Saturday, December 31, 2011

To-Do List

So, here is my to-do list for 2012:
For G-- Volunteer at his preschool at least once a month for the rest of the school year. Start giving him a regular allowance, along with a few weekly chores. Teach him to write his name.

For Z-- Resist the urge to make him use the potty, and let him decide the when and how. Teach him to recognize the letters of the alphabet. Play with him for a solid twenty minutes at least two days a week while his older brother is in school.

For Baby-- Give birth, of course. Breastfeed exclusively for the first six months. Remember to take a lot of pictures even though I'm busy caring for three kids.

For Nick-- Resist the urge to instruct him when he helps me around the house (unless he asks for it). Call him on the phone once a week while he is at work to tell him I love him. Save $10 a month to put into a secret stash and surprise him with it at the end of the year.

For Me-- Stay sane :D Give myself a real night off every other week. Visit my sister in Idaho. Read the Ensign (church magazine) cover-to-cover every month. Call my mom more often.

For the Whole Family-- Read the scriptures together every day. Do a family photo shoot after the baby is born. Play more family games.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A little early Christmas

Because we will be out of town this Sunday until Christmas Eve morning, my mother-in-law requested a small get-together before Christmas so she and my father-in-law could give our family our gifts from them before we leave town. So, we had them over for dinner (taco salad), and visited for a bit, and then exchanged gifts. The boys, of course, received the bulk of the presents, and it was fun to watch them open their new clothes and toys and get excited about them.

The big hit of the evening, though, was a particular video game. And here, I must digress with a little back-story:

A couple months ago, we tok G to the video rental store and let him pick out a video game to rent (he used some of his own money, too). We helped him select a game called The Munchables which looked like a great choice for a preschooler. And it was. He played it over the next four days and loved it. When we had to return it, he was a little sad; but we told him we'd rent it again someday.

Nick mentioned the game to my mother-in-law the next day when she started asking him what the boys would like for Christmas. So she went to the video rental store and found this game, and asked if she could buy it. They sold it to her, and she saved it for Christmas. Nick and I knew all this, but of course we kept it secret from the boys.

A few times over the course of the last few months, G has mentioned wanting to rent the game again, but I just kept saying vague things like, "someday," or "that would be really fun," but never actually took him to the store. He even worried that someone else might buy the game, and then I just said "well if that happens, I'm sure we could find another copy somewhere else."

Fast-forward to last night. G opened up his gift, and I wish I'd thought to get out the camera and take a video, because his reaction was priceless and I'm sure I can't do it the same justice in writing. He was laughing and crying at the same time. And when I told him about how Nana had been sneaky and gone to the video rental store to buy it for him, he ran and gave her a big hug and was sooo appreciative. He kept saying "Thank you!" and "This is the BEST Christmas EVER!" and "I'm so happy!"

Now I'm just afraid anything else we give him from here on out will be anti-climactic. Does this mean we can take all his other presents back now?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

"Oh Christmas Tree" Tribal Dance?

After we'd finished putting up the lights on our Christmas tree, G spontaneously started singing "Oh Christmas Tree." We started to join in, and then I noticed Z doing this crazy dance. So, I grabbed my camera and we started the whole thing over. It's sweet, adorable, and downright funny all at the same time. I love my boys.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cloth "nose-wipers" for the boys!

I made a set of twelve of these for each of the boys (including the one on the way). One side of the wipe is flannel, and the other side is quilter's cotton. They have not been tested yet, as I am saving them for Christmas. But I'm looking forward to trying them out! I may even "borrow" the baby's wipes to use on my own nose :D We've been using Gerber prefold diapers (not great as diapers, but excellent spit-up cloths and nose-wipers!) up until now, but these are much smaller, and the flannel is oh-so-soft. Plus, these are "color-coded" so the boys won't be mixing snot.

In this pic, you can see how the wipe folds to the size of a pocket tissue.

Trash to Treasure Creation #2: plastic bag shoulder bag

Just cut plastic grocery bags into loops, then loop together like you would rubber bands and crochet! Note: don't try to loop several loops together all at once, it doesn't work too well-- just add on as you go. This was a lot of fun to make, and I've gotten quite a few compliments :) I don't carry anything real heavy in this bag, but if I did and the shoulder straps were to ever stretch or break, they'd be easy to replace.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Random pics-- First Installment

Some random pics from the last year...Most of these feature Z, but I think the next installment will have more pics of G.

A monster dragon fly hanging out on our condo wall outside...

I made this taco casserole one evening, and it looked so pretty I had to take a picture before putting it in the oven...

Z started playing with the spoon rest, making noises as he did so. I asked him what he was doing, and he said, "This car!" So imaginative! And not even two years old...

Z wanted to brush my teeth before he let me brush his.

Yep. Right of passage: Z got a hold of the cereal box...
 ...then dumped the whole plateful onto the floor...of course...

Taking a ride in the toboggan out front of our condo.

G made this one day and then just left it on the table. I noticed it a while later and was so excited, because it was the first real sculpture he'd ever made. He's just not very visually creative, or at least not very interested in expressing himself artistically. Of course, I took one look and said to G, "Wow! You made a dragon!" "No," G replied, "It's a man with one foot and one hand!" Oh. Duh. Why didn't I see that

Z running around in Daddy's shirt :)

Picnic outside in January. Getting some Vitamin D from the sun in the middle of winter.

