Renaissance Academy in Lehi in dissarray

The administration of Renaissance Academy fired my old supervisor. They refused to tell her specifically why. They said that she failed to comply with the terms of a previous reprimand, but when asked how, they refused to say anything.

Some well-meaning founding parents of the school tried to unite the parents by calling for a boycott today, but then rescinded it. I think this had the effect of dividing people into two camps: the Mr. Young-camp and the World Language-camp. I'm not really sure, since I am officially "banned from campus".

Our home teachers called and asked us what the deal was when he saw an article in the newspaper about it. You can read it here:


They screwed up, though. I resigned on November 3rd. It was my supervisor, the World Language Director, who was fired this last Monday.

I am so glad to be gone from that school. There's nothing but politics and drama now, and that is the last thing that I need.


Life Sucks.

After five to six years of trying to get pregnant, a couple lost one of their twins conceived by in-vitro fertilization today. The twins are due in March. The chance of survival of the other twin is severely compromised.

A woman's husband died in his early fifties three months ago due to a freak blood clot that went unnoticed after a trip to the E.R. The woman's youngest son is in High School, and he is really struggling with his father's death. A bright spot in his life is that he got his driver's license. But today he totaled the car and got severe burns from the deployed air bag. This terrified his already grieving mother.

A woman's husband repeatedly viewed pornography, refused to get help, and eventually filed for a divorce from his sweet wife. She has two beautiful daughters and is pregnant with their third child.

These are real life situations that people around me have encountered recently. When I think about these very, very sad and tragic situations, I just want to curl up under the covers of my bed and cry.

I am reminded of a recent temple trip I went on with Danny. When you go to the Temple, it's a place where you can pray to receive guidance for big decisions in your life. At the time, I was trying very hard to decide what to do about my job: should I quit in December? Should Danny and I get a babysitter for those few hours that I would be teaching, just until the end of the year? Should I quit now? What would be the best for our family?

That particular night, the Temple was very, very crowded. When you "do a session" at the Temple, it means that you do ordinance work for yourself and proxy ordinance work for those people who have already died without the chance to do it while alive. A "session" is short for an Endowment session. The Endowment is a ceremony that can be compared to Baptism. They are both steps that you have to take in order to receive Eternal Life and Exaltation. It's a very comforting ceremony. At the end, you get to go to a room called the Celestial Room which symbolizes Heavenly Father's home. It looks like a very clean, very beautiful living room. There are lots of couches, flowers, tables, and mirrors.

The Provo Temple is the busiest Temple in the entire world. That night a few weeks ago, the Celestial Room was absolutely packed. It was somewhat frustrating to me because I wanted to sit down next to Danny so we could pray for guidance about what we should do regarding my job. All the seats were taken, except a few single chairs against the wall. One of us had to stand. Frustrating.

I remember feeling even more frustrated the more I looked around. There were many, many couples in there. One husband was bawling quite audibly on his wife's shoulder. I felt a strong impression that my worries were really REALLY insignificant. I wondered what the guy was crying about - possibly he was asking his wife for forgiveness for something horrible that he had done, possibly he was grieving the loss of a child, or a parent, or a sibling - or maybe etc. etc. I felt annoyed at myself for feeling anxious about our comparatively easy career choice for me. I mean, after all, it's JUST a job. It's totally not something as serious as what I imagined that couple might have been dealing with.

Then, the already crowded room got even more crowded. A young girl walked in, surrounded by family members. She had just gone though the Endowment ceremony for herself for the first time, and her previously endowed family members and friends were all there to support and congratulate her. She was crying tears of joy, and her parents, siblings, grandparents, possibly a fiance - just TONS of people - were all equally as happy. I couldn't help but be reminded of the insignificance of my choice. Again, this annoyed me, and frustrated me. At the time, my career choice seemed like such a huge deal - but put against the backdrop of the Eternal perspective, it really disappeared and became unimportant. Of course this annoyed me because I really wanted my career choice to be IMPORTANT, and admitting that it really wasn't was SO hard.

The truth is, when I decided to quit working really wasn't as important as I thought it was.

I feel sad that I wasn't able to say goodbye to my students. I felt extremely angry when I heard what the administrators at my school wrote to the parents of my students. As I processed it over a few days, I finally realized that it was stupid of me to feel angry, because I had been expecting them to lie. So when they actually did, it shouldn't have been such a shock.

The real truth is, compared to many hundreds and thousands of people, my choice to quit my job early was not at all a "big deal". And so far, it really hasn't been bad. In fact, it's been very relaxing. I really like being at home, and like my husband has said over and over, "I'm not worried about you finding something to do to keep busy." I'm just not like that. I always have some kind of project going on.

So before, when I thought about quitting my job as being some huge gigantic tragedy, that was really quite immature and nearsighted. Lots of people around me are going through much worse things than I am, and in the first place, my decision has let me do something even BETTER than my old job. The experience I had in the Temple really helped me understand that in a deeper way. Also, just thinking about the real lives of some people around me. The truth is that life is good, and God has a plan for me, and just because I have no freaking clue what that plan is does NOT give me the right to complain about it, even if the complaining is just in my head. I have a great life, and my recent career change really is for the best of everyone in my family, especially me. My sister Becky is right when she says that staying home with a little baby is not just for her benefit; it may even be more for MY benefit. The more I've thought about that, the more I understand the truth of that statement.


