Kate's American Death

No, I'm not dying, but this blog is!

Kate's American Life


RIP Forevermore!

:::sniff sniff:::

Okay anyway...


A new era begins!


My Friend's "Oscar's Bingo"

Hey, if you're watching the Oscars, you should check out this. It's heeeeelarious.

We, sadly, are not. We only have netflix. So that's kind of sad because I like the Oscars even if they are silly and stupid. Haha. I have great memories of watching them with my dad when I was a teenager.


Facebook Hackers Suck

Awesome :::rolls eyes::: my facebook account was hacked by somebody claiming I am in London and got robbed, and I need them to wire them some money. As adventurous as that sounds, I'd prefer my first trip to England to involve less illegal activity, not to mention being obnoxious and annoying to friends and people I know.

So, if you were one of the people who "I" requested money from, I'm really sorry. Believe me, it's just as horrible for you as it is for me.

And with that, I think I'll take a six month hiatus from facebooking. See how it goes. I've done it in the past, and I'm about due for another "off cycle." Blogging on the other hand...

I mean, what, did they actually think somebody was stupid enough to believe them????


The Future

Today at quilting the ladies had this really interesting discussion about, "HOW did I get here????"

One of them was talking about the disastrous weekend of her daughter. The things that I remember were that their hot water heater blew out, one of their kids poured an entire thing of syrup on the floor, the daughter accidentally ran her car into her dad's car in the driveway causing so much damage that they have to submit a claim, and to top it off, this poor lady is pregnant.

And then, all these awesome middle aged women started talking about how some days they would (or still do) just wake up and look around and say, "What? HOW did I get here? HOW did I suddenly have all these kids and all these huge, major, difficult problems to deal with????? I can remember being a teenager! Oh man, the problems I thought I had back then were so not even problems at all!"

Then they started talking about how when they look at young, newly married couples who are so deeply in love and act as if the entire world is just shiny and perfect, they just kind of shake their heads and think, "Oh man, just wait."

They talked about how it's not necessarily that they will experience marital problems, or whatever (although this was strongly implied), but they definitely all agreed that life will come with some huge unexpected problems. Like children with disabilities, or a husband who is out of a job for a year and suddenly your entire savings-for-going-on-a-mission is poof gone, to name a few.

This conversation was so interesting to me, because I would definitely classify myself in the "shiny newlywed" category. I mean, I guess we've got two kids so we're not exactly newlyweds. But we've only been married two years, and I feel very much the same way about Danny as the day we got married (which is that he's the most dreamy guy in the entire universe and I don't really see how I can possibly deserve him, but somehow I convinced him to marry me anyway!). Our life is pretty much idyllic...I mean...there are problems sure, but big ones? No. We live a happy, mundane life.

So this conversation made me wonder what is in store for us. I wonder if it is a good thing to expect problems? Will this help us deal with them when they come? Is it better to hope for the best but expect the worst? I think that's basically Danny's philosophy, or maybe I'm getting it all wrong. But that seems to make sense, a kind of realistic optimism.

What do you think is in store for us? What's in store for you?



Sincere Personal Interaction and my desire for more of it

I hear you.
I understand you.
I like you.

I recently reread this article in BYU magazine. It's about the importance of people taking the time to care enough about one another to have sincere personal interaction. This is exactly what I feel like my life currently lacks, and which I am really at a loss of how to achieve.

For the first year or so of my married life, I basically didn't give anybody but my husband the time of day. We were so anti-social it's not even funny. Obviously, I'm not saying that I lack sincere personal interaction with him; it's just...now that we're not students with the option of spending zillions and gazillions of hours together every day, and that I'm not in the physically draining state of pregnancy, I would really, really, really like to have some sincere personal interaction with other moms.

 I feel like I pour my soul into giving this to others as best as I know how, in a wide variety of ways, but somehow I go unnoticed? I don't think it really has anything to do with being unnoticed or unliked or anything like that, I just think most people around me are caught up with the frantic business of their own lives. It seriously makes me want to cry because I have no idea what to do about this.

I think what's hard is that I have a lot of free time, it's just not packaged in the most convenient way (usually it's five minutes here, fifteen minutes there). My day is not structured the way it used to be when I was on a somebody else's schedule. And there are some distinct advantages to that.

I feel really frustrated because the people who I want to be friends with, well, their lives are all on rigid schedules. School, ballet, homework, playgroups, etc. etc. I feel really sad because it's like the business in everybody else's lives has built this giant wall between us, one that is impossible for me to scale. It's built of a constant stream of rush-rush-rushing everywhere and doing everything for and with everyone else except those beyond the wall, like me.

Will I become this way, too? Will life go speeding by so fast that I won't even be able to stop, look people in the eye, and sincerely ask how they're doing? Am I doomed to be that kind of super mom?

I mean, today....today I spent a lot of hours cleaning, a lot of hours filing in my new filing cabinets, and a lot of hours cooking. Dan is doing some kind of growth spurt thing and so he's sleeping extra, and Jane is sick. I cleaned up a lot of diarrhea and did a lot of laundry. I sat and hugged her for a long time, read a book with both of them on my lap, you know - just the normal, everyday things.

I guess I feel super depressed that I spent all day trying so hard to be the best mom/person ever, and then the one time in the day when I actually got out of the house (no way was I risking diarrhea in the car), I was just...ignored. And it's not really just tonight, it's just a long accumulation of sending out zillions of emails to people, calling people, messaging people, texting people, commenting on peoples' blogs, going to every single activity even the ones that I think will not be fun...and for every one of those contacts I initiate, only a small percentage are reciprocated. BLAAAAH.

Do any other young moms feel this way? I suppose they do, and that explains the proliferation of mommy blogs...

Probably part of the reason I'm feeling this way is that when a young child is sick, it banishes their mom to the house. And it's not just me stuck at home with a sickie, it's a lot of my friends. Because obviously I do have many friends, and there are times where I've felt like I've had sincere personal interaction with others during the day, and it's probably just that I'm getting cabin fever and it's midnight after my b.o.c. and I'm just overly tired and emotional etc. etc. I'm not saying boo hoo I have no friends, obviously that would be way melodramatic, right?

Anyway, the end of the article really moved me. It encourages me to continue to try my best to reach out to others, even when they don't reciprocate. It reminds me that as isolated as I feel, I'm not alone because I have a Heavenly Father and a Savior who love me, and care about me all the time, even in the mundane, little things. I wish it were easier to be conscious of that love, and that it would completely fill the lonely void. Sigh. Maybe someday I'll be spiritual enough that it will. Workin' on that, too.

Here's the end of the article. I can't rephrase it to be better, so I just pasted it in. I hope you read it because it's quite good.

And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words the whole multitude fell to the earth; . . .
And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto them saying:
Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.
And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record. [3 Ne. 11:12–15]
The scriptures tell us that they all went forth, one by one, “about two thousand and five hundred souls” (3 Ne. 17:25). You do the math. If each person faced the Lord for only five seconds, the process lasted for about four hours. Here is another lesson about the importance of face-to-face leadership. Despite the investment of time and effort, the Lord briefly but unmistakably communicated with each individual:
I see you.
I understand you.
I love you.
I have died for you.
The risen Lord powerfully embodied what His words described.
The closing of the Savior’s visit, recorded in 3 Nephi 17, is at least as powerful and sacred as the opening:
But now I go unto the Father, and also to show myself unto the lost tribes of Israel. . . .
And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus spoken, he cast his eyes round about again on the multitude, and beheld they were in tears, and did look steadfastly upon him as if they would ask him to tarry a little longer with them. [3 Ne. 17:4–5]
Not only did the Lord stay a little longer, but He also wept with them, blessed their children and their little ones, and taught them things too sacred to be recorded. For those of us who are preoccupied with time management, here is a lesson of leadership. Evidently, the God of the universe changed or delayed His schedule to answer the silent prayers of those who were yearning for a blessing. During this boundary moment, the Lord had respect for their great desires, confirming that our prayers are not a monologue about the inevitable but rather a dialogue that invites and includes us.

Sometimes the glorious accounts of 3 Nephi seem far removed from our condition. Although we may surround ourselves with other people at the office, the school, or the stadium, we too often feel lonely, isolated, and confused. Ironically this kind of alienation comes “not from a lack of communication but from a surplus of the wrong kind.”6
Our lives are also awash with memos, e-mails, and instant messages. Sometimes these are helpful and efficient, but they are also flat and faceless.
Loneliness may be our universal condition, but face-to-face leadership is our eternal end. “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1 Cor. 13:12).

Trip to Fort Worth and then Dallas

We went to Fort Worth to see the BYU-TCU game. Well, really it was to see Jimmer. But we had a great time. On the way there, we stopped at a park called "Falls on the Brazos Park," or something like that. It was kind of a bit off the beaten path, but look at the coolness when we got there.

