Sunday, November 29, 2009


(this picture has nothing to do with this statement, I just think it's cute)

I really like the evenings when Atticus and I have nothing to do, and just can sit and nurse and sleep and nurse more and sleep more. Mostly actually I read while he sleeps and nurses. We've gotten into a good groove with him where if he doesn't get overly tired, he practically doesn't cry. Sometimes the overtiredness is unavoidable, but while we are at home I try to stave off the sleepies by getting him to sleep. It works.

Foreign Policy fame

If you know me, you probably know how much I worship Valerie Hudson.

Well, this month she made it on Foreign Policy magazine's top 100 "global thinkers." This is a pretty big deal for a BYU professor, Mormon mother of 8. Awesome, huh?

Shot down in combined Relief Society/Priesthood

So on the fifth Sunday whenever that occurs in a month, all the male and female adults of the ward get together to be instructed by a member of the Bishopric, who lead the ward. This Sunday our Bishop talked to us about strengthening our marriages, as everyone in our ward is married. He asked us one question about ways in which we strengthen our communication.

I raised my hand and talked about the "I Love It..." game that Cait and I play where we first talk about some of the areas we think the other could improve and things that the other person does that might happen to bug us. And then we spend the rest of the time, which ends up being the majority of the time, by talking about things that we love about each other. We always do it when we are calm with no distractions and haven't been previously angered about anything. It's worked well for us, even though we don't do it as often as we used too. It's gotten to the point, I think, where we can bring up a lot of those things in regular conversation.

After I made this comment, a number of people, three I think, said that they thought that was very dangerous, saying how it could lead to bitterness. They also said that if something was bugging you about your spouse, it was probably just something that you were doing wrong and that you should change rather than saying anything to your spouse.

I think there is definitely some truth to those statements, especially the second, but I've found that sometimes the best way to confront an issue like that, say when Cait used to leave her clothes on the bathroom floor when they were dirty, head on and just discuss it and come to an agreement.

Of course, everyone has their own way of doing things, we were just wondering how everyone else handled these sort of things. Mainly this if for the married people, but it also applies to anyone who has a disagreement with another person that you are close to. So what do you think? What is the best way to communicate things that your spouse does that bothers you?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Mounds of gratitude... and turkey

Thanksgiving was a beautiful day for us.

We drove to Wyoming through the lovely canyons of northern Utah.

We heard the news of Janice's (she is my favorite of the Browning cousins...) home birth (and a VBAC!) and her new beautiful daughter, Ava Jeralee.

We hung out with Tim's great family. We laughed at Grandpa's declining memory and realized we should have named our baby something easier to remember.

We ate DELICIOUS food. I usually am biased towards food because my mom, aunt, and grandma can COOK. But it was actually good! And only one variety of jello (which was delicious, I ate three servings of it!)

We went on a beautiful walk in the Wyoming countryside (?) and saw some buffalo and elk.

We played Mormon Bridge. Tim won.

I got destroyed in Scrabble my Grandma. Who knew? I think I needed some humble pie to go with my pumpkin variety.

Although the little guy screamed part of the way home, I finally got him to sleep about 20 minutes away. And we enjoyed a peaceful journey the rest of the way.

AND, we got to hang out with Trace and Michelle and their new baby Alexis. It was really fun, though we were all really tired. We like them a lot, unfortunately they live far away in Logan. Alexis and the little guy were binky buddies too... Alexis had a pink one and the little guy a blue one. It was cute, too bad we didn't get a picture.

Most importantly of all, we were able to reflect on our unlistable blessings that have been granted to us this year. But actually, I will list them, for clarity:

1. Our marriage. I think it may be the best one around. We are always seeking out ways to improve, and I can clearly see a difference this year has made in both of us. Tim and I bring out the best in each other, and I've never been happier. Everyone told us we were crazy, but look at us now.

2. Our sweet little guy. As I type this, he's just chilling in my lap, looking around at his new world and smiling away at me. He has enriched our lives beyond what I could have imagined, and I'm grateful for every moment that I can be his mommy.

