Sunday, September 28, 2008

At The Park

Ben and I took Aud to this awesome park yesterday- Red Stone Park. We love it because we can ride our bikes to it! Audra is really funny when she is in "public" places. She prefers to just sit back and observe- it may be that she is shy, but I think it is more that she is cautious and wants to see what everybody is doing before she joins in. It is really cute! She has such a ponderous personality- a lady at church today called her "serious." Anyway, here are some pics:

We love you Audra!!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

My Short-Lived Hobby

For the past couple of days I have been filling my time with something other than politics: crafts. I made an activity book for Aud to have at church- hopefully it will keep her entertained for at least 10 minutes each Sunday!

Obviously, I am not a very good seamstress- I was less concerned with the sewing then I was with using things in the house I already had- old zippers, buttons, etc. If was fun to try and come up with different ideas of what to put in the book. The empty felt page on the top has things to add in the picture in the pocket next to it- clouds, trees, etc. Some of this is probably a little too old for her right now, but hopefully she will enjoy for years to come! (ok, that is probably very unrealistic...)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Mentalist

We watched The Mentalist last night, and I have to say that I like it a lot. It is a detective show, but unlike CSI and Fringe (see earlier post) it is not grotesque with bloody, gorey images strewn everywhere. It is, in my opinion, a psychological thriller type show without being disgusting, so I really enjoyed it. Plus, Simon Baker is adorable!!!

And, just so you all know- I got myself a hobby! I will post a blog about it later...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


OK, I promise this is NOT NOT NOT political, so feel safe to read all of my conservative and liberal friends alike!!!

I wanted to blog, though, about the bailout for a couple of reasons: 1)This is an historical time with historical significance, and I want my thoughts/feelings recorded for posterity 2) I have really tried to figure out what is going on, and still have no answers, so I truly want to hear what everybody thinks about this (even you Brits!) and your opinions. Honestly, there are no right or wrong answers- it is just a mess! But, I did hear of a poll that said that as of today 44% of Amerians thought the bailout was a bad idea- which is a lot. With that said, however, I bet 90% of Americans don't understand what is really happening (I am definitely included in that 90%!!!)

So, here is what I want to know from you:

1. Should there be a bailout?

2. Do you understand much about the bailout? Can you give us some insight?

3. What are some pros/cons of the bailout?

4. Are there any other solutions?

5. How will the bailout affect you personally?

6. Are you scared about the economic state of the US right now, or is it being blown out of proportion?

7. Any other thoughts you might have about the bailout.

Obviously, you don't need to answer all of the questions! Notice none of the questions involve giving the blame to anyone- there will be enough time for that later.

Like I said, I have tried to read and watch the news and understand what is going on. My thoughts so far (and this is definitely an evolving process, hence my wanting to hear other viewpoints): It seems that a bailout is necessary in some form. 700 billion seems like an awful lot. If there is a bailout, I definitley think there has to be some form of oversight, and CEO's who take part in the bailout should relinquish all rights to bonuses (if they are leading a failing business, why should they get a bonus?) . I certainly do NOT think we should give Bush complete power like he was asking for last week, and I do think whatever happens should be well thought out, not rushed into, so I am ok with the bailout taking time to work through the details, even the stock market continues to fall.

I think it is very scary, though, to put the taxpayers in such a horrible position. If the bailout doesn't work, we are all in trouble. I do think this is a scary situation- at ward conference on Sunday (church) all they talked about was the economy, which was interesting.

I am also worried because while this happened in large part because of bad loans, that doesn't take into account all of the credit card debt this country has. I don't know all of the numbers, but I know the average family has like $14,000 of credit debt that they can't pay. What about when all of those loans come do? Will there be another bailout to Visa and Mastercard? Maybe we should let the market works itself out. I thought analysts said that in a market economy there would be a recession every 15 years or something.

Anyway, I won't say too much now, but rather wait for some comments and begin a dialogue that way. Like I said, this is all just the beginning.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Audra Factor

As angry as I get about politics (my sister says I need a hobby, and I am working on it- I think I will go to Michaels next week and get a cross-stitching project or something), there is really only one thing threatening to truly make me crazy: The Audra. Here are some before and after shots of her chaos:

This only took her 5 minutes to destory each of the rooms.
But, let's be honest: Who can turn down this adorable face? Certainly not her parents! We absolutely love her, she is the greatest blessing in our lives!
Here is a very short video of she and Ben- she adores him so much! I am sorry the lighting is so bad, but you will get the general idea of one of the many ways Audra keeps us both entertained!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Five Minutes of Fame

I was on the radio yesterday morning! I called into our local radio show and made some comments, and the lady doing the show seemed to like me because we talked for like 6 minutes, while she only talked for like 1-2 minutes with other callers. It was my first time calling, and I don't think I will do it again anytime soon because it was quite nerveracking, but it was cool nevertheless.

