Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lucky Gloves

The gloves Michael is sporting are rather miraculous. I know, you are thinking that a pair of toddler-sized hand warmers couldn't possibly be any such thing. But you would be wrong, and here's why: This pair of gloves lasted the entire winter season without getting lost or separated. That, my friends, is a feat as rare and unexpected as Britney Spears wearing her underwear.

I bought them in November and here we are in April, packing them away, and they are still together! Considering how many times they were purposely removed or dropped on the sidewalk or in a subway car, that is truly amazing.

So take note. This is one for the record books.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What Makes a Hypocrite?

Mel Gibson is catching a lot of flack for stepping out with another woman just two weeks after his wife of twenty-eight years filed for divorce. But the most interesting thing about this is not the level of tackiness (Come on, Mel, really?), it's the astounding number of bored people who comment on these happenings, calling Gibson (who is a devout Catholic) a hypocrite and reveling in the chance to bash religion in general, saying that this just goes to show that religious people are all hypocrites who should stop telling the rest of us what to do.

Now, while I agree this is not wise behavior on Gibson's part (and certainly won't win back any fans who were turned off by his disgusting anti-Semitic rant a few years ago), I have to question whether his actions are truly hypocritical. As the point of the indignant comments I read seems to be "He's a hypocrite and he's religious, so therefore all religion is hypocritical and bad", I have to wonder if these people think anyone is allowed to have any beliefs that they cannot fully live up to.

The fact is that none of us is perfect, which means that there is not a soul on the planet (under this ban on "hypocrisy") who has the right to tell us what to do. Frankly, this just seems like a more sneaky way of saying that the general populace would like to be able to behave however they please, without religious or moral police interfering with their fun.

I am reminded of the whole William Bennett kerfuffle a few years ago. Bennett was a conservative, shall we say, "moralist" who is best known for his writings and commentary on virtuous living, including "The Book of Virtues: A Treasury of Great Moral Stories". But then it came to light that this proponent of morality was a high-stakes gambler. And not only that, he was a smoker! While he was drug czar of the United States, no less! (Apparently smoking is the only vice that still seems to land one in the sin category nowadays).

Suddenly the cry went out: "Hypocrite!" How could Bennett be offering guidance on how to live one's life if he was not squeaky clean himself? The gall! How could he fight a war on drugs and sit in his office smoking the day away?

Well, let's define hypocrite, for the sake of discussion. One Webster's Dictionary definition is: "A person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs", which I think is the definition most people go for when discussing the concept. But in my perusal of definitions on the web, there is much more to hypocrisy. According to my google search, a hypocrite can also be defined as: "A person who professes beliefs and opinions that he or she does not hold in order to conceal his or her real feelings or motives" or "The act of preaching a certain belief, religion, or way of life, but not, in fact holding these beliefs."

I prefer these definitions because they allow religious persons, who truly believe a certain way, to mess up (or in other words, be human) without being called a hypocrite. Who is to say that Mel Gibson does not believe that what he is doing is wrong? Or that William Bennett did not feel guilty as he bet his millions in the casino? Just because they were doing these things does not mean we get a free pass to ignore the good and correct things they said, simply because they are fallible human beings. That's where we run into trouble, when we group all morality into one perfect bundle and only allow the sinless to dispense of it. We can still learn lessons from others, even with, and in some cases because of, their shortcomings.

Now, I am not excusing any of Gibson's behavior (past or present), and I am not saying that Bennett probably shouldn't have been off gambling. But their personal behavior is not a black mark against religion or morality in general. We all make mistakes. Let's learn from theirs so we don't have to make the same mistakes on our own.

Monday, April 27, 2009

I'm Totally Related to Her!

Normally I get annoyed when people name-drop, and especially when people name-drop on my behalf ("This is my friend Bonnie - she's related to so-and-so"). But in this case I am going to totally start name-dropping:

My fabulously talented sister, Stephanie (not to be confused with my other fabulously talented sisters, Evil HR Lady and Mean Aunt) just won a Whitney Award for Best Mystery/Suspense novel for 2008! If you haven't read Fool Me Twice, what are you waiting for? Get going!

