Monday, December 22, 2008

Made it okay (and so did Sam).

Praise the Lord!  We made it to Iowa with no problems and I just got a call from Sam saying he's on his way!  Woot!  There is a storm coming in tomorrow and one ended yesterday morning so God's timing is perfect.

It's cold and Nathaniel hates wearing his coat/hat/mittens.  He's gotta get used to it though because -13 is not the type of weather to go without those things.

There is no internet at my mom's so if you need to reach me, call my cell phone or text me.

Bye!  And Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Heading to Iowa (fingers crossed).

Lots has been going on this week. Between my mom flying in, finishing up church stuff and doing the whole "graduation" thing, it's been super busy. Tomorrow morning bright and early we are flying back to Iowa where I will catch up with the rest of my family, see Sam (!!!), and just relax.

Here are some high lights from the week. I will update again after I get back in January (since my mom's computer is a dinosaur with crap Internet).

-Nathaniel was very well behaved at graduation. I was so proud.

-Wicked was great (again) and I was happy to share that with my mom.

-Baccalaureate was a great experience. I got to sit with a lot of faculty, which was a hoot, and the whole thing was very touching. I missed Sam like crazy, especially since spouses were honored at this event.

-I've become a weenie in the cold as I'm NOT looking forward to the -7 degree weather tomorrow and when it rained all day on Wednesday I just wanted to cry (and I ran my heater all day long).

-I'm so grateful to God for all He brought us through the past four years and am looking forward to this next chapter of my life. Woo Hoo!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Gingerbread houses and stupid questions.

On Friday Nathaniel and I went to Sam's Sunday School's gingerbread house decorating contest. (I say Sam's because I have yet to actually attend since I teach second service all of the time, but the people are great!). It was a lot of fun. Of course, Nathaniel did not help me at all. He ate a cookie, ate a candy cane, grabbed a handful of pretzels and then ran to play light sabers with his friends, leaving me to decorate the entire house by myself. It was nice to hang out with friends though, and to watch Nathaniel running around with a bunch of other kids. He is such a cute kid.

I posted a few pictures from the night:

A picture of the three of us (Mommy, Nathaniel and baby boy number 2)

Posing with our house. Notice the pretzels on the roof. It took forever!

Nathaniel making a funny face. Gosh, I love this kid!
On another note...I was super excited to see the top photo because I don't look like I'm stowing a house under my shirt. Seriously, nearly every day for the past two weeks someone different has asked me if I'm having twins. I know I have big babies, but why do people feel like they must ask me if I'm having twins? I'm not big all over, just in my tummy. In fact, since I'm doing laundry tonight, I threw all of my maternity clothes in the wash (I have three pairs of pants) so I'm currently wearing non maternity pants (sure, they are my fat pants buttoned under the belly, but the point is they are up and buttoned!) and a non-maternity sweatshirt. Just proving my point. It really is all baby!
So, if you see me waddling down the street, please don't ask if they've found the second heartbeat yet. I may throw a pencil at your head. :)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Who are you talking to?

Nathaniel has quite the imagination.

Either that, or the signs of schizophrenia have set in extremely early.

This morning I took some time to clean and bake some pies (for a party that didn't happen) while Nathaniel played with his toys. It figures that for the past two years I've been trying to get him to play happily by himself and he finally gets the hang of it after I'm done with school.

Anyways, all morning he was pretty happy playing with his firetruck (putting out fake fires), his tractor and his airplane. As we were eating lunch he was sitting there just chit-chatting away to himself. I was trying to follow what he was saying, but then I realized he wasn't talking to me.

Here is a sample of the conversation he was having:

Nathaniel: "Hi! How are you!?"

(Switching chairs and changing voices): "I good, how are you?"

(Switching chairs and voices again): "Good, okay, bye!"

So I asked him, "Nathaniel, sweetie, who are you talking to?" He looked at me like I was the dumbest mom in the world and said, "Cody."

Nathaniel doesn't know anyone named Cody. He doesn't watch any movies or t.v. with characters named Cody. Craziness! I asked him where Cody was and he pointed to the chair next to me (which was empty) and said, "Right there!" Okay...

Today at supper I asked Nathaniel how old Cody was and he immediately answered, "4".

They say that kids with imaginary friends are smart, right? Either that or I'm raising a pathological liar. Time will tell.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Well, I finally got around to getting our car into the shop for it's oil change and to get the cooling system checked out (since I've been working on getting it fixed for three years and no one has been able to fix it). I love having all of this extra free time on my hands now. I had one of my students come over while Nathaniel was napping, grabbed a book and a peppermint hot cocoa from Starbucks and took my car in to the shop to get fixed.

Two hours later, still no word from the technician. Hmmm...what's going on?

Then the mechanic approached me, handed me a pair of safety goggles and said, "I want to show you what's going on with your car."

He then led me back to the shop and showed me my poor Buick. Apparently, they don't know what is wrong with it, but back two years ago when the brilliant technician told me that it was fine to put water in my cooling system it only made everything worse for my poor aluminum engine. My entire cooling system is full of orange goo (aka rust) and there is a leak somewhere which means any number of things could be wrong with my car. There could be a gasket leak or a hose leak or something somewhere in the middle of my engine.

Ugh. There went my nice relaxing afternoon. Both mechanics leveled with me and told me that I should either buy a new engine or just count it as lost and get a new car.

At least they were honest with me and didn't screw me over by taking everything apart and continuing to add up my bill.

But, now just as student loans are coming due I have to go car shopping. We were hoping that this car would last us a few more years (it's only a 2002 with 90,000 miles on it) and that when we got a new car it meant that we would have two cars instead of one. It also means that I have to buy a car without Sam's consultation! Not that I can't do it, I'm completely capable. I just hate making large purchases like that without him around.

At least I only had to pay for the oil change (which I needed regardless) and the diagnostic. 50.00, totally doable. Sigh. Time to do car research!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I just crossed the finish line! I just printed out my last paper, due tomorrow. I simply have to do my victory lap/cool down (attend a class and go to my graduation stuff). This is amazing! 4.5 years of hard work, sweat and many many tears. I've earned my M.Div.!!! (and, not that it matters, but I'm the only girl graduating this semester with this degree and I did it with honors!!!!).
More later, we're going to disneyland!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Pictures from Sam's visit.

We had such a good visit with Sam over Thanksgiving and the week after. It was just so nice to be able to do family things, like cook dinner together (even though we ate Thanksgiving dinner for about a week...) and put Nathaniel to bed together. It was just really nice to have a "real" family for a little over a week.

Yesterday was really hard for me. It was hard because while I knew that Sam leaving was inevitable and that I can survive this (I've done it before, I can do it again), I hated seeing him say good-bye to Nathaniel. Nathaniel doesn't understand that daddy is gone for a long time. It's just so hard to know that Sam's leaving and that the next time he's home for good Nathaniel will be 3 1/2. Gosh, that's just hard. It's even harder to explain.

So, here are some pictures from Thanksgiving and beyond.

This last picture needed to stand alone. It's hilarious (I think so anyways). For Thanksgiving we had our wine glasses out with a variety of beverages in them. Wine (for the non-pregnant, non-atkins people), soda, milk, etc. Sam and I have a pair of plastic wine glasses which we got 6 years ago at a Tony Bennett concert in Iowa. So, we gave Nathaniel his own wine glass with water. I think it's funny that I have a picture of my two year old drinking his water from a wine glass. That's class (ha!).


Wednesday, December 3, 2008


December will be a month of transitions for our family. In fact, I believe that I can sum up all of 2008 as a transitional time. We moved (again), Sam deployed (again), the number of children we are having will soon double (that sounds so much cooler than simply stating we are having another one), I'm graduating from Seminary and my internship ends. It's crazy!

Honestly, as graduation nears I am super excited but I'm apprehensive as well. What am I going to do with my time?! I've never "just" been a mom. I've always balanced three or four different tasks at once. Student, intern, wife, mommy, t.a., etc...Yet, come January 4th, after I get off of that plane from Iowa I will be faced with the daunting task of being a stay-at-home mom. Sure, it's a privilege that not many people get, but I'm nervous.

I'm mostly nervous because I thrive on adult interactions and while many of my fellow stay-at-home-mommy friends get to look forward to their husbands coming home at the end of the day, I will not have that to look forward to. It's all a little overwhelming.

I know I'll be fine, I know I have a wonderful supporting community around me, but can be a bit daunting.

But, for the next 24 hours I can ignore my homework (I have three classes left to attend next week and minimal homework prep so I can pretend it doesn't exist for the time being), listen to the hubby bathe the boy and pretend that we are a "normal" family. I can live in denial that my world will be completely flipped on its head in one month and simply enjoy the moment.

