Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I just spent 40 minutes teaching a woman how to "Google". Are there really people out there who still can't do that?? This might not be as awesome as the time I spent an hour on the "copy-pasting" lesson.

In other news, our storm of the century (!!!) was barely a flurry. I wasn't looking forward to snow, so I was pleasantly surprised by this turn of events.

In two hours, I'll be off for four days. Hallelujah.

I am sick of working. Seriously. I'm developing a hatred for all things internet.

I've been going to a chiropractor and I love it. Apparently my lower back pain is caused by seriously out of whack hips. I could even tell just by looking at the x-ray. They are all twisted funky.

I've slept for probably a total of 9 hours the last two nights. I'm barely functioning today. Sick babies are the WORRRRSSSSSTTT. You would think with all this breastfeeding he would have a more solid immune system.

I despise voice mail messages where the person says... "Hello? Hello?!" UGHHHHHHHH. Grow up.

I had to ride my bike to campus this morning at 7 am to catch the bus since I missed the 830 that runs by our house. Oh. my. gosh. I thought my lungs were going to freeze and then burst. It was SO COLD. And uphill. Killer. I kept repeating to myself "whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger, whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger..." I did make it though, and arrived at work 20 minutes early, instead of 30 minutes late which was the norm last week.

Life is good. Even with sick babies and missed buses and immature customers.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Amazon: $5 off

Do you ever buy stuff from Amazon?

Mamapedia has a deal today (you have to go to Houston for the deal**) for a $10 giftcard to for only $5! We buy SO much from Amazon... and you all know how much we love them.

Anyways, sign up through my link

... and out.

** You don't actually have to GO to Houston, just type it in.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


We've been car-free for a few weeks now, and I personally am enjoying myself. I forgot how much I love riding a bike, since I haven't had one since Theodore was born. Even going to the grocery store is a breeze as long as I take a backpack along to put my food in for the ride home. The weather is getting frigid, but nothing gloves and a hat can't solve (though I probably need a warmer coat, I don't really have a thick one). And saving money! I love saving money! We got a refund of $220 for canceling our car insurance and we are saving in gas/oil changes for now and then registration come the new year. And we got two nice road bikes for $200, a trailer for $77, and three helmets for about $60. I wanted to get a nice Chariot, but I couldn't find one used and I don't want to fork out ten times as much for a bike trailer. We'll start out with this and go from there. One day though... I really, REALLY want a Chariot (but y'all have probably figured that out by now).

So far, so good. I don't mind riding the bus home from work and we don't really go anywhere else that we can't walk to already, so bikes will make it even more convenient. I can't wait to tote Theodore around in the trailer... I think he is going to love it.

My conclusions thusfar: cars=overrated, dangerous, and expensive. It's liberating to not have to worry about maintenance, gas, or getting in a wreck. Going car-free has definitely simplified things.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Free at last

Aung San Suu Kyi has been released from house arrest by the military junta in Burma! Listen to her interview with BBC. What a woman!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I have been getting the best deals on groceries. Mostly by couponing, but also following blogs that show you the best deals and how to combine coupons, etc. Yesterday I spent $18 and got $60 worth of groceries (two boxes of Barbara's cereal, one thing of Wholly Guacamole, a CPK pizza, two jars of Muir Glen spaghetti sauce, Reach dental floss, 2 lbs of Kraft shredded cheese, etc etc because I can't remember the rest). After the $4/off for the Wholly Guacamole (it was $2.99 so I got a dollar overage!), the BOGO Barbara's ("Like" Barbara's Bakery on Facebook, click on coupons and then go to the website to print it out!) and coupons for the rest, I got some pretty sweet deals. Hint: if you press the back button on your browser, you can print most coupons twice!

I've also been chasing down the Annie's Mac and Cheese at Smith's. It's on special for 49 cents a box but they've been running out, so every time a new shipment has come in I've tried to go and get some. Of course, they keep telling me they'll have a new shipment almost every day and I go and then they're like... no, tomorrow, we'll have a shipment! Very frustrating, but probably worth it considering it's usually $2.49 a box.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Is attachment parenting a prison?

