Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Revenge...in 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. Ohhhh...it'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 http://seniorliving.about.com/od/presidentialcampaign2008/a/obama_mccain_pd.htm

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.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Making sure we know the facts.

Sam and I are still diligently doing our research on the candidates running for President. I have heard some good press concerning Palin (I promise that I'm looking carefully at every angle of the candidates for President/V.P.) which have settled some of my concerns. For one, read that Palin changed her stance on a couple of issues while in office. While that may cause some people to point fingers and accuse her of waffling (a call back to the Kerry campaign)I find it admirable that someone can stop and examine all of the facts and then realize that there may be a better way out there. I think that if our current President would have been willing to do this his Presidency would have ended on a better note instead of both candidates trying so desperately to stay away from being identified with him.

Sam has found a good website which looks at the propaganda which tends to float around in cyberspace and shows the quotes in context. If you click on the title of this blog you will be able to get to this link and see for yourself some interesting facts about Obama. I am personally interested in his view on abortion. While abortion is actually one of the platforms that does not sway my vote (considering that with 8 years of a Republican, pro-life President and nothing going on with Roe v. Wade, it seems like we should be more focused on other issues) it is good to see that Obama is concerned with educating our teens on abstinence and making responsible decisions. He is an avid supporter for adoption as an option and is careful not to sign bills that aren't constitutional. I also find it interesting that while he opposes gay marriage, he is in support of civil unions and civil rights for gays and lesbians. He sites his Christian beliefs for why marriage is between a man and a woman, but is a firm believer in equal rights for all. As it should be. Honestly, I know what I stand for. I know what the Bible says and I believe that it is the inerrant Word of God. But, I also know that America has separation of church and state for a reason and that all humans needed to be treated with love and respect.

On another note, I promise our readers (because I'm sure that there are oh so many) that I will give attention to the pros of McCain's positions. For one, I don't want anyone to know which way I'm voting in November (it's much better that way, who knows, I may vote Green Party!). Secondly, I really am still looking at everything and want to be as non-partisan as possible. It's just hard because I'm surrounded by conservative Christians everywhere I go (I work at church and I attend a Theological Seminary). The last election I found people mindlessly voting according to what the "Christians" told them to do. Without any concern for the deeper issues. Because of that, I want to people to be fully educated and I want to be fully educated myself.

*steps off of soapbox*

Please keep the comments coming (as long as they are friendly). I love learning and I love hearing all sides of issues!