Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone!  Enjoy this video of James as he opens his Christmas stocking.  Cheers!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve Service Gone Awry

The Moral of Today's Story:
Do not take your toddler to a Christmas Eve service and expect him to sit through it without embarrassing you.

So I guess you'll want to hear the story...

Last week, we got a flyer in the mail from a church nearby called The Church Next Door.  (For real.  That's its name.)  It was advertising a Christmas Eve candlelight service for today at 4pm and 6pm.  Since our church does no such thing, I thought it would be fun to go.  David had to work until 9pm, like usual, so Mom and I were going to take James and go.  The flyer said that they'd be giving out fun goody bags to kids, so I figured that he'd be entertained enough.

Wrong.  So wrong.

First of all, he screamed for the whole five minutes that we were sitting there before the service started.  He just wanted to run around and be free, but that wasn't on the agenda and he didn't approve of it.  We finally got him settled down by giving him some stickers from his goody bag and some goldfish crackers that I had brought, so I thought we were good for a while.

Not for long.

While everyone was singing, James was pretty much fine.  He'd sit there and enjoy his crackers in relative silence.  The exact second that it went quiet, he decided that he needed to talk.  Loudly.  And, bonus, no one else's kid was making any noise.  In a room with at least 200-300 people.  (How does that even happen?!)  And he wasn't just talking to say stuff.  He was making very loud monkey noises, on purpose.

It pretty much went like this:

James (at the top of his voice):  "Oooh, oooh, oooh, AHH, AHH, AHH!  Cool monkey!"
Me (in a serious whisper):  "No, James.  That's not a cool monkey.  You need to be quiet.  Fold your arms.  It's time to be reverent.  We're in church."
James:  "Oooh, oooh, oooh, AHH, AHH, AHH!  Cool monkey!"
Me:  "No!  James, if you aren't quiet, we have to go home."
James:  "No home!"
Me:  "Then be quiet."

This exact conversation took place no fewer than seven times.

A few times, after this conversation (or a similar one) took place, James would then proceed to try to blow bubbles in his sippy cup of milk, which is impossible based on how the cup is made.  Mostly, he just sounded like he was doing that "crazy lip" sound.  You know, where people waggle their index finger up and down on the front of their lips?  And, of course, it was very loud.

During one shining moment, James was in the middle of shouting, "No home!" again when he let out this incredibly loud, juicy burp.  Think dead silence plus Buddy the Elf's soda burp.  That's what it sounded like.

At the time, this was a little mortifying since we were around unfamiliar people and because the room seemed to amplify the sound of my son's impromptu vocal performance.  But, to top it all off, there was a kid sitting in the row in front of us who kept giving James really dirty looks.  Yes, James was being loud, but he's 2 and that's what happens with 2-year-olds.  This kid was sitting with his parents and his younger brother.  The kid looked to be about 7 or 8 years old.  I understand that children have a much harder time controlling their annoyances, but an 8-year-old should have enough self-control by that age to not turn around and give a toddler dirty looks, right?

When I first noticed this, I saw the kid turn around and mouth the word stop at James, but James was touching the back of this kid's chair with his fingers, so I thought that maybe he'd accidently touched him.  I kept James from reaching the chairs in front of us after that.  It didn't matter though, because any time James would be loud, this kid would turn around and give James a really dirty look.  After about the third time, I leaned forward and said, "I'm sorry," to the kid, in hopes that he'd stop.  For all the response I got, I could've just apologized to the chair.  He did it a few more times before one particularly pointed glare.  Everyone was standing because they'd just finished singing, but I remained sitting the entire time because James was on my lap.  Right on cue, once the singing stopped, James made some more noise.  This kid turned his whole body around and just glared at James, as if to say, "Why on earth can't you just shut up?!"  By this point, I was pretty fed up with his rudeness, so I glared back at him with my dirtiest Mom-glare.  After that, every time he'd glare at James, I'd glare right back.  Obviously it did no good because he kept turning around to glare, but it made me feel a little better in a childish sort of way.

And, for the record, only one other person looked at us during this whole noisy fiasco, and that was a teenage girl a few rows up who was just looking to see where the noise was coming from.  Even though he was being noisy, it was obvious that Mom and I were trying to keep him as quiet as possible and no one else said anything or gave us dirty looks (that we saw).  Except for the terribly rude child in front of us, whose parents were oblivious to his actions.

Man, I've never wanted to punch a kid in the head more in my entire life.

Eventually, we decided to leave because James just wouldn't settle down.  We were there for a good 45 minutes, so I'm sure we didn't miss too much.  However, we did miss the whole candle-lighting part, so that was a bummer.  But it was probably good that we didn't tempt my child with open flames.

After leaving, we got some Taco Bell, went home to eat it, put James to bed and then Mom helped me finish putting ribbon on our Christmas presents while we watched Borrowed Hearts (one of the best Christmas movies ever made) and laughed about the monster burp and echoing monkey noises.

That was my Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

This Sickie House

For the past week, we've all been one brand of sick or another.