Basically, it was a bunch of REALLY old playground equipment, you know, the kind that is probably not allowed anymore because it's "dangerous." Merry-go-rounds and teeter-totters. It was fun. Danny and I did those things with the kids, and this random little boy who showed up.

He was cute, but kind of sad. He comes up to us in the middle of our picnic and is like, "Are you having a magnifent time?" We found out that he basically lives there (there was also a park "office" trailer with some bathrooms, a scary smoking lady (this kid's grandma) and about a dozen really angry chihuahua/mini dobermans that she was selling), which is pretty sad because it's like, the coolest place but we got a strong impression that it's hardly ever used.

Here are some shots of me and the kids by the river. The second one, Danny is telling Jane to be, "HAPPY!" so that's what she's doing, haha.

And here we are in front of TCU's mascot, the horned frogs. Hahahaha I'm so glad that BYU is cougars. Although I'm sure there are worse mascots than this, I just can't think of any.

And here Jane is at the park again, pointing at the camera!

And now the baby is crying so, cy-oh-nar-uh!

In other news, my mixer broke!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OH NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Anybody want to buy me a kitchenaid? Pretty please?


"Being a stay at home mom is a luxury."

Whether or not this phrase is true, it is deeply annoying to me. I want to explain why I don't think it's true, but you can disagree with me and I'm okay with that.

In all fairness, the person who said this probably was using the word to mean "blessing," which I would definitely agree with. It is a huge blessing that I can stay home while my kids are little. I don't think anybody would argue that.

But when a working mom says that being a stay home mom is a luxury, it irritates me to the point of cracking me up. What is a luxury? Something superfluous, that would be nice to have but is not necessary, something extra.

I think stay-home parenting has been and should continue to be the standard.

Lots of moms work, for many reasons including in order to make ends meet. I am NOT judging you for your personal lifestyle choices. I do NOT think that working moms are evil. I do NOT think that it is always mom who needs to stay home. All I'm saying is that in my opinion, the standard is that a parent should raise their own children. Doing this is not a luxury, it is an expectation of parenthood. When it doesn't happen, for whatever reason, it is an exception to the expectation.

I'm fairly certain that most working moms would agree with this. All the working moms I've met have had the attitude: "You're so lucky to be able to stay home!" In which case, they use the term luxury as blessing, which it totally is, and now we're just parsing words.

Staying home with your kids is like bread. Can you live without bread? Yes, but it's better to have it. It is the "staff of life." In Egypt, it is called aish, which means "life." Every culture has some form of bread.

Can all people eat it? No. People with celiac aren't able to digest the gluten. It makes them sick. This is an exception to the norm, which is that most people can eat it.

Staying home with your kids is like breastmilk. Can your baby live without breastmilk? Yes, but it's better to have it. There are many health benefits including increased immunity to disease, to name just one. Every culture has women who breastfeed their babies.

Can all people breastfeed? No. There are many who don't have an adequate supply. Their babies must have formula in order to eat. But this is an exception to the norm, which is that most moms can breastfeed.

Staying home with your kids while they are little is important. Can your kids live without it? Obviously they can. Is it better if a parent can do it? Yes. Is it the norm? I don't know, but I think it *should* be. There are stats floating around about that say 60-ish % of women with kids work, and 40-ish % of them don't. But what does that even mean? Clearly there is a difference between the working woman who is gone 12 hours a day and almost never sees their child from a teacher who is gone while their kids are in school, or somebody who goes to work somewhere part time in the evenings in order to make ends meet, etc.

My opinion is that staying home is something that most people want to do, whether or not the majority actually do. It does not fall under the category of "superfluous", or "something that would be nice." Calling it a luxury demeans the occupation, and it irritates me.

Besides, when I think of my life in terms of "luxury", it's so hilarious and laughable. Especially considering that I drove pretty far to get 2 filing cabinets for $15 yesterday, and Danny and I worked for about two hours scrubbing three-or-four-times-handed-down leather couches in order for them to be clean enough to sit on. OooOOOoooh, so luxurious!!! haha.


Happy Jimmentine!

You need to check out the hilarious Valentines on my friend's blog. We were on the same floor freshman year at BYU.

We are going to the BYU-TCU game this weekend to witness Jimmer Fredette with our own eyes. It is my Valentine's present to Danny.

His gift to me was a night of cooking together without the kids. Miraculously, Jane was asleep and Dan was mostly content. It reminded both of us of before we were married, when we used to cook together, and dream about being married. Haha.

Actually, his other gift was pretty awesome, too. He used to get $2 bills every year for his birthday from his grandparents. Well, he's been saving them for years, and combined it with a little spare cash, gave me $60. He was going to get flowers, but I called him from the grocery store and forbade him from doing so.

Danny: "But what can I get you?"
Kate: "You know what I really want? A filing cabinet!"
Danny: "But that's such a crappy present!"
Kate: "No way!"

Because he gave me cash, I was able to shop Craigslist. I found a 4 door black filing cabinet for $15. And because I'm coming from far away, they want to give me a small 2 door one, as well. Which is great. I will decorate the small one like this, so it isn't an eyesore in our downstairs living space, and the black one can go in my office closet.

Hooray! And there's plenty left over to get: paint and glossy stuff for antiquing the toy thingy, risers for my desk, foam to reupholster my awesome chair, a bit of fabric to reupholster the same said chair, a massive amount of pegboard for my pantry and office, and some leather restorer stuff.

Our friends are moving and they gave us their leather couches, but they are pretty dirty. I've been scrubbing all morning. I read that if you let cornstarch sit on them for several hours, it can help get out the tough stains. So the library is currently barricaded so Jane doesn't go rolling around in the super messy cornstarch. Hope it works.


How We Celebrated Valentine's Day

For Valentine's Day dinner, I made Shrimp Fra Diavolo. It's a recipe from my 'America's Test Kitchen' book, which as far as I'm concerned doesn't contain a single non-delicious recipe. It was my first time cooking with raw shrimp, and also my first time lighting alcohol (brandy) on fire.

Just about now, I am wishing I had remembered to buy a fire extinguisher!

It was really, really delicious, and the perfect thing for my true love. He said it was the best thing I had ever cooked, in his opinion. "Or at least, in the top five!" Which is probably more realistic, because that Boeuf Bourgignon was pretty amazing, just sayin'.

It was perfect for him because he loves pasta, shrimp, and spiciness. There are 2 tsps (THAT IS A LOT!) of red pepper flakes in this baby! But somehow it had a lot of heat, but didn't burn, and also had a lot of flavor. Ahhhh, ATK, I love you. Oh, yeah, and Danny too! haha.

So, on a different note, this is the 300th post, and no new blog yet.

The problem is that the upstairs computer is our server, but it was just recalled, so we can send it in and get a brand new one. Which is good, because there is a major problem with it: the wireless no longer works. As in, it receives its internet through a plug. Weeeeeird. Haha. For now it's just been a desktop-laptop, but to get a brand new computer would be awesome.

But unless we change things around so my downstairs computer can be our server, when this computer leaves us, so does my new blog.

We could just get some free web hosting site and combine it with some redirects to work around this issue until we get the new computer.

The other big problem is that before we do anything to the downstairs computer, Danny wants to reinstall a better version of linux. The one we have is basically just a media-shell type thing. It's fine, but probably regular ubuntu would be better for my computing needs.

The other big problem is with adding an email/RSS subscription widget. It's weird that wordpress doesn't automatically download with that plugin, but whatever. So far, it keeps asking for FTP information when we try to install the plugin I want, but the server is not an FTP server. Why does wordpress want an FTP host to download the plugin? Danny thinks it's just to change the file permissions, which is something he could easily do a workaround for. But that's not a great long term solution because I imagine there will be other plugins I will want to download, and while he can do command line workarounds easily, it would take me fifty times longer and I would most likely mess something up.

I guess I could just start the new blog without a "subscribe!" button, but I daren't do that. I want my parents to read my blog, and while some people are comfortable copying and pasting URLs into their blog readers, my parents get my blog as an email subscription and I don't see that changing. I guess they *could* make it their homepage, but...yeah, no. I need this plugin, by golly!

So basically, getting my new blog up and running will involve reinstalling an operating system and reconfiguring a server, which is too much work to do right now.

This is how my true love and I spent our Valentine's Day evening, by choice. Oh the nerdiness. But it was fun, and that's what matters.


Married, Female, Mormon, Insomniac? (anybody else catch the reference?)

My bro-in-law sent me a link to this article, and after reading the first sentence I decided not to read it because I knew it would just be too upsetting. When the first sentence in an article has the words "planned parenthood", you just know that.

Later, I talked about it at length with Sarah, who had talked about it with my mom. It's about an older single Mormon woman who decides that the church is not for her because of its oppressive culture towards sex. So as a 35 or 36 year old, she goes to planned parenthood, gets an IUD, and starts living a "happy" life of promiscuity. My mom and Sarah both agreed that the author's main motivations for writing the piece were to validate her unrighteous actions, which she probably needed to do because she felt so guilty for them.