Congratulations, Stephanie! It was completely deserved! I can't wait to see what's next! (Oh wait, I have seen it, and it's GOOD!)

Taking Leave of our Senses

Believe it or not, the Supreme Court is set to hear a case being argued by the ACLU, and I actually agree with the civil liberties brigade! This is a rarity, considering most of the time I think the ACLU needs to get over themselves and stop destroying our freedom.

The case involves a girl named Savanna Redding, who, when she was thirteen, was strip-searched by Arizona school officials looking for contraband ibuprofen. Yes, you read that right. They were looking for an over-the-counter drug used to relieve headaches and menstrual cramps of all things.

The trouble started when another student was found with ibuprofen and blamed Savanna. When a search of Savanna's backpack didn't reveal any forbidden medications, the school nurse and a female secretary performed a strip search, even making her shake out her underwear and bra.

I'm sorry, but this is outrageous! Stripping a thirteen-year old girl down to nothing because of the accusation of another adolescent is horrifying, and that applies even if we are talking about heroin. But we aren't. We are talking about ibuprofen, for crying out loud!

Apparently there is some question of whether the ibuprofen they were searching for was "prescription strength" which in my opinion, is completely irrelevant. So we are talking about two Advil instead of one. Big whoop. The fact is that schools should not be performing strip searches on anyone, for any reason. If there is a legal or criminal issue at hand then law enforcement should be called in, and at the very least the parents should be notified.

I called my sister, who lives in Arizona, to ask about the drug policies of her children's schools. She told me that her kids aren't allowed to carry medications for any reason. That means if you would like your menstruating daughter to have access to Midol, you must sign a form and then take a bottle of the pain-reliever (in its original packaging) to the school nurse, who will dispense the medication to your child, should she come asking.

I don't know about you, but when I was thirteen I was still working out the embarrassments and hush-hush situations that arose from having my period. You would have had to kill me before I would have even considered going to ask the nurse for some Midol.

I understand that schools do not want drugs on their campuses. But let's use our heads, people. Tylenol and Advil are not the sort of drugs that kids are going to be snorting between classes. Heaven forbid we allow our teenagers to handle their own headache relief.

And another thing: I find it absolutely unfathomable that OTC pain relievers are forbidden, and yet many schools pass out condoms and birth control pills without parental consent. There is even legislation out there pushing for teens to be allowed to have abortions without having to let their parents know. But if they have a headache they can't be trusted to take care of it themselves?

This is so ludicrous I can't even stand to write about it any more. I have to go bang my head against a wall now.

Mysteries of Life

How is it that one little haircut can turn a toddler into such a big boy?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

We Interrupt This Blog for a Commercial Message

After years of half-heartedly contemplating teeth whitening, my not-so-pearly whites had finally reached a state of such yellowness that I decided it was worth it to fork over the big bucks for Crest White Strips. I wasn't expecting them to work miracles, but I figured any improvement was better than nothing.

Well, they totally work! I have only been using them for three days and already the improvement has been so drastic that I can't seem to stop smiling at myself in the mirror. I still have seven days to go, but I am already 100% satisfied with the results.

So if you've ever contemplated buying them, run out and get some today.

Best $35 I ever spent!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Like Father, Like Son

Michael has something of an organizational streak. He loves to clean up (almost as much as he likes to dump out) and is very good at putting things in the proper places. He will stack by color, shape and size, and likes things to be lined up "just so". He loves to sort things and can divide laundry by lights, whites and darks without any prompting. And he always wants to be the one to put something away, whether it's our scriptures after our morning reading or a remote control he found on the floor.

I'm thinking all this organized behavior was inherited from his father, who proudly stands over him and says, "That's my boy!" any time Michael finds the proper spot for a toy.

This is my favorite evidence of the way Michael likes to arrange things. Usually after a bath he will stack his cups in one corner and his fish neatly in the other (the cups by size and the fish on top of each other, all facing the same way), but every once in awhile this is what I find instead:

Hmmm, detail-oriented at two. A future accountant, perhaps?