Last week, David started feeling unwell.  Naturally, it just got worse and both James and I started to come down with whatever David had on Saturday night.  I didn't want to infect every child in our ward, so the three of us stayed home from church on Sunday.  (I wasn't at all sad about missing Rebellious Pants Day, either.)

James has been a trooper, even though I know he hasn't felt well.  He's been fine in the mornings, but once he wakes up from his nap, he'll start to get a fever and feel lethargic.  Poor guy.

Our sore throats are still lingering, but we're mostly getting better.  (I hope.)  Well, other than the fact that I think I developed an ear infection this evening.  I've been deaf in my left ear since about 6pm and all I can hear is the ocean waves and the echo of my own voice in my head.  I don't think I've had an ear ache in about 5+ years, so I'm hoping this will go away soon.

That's all from our neck of the woods for now.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


While talking with my fabulous mother-in-law earlier this week, she reminded David and me that we should be writing down all of the hilarious things that James says and does.  Here are a few of the hilarious (to us, anyway) things that he says...

*  *  *

James is really good at identifying animal sounds.  We'll ask him, "James, what sound does a [insert animal] make?" and he'll reply truthfully.  Here are a few of his favorites:

"James, what sound does an elephant make?"
Makes a raspberry/horn sound with his lips.

"James, what sound does a donkey make?"

"James, what sound does a Tyrannosaurus Rex make?"

"James, what sound does a hippo make?"
"Hi, Hippo!"

... Yea.  He came up with that one all on his own.

*  *  *

He loves to play "Where'd James go?".  Usually, he'll cover his face with his hands or a towel or he'll just squeeze his eyes shut really hard.  When we ask "Where'd James go?", he'll show his face (or open his eyes) and yell, "There he is!"

*  *  *

For the past couple of weeks, he's been asking for random food at random times of the day.  Most recently, he started asking for "mash 'tatoes" at about 10:30am.  He'll also tell me that he wants chicken and peas for dinner throughout the day so that I don't forget.

*  *  *

When it's time for his afternoon nap (which is at about noon), I'll tell him that it's time to go upstairs.  Recently, he's started asking, "Take a bath?" even though he's never taken a bath in the middle of the day.  When I tell him that we're taking a nap, not a bath, he'll ask, "Brush a teeth?", to which I have to tell him that we already brushed his teeth and that we don't need to brush them again until bedtime.  Then he'll go down for his nap.  I don't know why he has to ask this every single time, but it's been going on for a while now.

*  *  *

His favorite things to do include...

"Check a mail!", or checking the mail.
"Play owside!", or play outside.
"Help a mommy, puzzle!", or getting help putting together his trickier puzzles.

*  *  *

His favorite things to obsess over include...

"Rodney Queen", or Lightning McQueen
"Checko Newly", or Francesco Bernoulli  (from Cars 2)
"Choo Choo Train Thomas", or Thomas the Tank Engine

*  *  *

And just to round things off nicely, here is a picture from James' most recent nap time shenanigans...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mormon Feminist Day

Last night, while I was unable to sleep, I stumbled across this article in the Daily Herald.  It's about how a group of Mormon feminist women were trying to convince other women to wear pants to church this coming Sunday.

While I applaud the efforts of those who try to better society by bringing attention to potentially harmful  stereotypes, I have mixed feelings about the message of this "Mo Fem Day".

Here are a few of my thoughts...

First of all, I want to say that stereotypes have a time and a place.  They help us to understand how someone might act or react in specific situations.  They help us to understand cultures and values.  They help us to understand one another in a variety of ways.  Stereotypes begin to become dangerous when we use them to categorically undermine the abilities or feelings of others based on their gender, religion, ethnicity or any other similarity.

The LDS cultural norm that implies that women should always wear skirts or dresses to Sunday services is not dangerously stereotypical.  Why?  Because this idea is of our own making.  As women, we aren't being told that we are unworthy or irreverent if we choose to wear pants to church.  No Church leaders are telling us this.  Here is an excerpt from For the Strength of Youth taken from the Church's website:

No mention of skirts here.

I don't think there is anything wrong with a woman wearing pants to church.  If you wear a pant suit that is nice, clean and respectable, much on the same level as a man's suit, then I don't see a problem with it.  And aside from those few Nosy Netties who will always be all up in yo' bid'niss, I don't really think that anyone else would mind either.

What I do mind is when people start inciting inappropriate behavior over a non-issue.  No one is being oppressed here.

Excerpt from the Daily Herald article.

Women's suffrage?  No, girls.  Your little hissy fit over ladies' Sunday attire is not, in any way, shape or form, related to women's suffrage in the slightest.  Women's suffrage movements were trying to fix real issues, like, you know, getting women the right to vote or own land, not giving them the right to wear pants to church (which right you already have, by the way.  This is America.  Have I already mentioned this?)

A quote from the article by Scott Trotter, LDS Church spokesperson.