Anyway, I didn't read that article, but I read THIS one, which was an interesting response by an LDS woman who got divorced and then remarried. She basically says that the point of our existence has to be more than sex, because when that is all it is, our lives are shallow and meaningless. Even people who never get to be married and enjoy the blessings of family life still can lead full lives because the point of this life is to gain a testimony of Christ and to learn to be more like Him.

I read this with Danny. We thought it was a good blog post. I think I mostly agree with her, except maybe that she under-emphasized the importance of getting married and having a family. Thinking about it, it's really easy for me to say, "Sure, I could lose everything, but I'd still have Christ." But the truth is, I actually feel like I would have nothing without my family. But there are plenty of people who can still have full lives, who don't get the chance to marry here, but will later. I guess I just have a hard time relating to that?

What do you think?

(My MIL had a good suggestion for what to do about Dan's night wakings. She says it's a good idea to get up and "plug him" with his binkie, not feed him immediately, sort of train him to sleep a half hour longer, bit by bit. So we'll see how this goes. I'm writing this post between episodes of getting up, wrapping him up, and plugging him, FYI. I'm now on round 5.

The truth is that I kind of actually like middle of the night feedings, it's just when I wake up an hour beforehand and can't fall asleep for an hour (or two) afterward, and end up getting 3-4 hours of sleep total that it is hard. It's the insomnia/hunger pains that I could do without. But if baby wants to nurse, I'm down with it pretty much any time!)


Baby 15: mom 4 - hours of sleep that is.

Why does it always happen that I wake up at 3 am, lie awake in bed for an hour unable to fall asleep, figure out that my stomach is screaming, "HUNGER HUNGER HUNGER!" after about an hour, get a bowl of cereal at 4 am, and just as I'm finishing said B.O.C., le bebe awakes?

Rinse and repeat.

And repeat.

And repeat, ad infinitum.

Baby Dan, please wake up at 3 am next time.


"Metablogging" or "When to Kill a Blog"

I am so glad that I married a computer nerd. Last night, we spent several hours working on my blog.

My new blog.

I am a one-blog woman. I can't have multiple blogs that I keep up. I just can't. I know this because my blogger dashboard has something like 13. Don't worry, they aren't all supposed to be daily-updated type blogs; some of them are just me saving the name for someday-but-not-today. Some are group blogs that are no longer in existence. And some are finished blogs.

What in the heck is a "finished blog"?

Obviously, a travel blog is "finished" when you get home. Or some time after you get home, as was my case, since I wanted to include the first little bit of major culture shock.

But this blog? When will it be done?

The fact is, I don't listen to "This American Life" anymore because the last 3 times I tried to, it was always either extremely dirty, or worse: extremely negative about marriage. Okay, maybe it's not worse, but I can't tolerate either. So why would I want my blog to be named after it? Besides, the person who introduced that NPR show to me is no longer important to me at all.

Anyway, reading this article completely changed my attitude about blogging. How? It highlights "typical mormon mommy bloggers." Wanting to know what that is, I subscribed to all the blogs she mentioned in the article. The past few weeks reading them, I have figured out this one thing:

I want my blog to be more like theirs.

Short daily posts, lots of pictures, lots of happines, lots more about the mundaneness of life. Starting over with a clean slate seems like a good way to do it.

Besides, on a more practical-usage level, I am getting "wordpress-lust." My original blog was with livejournal, then I graduated to blogger, and now that I've grown up I am becoming a wordpress blogger? From our home server and my own domain? Don't want to bore you with the nerdiness of last night. Let me tell you, Danny and I had a blast working on it together. Again, I will state: I am SO GLAD I married a computer nerd, mainly for the reason that he has just as much or more fun figuring out the technical aspects of blogging, so it is something we can sit down and do together. Secondarily, for the reason that he knows orders of magnitude more about computers than I do, so parsing through RSS XML DNS CNAME ATOM madness is much, much, much, much easier with him around.

The other reason is that my life now is just so, SO different from what it was when I started this blog. I am now a stay-home-mommy. Major life change = major blog change?

What sealed the deal for me was picking up a random Ensign yesterday (to "read" with Jane, which means pointing at pictures and saying, "Look! Jesus!") was when I happened to pick the one with this article. I want my blog to be less ranty, and more lifey.

This blog has been more of a mind-dump. I am not sure if I will keep it active, you know, post here every so often when I build a giant rage about something political or whatever. But let's be honest, I probably won't ever post here again after the 300th post.

Yes, I will soon have reached 300 posts on this blog. That seems like a nice, round number. Good time for change.

Honestly, I'm pretty scared to do this. I love (as in obsess over) my reader stats. I love getting comments. Blogging is a big part of my life. I love writing. I love sharing. I love reading others' blogs. I'm freaked to change to a new blog because I know my readership will go down. But hopefully it will eventually go up? I love being able to say something and feel like other people hear it. Anyway, that Ensign article above clearly stated that even and especially if you don't have thousands of readers, you can make your blog be a wonderful tool for sharing the gospel.

I think the point I get from that is: share your testimony in the small things too, not just the huge, major testimony-building things.

Anyway, more about the new blog later. For now, I am going back to sleep.


Is Dunkin' Donuts "Cheap and Low Class"?

Danny: "Donuts are totally a low-class food.*"
Kate: "Sure, but Dunkin' Donuts is like Starbucks."
Danny: "How is Dunkin' Donuts like Starbucks?"
Kate: "You know how there's a Starbucks on every corner in Conifer? That's how it is in Western Mass!"
Danny: "But that doesn't mean that it's not low class."
Kate: "Everybody goes there. EVERYBODY."
Danny: "McDonalds?"
Kate: "McDonalds isn't necessarily low class."
Danny: "I can't think of anything more low class."
Kate: "Maybe if you ate there every day for every meal!"
Danny: "I think the difference is that when you think of Starbucks, you think of coffee, but when you think of Dunkin' Donuts, you think of donuts, and donuts are a low-class food. Donuts are in the name!"
Kate: "Okay, but everbody at home goes to Dunkin' Donuts primarily for their coffee."
Danny: "But it's still in the name. And they DO sell donuts. Starbucks doesn't sell donuts, they sell pastries and croissants."
Kate: "And now they sell $3.00 half-cups of oatmeal."
Danny: "Exactly! If anything screams elitism, it's absurdly priced peasant food relabled as a health food!"
Kate: "You could buy about 3 pounds of oatmeal for that much."
Jane: "Waaaah!!!"

Better go appease the whiner.

But I'm wondering what you think. Is Dunkin' Donuts cheap and low class? Dot, you worked there for a stint. What say ye?

* Danny wants to add for clarification that he is not an enormous snob, that he ate donuts every morning for 3 years in high school.



So, what's with the porn talks????

Last week was the 5th Sunday of the month which means that the Relief Society and Priesthood meet together for the last block of meetings at church. Our bishopric surprised everybody by having an LDS therapist from the other ward come in and give a slideshow presentation about Pornography.

He did a great job, and when I left, I was thoroughly terrified.

Crazy statistics, like 28% of porn "users" are women, 20% of men look at porn at work (which most employers have a zero toleration policy), the people who make money off porn try to hook 8-11 year olds (EIGHT???) - deliberately trying to get them to view it accidentally - and the most staggering part of his message: Your kids will be exposed to pornography and there's nothing you can do to completely keep them away from it.

I wish he had spent more time talking about how you can overcome this sick and home-wrecking addiction, and more time giving parents concrete ways to deal with the problem with their children. But the time was limited and the audience too diverse, and he gave us lots of resources to find these things ourselves (including access to the slideshow he had, as well as his contact info, which was cool). Not everybody there was a parent. And while neither Danny nor I have ANY doubts about the evils, addictive nature, and seriousness of this issue, it really is important to be reminded of this.

I'm grateful that my friend Galad's Sunday school lesson that day was about the Woman at the Well. I sat there in her class, and reread that story. Obviously, she had some sexual purity issues. I think she had five husbands before, and when she met Christ at the well, her current relationship was with a guy to whom she wasn't married. Yet Christ sought her out. He offered her living water. He used her as a major missionary tool in Samaria.

Anyway, that was just a powerful reminder to me how Christ's love extends to everybody, even those with serious sexual sins. To partake of the living water, she would have to change, no doubt. But that he offered, that the atonement is available to all, that's really important to remember.

Tonight was the adult session of our stake conference. President Sosa, who is a close family friend of ours, gave an extremely powerful talk about boundaries. He chose to focus his talk on avoiding pornography. The main thing that I remember that struck me was that he said that if you put your boundary right on the edge, it is not an effective boundary. You need to put it as far away as possible from the danger. That makes sense to me.