3. Education, work, friends, etc. We are just in such a good place in our lives right now. We live in an apartment that is better than we could have pictured last year, we have plenty of money in our savings, we have awesome friends right across the way and lots down the street, our ward is so fun and welcoming, we are both having really successful semesters at school, we both have jobs that we enjoy and that make us enough money to squeak by, and our families have been supportive and helpful as we transitioned to this stage in our lives. Allison is a phone call away to come over and hold the little guy so I can get work done when Tim's not around, we see Devin and Hillary often, and Tim's parents completely furnished our apartment for free. My mom came into town for those blissful two weeks in September, and my dad is off serving his fellow countrymen in Dover. Charity and Josh are off serving the Lord and gaining some neat cultural experiences as well in London and Chile, while Devany is perhaps giving us a new brother-in-law in a few months. And let's not forget Lauren and Christopher's incredible charity this summer when they took us in for a month (not to mention their generous baby stuff bestowal, we've had to buy practically nothing thanks to them). I know not everyone has such an extensive safety net, and we are grateful for all they do for us. I only hope that through our small acts of kindness to others we can keep the service spreading.

I feel like I should end this in "Amen" or something.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


As you can see if you look to the Northeast of the page (that shows my world orientation bias) I passed the 50,000 word mark a little while after we finished the turkey today. Yes, we ate turkey, but just a little. Sorry to any vegetarians we have offended. But I did finish. If you look on my facebook page which has a graph of how I did, you'll see that I almost stopped dead around the last of last week but I got my motivation back and pushed real hard through the end of the week and I'm very satisfied. The novel is admittedly not that great, it's pacing is terribly slow because I got wordy on purpose, but I feel it is a lot better than I had expected it to be. Some of the characters actually gained some death and the plot had some deeper meanings behind it. I don't know if I'll ever finish it off, but I definitely learned a lot and I got back into the writing groove, which was the real goal.

We'll post about Thanksgiving and some other recent stuff soon, but, for now, I wanted to brag. I won (which means I finished, there's no other way of winning.

Monday, November 23, 2009

My thoughts on the WRI aka how I lost my revolutionary fervor

(I wrote these thoughts a few weeks ago but was not sure how I felt about posting them until I really worked through my feelings on this controversial issue. I'm sure many of you are dying to hear my perspective, right?)

"My thoughts on the WRI aka how I lost my revolutionary fervor"

The announced closing of BYU's WRI has been a tragedy for those who were involved in the great work that was done there. It is a symbolic demise of important and substantial research on women. For me, though, it's been ever more tragic and life-changing. Through the closing of the WRI, I've realized just how much I've been moved by motherhood.

In September, I gave birth to a beautiful little boy. This little human being with his perfect little hands and tender little eyelashes has changed my outlook on life more than I could ever imagine. I knew I wanted to be a mother. I craved the pregnancy and the birthing and the breastfeeding for the past few years with an intensity that was not quelled until I experienced all that motherhood had to offer.

On the other hand though, I did not think motherhood would really change me. I expected to go on with my controversial feminist self, sparking dialogue about feminist issues everywhere I wandered. I figured I would just do so with baby in tow, nestled tight in the moby wrap, breastfeeding at meetings and rallies.

Then, the WRI closed. And I read the press release the night before it was published and my heart ached with sadness for the loss of this great institution. I joined the facebook group. I read the commentary. But it wasn't until I received a call one morning from a kbyu reporter that I realized I had lost what my husband refers to as my "revolutionary fervor." She called at 10 in the morning for an interview, and I groggily accepted (not realizing that it was um, tv? yeah, so if you've seen it, that's me, brand-new mother, straight out of bed so excuse the horrible hair and the bags under the eyes) not knowing yet what I was to learn about myself that morning. She arrived at my home a little while later, and we sat down to discuss the closing of the WRI.

