Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Triathlons and tuberculosis

I do apologize for the lack of blogging lately. I've been busy, you know... living my life. I find that I have a million and six things I want to blog about and zero motivation to actually sit down and type. Work is busy and my house is continuously messy still and there is the garden to weed and water and Microbiology to study for (deadline is in three weeks... yeah... about that) and lots of friends to play with and hours of yoga/running/biking/swimming to throw in the mix and pregnancies to prevent and homemade granola to be made. I've been exercising a lot lately and it feels so yummy to my body, she just loves it. I also decided a few weeks ago that I'm going to train for and run/swim/bike in the Bear Lake Brawl Triathlon in August.

In other news, Theodore is wearing a pulse ox monitor tonight to test for sleep apnea. We'll see how annoyed he gets with something tied to his foot all night. 

Also, I've decided to not waste the summer on pregnancy. Too much exciting stuff to do. I can wait another four months... if my ovaries cooperate. 

Obligatory darling child pictures:

I went on a shopping spree at Baby Gap a few weeks ago and ended up with the loveliest clothes for the guy. I like picking out his stuff, and now that I'm not getting hand-me-downs it will become a necessity. PS: I got everything for under $5 each, cheaper than say DI.

I know he looks emaciated in this picture. He's just a skinny little thing.

Speaking of skinny and little, something funny about this picture is that the outfit was worn by Lauren's Benny when he was about seven months old, and Theodore can still wear it at 20 months old...

There is nothing about tuberculosis in this post, it's just the first 't' word that popped into my head when I was thinking of a title.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Classic Posts

Check out our new "Classic Posts" links there on the right hand side. Review some of our faves. Recommendations for other classic posts are welcome.

Three Mockingjays of Deceit

I usually save my book reviews for the toolbar on the right side of the blog. But I think these reviews deserve a place on the blog because of their general interest factor.


Lots of my friends have read Mockingjay and long before I did, so I thought I would add my voice. Hopefully not really any spoilers here. I enjoyed this book plenty. Collins writes some great action scenes and keeps the book moving. One of the things she is absolutely great at is ending chapters in a way that keeps one reading. Her characters also have a surprising amount of depth, especially for an action book. Katniss (a name I never liked, one of the few reasons I was glad this book was in the first person) and Haymitch (a slightly better name) were certainly the best, although other characters had their moments. I was especially pleased that Katniss had to continually confront the deaths that she caused.

Collins always was good at keeping the reader guessing who was on the good side. Rebels against the bad guys are almost always good, but there is plenty of question in this book. Gale's Bush-like willingness to justify his actions based on the actions of others was an especially meaningful dilemma. I think she also did

I didn't really like the authors need to shock the reader by writing so gruesomely in what otherwise is a book for children. I understand the need to emphasize the cruelty of the capitol, but there are less graphic ways of doing that.

The first person present tense was constantly distracting and added nothing to the book. Third-person past tense is good enough for 99% of the great books in history, it's good enough for you Suzanne.

The ending, like for many others, leaved me with mixed feelings, but that was kind of the idea I suppose. I wasn't really upset by how the relationship issues were resolved, because I never got involved in the relationship from the beginning. That's it.

Three Cups of Deceit

Investigative journalism certainly has its place. But I can't help wishing this book it had been more objective. I think that if your going to try to show all the crappy stuff someone like Mortenson has done, you should spend a good amount of time talking about the good he's done. Krakauer definitely wants us to see things his way and doesn't try to hide it. There's no, okay here's all the people he's helped and here's all the people he scammed, now you make the decision if he's a bad guy or not. The book is short, so maybe that justifies only telling one side some, but not enough. I want to see someone report the facts a lot better, a lot fairer, then I'll make up my mind what to think.

I think you can always make a lot of money taking down people's heroes, but does it really leave the world a better place? All NGO's exaggerate their success, most charities give way too much money to the people running them, all corporations have mythical founding stories. I'm not donating any money to the guy, for sure. I don't donate money to any charity that can't convince me it is transparent and accountable. But I'm not willing to sign off on him as a terrible guy just yet.  When I get a more balanced look at the story, I'll make up my mind.

Times like these are why I became a mother

Two illnesses, 1 million poopy diapers, two incidences of poop all over the floor/clothes/bed, one very dirty house, three days of non-stop icy cold rain in the middle of May, three serious cases of cabin fever = our week.