He also said he thinks it's easier to live righteously 100% of the time rather than 98% of the time. That will have to be abroidered (this is the word that comes to mind and I think it's in French but I'm too lazy to find a synonym so just figure it out from the context) on a different night since I am going to eat some yummy pasta with my true love now.

I guess that the answer to this post's title is: this is a huge deal. Pornography destroys people, marriages, and families. Through Christ's atonement, we can be healed, but it's a zillion times easier and better to not be broken from it in the first place. I think our stake is just sending us the message that this is an important issue and education on how bad it is/how to avoid it is something we all really need.

Why do you think the sudden influx of "porn talks"?


My Personal Version of Hell

It's got to be some kind of sick hybrid version of a pediatrician's waiting room combined with an 18 month old's first mommy-and me class.


Pediatrician Switch?

Ped: "Jane should be getting several shots today...let's see..." [looking at computer screen chart]

Kate: "Here's the record I have of her shots." [hands the ped my little sheet of cardstock]

Ped: [Looks confused] "Oh." [Looks from the screen to the paper to the screen several times] "It looks like we don't have a record of some of these shots."

Kate: "Okay, so..."

Ped: "Let me check on something." [leaves the office, then comes back] "Yeah, it looks like Jane has already had the prevnar and the *something something something booster vaccines I forgot what they're called*. I'm glad you had that paper because we don't want to give her the wrong shots!"

She then starts doing Daniel's physical and then leaves quickly thereafter to do another patient's physical. I was there for both kids, and I think she was there in the room a total of 15 minutes. My mind was focused on the baby and keeping him from rolling off the exam table, while Jane and her friend played with the chairs (yes, I was also babysitting, and therefore had 3 under 2 with me at the pediatrician's, but it was actually not bad at all).

Much later, the nurse comes in to give baby Dan (the 4 month old) his shots. It went like this.

Kate: "So, what would have happened if I hadn't brought in my record of Jane's shots?"

Nurse: "Oh, well, we're switching from a paper system to an electronic system. It must have just not been input into the new system yet." (that didn't answer my question at all!)

Kate: [coldly] "Well, then it's a good thing I brought in my paperwork, otherwise you might have given her the wrong vaccines!"

Nurse: "I don't work here normally. I'm just here as extra help today."

Kate: [nicer] "I'm sure it's not YOUR fault. I'm just concerned that they lost the record."

-- End of discussion --

Since the main thing we use our pediatrician for is vaccines and immunizations and they made such a huge, avoidable mistake, I think we will find a new doctor. Do you think this is an overreaction? What would you do in a similar circumstance? Keep in mind that I have thought about switching ever since:

a. my friend had problems with the same pediatrician's office
b. this office filed my kids' charts/paperwork under D instead of C and took 15 minutes to find it, while I waited with cranky kids
c. the doctor herself is nice but clearly has no clue who I am or my kids are - she reads the stuff as if it's a script instead of even listening to my concerns. Dude, I know HOW to start a baby on solid foods. Hello, I have an 18 month old!? But what I want to know is WHY I should wait longer, how it will affect the younger one, and you just brush off those concerns and tell me to read the handout? Obnoxious! and finally,
d. It's so freaking expensive. Maybe somewhere else will be...not as. Yeah right.

For the record, I'm with Dr. Stabe at Texas Children's Pediatrics - Katy.

What would you do?


Girl's Night Out

Oh my gosh. I just had the best time ever. Some gals in my ward wanted a girl's night out, so we got together. I'm so glad they invited me over email otherwise I probably wouldn't have known about it, since I'm a new stay home mom and relatively new in our ward. I almost didn't go, but then Danny really, really wanted me to. We ate dinner and just sat around and talked. My butt is sore from sitting, and my face is sore from smiling.

I can't believe how incredible, interesting, intelligent, and awesome these women are. It's impossible to really convey in a blog post. But maybe if I just wrote a list of some of the things we talked about, then you'd get the gist.

So here goes:

How to prepare for a funeral
Being in the Presidency of an organization in the church and how that will lead to some people hating you, inevitably
An inactive member calling up and demanding an LDS Relief Society to throw a funeral for her non-member dad (food included! Sheesh!)
How hard it is to be called to the Elder's Quorum President, organizing moves
Some place where they had to impose a rule that "you have to go to church for at least 2 months if we are going to help with your move"
Some non-member asking her member friend about the church's "moving company" hahhahahahahaha
Pregnancy hormones, aches, pains
How it just gets worse with each additional child
How pain pills can be horribly addictive, but wonderfully effective
How great yet impersonal the internet is
Facebook woes
How I accidentally deleted all of Danny's friend requests because I thought it was ME logged in, and I had no clue who those people were. Whoooops!
Modern day polygamists in southern Utah and how something like 90% of the ones that leave actually end up voluntarily going back (!!!)
That story of how I got proposed to in Jordan, and how I diplomatically said no
The LDS missionaries whose premature death in the 1800's was the sole reason the Jerusalem Center was able to come to be
How much our ward is an internet-email-facebook-y ward
Baking whole wheat bread and how it changes your ability to eat enriched white bread (yuck!)
Diets and which ones work, and why
Danny's Diet
What in the heck is Jersey Shore and why do people find it entertaining
The ridiculousness of a "regular day" for Gwyneth Paltrow
How sad it is that all female stars turn into sluts (Brittney Spears, Miley Sirus)
...except there are some exceptions, like Taylor Swift, and possibly Hilary Duff
The awesomeness of Taylor Swift
Kids and how they never do what you say
Kids and how they say, "Okay mom" but then don't do what you say
Kids and how the third and fourth one, there's really no good way to keep them quiet during Sacrament Meeting
Kids and how the third and fourth one are defiant
Agatha Christie's Nanny/Housekeeper
The Bookkeeper of Kabul and why it is a depressing book, and why you should read Three Cups of Tea afterward to keep from getting too depressed
The PBS TV show where people try to live like they were in different time periods, like the frontier, or the Pilgrims
How it's pretty great that we don't have to be pioneers, and we're all not really sure what Neal A. Maxwell meant when he said that they would honor our immense sacrifices that we would make in the last days. Like...having to share a husband? Having to give birth in the back of a wagon without any anesthesia? Having to not take a bath for an entire winter because the water was too cold? Hmmm...
Is Israel the Holy Land
How in the heck can missionary work be established in the Middle East
The foundations of the foundations of the foundations of missionary work in the Middle East that Amy and I witnessed over there
How we live in a time when women are expected to do it all, and that it was never like this really before, because in other time periods, women shared labor a lot more
And this is why our houses are messy, and we shouldn't be too upset by it.
How depressing it is to clean a closet and turn around and see the rest of the messy house to clean.
Sister Wives and how they would be great except for the whole sleeping with your husband part
How it would be awesome to have a personal chef, as long as they also did the laundry
...so you could spend time with the kids more! See, everybody wins
How arranged marriages in the Middle East are a lot more similar to Mormon marriages than they are different

and on and on and on...and Danny put a curfew of midnight on me, so this post will have to end.

Thank you so much gals. I needed that so badly. I feel totally refreshed and recharged, and ready for another exciting week of small children. Which, for the record, I DO love, it is just sometimes more difficult than a blog can really express.


Lazarus, come forth.

(Thanks, Geertgen tot Sint Jans. You were about my age when you made this insanely awesome painting of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead (early/mid twenties, 1480's). I am the same age, and barely have enough talent to save a picture of it to my desktop and publish it on my blog. Hehe.)

Last night, Danny and I took a break from the Book of Mormon, and instead read the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Luke 16:20-31).

Me: "Yeah, when I was in Seminary, I thought this was like, the lamest parable ever."
Danny: "Why?"
Me: "I mean, most parables use object lessons, things from every day life. But this one was just about two people who die and what happens to them after. I mean, it's totally different from all the others!"

We decided to read it. I'm a little stumped on how to make this into a Quiet Book page. My dad emailed me about this one, and said it was the only parable that uses someone's first name. If I'm remembering right, not only was Lazarus some kind of cousin to Jesus, but they were also good friends. Lazarus means "helped of God" according to the Bible Dictionary.

Anyway, it was a neat experience to read it, because we actually did learn something fascinating.

Turns out, the parable is not just about Lazarus and the Rich Man, and it actually is an object lesson. A freaking amazing one.

What happens in the parable is there is this beggar named Lazarus who wants to eat the crumbs from the Rich Man's table, but instead the Rich Man's dogs come and lick him. Then they both die, and Lazarus goes to heaven with Father Abraham, and the Rich Man is in rags and is tormented by the flames of hell (a.k.a. spirit prison).

The Rich Man calls out to Abraham and is like, "Hey! Can you please send Lazarus over here to dip his finger in some water and cool my burning tongue!" Abraham is like, "Hey, you had your reward while you were alive, and Lazarus' life sucked, but now Lazarus is getting his reward, and you're tormented. Anyway, there's a huge gulf between us, and there's no way he could go over there anyway, and no way you can get here."