Z donning a decorative hat Nick bought in Honduras on his mission several years ago. It barely fit; of course, he didn't want to take it off.

"Oooh! That's cold!"

Friday, November 18, 2011

Naming Baby

I do not remember having this hard a time naming either of our first two boys. Right now, our top three names are...

Asher, Corban, and Timothy.

And we just can't decide!

Though G's emphatic vote seems to be for Asher, so we may go with that...At least G isn't asking to name him "Super Boy" anymore...haha.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The costs of having children. An itemized breakdown.

While driving on an errand this morning, I got thinking and realized something. A lot of people (especially older people) seem to promote the idea that it doesn't really cost much more money to have more children. While that may have been true in the past, I don't believe it is that way as much now.

What are the costs of having children? Note, I'm only going to be focusing on the cost for the first few years of life, as that's all I've had direct experience with at this point.

1. Food. If you breastfeed, your baby will eat completely free for the first 4-6 months of his life. Formula, of course, will cost much more, and since it is consumable, if you formula feed a second child, the same costs will apply a second time.

A lot of parents nowadays feed their babies specially prepared baby food. This, like formula, costs a lot, and is not transferable from one baby to the next. You can cut down siginificantly on the cost of feeding your older baby/toddler by simply giving him baby-safe portions of the same foods you have prepared for the rest of the family. Special dietary needs aside (such as allergies requiring special foods), you can still feed you baby for practically free, as you would have prepared the food for yourself anyway and are just sharing a small portion of what you already have with your baby.

2. Shelter. If you already have a home, it doesn't (shouldn't) really cost anything extra to house a child, or additional children. As far as living space goes, a little can go a long way with some sacrifice and ingenuity on your part. Bigger concerns with housing a larger number of children in a small space are, possible overload on your water heater or septic system (if you have a septic system); possible blockage of escape routes during a fire; weight capacity overload if you live in a non-ground-floor apartment; and other general physical hazards to your children such as having dangerous implements within a toddler's reach because you can't think of a safer place to store them, or the tripping hazard posed by clutter on the floor.

3. Clothing. It's been nice for us, with two boys and another boy on the way. Handing down clothes from one kid to the next is a great way to save on the cost of clothing your children. You still have to buy the clothing for your oldest, and once in a while something new for your younger kids, but costs in this area do not have to be overly burdensome for your second, third, fourth children...Though eventually the clothes will wear thin and need to be replaced.

Of course, if you have children of different genders, you will end up spending at least twice as much on clothing than if you have children of only one gender.

4. Transportation. Gone are the days when a family of twelve could all cram themselves into a station wagon. Ever-developing seatbelt and carseat laws have resulted in a dramatic increase in the cost of transporting children by car over the last few decades. And the more children you have, the higher the cost in this area. There's no way around it.

First came the law that every person riding in a car had to have his or her own seatbelt. Suddenly the station wagon that used to transport twelve now could only transport six-nine.

Then came the carseat law (or maybe it came at the same time as the seatbelt law, I don't know. Don't take this account as a completely historically accurate rendering). Now every baby up to a certain age was required by law to ride in a carseat. No more carrying baby on your lap.

Over the years, the age requirments for carseat use have gone up. When I was a child, the minimum legal age for riding without a carseat was 4 years. Now in some places, that age has gone up to 6 years or even 8. And beyond that, the recommended age even goes up to age 12, or until the child meets certain height and weight requirments allowing him or her to receive the maximum protection from using an adult seat and seatbelt.

What all that means is, where parents used to be able to hand down carseats from one kid to the next as the older children no longer needed them, now if you have six children all under the age of twelve, you may be required to purchase separate carseats for each one of them. Not to mention, carseats should be discarded and replaced every seven years (or as otherwise recommended by the manufacturer), and also in the case of even a slight fender-bender. If your youngest child is ten years younger than your oldest, there's no way they should be using the same carseat.

With the development of airbags, it was no longer considered safe for children in carseats, or children under the age of twelve to ride in a front seat.

With all this in mind, it's no wonder vehicles have been getting bigger over time, as well as pricier.

4. Diapers. Parents nowadays often lament the overwhelming cost of diapering their babies. Well, there's a way around that: use cloth. Though for some people, cloth is not a practical option-- such as if you have no easy access to a washer and dryer. Or if you live in a very dry part of the country where the cost of water is astronomical, it may actually be cheaper, or comparable in price, to use disposable diapers. And then some parents seem to be unaware of the fact that cloth is even an option, or else they have too many pre-conceived notions about cloth that make them cringe at the thought and believe that the cost of disposable diapers is just a necessary expense that they can't get around.

Disposable diapers are not reusable from baby to baby. But cloth is. So yes, if you use disposable diapers on all your children, you will be spending roughly $1500-$2000 per child by the time he or she is potty trained. If you use simple prefolds and good-quality covers on your first baby, your diapering costs will be closer to $500, and the cost for additional babies will be minimal, mainly to replace the occasional worn-out cover, plus the cost of water and detergent.

