Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Family Update


I refuse to apologize for not blogging in forever, it's just not cool anymore.  Not that as a 32-year-old I care about cool anyways, because these days cool means overalls.  And that was so 1994.

Besides...I figure since we're already friends on facebook then you just get my updates there, but now that you can hide people, I've probably hidden you for sharing videos about your underwear, and you've probably hidden me because I love gay people.  So then I figured I should maybe give people an update on our lives over the last 13 months, because the last time I blogged we were still designing the floor plan to our house and now we already live in it and I've had to clean it so.many.times already

So here I am.

Ashlyn's sweet and she's crazy, and so giggly.  She loves the scary roller coasters and would do every dance class, every musical instrument and every other thing that makes me drive around and sit in places that don't have wifi or cell service nightly, which is surprisingly a lot considering what year it is. 

I love watching her grow up. 


Austin has been in a serious relationship for a year now (true story).  So if you want to engage him in conversation, just bring up her, Minecraft or candy, and he'll talk to you.  He was the first student of the month for his class this year, and I'm so relieved we don't have to relive SOTM drama every month, all year, like in Kindergarten.

I marvel at his mind and how quick witted he is.


Two-year-olds are the hardest, but funnest.  Eli's at that age where everything he says is adorable.  Like when we were walking to school and I pointed to the "helicopter" and he said, "HELLO copter!"  And now he yells, "HELLO COPTER" to every one we see.  And sometimes on one of our five walks a day (we get bored at home), his legs will get tired and he wants me to carry him, but sometimes he doesn't like to be carried on my shoulders and will specify, "Hold me like a hug!"

And his hair is crazy, and I only cut it when he starts to get too many comments on his crazy bed head and not enough comments about his big, beautiful blue eyes.  And every night I sneak into his room and kiss his fat cheeks.  I hope I do that until he's at least 30.


My favorite part of the day is walking these kids to school.  And we're close enough to the river that sometimes we're shrouded in fog.  And I appreciate those small moments when we're wrapped up in our own little world, singing and skipping to school, because I know these years won't last forever.

And also I've been going to church.  Which is kind of something that I never thought I would do again.  But the chapel smells like my grandma, and makes me feel a little less homesick for family.  And as much as I've picked over the Lutheran beliefs and practices, there's nothing there that offends my soul.  In fact, quite the opposite.


Life is good.
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Monday, September 16, 2013

There are many paths to the top of the Mountain

There is a parable about a man who crossed a wide river in a canoe. When he arrived at the other side of the river, and set out to continue the remainder of his journey on land, rather than continuing to carry it on his shoulders up and down mountains and canyons, he left the canoe at the water’s edge  He left it because it had served its purpose for the portion of his journey for which it was useful.*

There are over 7 billion people in this world, it is unlikely we're all going to see things the same way, it's unlikely we're going to travel the same path up the mountain.  But I think that's okay, because I believe that there is strength and value in a diversity of perspectives.  Rust and I have lived in a lot of different places, among a lot of unique cultures and religions.  As we've met people who are different than us and who have a different set of morals or values than we do, we have gained helpful insights and have come to a broader, deeper, fuller understanding about life than we could have on our own.

I didn't support marriage equality until I met a gay person and could see and feel the love she had for her partner.  I spoke poorly of illegal immigrants until I met a mom, who so much like myself, wants the best for her children.  I mocked democrats until I realized that they were voting their consciences as much as I was.  In short, I hurt people because I didn't know them, and I didn't take the time to know them or understand them, I just assumed they were wrong because they were taking a different path up the mountain.


I am a better person for knowing so many of you.