There is no doubt in my mind that there are certainly still some lingering social inequalities between men and women in the Church.  While I believe that we should strive for an atmosphere within the Church where women and men both feel like their contributions are of equal value and appreciated, I don't believe that women need to try to "be like men" all the time, or vice versa.  I am not a man.  I don't think like a man, I don't look like a man, I don't perform tasks like a man.  If I did, I wouldn't need my husband for a whole lot more than baby-makin', now would I?  Men and women are meant to compliment each other.  Most couples might not fit rigid gender stereotypes, but they usually aren't identical in thought and action.  And except for the loony few, they certainly don't dress alike simply for the sake of "being equal".

If you have issues with something cultural, like whether women should be allowed to wear pants to church or not, then meet with a member of your Bishopric or with the Relief Society president and see what they can do to help you in your cause.  Sacrament meeting and Relief Society are not the appropriate venues for rallying the troops over non-Gospel-related causes.  Wearing pants or wearing skirts will make no difference in your eternal salvation.  Your dedication to the Gospel, however, will.  Your love for the Savior will.  Your service and your sacrifice and your giving of your life to building up the Kingdom of God will.  Stunts like this only distract from the real reason why we attend church, and that is to worship the Lord.

If your mind is on more superfluous things, like your clothes, then you won't be able to enjoy the many blessings that await you there.

So I say, rock those pant suits if that's your thing.  Or you can wear a skirt.  It really doesn't matter.  Just do what you feel the most comfortable doing and leave the crusading on the door step when you walk through the meetinghouse doors.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

So This Is Christmas...

I am really excited about the fact that we are here in Ohio near my family for Christmas!  Spending Thanksgiving with them was wonderful and I'm sure that Christmas will be just as fabulous.

My mom, Bonnie; my brother & sister-in-law, Tony & Jen; my little family.

I'm actually quite proud of myself.  I've had my Christmas shopping done for a couple of weeks now.  I mailed out Christmas packages to David's family as well as all of our Christmas cards last week.  Everything is wrapped and just needs bows and ribbons on them.  (I think I'll wait until Christmas Eve to do that so that the curly ribbons don't get flattened from all of the presents sitting on top of each other in a pile in our bedroom.)  Our tree is up.  Our stockings are hung.  I rock out to Christmas music most days and indulge in a Christmas chick flick most evenings while James is in bed and David is still at work.

Do I sound like I'm bragging?

It's okay if I do, because I am.  And I feel like I can legitimately do that since I'm not that awesome crafty mom who makes Christmas quilts for everyone, reindeer-shaped treats and sings perfectly in-tune carols to all of her neighbors.  I'm the mom who cheers when her child is dressed, properly fed and doesn't kill himself performing various stunts.

When I'm on top of things like this, a little bragging is bound to happen.  ;)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Conversations With A Two-Year-Old

So, I was just texting a couple of pictures of James to my father-in-law when James came up to me, looked at my phone & recognized himself.  The following conversation occurred...

James:  James!  It's James!
Me:  Yes, that is a picture of James.

Seizing the opportunity to teach him a thing or two, I proceeded...

Me:  Can you say Anthony?  James Anthony.
James:  James Ann-a-nee.
Me:  Good job!  Can you say Tertipes?
James:  *mumbly mumble*
Me:  James, say ter-TEEP-iss.
James:  *concentrating look*  ...  James!

And that's why we gave you an easy first name, kid.  Keep practicing. ;)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Birthday, James!

Two years ago today, our crazy little boy was born.  Not only that, but it's the day that David and I became parents.  That is something that will stay the same for as long as we live (and then some).  Becoming parents made us laugh a little more, learn how to function on a lot less sleep, act a little less selfishly, drive a little more carefully.  Two years ago today, this whole family changed.  It has certainly been the most wonderful two years of our lives.  Not the most perfect two years; not the easiest or the most glamourous.  Just the most rewarding.

We love you, crazy James.  Happy Birthday!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

James' Birthday Pictures

James had his birthday party yesterday and we all had a fantastic time!  Lots of friends and family showed up to the party, including my dad who came all the way from North Carolina in order to see James in person for the first time.

In addition to that, I took James' 2-year-old portraits today.  With all of these pictures, I have a lot of retouching ahead of me, but I have gotten a few of them done.

Here are a few pre-party pictures of the food and decor...

And here is a sneak peak of my photo shoot of James from this afternoon.  He's quite the handsome man.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Week of Super Speed

I'm pretty sure that someone stole a few days from me this week.  It seems to have flown by so fast!  Mostly, it's because we've been preparing for James' birthday party tomorrow.  I'm really excited for it! I'm also a little nervous because I haven't thrown a big shindig for him before.  I just hope that everything goes smoothly and that everyone enjoys themselves.

Also, next week is James' actual birthday (Tuesday) and Thanksgiving (Thursday).  Unfortunately, David has to work on Thanksgiving.  Boo!  Luckily though, his shift is from 8:30am-2:30pm, so we'll still be able to have dinner together.  There's also a good chance that they'll send him home early if it isn't very busy.  David absolutely loves cooking for Thanksgiving, so I'm a little sad for him because I know he'll miss out on some of that because of having to work.

On a slightly brighter note, Mom and I went and got our turkey last night, so that's one stress that has been relieved.  Once James' party is over, we'll probably focus more on Thanksgiving.  My brain can only hold so much information right now.