Imagine, for a moment, that your husband has been out with friends for the evening. At home, you are going crazy with three kids, one having just pooped in the tub. You are frustrated and tired. After a long evening, your husband walks in the door from a wonderful, relaxing dinner with friends, gets updated on the situation, and says, "Oh, that just makes my night so much better, knowing you had to be home dealing with that! It just puts a smile on my face!"

You might think your husband was being a jerk, right?

So let's reverse the situation. A few months ago I received an email that said this very same thing, only it was a woman writing about spending the night out with friends and then coming home to find her husband had had a tough evening. She ended her note with, "As the explanation of why tonight was hard went on and on (while I'm thinking "yeah i do this every night") i find out [the two-year old] pooped in the tub which put a smile on my face thinking of him dealing with that and made it even that much more fun that i was out with you girls."

Knowing her husband had a rough time made her night even more fun? I'm sorry, but that qualifies her as a jerk.

I understand that it might be nice for your spouse to experience your daily life every once awhile, to gain more appreciation for what you do all day. But do women really appreciate what their husbands do for them? Really? Because many women I know whine and whine about their husband's work as if he goes off to Fun-ville while they are stuck at home with the snot-nosed toddlers.

It irritates me when women talk about their husbands like they have the easiest jobs in the world, and know nothing about how hard it is for moms to take care of the kids. While it may be true that husbands don't always understand the difficulties of mommy life, most women don't know a darn thing about how hard it is to do their husband's job every day, either. The fact is that both spouses have difficult jobs, and both need to learn how to appreciate the other (and express that appreciation) on a regular basis.

I have a big problem with the fact that this woman felt increased happiness because of her husband's crazy night, as if he deserved some sort of punishment. Wouldn't it have been nicer if she had tried appreciating the fact that he was willing to watch the kids (after a long day at work) so she could go out with her friends? She could have even said "thank you" while getting a little nudge in there about what she deals with on a regular basis: "Oh, I'm sorry you had to deal with that. That happens to me all the time, and it's no fun, so I totally understand. Thank you so much for watching the kids so I could have a night off."

Understanding goes both ways. And in this case it's not the woman who can go to the head of the class.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fashion Tips for the Utterly Fashionless

As we are now entering spring and summer, I figured it was a good time to share some basic fashion tips with you, to help you look your best this season:

Stretch pants look good on no one. I don't care if you are a size 2 - they do not look good on you. And it doesn't matter how comfortable they are - no one wants a close up of your lumpy thighs. If you feel you simply cannot live without stretch pants, buy them in black and choose a brightly colored shirt so our eyes will be drawn mercifully up instead of down.

Nothing ruins a flirty, feminine outfit like a big snake tattoo. It is best to avoid permanent inking altogether (because aging skin and gravity will not be kind to that dolphin swimming just above your butt crack) but if you just can't resist the urge to stamp yourself with iron-clad proof of your stupidity, keep it small, and keep it covered.

A woman does not exist whose breasts are perky enough to go bra-free. If you are ever tempted to leave the house without a little support, install a full-length mirror on your front door with phrases like, "Feeling saggy today, are we?" and "Boobs like bras, not tube tops".

And speaking of tube tops, they are not their own support system. While it is best to avoid this fashion altogether, if you must wear one, find yourself a strapless bra to help things from migrating too far south. Better yet, find a cute little jacket to go over the top.

While wandering around without a bra is not attractive, neither is the other extreme of wearing push-up waterbra contraptions that squish your breasts into your three-sizes-too-small shirt. I hate to tell you, but this technique does not make your decolletage look any bigger. It just makes your boobs look as if they are struggling to come up for air.

If you would wear something on your wedding night, it is not appropriate for public viewing.

Avoid short skirts. If you feel you must show off your thighs, make sure your skirt is long enough that no one can ascertain whether or not you forgot to wear your underthings.

Vinyl, leather, or otherwise reflective material does not produce flattering pants. No matter how small your legs are, they will look three sizes bigger in these types of fabrics. It is best to avoid them altogether.

Wear the proper size of clothing so your fat rolls do not look as if they are trying to escape their denim prison.

Any extra skin resting on top of your waistline should be covered. No one wants to become acquainted with your stretch marks or c-section scars.

Repeat after me: underwear is not outerwear.