I quit my job and started a new one.

So I love Family History. Like, a LOT. It's a really fun obsession. It's interesting because I'm not so much interested in other peoples' Family History, but I LOVE researching my and my husbands' ancestors.

My husband and I are LDS which means that a lot of the research I do into our genealogies goes towards Temple work. I get to prepare names to be taken to the temple so that somebody can do proxy ordinance work for them. Basically, this means that people who died before the LDS church was around and the Priesthood was restored get to be baptized so that they have the option of choosing to accept the gospel. Nobody is forced to do something they don't choose to do; it's just that doing the Temple work gives them more options (and what I believe is a very, very good option - understatement).

My husband's family goes back in the Mormon church about 5 generations on the majority of his family lines. This means that the vast majority of his ancestors have already had their Temple work prepared and done. When I say "vast majority" this of course is referring not to the ancestors throughout time, but ancestors for which we have reliable, concrete sources available. Usually we only have good records until the early 1800's, sadly.

My mom's side of the family is like Danny's...early Mormon converts who joined the church and were pioneers of the west. But my dad is a first generation convert, and so there are tons of ancestors on his side that need their Temple work done. 

My dad's dad was 100% Czech. I love doing family history research on my Grandpa's line, because the research is both easy and fascinating. Easy because the Czech immigrants who came to Texas were Catholic and kept excellent records, plus the LDS church has digitized all the Texas Death records from 1893ish-1979, these people hardly ever left Texas, and there are LOTS of organizations and groups that are interested in preserving Texas Czech Heritage. Fascinating because I am the first generation of my family to live most of my life outside of Texas, and actually my daughter Jane is the first one to be born in another state, so I feel very connected to these people. Plus, my maiden name was a Czech name.

ANYWAY back to the original title of this post...

I quit my job.

Instead of going into all the crap about why, it's just better to leave it at, "I felt undervalued and overstressed, and the opportunity cost was too great." If you want to know more, you could talk to the administration of Renaissance Academy. My guess is that doing so will not satisfy any desire you may have at getting to the truth of the matter, and since at this point nothing can be done to get me to continue working there, I would suggest not going to the trouble of doing that.

Instead of being sad and grumpy about it, I decided to just look on the bright side: I get to start a new phase of life. Tomorrow I turn 23. From the day I turn 23 until a currently unknown time, my full time career is :::drumroll::: FULL-TIME MOM! Yay!

So back to the Czechs...when I look on my female ancestors' death certificates, it lists their occupation as, "housewife" - almost without exception. How cool is that?

I think that the term "housewife" is not politically correct for today's day and age, which is kind of ridiculous because the ACTUAL job hasn't changed, it's just people make a big fuss over how it SOUNDS. I guess it does kind of sound like a "housewife" is somebody whose main job is to stay at home and do wifey things for their husbands (ahem). But obviously the job is actually wayyyy more involved than that, and the basic job description hasn't changed in hundreds of thousands of years: nurture, feed, care for children, care for husband, organize/manage the home, teach, and on and on and on.

I don't really like the term "stay at home mom" at all because that's just as dumb sounding as "house wife". Ummmmm I'm not exactly planning on staying at home. Even if we sell one of our cars and I have no transportation, I can still leave the boundaries of the walls of our house. You know??

Danny just suggested "domestic engineer." I've also heard "Executive Mom". I think these are a bit over the top.

I just like the title of "mom." It's short, simple, and what I am now. Had I lived 100 years ago when "housewife" connoted something different, I would have been fine with that. I don't really like "home-maker" because to me it sounds like I am working in construction. Yeah, yeah - you're going to be all on me about the difference between "house" and "home". Whatever.

It's totally a career. Just ask my mom, my mother in law, my grandma, my other grandma, my other grandma, all of my great-grandmas, and all of my great-great grandmas.

All of my sisters and sister in laws are great examples to me when it comes to motherhood (number of children birthed has nothing to do with ones' ability to be a caring, compassionate example to children and spouses - not to mention skills in all the aforementioned categories - and anybody who thinks otherwise doesn't know anything and has obviously never watched "Jon and Kate plus 8"). They are also very good at keeping their priorities straight: gospel first, family second, everything else after that. Really, I haven't been doing the best job at that these past few months. I've been letting my job overpower every other aspect of my life, and taking the weekend off to go visit family in Colorado and Texas last week was a real wake-up call. 

So I'm glad that now I get to aspire to follow in the footsteps of my own mom, and the majority of my female ancestors. Like my favorite BYU professor/practicum mentor Mary Rice said after I gave birth to Jane, "Now the REAL work begins!"


Disney Princesses are Bad Role Models

Danny and I were talking about how Disney princesses are all basically dorks and bad role models.

It started when we were talking about Odette from the Swan Princess (yeah I know, it's not technically a DISNEY movie...). When we were engaged, we watched that movie on YouTube. It was really fun, mostly because there are such gaping holes in the plot, the songs are hilarious, and it was a movie from my childhood.