Then the Rich Man is like, "Please, please, can you send Lazarus down to visit the people in my father's house? I really don't want my five brothers to suffer my same fate."

Abraham says, "They have Moses and the prophets, they should be good enough."

The Rich Man says, "But if someone came back from the dead, THEN they would for sure repent!"

This next part is powerful, so I'm going to quote it for real. Abraham says, "If they ahear not Moses and the bprophets, neither will they be cpersuaded, though one rose from the dead."

Danny suddenly said, "Hey, I never got that before. Lazarus DID rise from the dead."

We were then intrigued about whether it was before or after Jesus told this parable. We looked it up in the Harmony of the Gospels in the BD, and we found out that first Jesus told the parable, and then a little later Lazarus was raised from the dead, after four days of being in the tomb. He was dead dead, totally dead according to Jewish law.

And Abraham was totally right. Even though Lazarus rose from the dead, it didn't persuade people to follow Christ. In fact, that was one of the last miracles Christ performed before his crucifixion. Danny said that it actually contributed to his death; it was an act that was too big to be ignored.

What I mainly learned from this was that the parable actually is an object lesson from real life. To me, that makes the story much more powerful. It's not just a, "how could anyone even know that," type thing. In fact, the main point of the story doesn't actually have that much to do with Lazarus. It's to teach us that miracles cannot be a basis for our faith, because guess what, they obviously weren't! Jesus must have known that he would raise Lazarus from the dead before he told this parable. He knew it would be a real-life object lesson.

On a different note: does anybody else find it super weird that Lazarus being raised from the dead is only found in John? Why didn't the other gospels include that huge, huge story?

I remember being in Lazarus' tomb in the West Bank. I was skeptical, since you know, there are probably dozens of caves called "Lazarus' Tomb." I remember it was kinda spooky. Even if it wasn't the exact place, it was still chilling to think about. One of the more interesting places I've been.

Danny's idea for a quiet book page has to do with moving felt doggies over to "lick" Lazarus. I think that's hilarious. What would YOU do to illustrate this story?


LDS Quiet Book: Parables of Jesus

My sister is visiting from Utah and we have decided to make some Quiet Books together. I'm super excited because I had started brainstorming ideas for this a LONG time ago.

A Quiet Book is a cloth book with interesting (and quiet!) things to "do" on each page - snaps, velcro, buttons, spinny things - whatever.

Growing up, we had an awesome Quiet Book that was church themed and well-used during Sacrament Meeting. My mom made it. I'm sure most of the pages were from some LDS pattern source, because Sarah brought her mother in law's Quiet Book for her kids, and it had some of the same pages! "Help Suzy say her prayers," and the one where you help Lehi's boat sail across the page from Jerusalem to America. So cool.

Anyway, there are so many possibilities for Quiet Books, and between Sarah and me, it's like we could probably start a business or something. I would never want to do that, but we just keep brainstorming idea after idea for themes and pages, and how you would make each page interesting. A fairy tale themed book. One of all the Latter-day prophets. Women in the Scriptures. Articles of Faith. Etc, etc.

The one I want to make is a Parables of Jesus Quiet Book. I went through the Bible Dictionary and made a list of all the "official" parables under "Gospels - Harmony of." There's a lot, and some will be really tricky. But wouldn't it be cool to have a page for every parable!?

It was so much fun to talk about this with Danny. Not only did he remember the obscure and totally hard-to-understand parables, but he also came up with lots of great ideas for a quiet book pages. Even if you aren't crafty, this would be a fun and new way to study the scriptures: figuring out how to make the story you're reading into a child's Quiet Book page. Sounds like a fun activity my mom would have had us do in Seminary.

Here is a list of the parables I will use, and the ideas we've had so far.
  • the Sower - In this parable, the seeds get cast into different environments, where they either grow or don't. There could be a bag of buttons (or snaps) that you can move around to the rocky soil, thorny soil, wayside soil with the birds, and the good soil.
  • the Candles - I think this is the one about not hiding your candle under a bushel, but putting it on a candlestick so it can give light to all in the house. So, the idea is to have a felt candlestick and flame that you can move from under the bushel to a candlestick holder.
  • the Tares - This is where the reaper separates the wheat from the tares, or the faithful from the unfaithful in the last day. So a giant plastic sack thing with some green leafy stalk things and some yellow leafy stalk things, maybe short pieces of that fuzzy wire stuff I forget what it's called. You have two sacks, a happy one and a sad one, and you have to separate the green ones from the yellow ones and put them in the right sack.
  • the Mustard Seed - This is the one where a huge plant grows from a tiny seed, just like how a strong testimony can grow from a tiny amount of faith. This would be fun to have a folding tree that just gets bigger. It would be cool to somehow incorporate a real mustard seed hot glued on the page.
  • the Leaven - This is the one where a person makes a loaf of bread and it rises a lot even though there's only a little bit of leaven. It's supposed to have something to do with the church's growth in the latter days, according to Joseph Smith. I think this one would work to have an outline of a piece of bread that you can snap up to "inflate".
  • the Treasure in a Field - In this parable, somebody finds a coin in a field and uses it to buy the field. It would be cool to have a field and a zipper pocket with a hidden coin.
  • the Pearl of Great Price - In this one, the man finds a pearl and sells everything he owns to buy it. I think it would work to just have a "pearl" bead on a fancy pillow cushion with tassels. Kinda boring, but kinda cool.
  • the Net - In this one, there is a net with lots of different fish which, in the end, get sorted into piles of good and bad fish. So, I could have a net with fish inside it with snaps on them, and the happy ones go in one pile and the sad ones in another.
  • the Householder - This is a tricky one. Danny and I talked about it for about an hour. We think the point of it is that Christ was saying, "You think you get the parables I've just told you; why don't you keep thinking about them, and the more you do, the more you will learn new truths to go along with the old ones that you think you know." But that was just our interpretation, and it may be wrong. How to do it? A treasure chest with some old coins and some new coins that you can take out and look at.
  • the Lost Sheep - This is the one where the shepherd leaves the 99 sheep to find the lost one in the mountains. Easy enough, have felt mountains and a velcro "trail" for the shepherd to follow to get to the baby sheep at the top.
  • the Coin - find the piece of silver hidden in the house.
  • the Prodigal Son - This is the one where the son returns to his family and repents after he has spent his inheritance in wicked ways, and the father welcomes him and gives him all these wonderful gifts. The end of the story is often overlooked, so we decided it would be interesting for a quiet book page to have three guys: the dad, a happy man in ragged clothes (the prodigal son), and a pissed man in nice clothes (the brother). Then, there would be a table with three fold-ups. One would have a fancy ring, one would have a fancy coat, and one would have a side of roast beef (the fatted calf).
  • the Unmerciful Servant - This is the one where there is the master and two servants. The first servant owes the master millions of dollars, and the master forgives him of his debt. But then, a different servant owes the first servant like, a dollar, and the first servant doesn't forgive the debt. So the master throws the first servant in jail. This was also a cause for great discussion on how to incorporate it into a quiet book page. I think there could be three heads with three wallets. The master's wallet has a heart in it, one servant has an "I owe U" with a cents sign, and the other an "I owe U" with a dollar sign. And there could be arrows pointing to which one they owe money to. But it's kind of a boring page. And really hard to convey the idea of "debt" across with felt. Sigh.
  • the Good Samaritan - In this one, a man is mugged and injured and is on the side of the road. Some people pass him by (Jews I think), but then a Samaritan (an unlikely helper) stops and helps him. Dresses his wounds and gives him clothes and money. This one is really long, but Danny came up with a great idea. A man with a sack and a man in his underwear. In the sack, there are things like bandaids, clothes, and coins that you can give to the one in his underwear.
  • the Unjust Steward - I don't understand this parable at all. It's about a steward who is about to get fired, but then he goes and settles his master's debts and the master praises him for it. I think it's supposed to have something to do with how if even an unjust steward thinks about the future, how much more should we think about the future. But I don't really get it more than that. What do you think it means? Any ideas for this one?
  • Lazarus and the Rich Man - I always thought this parable was somewhat lame, growing up, because it's about the after life more than it is about this life. It didn't seem anything like the others. There's a beggar named Lazarus and a Rich Man. Lazarus begs the Rich Man, who ignores him. But then they both die, and Lazarus becomes a rich man, while the Rich Man becomes a beggar. He is reminded that he's just getting his due. He begs them to send Lazarus back from the dead to teach his family, claiming that they will listen to a dead man. But he's reminded that if his family members won't listen to the prophets, they won't listen to a dead man. I think this one would work to have two men, one Lazarus, one the rich man, and have them be able to switch clothes. Rags to a purple cape and outfit, and a crown. Either that, or I will just use Danny's idea of the dogs licking Lazarus. Seriously, a little kid would LOVE that.
  • the Unjust Judge - This is the one where the woman pesters the wicked judge so much that he finally hears out her case and rules justly. The point of this one is that if even a wicked judge would finally rule fairly, then how much more fairly will a completely just judge (Christ) be. Maybe just a judge's gavel?
  • the Good Shepherd - Christ, a gate, some sheep, and a wolf. Maybe some finger puppets.
  • the Laborers in Vineyard - A spinny clock with some people on it, and a purse full of coins to give to each one.
  • the Pounds - Or this one. A coin in a napkin that you have to unwrap.
  • the Two Sons - Two little dice thingies labeled "Do" and "Say", that you can switch from "yes" to "no".
  • the Wicked Husbandmen - I vaguely remember this one as the one where there are some people in charge of a field who kill everybody who the master sends to them, symbolic of Christ. But I will need to reread it. I think I will just use the second part of this, with the stones. I will have there be a wall of stones, and you have to put the main piece back together. It is stored in a trash can because at first it is rejected?
  • the Wedding of a King's Son - This is the one where the King's son is getting married and he invites a lot of guests. They don't come. He invites them again, they don't come. So he goes to the side of the road and invites whoever. They are all feasting, but then there is one who isn't wearing proper wedding attire, and he gets kicked out. The point of it is how the gospel was offered first to the Jews (the original guests) but they refused to accept it, then to the Gentiles (whoever by the side of the road). The person who isn't ready for the feast represents the unfaithful members of the church, I think. Danny's idea for this one was cool: have a wedding feast with a bride and a groom, but one person in their underwear, and you have to go through a bag of clothes to find the right ones for the wedding.
  • the Ten Virgins - This is the one where there are ten virgins going to a wedding party, but only five of them brought enough oil to keep their lamps lit; only those five are let in to the party. Basically it is a symbol of how you are supposed to prepare yourself now for the next life. This would be easy - have ten girls with lamps, only five of which fold up to reveal small flames. Those five are happy, the ones without the flames are sad.
  • the Talents - In this parable, one man gets five coins, one gets two, and the last gets only one. The one with five works hard and doubles his coins, so in the end he has ten. The same with the second one, who ends up with four. But the last one is embarrassed by his one coin and so he just buries it in the ground, and in the end only has one. This parable is about how you're supposed to do the best with what God gives you, and not compare your blessings/gifts/talents (though the talents of the parable are totally not modern day "talents") with others. In this one, I could have three flip books. The first has five coins, then a picture of someone working, then ten. You get the idea for the second one, and the last one would have a picture of a buried coin instead of someone working.
  • the Sheep and the Goats - In this parable, the sheep get sorted from the goats, and the sheep end up on the right hand, while the goats end up on the left. It's symbolic of how in the end, we will be judged by our deeds, and if we are righteous we will get to be at the right hand of God. If we are not, we will not. This one seems very similar to the one with the wheat and the tares, and the good and bad fishes. Maybe instead, there can be two strings and you have to move the sheep to the right, and the goats to the left.
These are my ideas so far. I know there are lots more metaphors that would be conducive to quiet book pages (some would probably be much better than the ones I have chosen. Sigh, these are the ones that are "official" parables, and being the dork that I am, I kinda want to get all of them). Please let me know your ideas, and help me figure out what to do for the ones I have no clue on. And also, please correct me if my interpretation of the parable is wrong.