But we will never have unity, we will never have peace, we will never become one, if we all just close our minds, cover our ears, and remain cloistered within our separate schools of thought, zealously advocating for the supremacy of our own at the expense of all others.*

And I've felt that expense.  I wrote earlier this year about how Rustin and I took our children and left our canoes at the side of the river.  We looked at the landscape around us and it seems more fitting to leave it at the water's edge as we continue our journey.  It is a different path than so many of our friends and family are on, but we know it is right and we have never been more happy.  The most that any just, merciful, and loving God can expect from us is to live in accordance with what we believe is right and true as best as we’ve been able to figure that out. We are doing that, and we have a peaceful conscience. My heart and mind are not troubled about where we are today.*

People think I lost my faith when I left Mormonism. I feel I found it. I have faith that I can make things happen in my life. That my destiny lies within me.  I'm confident in my ability to use my judgment to choose good over evil and make 'moral' decisions in my life without an organization or person trying to tell me what that is.   I have faith that people (and especially my children) can be good, honest, true, generous and loving much more easily and readily without fear-mongering, and hope of a greater reward.  I have faith people can still make good choices when they are freely given all choices.  I believe in the higher power of love.  The power of humans to 'do good' for each other. 

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* I want to credit some guy on the internet named Andrew who shared the parable and some thoughts first.  I just rephrased them so they'd apply to my situation.

Monday, August 26, 2013

First Day of School and Other Things

I know out west everyone is starting school over the next several weeks, but we've been back for a little bit now.  I had one final end of summer bucket list rally where I unpacked my last box and canned jam.


My kids hated the jam (eye roll) and refused to eat toast every morning which is unfortunate because that's all we ever have time for, so I took an old, empty bottle of Kroger raspberry jam (that they devour) and filled it with a jar of the stuff I made.  I was pretty smug as I watched them spread it on their toast.


But they still hated my jam.  So there went my smug moment.

So then school started two weeks ago.  And Eli must have been super excited or something because he woke up at 3am and would not go back to sleep.  And I'm normally a huge fan of ignoring crying babies at 3am, but he was in body-shaking-almost-vomiting hysterics (as some of you were after the Bachelorette this season, am I right?*).  I tried changing his diaper, feeding him, sleeping on his floor, but what eventually worked was turning on America's Funniest Videos and then finally freeing him from his room at 6:30 am to very happy shouts of "Morning?! Morning?!"  And then I just followed him around while he played with the dining room lighting and jammed out on the piano:



But by 10am...


But nap time has to coincide with afternoon Kindergarten or mommy's going to lose her ever loving mind.



And you know what's awesome?  He naps every afternoon while Austin and Ashlyn are at school and I'm so happy and it's so quiet that I'm near tears and I dance a lot in my kitchen because I can sweep and there's no one there to make a mess for like 3 whole hours.  Just kidding.  I barely sweep.  I watch trashy TV all afternoon.  

So then there was the Color Run and my friends and I were made famous when this happened:


Warming up a crowd of thousands on stage was far more of a workout than the run because I ran a 7-year-old pace.  But she rocked it.


And we finally picked out a lot and a house where we will live forever!**  It's perfectly situated within walking distance to the elementary school, at the end of a cul de sac that butts up to a future park, and is across the street from the neighborhood pool.  It's just sadly lacking a lot of trees, but is right between two wooded common areas.



And the builder was nice enough to let us completely customize our floor plan, which was just finalized today.  
So I guess that's it for another 6 months until I get around to blogging again.

*There are not enough drugs in the world to get me to watch that show, so I have no idea what I'm even talking about.

**I hesitate to say that, because every time I have we've moved within 6 months.


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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Week

I love elementary school teachers, and I know they don't get nearly enough recognition or credit for their hard work which is why I love Teacher Appreciation Week.  

Austin wrote a letter to his teacher tonight.  But after a lot of hints (tell her why you like her, tell her she was a great teacher, tell her your favorite thing you did with her this year), he did his own thing...

I hope she feels appreciated.