"I just think that movie is funny because they tried to make a smart princess, who isn't just pretty and shallow, but instead they end up with a prince who is completely shallow, and the ONLY good thing about him is that he's handsome," said Danny.

Odette is kind of dumb, even though she has sleeves (unlike most of the others). At first she's ticked because Derek only likes her because she's pretty, so she breaks up with him. And then, she gets captured and expects him to come rescue her. Huh.

Then there's Belle. She's pretty much the biggest snoot of all the princesses. Danny, pretending to be her, said, "Yeah, there's nobody in this town who is as smart or interesting as me!"

Ariel: she is the epitome of teenage drama. "My daddy doesn't ever let me do what I want, so I'm just going to rebel and do it behind his back! He couldn't possibly be thinking of my welfare!" She has a serious case of grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side-of-the-fence. And...she's an airhead. Let's face it. Earlier in the movie, she signs her name to the contract with the witch. Danny, "That's probably the first thing the prince asked her once she could talk, 'So...why didn't you just write down your name and that I needed to kiss you to break the spell in the first place?' 'Oh. Yeah. Write it down. Hmm.' "

At least Snow White is nice, likes animals, and is a good mom. "She's TOTALLY the dwarves' mom!" says Danny. [squeaky voice] " 'Wash your hands and clean your room before dinner!' - that's like, twenty minutes of the movie!" Oh wait, there might be something more to motherhood than being good at cleaning and cooking. THAT'S why we don't all just hire nannies, ohhhhh.

Aurora is a bit of a mystery; she doesn't really HAVE a character. Not many people in that movie do, except the fairies (who are the ultimate protagonists if not the namesake of the film - "Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather" just isn't as catchy as "Sleeping Beauty"). She's an innocent girl who's nice to the animals, a bit up in the clouds when it comes to reality, but mostly everything that happens to her is fated. She doesn't choose to be beautiful, or good at singing, or even to prick the spinning wheel (who thought THAT one up?). In fact, besides falling in love with the Prince (which arguably could have been out of her control), she doesn't really do anything the whole movie. Some role model.

Jasmine is a bit tricky. She's upset at her dad, she doesn't naturally fall for Aladdin as a Prince - maybe she's the strong-willed, courageous female Disney character that we've been waiting for? Wait, though - let's think about the first part of the movie. She runs away without any type of preparation or forethought, and then is easily seduced by a (very fair-skinned) Arab street urchin. Aladdin takes her to his pad, and is almost going to start undressing her when the guards come in and actually do end up rescuing her from what would have been a pretty serious problem. And, that's okay?

Mulan and Pocahontas are pretty interesting. They are both non-white, but they don't even have full "Princess status." The only reason that Mulan is able to do great things is because she dresses like a man, and Pocahontas has the proportions of Barbie. Although I loved Mulan, as a child I never incorporated it into my imaginary pretend games the way I did the other traditional princesses (maybe I was too old when it came out?). And personally, I just never really got that much into the story of Pocahontas. Danny (who grew up with three older sisters and also has one younger sister, now age 7) has never even seen the movie. Keep in mind that he knows the lyrics to songs of the other "Disney Animated Classics" just as well or better than me.

Esmeralda from the Hunchback of Notre Dame and Meg from Hercules could be exceptions to the lousy role model trend the other princesses set. Except that Esmerelda is a pole dancer and Meg sold her soul to the devil, neither of them are actually princesses, and they have really odd physical characteristics that always turned me off. Esmerelda's face looks like an old version of Michael Jackson, and Meg's butt is just...incredible. 

Finally, Cinderella, the classic Disney Princess. She is a lot like Snow White because she can cook, clean, and is nice to the animals. She can also sew, which is a very marketable skill in their kingdom Just check out the hideousness of all the dresses at the ball. Why, with Cinderella's style, she could totally start her own line of ball gowns, and probably make a huge profit. But instead she chooses to be submissive and passive. She stays at home where her evil stepmother and ugly daughters (and aptly named cat) subject her to verbal abuse and slave labor.Come on, Cindy, you must be at least 25 (doesn't she look old?) - what are you doing living with your step-mom?

Here is an article that is even more cynical about the situation than I am:

The thing is, I already know that Disney princesses will be part of my little girls' childhoods. I am an upper-middle class American.There is no escape. At least we have about a year to brainstorm possible solutions/approaches.



Help Iraqi Refugees

My brother told me that this Sunday at the Wilk there is a meeting for people who want to help volunteer and help Iraqi refugees in Salt Lake. When I was doing my ESL practicum, I was able to help translate for a 12 year old who was new to the school, hadn't been in school for about 9 months because of war. I am interested.

If you want to go to the meeting, all I know is that it is at 5:00 in the wilk. That pretty much is vague. I looked on the BYU website and couldn't find more information than that. So just email me (click above on contact me to get my email address) if you want to go, and I will get back to you with the "where". It sounds cool.