(I will update with photos and Sam's visit at a later date).

Monday, November 24, 2008


Remind me to decline a glass of water if I'm ever in space (click on title for full enlightenment).

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Where is my baby going?

I have such mixed feelings as I watch Nathaniel grow and develop.

On the one hand, I love how independent he is and how he has to do everything himself. I love how verbal he's becoming and how he's actually trying to use sentences. I love that he feeds himself and can get most of his clothes on (not nearly as quickly as he whips those puppies off, my kid is a closet nudist, I tell ya!). I also love that he can play by himself part of the time (at least, when I don't have to do homework. The second I sit down to work on a paper he's all in my lap vying for my attention).

But, today I was unpacking a bag someone gave me that had 8 brand new baby outfits in it. I got all gooey at the little clothes and got so excited that in a little more than 2 months I will have a little body to put into those little clothes. Even Nathaniel seems excited. Whenever he sees babies he gets excited and points them out to me. He is definitely hyped about being a big brother, especially when I tell him how cool it is to be one and how he'll be even more like daddy when he is a big brother.

In three weeks I will be completely done with all of my homework. I'm definitely looking forward to that. I will never have school again. Ever. That's hard to wrap my mind around, especially since I've been in school for the past 22 years...

Finally, I will close this by writing fun Nathaniel stories.

1. Nathaniel is obsessed with picking his nose. Seriously. I think it's getting way out of hand and now he's just torturing his poor mom. He will stand in a room calling my name and when I get in there I find him with his finger crammed up to the second knuckle grinning like a fool. "Look!" Ugh...And if I don't let him pick his nose, he will do a farmer blow right in my face. Yuck!

2. He calls men "man" and women "person". I recently noticed that this week as he was running in our complex and he passed a guy and said, "Hi man!" and then when we were walking with one of my female friends he called out, "Person! Look!". I guess I can pride myself that my son knows women are people...

3. He's learning how to talk on the phone. The other night I laughed out loud when he was talking to "Aunt" Bethany and he said, "How you doing?" with a tone that only reminded me of Joey from Friends.

4. Today I dropped him off at a friend's house for nap time while I had orchestra rehearsal. He knew it was nap time so he said, "ni-ni!" and walked into the room he normally naps in. By the time my friend's husband went to tuck him in, he was asleep. Why does this only happen for others? I have to read two stories, say lengthy prayers, get a glass of water and cuddle!

5. I have been forced by my son to eat an m&m after I go to the bathroom because that's what he gets when he goes potty. When I use the restroom Nathaniel comes barreling into the room and says, "Mommy! Potty and wash hands and treat!" I try to skip the treat and he keeps harping on it until I go and eat an m&m. He's an equal treatment kid. And why shouldn't I be rewarded for my potty habits?

That's about it. I'm going to bed...I'm tired! Sam will be home on Tuesday for Thanksgiving! We are so excited. His mom will be here on Wednesday and we are looking forward to her visit as well.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Song that speaks to where I am right now.

If you read my previous blog, you might think I'm just procrastinating.

Well, yes. But, I have also meant to put this song on our blog for quite awhile. I encourage you to really listen to the lyrics. This song really resonates with where I am right now in life and my attitude. It's kind of like, "Okay, I really don't like this right now and this is NOT the path I would have chosen for myself, but I really believe that God is in charge and that His plan is always better than my own so I'm going to just hold on and trust and go through this." (yes, an incredibly annoying run-on sentence just now...).

So, enjoy the song. I don't know if it will impact you like it does me, but you really should listen to the whole thing. It's only three minutes long so...yeah.

Signs that the semester is winding down (and that I have a crapload still to do).

1. My kitchen floor has been mopped twice today (can I help it if the first time was because my foot got stuck in some mysterious goo at breakfast and then after supper I just had to re-mop because I saw a spot on the floor?).

2. I have caught up on everyone's blog (and have even looked at several more than once in an hour. Who knows, maybe something cool like this will happen to me someday).

3. My bathroom is clean, the toys are organized and I have stayed on top of scooping the cat box.

4. I have my bibliographies written without one single word of my research papers written.

5. Nathaniel has been getting a lot of face time with mommy these days.

6. I am a week ahead of teaching for church.

7. I have even considered shaving my legs...

8. I find myself making up lists for my blog instead of writing my Acts paper.

Oh dear Lord, I am totally going to be exhausted if I don't go work on my paper RIGHT NOW. One more month until graduation...

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Because I live in a hole I had no idea that the wildfires were that close to me until I looked out the window and saw the "snow" falling. I knew that there were fires nearby because I smelled the burning, but when Nathaniel's tricycle got covered in ash in a two hour time period, I realized it's probably a different fire than I thought.

Here is a shot from outside my patio. Notice that the smoke is hovering above us. The black spots are the ash that is falling.

Here is the North view.'s pretty gross out.

I actually swept my patio this morning and this is the accumulation since then. I have since closed my door.

We are safe. I just hope the power doesn't go out because my laptop battery doesn't hold a charge and I'm actually doing homework right now! Let you all know if things change!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Why I just want to sit down and cry


It's so hard when Nathaniel doesn't nap. I just don't know what's wrong with my kiddo. Last week he took 3-4 hour naps every day (getting to the point where I had to wake him up at 5:30pm just so I knew he would sleep that night). Monday he didn't get a nap because the sitter had him out all day long, so I got to deal with no-nap Nathaniel. Today he didn't nap either.

I think it's because he's cooped up all day long because even though there is a park about 50 yards from my front door he doesn't get to it much. Why? Well, the sitter doesn't take him outside and by the time I get home and he's up from his nap it's dark and there aren't any lights at the park. Plus, with the bajillion cats that are roaming around this complex, I have a slight phobia of him accidently playing in some sort of fecal matter.

So, today as I was exhausted from not sleeping well and doing work all morning, Nathaniel decided not to nap at all. I even cuddled with him for awhile and ended up zonking out myself, waking up covered in my own drool with Nathaniel calmly looking at "Green Eggs and Ham" then ripping his blanket out from my arms and saying, "Down!". It was 4 by then and I knew my day was shot.

So, I have extra grumpy/needy boy here with my group coming over to work on a project (which is due in a week). I already bathed him though I have kept him away from all t.v. (at least, under my supervision. I'm thinking of getting rid of the t.v. for the next few weeks to ensure that he really doesn't watch it all day long) so that he can watch a movie while I try to get some work done later.

Sigh. On top of that he peed all over the floor after his bath and has been getting into EVERYTHING!

But, he just just redeemed my whole night. As I was typing this he came running in the room and said, "Mom! A pirate ship! Arrrrr!!" and made me laugh. There's a reason he's so cute! I think he's hinting that he wants to go to Disneyland...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Well, that's reassuring!

Last night I had a dream that I was in an earthquake. It was so real (along with other portions of my dream, including flying in an airplane to Indiana...weird) that I was sure that perhaps something happened last night.

I didn't hear of anything on the news so I will chalk it up to pregnancy hormones taking control of my body along with a general lack of sleep (which reminds me, I need to go to bed NOW!). However, I did read this online today which actually freaked me out a bit. Of course it's mostly doom and gloom, but I wonder how I would fare in the online game? I bet I would die. I thought I was supposed to go in a doorway during an earthquake. Hmmm...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veteran's Day.

I realized that I don't have any good, recent pics to put on here so I won't.

Happy Veteran's Day to all who serve(d).

Take some time today to hug a soldier. I wish I could hug mine...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Children of the World Choir

Today marks the beginning of the Mission's Week at our church. One of the many things I love about Cypress Church is it's heart for missions. As a church we support missionaries all over the world and are definitely very mission minded.

Last year we had a worship team fly in from Hawaii which I hear was an amazing night (I was at Sam's step-mom's funeral so I wasn't there to witness it first hand). This year, we were blessed to have the Children of the World Choir visiting our church. It was amazing. First of all, some of the families in our church opened up their homes to host these children (and the chaperones). I wish we could have but one of the guidelines was two parents in the home and since Sam is gone that instantly counted me out. It was probably for the better given how much stress we've been under, but it would have been so cool for Nathaniel to be able to experience another culture like that.

When we walked into the service today there was about 15 young children on stage singing and dancing and truly praising the Lord. Tears instantly sprung to my eyes because it was just so beautiful. Then their stories began to unfold. They shared with us how all of the children on stage were orphans, either orphaned because of the AIDS epidemic in Africa or simply abandoned by their parents. They were all from Uganda (which is a land terrorized by the Lord's Army, an army led by a man who kidnaps young children and forces them to fight in tribal warfare) and all were sponsored by Americans. To see these little children sing and dance and watch the joy shining from their eyes was amazing. Check out this video to get an idea of what worship was like for us this morning.

