? And I know these are areas people have strong feelings about, so please comment with the understanding that people from the full political spectrum read this blog, and I won't take kindly to my friends insulting each other. I want to know how you've found what's right for you, not what you think is wrong with everyone else's process.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Halloween

The cow and the cowgirl had a great time at Cox Farms and Trick or Treating with Pretty Mahana's family. I was very impressed that my uber-shy girl was so good about going up to strangers and saying "Trick or Treat."