Jane's Baby Blessing

Danny gave Jane her baby blessing on Sunday, October 18. She was great the whole time. I, on the other hand, was sick with the flu. I still am, in fact. Danny did not want me to stay at church. He made me go home basically right after the blessing. It was a little bit embarrassing: "Oh yeah, come to church, and only stay for your baby's blessing!" But I know, and you know, that that is not what happened.

You can't really tell, but I feel like absolute crap in this photo.

DMBA absolutely SUCKS

 DMBA (Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrators) is the absolute worst insurance company I have ever dealt with before in my life. I had a baby on July 15. I was covered by the student health plan, which gives me 80/20 coverage. It is October 20th and I still have not gotten the correct bill.

At first, it was because somewhere between the hospital and the insurance company, the code was switched from "Maternity" to "Mental Health". I certainly was NOT in the hospital for "Mental Health". I was there to deliver a baby. I have the proof, too! She is a beautiful girl.

DMBA billed me for $5,000. I called them and told them that it was wrong. They told me I need to call the hospital and have them change the code. I called the hospital. The hospital told me I needed to either call my physician or wait 10 days until they could figure out if it was their own mistake. I did both. It was the hospital's coding mistake. I called the insurance company and verified they had everything they needed to get the bill right. This all took about a month. So from July to August.

I waited.

About a month later in September,  I got another bill for $5,000 from the hospital, and an EOB (Explanation of Benefits) from DMBA saying that it was a "duplicate claim", that I was not covered.

I called DMBA and told them that I was indeed covered and their EOB was wrong. They apologized and while on the phone told me that everything was taken care of, they had submitted the correct claim. They said to wait 14-20 days. They told me this in September. It is now October 20th.

Today I got a bill from the hospital for $5,000. It always happens like this: I get the hospital bill, and about a week later I get my EOB from DMBA. On the bottom of the bill, it was written, "duplicate claim." Excuse me?

I called DMBA again today and told them that the bill was yet again wrong. They said that my claim was still coded for "Mental Health", not "Maternity", and that I need to call the hospital to have them send me the "Delivery Record", i.e. proof that I had a baby. I was pretty much pissed off because I have done this three times already. Isn't it their job? They are getting paid for sitting on their butts for 3 MONTHS while my claim has been untouched, and they continue to lie to me about "straightening it out", erstwhile making me do all of the work of calling people to verify this or that record?

The point is, I think that BYU should consider hiring a different insurance company to manage their student health plan. DMBA absolutely sucks.


Fun Saturday!

Tonight was a lot of fun. Lots of family is in town because of Jane's baby blessing tomorrow. We had a really fun day today, including a visit to the new OC Tanner jewelry store in Salt Lake City. Too bad the thing I picked out was more than a downpayment on a house! I was also able to get some temple names printed from the Family History library, so that was cool. We had lunch at the Lion House. Later, Sarah, Mykle, Joe, and Pop came over and we all had dinner together. It was really fun. Danny and I are always saying how we wish that every day was the weekend. We think that's what heaven is going to be: Saturday. (I actually figured that out when I was very little, but it had a lot more to do with cartoons).

My hot husband!

Isn't Jane adorable?

The new OC Tanner building. It's really beautiful inside.

Jane's halloween costume 2009!

All the grandkids (plus Ella, their Aunt)

Pop and sleepy baby

Cute sock monkey nephews (and the sock monkey doll my mom made!)

"Say 'Macaroni and Cheese'!" (one of the only foods this one will eat!)

And this one is starting to talk! Tonight he said, "Bob the builder!" perfectly and surprised us all!

Auntie Ella!

Dan and his iPhone. I used my camera, he used his phone.

Granny Janny and Danny (in the background).

And now...I'm going to sleep.


Jane's Blog

I decided to start a separate blog for updates about Jane. The world is just too creepy of a place for me to be posting details about my baby in a public setting, so I made the blog private.

This is the blog's URL: http://janechallis.blogspot.com

You won't be able to see it if you aren't invited, though.

If you would like to be invited to read this blog, email me and I will invite you.

If you don't have my email, click on the button that says "Contact Me" at the top.

That being said, I probably will sometimes put photos/videos of Jane on this public blog, because she is SO much a part of my life. I just think it would be better to reserve details to a private setting.

Hope to see you there!

Blog Goals 2009/2010

A little less than a year ago, I set some goals for this blog. I'm going to give an update on how I've been doing:

1. Write on my blog often

Well, as long as "often" doesn't mean every day, I think I've been doing fairly well on this one.

2. Put photos on my blog often

This proved difficult. The old blogger post editor sucked when it came to posting photos.

3. Get people to read and check my blog often.
I have increased my readership, but again, what the heck does "often" mean?

So, I think I ended up doing pretty well on all of those goals. Here are my new goals:

1. Post often: i.e. every week on this blog, every week on Jane's blog, and every week on our family blog. I don't know...our family blog is kind of...not as fun to write on as the other two. So we'll see. Maybe I will discontinue that blog.

2. Organize my labels: it's kind of dumb to have labels that only are on one post. I can always just search the blog if I want to find something. Labels are for organization, but as of now, they're not really doing much.

3. Increase my followers to 25 by next year. I know that not everybody uses the google followers thing, but some people do.