Dear Ms. Terri
Do you have a basement?
Love, Austin


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Friday, April 19, 2013

The Day I Mooned Everybody

Like most moms, my life is really glamorous.  Today was typically so.  I woke up 15 minutes late with Ashlyn at the foot of my bed whispering just slightly louder than my alarm clock, telling me it was time to get up.  She's a sweet girl.  And it's a good thing that out of the five of us, one of us doesn't sleep in.

You can tell just by looking at her that she's got it together.


The two boys are a bit of a challenge in the morning.  Austin pretends to sleep so I have to dress him and drag him downstairs.  Eli squirms and fights me because he's trying to launch himself down the stairs.  And then as soon as my back is turned, he grabs the cinnamon sugar, dumps it out and then rubs it in his hair.


Maybe people will just assume that he's freshly bathed since he smells so sweet?  I can only hope!

And then demands begin.  Eggs for breakfast, no waffles, Eli has my toy, where are my shoes, my homework?, I spilled the milk, I forgot to pack my lunch...

We're out the door in time, but the damage to my kitchen is already done.  And usually stays damaged because the rest of our day is much the same.  

At noon, I wake up Eli after a much-too-short-nap to either pick up Austin or drop him off.  Today it was speech therapy. And because speech is only half an hour, and that is much too long of a time to leave Eli cooped up in a little office, but much too short of a time to do anything else, we struggle finding things to do.  Today we went to the grocery store where in ten minutes I haphazardly put items in my cart I thought I needed (nope, turns out I didn't and still have only half of the ingredients I'd need to make a meal).

And then we sit through Ashlyn's awards ceremony, clean (while the boys unclean) the kitchen again.  

I of course try to get a nap in while Eli gets one, but again it's much too short and I had to wake up Eli early so we could run somewhere else.  Today I crossed my fingers that Kroger carried Barbies because it was on our way to Ashlyn's sleepover.  She's only staying until 11pm though.  Get used to it Ash, the lameness of your parents is only going to get worse.

So by the time I buckled the kids in again, listened to another 45 minutes of a Pixar movie I've never seen, but have memorized, another stop at a fast food joint because I had nothing for dinner, I was cursing the traffic and debating what I'd throw at Rustin if he dared mention the bran flakes on the floor (probably from yesterday) or ask "Do you have anything planned for dinner?"  

But he didn't ask that, he takes enough "dad days" to understand that it is completely possible to be so incredibly busy and get absolutely nothing done.

But you know what he asked instead?  

"Did you know that there's a hole in your pants?"  You guys, "hole" was an understatement...


Almost my entire back pocket was ripped off.  And I was wearing fluorescent pink panties.  I have this vague recollection of leaning against something today and it getting caught and pulling on my pocket a little, but I don't remember when that was.  I spent the evening trying to convince myself it was on my way home from the birthday party (where I met 5-6 of Ashlyn's friend's parents) and after Kroger (apparently the place to be on a Friday), and after speech therapy at the elementary school, and awards ceremony, and of course the other grocery store...

But now I've decided that I don't mind that I mooned half of my city.  It's been that kind of a week.  And I lead that kind of life.
  

Monday, December 31, 2012

Les Misérables

I know you clicked on my blog post expecting to see another review of this epic movie, but I think you may end up a little surprised as it’s not going to be that at all.

I spent three hours of the Sabbath yesterday watching this movie.  Coincidentally, I used to spend three hours at church every Sunday, but learned far more about love, kindness, forgiveness and mercy yesterday than I ever did at church.  For the first time in many years, I was inspired.

I think there are far too many Javerts in the world.  I think there are too many people who are more concerned with justice than mercy.  I see Javerts when I see protests against gay marriage, I see Javerts when there are death threats against girls who just want to wear pants to church, I see Javerts when I get passive aggressive comments on pictures where I’ve worn tank tops, or when I get messages from acquaintances telling me I'm not worthy because I hold an opinion contrary to the one I'm supposed to have.