After church Nathaniel wanted to go see the kids, so we went over to some of them and they all kept touching Nathaniel's hair (which was cute) and kept hugging Nathaniel. My normal socialite turned into a shy guy though and just looked at the ground. Poor boy. He thought it was cool though (the singing and dancing).

On a funny note, I think Nathaniel is going to be a performer when he gets older. He's gone to a couple of live shows this week (Seussical, Jr. and then worship this morning) and he is enamored. He also then points to the stage after it's over and wants to go on stage to sing as well. He has pulled out his microphone from his room and stands in front of me singing, dancing and taking a bow, expecting applause. Heaven help me, this kid takes after his mommy!

Friday, November 7, 2008

We are surviving.

Well, it's been two days sans Sam and we are surviving. We are eating healthily (pancakes with applesauce totally counts as healthy!) and things are getting done. I have a new outlook on parenting. I'm just kind of letting it go. I am still strict with Nathaniel. He gets disciplined and he has his regular routine (limited t.v.--at least when I'm around--regular snack-time and nap time plus his boundaries of what he can/cannot do and how he can treat others) but, when he is just acting his age and being difficult I find that I'm much calmer. In turn, he's a lot calmer. It's nice.

What's also nice is the 3-4 hour naps he's been taking all week. That makes my day great. I get a lot more done that way.

I'm on top of my homework, my house is clean (at least, it isn't filthy with grime and dust, there are currently toys and dvds all over my living room, but that will be picked up by Nathaniel before bedtime, and the dvds are keeping him busy). I think we will be okay.

It also helps that Sam and I can talk on the phone every night. That will be harder when he's abroad.

I still need more recipes. I was literally wandering down the aisles of the grocery store yesterday going, "What can I cook!?" I did grab cans of cream of mushroom soup because I have some pork chops that I think I am going to throw in the crock pot tomorrow and I know one of the recipes calls for cream of mushroom soup. Yum!

Also, anyone who reads this who lives in my area, my regular sitter is on vacation the first 9 days of December and I still need spots filled for the 2nd-4th and 7th-8th. Please email me if you can help. I pay!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I promise.

Well, Sam is officially gone. It was a crappy morning because I got up a little early so I could spend time with Sam before Nathaniel woke up and Sam was called into the office because the Colonel decided that he wanted to be briefed when he got up to Monterey so Sam had to return all of the binders that he had taken home yesterday. Grrr...luckily Sam was able to push back the leave time so we did get some time this morning to sit and drink coffee (and hot cocoa for Nathaniel) before rushing out the door.

Anyways, my title of the blog is purposeful, I swear.

I just want people to know that there may be times where I sound like I'm whining or complaining or fishing for extra help in a passive manner. While I can't promise not to whine about Sam being gone and being both mommy and daddy (and student/intern as well) full time, I can promise that I'm not being passive-aggressive on this blog. I promise that if I need help I will ask for it unashamedly. I know I'm not super woman, and as much as I would love to be Super Woman (she looks great in tights and she can fly!) I know my limits and I know when I need help. So, I'm not trying to guilt anyone into anything if I am ever complaining about how I'm supposed to get my hair cut or get the car fixed or treat my cats for worms. I am simply venting.

On another note: If anyone has any healthy, easy recipes that I can use, that would be great. I'm not normally the cook in the house but I know it isn't healthy to eat corn dogs and chicken nuggets for the next 13 months!

On a completely different note: Is it healthy if I can feel my heart skipping beats and making sounds like, "ka-chug, ka-chug, ka-chug"? That happened about 10 minutes ago and it did it for about 5 beats. Kind of freaked me out...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Thank goodness it's all over.

I'm so thankful that the election is over. Now I just have to listen to people whine and complain (or gritch and moan as one of my co-workers puts it) for about a week before things calm down.

I have to say that I got REALLY sick of all of the one-sided arguments coming from different people, all of them assuming that I was voting the way they were. Or people who just wouldn't get off of one topic and who kept on beating the dead horse (yes, one of those people ended up with a really long post on this blog. That's what I get for sharing authorship with my hubby!). Let's just say, I'm glad it's finished.

I also have to say that I will not share with anyone how I voted. One of my students asked me today how I voted and I told him that it was a private matter that I chose not to share with people. He then prodded me even more saying, "I at least have to know how you voted on Prop 8. It's a Christian thing, I need to know if I can respect you." Even though this response made me frustrated, especially after the two part series our pastors just gave on loving our neighbor and not judging or over spiritualizing things, I responded again that it was a private matter and that there is a reason that voting is done in little booths. He eventually dropped it.

So, since Sam leaves tomorrow for his long deployment I will now get off of the internet and watch him put his boy to bed for the last time for a long time. It's hard. Please pray for us and if I don't update on this thing for awhile and seem like I've fallen off of the face of the earth, give me a call, I may not be doing that great.


Monday, November 3, 2008

A Rebuttal from a Friend

I want to publish a rebuttal to one of my arguments that a good friend who goes by the blogger name Aristocles sent me. I publish it not because it has me convinced or because I think it is airtight; I publish it because it addresses head on some of the issues I have been raising. And I think it is important to air a disagreeing voice before election day. I respect Aristocles very much, and want to give his impassioned argument some space on my blog.

"I have now realized. I was mislead. In many of my replies and counter-rebuttals concerning the basic argument --if you're pro-life you oughtn't vote Obama-- I continually made a mistake.

What is it? I'll get to that, in a jiff.

When pro-lifers-for-Obama responded, they never failed to bring forward this question:
What will reduce abortions the most efficiently?

They all believe that Obama's planned-out strategy will reduce the number of abortions to a far greater extent than McCain's policies. This has led to the oft quipped: "Obama is more pro-life than McCain." The argument is, of course, based on a calculation concerning consequences. The consequences concern the very lives of human beings. McCain, it's granted, has a pro-life ideology on his platform. McCain has even voted many times in the past for pro-life laws. McCain will appoint judges that will likely be favorable to overturning the Roe v. Wade precedent.

Yes, yes, and yes. BUT, they, the pro-lifer Obama fans, will say: Obama will tackle the root causes of abortion. He's focussed and poised to address this typical shortfall in the history of the pro-life movement.

Thus, this reasoning concludes: only with an Obama not McCain presidency (the official pro-choice platform is not a big concern) WE the WISE voters can know with confidence that the bad consequences will likely be reduced. Only with Obama can we the conscientious pro-lifers be confident that the death toll will go down, the bloodshed lessened, the underlying causes finally addressed. After all, the reasoning continues, overturning Roe will barely, if at all, reduce abortions. After all, the reasoning continues, it will only go to the state legislatures, allowing a neighboring state to accomplish the abortion where one's homestate won't. After all, the reasoning continues, what will McCain do to address these causes? The case seems obvious. How, the table turns, can a pro-lifer who is truly in the know, vote for anyone BUT OBAMA?

I admit this has a definite ring of wisdom. And then my argument trots up to the plate. I suppose I was an underdog from the get go. The pro-life Obama friends take aim at my argument.

The fist volley: this argument assumes a dubious one issue voting mentality. The second: Republicans/conservatives have too long been duped by the simplistic adherence to a myopic strategy --Overturn Roe. The third volley: McCain isn't pro-life to the core anyway (he's even a flip-flopper on the matter). The fourth volley: and even if he is, he won't address these causes that motivate abortion in the first place; McCain's pro-life platform is window dressing as the death knell rings its frightful voice for more innocent unborn. The fifth volley: Christians and the Political Right have wrongly and too long been captive to naivete and emotive appeals, and, have too long paid not heed to the real guts of the matter. And the guts of the matter are nuanced and informed calculations of probabilities. Thus, the final volley, back to the unanswerable question: Under which candidate in the given political air of the future, the context of our crystal ball of 2008-2012, can we bet on abortion be more likely reduced than not?

And, supposing all the volleys are countered by the old school, underdog, like me, but that last one, number six, remains firm, tall, and undefeated. What can I possibly do? How can I resist the force of this tide of political wisdom? How can I at once distance myself from the myoptic, the naive, the old Republican war-hawks, corporation loving, oil motivated conservatives and yet at the same time advance an argument with a conclusion these devils would probably agree with? Thus, I embark upon, what to you pro-life Obama fans, seems an impossible journey. And, then, in attempting to respond I get caught up in the task of projecting future probabilities. I'll call it the fortune teller context. I have to now bear the burden of explaining how we can think, prior to the future term, that it is more likely that with McCain it is probable abortion will be reduced versus what will likely happen with Obama.

