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?