5. Daycare/Babysitting. I don't put my kids in regular daycare, since I am a stay-at-home mom. But there is still the occasional cost for childcare, such as when I go to the gym and put my boys in the daycare there for a half-hour, or when Nick and I hire a babysitter. To be reasonable, you can't expect to pay the same amount to someone for watching three kids as you would pay them for watching just one. So the cost of childcare for additional children is definitely more than it is for just one.

6. School. I only have one kid in school so far. He attends a privately-run preschool three days a week (total 7.5 hours) for $150 a month. This, again, is a cost that we will also incur with all future children. And one that is completely worth it, for me. Some parents may choose to homeschool their preschool-age children (which may or may not cost much money, depending on the chosen method/curriculum); and some parents will qualify to have their children in a free public program like Head Start, which won't put an additional financial burden on the parents.

All of the above also applies to schooling for older children. Private school will cost the most, then homeschool, then public school. If you have your kids in public school, the only costs you will incur will be for lunches (but then, you should be feeding your kids lunch every day anyway), possibly transportation; and, as your child gets older, you'll also have to pay for their involvement in any extracurricular activities such as music or sports. Of course, if you have more than one child these costs will be greater for multiple children than they would be for just one.

7. Toys and Entertainment. A lot of toys-- like clothing-- can be handed down from one kid to the next; though of course your children will appreciate having some of their own toys as well. Forms of commercial entertainment-- such as the occasional trip to the movies-- of course will cost more the more children you bring along. But entertainment can be found pretty cheaply if you use some creativity; and especially if you do a lot of activities together as a family (such as watching a video at home, or playing a game), if often does not cost anything for additional family members to join in.

8. Healthcare. Depending on what kind of insurance coverage you have (or don't have), costs in this area can vary greatly. I'm not going to go into details here, since I'm not really that knowledgeable in this area. But just to say, that depending on your individual circumstances, anticipated healthcare costs for each of your children over the course of their childhoods, may certainly be a strong factor in determining how many children you choose to have.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

When the toddler won't go to bed...

I get to stay up late! Woo-hoo!

Okay, well, normally I would not be okay with that, but I was kind of in the mood tonight. Z took a nap starting at 4:30 this afternoon, so I knew he would be going down late (or, later than usual; he's always a night owl). He's finally asleep now, at 1 AM.

We watched a movie together, then I took him to bed and he went right down. Drank his water. I put on some music for him, then came out and played a couple games of Mah Jong and when I checked on him again he was asleep.

Now I've just had a light snack of bread and cheese because I was feeling hungry. Am debating whether to go to bed now, or to stay up and maybe do some dishes, haha. I will probably go to bed, though...

Monday, November 7, 2011

My 4-year-old is such a worrier!

For example, while sitting and eating lunch just now, he asked me if Legos were fire-proof. I said no, they'd melt in a fire. So then he said in a worried voice, almost on the verge of tears, "But Mom, what if Nana's house caught on fire and all her Legos melted?"

And he does this all the time, about all sorts of things. And he's so worried about time. Nick noticed last night that The Wizard of Oz was going to be playing on Cable at 7:15, and so we decided to watch it as a family (I had just finished reading the book to G a few days ago). G wanted to watch the clock, so we told him what to watch for. But then every five minutes or so, he'd start freaking out, worrying that we were going forget, or somehow miss the start of the movie!

I try saying to him "Don't worry, just trust me. When have I ever let you down?" Or "It'll be all right, we don't need to worry about that." But he's never convinced. The poor kid carries the weight of the world on his shoulders, it seems.   

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"dark side" ramblings #2

My 4-yo is so funny. Last night in the process of going to the bathroom before bed, he interrupted himself about five times to come out and tell me something else on his mind. Poor kid has thoughts tumbling out faster than he can process them. Hmm, reminds me of someone else I know...

Woke up at 3 AM this morning, not because of leg cramps but because I just can't get back to sleep! I'm just sitting down to the computer now after washing a small load of dishes in the sink. Wish there were more I could do in the middle of the night without waking my family.

On the agenda for today: take down the toddler bed, organize the boys' room, and move G to the top bunk (which means taking down the "loft") so Z can have the bottom bunk. Z has decided he pretty much hates his toddler bed; he's never really liked the feel of the mattress, being for too firm for him, and he's always trying to climb into G's bed. Anyway, something has to be done because we've got to get him to stop sleeping with us!

I must remember to have Nick remove the tires out of my car; it's been two days now I've been driving around with two tires in the passenger seat blocking my vision, and it's a little worrisome. But, we're ready for winter driving now!

I am SO not ready for Fall to be over! Our Autumn seems so short around here. We get maybe two good weeks to enjoy the changing colors and falling leaves, and then it all gets covered in frost and snow. But then, what a gorgeous two weeks! I'm glad I took the boys out for plenty of walks, and raked up that huge pile of leaves for them to play in for a couple of days (and yes, I got pictures).

My boys have been remarkably well-behaved considering all the candy they've been eating. I have also been remarkably well-behaved considering all the candy I've been eating...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

3 AM...welcome to the "dark side"

Almost every night lately, I wake up around 3 AM with leg and/or hip pain keeping me from going back to sleep. Ah, the joys of pregnancy...

I've been playing way too much Mahjong as a result... ;) I'm going to takea break from that, though, for some random pregnancy rambles.