I'll keep updating this post as people share their ideas :)

Oh yeah, and feel free to use any of these ideas if they are interesting! LDS Quiet Books...yeah, they are pretty useful during those long Sacrament Meetings!


Chronicles of Sickia

At the end of the most perfect MLK's day (spent mostly at the zoo with the kids), we celebrated by going to our favorite Mexican restaurant. Danny got fish tacos, and I got pulled pork tacos. We switched, since neither of us was very happy with what we got. That should have been the first sign; the restaurant had never been known to fail previously.

On the way home, I was like, "I really want to stop by and see my friend's newborn!" She had just had a baby a few days earlier. So we did, and the baby was insanely cute.

We got home, and to my surprise, instead of wanting to watch a movie, all I wanted to do was lay down in bed, or make myself throw up. My stomach was in agony. Danny didn't want me to induce vomiting (the whole idea to him is strange - I guess I'm a weirdo in that I can make myself throw up at will without inserting long things down my throat), so I didn't. After several hours, I did start throwing up. And continued to every hour. For the next six or seven hours. It was terrible. Oh yeah, and I had a fever.

I thought it was because of the fish tacos. Food poisoning.

The next day, Danny stayed home and took care of me. He went out and got me some 7 up. He watched the kids so I could just sleep, facebook, and watch movies. I was able to eat about a spoonful of rice and a cracker in addition to several cups of 7 up, but that's it for the whole day.

So on Wednesday, Danny went to work. I stayed home with our kids and everything seemed to be fine, except I was dying for a nap. Jane, who was her normal, active, into-everything toddler self, would not have any of that. So I called my neighbor and asked her to watch Jane for about an hour so I could nap. I went over to pick her up, and we got into an interesting conversation.

In the middle of which, my 5 month old baby starts projectile vomiting all over the place.

When I got home, I called the doctor and they were worried he would get dehydrated. So they said to give him 5 mls of pedialyte (basically gatorade for babies) every 10 minutes, and watch him to see if he pees. If after 6 hours he doesn't pee, we needed to take him to the ER.

This was about when I realized it was not a food poisoning issue, but a nasty stomach flu. I called my friend with the newborn to tell her, even though I'm not exactly sure why - was mainly to warn her or to beg her forgiveness for possibly spreading a disease to her sweet, tiny, vulnerable baby? I don't know. In the middle of this phone message, I started to cry. And I couldn't stop. I was so freaked out.

Baby Dan was completely comatose. He was limp. His eyes wouldn't shut or open all the way. He was pale. He kept on puking. It was terrifying. He didn't pee. Danny decided that I should not take him to the ER since I was sick myself, and shouldn't spread the disease (this second day was Montezuma's Revenge aka faucet-butt). But I was terrified and wanted to be with him as long as possible. So after our other neighbor came by and helped give Dan a priesthood blessing, I drove them to the ER.

It took them over an hour to get admitted. Danny called often to let me know what was going on, but I was still a nervous wreck.

Jane went to bed. I was still a nervous wreck.

My friend with the newborn called and basically was a lifesaver. She assured me it was okay, we didn't know I was sick when we came to visit, and if something happened to them, they would just deal with it. She listened to me worry about Dan. She figured out that I needed a breastpump and a priesthood blessing, so she sent her husband over with our other neighbor, the one who came to help Danny give the baby a blessing. She saved the day.

Danny kept giving me updates. He wouldn't take the anti-nausea medicine. He was on an IV. Etc, etc. Danny said to go to bed and try to sleep. It was about 11:00.

I tried, really, but it was impossible. I kept worrying about what would happen in the worst case scenario, which led to me sobbing in hysterics. It was terrible.

I must have dozed off because Danny woke me up when he called to say he was coming home. The other thing our friends did when they came to give me a blessing was offer to drive Danny home from the hospital. It was basically the stupidest thing I ever did, drive them there. We owe our neighbors in a big way. He picked up Danny and Dan at 2 am to bring them home.

Dan was okay, and I fed him about every 2 hours for the rest of the night.

The NEXT day, yesterday, when Jane woke up, I went to go get her and discovered vomit covering her jammies, sheets, blanket, and pillow. It smalled terrible, and had dried. She must have barfed in the middle of the night and gone back to sleep in it. Ughhhh. So I gave her a bath.

Danny started to feel queasy so he stayed home. We watched Cake Boss, Mythbusters, 17 Kids and Counting, and Kipper the Dog literally all day while the kids drank tons of pedialyte. Jane was happy most of the day. She took 2 abnormally long naps, but didn't throw up again.

Keep in mind, this was the first day that I could actually start eating small portions of normal food.

Our awesome RS president called to see what we needed, and got us more pedialyte, sprite, and bread. It was so nice. I eventually went out later to get some ramen noodles and other bland and instant type foods. Oh yeah, and a new crib mattress for Dan, since we stupidly had never bothered putting a plastic cover on his, and while normally we would just air it out, yesterday was freezing cold and rainy. So....

Then Dan started puking again. So we started pumping him with pedialyte again. And he wouldn't pee, again. But this time, he wasn't pale and lethargic, just very diarrhea-ey. But unless he peed by 9:00 pm, we would have to take him to the ER. Again.

It was evening. Danny felt terrible and nauseous. Jane wanted attention. I felt extremely worried about Dan. I was just pumping him full of pedialyte, seemingly nonstop, for three hours. It sucked. Jane went to bed. Danny went to bed, even though he wanted to help; he was feeling awful and couldn't.