For every inch you've added to your hips since your eighteenth birthday, add an inch in length to your shorts.

Contrary to very popular belief, breasts do not need to be aired out. A light covering provides plenty of breathing room and greatly lowers the risk of wardrobe malfunctions.

Wearing kitten heels to Disneyland does not make you look sexy. It makes you look stupid. This also applies to sightseeing tourists and hikers in national parks.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I'm So Offended!

In the hopes of becoming affiliated with a major state university, an "offensive" college mascot in my hometown was recently changed to reflect a more politically correct ideal.

In the news yesterday, faculty at Brown University voted to change "Christopher Columbus Day" to "Fall Weekend", citing distress over Columbus's violent treatment and enslavement of Native Americans. Also last month, a commission made six recommendations for the university to acknowledge its ties to the slave trade, with some critics suggesting that the university's name itself should be changed (nevermind that the school's actual namesake is Nicholas Brown, Jr., who was an abolitionist).

This politically correct hand-wringing is so irritating. For heaven's sake, are we really so delicate that we can't stand the fact that some important historical figures may have been, gasp, imperfect? And how is it that we expect these people to have lived up to today's standards? In Columbus's day, slavery was by no means out of the ordinary. How can we expect someone, who was raised with slavery being entirely normal and socially acceptable, to have turned their back on the sinful business in the hopes of having their own bust gracing the hallways of some future university?

I find this sort of thing especially irritating in the case of George Washington (and others of our founding fathers). Washington was a remarkable man who managed tasks that were beyond the capacity of any other human being at the time, and yet we denigrate him because he owned slaves - again, a totally acceptable and expected social practice of the time. We are fools if we expect those who lack the same knowledge or experiences we have to live as we do. That's simply unfair and unrealistic.

We need to get over ourselves! Or at least get over our ancestors. I mean, I suppose I could go around with a chip on my shoulder because my ancestors were kicked out of Missouri by government extermination order, had their belongings taken from them, were abused, maligned, and in some cases, even murdered for their beliefs. But what good would that do, honestly? The fact is that there is not a soul alive today who is personally responsible for any of those terrible things, and I am in no way personally affected by history's wrongs to my family, except perhaps for having a greater and more profound gratitude for my life and those of my ancestors. Because last time I checked, no one was threatening to exterminate me from my apartment or confiscate my belongings and murder my loved ones, so maybe I should be counting my blessings and not letting things that happened 200 years ago (to someone else, not even to me) interfere with my current happiness.

All this disgusting political correctness is so Book of Mormon. "Your fathers wronged my fathers so you owe me and I hate you and I can't possibly live my life knowing you are still out there and blah blah blah."

What are we, five? Let's get on with our lives and quit taking offense where none was intended.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

In the past three days Michael and I have been in a car, an airplane, a taxi, a subway train, a ferry, and a bus (the first bus since we moved here, if you can believe it).

How many modes of transportation have you used?

We have been enjoying some family togetherness in the lovely spring weather, spending yesterday afternoon at Battery Park, hopping over to Staten Island for dinner (intrigued by, but passing up an Indian Vegetarian Kosher restaurant - who knew there was such a thing? - in favor of Italian) and then hanging out with the peacocks at the Bronx Zoo today.

Here is Michael checking out some fish while waiting to hitch a ride on the Staten Island Ferry:

Have I ever mentioned how much I love the end of tax season? And New York? And Spring?


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Take One Down, Pass It Around

When we left for Utah, Michael and I were both nursing terrible colds. We had just enough time to have a few days reprieve from the constant dripping of snot when he caught another cold from his cousins. So once again I am relegated to being a snot rag first and a mother second. It's funny how people will tell me, "You have something on your shoulder," as if I didn't realize I had a shirt full of glistening nasal discharge.

Our flight home was prolonged, to say the least. Michael was so excited to see his daddy that he pestered, "See Daddy? Airplane! See Daddy?" all day long. After a two-hour delay in the airport and some trouble getting off the ground, he was ready to be done as soon as we got started. This culminated in a hysterical sobbing fit near the end of the flight to "See Daddy! My see Daddy!" which lasted over an hour. Surprisingly, the number of dirty looks from other passengers was quite minimal, though I suppose it is slightly cuter for a child to be crying for his daddy than for no reason at all. I was surrounded by very nice people who apparently understood the concept that no one wants a child to be quiet more than his mother.