There is not enough mercy in this world, there’s not enough love.  And particularly there’s not enough love and mercy in religion. I think that most things written before the four Gospels and most that’s been written since are poor interpretations of how Jesus wanted us to live.  I think religion and God have become man’s way of justifying greed, lust and selfishness.

Now I’m not saying that religious people are corrupt, there are wonderful people and there is truth and kindness everywhere.  I’m just saying for me and for my family, the church is not it.  The focus on Sundays is what to believe, what rules to follow, how long my skirts should be so I can get into heaven.  The focus is on dogma and not behavior.  It made me too judgmental, too much like the Pharisees, too much like Javert; concerned more about the law than about love and mercy.  

I read this brilliant comment regarding the movie, "If you asked the bishop and Javert what the believed in, they would say the exact same thing, and yet look how differently they lived their lives."  I and many others have entirely missed the point of religion.  

My friend Kari said it so well, “I think that love, pure unselfish unconditional love is the most profound and yet simple way we as humans can lift ourselves to a morality and connection with others; that is the closest thing to the concept of “god” that we can achieve.  Love is my god.” 

For that reason, my husband and I will be raising our children without religion.  No I did not say that we will be raising our children without love, compassion and morals.  That’s not it at all.  Religion does not have a monopoly on those things.  What I mean is that we will be raising our children without dogma.  As Javert and the Bishop make it clear, it's not what you believe, it's how you live your life.  We will be raising our children and teaching our children how to have compassion for people who believe differently and do differently than them, and how to love, because to "love another person is to see the face of God."

Let God serve justice, let us dole solely in mercy.

So in this New Year, my goal is to live more authentically, with more kindness and mercy to people.  I hope you can extend the same kindness and mercy to us as we pave this new pathway, as it was not a decision that was made lightly and not without many tears and prayers.  

And for the first time in many, many years, we are at peace.


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Saturday, December 22, 2012

PSA for Pinteresters

I know that there are 1000 different things to do with empty rolls of wrapping paper.

But seriously, just throw it away.



Wednesday, December 5, 2012

In Defense of the Elf

I've been reading all over the internets* lately accounts from fellow moms who refuse to allow the Elf into their homes, and then go on to justify why it's such a horrible thing and teaches our children bad lessons.  The worst I read was from here:  

If you need an elf to address your child’s behavior, you are not doing your job.

Wait, what??  Yeah, she really said that.

There's a big part of me that thinks these anti-elf crusaders are just burnt out moms who don't need another thing to do at the end of the day.  I get it, I do.  I am a hot mess.  I do everything 3 days after I should.  Bathe my kids tonight?  Maybe...probably...I guess I didn't do it last night, so sure.  But definitely by tomorrow night they'll get a bath.  Feed my family?  They're hungry again??

But don't come up with these crazy ideas about why everyone else sucks because you don't want to participate in a fun little tradition that doesn't have to take more than 2 minutes at night.  And don't say he's creepy because he does exactly what Santa does, what Jesus does, and what The Police do (sing with me -every breath you take, every move you make...)

So yeah, our elf Cookie dyed our milk green a couple of nights ago.  I barely remembered to move him as I was getting into bed and had to jump out and finish it.   This was after I had already packed lunches, locked up the house, ran the dishwasher, put the last load of laundry in the dryer...one more thing at the end of a long day. 

You want to know why I did it?  To hear my kids laugh.  To see their eyes light up with the magic.  That two minutes I took to jump out of bed created a memory that will last a long time.

And he's not without any benefits -
No one in my family laughs like this at 7:30 in the morning.  Like ever.  The elf has shaved an entire 20 minutes off of our morning routine because the kids jump up, get dressed and run downstairs to find him.



The magic of Christmas that kids experience is only alive for so many years; and whether it's through reading Christmas stories each night, decorating Christmas cookies for your neighbors, staying up late to listen for Santa on Christmas Eve and sprinkling reindeer food on your lawn, or welcoming a little elf into your house for a few weeks in December; if you don't let your child share in the magic that is Christmas, you're not doing your job.