Now, I am giving you all a fair warning: This is a liberal talkshow, and if you are going to get angry or offended STOP READING/LISTENING NOW!!! My purpose in posting this blog is not to upset anybody or get into a huge discussion about anything, I just thought it was cool that I was on the radio, and the great thing about blogs is that you don't have to read them if you don't want to. So, really, if you don't want to listen to it, by all means, don't!

A little background (again, don't read if you are going to get upset). Ben got this e-mail from his friend:

I'm a little confused. Let me see if I have this straight.....

If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're "exotic, different." However, grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, you're a quintessential American story.

If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic "Muslim" (who, by the way, is a Christian). However, name your kids Willow, Trig andTrack, you're a "maverick".

Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable. However, attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.

If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become thefirst black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law Professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs Committees, you don't have any real leadership experience. However, if your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive and next in line behind a man in his eighth decade of life.

If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian. However, if you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and then left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a true Christian.

If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society. However, if, while governor, you staunchly advocate Abstinence only,(with no other option in sex education in your state's school system) while your un-wed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible - and are settng a good example.

If your wife is a Princeton graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America's. However, if your husband is nicknamed "First Dude", with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25, and was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

OK, much clearer now. About sums it up for me.......

End of e-mail. Ben and I, of course, loved this e-mail, and Ben was doing some research trying to come up with a witty comeback to agree with him on his points. He went to Rush Limbaugh's website (a huge mistake, I know- that men is sure to be thrust into Hell, I don't even think he will make it to judgement day), and of course all it was was hate and lies against the dems (absolutely NOTHING about the Rep. party, only hate), and there was this big huge thing that said: "Yes, it was the Dems who caused the mortgage crisis" or some crap like that.

I was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO mad to say the least. The Rep. have been in complete power the last 6 of 8 years, they have had the presidency the last 22 of 30 years, and they still want to blame the dems for everything! You would think Rush would want the Dems to win because it must be very draining trying to come up with constant lies to blame the dems for all of the problmes the republicans come up.

Here's the real thing, though. I am willing to admit that the dems aren't right on everything. I disagree with a lot of things they do. I just want ONE republican to step up to the plate and say, "you know, I believe in the intent of the republican party, but some of the leaders we have chosen are corrupt and have made some mistakes that have really hurt our country." But no, that is too beyond their capacity- they haven't ever done anything wrong. So, that is why I called the radio show.

Saving Money

I have a feeling most everyone is a little worried about the economy right now, so I thought maybe we could share some cost-saving tips. The most ingenious people with money has got to be women (one example: Ben thinking a Wii was a necessity, whilst I had the nerve to believe it was a want), and there are lots of women who read my blog, so if you have any tips, share on!!!

To start us off, I thought I would post the recipe at the bottom. It is a delicious pasta recipe that fed Ben and I for two dinners and then made 4-5 lunches for Ben (one of the best ways we have saved money is to try not to buy the Marie Callendar's or whatever for lunch, but instead that I would make him frozen meals that he could take to work. It has worked out pretty well so far, and saves us $10-20 a week. Instead of making 1 casserole for dinner, I will make 2, and then divide the second one into small tupperware containers and stick in the freezer for his lunches. With this reciepe, I didn't double it and it still made the 4-5 lunches just with the leftovers). So, here is our cheap and delicious recipe:

Easy Pasta Bake

1 lb ground beef
1 (30 oz) can or jar spaghetti sauce
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
5 c cooked pasta (I use a full box of penne pasta)
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese

Brown beef, drain. Add sauce, Parmesan cheese, and pasta. Place in a 13x9 inch baking dish and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Makes 8 large servings.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tyler Perry

I happen to be a big fan of Tyler Perry, even though I am white. I haven't seen any of his plays, but we have watched several of his movies. My favorite was Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Ben's favorite was Madea's Family Reunion. Tyler Perry happens to be an amazing person, for those of you who don't know his story. His dad was abusive and 12 years ago he was literally living on the streets. Now, he is a multi-millionaire, so it is a total rags to riches, overcoming hardships story. But, the best thing is that he has huge faith in God, and in all of his movies he shows that faith. He writes incredibly strong female characters, and he attributes that to his mom who was the one who fought for him and held him up when he had such a horrible father. I think his stories have a lot of depth, and they are also really funny.
Meet the Browns is the movie we watched this last weekend, and I really liked it. Ben doesn't like his movies so much, because they really are chick-flicks in the sense that often there are dead-beat guys, but amazing women who overcome all. They are very emotional and sentimental, and I often cry while watching. But, if you haven't seen his movies yet, I would recommend at least trying one out to see what you think- let me know if you like them:)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