That's all for now.  I'm sure I'll have pictures of his party to post soon, so keep an eye out for that!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

My Almost Two-Year-Old

I can't believe that my crazy little boy will be two years old in just ten short days.  Where has the time gone?  He's grown up way too fast.  He is definitely a smart little man.  He loves to read and do puzzles and explore everything.  I realized that I hadn't done a video of him in a while, so here's one of him reading a couple of his favorite "big boy" books with Daddy.

I know I'm biased because he's my child, but I can't help but brag about how lucky I am to have a kid like James.  He's just so adorable. :)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Let Me Brag For a Minute...

Sometimes, you get to reap the rewards for someone else's hard work.

In exactly 171 days, my mom and I will be leaving to enjoy ourselves on a fabulous free vacation to...


Free, did you say?  Your trip will be free?

Yes, you read that right.  So my mother, who is obviously fabulous, won a free trip for two to Jamaica.  She works for Time Warner in customer support.  Part of her job is to make sales to the people who call in to customer service.  Each year, Time Warner makes a list of the top ten people who made the highest sales for the year.  There are three top ten lists for the three different types of sales that people do, so essentially, they award the top thirty sales people in the entire company with a free trip for two to Jamaica.  (It's important to note that there are 150+ people just in her department, not even counting the other TW branches that are competing.)  And my darling mama was one of the winners!  And she's taking me with her to Jamaica!

I can't even stand it.  This is so exciting.  Neither one of us have been out of the country (except to Canada, which almost doesn't count), so we get to get real, live passports and everything.  Quite awesome.

Anyway, you have permission to be jealous now.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thoughts on Abortion

In light of the election, I've decided to do (what I hope is) a quick post about one of the more heated moral issues.  I don't want to stir up raw feelings or anything of the sort, but I do want to express my own views on why I believe what I believe.  I'd also like to hear your thoughts on the subject as well.

When it comes to the legal discussion of abortion, I like to say that I'm pro-choice and pro-life.  Here's why.

I want to start by saying that, to me, the concept of abortion is appalling.  I think that a woman killing an unwanted fetus for the sake of convenience is one of the basest, most inhumane behaviors I can think of.  If you are old enough to have unprotected sex and get pregnant, you are old enough to carry and bear the child that you (and someone else) created.  Adoption is an incredible option if you are unable to take care of your child emotionally or financially.  I know it's hard to be pregnant for many people, but you knew that the risk of pregnancy was there before you had sex.  All actions have consequences and part of living in the adult world is living with the choices that you've made.

That was my little choice in there.
I want to continue by saying that no one, and I mean no one, on this planet has the right to tell me what I can, cannot or have to do concerning my own body.  It is my body.  It's the only thing in this world that no one can take away from me.  The government can take away my house, my family or my clothes if they so choose.  They can't take away my body and therefore have no control over it or what I choose to do with it.

Did anyone else hear about the ruling in NYC where restaurants and other eateries can't sell sodas that are larger than 16 ounces?  To me, this is an example of the slippery slope thinking of mandating what people can and can't do with their own bodies.  If the government can tell women that they have to carry the baby that they made in their own body, then what's next?  Can the government then force women to not get pregnant?  Or force people to get tattoos?  Or forbid someone from eating more than 2000 calories per day?  Or tell people that they will now be forced to run at least five miles per week in the name of doing what's best for them?  That kind of forcibleness translates into a form of slavery.  If my body is subject to the discretion of public leaders, then I am essentially a slave to them.

So where do we draw the line?  Which belief is more important?  Should we protect the life of unborn children or protect the freedoms and liberties of the women who are already alive?

In my opinion, abortion should not be made illegal, and here's why.

First of all, abortion rates are much higher in countries where abortion is heavily regulated.  Why?  Because women will not be told what they have to do with their own bodies if it's not in line with what they want to do for themselves.  Even if their desire is irrational, uneducated or selfish to us, it's their desire to be free from the burden of an unwanted pregnancy and they will go to any lengths to make that happen.  I have no doubt whatsoever that a similar atmosphere would manifest itself in this country should abortion be made illegal.

It doesn't have to be this way.
Second, I believe that it would significantly increase the number of false claims of rape and incest in America.  Many pro-lifers who support making abortion illegal have said that they'd offer one caveat; abortion should be legal in the cases of rape or incest.  (Richard Mourdock may not agree, but most conservatives do.)  If abortion would be made illegal in the US, I truly believe that we would have far more instances of "The Girl Who Cried Rape".  It's already difficult to prosecute rape because of the he said/she said nature of the crime.  It would be detrimental to real rape victims as well as to (criminally) innocent men who happened to father an unwanted child.

I want to reiterate how desperately I wish that women didn't feel the need to terminate unwanted pregnancies for the sake of conveniently wiping out the very real consequences of their poor judgement.  However, we simply can't force people to handle their bodies to accommodate our own moral beliefs.  We can only do that with our own bodies.

That's my view.  Tell me what you think.  Do you agree or disagree?  Why?  Keep it nice and give me tangible reasons; I'd love to hear them.  I also have a question for my Republican friends that maybe some of you can answer.  Why is it that Republicans preach about the virtues of smaller government involvement in individual lives but have this burning desire to have the government require women to carry their unwanted babies full term?  I'm truly curious.  Anyway, feel free to share your ideas!