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* I know the plural form of internet.  I do.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Case for a Dog


A couple of weeks ago, Rust mentioned that if I ever brought up having another child he would get me a dog.  Because my baby hunger would apparently be satisfied by just cleaning up a lot of crap.

Well, news flash Rust.  I am full.  

But I still spent some time contemplating the idea of a dog.  Like down the road...when everyone is potty trained and sleeps through the night.

And then Ashlyn bought Bouncy.

And Bouncy is annoying.  


And she sheds.


And now any inkling of desire for a dog is long gone.  And Bouncy even has an off button.

MO-vember


Count yourself among the lucky few if you don't know what Movember is.

But to bring you up to speed, it's the month where men (and apparently women) grow out a mustache like a common pedophile.  And much to my despair, Rustin decided to participate in this phenomenon.

It was really awkward when Rustin wanted to take me and the kids out for lunch, and after realizing I was all out of excuses I had to finally own up to it and say, "Uhhh...frankly I don't want to be seen out in public with you."  Rain check for December?

He can skydive, he can hang glide, but I have to put my foot down with the mustache.  

(Call me when it's taken care of and we'll come home)

That's right, I've resorted to holding my own kids hostage.

Now it's not because I don't think my husband isn't attractive with a mustache (how's that for a double negative?  Go ahead, reread it), but no one is hot with a mustache.  

You can check by googling hot mustache and the only images that appear are of Tom Selleck and women.
Now google "pedophile" and these are the results that appear:


Who else shuddered?  Welcome to my life.
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Friday, November 9, 2012

Pants

It's starting to get a little cold outside, so when Austin came downstairs wearing shorts this morning, an argument quickly ensued.

He insisted they were pants, but I argued they were shorts.

I conceded when I realized they were Eli's pants. He still can't wear them today.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Halloween Candy

I have had no Halloween candy this year, despite the fact that my kids collected more of the good stuff than I was able to hand out. And while they're away/in the other room it just stares at me and calls out to me constantly.

I'm not kidding when I say that keeping my resolve has been tougher than child birth.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Google vs. Bing: The Democrat Edition

Oh I hate it when I intentionally alienate all my republican friends.  So this one is for you.

When you type into Google "Democrats are", the following list populates:

Democrats are: idiots, evil, racist, stupid.

In Bing, the same phrase generates:

Democrats are: idiots, stupid, the real racists, anti-catholic, communist, sleaze, morons

Clearly Bing wins this one.

Google -2  Bing-2


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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Facebook, elections, and guns


Hey remember back in 2008 when I used to blog?  Yeah that was fun.  

That is also coincidentally about the time I got on facebook.  And well, facebook has turned me into a lazy blogger because it's easier to be funny and entertaining in one sentence rather than an entire blog post.  And if I am one thing, I am lazy.

You know what else facebook makes it easy to be?  An annoying republican.  I mean I like Mitt Romney, I get it, I do.  I like him about 20% more than Obama and 40% less than any Libertarian, but in all honesty, I kind of hope Romney loses so that all of my Romney loving facebook friends can go run off into the woods together with their guns and hide until Jesus comes again.  And I really hope they forget their smart phones because if they're annoying now, it's only going to get worse if they lose.  

And because now when I "read" my friends blogs all I really do is skim down and admire the pictures, here you go.  Our secret identities finally revealed.    


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Wednesday, August 15, 2012



Here she is, off to her first day of first grade!  I realize I make fun of first time moms, but a part of me realizes that she's my first so I still get to be that "first time mom" when it comes to her.  I am sorely tempted to email her teacher to let her know that Ashlyn is terrified of toilets, even though I have no doubt her teacher would laugh at me behind my back.  


I blame Target and the automatic flushers that don't recognize 30 pounds little 2 year olds for that.

Anyways, here's how we're faring at home...



How many more days until preschool?

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