According to writer Erica Jong, yes. Wall Street Journal published this controversial article wherein Jong equates attachment parenting to a prison for women (and men, in some respects but she notes that women do the majority of the self-sacrificing). It's the antithesis of feminism, ties down women to their own bodies and their own struggles for perfection.

I disagree wholeheartedly! For me, natural birth/breastfeeding/co-sleeping is my culmination of feminism! It's an ultimate expression of both femininity combined with choice. And also, at least to me, attachment parenting is easier in some respects. It fits into our lifestyle. Breastfeeding = wayyyyy easier than bottle-feeding. I personally hate washing bottles, worrying about if the milk has been sitting out too long, etc. during the few times Theodore gets a bottle during the day. Once you get the hang of it, breastfeeding lends itself to a much simpler approach to feeding baby. And making your own baby food? We didn't really, but we fed him from whatever we were eating. Again, simple. Easy. Even easier than opening a jar of baby food and carefully spooning it into his mouth. We handed him a chuck of cooked vegetables or pasta and let him go crazy. He's now an excellent eater (and no allergies), not due to our diligence of carefully introducing vegetables before fruit or testing each food for three days and watching for reactions (I'm not saying these things are bad, I'm just saying I'm lazy). And as far as co-sleeping, it has been the path of least resistance! Sure we get less sleep on some nights, but isn't that the way with most babies?

Is parenting a prison? A deep dungeon of servitude?

Nah. It's not so bad. Even for us hippie, granolie-type parents.

And I do not think most women breastfeed out of eco-guilt. To suggest this seems utterly ridiculous! Helping the environment is a nice perk, but it's the bonding and the healthiness and the naturalness that appeals to me.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Healthy does not equal skinny

I think about my weight a lot, especially since coming back from Egypt. Both Cait and I lost a lot of weight there, and while she looks great, I am grotesquely skinny. I would like to say I only worry about being skinny because of the health issues, but that's not true, because I do care about what people think of how I look. But my identity problems aren't at the core of this post. This is:

Here's a CNN report about a Kansas State professor who lost 27 pounds on Twinkie and Swiss Role based diet, which is funny because that almost mirrors my experience in Egypt (where Twinkies cost 5 cents and are on every corner). The conclusion the article draws is that to lose weight, calorie input vs output is pretty much the only factor, which is true as far as I can tell. My conclusion is different: Losing weight does not make you healthy. It might make you healthier, if obesity related health problems are serious for you. They're not for me. Like the article says (or should say) healthy varies from person to person. I just like this article because it confirms my belief (which is always nice) that the common description of healthy foods as low-fat and low-calorie is not a universal description of healthy and that overall, skinny does not equal healthy.

Breastfeeding... it's what your knockers are for?

Glad we're getting awareness out there - but this seems demeaning to me. Any thoughts?


But not sleep-walking.

We've recently rededicated ourselves to co-sleeping. After trying to settle Atticus into a routine and have him sleep at night in his crib, I've simply both given up and decided I actually LIKE co-sleeping and don't know why I was so set on the idea of getting him out of our bed. We are sleeping pretty well at night, he does 2-4 hour stretches and the nursing part is nice after a day away from him at work. I'm not as exhausted as I thought I would be if I went back to work and still woke up with him at night. And one day, he'll sleep on through the night and that'll be great, but for now, I'm happy with the way things are. We did move his crib mattress to the floor next to ours for a little more room. And I'm contemplating adding a twin bed to our full bed because I'm feeling a little claustrophobic at night. Or maybe I could win this organic cotton mattress and sleep on it myself :)

Atticus took his first independent steps today! We tried to capture it on video, but it didn't work too well because then he just wanted to crawl towards the camera instead of focusing on walking. It was adorable though. He was laughing hysterically the whole time he was so proud of himself. It was the perfect start to my day.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Elder Perry sighting

Tonight, I saw Elder Perry take a cart of Powerade from a BYU basketball team manager and push it down the hall while being chased by his entourage and by the person who was trying to get the Powerade to the players. More power to him.

