Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Monday, February 27, 2012
Let's get this straight, I am not a supporter of Rick Santorum. We have nearly opposite views on pretty much every major issue. But here's why I want him to win the primaries over Mitt Romney
1) I'm a supporter of Barack Obama. I think Rick is probably the most beatable candidate of the lot, except for Newt Gingrich...maybe. As Jon Stewart points out in this clip, Sen. Santorum takes conservative positions to their end result more openly than any other candidate. His positions on birth control, abortion and marriage, while popular among social conservatives will not, I think, play well in a general election (and are also what really fuels my opposition to him). His fiscal policies, which would have much better play with moderates would, I think, get lost behind his social policy.
2) If a republican does win a general election, I want it to be a moderate one, and preferably four years from now. There are two big issues for me in this election, the economy and Iran/Israel. And I think anyone but the most moderate of conservatives, in the handling of these to issues would be unbalanced on the former and disastrously wrong on the latter. I think a moderate conservative would be especially good for the country in four years when reinvigorating the economy takes second seat to lowering the debt and the Middle East has had time to cool down. I hope a far right conservative gets elected this year, gets trounced and the Republican party realizes they need to moderate their views and elect someone like Jon Huntsman (although there are others, including the old Romney), who will be a fiscal and social conservative, but do it in a more moderate and less reactionary way.
3) I don't want the republicans to be able to blame Mitt Romney if he loses a general election. If he loses to Obama, and it looks like he might (you really can't predict these things) due to the drawn-out nature of this primary which is lowering opinions of all Republican candidates, a lot of Republicans would blame Romney for being too moderate and too Mormon (thus making my favorite Republican, Jon Huntsman, unelectable) rather than placing the blame where it really lies: Romney is likely to get pulled too far to the right in these drawn-out primary elections to be electable among moderates. He has to keep playing to the right to get more conservative primary and caucus voters, while Obama can play to the middle all he wants, because he's the lone representative of the left.
Conclusion: I dislike Mitt Romney much less than I like Rick Santorum. I think he would make a pretty good president. But I would much rather see Santorum lose than Mitt Romney win in a general election. Who knows, maybe Santorum will win and I will be begging for Romney, or maybe I will, heaven forbid, like Santorum as a President. But I really, really doubt it.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
My mother-in-law posted weird baby names on her Facebook the other day, and made the comment that Tim and I should not read it so we don't get any crazy ideas. Not sure what she thinks are crazy, but it prompted me to think about names we are considering, and then I thought I would share them with our blog readers. I already suspect whatever we pick she won't approve of, as she's voiced her disapproval of Theodore's real name (but whatevs because I love his first name more than anything still and don't regret our choice one bit).
Here are some names of the feminine type that I love. I only wish I was having quadruplet girls or something so I could use them all:
1. Clementine: Means "merciful" in Latin. I first heard this name from "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and everyone knows I am only just a little bit obsessed with Kate Winslet ever since her "Titanic" stardom. Hot redhead who is an amazing actor, British, and has a full figure that she is comfortable displaying nude on the big screen... yes please. I still really, really love this name but we are not 100% sold yet, because apparently it is becoming one of the top Hipster baby names of the year. I also don't like the imbalance of having another child with the same beginning initial as me.
2. Matilda: "battle-mighty". Roald Dahl's heroine has always appealed to me. Another name that is increasing in popularity, however.
3. Arwen: Yes, it's a name from Lord of the Rings, but how awesome is the Elfin Queen? I don't know, I haven't read the trilogy, but I've heard she rocks. Maybe I should read Lord of the Rings before the birth and that will help me decide.
4. Caspian: Tim's name of choice. I suggested it for a boy but Tim was sold on it for a girl. I'm still not sure how I feel about it. I think it is too masculine for a girl though.
5. Saffron: Because "Saffy" is just so darn cute. I think it goes well with our firstborn's name, but it doesn't have any kind of cool meaning or character behind it, which is a downer. We could combine it with a great middle name though.
6. Rilo: I've always been a huge Jenny Lewis fan (another hot talented redhead) and I've been singing Rilo Kiley songs to Theodore all week thinking about this one. I think it may be in the running as a middle name...