4. Increase my feed subscribers to 25 by next year. This will probably be much easier than getting "followers" because people can read feeds in a billion different ways.

5. Comments: Get at least one comment per post. The way to do this is by commenting on other peoples' blogs. So that is what I will do.

6. Post more about my spirituality. In last month's Ensign, there was a huge article about sharing the gospel via blogging. Some of my friends have started separate blogs as places to post stuff about their beliefs. I don't think I want to do this because a. I don't know how many people would read it anyway, and b. I don't want to set up a whole new blog. I'm a picky template chooser. I'd have to burn another feed, which while this is not difficult, it still is just one more thing on the list of things to do....So back to the goal, I think "more" would mean about once/month. That is the goal.

7. Weekly Polls: I really think that polls are cool on blogs. I want to have one about once/week. Maybe it will slow down to once/month, but let's aim high!

8. By this time next year, 4,000 hits!!!!!

9. No complaining posts. Let's face it. Blogs suck as places to complain. People misunderstand what you have to say. You come across as a complete and total jerk.  You can't ever explain yourself as fully as you would like in this forum because it is at worst a one-way medium, and at best a slow two-way medium (when people comment). Writing is a limited form. Plus, complaining is just depressing. Not a good thing to do. That being said, I don't plan on making this blog a fluffy-bunnies-kittens-rainbows place. I just want to avoid gripe-sessions.

10. Monthly Funny Things post. Those will be fun to look at later.

Delicious things I've cooked recently

Here I am  with some yummy pork chops I made for Saturday Sibling Dinner.

And these are also pork chops, with tomatoes from grandma and grandpa's garden.

A closer view of the previous porkchops.

Chicken and broccoli. Actually I think this photo makes it look nasty. But it wasn't.

Me holding the chicken and broccoli.

Grandpa's easy potatoes. Russet potatoes, olive oil, and this special kind of salt. We are constantly going upstairs to "borrow" it from them...

Ruth Ann's yummy cranberry chicken. EASIEST CHICKEN RECIPE IN THE WORLD.

Sarah always brings rolls to SS dinner. So she had me take a photo of them because they were what she "cooked". 


This is the page where I will upload all my logos, past and present.

Version 2007:

Version 10/15/09:


About Me


Williston Northampton - 2004
Brigham Young University, B.A. French Teaching, TESOL K-12 Minor - 2009

School Year Abroad - Rennes, France 2002-2003
6 Months Independent Homestay - Irbid, Jordan


My husband and daughter
Arabic K-12 Curriculum Development
Family History
Local NPR Station: KUER

Be a stay at home mom
Learn Spanish
Publish a book

Mormonism (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)


2:00 a.m. text to my brother Joe: "Infestation of molluscs?"


Chain E-mails

My students have my email address. It's a good way to be in contact with them. Unfortunately, it means that I get forwarded a lot of RIDICULOUS chain e-mails. I remember when I was in middle school, thinking how cool it would be to write one and get it started.



Although, if I could succeed in changing the format of the chain-email, that
would be a remarkable feat. Their format is so boring and predictable. It always goes something like this:
1. Apology: Please forgive me for sending this stupid chain e-mail.
2. Testimony: But it really works! Here are some examples.
3. Instructions of what to do: think of crush, dream, wish, say it several times, close your eyes, whatever.
4. Text-based image scrolling: as you scroll down the page, asterisks or exclamation points will form wavey patterns.
5. Demand: Now you have to send this to _____ amount of people in ____ amount of time...
6. Threat: ...or else your life will be ruined. Here are some examples.

The email I got today was no exception, except that it was
so poorly done, I thought it would be fun to blog about.

1. Apology
u better read this!!!! PLEASE ok i know u hate this stuff when people send you poop like this but trust me i mean trust me i will never lie too any of u....this is soooooscary its sooo crazy and it works but u have too belive in it.. soo good luck lates

How about it's "[not a good idea]" to send "poop like this" to

2. Testimony
thursday october 6, 2005

here just do it

most people aren&'t sure of what they really want in life. I received this letter from a friend on the computer, did what it told me to, and within a week, everything I had wished came true!! Here&'s an exact copy,




"Do it, do it, do it!" At least Billy Mays had more diverse portfolio of persuasive arguments. This sounds like a bunch of middle school boys trying to get another middle school boy to eat a live worm. If you want more info about
that story (except minus the middle school boys and insert 19 year old missionaries), just ask Danny.

3. Instructions

1. To yourself, say the name of the only guy or girl you wanna be with 3 times!
2. Think of something you wanna accomplish within the next week and say it to your self 6 times!!
3. If you had 1 wish what would it be? say it to yourself 9 times!!!
4. Think of something that you want to happen between you and that 1special person and say it to your self 12 times!!!
5. Now, heres the hard part! Pick only 1 of these wishes and as you scroll down focus and concentrate on it and think on nothing else but that wish.

So here's what I think: the person who wrote this was learning about multiples of 3, and concentrating is something they consider difficult. Both of which scream "MIDDLE SCHOOL" to me.

