Monday, March 31, 2008

Saturday, March 29, 2008

band-aids, bread & babysitting

It has been a full & busy week. In a totally unprecedented move, I made bread THREE times this week. I made white rolls on Monday, whole wheat rolls on Wednesday (I also made chocolate chip cookies that day) and garlic breadsticks on Thursday. I have become very good friends with my breadmaker. I love that making the dough with the breadmaker is nearly fool-proof, because when it comes to bread, I have a high level of "fool." Spud was so cute, he wanted to help every time. And he was good company, if not the greatest actual help.

I had a highly clutzy week, though, which resulted in spending a good chunk of time with band-aids on my fingers. Earlier in the week I was weeding my front flower beds, and I kept getting snagged by the rose bush. The absolute worst, though, was when I was emptying my smaller weed bucket (an empty cat litter bucket) into the yard waste garbage bin. A long thorn snagged the pad of my thumb and cut it about 1/8 of an inch down. Ouch! I had to keep a band-aid on it for three days before the skin stuck together enough to stop hurting anytime it was touched. I also had bad luck with kitchen knives this week, cutting my fingers twice when cleaning them. And I scraped my fingers while grating cheese, but thankfully there was no blood on that occasion! I've found that a mom's life is not so conducive to keeping band-aids on. Between dishes and diaper changes, I would go through several band-aids a day. Heck, even the kids' band-aids seem to stay on longer!

I usually babysit two days a week for my former graduate advisor, but this week they needed me an extra day, and my doula friend also needed me to watch her kids while she attended a birth, so I had four days of babysitting this week. The kids enjoyed it, and I didn't mind either, but it did mean that a noticeable amount of housework was left undone. Oh well. Some of it can wait until next week and I did get some done today.

Other than that, we've had a fairly uneventful week. It's been really blustery these past couple days, and especially today. It's beautiful and sunny, but the wind is cold enough to keep us mostly inside. I thought March was supposed to come in like a lion and go out like a lamb...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

tuesday tirade

We watched the first part of the two-part Frontline series Bush's War on PBS last night. Oh my. I knew things were bad and that the entire premise for getting into the war was a web of lies, but I had no idea just how awful and manipulated the entire process leading up to the war was. I was especially enraged by the way the rest of the cabinet & the warmongers in general (Rumsfeld, Cheney, Tenet, Wolfowitz & others) purposefully kept Secretary of State Colin Powell & NSA Condoleeza Rice in the dark about developments and plans. Completely inexcusable. And the lie-ridden National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) orchestrated by Tenet in the CIA is appalling--the "source" for the information regarding the Iraqi capabilities for nuclear and biological weapon development was not reliable, according to the Germans who had actually had contact with the source. NO AMERICAN ever made contact with the source, and the Germans warned us about the source's unreliability and actually didn't officially allow the U.S. access to the information. It's easy to see why they didn't want us to see it. And what really really burns me up is that the cabinet then decides that Colin Powell should present these "intelligence findings" to the U.N. and the world at large, because he has the highest rating of anyone in Bush's group. Powell confronted Tenet of the CIA to verify the data in the NIE and Tenet told him bold-faced lies. The whole document presents the idea that there are multiple lines of intelligence supporting the data, when in fact there is only one spurious source. Powell required that Tenet sit behind him in camera view during the presentation to the U.N., and maybe he always looks this way, but Tenet looks particularly squirmy and shifty-eyed while Powell is speaking. Over and over, both Powell and Rice (but especially Powell) tried to be the voices of reason and moderate action, and over and over they were given lip service and led to believe their ideas were being given due consideration. And it's obvious that Cheney is the puppeteer behind it all. He and Rumsfeld are old buddies who go back nearly four decades.

It just makes me sick. These men have no souls. To want to get into a war so badly that you will base your case on unsubstantiated lies is atrocious. Yes, Saddam Hussein was an evil, awful man, but the Bush administration played on the fears and paranoia of the American people to get into a war that has cost trillions of dollars, 4,000+ American lives, untold innocent Iraqi lives, and the end is nowhere in sight. Before the war started, Army Chief of Staff General Shinseki testified that it would take a force of several hundred thousand to maintain security after the war was completed. This was scoffed at and viewed by Rumsfeld and others as ridiculously high. Unfortunately, it has become apparent that Shinseki was right. According to Wikipedia, up to this point 297,000 troops (U.S. and international combined) have been deployed to Iraq since 2003. Those aren't all at one time, but that number is mind-boggling. And we're not close to finishing or having a "secure & free" Iraq.