Let me elaborate: this week has been yuck. There are no other words to describe it. It's been cold, rainy, glum outside, and inside has been messy and I've been lazy and sick. Theodore got a particularly nasty cold followed by a round of bowel movements I'd rather not discuss. It's been like non-stop nasty poop around these parts for the past few days, including one time when he pooped all over his clothes, and another time when I left him diaper-less for 2 minutes to go rinse out another poopy diaper and he pooped and peed all over the floor (I sang him praises for getting off our new mattress first). Then, this morning there was another poop incidence, but luckily we were on his bed that time. Conveniently, this always seems to happen when Tim leaves for half an hour or so. Also, the diaper rash that accompanied this fun few days was the most intense one I've seen yet, all up and down his legs even. It was severe. I've been trying to work out if it could perhaps be an allergy, but I'm thinking we're just all sick. And I've been trying to let him go diaperless to air it out but that's very risky business.

And our house is a disaster. It's been pretty constantly messy ever since I started working and Tim staying home, and lest you think Tim is a poor housekeeper let me explain: when I'm at home and Tim is gone, he always comes home and cleans at night or in the mornings. However, when I'm gone all day and Tim is taking care of the guy all day, I don't come home and speed clean like he does. We're still working on figuring it out.

And I want another baby -- PSHT.

Not this week.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ron Paul

My good friend Casey has invited me to reconsider my feelings for Ron Paul. I have, actually, always liked Ron Paul. He's honest, tenacious, principled and possesing of great integrity, at least as far as I can tell. However, like many in the "mainstream media" and many Americans in general I've dismissed him as an "also ran," too far out on the political spectrum to have any hope of getting elected. However, as the political spectrum has shifted recently more to the side of Sen. Paul, it has become apparent that he has been dismissed a little too easily for how good his chances might be this election.

So, after thinking for aproximately 5 hours solely about Ron Paul, here are some thoughts (largely a response to this article which states Ron Paul's plans once he is president):

Ron Paul has a very clear idea of what he would do as President, and were he to become President I would expect him to be pretty dogged in trying to accomplish these goals, and a lot less "flip-floppy" than probably any President in history.

He would start (maybe after cutting Presidential dicretionary spending) his cutting of America's budget with the military, which is where I would almost certainly start. The military of the US has shifted from protecting us to largely strong arming a largely colonialistic foreign policy. It needs massively reduced.

He would almost certainly balance the budget by being willing to cut more than any other candidate out there today (there's also some cons here).

He would be fairly practical, it seems, in weening America off of entitlements, rather than massively cutting them. He would cut military spending and corporate tax breaks first and then work on entitlements (pretty much the reverse of Paul Ryan, except they would both go after discretionary funding first).

He would willfuly reduce the power of his own executive branch and bring the balance of powers back into balance.

He would localize government by giving back power to states.

Although he doesn't state it here, he would most likely get the federal government out of the anti-narcotics businees, into which we are dumping way too much money for too few results.

First big one is his harping on the idea of "liberty." I think a healthy dose of liberty (by what I think is Sen. Paul's deinition) is good for any democracy, of course, but I don't see it as the main goal of the government as Sen. Paul seems to. I want "quality of life" results, which are a lot more messy, I know, than "liberty" results. The US, for being a highly developed country, has a larger amount of liberty by almost any definition I can think of, but ranks near the bottom of most "quality of life" indicators that I know of. Maybe a more generalized liberty will make a difference, but I want a rationlist argument for why that will happen, rather than having "liberty" be the ends rather than the means.

Ron Paul falls into the distrous trend of idealizing the founding fathers. "The founding fathers intended" is a phrase I would be happy never to hear again. Even if we had a perfectly clear and unified idea of what the collective founding fathers intended (which we never will, because it doesn't exist), basing the direction of our country off a the intentions of men of a substantially different time would still be a terrible mistake. I'm all for the constitution and enforcing its laws precepts and the laws that result therefrom fully and indiscriminately, but don't pretend it has some mystical power to guide every action and isn't up for modern interpretation.

Those two basically sum up the cons. I think a determined pursuit of "liberty" or of some "constitutional ideal" no matter how pure their form, is not a good basis for government and that I would be deeply opposed to some of the practical results of that philosophy.

Still, Ron Paul is one of my top three candidates for President, after Barack Obama (who I like because he does what I would do) and before John Huntsman (who I like because he is a desperatly needed moderate voice, in a Republican Party full of angry populists). Maybe someday, I'll see the libertarian light, but for now, I'm still sticking with my lukewarm socialism and continue wishing that the US was little more like Sweden.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A not-so-usual post

My cousin Shay is trying to adopt a little girl, and recently was contacted by a birth mom (who is pregnant with a boy) who is looking for a specific type of family and asked if I would put something on my blog to see if anyone out there knew of someone looking to adopt. Here's the information (I was going to re-write it but figured Shay knew the situation better so might as well use her words):

"I was contacted by a birth mom, who is pregnant with a boy, and is looking for a specific type of adoptive family. She wants a family with a year supply (or a plan to get it- because it shows a desire to follow the prophet and be prepared) and she wants them to eat few processed foods and have an interest in alternative medicines. Not necessarily vegan/granola but more healthy and open minded and educated health wise than the general population. I know you aren't looking to adopt, but since the description sounds like you I wondered if you had any friends or knew of someone who fit the description... She's due in a month and a half so she's feeling a bit pressed for time."