4. Text-based image scrolling

Okay, so to be honest, this is the only reason I open emails like this. It's the only part that ever changes and is funny and somewhat creative. Sometimes my Uncle forwards emails that have funny text-based images.

But this severely disappointed me. It consisted of nothing but this for about 20 seconds of scrolling:

* *

* *

How lame is that.

5. Demand

After reading this, you have 1 hour to send it out to 15 people, and what you wished for will come true within in one week!

Isn't that how horoscopes and fortune cookies usually work, too? "You will have problems at some point this week." "Oh man! It really predicted the future!" The likelihood of one of those wishes "coming true" over time, or changing your wish, or at least of you forgetting about it, is pretty high. That's even assuming that the reader of this chain e-mail
believes the writer, which...yeah. I shouldn't even waste the typing it would take to finish that thought.

6. Threat
Now, this was the main reason I decided to blog about this stupid STUPID
STUPID chain e-mail.

Sorry but once read, must be sent.

What must be sent? Oh. I get it. You don't believe in the whole subject-verb-object thing. Also, why the apology?

Yes, this is one of those kinda chain letters that everyone hates. This one has been going since 1864 and if you break this chain, you will pay!!!!!! Remember that after hearing these stories.

So, if you know everyone hates it, WHY SEND IT TO YOUR FRIENDS?

And :::drumroll::: the reason why I took all this time to blog about this stupid chain e-mail: the hilarious claim that this has been going on since 1864. WHAT?????

First Example:
Take Barbra Wallace.. She was a pretty lucky girl, up till she got this same chain letter. She had a crush on the same kid since kindergarden. when she got this mail she didn&'t pa y any attention to it. She just thought, no big deal. And deleted it. The next day her dad got fired and her mom dies in a car crash. If she would have sent the letter none of that would have happened and her mom would be alive.

Classic. Threaten the people you love.

Second Example:
Try Freddie D. Now Freddie D. was your average nerd.. Had glasses, was short and chubby, was in gifted. All the signs of
your total dork. He also received this letter and sent it to 51
people in the hour. Now, like Barbra, he had a crush on a girl since 3rd grade. The next day after sending the chain the girl confessed her love for him ever since 3rd grade. Freddie D. finally had the courage to ask her out, and of course, she had been waiting to yes to that for years. They grew up and
married each other to live happily forever.

Another classic: promise true love.

In middle school, I guess kindergarten and third grade seem like a long time ago, yet of course they are still memorable. Also, in middle school, happily forever seems like a concrete time period, instead of the vast eternity it really is. I gues happily forever to my middle school self would be like...everything before college. I couldn't imagine that far into the future.

Third Example:
Now if you couldn&'t relate to the others, this&'ll get ya hooked. Listen to this. A kid named Jordan Johnson was just getting on AOL to check his mail. He was a quiet k id, not that popular but not a geek either. he was just normal. He saw he had mail from his friend. It was this exact letter. Now Jordan Johnsen was a smart kid and he knew what could happen if he didnt pass it on. He simply pulled a few friends from his buddy list and sent it along. The next day, about that same time, he got a phone call. It said he had won the lottery!
then his dad came home and bought him a new bike! His mom bought him Nintendo64 and play station! His grandmother sent him a new computer, and his best friend
gave him tickets to the concert he wanted to go to, Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit! Then he inherited a brand-new tv from his aunt! He was goin&' wild! the next day his secret crush asked him out, and they have been going out ever since.

So, if you can't relate to loved ones being alive, or eternal life with your true love, you're sure to get hooked on the promise of money.

By the way, if I won the lottery, I don't think that other people would be buying me a new bike, multiple video game consoles, or concert tickets. This Jordan character is pretty heartless, considering that he just "inherited" a TV from his Aunt (read: she died and he's "goin&' wild" (what's with the scattered &'s???) ).

Oh yeah, and tack on the true love bit at the end for good measure.

Now, you heard the stories. I know which person i&'d rather
be, but thats up to you.

First, I read them. Second, the next sentence makes no sense. It's up to me to determine who the middle school author of this chain e-mail would rather be? Huh?

We all want what we cant have but now&'s ur chance to go out withtha t special somebody ur waiting for. Take it or leave it.

I'll leave it, thanks.

Seriously, thanks for being so ridiculous that I got to blog about it. This was really fun to write.


My Feelings About America's Next Top Model

So, this is probably one of the worst/best shows ever created.

If you don't know what happens on this show, here's the gist: reality elimination competition for girls in their late teens/early 20's who want to be a model, hosted by model Tyra Banks. Every episode they get a new "challenge" and a photo shoot. The challenge usually involves them doing weird modelesque things, like for example wearing green body suits underneath their clothes so that when they're filmed, the only thing you can see is the clothes.