If you have time/interest, you can watch the full show either by going through the video chronology or just watching it in its entirety. Link to Bush's War

See, I told you it was a tirade!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Celebrations

It was a perfect day yesterday! When we got out of church at noon it was a bit windy, but within the hour that had calmed down and it was just sunny and warm. We wanted to get some pictures of the kids in their cute clothes from Nana Diana (David's mom) so we attempted a photo shoot, with so-so results.

I was really grateful that she often buys their Easter clothes for them, as money has been especially tight this month, so they wouldn't have gotten anything otherwise. And I think Spud's outfit is the cutest thing ever! He felt quite dapper when he was all ready for church in the morning.

Can you see the dirt clod he was dismantling? Why do we even try to keep boys clean?

After church, we came home and I tried to sneakily put the Easter baskets together. Yes, I know you're supposed to do this Saturday night, but we watched a movie instead and I was too tired. Plus I knew there was no way we'd be able to get to church on time (9 a.m.) if the kids had Easter baskets to distract them. As it was, we were about 10 minutes late anyways. We'll have to up our get-up time next week. Anyways, I put the baskets together and was going to hide them for everyone to find, except that Spud was hanging out silently right outside my door and he wasn't about to let me get by him with those baskets! Later Noodle asked why the Easter Bunny didn't come to our house, and I said "He did. He just left the candy & toys for me to put in the basket." Later she mentioned that she thinks the Easter Bunny might just be a person in a bunny suit because she didn't think a bunny could really deliver candy & goodies to people. David said she talked to him about it, too, so she's working the options over in her mind. I figure there is no harm in believing as long as a child wants to. Of course, after I gave them the baskets and they looked at all their "loot," she said, "Thanks Mom!" So maybe she's on to the ol' E.B. already.

After the pictures & the egg hunt, we let the kids watch Nancy Drew while David & I took a nap in the backyard. He actually fell asleep, but I just enjoyed basking in the sun. Later we headed over to his parents' house for dinner & our big egg hunt in a little "wilderness" area.

Noodle is shown holding the "Judas egg". It was a tradition (okay, an odd moment of sillyness) that we started last year, and as we were getting ready to color eggs this time she said she hoped she'd find the Judas egg so she could throw it in the stream. So of course then we had to make a Judas egg again. She did find it, so she got the privilege of throwing it in the stream. (I was the lucky one last year!)

Friday, March 21, 2008

in honor

When I did study abroad in Europe back in Fall 1998, my good friend and roommate went on a weekend trip to Rome. I wasn't able to go, but she brought back a book of photos of only Michaelangelo's Pieta. The beauty and emotion of the piece moved me. It is still one of my favorite classical depictions of the Savior. In the LDS religion, we don't really spend a lot of time focusing on Mary. I have often thought that this is likely a reaction against the Catholic obsession and near deification of Mary. I guess I almost hope that it is, and not some inherent doctrinal overlook. As a mother, I can identify with Mary in many ways that I haven't quite arrived at with the Savior. Her own work in raising her son, her suffering and loss, her faith -- all of those seem so human and real. I'm not called to be a savior, but I am a mother. And I feel her grief.

friday funny

So last week I was upstairs and I hear a lot of shouting coming from downstairs. But it's only Spud shouting, and noone else was downstairs. I came down to the office and peeked around the corner. There he was, with his talking firefighter Woody doll in hand. Spud would pull the string, Woody would talk, and Spud would yell his reply at the top of his lungs, with much emphasis.

[Pull string]
Woody: "Hi I'm Woody."

[Pull string]
Woody: "Do you smell smoke?"

[Pull string]
Woody: "It's getting hot in here."

[Pull string]
Woody: "Oh no, look! That box is on fire!"

Thursday, March 20, 2008


We sometimes refer to Spud as "Clivey Catchphrase," because as soon as he was able to talk, he started repeating, frequently, phrases he would hear. Tonight he was doing it once again with, "Give the dog your food!" from the movie Underdog. After he'd said it at least five dozen times, David and I started calling him Clivey Catchphrase. Then he started saying, "Catchphraaaase!" After a few rounds of that he asked, "What's 'catchphrase'?" Silly boy.

baby care for idiots...

these are from a book (but seen on this website. Click on the link to see more!

the business of being born

We watched The Business of Being Born last night. It's a documentary about the birth industry in the United States. In all other developed countries, typically about 70-80% of babies are born attended by midwives. And of course I can't remember the percentage here, but it is 20% or less. And the U.S. also has poorer outcomes (mortality of mothers & babies) than the other developed countries with similar #s of births. In 1900, 95% of births in this country were at home. By 1938, 50% of all births were at home. By 1955, <1% of births were at home, and it remains at that level today. Anyways, enough rehashing of the numbers. This film does an excellent job of showing how the perceptions of and expectations for birth in this country have been drastically changed over the last 100 years. Rather than being viewed as a normal part of life, giving birth has been highly and overly medicalized. Most women do not need a doctor or a hospital to give birth. (And some women DO need hospitals and doctors in order to have successful births. I have a few friends who fall into this category, and thank goodness for OBs and hospitals!)