Every 15 minutes or so, I would take his diaper off and weigh it on our kitchen scale. It was the only way to see if he had peed. He kept on diarrheaing, puking, spit-uping (which is very hard to tell the difference, by the way), but no pee. I tried having him sit on my lap with no diaper, hoping he would pee on me. I got pooped on instead.

Finally, at 8:55, I weighed his diaper and it was 1 5/8 oz, with no poo!!!! Hooray!!!

Then, the nurse had said I would need to breastfeed him every 30 minutes for the next 4 hours. So I did, which meant getting up every half hour until 1 am, which doesn't seem that bad, except when it's after a day where you are the only one even close to being wholly healthy and you've been working nonstop to help nurse your family back to health, it was a huge challenge.

After that, she said I could nurse him normally. I woke him up at 6 am because "normally" he would have done that. The great news is he is eating fine, is happy, pink, alert, and NOT dehydrated.

Danny, who never asks me to get him anything, asked me to get him some toast in bed. He HATES eating in bed. Uh oh...let's see what happens today...

The main thing I learned from this experience so far was that I was complete idiot for thinking, "It wouldn't suck so bad if you had two children and one of them died as it would if you only had one." That's probably the dumbest thought I've had in my life. Even though we were never even close to losing Dan, I was worried sick about what-if...and I realized the truth is that losing a child would be the worst thing I can imagine happening regardless of how many I have.


One Mormon Mommy's response to "Why I can't stop reading Mormon housewife blogs" by Emily Matchar

My brother in law sent me a really interesting article about "a young, atheist, feminist" who has a fetish with Mormon housewife blogs, blogs like this one perhaps?

Danny and I spent about an hour reading the article and some of the pages and pages of comments. A lot of the comments are worthless rants, but some had valid points.

I really wanted to read a Mormon mommy blogger's response to the article, but it was so new that I couldn't find anything in "the bloggernacle." Hehe. That, combined with an itching desire to respond to Ms. Emily Matchar (author of the post) are the main reasons I am up at 7:07 am instead of resting in my snuggly, comfy, warm bed, listening to the rain outside.

I'm just going to respond to her stuff paragraph by paragraph, since there's so much to say. I am, after all, one of the people she is talking about in the article.

- I have never met a Mormon Mommy (or anybody for that matter) whose house looks like an anthropologie catalog. (Besides, my sisters in law all agree that anthropologie is so over-the-top that you can really only do one piece from them per outfit/room, or it looks ridiculous. But that's just a style issue.) If you have children, either you constantly battle clutter from the waist down, or they spend their time locked in their room.
- I would not describe my LIFE as "doing fun craft projects," although I DO do them sometimes. I would probably describe my life as a constant stream of picking-up/putting-down/wiping liquid off children, with intermittent intervals of crafty projects, quilting, reading, blogging, etc.

- This paragraph is hilarious, but kind of infers that Mormon mommy bloggers are subtly trying to convert people to the LDS faith. The fact is, there's nothing "subtle" about it. We were asked to use our blogs as a tool for conversation about our faith years ago.

- Even though I happen to fit this category, she easily offends a dozen of my friends by saying that all Mormon mommy bloggers are "young stay-at-home-moms."

- I take issue with the use of the word "overeducated." It's a weird word choice. Education is a good thing, and Mormons (male and female) are encouraged to get as much of it as possible, and to continue being lifelong learners. It's a condescending word, has the undertone of, "I'm in an elite class of people who values education at the expense of happiness, and yes it's silly that it won't bring me a husband, children, house, or necessarily a job, but at least I belong to my special group of snobs, something that Mormon mommies could never enter." First off, who would? Second, riiiight. Because there are no Mormon mommies who get masters/multiple degrees and/or attend Ivy League schools...suuuuuuure...

- Do I have a "shiny, happy domestic" life? Hmm. That's not how I would describe it. Shiny infers perfection somehow, which it's not. Happy? That's a choice. I would say I'm happy most of the time. Domestic? Weirdly, I don't consider myself very "domestic", even though I guess technically most of my daytime activities involve cooking, cleaning, sewing, but mainly childcare. I guess it's because I know myself on a deeper level than my current occupation.

This is the best way that I have to describe my life: Danny and I are filmaholics. We use our Netflix account daily. We watch tons (and tons and tons) of movies, and we've noticed a common theme: happily married couples don't last very long in films. Their marriages either fall apart, or tragedy strikes, or somebody has to die. Because happy, calm, boring-from-the-outside marriages don't have enough conflict to build a story. So Danny and I get our dysfunction fix from watching films (and actually, the ones with really screwy spouses, we choose not to watch), not from real life. My life is exactly like the commenter described in P7: "they have lovely homes, picture-perfect kids [I think Jane and Dan are the cutest people in the world, but I'm biased], loving, super-attentive husbands, and things seem very normal and calm."

- Danny laughed at this, "Ottoman? That's for amateurs. You did an entire chair!"
- There was only one completely out of line comment in the whole piece, and that was "It's not as though we're sniffing around the dark side of the faith, a la "Big Love." Huh? Polygamy "a la Big Love" has nothing to do with modern Mormonism. And she describes herself as "overeducated"? Riiiiight.

- It sounds like Matchar is seeking a Utopian world without any problems. Newsflash lady, that doesn't exist.
- It's not weird, strange, fascinating, or subversive for moms to enjoy being a mom. Sheesh.

- I completely agree with one of the commenters who said that deep down, Matchar probably does want kids because she's a woman.

- Danny and I took issue to describing motherhood as "Easy."
- Does anybody else find it patronizing to say somebody else's life is "adorable and old-fashioned and comforting"?

- 13th Article of Faith

- "I want to arrange flowers all day too!" This comment made me roll my eyes. "Quit our jobs to bake brownies or sew kiddie Halloween costumes," is also such an obnoxious thing to say. I quit my job for much deeper, more meaningful reasons, (like, oh say, so that I could raise my own children?) not to bake fattening treats. Those things are just perks. It's like saying, "I took the office job because I liked how my name looked on their letterhead."
- I guess Mormon mommy blogs can be an "escapist fantasy", even for Mormon mommies themselves. But obviously, a blog does not show the depth and feeling of real life.

My own personal opinion is "feminism" never could have succeeded because the entire movement is a paradox; it says you can do it all, while simultaneously denouncing homemaking. Anyway, you CAN do it all, but not all at the same time. Just because I don't have a money-earning career at the moment does not mean that is how it will always be. Remember, Mormonism views life as longer than just our time here on earth. Heck, we have eternities to explore all the career options, why sacrifice our precious time at home when we can just do all that stuff later? Anyway, working moms do NOT get to experience all the same things as stay-home moms (just an observation, not a judgment). You really can't have it all all at once. Not possible. Not enough hours in the day.

- It's possible to be happy, love your home, and love your husband without having a "picture-perfect catalog" life. I am not perfect. My life is not perfect. My home does not look like a catalog (except maybe one from Ikea...hehe). But I love my home, my husband, my family, and my life.

- Happiness is not something that happens to someone. You have to choose to be happy. That said, choosing to be happy is not the only part of the happiness equation. You have to make right choices. It's kind of like how you show your faith through your works. If you are breaking commandments and making wrong choices, you can't feel happy. But it's not like poof, I keep the commandments, suddenly I'm happy. Just deciding, "Okay, I want to be happy. I have decided to be happy," is still an active choice that has to be made.

- Why not interview one of the zillions of Mormons for this part of the piece? Why go with an ex-Mormon to represent "Mormon mommies"?

- Why does anybody blog? It's not a Mormon phenomenon. Actually, a lot of my family kind of rolls their eyes at blogging.

- Danny thinks that the fact that Utah is "the state with the highest rate of prescription antidepressent use," is a reflection of how most LDS Utah residents do not turn to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate, something Matchar completely fails to see.

- It's sad that this lady thinks that motherhood is by default a "miserable, soul-destroying trap." If I were her spouse, I would be scared for our children.
- Danny and I smirked at her comment about not inviting the missionaries in. We both bet that someday, she probably will.


I am not my child's tantrum.

Recently, I was reminded of the fact that even small children have their own free will. It was a normal day, like most others really, EXCEPT it happened to be the day that Jane realized she could open the door to her room. She had been opening all the other doors in the house for a few weeks, and the one in her room was no different. I'm not really sure why she hadn't opened it before, actually.

Her not opening the door had its conveniences, the main one being that she would stay in her room at least (and her bed at most) during nap time.

Obviously she chose to discover her new skill during one such nap time, those sacred precious hours of the day when I can have the freedom to do anything I want so long as it's at home. I put her down, she got up and out of her room. I put her down again, she got up again. I put her down again, she got up again. Over and over, until finally I just realized that either I needed to install a lock on the outside of her door, or put her to bed when she was tired enough to want to sleep.