On The Lighter Side

After a rousing and passionate discussion, I turn my thoughts now to things that really matter: Corn Mazes.
Yesterday Ben and I went to the Chatfield corn maze and had an awesome time (we are very glad we did not take Audra with us!). Ben was very proud of himself because it was the first time he actually finished a corn maze, and I have to admit that I was quite proud of him for being able to guide us correctly through the maze with very few false turns.
The beginning of the maze- will we make it?
I got a little hungry- good thing there were snacks for us...

Should we take the easy route? No way- we could do it!

That was A LOT of corn!!! Really, it was a lot of fun- maybe we will take Audra in about 5 years!!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Losing Sleep

This post is something I have been considering for awhile now. I truly do not want to upset anybody, and so please know that I am writing this in complete sincerity and that this is truly coming from my heart as I have literally lost several hours of sleep thinking about this topic. In my opinion, this topic which I am about to discuss transcends political afflilations and affects our society as a whole. As always, I love comments- even if you disagree with me, and I believe this topic demands discussion, even if in American society it is deemed "politically incorrect" to do so.
The topic I would like to discuss is the Sarah Palin question- the question none of the reporters will ask, but as a mother I feel compelled to discuss. My friend Danielle posted an interesting article about how Palin may affect motherhood. Here is the link:
My concern comes from a greater depth than whether or not woman will lose their maternity leave- I am not so much concerned about that as I am about the choices Palin has made herself. I realize that she has excited the Republican base, and that certainly is exciting and wonderful. But, at what cost? As a stay-at-home-mom who gave up a career (which, by the way, I was very good at and had earned the respect of my colleagues, students, and their parents), and as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who understands that motherhood is the most important role a woman can undertake (if you are not a member of the Mormon faith, we believe strongly that men and women have certain Godly qualities instilled in us, and as women, the greatest quality we have is that of nurturing and taking care of children), I am very concerned about a mother who would publically humiliate her 17-year-old daughter on national television and leave/neglect her 5 month old son with down syndrome to head on the campaign trail. Last night in her interview with Charles Gibson (yes, I did watch it), he asked if she had to think about whether or not she could be VP. Her response was something like (sorry I don't have the exact quote): I didn't hesitate- when he asked me, I immediately told him that if he thought I would help him win the ticket, I was ready for the task.
That answer once again kept me awake last night. She didn't stop to think about how this would affect her children, her family, her husband? Ben and I have to stop and think about how us going out to dinner and leaving Audra at Grandma and Grandpa's will affect her, let alone taking the second highest position in the world. By her actions, she is showing to me that being VP is more important than being a mother.
This is the Palin question that nobody is talking about: Can you be a good mother and a VP (and potential president)? What is more important as a woman- motherhood or power? For me, that is what it boils down to. For the last 150 years leaders of the Mormon faith have told us time and time again how critical it is that we, as women, be mothers first and foremost. I would guess most, if not all, of you reading this blog have either quit your job, scaled down your hours, turned down a promotion, or the like because you wanted to be a mom first. That is what we value- family. For most of our society, family comes first- not country. Consistently stay-at-home moms talk about being undervalued and unappreciated- I believe Sarah Palin threatens to undervalue us even more.
I truly am not trying to get into politics here. I simply have a very strong belief system that has been engrained in me through my religion and my family that is now being hindered/destroyed by a woman who is purposely choosing to put power over family. I know this sounds sexist and is politically incorrect. But I don't believe I am being a hypocrite- as I said earlier, I gave up a career, money, respect, and power to be a mom. I don't expect everyone else to make that same decision, but I value women who do. I believe being a mom first IS the most important thing, and I hold much more respect for stay-at-home moms than I do female CEO's or female diplomats. I feel the same way about Hilary Clinton- I don't respect her anymore than I do Sarah Palin for the personal decisions she has made, and for the record- I never liked her. In my heart of hearts, I believe it is a bad decision to seek the honors of the world over taking care of your children, regardless of your political affiliation.
There is so much more I could say. But, really, I just felt I needed to say something, because to me this is a much bigger issue than Republicans or Democrats. To me, this is about the sanctity of motherhood. As I said earlier, I would love to hear comments. I am totally OK with people who disagree, but let's just keep this respectful. I have tried to be respectful, and I hope you all realize that and can at least appreciate that even if you disagree. I do belive this is a big question, and so I really did feel that I at least needed to bring it up as something for all of us to think about. Thank you for reading this very long post, and I look forward to reading all of your thoughts on this subject!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Just The Two of Us