One of My Many Flaws

I have to learn when to shut my mouth.

There's a reason why they say that you should never discuss politics or religion in polite society.  It's because you will inevitably offend your friends.  And probably not just one.  You will probably offend at least a handful of them.  At least, if you have my luck, you will.

Today was a bad day for me to get on Facebook.  So was yesterday.  Yesterday I managed to show some restraint though.  I knew that I would see posts about the election that I really didn't like and I told myself that I wasn't to get on Facebook.  For the most part, I was successful.  I did open my laptop to do something else and Facebook popped up right in front of me with a big, glaring "...something, something, something, OBAMA!" right in my face, so I quickly closed that tab.  Other than that, I was anger-free and all of my friends still liked me (to my knowledge).

Today was an entirely different story.  I had the better sense to stay away from it yesterday, so why not today?  Wasn't today going to simply be filled with the aftermath posts?  Bitter losers and sore winners?

Yes.  That's exactly what today was.

My newsfeed blew up with political posts of all kinds.  Some were kind or decently celebratory.    I do need to give them credit.  But others, not so much.  Some people were just upset about losing, but many people were bitter, enraged or just felt like everything was completely hopeless (at least for the next four years).  Unfortunately for me, I had to open my mouth on a few of these political posts and say my piece.  Most of the time, I think I conduct myself decently.  I'd also like to think that I write and express myself well enough for most people to understand what I'm trying to say.

Today, I failed spectacularly.  I upset more than one friend today, including one incredibly wonderful gal in my ward who I definitely was not trying to offend.  As a side note, I generally try not to offend others, but on Facebook, I figure that if I convey myself well & someone is still offended, it's not my issue anymore.  However, when I commented on her post (which wasn't nearly as bad as some of the others I'd seen today), I explained my position using a "general you" type of explanation, but it really did come out sounding as if I specifically meant those things about her.  I always reread what I've written if it's long and political/religious, but since the explanation made sense in my own head (and I felt so passionately about the subject), I really didn't take the time to see that this might offend her rather than explain my views effectively.

I've been feeling kind of sick about this for the past couple of hours since all of this transpired.  I'm pretty good at being emotionally walled-off when people try to make me feel guilty for something that I truly don't feel like I did wrong.  However, when I do end up doing or saying something to hurt someone, it makes me feel completely sick inside.  After rereading what I wrote from her perspective, I completely understood how she could come to the conclusion that she came to about my words.

I feel strongly about politics and America's political atmosphere.  One of my strongest feelings is for the need for everyone to be fair, honest and respectful.  Because of this, I find it hard to restrain myself when I see things that don't seem to fit my own personal definition of "fair, honest and respectful".  It doesn't mean that the things that people say are or aren't that way; it's just my own perception.  And I need to think about what I'm reading much more carefully before I speak.  Or write.

I will be working to exercise caution while posting on Facebook from now on.  Perhaps this is a New Year's Resolution in the making?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Half Price Books Coupon

Is anyone else addicted to Half Price Books?  David and I went in there last week to look for some books to get James for Christmas.  We just thought we'd pop in and see what was there... and an hour and a half later, we wandered out with a few books for James and a lot less of our day left than we thought we had.  Oops.

And for the rest of you book addicts out there, I found a coupon!  Who doesn't love a good coupon?  This one is only good for tomorrow, Halloween, so I hope you can get some use out of it!  Cheers!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Extra Long Prayers

Is it just me, or do other mothers with rambunctious toddlers find it really hard to keep them reverent when the sacrament meeting prayers are extra long?  It doesn't actually bother me when people give long prayers.  I just feel bad for everyone in the room when my child is squealing because he doesn't want to sit still and fold his arms anymore.  Plus, we sit in the very front and I'm pretty sure there are special sound amplifiers under our seats.

But let's be honest... my child doesn't want to sit still in church ever, so I'm not sure that shorter prayers will do a whole lot to tame that beast.

It also never fails that this same insane child of mine will bang his head and/or face on the pew in front of us during his aforementioned thrashing.  Today, it happened twice.  And the bad mom in me comes out and tells him, "I told you so." He still gets a kiss to make it all better, though.

I just have a crazy toddler.  So, I'm sorry about him drowning out your prayers, no matter how long they are.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Lots of Stuffs

It was only a matter of time before I started slacking off in my blogging again.  There are a few things that, due to my laziness, have happened in the last two months that have gone unmentioned on this blog.  Here are the ones I can remember...

David & I celebrated our 4th anniversary on September 20th.  Mom watched James so that we could go on a date.  We went out to dinner & then I proceeded to demolish my husband in miniature golf.  (He loses graciously every time.)  It was fun to have an evening out.

My little brother turned 30.  Don't even ask me how old this makes me feel.  Just don't.  He did have a fun party, though.

David's parents came out to visit us during the first week of October.  And of course, with that visit, they brought lots of presents for our already-spoiled child. :) It was wonderful to have them here.  We visited COSI & the Air Force Museum & just had an all-around fun time.