The opposition, you pro-life Obama fans will say. "Sure, sure, Obama will sign FOCA, but who cares if it doesn't go through congress? Sure, sure, a judge or two might get appointed, why think Roe will be challenged soon, and if it were, why care? Will it reduce abortion much? And if so, how long do we have to wait? Sure, states will get in the mix, but then we'll only contribute to the myopic trend of ignoring the guts of the issue, abortion reduction by addressing causes, like economic hardship and unwanted pregnancy conditions. It's overdue for a pro-life change of direction. And careful calculation in our fortune teller context gives us reason to bet on Obama's policies if we are really pro-life."

And you'd likely continue similarly as follows, "For we the really full-orbed pro-lifers aren't fixated on the legal issue, the pie in the sky. We are nuts and bolts, boots on the ground voters, fully equipped with an aresenal of weapons able to deliver armchair probability judgements. And these, we suppose will put Obama on the winning ticket. Any sophisticated pro-life voter would bet, bank on, predict with confidence, that abortions will be reduced in an Obama presidency."

And that's the context I go into in order to counter-rebut. I have to provide my own calculations for why I am betting on McCain (and whatever comes after 2012) rather than Obama. And thus, I'm caught in the fog of probability calculations from our fortune teller context. I have to enter the foray of forecasting the future. Thus, the whole discussion becomes more and more nuanced and difficult to manage. Even unbearable boring to the morally inscensed anti-Rupublican, anti-Bush, anti-Iraq, and anti-old school conservatism. (Ah, ah, don't jump to conclusions: I"m not supporting this litany of bad buys and bad ideas; I don't need to, it's not in the logical space of this pro-life argument this election.)

I would and do still, however, maintain in the face of all the buzz, that betting on Obama to reduce abortion is a bad bet. How will making abortions easier, more affordable, and more acceptable contribute to their reduction? How will using morning after pills reduce abortions? How will education allowing unwise and entirely unprepared almost-adults the permission to have sex -so long as its safe- contribute to preventing contexts where unwanted pregnancies occur? How does a sophisticated and wise air of agnosticism on whether the right to life does or doesn't apply to the unborn, the cloned embryos, or the botched abortion victims ... how does this agnosticism contribute to caution in having an abortion, or motivation to adopt? And I could go on. But, I think, this CONTEXT OF DEBATE is based on a serious MORAL BLUNDER.

And the mistake I made was not recognizing this blunder behind the scenes. Okay. Big deal. What gives?


The injustice of abortion, for a prolifer, is not exhausted by the numbers in the death toll.
There is a tale of two injustices to tell. And below I will tell it. First, I will comment on the first injustice of the two, namely, the number of abortions and their so-called reduction levels given an Obama or McCain presidency.

True enough, pro-lifers want to overturn RVW because it reduces abortions. No one attempts to argue that overturning it would increase abortions. But if reduction is the key, the question is what's the most efficient means? And then we get back to our fortune teller context where we have nothing to rely on but armchair probability judgments. We don't even have the good fortune of massively compiled and thoroughly researched statistics on Obama or McCain presidencies of 2008-2012; unfortunately, it's one thing Obama can't fund, even though he has enough dough to go around. So, we have gut instincts, nothing more, to help us determine the likelihood of conditions favoring reduction of the death toll, conditions that depend upon a thousand contingencies of the ever future future.

It is certainly, indubitably and INJUSTICE that innocents are killed. Appalling, disgusting, and morally repugnant, that the innocents are the most helpless, defenseless and most full of potential and promise of any class of humans on this good globe of God's and us, His stewards. And all efforts, so long as they don't employ evil, should be pursued to reduce the number of human beings destroyed for mostly frivolous reasons --like not wanting the child one didn't want to be pregnant with, or the protection of one's precious quality of life, remember, my pro-life friends, the number of abortion for the gut-wrenching reasons are few, very few and far between. (One easily accessible example of a means to reduce that is intrinsically evil is Obama's plan to use morning after pills as a means of reducing abortion).

Let me digress for one moment. I want to address a background issue. After this I'll return to the tale of two injustices.

Even on a McCain presidency it's not as if the efforts of millions of pro-lifers, pro-lifer organizations and Christian churches or other religious groups, will be prevented from addressing the very causes we are told Obama will address. His isn't the only means or instrument to addressing these causes. And be addressed they must. These things can be done and done well, Obama or no. But, and I risk digression, to rely on Obama and the government as the number one instrument to supply both the means and their execution is to presuppose a philosophy of government that is itself questionable. In fact, to presuppose this might be to presuppose a philosophy of government inimical to the fundamental rights our government was set up to protect.

Okay, end digression. I was talking about the tale of two injustices, the first being the death toll on innocent lives, embryos and fetuses, especially.

The injustice that gets lost in this fog of probability calculation is the IN JUSTICE OF TEH EXISTENCE of the Roe v. Wade precedent/de facto law. That law is NOT JUST just by its mere existence, regardless of the death toll (which is a horrendous evil and injustice of unbearable, intolerable degree). The existence of this de facto law is morally wrong IN AND OF ITSELF, that is, its existence is a moral blight. No calculation of the death toll is necessary. It's a different injustice.

In this light the slavery parallel shines clear. For a candidate that leaves the law of owning people yet fights with government programs and tax dollars to make conditions better for slaves while tirelessly addressing the root causes of the slave owner's desire to own human beings as property is a candidate that leaves unaddressed an intrinsic moral blight: the law that says human beings of this one type are ownable as property of another. Such a candidate is either morally incompetant or somehow morally distorted to look past the injustice in the very existence of the pro-slavery law.

But, the parallel here isn't exact, I'm sorry to inform you pro-life Obama fans. Let's make it parallel. This candidate not only leaves unaddressed the intrinsically evil law, but entrenches it deeper into the legal system, surrounding it with anti-missile defenses and an army of propagandists (the cronies defending his decision in the Illinois debacle come to mind, let alone the toady media talking heads) to direct attention away from it toward 'addressing the root causes of slavery', for the sake of reducing the number of owned human beings.

So, the pro-life Obama friends now must employ the moral scale. Only this time it's not future reductions given Obama vs. future reductions given McCain. No. Now there is a different set on the scale. Potential abortion reduction (far from established without a crystal ball and in light of my and others' arguments to the contrary) on one side of the scale. On the other side, the protection, entrenching, and outright promise to advance the sustained existence of an intrinsically evil law. Are you willing to pay the cost of entrenching an intrinsic injustice for the benefit of possibly reducing abortions through government means, which are by far not the only means, nor necessarily the most effective, nor necessarily those based on the best theory of government and its role in human affairs?

I have to raise this alarm because I myself was lost in the utilitarian calculation game of abortion reduction given this or that future scenario (Barack or John, with this or that balance of Dem/GOP in the House or Senate, with this or that bill in the offing, with this or that set of judges given this or that possible consideration of Roe or anything in the neighbor, etc., etc.)

But reduction chances going up, down, or remaining the same does NOT EXHAUST THE INJUSTICE of the abortion phenomenon in America (or mutatis mutandis in the world)

I challenge you, the pro-life Obama crew, to check up on your assumptions. Do you presuppose that the injustice of the abortion phenomenon is NOTHING BUT a function of how many innocent lives are lost? Does this cause you to look at overturning Roe as only valuable insofar as it reduces the abortion death toll? Is it your, perhaps unchecked assumption, the very one that bled into my responses, the BIG MISTAKE in many of my responses and replies? I unwittingly began to think that the only injustice in this sad state of affairs, in this grand land, was completely exhausted by the death toll numbers rather than the very nature of things: esp., of that intrinsically unjust de facto law.

Obama will not only fail to address this injustice, enshrined in our quasi legal supreme court precedent. He will attempt to buttress it, protect it, cherish it, and further its scope. He would happily add a CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT to make sure all women have rights that include abortion (which entails doctors, clinics, funding, etc., to make it happen).

And this brings us pro-lifers back to our roots. We need to address the causes of our misdirected defense of these innocent victims that are unquestionably fully included in our human community and come born with rights given by God.

That intrinsically wrong de facto law was, back then, and still is, based upon an absurd grounding. It was grounded in a woman's right to privacy. This is pure bosh. What then is it based on? What will pro-choicers be forced to say?

And when the discussion turns here, those that are not pro-life, who do not believe all human life has the fundamental rights of personhood, chiefly the right to live, will have to confront the false beliefs that ground the pro-choice agenda. Beliefs that neither rationally support nor logically entail unjust laws or the permission of intentional killing.