On approach to the airport Michael was still wailing. Nothing would distract him from the fact that Daddy was still nowhere to be seen, and if I tried to divert his attention by singing or talking about something else, he would slap my lips and shout, "No! Daddy!" This got worse, when, as we were only 1000 feet off the ground with landing gear ready, the plane suddenly jerked upward and we began climbing again. Air Traffic Control had apparently messed up the sequencing, so we had to circle around the airport for "ten minutes" which turned out to be forty-five. Michael finally conked out ten minutes before we landed, of course. We finally arrived home and fell into bed at about 2:30 AM.

But, we are here, at last, and it is good to be home! The security guard and concierge were thrilled to see Michael and fussed over him for a good five minutes before I could leave the apartment to take him on his promised train ride. We got to go see the dinosaur and play with the train set at Toys R Us, and then picked up a sandwich for lunch, where Michael got his usual tray of pickles and a free cookie to boot. (The manager just adores him and gives him pickles and other free stuff every time we go in).

Now Michael is back to having no one but his boring mom to play with. We miss you already, cousins!

In Case You're Feeling Ungrateful

I have honestly never understood how it is that people can dislike America so much. And by "people" I mean "Americans", because while much of the world may be in a toddler-like snit over the latest American faux paus, who the heck cares what the rest of the world thinks? They can take their (im)moral superiority and find somewhere shady to put it.

But Americans, who enjoy freedom in almost every imaginable respect, have more and greater opportunities than anyone anywhere else in the world, and who live lives of luxury (even in the poverty sector - we don't really know what "poor" is) find a whole lot to whine about. I've always thought it would be a good idea to ship these ungrateful brats off to the Middle East for awhile, and see how they like life in a tent in the Arabian desert, where women have no rights and basic sanitation is wanting.

In case you've ever found yourself complaining about life in the good old USA, read these two articles I came upon in my morning perusal of the news. Both made me profoundly grateful to live in this country, and should make any rational person rethink any complaints they might have about the haves and have-nots of American life.

This article is about an eight-year old Saudi girl who was married off to pay her father's debts. A court has refused to annul the marriage, as long as the husband does not have sex with the child until after she reaches puberty. Oh, that's nice. I feel better now. I'm sure the loving husband will abide by his agreement, considering he bought an almost-baby for a bride.

Or how about this one? Women protesting a marriage law passed last month in Kabul, Afghanistan were pelted with stones by counter-protesters. Among other things, the law states when and for what reasons a woman may leave her house alone, and allows a man to demand sex from his wife every four days unless she is ill or would be harmed by intercourse. I'm all for more sex in marriage, but good heavens! Laws delineating how often the husband's demands must be satisfied, whether the wife likes it or not? Scary!

Oh, I'm so grateful to live in this country! What a wonderful life we have here! We don't even know the meaning of suffering or oppression.

God Bless America!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Goofing Off?

I received an email from my mom this afternoon stating that she had been "goofing off" for a few hours by transcribing a 300-year old sonata (that had been hand copied from microfilm) to computer.

I had to read her email again, because I just couldn't see how painstakingly transferring handwritten music to the computer qualified in any way, shape or form as "goofing off".

My husband was the first to point out this glaring discrepancy, and eventually I decided that my siblings and I must all be adopted because none of us have inherited this hideous compulsion to work all the time, let alone the ability to find it as appealing as sitting with our feet up in front of the television and catching bon bons in our mouths.

My mom says "to each her own". But honestly, I inherited plenty of genetic maladies from my parents (like flat feet, bad eyesight, and the fact that I am destined to die of cancer before I hit old age), so I am a little bitter that this worker-bee trait did not get passed on to me.

Goofing off should include things like playing video games, surfing the net, or watching movies. But transcribing sonatas? You've lost me. I mean, I am the girl who recently stood atop a Wii Fit balance board with a piece of chocolate cake on a plate, eating as I caused marbles to drop into the proper holes. (Admittedly, it is not my usual practice, but I had been challenged by my big-talking brother while we were eating dessert, and had to soundly beat the pants off him. Putting down the cake wasn't even a consideration).