We celebrated both Moms' birthdays.  David's mom's birthday is two days before my mom's birthday, so we had fun celebrating with my mom & talking to David's mom for their birthdays.

We took James to our ward's Trunk-or-Treat.  He went Trick-or-Treating last year, but it was in the mall & he didn't really get what was going on.  This year, he ran past half of the trunks because the candy just didn't entice him.  He ended up running so much that he threw up his milk all over his Spider-Man costume.  Oh well.  We still had fun!

That's about all I can think of right now.

At the moment, we're preparing for James' birthday party in a few weeks.  My dad is coming up from North Carolina for that weekend to see James.  This is kind of a big deal since my dad has never met James.  I also haven't seen him for three years.  Before that, I hadn't seen him since my brother graduated high school in 2001.  Needless to say, we're excited about his visit. :)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Learning the Alphabet: Part 3

Here's a follow-up video to this one where James began correctly identifying the letters of the alphabet. It's been about a month and a half since that video, so I thought a new one was in order.  He's nearly mastered the song itself and he wanted to share it with you.

Pay particular attention to the "L-M-N-O-P" section.  It's my favorite.

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Few Things...

Our life is not terribly exciting, but a few things have happened this week...

I veered off from my book list.  I know, I know... I made kind of a big deal about finishing my list, so why did I veer off course so soon?  Well, for two reasons.  First of all, I got through the first two chapters of Wizard for Hire and haven't been seriously impressed yet.  Second, The Hunger Games just came out on DVD, so I watched it every day for a week until I was aching for the next movie to come out (which isn't due for well over a year), so I decided to take a break from my list by reading Catching Fire and Mockingjay.  I plan on picking my book back up tonight.

David and I got smart phones.  And now there's no going back.  We're kind of addicted to the fact that we can do anything we want on our phones.  I'm sure the newness will wear off soon enough, but right now, we're kind of smitten with them.

James turned 21 months old.  I actually don't know how that happened because I'm pretty sure he's still my little baby.  Well, he's my little baby who can unlock the deadbolt on the front door now.  He'll be two years old in just three short months.  I can't wrap my head around that just yet.  Good thing I have some time to get used to the idea.

Aside from that, David's birthday is this coming Sunday, so I'm still figuring out what we're going to do on that day since it is a Sunday.  Other than that, we've been perfectly boring. :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Book #4

I would just like to announce to the vast audience of bloggie readers here that I just started my fourth book from the reading list.  I am pretty proud of myself and figured that it was quite important for you to know this.

That is all.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Summer Fun

Mom, David, James and I all went over to Tony and Jen's house for a cookout and some s'mores roasting on their newly finished patio and fire pit.  James also took over his new Dinosaur Train train set so that he could play with it with Uncle Tony.  The train set was purchased with money that Uncle Tony gave to him in order to buy a special present, so this was the first time that Uncle Tony got to see his present and James was only too happy to help him break it in.

We obviously had fun.  Here's James wearing Aunt Jen's sunglasses.  He thought he was quite the stud.  (Let's face it.  He was right.)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Free to Act for Ourselves

Nearly two years ago, the Human Rights Commission delivered a petition to President Boyd K Packer (a senior apostle and a leader of the LDS Church) asking him to denounce what they referred to as his "anti-gay statements".  This was based on their interpretation of his remarks from the October 2010 LDS General Conference.  

While I realize that this news is outdated, the issue presented here is not.  The Church has always preached that we should treat one another with love and respect and that under no circumstances should we bully or belittle others.  The Church has also never wavered on its stance regarding sexuality immorality, in any form.

I bring this all up because there is a video I wanted to share with you.  This is the Church's response to the petition that they received from the HRC.  I encourage you to watch it, particularly if you have questions or concerns about the Church's teachings in connection with the same-sex marriage debate.

None of us is limited by our feelings or inclinations.
Ultimately, we are free to act for ourselves.

Friday, August 10, 2012

People Read For Fun?

Yes!  People totally do that sort of thing.  And I'm that sort of person.  Because I also married another one of those people who loves to read, I have a good number of books on my shelves that I haven't read at all.

What?  Unread books?  In your house?!  That's outrageous!

I know.  That's what I was thinking, too!  So, I'm making myself a list of books that I own, but have never read, and would like to read by the end of the year.

If you've been following my blog for a while, you might remember my attempt to do something similar a few years back where I failed spectacularly.  Well, that's not gonna happen this time!  You know why?  Because I'm not cold starting on a huge list after not having read for a while.  I recently finished reading all seven books of the Harry Potter series and, just tonight, finished my first Agatha Christie novel.  So, I'm kind of on a roll right now.