Like I've said rather sketchily before:IF TOMORROW EVERYONE BELIEVED that abortion (and I hasten to add embryo destruction) is horrendously evil, then REDUCTION WOULD OCCUR in massive quantity and the Roe v Wade would be overturned and states would outlaw abortion. Further, there would be many more motivated to address the causes of abortion, governmental assistance aside. Churches would not be full of pro-lifers that think its an unfortunate given, but ones motivated by the absolute horror of abortion (watching the videos make it unavoidably, painfully, obvious), and thus willing to take action, out of the only true and just motive for all good, love of others and of God.

Belief coupled with heart's desires is the surest motor of action. And ultimately, aside from who gets elected, pro-lifers must seek to change not just consequences, not just material causes of abortion, but ultimately the hearts of those that seek, endorse, and uphold the actions and right of abortion.

At the eleventh hour,
with a glimmer of hope,
if not for this election, for the days and weeks and years following,
for the lives of all victims of abortion and embryo research,
for the lives of all those suffering and forced into desperation towards abortion,
especially the mother's involved,
let us pray to the Lord.
Lord have Mercy."

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween 2008

Well, in spite of class and a butt load of Army stuff for Sam, we managed to do Halloween this year. I figured I could have skipped the whole thing since Nathaniel is still so young, but we were nice parents.

We went to the local "pumpkin patch" on Tuesday. I was dressed up as the Great Pumpkin for our youth event (where the kids go on a scavenger hunt looking for the Great Pumpkin) so Sam and Nathaniel came along. It was so ghetto! I'm used to actually going into the patch where the pumpkins grow and picking the pumpkin (along with a hay ride and apple cider). Here, the pumpkins were sitting in rows and there were a whole bunch of really ghetto carnival rides. We spent way too much money on a pumpkin (which we have yet to carve) and worried for Nathaniel's safety on a couple of the rides. Nathaniel had a blast though.

Last night we went trick or treating. It took Nathaniel probably 2 houses to figure out what to do and then he was pushing the bigger kids aside to knock on the door. It was so funny because sometimes he would just say, "Candy!" instead of Trick or treat. He got enough candy to last through potty training and had a really good time. We were lame and had him wear his Batman pajamas as his costume. It worked!

Of course, when we got home our next door neighbors were having a huge party that quickly got out of hand. Everyone was really drunk and people ended up banging on our front door (since our doors are about three feet across from each other) and were shouting in the hallway. Not to mention the music blaring...The police showed up twice! Things finally calmed down around midnight, which didn't help since we had to be up at the butt crack of dawn this morning. I also have a quiz in an hour...ugh!

That's about it. I think we are going to carve our pumpkin tonight. Yup, let's just extend the holiday a bit...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Amazing vacation!

I just have to update about our amazing vacation before I go to bed tonight. It was such a fun time. Last night we went to Goofy's Kitchen and dined with the characters (a great way to keep Nathaniel in line because we just kept promising him dinner with Goofy) and swam in the pool at our hotel. It was really nice. Here are some pics.

Today we went to Disneyland for a few hours, then Sam and I dropped Nathaniel off at the sitter's and headed out for our special Club 33 date. It was amazing and so fun and special. We felt posh. My favorite part (aside from the amazing food and the atmosphere that was anything but Disney...) was the toilet in the ladies room. I know, I'm such a dork (and I even took a picture), but when I walked in the stall and I thought I was in the wrong place because there was what looked like a wicker was so surreal. It was a porcelain chair! I had to lift the seat up to find the toilet portion! Crazy!

Enjoy the photos!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

More about politics.

As of late my email has been bombarded with impassioned friends calling people to vote for the candidate who will "end abortion". These emails pull at my heart strings because of course I want to end abortion. I would love it if someone could vote for the magic candidate who had the power to make it illegal to terminate a pregnancy simply because it was inconvenient to the mother or because the child was "unwanted". But, I know better. I know that abortion will not be made illegal in my life time. I also know that many of the people who support abortion say that if we make abortion illegal then we will be making it impossible for those who are raped to abort their child or for an abortion to happen in cases of incest or a threat to the health of the mother. Statistically speaking, the number of abortions that occur because of those two cases is actually quite low. Besides that, why is anyone's life less important or worth any less than anyone else's because of how he/she was conceived? Yes, rape is a terrible thing and to be forced to carry a baby to term would be extremely difficult, but isn't a human life worth more than a simple "inconvenience"?

But, I digress. I didn't want this post to be about abortion. Instead, I wanted to post a link to something that was very thought provoking. It's an article by Jim Wallis who blogged about the importance of looking at all of the so-called "non-negotiables" of voting and to look at the whole picture of all of the issues. So, rather than get on my political soapbox, I will let someone else get on his and I challenge you to think about what is important to you. I challenge you to think about the whole picture.


What a week!

There is something about midterms that make me a little crazy. Add on the fact that I need to get all of my homework done by tomorrow morning (and I have a TON of it) and there is a ton of other work to be done and we have one extremely tired (and stressed out) mommy.

I took my midterm for Acts and honestly, it really wasn't that fair of an exam. I studied enough for it, and I had a handle on the study guide, but the professor got a little tricky. Instead of giving exact dates in his multiple choice answers, he gave events that happened around the dates I needed. Not to mention throwing in tricky little questions like, "Who were two well known zealots in Judaism?" when I thought I was just supposed to know what zealous meant in the time of Acts. The exam wasn't bad, though. I honestly just want to pass and I really am learning a lot and really enjoying the class so... that helps a ton. I do have to say that the group of students from class who gathered around where I was sitting trying to do homework who were discussing every single question on the exam ad nauseum was NOT appreciated. I'm of the camp where once I've taken an exam it does me no good to talk about the questions. I tend to stress out when I think about every single answer that I got wrong.

So, between today and tomorrow I have to work, write a theological "something-or-other" for my church plant group in Acts, read a book and write a book report and organize a theological discussion about Matthew 11:28 and also look at fasting and write up a class on how to do it and why it's important. Yipes! Oh, and I have to spend three hours prepping for another class (it's our mandatory prep time for class each week. We have to spend three hours reading commentaries and stuff about the passage we are studying).

Oh. And Sam leaves in less than two weeks.

But, as I look over everything I have to do I feel content. I don't feel too stressed out because I love everything I'm doing. I hate to admit this, but I'm kind of going to miss school after I graduate. Not enough to get my Ph.d. or go for my Th.M., but enough where I will probably find myself taking classes here and there until I'm old. Gosh, I'm such a dork. At least Sam is one too! (heaven help us if our children end up being jocks!).

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Major meltdown

Ugh. I saw into the crystal ball of my future today.

I picked Nathaniel up from the sitter after class and he was still napping. At that point he had been napping for 4 hours, so I didn't feel bad about waking him up. Well, once he finally woke up he started throwing a fit because I didn't let him climb up into his car seat and buckle his own seat belt (I would have, but he said no when I asked him). He threw a fit all the way home and then wanted me to carry him inside. No dice. I had my backpack, the diaper bag and 7 bags of groceries to carry in.

Nathaniel threw a screaming, out of control, throw down on the ground and kick, fit. I couldn't just leave him because I have to walk around the building and up stairs to get to our apartment, but I couldn't carry him either.

It took us ten minutes to get inside! But, I didn't scream or get too angry. We survived and all is calm. I even had a fun package from my mommy waiting for me. A package with Peanuts mugs, some fun Peanuts socks, some Peanuts pens and the movie "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!" So, now we are sacked out on the couch watching that.

I don't know how I will handle that when I have major groceries and a little one...ugh!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

When life seems like a t.v. reality show...

The last month and a half our church has been doing the 40 Days of Community campaign from Saddleback Church. Because of that, I have been leading a small group of (gasp) adults in addition to the normal small group of junior high girls I lead. I admit, it wasn't something I jumped at, but more something I started out of obligation. However, I really have enjoyed leading my peers and having a group of people to get to know better.
About two weeks ago I was super overwhelmed with life and, being that I'm hormonal anyways, I simply asked for prayer for our family to prepare for Sam's immanent deployment and immediately burst into tears. For those of you who know me, bursting into tears is my pet peeve, so I hate it when it happens. The women in my small group came around me and encouraged me quite a bit and also said that Sam and I needed to get out and go on a date. Of course, we know that, it's just hard being super busy and wanting to spend time as a family. So, after many offers of babysitting we went home.
Imagine my shock last week when our small group told Sam and I that they had arranged for our family to stay a night at Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel and go to Disneyland for a day (all without us paying a dime). It was one of those speechless moments. So, Sam and I have been looking forward to that all week (it will happen next weekend).
I thought that was above and beyond anything that could ever happen. I would have been totally happy if they had said that they would watch Nathaniel for an evening so we could go to dinner! Yet, the story doesn't end there.
Today while I was at work, one of the women in my small group called me to let me know that they have also arranged for us to have dinner as a family at Club 33 at Disneyland. For those who are not familiar with Disneyland, Club 33 is the exclusive, members only, club that costs an arm and a leg to even get into! This is the place that celebrities go and eat at (and watch Fantasmic) when they go to Disneyland.
I feel like I'm dreaming. So, next weekend expect a post with lots of pictures from our amazing mini-vacation!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Beautiful pictures.