But my favorite part, and the only reason that a show with air-headed, ridiculously hideously skinny, self-centered, scantily clad brats as the main characters keeps me hooked, is the photo shoot. That, and the critiques are kind of funny, too. But mostly the photo shoots are just...cool! They're weird and creative and interesting to me. Advertising is like a weird kind of art designed to manipulate you into buying things, but even though (in my opinion) it's evil, it's still artistic and just...interesting. My favorite part is not when they show the actual photo shoot, but when they show the final products and get critiqued. Here are some of the photo shoots that they've done that I think are weirdly fascinating:

- the models had to wear bald wigs - they didn't actually become bald, they just looked bald.
- the models had to pose like they were on the cover of a raunchy romance novel, and then the final product had the text overlayed on it - I thought it was hilarious.
- posing dangling from a rope ladder
- posing with snakes
- posing as homeless people

...I haven't watched it in a while, so I'm having a hard time remembering my other favorites. I watched parts of 3 different episodes today while nursing. It was fun. It reminded me of when I used to watch this with Liel and Natascha in the Avenues.

But every time I finish watching this show, I'm left with a sickening feeling. I always promise myself that I will NOT watch it anymore, that I'm not allowed to because it definitely promotes bad body image, and (in my opinion) it's demeaning to women. And yet, I tend to break that promise often. It's just so addicting. I suppose there are worse things than choosing to watch the modeling elimination show instead of the chef elimination show while nursing - at least I'm not planning my whole day around episodes of this silly show, but still, I generally like to think that I should be able to defend my morals and values better than I do. Sigh.


My Feeling About Butt Kissing

I don't like it.

Unfortunately, it seems to be a necessary evil.


(That was my nephew Alan typing. He named each letter as he pressed it.)

On second thought, there are a select few peoples' butts I wouldn't mind kissing, and that includes innocent little people whose butts may be dirtier, but whose hearts certainly aren't. The only thing is, those people are too innocent to know about non-literal butt kissing. If only adults were more like them. Sigh.


Why the French like the Millenium more than any other nationality

Danny and I were having a conversation about French dates for some reason. He was appalled (it just took me about 5 minutes to figure out how to spell that word - I thought it was "up-haul") at the sheer complexity of French dates.

For example, there is no one single word for "eighty."Instead, they say "quatre-vingt", or "four-twenty." And don't ask me why they don't pluralize the vingt to make it "four-twenties." That would make too much sense.

There is also no word for "seventy." Instead they say, "soixante-dix", or "sixty-ten."

And then, it gets REALLY complex when you say "ninety" - or "quatre-vingt-dix" ("four-twenty-ten").

Add to this the component of dates. Instead of saying nineteen whatever, they say, "mille-neuf-cent" or "one thousand-nine-hundred."

The year 1999 is bad enough in English - nineteen ninety nine. But it's SEVEN SYLLABLES in French! That's absurd! "Mille-neuf-cent-quatre-vingt-dix-neuf." I remember having the hardest time with this while learning French, and even now sometimes I have to think it out in my mind.

So Danny decided that when the millenium came around, the French must have been the most excited, because their syllaballage got reduced from seven to two: "deux mille."

Ah French.

You Lie!

So, here is a funny story.

We're learning about occupations in my 3rd year Arabic class. One of the new words was "politician" so I told the kids a story that my friend Mary told us last night when she and her husband came over for dinner.

First we talked about the congressman Joe Wilson who got up and said, "You lie!" in response to President Obama's comment that there would be no health care for illegal immigrants.

So during the speech that President Obama gave to K-12 schools, he said something about how it's too bad that popular culture sends the message that in order to be rich, famous, and influential you have to be a super model, a rapper, or an actor, but the truth is that the majority of people will never be super models, rappers, or actors. One of her students got up, right on cue, and said, "YOU LIE!"

Later in class, I had one student act out different occupations and while the rest guessed which one they were doing. Of course, the clue for "politician" was "INTA KIZZAAAB!"


By the way I graduated

Danny told me, "I have a graduation present for you...and it's not a graduated cylinder."

Science nerd!


Funny moments in August

Danny: "I can't believe the cheese has already gone bad! The expiration date is in September!"
Me:"Are you sure it's bad?"
"Totally! It's all moldy!"
[I look at the package]
"Danny it's a mexican blend WITH JALEPENO bits!"
"Well that's the dumbest idea ever! It looks JUST like mold!"

DMBA did not cover any of my hospital bill due to a coding error on their part. Apparently I was in the hospital for a mental illness, not to give birth (even though it says labor/delivery on the explanation of benefits!). Danny and I think they are retards. It would be one thing if this were the first time this has happened but literally every time I have a financial experience with them that involves them paying for part of my bill this happens. This is why they are listed in my phone as "DAMNBA". Ha-ha. Sigh. Don't worry, we're in the process of working it out with them, the hospital, and my doctor. But apparently coding errors take at least two freaking weeks to figure out. I completely understand why people in this country are screaming for healthcare reform!

When I fed Jane and she sort of smiled at me, and then puked all over me. Combined with the times she's peed and puked on both me and Danny, which are numerous.

OH WOW I think I just saw Jane's first smile! She's here sitting on my lap. Despite what I thought would be impossible, I figured out how to nurse and do other things at the same time (watch TV, type, and read - that's about it). She's been done for about 5 minutes, and I just looked down at her and she got a huge grin - and her eyes were open! This is the first time this has happened. Granted, I think that her eyes were open even though she was asleep because they were kind of rolled up in the back of her head, but it was still exciting to me! I can't wait until she smiles. Like Becky said, it will feel like "Oh! You don't hate me!"