7. Fern: Gorgeous, simple but maybe too short considering our firstborn's name. I really like it as a middle name.
Choosing a baby name is a daunting task, and we probably haven't devoted enough attention. And Tim is fairly indifferent, which means a lot of the naming responsibility rests solely on my able shoulders. He tells me names he really doesn't like, but he likes most everything i suggest, and is pretty convinced whatever we name her won't matter too much in the long run.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
The past few days were extremely lazy after an event-filled end of last week. We have: bought a new car, had a photo shoot, begun a cycle of deep cleaning the house, Cait got accepted into Indiana, I fixed the dresser in Theo's room, spent hours at the newly-renovated playground at Provo Peaks Elementary, I got an A on a difficult British lit paper and an 89 on a difficult PlSc 110 midterm, decided our plan-of-the-moment for this summer is a very drawn out road trip to South Carolina, had lots of fires in our fire place and pulled our mattress out to sleep in front of them, started listening to The Help on audiobook together, traded off going to Church because Theo was sick, and lazed about the house for hours. The long weekends are nice.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Last Saturday we wanted to go on a low-key outdoor adventure, so we headed off to Utah Lake. The day was really warm for early February, but down by the lake it was pretty cold. Since Cait was afraid of Theo falling in the water, we walked on the Provo River Trail for a while. It was a very nice part of a very nice day. Cait was acting camerawoman, so I'll have to throw in a photo that Theo created of her in the pbs kids app.
This is from back when she was pregnant with Theo, but she's still looking just as hot, if with a bigger belly.
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Tu-Duh! We went with the Forester. As always, after months of debate, we went with our first instinct. This also happened when we decided to get married, have kids one and two and to some extent in picking baby names (Cait has a post on that subject which she hasn't published yet). We've (by we I mean mainly Cait with a little help from me) been researching, contemplating and test driving cars for weeks to months now. We were close to buying a Honda CRV and a Hyundai Tucson, but in the end we went with the car with the much better name. Actually, while we liked both of those cars, we did not like them $4500-$6000 more than we liked a beat up Forester. Sure, it might break down and need some repairs, but more than $4500 of repairs is very unlikely. If we do a lot of repairs, we might end up losing down the road if/when we trade in this car, but by then, $4000 hopefully won't seem as monumental as it does now. I don't even want to guess how many months of my past few jobs' salary $4000 is.
The Forester is a 2004 with around 140000 miles on it, which is less on a Forester than it is on a lot of other cars. We went to Utah Family Motors in Pleasant Grove and we highly recommend them. We did most of our other shopping in big dealerships and the lack of stress in the smaller dealer was SUPER nice. We got the price down to $6800 with taxes and everything, and they gave us $5000 for our old Civic, which was way more than any other dealer was offering. Since the Civic was a very kind gift from Cait's parents, we ended up spending (or will end up spending) $1800 dollars on a car we like much better and will work so much better for our growing family than the Civic. We had the $1800 to pay upfront, but we decided to finance it to build up credit. If we make only the minimum payments we will only pay $86 extra, and we figured that will be worth it if we want to buy a house in Wisconsin (which we want to do). I won't gush over details but we love the extra space, decent gas mileage, and hippie street cred.
Special thanks to Cait's brother Devin who helped convince us that buying this car and financing it was a good move. His was a reassuring voice of reason.
Friday, February 17, 2012
Got your attention, right? But here's the deal, it's totally true. I've been thinking a lot about bigotry lately, especially racism, but also sexism and homophobia. In my Political Science class we've been talking about how societal pressure keeps people from accurately self-reporting, i.e. more people say they go to church than really do and more people say they vote than really do. Also, my teacher says, no one responds "yes" to the question "are you a racist?" Also, Jeremy Lin, the basketball player and Harvard grad has brought up the racism discussion because he's a successful (so far) Asian NBA basketball player, which is relatively rare. Then there was that video of the guy interviewing BYU students about Black History Month, which I won't bother linking to. And I'm the only guy in a women's lit class, where the sexism of men is often discussed. And then, the prop 8 discussion keeps coming back and making me question my views on homosexuality.
Each situation has made me question if I am a bigot or not. Of course, I would love to say no, but that just isn't true. Every time I see an Asian male on campus now I want to congratulate him for Jeremy Lin's success, as if he represented the entire Asian community. Even though I've studied a fair amount of feminist literature, I still find myself assigning characteristics, like being overly concerned about appearance or being uninformed about the situation of the world, to one half of the human race that have nothing to do with being a female. And even though I know a lot of black history and have read a decent amount of African-American literature, I still think of it as "Black history" and "African-American Literature" rather than just "history" or "literature." And while I am an ardent supporter of gay rights, seeing two guys kiss still makes me uncomfortable.