I have to add these pictures that were taken over a year ago at my friend's wedding. Just a reminder as to how fast time has flown and how little Nathaniel used to be (and I thought he was so big at 13 months...).

I love this picture of Nathaniel!!

I also love this picture...

Enjoy. I promise, updated photos and an amazing story soon to come.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Back to that always comfortable and non-divisive subject of politics

It has been a while since I posted anything; I have been swamped with work and moving and school (and we didn't get internet again until yesterday). I haven't had the time to contemplate until recently.

Last week or so I had lunch with a few leaders in our church to discuss some political issues. It was a very good meeting; I felt like my voice was heard. Whether it was listened to or not is a different story :)! In light of that I want to write about some of my reflections on the Christian and the vote.

The world is complicated, nuanced, ambiguous, and uncertain. It is not black and white, but contains a lot of gray. We see but a poor reflection int he mirror. Now, this could be taken a number of ways. I am NOT saying there are no facts about right and wrong or good and bad. What I mean is that sometimes there facts are not clear. They require nuanced judgment and, especially in the type of government we have, it involves compromise and give and take.

Morality is broader than sex. We evangelicals are good at bringing moral concerns to bear in the public arena. However, our conception of the scope and breadth of morality can be too narrow. It needs to encompass everything from concern for the poor, the oppressed, justice in all its forms (distributive, equality, fairness, punitive, restorative, etc...), living up to our responsibilities (e.g. ours to creation, an employers to thier employees, the father to his family, etc...), compassion, and peace.

We must recognize that we do not have a handbook for liberal democracy in the bible; however, we must negotiate and apply the numerous biblical injuctions concerning right and wrong to the governance of the state. There are the examples of the prophets such as Amos that must be balanced against Peter's injunction to not be a meddler or a busybody (i.e. a self-proclaimed public guardian of morality). We must be in but not of the world. We must honor the Lord and treat others as we want to be treated (e.g. supporting religious freedom). We must work to make the world better but not place our hope in the things of this world (it's politicians and institutions). We must be peacemakers, love our enemies, value creation, preserve life, and pursue all of this with humility.

On a less preachy note, my kid is quite the Democrat. He sees Obama on the TV and says "Barack Obama" (actually, it sounds more like "Bakabama"). He doesn't know who John McCain is, and it is not like we feed him liberal propaganda every night before bedtime. Conservatives in my audience need not be concerned, even though Chicago will let him vote I will not.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

An open letter to my NIV Bible. (be warned, much geekiness to ensue)

Dear NIV Study Bible:
You know that I have adored using you the past 10 years. I love how easy to read you are. I love that I can understand the Word of God without having to wade through a bunch of "thees" and "thous" and "shalts". You know that I have been utterly devoted to your translation of the Greek ever since my mom gave me an NIV Bible for Easter and that I only switched Bibles when that one was nearly worn out. You know that I have used my father's old study Bible that he gave me when he died, copiously writing notes in your margins and underlining important passages (especially in theology!).

Alas, my dear NIV, I have grown disillusioned with you.
Imagine my horror this last week in class when I noticed not one but TWO terrible choices of words in your translation.

First of all, why would you translate the word zeilou as jealous when it obviously means zealous in Acts 5:17? It doesn't make sense! Jealousy means something completely different from zeal! The Sadducees were not jealous of the disciples, they were zealous for the Law and about upholding what they believed was the true word of God! That is why they beat the disciples in put them in jail. Not because they were jealous.

I wish that were all. I could overlook one misuse of the Greek. But then you decide to do something similar in Acts 9:21 when discussing Saul. You foolishly translate the word portheo as "raising havoc" when it means "to destroy". Saul didn't just raise 'havoc' among those who believed that Jesus was the Messiah, he wanted to utterly destroy them! He beat them and put them in prison and wanted them to die for their blasphemy!

So, my dear NIV Bible. We have to break up. It is time for me to move on. Maybe I will buy a ESV Bible. Many of my profs actually wrote the notes in that translation and I respect them.
I have enjoyed our time together and will lovingly place you on my shelf with my NKJV and my Good News translation. Please do not be offended, you brought this on yourself.


Monday, October 6, 2008

We've moved!

The move is complete. While we miss our neighbors (the good ones) a lot, things are going well. We still don't have internet and things are still in boxes (the kitchen will probably be the last thing organized) it is starting to look and feel like home.

I wish I had a camera for some of our moving moments. Like yesterday watching three people heft our heavy new couch in through the balcony. Amazing! Once I find my camera (it's in a box somewhere...) I will post some pics of our new place along with the new furniture. I want to take pictures before the boys destroy some of the organization I've gotten in place.

Hoping things get up soon (i.e., internet!).

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 a passive/aggressive way.

I don't like my neighbors.

I'm ashamed to say it because I've really prayed about loving my neighbors and serving my neighbors and caring about my neighbors. Really, I have! I know that they are all God's creation and even if they are jerks (to put it nicely) they too were made in the image of God and Jesus died for them too. Even if they don't act like it.

I should put my disclaimer here: The neighbors I'm talking about aren't the Jones'. Those are the neighbors I love easily and don't want to move away from. The neighbors I'm talking about are the ones who have a billion (so it seems) delinquent children and who deal drugs. Those are the neighbors I'm having a difficult time loving.

I'm totally trying to justify my behavior right now. I know I am.

Anyways, these neighbors are just pushing all of our buttons as much as they can. The teenagers ride their skateboards in the street. That is not a big deal. I would rather them be in the street than run over my toddler on the sidewalk. It's the giant ramp they put in the middle of the road and the middle finger plus obscenities they say to me when I drive down the road and honk at them to move (after sitting there for a few seconds waiting for them to move their stuff). These kids literally stare at me and stand in front of my car! They refuse to move! So, I have started refusing to brake...we'll see who wins between my 1983 piece of crap car and their skateboard. As I said, I'm being passive aggressive.

The kids also sit on the cars which are parked on the street. I know my 1983 Toyota is nothing to be impressed with, but it's my car. Sam and I paid for that car with our own money and I don't want kids climbing on my car. I may be irrational here, but footprints do not belong on the roof of a car. The Jones' called the cops on the kids for that one and they got tickets for loitering. I had nothing to do with that, but it still felt good.

Finally, the kids (and their parents--at least I think it's the parents, I'm never sure, could be older brothers?) run all around our neighborhood with their air soft guns shooting each other with pellets and cussing at each other. Even the little 7 year old is yelling, "F" this and "F" that. I understand running around playing, but shooting air soft guns?! C'mon! The last straw was when they ran by me and Nathaniel shooting. My kid is 2! Pellets hurt!

So, instead of being parents, the adults in those families have started retaliating to the calls to the cops. Instead of disciplining their children they are "playing the game". They will park their cars so that there is half a car length between them, leaving less space for us to park. They discourage their children from staying off of the parked cars, even when asked to move by the owners (hence the cops giving out loitering/trespassing tickets).

Tonight I retaliated in my own way. I squeezed my little Toyota into a spot that a normal car can't get into (we're talking maybe two inches between me and the other cars) and happily walked away while the owners of the car I blocked in were cursing at me for blocking their car in.

Suck it neighbors!!

Wow, I need to repent. I suppose it's better than keying their car. And if my Toyota gets keyed, oh well. The rust spots will cover it up. Besides, I've had worse done to my car by these people (I guess I forgot to mention the chewed up gum that's been thrown on my car, by the adults since the kids were all at school at the time).

*sigh* I suck. :(

Friday, September 26, 2008

Things I have learned from my child.

Being a parent for the last 2+ years has really taught me a lot on how to behave as an adult. I often find myself telling Nathaniel things and in turn, have incorporated them into my own life. Of course, some of these are silly and some of these are serious, but either way it is something we can all take to heart.

Use your words.
There are times Nathaniel is pointing and whining and I tell him to use his words. When I reflect on this I realize that there are times I expect people to know what I want/need and I get "whiny" when things don't go my way. I am still trying but have definitely begun to "use my words" more often. Especially in communicating with my hubby!