Now we know we're having another baby boy(!) I think G was rather disappointed, as before he kept talking about his "baby sister." He handled the news quite maturely, though. I hope my boys have a lot of good times growing up together. I hope I survive lol

This time around, I am looking forward to trying a waterbirth-- yay!

Baby's movements are becoming stronger every day; Nick's even felt him kick a few times. I haven't invited the boys to feel it yet, as I'm afraid they'd be too disappointed if they didn't manage to feel anything right then; so I'm waiting until it will be easier for them to feel-- and see-- the movement.

I'm trying to sing a lot more during this pregnancy. With my first, I was in the community choir throughout most of my pregnancy, so G got to hear me sing a lot in the womb; but most of Z's later gestation was during the "summer break," so he didn't get to hear me sing as much. I don't know if this is the reason, but Z has always been less appreciative of my singing than G has. I used to sing G to sleep all the time, it was soothing to him; but the opposite seems to occur with Z, as it just distracts him and he asks me to stop. With this pregnancy, I am not in the community choir at all; one more good reason for starting my song blog ( to help keep me singing.

I have to use a yoga ball now whenever I sit at the computer-- it's the only comfortable way to accommodate my growing belly. This wouldn't be a problem, except during the day my boys keep trying to toss it around and perform "tricks" on it (which they learned from our 7-yo neighbor next door).

That's enough ramblings for now...look for more "dark side" ramblings coming soon!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


For my birthday last January, I got a gift certificate for a 3-month membership to a local gym about three blocks from home. Since Z was still very young and very clingy at the time, I postponed starting the membership. Then, it was summer and I had plenty of opportunities to go for walks and get exercise outdoors, so I didn't use it then, either. Now it's Fall, and my second trimester of pregnancy-- the perfect time to use my membership!

Many benefits have been discovered for women-- and their babies-- who exercise regularly during pregnancy, including easier labor, and babies who are born leaner (more muscle, less fat) and score better overall on apgar tests.

Of course, each woman is an individual case, and exercise in some instances can be contraindicated for health reasons. For me, fortunately, that is not a problem (at least not so far). Of course I am taking it easy, keeping it low impact.

I started a spinning class last night. The instructor appeared to be in his 50s and kind of nervous about having a pregnant woman in his class. I assured him-- not in so many words-- that I would be fine, that I had a good idea what I was doing, that I was not new to exercising, that in short I was capable of taking care of myself and not overdoing it.

Anyway, I did take it easy-- relatively, but I also had come to work, and I did. I broke out a good sweat, and practiced some deep breathing and stretched as I spun. I also got kind of saddle sore; the bike seats are not very comfortable, and I found myself envying the other bikers whenever they spun standing up, which I couldn't really do comfortably. I went for a half-hour-- could have done more, but didn't push it. I felt great and look forward to the next class :)

Monday, October 3, 2011


Life is a Game.

It's Just a Game.

Win it or Lose it.

The only Opponent that matters is Yourself.

In it to Win it.

We've all heard all the above statements, or similar ones, at some point in our lives. There are a lot of differing opinions out there on competition-- Is it good? Is it bad? I don't have the definitive answer.

I do know one thing, though, if my own children are any representation of the general population: and that is, that children seem born ready to compete. A child as young as 18 months-- perhaps younger-- is already capable of joining in sibling rivalry. A baby can join you in a tug-of-war, and giggle when you finally let him win. Let's face it-- winning feels good; losing feels bad. It's a natural response.

"Experts" try to tell parents and caregivers that competition in children is bad, that it's psychologically damaging to children to let them compete in sports, in school, and so on. So is born the "non-competitive sports league," where "everyone's a winner." Or the alternative school that seeks to praise each child for whatever effort he or she exerts, and never criticize or push a child to "try a little harder next time."

Surely, children should not be pushed into competing beyond their own natural desire or capability, to be made to believe that he must win at whatever cost. Nor is it good for a child to be constantly made to feel inferior just because he did not do as well as so-on-so on whatever task. There is a delicate balance in these matters, to be sure.

But is it wise to suppress a naturally-competitive spirit? To never offer praise at a job well done? To never encourage a child to put forth his best effort? Because that's what might happen if we never allow competition.

Sure, we all hope that our children will work hard in school because it's good for them, because the intrinsic reward of learning and growing up to be a knowledgeable, capable adult should be motivation enough. But the truth is, children rarely have that kind of foresight. They need a more immediate motivation, and "competition" in the form of grades and other recognition still seems to me to be the best solution.

It's not fail-proof, of course. And how does the child feel who constantly brings home a "bad" report card despite giving his very best effort? Like I said before-- winning feels good, and losing feels bad. The "experts" do have it right, in a way. Competition can be psychologically damaging for this child. But is it really the competition that is the culprit? Or is it the losing? And how the child is taught to deal with losing?

Think about it. What are some common responses we give our kids when they lose a game?

"Oh, you lost this time. But that's okay, maybe you'll win next time." What if they don't win "next time"?

 "Not everyone can be a winner every time." Small children just don't get this one. They're egotistical by nature, remember. I've tried to tell my own 4-yo this one a few times, and he always comes back with something like, "But I want to win!" Or "It's not fair!" Or simply "Waaaaahhhhh!" In other words, the world ends every time he loses; that's just the way it is, no matter what I say or don't say.

