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

Tattoos

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...



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* * *



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. :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Learning the Alphabet: Part 2

Here's the video I promised!  I know, I'm seriously on top of things. ;) This is a video of David asking James to identify various letters, to which James would push the corresponding button on his Leap Frog toy that I mentioned in yesterday's post.  I didn't push the record button fast enough, so this video starts out with David asking James, "Where's the 'O'?"



Obviously James got tired of being quizzed after a few letters, but you get the point.  See?  I was totally telling the truth. :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Learning the Alphabet

I know I'm doing a lot of "baby boasting" here, but it's my blog, so it's okay.

This morning, I had a doctor's appointment.  The three of us were in the waiting room and James started playing with this large activity block that had spinable alphabet blocks on one side.  David was pointing out each letter, in order, while spinning the blocks so that the letter side showed front.  Then, once he'd made it through the entire alphabet, James pointed to the "U" block and said yoo.  I wasn't paying much attention, so David told me what he'd just done.  I told him that it was probably an accident and not to get too excited, which was when James pointed to the "A" block and correctly named it, too.  We both got kind of wide-eyed at that point.  Then David decided to quiz him by pointing to various letters and saying, "What is this one?"  James ended up successfully naming about six different letters before he got bored and stopped answering us.

Later, I was relating this story to my mom.  She was at our place when James started playing on his "piano", which is a Leap Frog stand-up toy that has buttons for letters, numbers, shapes, songs, etc.  Along one side are small letter-shaped buttons for each letter of the alphabet, which he pushes often.  He started pushing them at random, so I decided to quiz him again in order to show my mom.  When I'd ask him "Where's [letter]?", he'd push the button, which says the name of the letter, and then smile up at me in the biggest way.  I even got him to show me a couple of new ones that we didn't get out of him earlier.

Now, just for the record, we don't sit around grilling our 20-month-old about letters of the alphabet, or anything else for that matter.  It's just something that he obviously picked up.  Between his Leap Frog toy, a couple of ABC books and the shows Word World and Super Why!, I think he just picked it up all on his own.

My next mission is to try to video tape this.

I love my adorable little boy.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cartoons

I have a sneaking suspicion that we need to cut down on cartoons in our house.

James has decided to start telling me when he wants to watch cartoons.  He'll say 'toon and try to get his hands on the remote control (which he knows he's not allowed to touch).  Some days are better than others when it comes to us watching television, though.  Most days, we'll watch a couple of short cartoons with him in the morning while he plays with Daddy before work.  Once he gets up from his nap, I try to keep the television off as much as I can, but I'm not always successful.  Obviously, or my kid wouldn't be crawling all over me, semi-shouting 'toon! at me.  Sigh.

Oh well.  I'll keep trying.  In the meantime, I'm very thankful for Charlie and Lola, since it's only 15-20 minutes long and has the most adorable characters ever.

Sunday Thoughts: Religion and Politics

I've been thinking a lot about the Presidential election lately.  Even before we moved to Columbus -- probably the single-most visited city by Presidential hopefuls and their sidekicks -- I gave this election a fair amount of thought.  It's been nice living here for a couple of reasons...

Living in Utah was like living in a mindless political machine.  I'm sorry to all of my Utah friends who feel otherwise, but this is true.  From my experience, about 95% of the state votes Republican simply because, in their mind, the term Republican seems to be synonymous with the word conservative.  (For the record, this is not always true.)  The other 5% seem to be comprised of people who vote Democrat simply because it's "not Republican".  There are a few rare exceptions to this, but those people generally realize that their political involvement makes very little difference in Utah.  (God bless those people for trying, though.)  I know that I'm making a pretty broad generalization, but I think you get my point.

Living in Ohio, on the other hand, is politically liberating.  You still get your fair share of crazies here, which, I will admit, can prove to be rather amusing, but on the whole, people are politically well-informed.  Not only that, but they are politically interested.  I'm sure that this has a lot to do with the fact that Ohio is the king of all swing states; we kind of pride ourselves on being able to pick the next President.


Why was this a Sunday thought, you might ask? Well, since moving here, I've been thinking a lot about how living in a religious culture can influence our political thinking.

For me, it was hard living in Utah because I've never been one-sided about anything in my life.  Sure, I have beliefs that I hold dear and values on which I refuse to compromise, but that has never kept me from seeing and understanding both sides of nearly every stance known to man. (That's one thing I like to think that I do well.)

Having strong beliefs, religious or otherwise, should not keep us from opening our minds to other information or ways of thinking.  There is a very real difference between being open minded and being open to persuasion.  I think that, often times, Latter-day Saints are so set in their cultural and doctrinal ways, so to speak, that they can forget what it's like to see important issues from another point of view.