Now the WRI has been the most influential part of my BYU experience. As a Women's Studies minor, I found my academic niche. I savored every class period and every discussion on women and the world. It was in these classes I have met my truest friends. They get me in an academic and social environment where I often feel lost and mistaken. As a WomanStats research assistant, I have come to know and love Dr. Valerie Hudson and her team of coders. Our Friday meetings have been salvation to me at times when I'm frustrated with certain BYU professors who openly proclaim gender inequality. They have been a listening ear and a crying shoulder when the doctrines of the Church or the culture thereof has hurt me deeply. WomanStats itself has taught me research skills and valuable academic lessons that I plan on carrying with me to graduate school. Finally, as the president of Parity, I found my voice for gender equality. I staged rallies, I organized meetings, I wrestled with administration. I simultaneously grew disenchanted and smitten with all that BYU has to offer us feminists. There is so much delicious contradiction in this institution, and I found that I had a knack for unearthing it.

So, you see, the WRI was as important to me and my education as any. But when I sat down to that interview, I realized I had nothing controversial to say. I, in a monotone that I didn't even recognize, ticked off the reasons our dear Dean Magleby gave for the shutting down of this important institution. I reiterated the role that the WRI had in my life, but I could not muster up the ability to even begin to explore the disheartening politics of power and money and gender at BYU, things that just last year would have enraged me.

What's more? I have no real desire to "Save the WRI" with the rest of the feminists. While I very much am sad to see it go and hope to everything that all of this noise makes a difference, I have turned over the reins of Parity to three very capable and ardent feminists. I see what they are accomplishing and the publicity they are getting and a part of me aches for my former life, single and babyless and revolutionary. But all I need to do to relieve that ache is roll over in my bed and cuddle up next to my very feminist husband and our future-feminist tiny child. They make me realize that all I accomplished in the past for women was worth it, and now I'm accomplishing an even more important task and the most feminist-y task of all. While I will never, ever stop voicing my opinions against injustice in the world and I will definitely not keep my voice down when a RS lesson turns awry, you will no longer see me on the frontlines of the protests. I plan on doing more behind the scenes work... in my home and over the internet. I will be here, teaching my children about equality and tolerance and love and respect.

What I actually did tonight instead of attending the meeting on saving the WRI? Made homemade soup and brownies, nursed my darling child to sleep, sewed a cloth diaper. And this is who I am, who I've become, and who I've always longed to be.

(adorable activist tee courtesy of "Save the WRI")

New tricks

Best buds

It's been nice having Tim at home all day the past few months. He's taking 16 credits but mostly does his homework at home, and usually only goes to campus when I have to be up on campus too so we're pretty much always together. I hope we can continue this trend (as much as we can). I know Tim likes being at home with Atticus, and I know Atticus will appreciate how much his dad takes care of him and is involved in his life. Next year Tim might even take a year off and be full-time stay-at-home daddy while I either work (potentially) or start grad school (probably).

They are best buds.


Tim and Atticus like to nap together. I like to voyeuristically photograph it.

Random thoughts

Atticus continues to grow and amaze us. He is still pretty mellow, but has also found his voice and likes to use it when he's tired or hungry. All it usually takes to calm him down is a little milk and some time on the bouncey ball (with a blanket over his head... it helps him fall asleep, weird). His personality is really starting to shine through, and he loves more than anything just sitting and talking. In the mornings particularly, we can just lay in bed and talk and he just smiles and coos and oh. my. goodness. It's cute.

He wore his first pair of jeans to church on Sunday. Part of me is morally opposed to putting new babies in jeans (because come on, if you could wear fleece footie pj's all day, would you not?) but the other part of me thinks he is just adorable in them.

Forthcoming: the pacifier trick.

A necessary step

It's time to legalize marijuana. It's effects on public safety even with a much higher rate of usage than now is a lot less than alcohol. It's costing us a ton of money in enforcement and is fueling (although not solely responsible) for the drug war in South America that is leaking into America. I know it is a far way off from gaining the public support it needs, but I'm throwing in my voice for the legalization and taxing of marijuana. There are countries that have experimented with this with fairly good result, although nowhere has anyone implemented it on a large scale.