 "It wasn't your fault; you'll have better luck next time." This is a dangerous one, because if said too often, it can convince a child to believe that he has no control over whether he wins or loses, or that he bears little to no reponsibility for how he fares in life.

"It's just a game." No. It's not "just a game." Not to a child. It was an opportunity-- an opportunity to show off his skill, to impress his peers and/or his "superiors" (that would be adults). When he loses a game, he not only loses the game, but also the opportunity to have his talent noticed, to be seen as someone who is "above the rest," if only for a brief moment, to shine in front of his peers, to be recognized by his superiors for his effort.

So oftentimes, we may find ourselves swinging the other way, trying to ensure that our child never has to feel the sting of losing. I've fallen into the trap myself at times: I'll reshuffle the cards when my son's not looking to ensure that he gets to the Candy Castle before I do; I'll purposefully run slower so he gets to the corner first. I can't help it, it seems, though I know it's probably not the best thing.

Here's something to ponder: why do we play "games"? I'm not talking about games like make-believe, or "ring around the rosie," which obviously are not designed to be competitive. I'm talking about games like "red-light-green-light," or "capture the flag"-- games with a clear winner at the end. Why were these games invented? They were invented to teach certain skills, to improve a child's physical prowess or strategical thinking. The competitive nature of these games, I suppose, arose naturally as children playing them realized (and continue to realize) that some of them were better at playing certain games than others were, that they could either win or not win (aka "lose"), and that-- hey! Winning felt good! Losing felt bad.

Let's take a critical look at non-sompetitive sports for a moment. On the surface, it seems like a good idea. Get a group of children together, teach them the basics of the game, and let them loose to have fun. So far, so good. But then little Junior points out that "those kids over there [in the competitive group] are getting trophies. I want a trophy!" What Junior doesn't realize, and may not even care to acknowledge even if it's pointed out to him, is that not all of "those kids" are getting trophies, and that the ones who do are working very hard to earn them. Unlike our Junior, whom we've chosen to put in a non-competitive sport because we just want him to "have fun," not work hard to compete and become a better player, or to-- gasp!-- be exposed to the psychologically damaging effect of losing when he doesn't do as well as his peers.

But, a meeting of parents and coaches is held, and it is decided that our children still deserve some recognition for "having fun." So trophies are ordered and given out at the next game, and Junior is happy. But, if every child gets a trophy every time, no matter how well he does, what's the point in trying to win? What's the point in even trying at all?

And who are we kidding anyway? Because eventually, at some point when Junior grows up a bit more, he's going to realize what's going on. Maybe he really was a good, hard-working player and deserved the trophies he got; but then, how's he going to feel about Buddy over here who got the exact same recognition as Junior, for simply sitting in the outfield and picking dandelions? Or maybe Junior was the one who goofed off during the game, paying more attention to picking on little Jane and pulling her pigtails; while Jane is the one who worked hard to learn the skills and brought in the most home runs for her team, but was denied the extra praise and recognition that she deserved as the team's "Most Valuable Player"?

But, to be fair, let's look at the other side. What are the possible bad consequences of competition-- particularly, too much competition? Because I do believe there is such a thing.

What about the attitude that I hinted at at the very start of this article? "Life is a Game."

While I do believe that some competition in life is good and natural, it can be taken too far. A child who is allowed-- or encouraged-- to compete in every aspect of his life, is likely to grow up believing that he must always "win" in everything. He must get the highest grade. He must be the fastest runner. He must be the funniest kid in the class. He must have the biggest slice of pizza. He must fly the highest kite. The list goes on. Where does it end? Every task, then, becomes a "game" in this child's mind. His whole life becomes one big game. And as he grows up, the stakes get higher: He must make the most money. He must have the biggest house. He must have the prettiest wife. He must he must he must. And what happens if one day he loses? Well, losing feels bad, remember?

The "experts" have it right, in a way. But we're not going to help our children in the long run by doing away with competition altogether. Rather, we should be focusing our efforts on teaching our children when it is appropriate to compete, and when it is not. We can focus our efforts on helping our children to learn how to be graceful winners, and confident losers. When our child loses at something, we can help him accept the defeat, and then help him find ways to become better, or else encourage him to try out other skills that he might excell at.

And, ultimately, our goal should be to teach them that the greatest achievement in life is simply to be the best people they can be, to realize and to accept their own strengths and their own weaknesses, and that they don't have to "win" at everything in order to be good and valuable human beings.

A little friendly competition in the form of "games" is the first step.

Monday, September 26, 2011

On Abortion

I apologize for nothing in this post. I will be stating facts; facts do not require apology.

The following link contains some surprising statistics on abortion in the United States. As stated in the article, "All abortion numbers are derived from pro-abortion sources."
I will be quoting parts of the article below, but I do invite any readers to read the entire article.

The most pertinent sections from the above article:

Why women have abortions1% of all abortions occur because of rape or incest; 6% of abortions occur because of potential health problems regarding either the mother or child, and 93% of all abortions occur for social reasons (i.e. the child is unwanted or inconvenient).

At what gestational ages are abortions performed:52% of all abortions occur before the 9th week of pregnancy, 25% happen between the 9th & 10th week, 12% happen between the 11th and 12th week, 6% happen between the 13th & 15th week, 4% happen between the 16th & 20th week, and 1% of all abortions (16,450/yr.) happen after the 20th week of pregnancy.