Transportation Symposium

Last night, we headed up to campus for a little meeting on transportation options in the Greater Provo area. The talks about bikes and the UTA Ed-Pass that is being discontinued at BYU were informative, but the real awesome stuff for me was about the Church's efforts to "green" their buildings and reduce the impact we as a Church have on the environment. In a nutshell, you can read about everything he talked about in this news article and accompanying video. The keynote speaker was the man mentioned in the article, Jared Doxey. He was so passionate about the environment and the Church's responsibility to reduce impact that my testimony was strengthened more from this meeting than from General Conference. I was so impressed with the effort's being made and the renewed focus on being responsible and conscious stewards of the earth. I think as the Church sets the example, more individual members will follow the lead. Here in the US especially, it is appalling and pretty embarrassing how wasteful we are. We have the highest car ownership per capita in the world, highest carbon emissions per capita, we have more "stuff" than even the most wealthy European nations. Yet, among the richer nations of the world, we have some of the poorest health outcomes with the obesity epidemic, intervention-obsessed maternity care, and ridiculously expensive health care system overall.

I left the meeting with a renewed sense of community and eco-responsibility. We are currently finding bikes to buy, but for now we are walking everywhere. I love it, especially this time of year with the beautiful fall weather and the leaves changing. I also had a renewed commitment to cloth diapering, but that ball is in Tim's court now that he is primary caretaker. I'm also going to improve on taking shorter showers and turning off the water when I wash my hands. Speaking of showers, I can't think of the last time I had one. Hmmm, I think that's a sign of my eco-friendliness... and my lack of personal-hygiene-observance.

Living-off-the-government non-guilt

Last month, we were approved for food stamps. Even with my full-time job and Tim's part-time job, our income is under the poverty level and we qualify (even though in my opinion, the poverty line for a family of three should be a bit higher). We have few big expenses except rent and health insurance (even through my company, for just me and Tim it's $200 a month, if we have Anakin on it'd be around $800), but we want to remain debt-free. We are trying to recover from the expensive summer study abroad and pay off credit cards, so money is a little tight but not too much so. We are officially giving away our car so we will no longer have to pay insurance, gas, or registration; I try to only buy things used (Roxie, for example was a steal from someone on KSL but since we didn't have a camera at all I thought it was warranted). We've been selling our belongings left and right to simplify and reduce as well as make a little extra money. I'm also starting to take a few online classes to complete pre-reqs, which can really add up since I can't get grants or loans for them.

Overall, I would say we are living pretty frugally (though we have splurged recently on Tim's Kindle and my Roxie though both were much wanted, thought about, researched and are being much used). We cook all of our meals at home and I only eat leftovers for lunch at the office. But. I still feel a little guilty with the extra help from the government. In the short run, it's really going to alleviate the pressure that I was feeling all summer and since about not. spending. money. on. anything. In the long run, I hope it helps us pay off the student loans we've taken out and save a little bit for the future, since who knows where that will lead us? Additional school is a big possibility, and since neither of our degrees are particularly marketable, we probably will not be finding jobs that match our skills for a while. I like having a little cushion as well so we can give to charity as we see fit (this is actually one of the most gratifying things for me working, that I have a little extra money to donate to others).

I don't know the point of this post. I feel like I had to get it out there that we were officially using food stamps like it's some dirty little secret in our life or something. And then justify it to myself so I don't feel quite so awkward about it. The first time I went to the store to buy things, I really felt like I was doing something wrong, that the checkout workers at Sunflower would not possibly let me leave with that many groceries. But on the other hand, grocery shopping for basics but being able to throw in a few exciting treats (frozen berries! Annie's whole-wheat bunny crackers! red peppers! salad dressing!) was kind of like Christmas for me. But none of you probably even care or do not see it as a big deal at all. I think being raised with a "those lazy people mooching off the government" mentality (and having friends/family that really oppose us using Medicaid/food stamps/etc.) has something to do with it.