So you better believe that if I can eat cake while exercising, I know how to goof off too.

Sorry, Mom, this just doesn't qualify.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Results are In...

My poll has officially been closed (for a few days now, but I'm a little slow). 23 out of 32 people prefer my opinion pieces, and only 5 prefer updates on my family. This means that the majority of you care more about my opinions than you do about me in general. Interesting. (I sense a couch and a notepad in my future...) Two people like my news-related posts best, and two meanies think I am a psycho and should shut up. For rude. Get off my blog, then, if it irks you so. Or at least tell me why you dislike it so I can learn how best to irritate you.

Thanks for participating!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mommy, What Does @#*$!&% Mean?

When I was little, the girl next door taught me a few choice words to enhance my vocabulary. I had no idea what they meant or how to piece them together in a sentence, but nevertheless, I decided to try out my new found knowledge on my mom. That didn't go over so well. I'm sure it must have been a rather shocking experience for her to have her four-year old come home armed with the vocabulary of a sailor. After she had gathered her wits about her, she quickly gave me an important lesson on words that I should not be saying.

So for me, it was a friend who dragged my innocent mouth through the mud. But maybe if I had lived in Britain, she could have saved herself the trouble.

Students in a 7th Year class were recently told to shout obscenities during a lesson on swearing. The teacher apparently wrote expletives like the F-word on the board and explained their meanings. Lovely. Just when you hope your child isn't learning these things from his peers, his teacher steps in and does the dirty work.

Officials at the school say it was part of sex and relationships program to "dispel the myths of swear words". Huh? Do they mean like whether bad words exist or not, or whether they are actually bad? Or, whether or not, if you say a swear word in the forest and no one is around to hear you, it's still a bad word?

Parents of the children are rightfully outraged at the lesson, but frankly, I'm a little surprised by that. I mean, would these same parents be outraged at their child's teacher demonstrating condom-use on a banana or teaching graphic lessons on sexuality?

Why schools feel it necessary to tackle subjects like these is beyond me. How much better would it be if they stuck to math and science and history lessons instead of teaching a room full of kids how to offend their grandmothers.

I don't even want to know what's next in the curriculum.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Happy Birthday, David!

Every year on April 8th at 12 a.m., I call David at work to wish him a Happy Birthday. What is he always doing at work on this day at this ungodly hour, you ask? Well, that is the sad lot of a tax accountant whose birthday happens to fall in the no-man's-land that leads up to April 15th.

This year his day will be made all the more special by the fact that I am 2,000 miles away, enjoying a relaxing vacation with my family, while he is diligently slaving at work. Poor guy. He really is a prince among men.

So in honor of his stunning bravery and stamina in slaying dragons for me, you must now endure this corny list of things I love about him (in no particular order, of course, because who wants to spend time obsessing over which things are slightly more lovable than others?):

1. I love that he is such a kind, thoughtful husband.
2. I love that he is willing to go to work every day to support our family, and makes sure all of our needs are met.
3. I love that he is such a great daddy and delights in spending time with his little boy.
4. I love that he finds ways to surprise me.
5. I love that he sometimes makes phone calls for me because he knows how much I despise making them myself.
6. I love that he helps me around the house, even when he has been busy at work all day and deserves nothing more than to put up his feet and relax.
7. I love that he takes such pleasure in little things like walks and popcorn.
8. I love the way he looks in a suit.
9. I love that he doesn't complain, even when I leave my stuff out on the bathroom counter for the 97,456th time.
10. I love that he has such a strong testimony of the Savior and is by my side at church every week.
11. I love the thoughtful little things he does, like letting me sleep while he showers.
12. I love that he is a faithful, worthy priesthood holder.
13. I love the way he beams when he sees his son stacking toys in the proper boxes or in a neat pile ("That's my boy!" he'll say.)
14. I love that I can truly say I have absolutely no complaints about him.
15. I love that he is so concerned about others and is always volunteering to serve.
16. I love that he keeps our family on track with scripture reading.
17. I love that he never speaks unkindly about me to anyone.
18. I love the way his face crinkles when he grins.
19. I love that I can always depend on him and never have to worry about where he is or what he is up to.
20. I love that he is supportive of my interests and encourages me to better myself.
21. I love that he will give me a back rub every time I ask for one.
22. I love that he eats what I make for dinner without complaint and always says "thank you".
23. I love that he is like a kid on Christmas whenever he gets excited about something.
24. I love that he is organized and plans ahead.
25. I love that he puts such care and effort into his friendships.
26. I love that he is way more concerned about me than he is about himself.
27. I love that he somehow manages to keep from rolling his eyes while reading my blog.
28. I love that he makes me laugh.
29. I love that he makes marriage fun and rewarding.
30. I love that he gets more and more likable every day.
31. I love that making this list was so easy because he is such a great person.