Abortion coverage:48% of all abortion facilities provide services after the 12th week of pregnancy. 9 in 10 managed care plans routinely cover abortion or provide limited coverage. About 14% of all abortions in the United States are paid for with public funds, virtually all of which are state funds.

Now enough statistics. Now for some personal facts:

Personal Fact #1: I am pregnant.
Personal Fact #2: This pregnancy was planned. I know the exact date (within a 1-2-day margin of error) on which conception occurred.
Personal Fact #3: The following image is from the low-grade ultrasound my midwife performed in her office when I was just barely 10 weeks pregnant (sorry it's upside-down):

I will also note, in this ultrasound-- though of course it is not apparent in a photo-- I could see the embryo's heart beating. It was ALIVE.

Personal Fact #4: This next image is from an ultrasound done at barely 15 weeks:

Note, it already looks like a baby!

Now to re-quote some of the statistics with the above images in mind.

12%  [of abortions] happen between the 11th and 12th week, 6% happen between the 13th & 15th week, 4% happen between the 16th & 20th week, and 1% of all abortions (16,450/yr.) happen after the 20th week of pregnancy.

That means that at least 23% of abortions take place after the heart has already started beating! 4% happen between the 16th and 20th week (hmm, right before most pregnant women look forward to their first ultrasound to make sure the baby's healthy and to find out its gender).

I took a health class at our local college, and in the textbook we used is a section on abortion. It seemed fairly straightforward and non-biased, just stating the facts. Until I took a look at the pictures and got a little skeptical.

One picture illustrates the process of suction curettage, a procedure involving the gradual dilation of the cervix, then a suction cup is inserted into the cervix and the contents of the uterus are vacuumed out; finally, a spoon-shaped instrument called a curette, is used to check for complete removal. In the illustration, the amniotic sac looks much like my first ultrasound image, taken at 10 weeks after my last menstrual period. But suction curettage, according to the textbook, is typically done anywhere from 7 weeks to 13 weeks. 13 weeks is 3 weeks more than 10, and only 2 weeks less than 15, which is where I was when the second ultrasound image was taken. Which means, at 13 weeks-- the upper end of when suction curettage is routinely performed, the embryo/fetus is more likely to resemble the second image than it is the first. The heart is already beating, and limbs are fully formed, looking a lot more like a baby and a lot less like a mere "sac."

And there's the facts. Garner from them what you will.


So, last week the word got out to the general acquaintance, so now I can announce it here, too. I am seventeen weeks pregnant.

I will probably be posting on here a lot more often now! There were so many things I could have written about the last couple months, but I wasn't ready to make things public yet.

The first trimester was a teeny bit miserable, but I can't complain too much since I've known women with a lot worse morning sickness than I've ever had. The worst of it, though, was when I was down in California last month, driving on windy roads in the hot weather.

It's amazing how that second trimester starts, and all of a sudden BAM! No more morning sickness. How does my body know?

Nick keeps feeling the need to apologize to me for getting me pregnant. Ha, like I didn't play a part in it? I knew exactly what I was getting myself into at the time; if I had told him, though, he would have freaked out-- just like he's doing now. Yes, I'm a little surprised myself that I decided I was ready again so soon, when for a while I figured I'd wait until Z was at least 3 years old before I got pregnant again. But, I've realized something else. And that is, time's ticking.

Not that I'm feeling old or like I'm going to lose my...fertility anytime soon. But, I've decided I'd rather have all my babies sooner rather than later. And that means having them a little closer together-- say, over a 10-year period-- rather than spacing them out more so as to be spending the next 20 years of my life in the baby/toddler stage. I don't want my oldest to be in high school when my youngest is just learning to walk.

But, that's just me.

Anyway, there will be just over two and a half years between Z and the new baby, so pretty much the same as with my first two. Yes, it's going to be stressful and tiring and sometimes downright miserable; but, that's how it's going to be whenever I have a baby, so I might as well get it over with. And then I can move on to enjoying my "big kids" that much sooner.

I will say, though, I sure am enjoying both G and Z at their current stages of life. So far, my favorite ages have been 2 and 4; least favorite, 0 and 3. How's that for leapfrogging?

Sunday, September 18, 2011


In today’s Sunday School lesson, the main topic—or at least, what I mostly got out of it—was trial.

 Often, we simply think of a trial as something that tests our faith or ability; something that is difficult to bear, but—if we bear it successfully—will ultimately make us stronger somehow.

 The Merriam-Webster online dictionary provides further insight into the meaning of the word trial, and its several definitions can certainly be applied to our lives in a spiritual sense as well as temporal (italicized words are my own; bolded are for emphasis):

 1a: the action or process of trying or putting to the proof : test b: a preliminary contest (as in a sport)  A trial is an opportunity to prove myself.

2: the formal examination before a competent tribunal of the matter in issue in a civil or criminal cause in order to determine such issue What more “competent tribunal” can we have than Christ?

3: a test of faith, patience, or stamina through subjection to suffering or temptation; broadly: a source of vexation or annoyance

4a: a tryout or experiment to test quality, value, or usefulness — compare clinical trial b: one of a number of repetitions of an experiment  Am I valuable to God? Am I useful?