What I'm saying is I think most people that consider themselves as "not at all racist" or "not at all bigoted" like I often have, are most likely fooling themselves. There may be some enlightened individuals, like the Dalai Lama (he's probably as close as anyone) who have succeeded in seeing the entire human race as one, but I don't think that is at all common. Some of that is just society. People still separate into distinct communities quite often. I don't blame anyone for seeking community, but as long as people feel that community can only be found in certain groups, separation, be it psychological or physical, between those groups will still occur. I've tried to openly and honestly study the people of the Middle East for four years straight now, and I am still terribly far away from recognizing their culture and beliefs as being as legitimate as my own.
I don't really know, then, if it is realistic to try to be non-racist or non-bigoted. Instead, I feel that for me, at least, it will probably be better to try to recognize my ingrained racism and try to combat it. I'll keep trying to increase my respect for people that I feel are different then me and try to encourage that same respect in others, and ignore people that accuse me or those who think like me of trying to be "politically correct" (although no one has accused me of doing that). It's all about trying to see every other person as equal in inherent worth and value as I do myself. Maybe that is setting my sights too low, but it is certainly, I think, a step in the right direction.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
When Cait is at work, much of the time Atticus and I have together is spent wandering around our neighborhood doing what I like to call Urban Exploration. We end up on people's porches, in unused parking lots and exploring a lot of peoples lawns. The other Saturday when the weather was really nice we were out for over 5 hours, getting some food from the local Mexican restaurant. Near the end of the trip Atticus started playing with a family with 6 or 7 kids in a little used parking lot behind a restaurant where the family was eating. Turns out the dad owns the startup company Orabrush whose videos I'd seen online.
Anyway, here's some videos of our latest urban exploraion. They're pretty shaky because it is just our little camera and I was interacting while filming.
Here's him pushing a stroller. He's been doing this since he could walk, but this may be the only time on film
This video features Atticus counting as well as leaving down a strange back way
Here's him getting hurt by a tree. He loves play getting hurt
And here he is doing his newest trick, kind-of riding a trike.
Then he ended at Annabelle's house (whose family has now moved, unfortunately) watching UP
And then they strolled back to our house together. I think this is definitelty my most succesful instagram pic so far
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Monday, February 6, 2012
One of the things we most love about this house is our fireplace. It was one of the main selling points for us renting here, along with the backyard (this place was noticeably more expensive than any of the other places we've lived).
While at first we used our fireplace on a few occasions to set a wintry mood, we have since shifted to using our fireplace as a primary source of heat. When before we were paying for wood from the local Smith's we've since found a lot of wood lying around our neighborhood and have been using that to run the fireplace. It doesn't burn as well as storebought wood, but it has been all free. With the wood that we've found and other renters of the house have left here, we've been able to do at least one fire a day for a few hours and often multiple fires in the morning and evening. Since we started doing this at the beginning of January we were able to cut our gas bill in half. It is also satisfying to go from this
It's like living in Little House on the Prairie, especially since at the moment this photo was taken Cait was inside making bread (she stopped quick to take the photo) and Theo was out back playing in a pile of sand (we sold the sandbox)
Sunday, February 5, 2012
As I laid down with Theodore tonight to get him to sleep, I couldn't help but get so frustrated over our current society's ideal of having independent children. I sometimes feel like I'm under constant scrutiny from other moms out there (including my own) of the way I am a mother. It must feel terrible to still be nursing your 2.5-yr-old when you are 34 weeks pregnant, to have formed a habit of him not falling asleep alone, to have him still in the bed with you!!! Oh, the horrors. We are told by parenting experts, pediatricians, friends, mommy bloggers that raising children is terrible and hard and we like unto climbing Mt. Everest and why would you ever want to make it harder? We don't want to breastfeed because it ties us down, we let our babies cry in isolation for hours at a time to teach them to sleep independently, we leave them in car seats and bouncers and swings rather than holding them so they don't become too attached to us. We don't want to spoil them, right?
I'll be the first to admit that my child is attached to me. Yes, he is still nursing. Yes, it is still mutually desired, he loves it, and (most days) the thought of not nursing him makes me terribly sad (we stopped for a week and it was really hard for me and him, so we gave up). Yes, we read and sing and lay with him every night until he is asleep. Yes, he crawls into bed with us in the middle of the night and stays there until morning. No, I don't find any of these things to be burdensome or annoying. 90% of the time, I wouldn't have it any other way. I know there were some periods when we weren't getting much sleep, when we tried to force him into a crib and sleeping on his own, when I was not happy with the situation and wanted to change things.