This is going to be my August to December reading goal.  I know that it's already the tenth of August, but since I just finished a Murder on the Orient Express for the first time and started it only last week, I'll be certainly counting it.  Woo hoo!  One book down already!  See?  I told you I wouldn't fail again! :)

Okay, so without further ado, here is my reading list:

  1. Murder on the Orient Express  by Agatha Christie
  2. The Picture of Dorian Gray  by Oscar Wilde
  3. Fahrenheit 451  by Ray Bradbury
  4. Little Women  by Louisa May Alcott
  5. Alice In Wonderland  by Lewis Carroll
  6. The Catcher in the Rye  by JD Salinger
  7. Sophie's World  by Jostein Gaarder
  8. Wizard for Hire: Storm Front  by Jim Butcher
  9. Wizard for Hire: Fool Moon  by Jim Butcher
  10. Wizard for Hire: Grave Peril  by Jim Butcher

I know, I know... most of these are classics that I should have read in high school, but for whatever reason, never needed to.  Now I want to read them.  The last three books are a fun series that David thinks I will like, so I thought I'd give it a try.

I'm going to create a separate tab on my blog here so that I can keep track of my progress.  (And you can too!... you know, if you actually care that much.)  Also know that I'm not going to necessarily read them in this listed order, that way, I can read what I feel like reading at the time and not feel forced to complete this goal in a rigid way.  I like my flexibility. :)

Also, if anyone has suggestions of good books, particularly classics or fiction, that you think I will like, go ahead and comment.  I might add them to this or some future list!

All right... here I go!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Miss Aly

Is it a bit sad that I have a little 18-year-old hero?  I don't know, but I have no shame about it.  I was rooting for Aly so hard during the whole Olympics.  I'm so glad that she came out on top.

Yay for Aly!  Yay for Team USA!  Yay for the Olympics!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Defining Intolerance

There has been a good deal of talk about Chick-fil-A and their recent declaration in support of traditional marriage and family units.  This particular comment sparked controversy from gay marriage supporters, especially from a few mayors of major cities who made public statements denouncing Chick-fil-A and even threatening to ban the company from operating within their city.

A friend of mine posted this picture quote that addressed an angle of this particular issue that I'd like to discuss.  Here it is...

Being intolerant is being intolerant, no matter what side of the argument you are on.

I know, I know... I've been known to make fun of picture quotes on occasion, but this one actually made me a little happy.  Why?  Because it is saying the very thing that I have been thinking since I heard about this entire incident.

How is it considered intolerant to hold traditional views on marriage and family, but it's not considered intolerant to (attempt to) ban the free enterprise of business just because you don't agree with the personal views of the leaders of that company?

Ever since the issue of legalizing gay marriage became a hot-button topic, it has seemed like the opposing parties have failed spectacularly at being able to discuss the issue with civility and respect.  

Being a supporter of traditional marriage and family values, this is how I see things:

(Please note that while I speak in a generalizing fashion, I do not speak for everyone who believes as I do.  I'm simply speaking based on my own beliefs and conversations that I've had with others who also support traditional marriage.)

For many proponents of traditional marriage, opposing gay marriage isn't about denying anyone anything. Many of us simply feel as if our very core values are being challenged and spurned by society. If society decides that believing in traditional marriage and family units is unacceptable, and that everyone should accept same-sex marriage as part of the norm, then that infringes upon our right to freely exercise our religion (where the basis for this belief generally comes from) and teach our children those same values. There have already been incidents of pastors being arrested for civilly preaching against homosexuality, and gay marriage isn't even legal in most states. This is why many traditional marriage supporters are so vocal about their position on legalizing gay marriage; it does affect everyone. It is also important to note that marriage (in any form) is not a protected Constitutional right, whereas the free exercise of religion is.

While I do recognize that there are plenty of bigots and hateful people out in the world who are preaching against homosexuality, failing to support gay marriage does not automatically make someone one of those people.

Why have I taken the time to explain this position?  That is where the intolerance comes in.  With understanding comes tolerance.  I believe that a large part of why many gay marriage supporters are so hurtful towards those who don't support gay marriage is simply because they can't see beyond the "equality issue" (which is a discussion for another day) or think that anyone who disagrees with them is automatically homophobic.

But understanding goes both ways.  As supporters of traditional marriage, we also need to realize that the other side is simply trying to do the same thing that we are trying to do; they are standing up for what they believe is right.

We all need to learn to see what others see.  We don't have to agree, but we should strive to understand and to be respectful of our differences.

What do you think?  Whether you agree or disagree, feel free to chime in.  Just make sure that you keep all comments respectful.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I Did It!

Woo hooooooo!

I actually made it through July and blogged every single day.  I even threw in a bonus post at the end, just for fun.  Hopefully, I'll be much better at blogging regularly now, even if I don't post something every single day.

Anyway, I just wanted to make this announcement for you all to hear.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pirate Face

Here is James' newest hilarity.  His Grandpa Tertipes taught him how to make a pirate face and this is it.  We just can't get enough of this face.  It cracks us up every single time!

Also, don't mind the ravioli sauce on his face.  Yes, I realize that he's in the bath, but I'd just barely put him in there when he started doing this, so I couldn't pass up the photo op.

Happy Harry Potter Day!

I know, I'm a nerd, but I felt like it was worth mentioning, at the very least, since I just finished reading the entire series today.  I've read the books a number of times, but this was the first time that I had read all seven books back to back since they came out.  Usually, when a new one would come out, I'd just read the last one or two books to warm up to it, so it was really fun to sit down and enjoy them all again.