On a very positive note though, having $200/month to spend on food has been AWESOME. I usually keep my budget to $100 and we eat beans, rice, cheese, more beans, lentils, and vegetables (healthy, but a little boring). I mostly still buy unprocessed whole foods, but I love being able to splurge on healthy snacks for Anakin like delicious organic whole-milk yogurt and Dr. Praeger's frozen pancakes. Mmmmmm. He also has a new passion for Lara Bars. He was eating one the other day when we went to vote, it looked like a chocolate candy bar and I got a lot of second glances as he devoured it :) Tim is starting to look healthier every day as well with the now abundance of quick snacks for him to eat for extra calories. Our pantry is now full of granola bars and our fridge is full of cheese and yogurt and tofu and whole-milk chocolate milk. It bodes well for his weight gain attempts and his marathon-training schedule.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

NaNoWriMo Day 4

So far this month, my attempt at winning a fourth National Novel Writing Month is going well (winning means you finish). So far I've been consistently writing more than I need to every day, and the Nanowrimo websited says I am on schedule to finish three days early. I'm hoping to bump that up a little and be done by Thanksgiving, like I was last year. Like last year, I am including everything I write (including this blog post) in my word count. For me, this month's goal is to create 50,000 words that are uniquely mine, even if they have nothing to do with the story that I'm writing. Last year, I made lame attempts to include papers and other writings into the story, this year, I am not even trying. They just get copied and pasted to the front of the novel to for tracking convenience.

My actual story is doing fairly well. I'm not sure what kind of plot it has, but I do have some general themes I'd like to explore, like governance and decency, the idea of a utopia, and the conflict of different moral obligations, such as family vs. community. The tentative idea I have is that a King's daughter is slated to take over the throne, but doesn't want it or think she will do a good job, so she goes on a quest to find the best person in the kingdom to rule and then fights to get that person instated. The trick is that the person the King's daughter finds has no desire for the throne, because no good ruler desires power. Can she convince him and can she convince everyone else to follow him? This story appeals to me because I can drag out that search part for a long time and introduce a bunch of new characters. I also think I will try telling the story from both of the main characters points of view and see if that helps. Also, some people will fall in love. That helps.

Any ideas or suggestions, let me know and I will almost certainly include them. Now I might go and actually write in my book. Or I might clean our house a little. Or work on my test for tomorrow. The possibilities are nearly endless.

At Home

This is my second stay-at-home dad post, because I feel like we just had a great day today. I was pretty busy during the first of the week and so I took a semi-day off from school work and just enjoyed time with the guy. We watched a movie together, well most of a movie, which movie would be "7 pounds." It's good enough that I might want to rewatch it with Cait before I finish it.

So yeah, a lot of time playing on the floor, a lot of time out in the leaves and some time doing the dishes together. Doing the dishes is Anakin's new favorite thing. Unfortunately, no pictures of doing the dishes are available yet. What are available are some playing the leaves pictures:

 (still working with the camera)

Overall, we're having a great time. I'm also doing pretty well in school. I got my first ever 100% on a legit test. Well, technically, it was a 94% but the highest score becomes a 100%. That was nice. Cait thinks I'm a better student being a stay-at-home dad. I think this is just a more distraction-free home now that she's gone (she can never keep her hands off of me). We've got another year to go before anything changes too, so hopefully it stays this good.

Anything else to say? No, I guess that's it. Goodbye.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Meet Roxie

I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship (a well-documented one too).

Beautiful boy

I just love those baby blues...

Becoming car-free

My parents offered to buy us a new car if we gave Allison our little Civic. I was very excited at this proposition because I've been wanting the AWD and space of a Subaru Outback for some time now. Plus they give you hippie street cred.

But.... we were on the verge of purchasing a 2001 Outback when we decided we do not actually really NEED a car. It's nice to have, but we made the conscious decision to go without, at least for a trial period. I want to see if we can actually do it, I mean I know we can but I'm eager to see how much it changes our lives. It'll be tricky with the impending snow season, but with the bus running right by our house and bikes, we have transportation options. Plus, I can get a ride to work most days, and will just have to take the bus home two days a week. Not that big of a deal. We'll save money on gas, insurance, and registration... cars (even free ones) are expensive to keep up!

In addition to our decision this week, we also were invited to a Transportation Symposium, all about mass transit/biking in the greater Provo area! We will for sure be attending.

We'll keep you updated on our car-free situation. It's something we have been contemplating for a while now, and I'm happy to say we are finally making the plunge to attempt to live car-free.

Happy Halloween!

Yes, we were Star Wars characters.

Yes, we totally rocked it.

Yes, someone at my work thought we called our child "Anakin" instead of his real name, and for a second, our nerdiness was magnified.

Yes, no one at our ward party could identify my character.

