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.  ;)