Now I have a Harry Potter hangover.

Monday, July 30, 2012


Remember how we talked about all of the fabulous Facebook picture posts that multiply and replenish our news feeds?  Well, a new type of post has popped up and I wanted to take a moment to discuss it.  The topic of these new posts is... you guessed it... tattoos.

Here's a sample of what I'm talking about:

This picture has appeared a few times with various quotes along the lines of "this 'thug' could save your life."  To read more about the origin of this picture, read this blog post.

Other picture quotes that I've seen have comments along the lines of "some people hang their art on their wall; we wear ours!" or "don't judge me."

The overarching theme of these posts is that people with tattoos don't think that others should be judging them or, in some instances, think that their tattoos should be viewed as beautiful or artistic or better than "clean skin".

While I don't condone hurtful criticism, isn't there a difference between scowling at someone because they have body art and forming a mental assessment of someone based on how they treat their own body?

There is a big difference between being judgmental and making a judgment call; the difference being how much time and information goes into someone's mental appraisal of another person.  Judging is a part of life; a very necessary part.  Everyday, we judge if food is safe for us to eat or if a toy is safe for our child to play with.  We form judgments about which job to take or how much time we can spare on various activities, based on how positively they will affect us.  We judge movies based off of previews and books based off of personal and professional reviews.  We judge other people based on how the speak, dress or smell; we judge them on their facial expressions and their body language.  Why would we not judge other people based on how they permanently alter their bodies?

I'm not saying that anyone deserves to be looked down upon for having tattoos.  I absolutely do not think that.  What I'm saying is that, historically, many people with excessive or disturbing tattoos have been seen as being involved in criminal activity or, at the very least, associating with people who are.  While I believe that this is not always the case nowadays, mostly due to the growing social acceptance of permanent body art, there is some merit in this assumption.

A study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that adolescents who get permanent tattoos display increased anti-social behavior.  Here's a screenshot from the abstract of the study:

Timothy A. Roberts, M.D. and Sheryl A. Ryan, M.D., Tattooing and High-Risk Behavior in Adolescents, Division of Adolescent Medicine, Strong Children’s Research Center, University of Rochester School of Medicine, Rochester, NY.

So what should we take from this information?  That it's okay to exhibit prejudice against people with tattoos?  I certainly hope not.  I also hope that we, as a society, don't dilute ourselves into thinking that our actions don't have consequences.  If you choose to get tattoos, you know that you could be opening yourself up to the judgments of others, whether they are accurate or not.  If you choose to judge people with tattoos before you take the time to know them, you could be denying yourself of some positive associations with decent individuals.

The bottom line of my thoughts is this:  Let's all be friends and agree to disagree on this one.  Tattoos aren't artistic to everyone and they aren't signs of delinquency to everyone else.

Seriously, let's just be friends.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Excuse Me...

...but I don't have time to blog right now.  I have about 150 pages left of the last Harry Potter book and I need to get right on it.  I'm sure I'll have a Harry Potter hangover tomorrow, but since when has that ever mattered?  So this is my non-post for the day. :)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Oh, Queen...

If any of you watched the opening ceremony of the Olympics, you'll find the following pictures amusing.  Apparently, the Queen "was not amused" by what was going on; hence, the hilarious memes.  Here are a few of my favorites...

* * *

* * *

There were some other giggle-worthy ones on this blog, but the language kept me from posting them here.

Oh, Queen...  You just made my day.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Olympic Fever

The Olympics are finally here!  I absolutely love the Olympics, especially the summer games.  Is anyone else with me on this?

As a child, I would absolutely obsess about Olympic gymnastics.  I remember watching them longingly and imagining how awesome it would be to be able to preform like that.  I envied those girls.  Now I realize that I would have ended up at least a half-foot too tall to be any sort of gymnast, but as a short little girl, it was my dream.

Does anyone else remember this?

Kerri Strug was one of my childhood idols.  I remember being at my Grandma's house in New Jersey during the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta when she performed her gold medal-winning vault on a previously twisted ankle.  Like I said, totally my idol back then.

Does anyone else have fond Olympic memories to share?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

King's Island

Yesterday, David, James, Mom and I all went to King's Island, which is an amusement park about an hour and a half southwest of Columbus.  David and Mom each got two free tickets from work, so we only had to pay for (outrageously priced) parking, but that's it.  Here are a few pictures from our fun day!

Here we are in front of an animatronic dinosaur. 

 I loved the Peanuts themed stuff. :)

He wasn't a big fan on the stroller.  We brought his monkey backpack leash, but that didn't work for long.

 James & David in a water maze.  James kept trying to go the wrong way & needed a little bit of coaxing to not run away from the waterfalls laughing.

Me spinning James so that his head went under the waterfall.  He thought it was hilarious.  We spent most of our time playing in the water! 

Here are more playing-in-the-water pictures.
(Be sure to click on these smaller pictures to see them bigger!)

James going down the pirate ship slide.

Riding the Woodstock train!  (Notice David's super cramped legs!)

James meeting Franklin.  He didn't seem that into him. :)