But any true Star Wars fan would TOTALLY know who Mara Jade Skywalker is. She's very important.

Yes, we are nerdy, nerdy people, Tim and I. We read Star Wars novels, and we are quite proud of the fact.

We ran into Darth Vader on the way home.


The Giants won the world series last night and that has me thinking about sports and the place it has in my life. We moved to California when I was around 9 and were there for a year and half. It was in this time that my love of sport, especially baseball, really bloomed. We were in the heart of Giants country, living just a ways outside of San Francisco. I only went to one game but I followed a ton of games on the radio or on our tiny TV. It was a great time. I was pretty obsessed with sports for a few years after that, watching a lot of Jazz games and BYU sports. Since than, my interest in sports has waned. It probably started when I realized I wasn't great at sports and the only sport I was any good at, running, was never on TV, except during the Olympics (which I still love to watch). My life also has become progressively busier since high school, although there were a few months Senior Year which might just have been as busy as any.

So now, I'm left with the question of what to do with sport. I still enjoy them, but I feel that unless I'm really following a sport and paying attention to the behind the scenes stuff, watching an individual game is not worth the time. The one exception is BYU basketball and football. I've been working on the event staff since last year's football season and have been able to get paid to read books and watch all the home games. Occupationally, to break up homework I'll read up about the teams and so I feel involved enough to make it the games a worthwhile experience, whether I was getting paid or not.

Cait has never been a fan of sports and doesn't really understand my interest in them. She has said a few times that "I didn't know I was marrying someone who likes sports." Actually, when we got married, I was on a one year no sports vow, to see if I could just cut them out of my life for good. I did so succesfully, but working on the event staff (the only job I could get at the time) renewed my interest.

So, what do you think about sports? Waste of time or good entertainment? How much is too much? Are there sports more worth watching than others?

PS I'm in favor of participating in sports, although the over-competition sometimes gets to me. That might be another post though.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Who I voted for and why

To get everyone excited for election day tomorrow and to pad my Day 1 NaNoWriMo count (I'm doing great, thanks for asking and yes, this counts, because it's my novel and I say so) I am going to write a quick post about how I voted this election and why. Last election (2008), by no intentional design, I voted exactly 50/50 Republican Democrat (excluding when a Republican ran unopposed) with one Libertarian. This election I voted for only one Republican (excluding when a Republican ran unopposed and mainly just to avoid voting for only one party) and Libertarian and all the rest Democrat. Some of this, I'm sure, is due to the fact that I am becoming more liberal in my old age. No need to go into why here. But part of the reason is because Republican's in Utah have shifted too far to the right. I like to think that more than a Republican or a Democrat I am a realist and a conservative (old sense of the word again). Meaning, I want to elect officials who in a meaningful way will try to represent their constituency by building on existing laws in a meaningful and productive way. This generally excludes any member of the Tea Party.

And so, my explanation on almost all my votes goes like this: The Republican candidate was much too "conservative" by which they meant radically anti-government. Many vague claims about "restoring the constitution" and "a Christian nation" were backed up by little real policy. Okay, talk about Obamacare all you want. It might end up being expensive, but certainly will never be a major factor in the overall budget. Are you going to privatize social security? Will you make major cuts in education funding? Eliminate Medicare? Those are the real big ticket items. An honest libertarian will make a stand against them, like Rand Paul. The majority of tea-party republicans running are willing to make no such concessions, because, people love social security and education and Medicare. The democrats running know they don't have money to spend and won't spend it willy-nilly because there is no faster way to lose their job. And, get this: they offer solutions. The true conservative choice in this election is democrat all the way.

Exceptions: I considered Herbert for Governor. He has established enough conservative creds that he doesn't have to bow to the Tea Party. He's done some good things, some things I don't like. But I loved Carroon's campaign. He had a Republican running mate, which was the deal-sealer for me. If Bishop had been running in my district I would have thought about voting for him. Chaffetz, not so much. He was just an early leader in the tea-party movement. This doesn't really count, but I really wish I had been in district 63 so I could vote for Don Jarvis. He's the man.

I do, however, realize that no one but the lone Republican I voted for will win. That's okay. I still had to cast my vote for common-sense, not empty idealism.