I guess what is saddest to me is that so many women are unknowingly missing out on the real and natural experience of birth. I think of our society's obsession with feeling good, accomplishment, and extreme sports and I can't understand why more people don't recognize that a natural birth is the ultimate in all of these things. It's supremely intense and at the end, you are rewarded with the highest oxytocin (happiness hormone) levels you can ever possibly experience. And while a lot of people dismiss the desire for natural childbirth as a sort of female machismo, there truly is something to be said about experiencing all of the labor and birth. And I don't think the "I did it!" feeling afterwards is appreciated enough. Noodle's birth, while it was not ideal and lacked a lot of good support (besides David, he was awesome) still left me with the feeling of amazing strength and confidence in my body and my ability to rise to the challenges ahead, both the challenges of motherhood and life generally. Spud's birth at home was truly wonderful. I loved being in familiar surroundings and only with the people I wanted to be there. My midwife was excellent, and her assistant was the most encouraging, positive person I've ever met. Plus the assistant had an Australian accent that was an added bonus as she guided and encouraged me through contractions! I would have thought an accent might be distracting, and maybe it was, but only in a good way.

I wonder why more women who want natural childbirths don't have babies at home? I would suspect that fear and insurance issues are the biggest blocks. We paid for Spud's birth out of pocket, but our midwife was a bargain! We had insurance, but it had a $5,000 maternity deductible, and you KNOW when you go to the hospital that it will easily exceed $5K. For Noodle's birth, we had premium insurance because I worked for the state (at UVSC), so the whole thing only cost us $100. But the total hospital stay cost the insurance company about $7500--and that was for no drugs, no complications! Of course, they charged nursery fees for Noodle even though she was only in the nursery for her tests--the rest of the time she was in my room. It's a huge racket, methinks.

One possible advantage of moving more towards socialized medicine is that there is a chance midwifery would be more encouraged because it is much cheaper. Unfortunately, I don't think that would happen much. The American Medical Association is so powerful and controlling. What would likely happen is that I would just grow more and more resentful about paying for people's unnecessary and unwarranted interventions, and STILL couldn't get coverage for a homebirth. Hmph.

Anyways, I highly recommend the film. It's informative and interesting.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

tuesday tip

Picking up the dog poops in your yard is MUCH less disgusting if you do it early in the morning, while they are still somewhat frozen from the night cold. Less odor, less disgusting smooshiness. All around, a good idea!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

here's the song...

This is some random person's music video, but it has the best sound that I could find on youtube.

days of clarity

I woke up this morning, not too early, but earlier than I have been waking up, and David was already on his way up to SLC for a class. I spent some time going through our iTunes songs and improving our "DANCE!" playlist, and also tried to buy a song from iTunes featured on Dan in Real Life, which we watched last night. (But for some reason my iTunes account isn't working, which is driving me nuts because I really want to buy this song, and I want it now, dang it!) Anyways, I was really enjoying listening to music and having some time to myself, and the kids slept until about 8 o'clock, so I had about an hour. For some reason, the combination of quiet time alone and finally not having a head that is full of congestion has combined to give me a wonderful day of clarity. I finished reading an article How to Learn and Why, and my brain feels great and all attuned to the order of the universe. It's days like this that make me long for my graduate school days, when at least I felt like it was easier to fill my brain with knowledge when it was ready to receive it. Of course, many days were spent trying to force knowledge and learning into a less-than-ready mind, but I still loved the idea of learning and discussing what I learned.

Lately I'm really coveting the Great Books of the Western World series. I just want to own that collection of wisdom, so that when I have these times of full brain power, as well as a day without anything particularly urgent to do, I can read a classic. It's just a bit more convenient than getting them at the library. Of course, we do have some great books (though not "Great Books") here already, and I guess I should just read those while I'm waiting to have a few hundred extra dollars lying around.

Anyways, here's to being human again! May I make the most of it!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

just finished reading

Sarah by Orson Scott Card. It's about Sarai/Sarah, wife of Abraham from the Old Testament. It is an excellent book. Card does well to take you into Sarah's world and into her heart. I like historical fiction for the possibility of really identifying with real people, even if every event may not have actually occurred. Sometimes when you grow up with a story, it becomes less rather than more real to you as time passes. Being a mother, Sarah's struggle with not being able to have children is more relevant and personal. Obviously I've not had the same struggle, but I know people who have and I can imagine the grief. Particularly when she knew that God had covenanted with Abraham to become the father of many nations.