I baby-sit my friends little girl, Chloe, twice a week. This has been wonderful because Audra loves having Chloe coming over to play, and it gives me a break believe it or not! Each time I baby-sit, the two of them make up their own games and laugh and play. However, sometimes it doesn't go as well as planned. When Chloe comes over, Audra gets REALLY excited, and sometimes shows her enthusiasm by running Chloe over. Yesterday this happened and Chloe started crying, and I said, "Are you scared of Audra?" and through her tears she said, "Yeeeessssss!!!" But, within a few minutes they were best friends again.Yesterday, one of their games was to give each other kisses. I wan't able to get an actual picture, but it was super cute!!! Audra LOVES giving kisses now, and of course, nobody can reisist them!Then, Chloe would climb up onto the piano bench and say, "Audra play too" so I would put Audra up and they would play some lovely duets.

The cutest, though, was Audra would lie on the floor and Chloe would come up and tickle her, take a few steps back, then come tickle her again. Kids are so fun! I just love how they keep themselves entertained!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Did any of you see this new TV show, Fringe, last night? It was created by J.J. Abrams who
Ben just loves, and so we decided to give it a try. We absolutely LOVE Lost, so we thought this would be good as well, as the ideas seemed similar.
My opinion: I am not sure. It wasn't nearly as exciting as Lost, and it didn't make me uber excited about next week's episode. While the idea was interesting, I don't think the actors pulled it off nearly as well as other shows that Abrams has done. It reminds me of the show The Nine, with Scott Wolff- it was an intriguing story, but never got the audience pull it needed because it just wasn't captivating enough.
Anyway, I just thought I would ask for any other opinions on the show. Ben hasn't given up on this show yet, so we will probably watch it again next week.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

New Hairstyle

I decided to put Aud's hair up in a toddler ponytail for a change. I have never done this before, because I always worry that she will get a headache. I never get headaches, except when my hair has been in a pony too long, and I didn't want that to happen to her so I think it is a legitimate concern. So, I put the rubber band in pretty loose and am feeling confident that it won't hurt her by the end of the day.
As you can tell, pictures are getting very difficult to take of her- she just squirms and squirms everywhere!!! But, she is the cutest thing, isn't she?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Last Days of Summer

Last week was SUPER HOT and Ben kept complaining that he wanted to go bike riding before the summer ended, but we didn't have a way to go with Audra. So, after weeks of discussion, we decided to splurge and buy a bike carrier.

This is Ben putting it together- he is becoming such the handyman! Audra ready to go- we can't decide if she liked this or not, she never cried, but she never smiled either. Ready to go! We rode to the park, and it was so much fun! It was a great park, so we will definitely be going back. Ben is really excited to have this and now all he wants to do is go bike riding!

A brief update on Audra, as she is everyone's favorite (including ours!):

She is scared of heights. We learned this when we were out on the deck for the 100th time and Aud realized that if you looked between the slats you could see down 15 feet, and then all of a sudden she froze and started crying, refusing to move at all.

She loves to give kisses- but this consists of her coming at you with mouth totally open and her tongue hanging out, so they are very slobbery (we love them anyway)

She loves hugs and gives the best hugs. Often I will be making dinner or doing laundry and she will run up to me and hug both of my legs super tight so I can not move. Makes it difficult to get things done, but I don't care, I love the hugs!

She enjoys playing the drum set that we have in our basement

She loves taking out all of the diapers in her diaper holder, handing them to me, and then putting them all back in.

She likes making Indian noises with her hand over her mouth to test her voice (I know that is totally politically incorrect, but I wasn't sure how else to describe that, so I apologize, and if you have a better way to say it, let me know and I will edit my post!!!)

Today she kept pointing at her small stuffed giraffe and saying "dada". I am not sure what that means, as I am sure she knows her daddy isn't a giraffe, but perhaps I am wrong.

Her new favorite food is cheese toast (or cheese-its as we called them growing up)

She likes her rocking horse, and is very cute when she is on it as she tries to get it to go back and forth

She really is just the greatest thing that happened to Ben and I, and we are so grateful to have her in our lives!!!!! We love you, Audra!!!