Looking back, I realize now that most of that unhappiness with our situation was the thought that it would be like that forever. Like when he was 18 months old and still waking up all night to nurse, I thought if I didn't hate it and change it, he would do it forever. Well, two years old rolled around and we broke the habit pretty easily, and while he doesn't sleep "through the night" most nights, he wakes up and goes right back to sleep with very little coaxing. I know now that babies grow up, and whether we work hard to get them to conform to our ideals of how a baby should behave or whether nature takes it course and they grow older and their nervous systems mature and they sleep longer, and I won't be anxious and eager with this next little one but I hope I will be more content to savor the time she is my tiny baby, waking up with me at night and cuddling up next to me all day. I will have a running, jumping, laughing, talking preschooler in front of me to remind me that these moments will not last, and before I know it, she too will no longer need me so completely and desperately.
And if sometimes I just want to lay on the couch and read a book instead of singing my toddler to sleep, I'll remember tonight when he shoved his face up against mine, whispered "I love you" and gave me a long kiss right smack on the lips. Because no amount of "me time" can beat that.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Yep, I'm bringing this back. Mainly because I like this new blogging app and also because it was an interesting day, sort of.
Cait had a rare morning of work so Theo stayed with our friends the Lees while I went to classes. In exchange we watched their child while Melissa worked on packing for their ongoing transition to a new home. Their daughter is pretty rambunctious, but makes a really good playmate for Theo, who is always anxious for some social interaction. Cait came home and we all went back to the WIC clinic where she worked and I took Theo in for an appointment. Because we had lended the keys to Cait's brother for an eye appointment and didn't think to take off a bike lock key or house key and had left the other set of keys with the Lees, Theo and I were stuck there until keys came, which was just about the time Cait finished teaching her infant massage class. We went out for dinner at Los Hermanos with Cait's brother Ethan, who now knows that he really needs glasses. Theo was predictably unruly at the restaurant and we were reminded why we don't take him out to eat without the iPad, or ever.
Theo, almost entirely on his own, with no commercials or parents pushing him, has become obsessed with Thomas the Train. There's no denying it, Reverend Awdry hit on something big. The show is dumb, the books are dumber, but there's something about that goofy train that draws the kids in. It started with a Thomas bath toy that was largely ignored since Christmas a year ago, but suddenly became a favorite and made the transition from the tub to number one all-time toy. Here's a video of him playing with Thomas and a wooden elephant from South Africa.
He might be lacking on words, but not enthusiasm.
Cait also took Theo to Toys-R-Us to buy him a memory game (because one day he could play memory games on the ipad crazily well) and he played with the huge Thomas set there, as Cait talked about before, and now he found Thomas episodes on the iPad. Cait brought a new Thomas book home today and he's now read it with us at least a dozen times. Here's a video of him reading the book with Cait.
As far as things to be obsessed with go, we figure a very moral train isn't a bad way to go, even if his toys are very expensive.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Just wanted to write a quick update post on my life while I still am getting used to the new blogging app. Life remains very usual but very exciting. It's weird that so much of my life is the same as its been for the last 2 years or so, basically a balance between my school, Cait's work and the raising of our child. But now we have all the new life events just down the road to add so much spice. First of all, of course, is the new baby coming in a few months (sooner rather than later insha'Allah). Already having a baby, it's doesn't seem as quite a momentous future event as Theo did when he was getting ready to come, but it still is definitely a momentous future event. Also, I am graduating in April. I am probably not done with school forever, but it has seemed like this day would never come and my career at BYU would continue indefinitely. It wont.
And in related news, Cait is going back to school. She has got an acceptance letter for the University of Wisconsin.
For those of you who didn't know, Cait decided to get her PhD in political science and applied to schools a few months back. Although we are still waiting to hear back from other schools (Michigan, Rutgers, Yale and Illinois-Champagna) and we don't know what kind of stipend she is going to get it already feels like we have already accepted Wisconsin. She did get a full scholarship, health insurance and some kind of stipend, which was the kind of deal we were hoping for. They also have a really good library science masters degree, which is the degree I am looking at getting. They also have some really cool Arabic classes and participate in a federal (I think) grant program where they will pay you $15,000 a year to study one of the languages the government wants people to speak, which includes Arabic (of course). I might also be interested in studying some other Middle Eastern languages like Persian or Turkish.
My classes this semester are all of a high quality, including British Lit 1900-1950, Women's Lit, a GE political science class and a Middle Eastern anthropology class. I am enjoying them all except the anthro class, which is fine, but rather dull. The professor doesn't seem to interested (would rather be in Petra) and he presents the material rather blandly (and I've had similar stuff before enough to know that it can be fascinating). The other classes are all good and not to heavy on the work load (except for reading, which I don't mind at all). Speaking of which, I probably should start working on some papers.