Anyways, my thoughts keep getting interrupted by Kids 1 & 2, but I highly recommend the book. I don't know how many others are in the "Women of Genesis" series, but I look forward to reading them as well. This is my very first time reading an Orson Scott Card book, but I think I've been sufficiently persuaded to read more.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Monday, March 10, 2008

quotation marks

A whole blog of 'em

One of the small grocery stores around here always has odd quotations marks around words in their advertisement. I've not been able to figure out the reasoning behind it. I guess they are thought to place some sort of special emphasis on the words.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

good evening, I'm Barry White

Actually, both David and I have the Barry White voice going on now. I seriously wonder how long it is going to take for me to completely kick this illness. I was looking forward to attending church today, since I could actually attend the adult meetings and not be in Primary, but noone wants someone who sounds like me sitting next to them. And actually, I think I'd have ended up in Primary anyways. They called yesterday and asked if I could help with Noodle's class. Obviously I couldn't, though, since we weren't going to be at church. And next week is another week playing the piano in Primary. I've only been to Relief Society once this year, and that was the first Sunday of January. Between sick kids, playing the piano and subbing in Primary, every other week I've either been at home or in Primary. Sigh.... I like Primary well enough, but there was a reason I said I could only be a part-time Primary pianist when they called me. Sitting behind the piano for two hours, with almost no actual direct interaction with other people is just not all that spiritually uplifting. We do learn some great songs that bring the spirit in, but it's not that often that I get some fabulous insight into the gospel or my own life from sitting in Primary.

Friday, March 07, 2008

not just another cold

I started feeling sick Monday evening, and spent about 7-8 hours in bed on Tuesday. The overwhelming fatigue has been combined with nasty congestion, coughing due to the congestion, and chills bad enough to make me want to climb into the fireplace. My appetite has been nonexistent. Last night I wore a long sleeved shirt to bed, and very early this morning it was so sweat-drenched that I had to take it off because it was getting clammy. I've not felt as bad as I did Tuesday, so I think that was the worst of it, but this is unlike any cold I've ever had. SO maybe it's the flu, or that flu-like thing that seems to be going around. Thankfully I haven't been throwing up, though yesterday I wished I would. The kids have the same thing, but seem to be holding up okay. Yesterday was the first day I tried to get some housework done, so by evening I was exhausted again. David feels like he is coming down with something, too, but hopefully he won't get as bad a case as I have. He has a pretty tough immune system. I think moms should be invincible. Is there anything harder than being sick and trying to stay sane enough to take care of sick kids? I don't know how long this is supposed to last, but I'm hoping I'm near the end of it.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

need a laugh?

This is fabulous!


So my brother called me yesterday and asked if I was familiar with Googlemaps streetview. I said I'd heard of it, but not really looked at anything.

"Well, guess whose car is parked in front of mom & dad's house?"

"Um, yours?"

"Nope, yours!"

So they must have been taking pictures last August, since that was the only time I'd visited in quite a while. So then I looked up my house, and since our garage is open, you can see our car in our photo, too. Pretty cool!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

fun factoid

Noodle was looking at some "world" stickers and one of them had the Eiffel Tower on it, so I told her about it and showed her some photos online. And of course told her how I've been to the top! Looking at wikipedia I learned that the tower opened on my birthday, May 6th. How cool is that?

Also, you can do a wikipedia search for your birthday and it will tell you things that happened on that day. For example, I share my birthday with Sigmund Freud (which I knew), two popes, George Clooney, Willie Mays, Orson Welles, and Tony Blair. And Henry David Thoreau as well as Maria Montessori died on my birthday.

Monday, March 03, 2008

monday movie review & a funny

We watched Moving McAllister Saturday night. It was a fun, silly and clean movie. Jon Heder is a supporting actor in it, and the brunette from That 70s Show is the female lead. I give it two thumbs up. Fun and fairly mindless with a good story.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

a good day...

so we (David & I) spent the day up in Salt Lake City for the Thomas Jefferson Education Forum. We had to get up at 5 this morning, get the kids down to my sister's at 6:30, and be up in SLC by 7:40 to check in. The kids had been a bit feverish (Noodle yesterday & Spud during the night) so we were a little worried about them, but really didn't want to have to miss this. I'm so grateful it worked out, and even more grateful for the generosity of my sister & her family, and also my wonderful friend Debra, who popped in to let the doggies out for a potty break and to stretch their legs. (Thanks again!) The forum lectures I attended were fantastic! It was really what I needed to help figure out what the most important things are for the kids' educations at this stage in life. Hopefully I'll have a chance to blog some more about the philosophies and thoughts. But it was a really really great day, and my head is full of great ideas. I love that!