When Jane woke up in the middle of the night, and I was too tired to get up so I said, "Hey, Danny, will you please get up?" and he did - and walked over to Jane's crib - and stood there for a while, and finally rememebered "Oh, I have to feed her!"

Is she getting better at controlling her hands?

August 10

Jane and Grandpa Vasicek

August 9


3 1/2 week old Jane and the Fan

August 10

3 week old Jane lifts head


August 6th

3 week old Jane sneezes


This was taken August 4th.



So I imagine that nursing for me is a lot like being in the MTC is like for Mark, my brother in law. The MTC is the Missionary Training Center for LDS missionaries. They go to the MTC to learn how to teach the lessons, as well as to get an intro to whatever language they will be speaking. Mark is going to California, where he will teach Spanish-speakers. He describes the MTC as being very routine, but that he's also super pumped to be there, especially when he gets a chance to actually teach real people. Missionaries in the MTC answer the phones when you call the number on the LDS church's commercials. He had a chance to teach a few people already, and he says it's great. Reading between the lines, I think the routine-ness of the MTC must be really tedious at times, as well as emotionally and physically challenging. Yet also super rewarding and fun.

So here I am as a new mom, with my little baby, and I find myself spending hours and hours and hours and hours and hours nursing. There's lots of benefits to breastfeeding, including the antibodies, the bonding, the cost - I don't know what made me decide to nurse Jane. I always assumed I would do this. I never really thought much about nursing, before, actually. Even when I was pregnant. I read in lots of places that nursing can be really frustrating, and that people who can't nurse for whatever reason can have a really hard time dealing with that on lots of different levels. I was always like, "yeah, yeah," in my mind. Now I'm like, "OHHHHHhhhhhhh I get it better now." There is a TON of pressure to breastfeed. Basically the message is something along the lines of: "You are a crappy mom if you can't breastfeed." Total baloney. Lots of people can't breastfeed their kids, but they are still good moms. The point is, being a good mom has a lot more to do with other things than just whether or not they choose to nurse. I like Becky's attitude towards this - basically, she said to try to ignore all of that pressure and do it however I feel would be best. She said that with that attitude she ended up nursing for longer, actually.

There's got to be lots of pressure to go on a mission, too. People who don't go have a really hard time dealing with that on lots of different levels. I think that in Mormon culture there is sometimes a message that, "You are a crappy person if you can't serve a mission." That is also total baloney. Lots of people can't serve missions but are still good people. The point is, being a good person has a lot more to do with other things than just whether or not they choose to go on a mission.

This analogy may be stretching it a little far because young LDS men who are eligible to serve missions are commanded to go, while nobody is commanding anybody to nurse. I guess the commandment is to take care of your kid - to make sure they get enough to eat.

Anyway, ways that I feel like I may be experiencing similar things to my brother in law are that he has a super predictable routine that can sometimes be very challenging, and that he is super excited for the future. My routine is basically: nurse - do something else - nurse - do something else - nurse - do something else...this baby has to eat every 3-4 hours. Someday I'd like to meet whoever it was who decided breastmilk should digest this quickly.

Jane is not an "all-business" eater, either. She usually takes between 30-40 minutes to finish eating. I've been reading in lots of different places to try to see if this is normal. I finally decided that I should follow my instincts. Yes it is normal. She's wetting/dirtying enough diapers, and gaining weight, and she doesn't always fall asleep right after eating. But whenever I see written that all babies will naturally "latch off" I just have to laugh. Jane does NOT do that. She will stay attached to me for as long as possible, even when I know she's not hungry anymore. I asked my pediatrician about this, and he asked if she was just "playing". I told him that I guess she is, but the truth is that it's really REALLY hard to tell. My brother said that having a little baby to take care of is like having my own live tamaguchi. Yeah, except with one really REALLY huge difference - Jane doesn't come with a little monitor telling you when she's hungry or full, or what's wrong when she cries. Oh yeah, and tamaguchis don't poop or pee. And Jane is way, WAY cuter.

The other way I feel like I'm experiencing a lot of things like Mark is that I am super happy to be a mom, and super excited for Jane to grow up. I bet I get a lot of responses from already-moms telling me to enjoy this time with her as a newborn, that it passes so quickly, and that I will be really sad when it's over. Yes, and no. It will be nice when she can finally smile. Becky said it exactly how I feel: "It's nice when they can smile because it's like, 'oh! You don't hate me!'" It will be nice when she will be able to talk and tell me what she needs. It will also be nice when I can figure out what to say to her! So far, after I say, "Jane, you're so beautiful!" I draw a huge blank.

Anyway, you may wonder why I'm posting this at 2 am. I needed something to do while Jane fell asleep on my lap. We're dumb new parents who have kept the cradle in our bedroom for these first two weeks, which means both Danny and I jump a mile when she coughs. I fed her at 1, and I don't want to wake Danny up when I bring her back. Now she's asleep and I'm supposed to "sleep when the baby sleeps" so goodnight.