Don't just cry about it, tell him to stop it, that you don't like that.
This falls under the same category as use your words. Since Nathaniel has been under the care of a sitter this month he has been playing a lot with the same little boy. They usually get along great, but sometimes they both act their age and snatching of toys and hitting eventually happens. If I happen to be around for these things (as I come home or as I'm leaving), Nathaniel runs to me crying with a look of hurt and injustice in his eyes. Of course I give him a hug (he has to know that I'm in his corner) but I also tell him (if he's not the culprit, if he is the instigator I correct him and tell him we don't treat our friends that way) that when someone does something we don't like we need to say, "Please stop that, I don't like it when you do that." I realize that there have been times when I've let people treat me like crap and have ran off to Sam or someone else to complain, when really I just need to let those people know that the way they are treating me is not appreciated. Still working on this one.

Say your prayers.
We pray a lot in our house. It's not always deep, meaningful prayers, but since Nathaniel is learning how to pray he often demands that we pray. Since he is 2 he also has the need to pray for everything he sees, including the wall or his water or his blanket. While it's his way of being silly it has shown me that I need to always be thankful for the many blessings I have in my life. The fact that there is a roof over our heads (that we can afford to pay for), food and clean water to eat and drink and even the nice little extra comforts are things I often take for granted. I need to remember to always thank God for the blessings in my life.

Of course there are other things that I can't figure out how to incorporate into my life. Phrases such as:
We don't wipe our penis and then blow our nose...
Don't hit the kitty with the broom!
We don't pour milk over our heads.
Don't drink the bathwater!!
No jumping in the bathtub.
Don't run away from mommy.

But hey, at least I'm learning something from my kid!

Monday, September 22, 2008

It's a boy!

This morning's ultra sound went very well. Sam and Nathaniel were eager to see the baby and I was looking forward to making sure that all was really going well. Everything looks great. 10 fingers, 10 toes, four heart chambers, all of the brain, eyes and ears and a penis.

Looks like I'm going to be a mommy of boys for a little while longer!

Good thing I'm more of a tom boy than a girly-girl! And I can continue to go to Disneyland without having to worry about princess dresses and getting dragged into that darn Libby Lu store! Woo Hoo!!

Now, to figure out names...

Friday, September 19, 2008


Congratulations Cpt. Daddy! We are so proud of you!!

Sam getting his cover put back on with his new rank.

The happy family at the Armory this morning with our new Captain.

They are recruiting them younger and younger these days!

Nathaniel, "pinning" Sam's new rank. With the new uniforms, it is just Velcro, which is why Nathaniel got to do it.
What a great thing to witness. Nathaniel was completely enamored with all of the Army guys and seeing Daddy at work. Yay Sam!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I am so excited to watch Nathaniel as he develops into his own little person. It has been an amazing blessing to see him change and grow, even in the last few weeks. Since Sam has been gone I have had to have a sitter come and watch Nathaniel while I work and go to school. It has been good for Nathaniel to have interactions with another kid close to his age, I can see him growing a ton socially. However, there has been something growing in him that is difficult to teach, that is just part of the way God has made him. That is his compassionate side.

First of all, until recently, Nathaniel has had animosity towards any kid under the age of about 16 months. I don't know what it was, but he would bully any kid who couldn't walk. It even got to the point where he would go and smack my friend's kid in the head whenever we were together. I was worried that my kid was going to be the bully. But, lately, he's actually showing care and concern for others. Whenever he hears a baby crying he says, "Mom! Baby crying!" and then says, "It's okay, baby!"

Today I was watching him play with his friend (my baby sitter's boy who is 6 months older than him) and I really noticed his compassion. Nathaniel is a little more advanced with his moter and verbal skills than his friend. Nathaniel knows how to jump and somersault and his friend was trying to copy him, but was just unable to really get it. So, Nathaniel would show him how to jump off of the step stool and then say, "Brynden's turn!" and help his friend up on the stool and hold his hand while he stepped down. He even got the idea of taking turns! ("My turn! Brynden's turn!")

Then, right before naptime we were getting ready to read books and Nathaniel went to grab blankie. I said, "Do you want to show your little brother or sister blankie?" And he came over, lifted my shirt to expose my belly and pushed the blanket up against my belly. Then he moved the blanket, said "Hi baby!" and then said, "Mom! Hug baby!" and hugged my belly and gave it a kiss and said, "Bye baby!" and put my shirt back down.

Wow. I love being a parent and watching my kid grow.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

What we've been up to (in pictures)

Even though I've been super busy, we've still managed to do some fun family activities. Nathaniel and I went to Disneyland yesterday and today we met up with my friend Kate (yay!) and her sister at the L.A. Co. Fair. It was quite different from the Iowa State Fair to say the least (no butter cow!) but, it was still entertaining. Nathaniel's favorite part was the horse ride I let him go on (how could I not put him on a pony?!) and my favorite part was the giant corndog and the funnel cake.'s not my favorite now (can we say heartburn?) but it was sooooo good!

Here are some pics of our latest outings.

L.A. Fair montage

Random fun montage.

I have to say that my two favorite parts (aside from the yummy food) from today were Nathaniel running around the animal barn almost hysterical with glee squealing, "Oh, look Mom! Chickens! (or goats, pigs, cows, etc.)." My second favorite, the grown man explaining to the grown woman with him what each animal was. Yes, this is Los Angeles County, where there is zero farm land for miles around... Silly Southern Californians!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Oh Captain, my Captain!

Hooray!! Sam finally got his promotion today. The National Guard has only been sitting on his promotion packet since February, but today it finally went through and Sam is finally a Captain. Sure, he hasn't gotten pinned yet so he still has all of the appearances and duties of a First Lt., but he's getting the pay of a Captain, and that is what truly matters.

On another note, I have realized that some people simply do not have any tact at all. Here are some things that real actual people have said to me concerning either my pregnancy or Sam's deployment to Kosovo:

Upon the announcement that I was pregnant:


Woah, you really are cranking those babies out!

You guys must have started having kids right away (this was in response to someone hearing how old I am, assuming that Sam and I must have either been pregnant when we got married or got pregnant right away. Actually, we got married when we were 21 and I didn't have number 1 until we were 25 so...yeah).

The last comment wasn't so weird, but why do people seem shocked that Sam and I are pregnant again? Nathaniel will be 2.5 when this baby is born, which is plenty of space between kids. I was almost down to my pre-pregnancy weight (I don't think I will ever get back down, those last five pounds were really allusive). Plus, people seemed to make financial comments about us having another kid. Honestly, our financial situation really isn't a lot of people's business. We pay our bills every month, we have health insurance and we have money in savings. We also do not get any government help for those things (unless you count the Army as government help...) so...why do people feel the need to make comments?

The main comment I hear about Sam's deployment is: Well, Kosovo isn't as bad as Iraq or Afghanistan.

True. That statement is very true, but still it does not mean that we aren't going to miss Sam while he's gone or that he's going to have a super easy, safe job. He is still getting hazard duty pay and he will actually be in more danger than he was in Iraq (minus the IEDs) because he will be walking the streets dealing with the locals. I think that people seem to forget that Sam is still leaving his family for a year and with that is probably missing the birth of his second child, not to mention all of the cool milestones that are met during those first 10 months of life (Nathaniel was walking by 10 months).

Not that I'm aiming for a pity party here. I'm just saying that people need to be more sensitive. Or at least have a filter of some sort. That's all. Of course, I'm highly sensitive right now with the whole "hormonal" thing so take everything I type here with a grain of salt. :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Happiness is...

(By the way, as I was writing my blog title I remembered the quote from The Pursuit of Happiness with Will Smith when his character told his little boy that happiness was spelled wrong on the wall of his daycare and his little boy asked if the word f*&^ was spelled right. Ha ha ha!).

Getting to spend the morning with my little boy, and enjoying it very much so (pretend telephone with play-doh and watching him put stickers all over his face just because he can).

Getting my housework done without my back completely killing me.

Seeing that I'm actually kind of staying on top of my homework (for now. Talk to me tomorrow).

Having Talbot finally put their grading scale down to a normal one (where 93 is no longer a B).

Going to church on Tuesday night to take part in American Gladiator night and watch my leaders dress up in spandex and throw things at our students.

Life is awesome. Even in the midst of crazy stress. :)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A non-political update.

It's been nice having some intellectual chatter going on with our blog, but eventually the mommy in me takes over and I am forced to share updates of the family.