Happy Birthday, David! I love you!

Monday, April 6, 2009

It Doesn't Matter (Or Does It?)

You know how people say "It doesn't matter how a baby gets here; a healthy baby is all that matters."? This is something I've been mulling over ever since my son's everything-I-didn't-want delivery left me with some very real feelings of inadequacy and personal failure. I know they say it doesn't matter how a baby makes his entrance into the world, but is that really completely true? What if a child's birth leaves a mother not only physically scarred, but emotionally damaged as well? Is the healthy child, then, really all that matters? What about the needs of the mother?

This is not to minimize the miraculous gift of a healthy baby, or the necessary medical interventions that save the lives of thousands of babies (and mothers) every year. And this does not excuse irrational women who are so determined to have their babies their way (without regard to competent medical advice) that they truly do put their infants and themselves in mortal danger. But I do believe that sometimes there is too much focus on the baby and the doctor's personal preferences, and not enough focus on the woman who is actually doing the delivering (and that's another thing - I'm sorry, but doctors do not "deliver" babies, moms deliver babies. Doctors are just there to sign for the package).

I've been thinking about this again as a friend of mine just raced spectacularly across the pregnancy finish-line with a three-hour, drug-free delivery, and one of my sisters-in-law is fervently hoping that her body will cooperate and decide to go into labor on its own so she will not be stuck with another c-section.

Suddenly I'm remembering my son's delivery, during which I had absolutely no control over anything. My doctor gave me timelines on which my uterus was supposed to cooperatively dilate. And then she put tubes, hoses, and monitors over every square inch of my body and in every available orifice and wouldn't even allow me to get up to walk around or use the restroom. It was like a gun had been fired to start the race, but I, as the star runner, was commanded to hold still and see if I could make it to the finish-line in a set time without moving a muscle. It was ridiculous.

I ended up with a c-section that I didn't want because my body would simply not conform to the mandatory babies-have-this-long-to-come-out guidelines. I was so numbed up from my epidural that I was partially paralyzed, and couldn't even move my arm to touch my son after he was born. I couldn't sit up in the recovery room to hold him because the resulting pain in my shoulders was so great. I didn't feel him come out of my body, I didn't get to see him come out, and if he hadn't been yanked out of my uterus, I would have felt completely unnecessary to the entire process.

I have struggled with my emotions about this ever since. I tell myself over and over that the "how" of the delivery was trivial compared to having a healthy little boy who arrived safely. I tell myself I should not care how he got here. But the fact remains that I do care, and I care a great deal. And these are not emotions that I feel should be ignored by any doctor, regardless of how professional her opinion may be.

There are two indispensable people to the process of birth, and the needs of both should be taken into account. So I have to say that, no, having a healthy baby really isn't all that matters.

A healthy mother is important, too.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Are You A Fan?

Facebook is a strange place. Not only is it full of people who say they are too busy to get anything done except regularly update their status, it is full of die-hard fans. Of everything. And anything. And all that's in between.

For example, you can become a fan of cuddling, or dipping fries in a Frosty, or of Sesame Street or apples or even smoking. Some of these fan pages, like the one for cuddling, confuse me. I mean, I would say I'm a fan of cuddling with my husband or son, but not so much with the person whose armpit is in my face on the subway or the dog that won't stop licking my foot. It seems like there should be a clarification as to whom or what is being cuddled before I would classify myself as being a fan of such activity.