Fortunately, Jane is child who loves her sleep. I ask her, "Are you tired?" and she will say, "Yah." Those are times when she won't get out of her bed.

But put her down when all she wants is to be anywhere but bed, then you get a Tantrum.

I think she has entered that zone called "the Terrible Twos." She's usually a sweet child, but sometimes things happen that for whatever reason, she can't stand, and then she has a huge melt-down, starts screaming, pounding her head and fists against the floor (or whatever else is around), and is very difficult to console.

Like for example, the other day when we were taking a walk: I am trying to teach her how to walk near me and follow. We do this outside on the sidewalk during the day when there are few cars on the road. On this particular day, she really, really wanted to go to a friend's house. She signed, "Friend! Friend!" over and over. Every house we passed, she tried to go up to the (complete stranger's) door and knock on it. Every house. Finally, she couldn't take one more rejection house, and had a complete and total melt down. A tantrum. Fortunately, nobody was home, and she calmed down a lot once I forced her into the stroller. But it took a lot of work.

My librarian friend was complaining yesterday on facebook about the parents of a kid who was throwing a tantrum in the library. Pretty much all of her facebook friends declared the mom a failure, "neglectful", etc. One person wrote the following:

Yup, that's the Utah mentality. "Whatever I'm doing is way more important than EVERYBODY ELSE here, so they're just going to have to deal with my screaming child/reckless driving/holding up the checkout line while I have the cashier run my ...credit card 37 times, thinking maybe THIS time it won't be declined..."

Most people outside of Utah, aside from all but the most narcissistic, do, in fact, respect the people around them enough to absorb the inconvenience that their children/everyday lives pose, rather than foisting the burden on the general public around them.

There are always situations where there's nothing you can reasonably do (on an airplane with a sick crying child, for example), but 99% of the time, it's just the typical Utah attitude of "I'm much too important to be bothered with common courtesy, so f**k the rest of you. Deal with it."

Reading that made me laugh. Apparently this person has either never been around a 1-3 year old for more than five minutes, or he's never traveled outside of Utah. Newsflash jerkwad: they're like that everywhere. It has nothing to do with Utah. I guess you could make the argument that people in Utah are the only ones who have children nowadays, but obviously that's just me being tongue-in-cheek. Kids are everywhere.

Oh yeah, and it's soooooo selfish and "narcissistic" to shop for groceries to feed your family instead of dropping everything to shut down the tantrum.

Isn't "common courtesy" a two-way street? If the kid is screaming and the grocery line is ten miles long, I've had really awesome, kind people offer for me to go in front of them.

I hope this guy gets a colicky baby. That would serve him right.

My point is, cut the mom some slack. She is not her child's tantrum. Children have their own free will and sometimes it does not coincide with good behavior, and that does not make you a bad parent. I guess you could say that the parents are reflected in the sum total of the kids' melt downs, and how they change through time (hopefully decreasing until the kid is mild mannered and sweet all the time. Yeah right). But one public tantrum does not a bad mom make. Neither do several.

Here was my response to my friend's complaint:
I know you deal with this every day so it's irritating, and none of us probably understands exactly what went on with her, but I think you should cut the mom some slack. Terrible twos/threes suck. Maybe she doesn't have internet at home and... needed to send an important email from a library computer. Maybe she was desperate for some time in the library. Maybe demon child's older sibling had to be at the library at that moment so mom and kid had to wait there. I dunno. Maybe a lot of things.

Parents of small and loud children get the ability to tune out the crying/whining that gets on others' nerves. Sometimes we don't notice it's happening, force of habit. Probably not a good thing.

I guess what I mean is that sure, perfect parents would drop everything and remove a tantrumy child from the situation. Sometimes it's really hard to do that. Like if you were in a grocery store checkout, and the child starts having the same horrible, ear-splitting tantrum. Do you pick up the screaming demon and take him to the car, and screw those groceries you just spent forty five minutes picking up so that your family can eat, or do you endure the hateful glares from every non-mom around you so in 15 minutes it will all be over with?

Anyway, I know it's really hard for you to not be irritated because you deal with similar situations every day. When similar things have happened to me while I'm at my library, trying to check out but Jane is screaming her head off for no apparent reason, our librarian comes over and starts talking to her. Usually that keeps her quiet long enough for me to finish getting my books and get home for her nap time. I dunno, kinda sounds like you couldn't have done that in this situation, though.

I'm really glad that toddlers are small because that does limit their free will. I wouldn't be able to pick up a fully grown adult Jane and put her in the car when she has her meltdowns and tantrums.

I guess what I'm saying is, please try to be patient with parents with cranky kids. They can't control their child's actions.

Here's a story about my brother: My mom was in sacrament meeting at church with my older brother when he was a few months old. Suddenly, during a silent part of the meeting, my brother fills his diaper with poo in an extremely loud way. This offended a lady who was there. She told my mom that she shouldn't let him do that during sacrament meeting. I guess she didn't understand that she was asking his mom to control somebody else's bowel movements. So weird!

To be sympathetic to those who are not used to being around small children, I will finish with this story. A lady at my quilting group was talking about what her Christmas was like. Her parents or in-laws, I can't remember which, were excited to have all the grandkids over for the holiday. This was something like eight children under the age of eight, four of whom were under the age of three. Needless to say, it was a madhouse! My quilting friend was laughing because the grandparents, who thought they remembered, had actually forgotten what it was like to have that many kids around. She described it as a constant, steady stream of meltdowns. Which is about right.


Questions I would ask Eve if I could meet her today

"So, what did you learn about the mechanics of pregnancy and childbirth before you left the garden? I mean, how in the heck were you able to have so many babies without the help of anyone except Adam? You must be uncommonly strong, both physically and mentally. And how did it work, when you were a new mom and your first babies were very small? Did Adam go off and slay animals while you sat at home watching the toddlers and infants? Did you stay with Adam while he went "to work"? What was your life like during those first few years? I bet your knowledge of plants and gardening was a huge asset in our world, but how did you learn other things, like cooking? And sewing? Who taught you? Did you feel very lonely? You didn't have other young moms to call up or a facebook or a blog to write on when it got really tedious caring for the little toddlers. How did you do it? And how did you figure out breastfeeding without other people to help you?"

And on and on and on. So many questions.

If there were one dead person who I wish I could meet, it would definitely be her. George Washington would be cool, Joseph Smith, Isaiah, the Virgin Mary...but she would be WAY more interesting to talk to than anybody else I can think of.

And since I speak Arabic, which is apparently the "Adamic Language", we'd be able to communicate just fine. (JUST KIDDING)


Blog Goals 2011

It's that time again. And yes, I know that nobody but me is interested in my blog goals. But it's dang fun to blog about, so here goes.

First, let's see how I did with last year's goals. Here is a link to them.

1. Post Often.
Well, I didn't post every week on every one of my blogs. But I did post much more often on this main blog. I guess I'd say that I accomplished this somewhat, since I posted 113 posts in 2010 vs. 53 posts in 2009.

2. Organize my labels.
Did NOT do.

3. Increase my followers to 25.
Did not do that either. It went from 7 to 12, so that's pretty good.

4. Increase my feed subscribers to 25.
Totally did this. I'm not sure what it used to be, but now I have 57 followers. Wow.

5. Comments: One comment per post.
Didn't exactly do this, but I did way increase my comments. Most posts have at least 1. I'm pretty happy with my comments/post, actually.

6. Post more about my spirituality.
Didn't really do that.

7. Weekly polls.
Ditched this goal.

8. Get 4,000 hits.
I think I said by the summer I should have that many. I'm not sure, but as of this posting I have 6,762 hits. That's great!

9. No complaining posts.
Hmm. Why was this a goal?

10. Monthly funny things
Didn't really do this.

11. Picture and a link with every post
Didn't do this.

12. Sidebar list of all the books read 2010
Working on it, but I decided to make it a post page instead.

13. Sidebar list of all the movies seen 2010
Not a chance.

14. Do not change the template for 6 months.
I think I've actually accomplished this, thanks to blogger's awesome new design software.



200 posts in 2011

2. Increase Followers to 25

3. Increase Feed Subscribers to 100

4. Post more about my spirituality, once/week

5. Get 15,000 hits

6. Picture and link with every post

7. Book reviews of all books read 2011

8. Movie reviews of all movies seen 2011

9. What Was Fo
r Dinner 2011
A section of my blog is going to be devoted to cooking, specifically what I cooked this year. So don't expect 365 photos, since I'm not going to cook every meal. Imagine how weird it would be to take a picture of my dinner when over at a friend's house. Hmm. Not going to happen. But part of this experiment is Danny's and my goal to make a list of things to cook again.

10. Style Quips 2011

Last December was Style Month. It was great. And you know what? I've finally found an excellent topic for web comic. Keep checking out my blog for more on this.

And, that's it. And in order to keep up with one of my blog goals, here is a picture of Jane.