Here's a graph that shows the financial aspects pretty starkly.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Best friends

aka Eliza has coooooooooties


... it happens. Sometimes on your sheets.

The ultimate carseat showdown

Buying a carseat should not be nearly as difficult as I am making it. I am incredibly indecisive, and I've been researching for hours to find the perfect seat for us (and our budget!) I've narrowed it down to three, but cannot decide. I know we'll be using this for six years, if we have no wreck until then. I want a seat that is small enough for our backseat of the tiny Honda Civic we drive and to lug to other countries but safe and comfy as well. I don't particularly care about high weight limits since my baby is pretty small and I don't imagine he'll be hitting 40 lbs before we have another baby, when I plan on skipping the infant seat and just passing down the carseat and buying a new one for Atticus. The three I like:

1. The Combi Coccoro: This one is my favorite and the one I'm leaning towards. It's a niche seat, very compact and really adorable. The weight limits are pretty standard, 33 lbs rear-facing and 40 lbs forward-facing. I like that it has an infant insert for a baby, since Atticus is still pretty tiny. It gets really good reviews, but some say the fabric snags easily and gets dingy. I like the colors but wish they were a little darker. I found it for $164 on Amazon.

2. The Britax Roundabout: There are really no cool perks to this seat like the Coccoro, but it's solid, safe, and easy to use. I found a cool print for $159.99 at Traveling Tikes.

3. The Maxi-Cosi Priori: Mostly this one just looks cool, but I've heard it's a great seat. I like that it reclines with the push of a button. And I found it for the cheapest: $133 on Ebay.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

Two month check-up

Today I woke up earlier than I have since the baby came-- 8 am! I forgot how nice mornings are, I feel like I've accomplished so much and it's only noon. This is usually the time I would be waking up. I'm sure in a few hours I'll be feeling the fact I woke up so early, but maybe today is the start of a new schedule. We'll see.

We woke up that early because Atticus had his two month well-baby check-up. I kind of think the idea of going to the doctor every month when you're not even sick is kind of pointless, but it's free and Medicaid sends us reminders in the mail that we need to go. I know he's healthy, and if I have questions it's pretty easy to google some answers. We did get a diagnosis of eczema and some samples for washing him instead of using Johnson's since it's super-frangrancey and that irritates eczema. And he got his first vaccine--the Hib. Meningitis freaks me out more than other things, so we decided this for the first one (my doctor also said this is the one where kids are actually exposed to it here in Utah pretty frequently; he gets about 30 cases a year). We're doing his vaccines one at a time, delaying some and forgoing others. We aren't doing the rotavirus or the varicella. We're delaying the Hepatitis, Polio, MMR, and DTAP vaccines until we decide to the leave the country. We're getting the PCV in a month's time. Since he's pretty much a stay-at-home baby, breastfeeding, and isn't in daycare or anything, I feel pretty confident at this point that he doesn't need all those shots. I'm trying to read up a lot and make informed decisions about all of this, and I think I'm doing an OK job. Hopefully we'll keep him healthy and avoid unnecessary medical interventions.

2-month stats:

Weight: 11.16 lbs (in the 28th percentile)
Height: 22 inches (10th percentile)

The comment I deleted

Here's the comment I deleted on my Nanowrimo post from a person called Publisher, enjoy it and then we'll analyze it.

Hello everyone,
Christmas is comming soon, I start usually in the summer, to be sure to get a good deals. I want to make happy my familly this year. I would like to buy a tiffany & Co key pendant for my mom Jewelry Box , the one with diamonds costs 10,000$, but I don't have the budget for it, so I will buy the silver one at 100$.For my dad, I want to buy him a watch, I am hesiting between a Rolex or Seiko watches, I choose this two models : Rolex Watches or Seiko Watches What do you think?My husband is giving me a hard time, he would like to have a sneakers but he hesitate between different models, I found this model at Air Jordan Shoes , it's a good sneakers for basketball.But, our gifts, will be Generic Drugs .I am not forgeting my self, I will
ask my husband to buy me the Roberto Cavalli Sunglasses Oakley Sunglasses, they are amazing.What do u think about this gifts ideas and I like this blog Fashion News Or this one Cars And Dell Computer Thank you a lot in advance.