Let's use the issue of gay marriage as a quick example.  (One day, I plan to do this subject justice by writing a whole post about it, but today is not that day.)  Doctrinally, we understand the pitfalls of making gay marriage socially, and even legally, acceptable.  However, how many of us have ever stopped to see this issue from another side?  I dare say, not too many of us.  But why?  I genuinely think that it's because we have such firm beliefs on the subject that we fail to see exactly why other people think the way that they do.  Living in a society that is over-saturated with people who believe exactly as you do, like Utah, can only exacerbate this shortsightedness.

It's important to understand as much as you can about any subject before jumping on any bandwagons. One side is never always right or always wrong.  Republicans aren't always the good guys; Democrats aren't always the bad guys.  I'm not trying to sway people to vote one way or another, but I am trying to sway people to do their political homework before blaring their endorsements for all the world to see and hear.  Let's use our beliefs to keep us rooted while we take in all of the available information out there rather than using them to keep ourselves in the dark.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Proud Mom Moment

Just before dinner, James was playing with a couple of his little Matchbox cars in the kitchen when one of them rolled under the fridge.  After some real effort, I pulled the dusty car out and got a resounding "THANK YOU!" when I handed it back to him.

I think my work here is done. :)

Friday, July 20, 2012

20 Months

Today, James is 20 months old.

It doesn't seem like it's such a big milestone, from the standpoint of counting months after a child has turned one.  Turning one year old, that's a big deal.  Turning 18 months, or one and a half, is also kind of a big deal.  The next big one?  Turning two.  But 20 months?

Well, for us, it's been kind of awesome.  First of all, being 20 months just sounds so much closer to actually being two years old.  It's like he's growing into his toddlerhood that much more.  He's been acting more and more like a little boy and less like a baby or young toddler.  He walks like a little boy, has about a bazillion facial expressions, has no fear of doing things by himself and is starting to sound like a little boy.  This brings me to my second point...


I love my adorable little crazy-faced boy.  Check out that eyebrow action.


He talks non-stop.  (This is how you know he's our child.)  James been learning new words left and right.  The other day, he busted out the word apple while we were giving him apple slices without us having said it immediately beforehand, prompting him or him having ever said it before.  Apparently, he just remembered what it was called.  He's also learned that if he grabs our finger and says outside, another new word, that he can go out to play, which is currently his favorite thing ever (after eating, of course).  I don't spend my time counting the number of words that he can say, but these past few weeks have brought about quite the increase in James' vocabulary.  Some of my favorite words of his are marshmallow, cookie  and 'nana (for banana).  (I told you, he likes to eat.)  He's also very good at copying what we say, even if he doesn't repeat it on his own later.  In addition to his expanding vocabulary, he also jabbers on like he's saying full, legitimate sentences, even though everything that comes out of his mouth is complete nonsense.  Occasionally, he'll toss in the words "mommy" or "daddy", but that's it.  He's probably talking smack about us, but it's the most adorable thing in the world.

I love how much he's growing up.  He's looking more like daddy and acting more like mommy every single day, and we absolutely love it that way.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Road Trip Hangover

I'm sure that this is a real thing.

Even though we got a normal amount of sleep last night, various things happened...

1) My body -- especially my eyelids -- filled with lead during the night.  Come morning, nothing wanted to move.
2) James decided to get up extra early.  And by extra early, I mean 30 whole minutes.
3) In addition to the super early wake-up call, James decided not to take his nap when he was supposed to, which meant that he slept in the car when we were running errands (you know, the obligatory post-vacation errands) and was a grumpy bum when I'd have to wake him.
4) Big not-enough-sleep headache for me.
5) James also decided to cry for more than an hour an a half once I put him to bed.

Despite all of this, today wasn't too bad.  I wasn't able to get everything done that I need to, but that's what tomorrow is for.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I Know, I Know...

I know that I promised to write a blog post every day in July.  When I said that, I fully intended on each post to be at least semi-meaningful.  However, we just braved an eight hour car ride from Illinois with a toddler and also manage to successfully unpack.  So this is today's blog post.

I'm tired.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Backyard Shenanigans

Our time here in Illinois has been a lot of fun, especially for James.  He has been having such a blast playing in the water in the backyard, harassing the puppies and being a big ol' showoff.  Here are a few of our many pictures from our backyard adventures here.



Here are the pictures from yesterday...



I have the cutest child there ever was.  No doubt.




Having lots of fun playing with the sprinkler on Daddy's shoulders.



Taking it prisoner.

* * *

...and here are the pictures from today.





Superman... just doin' his thing...



Holy Handsomeness!









Pool time with Daddy and with Grandma and Grandpa Tertipes.


We're leaving here tomorrow.  It's been a lot of fun, but we'll be excited to get home too.  See you all soon!