5: attempt

 During today’s lesson/discussion, the following passage also came to mind, from 1 Corinthians 10:13--
There hath no temptation ataken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be btempted above that ye are able; but will with the ctemptation also make a way to descape, that ye may be able to ebear it.

 I do not think it inappropriate, in this context, to substitute the word “tempted” in the above scripture with the word “tried,” and “temptation” with the word “trial.” Temptations are trials: trials of our faith, trials of our discipline, trials of our love for Christ and our Heavenly Father to want to overcome temptation in order to become closer to our Savior.

 So, what I get from this is that I will never be given any trials in life that I cannot overcome with the help of my Heavenly Father. Trials are best viewed, not as hardships or annoyances that I would be better off without; but rather, my trials should be viewed as an opportunity for me to prove myself, to prove my faith, quality, and worthiness before the Lord.

 It is a well-observed fact that every man or woman in this life experiences trials. It is also a well-observed fact that every man or woman experiences very different trials in mortality. Some people’s lives seem so trial-ridden, complicated, and downright devastating, that it’s a wonder to me when I hear some of these people share the trials they’ve been through, and to realize that they are still optimistic about life, that they feel fulfilled and happy, that they still love and trust their Heavenly Father. I only hope I can come out as strong if I ever go through half the trials these people have been though. But, that’s just the point: these people were tried, and they passed the test; their value and usefulness were tested, and they were found to be worthy, good and faithful servants.

My trials are tailor-made for me. Whatever has befallen in the past, whatever I’m going through now, whatever trials might arise to test me in the future—none of it is random. God knows exactly what I am capable of bearing. He also knows exactly what trials will allow me to demonstrate my own unique gifts, to strengthen my own unique weaknesses, to reach my maximum potential and growth, to become a “profitable servant” before my Lord. And if I know what’s good for me, I will welcome those trials with open arms, with a heart and mind in tune with the Holy Spirit to guide me and comfort me along the way.

 If I want to be a faithful daughter, if I want to be a worthy servant, if I want to be the best I can be, I will never shrink away from my trials. Rather, I should say “Bring it on, life. There is nothing you can do to me that I can’t face with the help of my God. There is no challenge I might face that will not make me stronger.”

Bring it on!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Humorous Find

A couple years ago, I was browsing a local curio shop and came across an interesting item. I started reading the instructions on the back of the box, and it was so funny to me that I asked for a post-it note and a pen and wrote it all down word-for-word. Today while cleaning out a pile of old papers, I came across the post-it note again. Here's what is says:

Duck Egg Growing Pet
1. Put the egg in a container & fill with water level upper egg (the temperature of the water is under 35*C (95*F)).
2. The egg shell will break after 12-24 hours. Slowly then the pet hasten out of the shell. (Please keep the full water into the container)
3. After the egg shell is broken entirely please add the new water into the container again (the pet will be expanding after 24-48 hours fully).
4. Can remove the growing pet to another container to watch them grow daily.

Some jobs are best not being outsourced...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

First day of Preschool

Nick and I were searching and praying to find a good preschool for G, who has been asking us since he was 3 "when can I go to school?"

We make just barely too much money for him to make the cut for Head Start (lots of poverty-level families in our community, even moreso since the recession hit). I was doing all I could think of to try and find an inexpensive alternative, but the only things I came across were daycares that offered preschool on the side, and that wasn't really what I wanted.

Then, we were traveling for a month and I had pretty much given up.

But when we got back just last weekend, my mother-in-law called me with some searching she had done. There was an open house yesterday for a little preschool run out of one of the local churches here. We went to the open house, liked the teacher, liked the curriculum. Though the curriculum is really of secondary priorty to me, as the biggest thing was to just give my son a place where he could learn more social skills, be in a more structured environment, which I think will be good for him as I am one of the least-structured people I know but I want him to learn it from somewhere.

Also, he just responds better in general to being taught by someone else other than me-- at least long-term. He'll learn things from me, sure, but as soon as I try to give him anything like a real lesson, he shuts off.

Anyway, he goes to school for 2 and a half hours, three days a week. And we're paying $150 a month. The teacher says she teaches letters, numbers, shapes, colors, patterning, rhyming and other word games (which I know G will love), and then hands-on stuff like crafts and science exploration.

She is a certified teacher, who in the past has taught kindergarten and first grade.

The class has up to twelve students. When I took G for his first day today, we found out the class is almost all boys, except for two girls. Those poor girls, haha.

He was being really nervous and moody yesterday about the whole thing, but this morning he finally seemed okay with everything. When I took him in this morning and waved goodbye, he was all smiles. He loves making new friends, and he was already introducing himself to the other kids when I left.

After I picked him up, we were driving home and I asked him about his day. I asked him if he learned any songs-- he said yes, but he couldn't remember any. I asked him if he'd made any new friends-- he said yes, but couldn't remember their names. He didn't remember his teacher's name.

Eventually, things started coming back to him and he divulged more details. He was a little disappointed that they didn't learn any letters; I told him that would start next week (today was more of a "get to know you" and orientation day). He was also disappointed that he didn't get to do a craft (though he did draw a picture-- scribble-- of a "pirate ship"). I asked him what toys he played with, and then he told me that he played with the "big legos," and that he and some other kids put on "suits." I'm assuming that means they played dress-up. He said his "suit" was red, and "it was a little too big."