Some people are fans of nothing but cringe-inducing TMI, like those who have declared themselves fond of French Kissing or the missionary position (not to be confused with those who are fans of missionaries in general). Yuck! No one wants to know that much about you. Honestly. Especially not the nice little old lady down the street who signed up for Facebook at the urging of her grandchildren and will be shocked out of her Georgia-bred skin at the mere mention of such indelicacies.

And then there are important figures whose fan base I can understand, but that seem a little irreverent to me, like "Jesus Christ - become a fan!" Well, obviously I am grateful for my savior, but it seems a bit crass to minimize that level of respect and reverence to "I {heart} God". Of course I feel the same way about much of modern Christianity - too much lovey dovey and not enough reverence or awe.

Certainly there are things I like, but if I am going to announce my deep and abiding love for something it had better be good. Like Wegmans, for example. Or Ann Taylor Loft. Or those adorable miniature binder clips that are so cute they give kittens a run for their money.

I guess we all have our oddities.

Friday, April 3, 2009

My Little Sweetheart

I buttered Michael up for two full days of toddler torture (i.e., General Conference) by taking him to Jumpin' Jacks this afternoon and then an indoor swimming pool this evening. What fun! He was sufficiently worn out by the end of the night that he actually sat and cuddled with me before bed, though he did manage to regain enough energy to climb up the ladder to the top bunk and take a flying leap onto his pillow.

He is such a fun and sweet little boy. Here is some conversational proof:

Today, while trying to switch his carseat from one car to the other, he was standing right behind my legs. I bumped into him, and said, startled, "Michael!" He immediately responded, "I sorry, Mommy."

Then on the same carseat switch I bumped my head and Michael instantly asked, "You okay, Mommy?" Awww, my little knight in soggy pull-ups. (This is a phrase I hear quite often, any time he thinks I may have hurt myself).

He is quick to apologize and quick to say "thank you". If you hand him something he will thank you by name. And if he asks for anything there is always a please involved.

Prayers are extra cute, and he has started praying for every person he can think of, including several blessings for Daddy, home, and work. And speaking of Daddy, when he talks to David at the end of the day he will say, without any prompting, "I love you, Daddy! I miss you!"

Last night he earned himself a time-out for purposely knocking over my water glass (out of boredom - he can't seem to find it within himself to just leave the table when he's had enough. It must be written into his boy DNA to make a departing mess). As soon as I retrieved him from his corner he said, "I sorry water, Mommy." And then we cuddled and hugged, and all was well with the world.

It's true that sometimes the twos are terrible, but the rest of the time there is really nothing better. Especially when that "two" has a smile like this one:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Speaking of Creative Solutions...

Well, since we have just learned that there is a creative solution that works for everyone, what do you think of this one?

Apparently, a German couple desperately wanted a baby, but tests on the husband showed he was sterile, so he did the only sensible thing: he hired the neighbor to impregnate his wife, paying him $2,500 to take care of the job (because hey, the neighbor sort of looked like him, and had already proved his reproductive prowess by fathering two children of his own, so why not?).

I'm not quite sure how one convinces one's spouse to agree to this sort of arrangement. (And why they didn't just go for the sperm donor option is beyond me). But the wife agreed, and for the next six months spent three nights a week, um, "getting to know", her neighbor.

Unfortunately for this ridiculous couple (but fortunately for all the spirits currently awaiting bodies), after six months of "trying" the neighbor was unable to accomplish the job. Subsequent medical tests showed he was also sterile - a fact which must have come as a great shock to him as he had supposedly fathered his own two children.

Turns out, the kiddies weren't his after all, a fact which his wife was then forced to confess.

Now the "employer" is suing his neighbor for breach of contract, saying the neighbor didn't fulfill his part of the deal. He wants his money back, which is now up to a judge who must certainly be having trouble keeping a straight face in the courtroom.

Honestly, the fact that four people actually agreed to this ickiness is just revolting. I am glad the universe saw fit to afflict these idiots with sterility. If it hadn't, who knows what they else they might be doing to contaminate the gene pool?