School is in full swing and I am quickly getting in over my head. My goal this semester really was to just graduate, I honestly am trying to not care about grades and being an over achieving perfectionist. But, I've been going to school for the past 22 years and it's hard to break a habit so ingrained upon me. I find myself jotting down the extra credit opportunities and striving to write the perfect papers. Not to mention stay on top of all of my reading (much of it Internet reading, ugh!). Sometimes I feel like I need to join some sort of support group. Some sort of "over achievers anonymous" or something. Please, encourage me to slack!

I did have an academic scare yesterday. I got a memo in my school mailbox that said I was two units short of graduating this December. I immediately started crying and kept thinking, "How can this be?!" True to my type A, over achieving personality I have carefully kept track of my classes and hours and even met with the grad advisor twice to make sure I was right on track to graduate. Yet, when I got home and checked my hours online, I indeed was two units short. Needless to say, I was angry because I had been given the go ahead for graduation. So, I emailed the grad counselor and asked her how she was going to fix her mistake (since it was her that told me twice that I was okay to graduate and okayed my schedules). I also explained to her my situation (pregnant with one kid and a husband who is leaving) and why I couldn't simply just take another semester.

I got a very apologetic phone call this morning from my grad counselor. She explained to me that it indeed was all her fault and she had already come up with a solution. Her and her supervisor reviewed my undergrad transcripts and realized that due to my language classes in undergrad (6 units each of Hebrew and Greek) that it counted for some OT classes in grad school so they transferred those. I am once again cleared to graduate in December.

Sam has been doing well. He's kind of going stir crazy as a stay at home dad (but boy, do I appreciate him!), hence all of the political chatter on our blog. He's actually gone to Disneyland the last three days with plans to go tomorrow as well. I'm happy that he's using his pass so much and enjoying the outdoors with the boy.

Nathaniel is growing up so much. We are still working on potty training, with different techniques being tried all of the time. Since Nathaniel is very aware of when he passes gas we have taught him to excuse himself when he does. There is just something adorable about a 2 year old yelling at the top of his lungs, "Muse me!! I tooted!!" So, when he sits on the potty we tell him to toot in the toilet. He likes that. He's gaining quite the imagination. He was "cooking" the other day and giving me tastes of the "food" he was creating. He also sings all the time so the past few mornings I wake up to him singing his VBS songs. It's so sweet to hear, "I be...faaaaful I be....faaaful..." coming from his bedroom. He is also into sharing, sometimes. Today we were playing catch with his soccer ball and, since it seems like little baby Grummons grew overnight since three people commented on my belly today, I patted my tummy and said something about little brother or sister. Nathaniel took the ball from me and said, "Sister ball?" and put the ball on my stomach, wanting to play. Very cute.

So, that's our family update. I also have a request. If you read our blog could you post a comment? I'm curious as to who reads this and can't figure out how to do the whole google thing here. Plus, if you are anonymous, leave your email address. Stacie, it took me forever to figure out who you were until you signed your last name and I've been meaning to email you, but I don't have your address!!

Hope everyone is doing well!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Another reason why both these guys are better than Bush

Again, this is another point where I agree with McCain. McCain supports importation of drugs from Canada, something that the Bush administration has opposed in the past (and I believe still does). Drugs are 16% to 60% cheaper there. I never understood the Bush administration's resistance to this. Well, I understand the cynical reason (catering to the pharmecutical companies), but this seems at odds with the party's ideology. If you believe in the invisible hand of capitalism, are against government regulation, and believe that fair competition will result in better, less expensive products for the greatest number (and apply this theory to everything from school choice to social security), why not apply it to the rising costs of drugs? That does not make sense. If you are against paternalism in economic policy (paternalism is where the government acts like a parent, telling you what is best for you instead of allowing the freedom of choice that comes with a free market), why use paternalist arguments in this case (i.e. we can't ensure that these Canadian drugs are good enough)?

For a breif comparison betweem the two canidates, see

This illustrates why it is important to ensure that our arguments are consistent, and this issues shows that most political hacks simply use whatever arguments work at the time with no regard for overall consistency.

McCain and Torture

I want to ensure that I am demonstrating my non-partisanship. Hence, I will post a commendation on John McCain and a defense of some of the compromises he had to make.

John McCain has had more real life experience on the issue of the treatment of POWs than any canidate out there. That has helped him formed a much better moral judgment on the way we conduct this war (note: this does not excuse him for cupably giving Bush congressional approval for going into Iraq). He has helped pushed interrogation reform (including revising the Army Field Manual) and the Military Commissions Acts. Now, both pieces of legislation are improvements over what was (or what failed to be) in place, and showed his willingness to critique the administration of basic human rights.

Unfortunately, like with so many issues in this messy business we call politics, he had to compromise. Bush and the administration opposes restrictions and oversight over its (unjust) conduct of the 'war on terror.' Failing to even try to give lip service to Jesus' injunction to 'love your enemies' (at least even to respect them as human), he resisted efforts to ensure that Bush abides by just laws. Hence, even though both bills represent improvements; there are still major flaws.

Unfortunately, compromise is necessary for improvement. McCain had to compromise to pass these improvements. I think McCain, if elected, will continue to improve our treatment of our enemies (and work to apply the rule of law to them). Of course, so will Barack Obama; however, McCain, as de facto leader of the Republicans, will be able to use the added clout to push his party (it would help, and be morally obligatory, for evangelicals to ensure that they side with and pressure McCain to continue in that direction).

Politics is messy, and both canidates are pushing for changing their party (Obama in taking seriously religious concerns and inserting "reducing abortions" in the party platform- with help of evangelical Tony Campolo and McCain in ensuring we are conducting this war ethically). In both canidates we have a much better pick than between Kerry (or Gore) and Bush; and both canidates, to various degrees, come closer to Christian values. However, both canidates also have serious flaws (McCain about Iraq, Obama about abortion). Christians could, in good conscious, vote for either one AS LONG AS THEY CONTINUE TO PRESSURE BOTH TO WORK FOR JUSTICE.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Ye Local Anarchist Association

For those that haven't heard, the anarchists are trying to disrupt the GOP convention. The news said that they have been organizing and planning this hooliganery. Yes, the anarchists are organizing. I crap you not, here is a website that will advise you on organizing your own anarchist group.

Unintended Pregnancy Amendment

Every once and a while, Sam decides to post something on this blog (and this is that once and a while).

I was scanning McCain's and Obama's voting record and I found a bill that was supported by Obama and voted against by McCain that pertains to the abortion issue. It was the Unintended Pregnancy Amendment, which did not pass the Senate. If you click on the title, you will be redirected to a sexy webpage (one that tracks various congresspersons' voting records) that breifly describes this bill. This bill's intent was to spend $100 million to prevent unwanted pregnancy and lower abortion rates. It was sponsored by Sen Harry Reid, a pro-life Democrat, and Senator Clinton. The intent (though one can be suspicious about any so called good intentions from a politician) was to pass bipartisan legislation aimed at reducing abortions through "expanding access to preventive health care services that reduce unintended pregnancy (including teen pregnancy), reduce the number of abortions, and improve access to women's health care." It failed by a partisan vote, with pro-life Republicans voting AGAINST it.

This boggles my mind! I can make a number of observations at this point, but I must limit myself. If you believe that abortion is morally wrong (as I do), and not on the level of name calling but on the level of homocide, one ought to take serious measures to prevent it. Overturning Roe v. Wade is one way (though imcomplete, repealing it would simply allow states to outlaw abortion), and taking active steps to reduce abortions in spite of RvW is another. These are not mutually exclusive!

Now, I won't call the majority of Senate Republicans hypocrites (since that is very unfair and childish). It is important to note some principles that they hold that (in their minds) justified their vote. (1) Small government with minimal social-programs spending. This is economic conservatism. It is not the government's job to help people; it is the government's job to create an environment where you can help yourself (through the private sector). I won't analyze this further and must settle with this simplistic characterization. (2) Sex is only permissible within the context of marriage, and the government ought not take steps that condone extra-marital sex. Funding contraception (especially amongst teenagers) would do that. Since the bill violates both those principles, they voted against it.

Now, while seeing those reasons, I have to say that EVEN if you hold (1) and (2), the moral weight of abortion outweighs those (especially if you are pro-life and campaign on that moral weight). Hence, if you put (1) and (2) on one side of the value-scale and 'preventing abortions' on the other, it will tip heavily to the latter.

Unfortunately, our political climate (even moreso within evangelicalism, as I lament) doesn not allow us to really work for common ground. We are not willing to compromise other principles to end a tragedy. Being "pro-life" simply means being against RvW, and fails to be about any real solutions, short term or long term, that could help bring more life to people. Hence, look at both John McCain and Barack Obama to see who will better lead us to reduce and eliminate abortions. Don't settle for a simple answer to that question, because there is no simple answer.