All in all, it sounds like he had an okay first day. He's excited to go back on Monday. I hope he doesn't get too impatient over the weekend.

I am happy and thankful that we found this place. It should be really good for him.

Monday, September 5, 2011


Last night Z was lying with me for a while in our bed before he went to his own bed. He was wide awake and having trouble settling down. Anyway, there was a sleeping bag rolled up and standing up in the corner next to my bed, and all of a sudden Z saw it and pointed, saying "scary!" and he crawled over to Nick's side of the bed to get away. I was able to show him that it was only a sleeping bag, and then he was okay. But, so begin the nighttime scarries...

Monday, August 8, 2011

Friends come and friends go...and they come back!

A friend of mine from church has a couple of kids who have come over to play several times, and G just adores them. A week ago, I thought we had seen them for the last time as my friend was planning on moving away that weekend.

As we were preparing to go to church yesterday morning, G started talking about him friends and how he was excited to see them. I had to explain to him that his friends and their mom had moved and we wouldn't be seeing them again. This greatly distressed him and he started to dry and wail, "But I love them!" It was so sweet and heart-wrenching. I comforted him as best I could.

When we got to church, G practically jumped up and down with excitement, "Look! It's B and E!" I looked, and sure enough, there they were! Came to find out that they were not leaving town after all, but my friend had just decided to move her family into town rather than stay where she was up in the mountains.

Anyway, I'm happy to have a friend sticking around (so many have moved throughout my lifetime). And G is just thrilled, of course. I am happy for him :)

Sunday, July 31, 2011


We went to the lake last night and spent some time on the boat with my father-in-law. I took my niece tubing, and she had fun at first until the water got too choppy. Then G joined me. He was a little apprehensive, but brave.

We started out and he didn't like how fast it was going. I started to slip, and I couldn't let go of the handle to signal my father-in-law to slow down or stop. G and I started yelling "stop!" and finally got stopped. I climbed more forward on the tube, but apparently a little [i]too far[/i] forward. The boat started up again, and within seconds, the tube tipped forward, and G and I fell off head-first into the water. Thank goodness for lifejackets! And that G had just finished two weeks of swim lessons and so was probably a little more prepared for going underwater than he would have been otherwise. He didn't stay unerwater long, in any case, according to Nick who could see it all better than I could.

He was not at all happy about it, though I did my best to be cheerful and humorous. He recovered all right, but I don't think we'll be able to convince him to ride the tube again anytime soon. After we got him back on the boat, I took another turn on the tube because I wanted to show him that it was still okay. I got thrown again. And then I took one more short ride. I hope at least that G can understand that, while getting thrown was not pleasant, he's still alive and okay, and that it won't deter him too much from taking those small risks in the future (though I by no means expect or want him to be a complete daredevil, haha).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pictures from our Massachusetts Trip-- Third Installment

Taken from the deck of the ferry on the way to Martha's Vineyard:
 There were lots of seagulls; I had fun trying to capture them on film.
 G looking out over the water:
 And Z:
 Taking a ride on the Flying Horses Carousel:
 He looks like a regular equestrian...
 Gingerbread Houses, this pic and the rest following. A lot of these would make good puzzles :)
 All the men, in front of the Pink House:
 The Pink House:
 Just a really cool-looking tree we came across on our walk through the Gingerbread Houses:

 I think this one was my favorite...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pictures from our Massachusetts Trip-- Second Installment

The boys and I met a lot of Nick's mother's family for the first time. G enjoyed spending a good deal of time with Nick's cousin, O.
 Lobster Night:
 Z kept leaning forward to take bites of his corn, rather than picking it up with his hands; I thought it was funny, so I got a pic:
 My Mother-in-Law watched the kids while the rest of us took a bike tour of Boston. It was fun. Our tour guide:
 My Father-in-Law, and Nick:
 Brother-in-Law and Wife:
 Sister-in-Law and Husband:
 And Me!
 If I'm remembering right, that tall structure is the supports for a new interstate bridge. Or something of the sort.
 A duck in the reflecting pool. The sign says "no swimming."
 Misty moorings...
 And seagulls!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Pictures from our Massachusetts Trip-- First Installment

Videos will have to come later, as they have to be uploaded to YouTube first so my parents can view them on their iMac.

The boys at the airport, watching the airplanes through the window:
 Here's G, ready to Fly! He really enjoyed looking out the window to "see the world."
 Z was happy enough starting out, until take-off time...poor kid was miserable every time we took off or landed, which happened a total of eight times the entire trip.
 Taking the shuttle to pick up our rental car (Nick's dad was also traveling with us). Z was so snuggly, I had to get a picture:
 The first night, the boys shared a Queen bed. In the morning, they looked like this:
Thankfully, the rest of the nights they each had their own beds.
 Our first day playing on the beach. It was raining a little and Z got cold, so he spent most of the time inside the beach hut:
 G spotted a "fish" out in the water. It turned out to be a horseshoe crab...
 Here's G, excited with his discovery:
 The underside of a horseshoe crab:
 The back, barnacles and all:
 That black spot in the middle is an eye...
 Here, my sons' hands touching the crab, shown here for scale. My mother-in-law said this was actually small for a horseshoe crab.
 Bye-bye horseshoe crab! Thanks for posing!