  1. So, appartently, her (I think, maybe his) mother's name is Jewelry Box. I think I'll try to convince Cait to name our first daughter that.
  2. She was looking to buy either a Rolex or a Seiko and after much deliberation she found the perfect products from each company: the Rolex Watches and the Seiko Watches. At least she isn't limiting herself
  3. Her husband really likes basketball, and she was going to buy him some Air Jordan's, but in the end decided to buy him some Generic Drugs instead. Classic.
I like these blogs General Motors and Brooms.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NaNoWriMo Update

Word Count: 20,478
On target goal: 17,393

I was hoping to give more frequent updates about my writing, but obviously that hasn't happened. All the time I have to write about my writing I use writing. It's quite the fix. But today I am feeling very good, so I'll drop in an update.

I must say, I've had a lot easier time this year than I have ever had before staying on track. Sometime the fact that I am writing so much and still having so much homework will catch up with me. But for now I am riding high. My story which started with nothing except the death of the mother of the main character to give it guidance has turned out even a little better than I thought it would. It's moving itself along quickly and certainly not backing itself into any corners that are hard to write out of like some of my old stories would.

My writing speed is really starting to pick up, which is nice because I am reaching my daily goals with a lot less time invested which leaves me more time for everything else. Hopefully this continues. I've left a lot of the "trying to guide the story along to have a meaningful plot" kind of stuff behind and now I am just writing whatever comes to my head. It's nice because the writing is just about as good either way, so it doesn't make me feel bad.

I might let some people read this thing when I am done, we'll see. But thanks for your support anyway.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

So that's why I'm so smart....

What? Why am I up at 7 a.m. you ask?

Oh, that's right. My baby sleeps through the night (this week, at least).

We went to bed at 10. Nursed to sleep, woke up at 6, nursed back to sleep.


Before this miracle occurred, I was of the opinion that babies do not need to sleep through the night. I was perfectly content with our nightly feedings and loved my time cuddling up with the little guy and breastfeeding him in a half-awake stage. I didn't mind the rolling over and latching him on. We were pretty happy with the situation. I'm not complaining about this one either though...

Not to brag or anything but my baby is awesome.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Two months

At two months, Atticus likes:

* Breastfeeding/being well-fed.
* His pacifier.
* Being bounced on the ball.
* Being rocked in the rocking chair.
* Going for walks and just being outside.
* His swing.
* Bathtime.
* Arabic class and just being on campus.
* The Office.

Atticus dislikes:

* The evenings.
* Tummyaches.
* Being left alone.
* After bathtime.
* Lotion smothered on his face.

We like:

* His smile.
* His coos.
* His utter concentration.
* His melancholy face.
* His laidback demeanor.

He's still a pretty neat baby. He's fun to hang out with.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Watch Cait on the news!

Cait might be on KBYU at noon today, Utah time. She got interviewed talking about the closing of the Women's Research Institute. She fielded the questions very well. I love her.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pictures explosion

One very proud person

Can I just say that I am super impressed by Cait and her abilities as a mother? She is so devoted and so committed to making life as good as possible for our little boy. I imagine that some people might have been worried that her feminism and her life as a mother might contradict each other, but as I had always suspected, they only serve to compliment each other. She has actively decided that her belief in her ability to change the world is best expressed in working to raise up our son to be a good, kind, intelligent person.

I mean, she learned how to sew just so she could make him some super cool pants.

Of course, she hasn't given up being the awesome person that she always was, visiting with friends and taking our boy out on the town with her, always taking super good care of him.

I love how focused she has become and how fully she has thrown herself into the life of our son. This is probably overly theological, but it is not hard to imagine Cait as something eternally divine when she makes such heroic efforts to become the type of mother you could build a world with.