If you know of anyone who fits the description and is seeking to adopt, they can e-mail Shay at

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A visit to the ENT

Friday we had a visit to the ENT for Theodore. For a whopping $207 visit, he talked to us for maybe 7 minutes to say: 1) he has fluid in his ears; 2) we wait 6 months to see if it goes away; 3) then we do surgery; 4) we probably won't take his adenoids out unless he can't breathe at all (which obviously he can, since he's still alive).

Come back in 6 weeks, we'll charge you another couple hundred bucks to tell you to wait another 4.5 months!

I love the medical profession. 

Conception Progression

Step 1: Remove IUD


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Corporate tax refunds

I don't feel bad about using Medicaid and food stamps. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

It's a party by BYUSA

A few weeks ago we headed up to campus for a finals week extravaganza in Brigham Square. We really went for the free J-Dawgs, but ended up not even getting any because there was a really long line.

On the way up, we stopped at the duck pond:

Waving bye to the duck that got away

When we arrived at Brigham Square, the party hadn't started yet so they let Theodore play in the bounce house for half an hour:

I took a turn at the trampoline-thingy:

The statue children hit him on the head:

On the way back, we let him wade into the unsanitary water:

 Family photo:

Monday, May 2, 2011

A bump in the night

We've been trying to convince Theodore that sleeping in his crib all night is a stellar idea, but so far, no luck. He screams, he kicks, he rants and raves. He doesn't need to nurse, doesn't need to be rocked/coddled/held, he just needs us in the room with him. Last night, we were letting him scream because my friends swore it only took a few days and he'd figure it out (this was day 2)... Tim and I were laying slightly comatose and I was struggling to get my bearings and go in there and comfort him when we heard footsteps and the door hinge squeek. We both jumped up and I honestly thought someone was there... I've never felt so instantly frightened and freaked out in my life at the thought of someone in our house. But nope, it was just the guy, who had managed to stack his blankets up and climb out of the crib and walk to the door. Tim said he had heard a "thump" but merely thought it was him rolling over into the side of the bed.

Time for a real bed... onward!


I thought an appropriate return from my blogging hiatus would be to talk about the death of Osama bin Laden while I am still processing it and hopefully before our readers get to sick of hearing about it.

First off, I think that his death leaves the world better off than it was before. I think most of the world agrees that his death is a good thing and I feel compelled to agree. When I first heard the news, I was excited, much more excited than I thought I would be. I mean, I figured it had to happen eventually, but it still felt like a surprise. I also felt good for President Obama, who I think has had a very difficult time holding firm in Pakistan and Afghanistan, a lot harder time than President Bush did going in. I feel this. I also felt good for America, that feeling of, we did what we set out to do, even though there are plenty of terrorists left and I don't expect us to ever kill them all. What this does is show the middle east that we are able to carry through. Most people over there would rather not have Osama around and I think most of them accepted that we would send troops to try to get rid of him and his followers. It shows that we weren't just there to occupy their land. And I think, at a basic level, bin Laden was actively doing things to threaten US citizens in a very serious way and removing that threat makes us all that much safer. Addition: I do feel compelled to say that we do have some responsibility for creating this threat, both in having espoused an overly aggressive military policy in the Middle East for a long time and specifically in funding the early incarnations of Al Qaeda to fight the Soviets. Funding the Mujahedeen, even if it made sense at the time, has really come back to hurt us. We should be very careful about which freedom fighters we support. End Addition So overall, very good thing.

I do however, feel bad about having been so celebratory over the death of any other human being, even one as evil as Osama. I know it might sound trite, but I think it is something serious to consider: would Jesus be out in front of the white house chanting "USA" because we killed one of our brothers? I think the war in Afghanistan has been necessary, but I think any death should be treated with more remorse. I don't really fault anyone, though, because I understand the sentiment, for sure. I just feel bad that I couldn't have behaved better myself in those first moments of excitement.


Edit: One of the most compelling contrarion articles. Osama knew he would probably die for attacking the US, and had some things to gain before that happened. He got a lot of them.