Monday, December 15, 2008

TWELVE DAYS OF FITNESS

If you haven't already, check out the TWELVE DAYS OF FITNESS going on NOW at FitMePink! You'll find lots of fun holiday fitness tips, healthy recipes from our contest, and more! And stay tuned...the winner will be announced soon!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Pictures With Santa...

Erin took some more cute pictures for me...with Santa! Just had to share...Avery's actually smiling! And Parker...a bit disappointed that Santa didn't have a "red car" for him...

...but much happier than last year!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Taste of Christmas

To me, Christmas morning just isn't Christmas morning unless it tastes like this....

1 lb. sausage (Jimmy Dean Regular)
8 slices of bread (remove crust, cut into cubes)
6 large eggs
3/4 tsp. dry mustard
2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups sharp cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 can milk (c. of mushroom soup can)

Brown sausage, drain well.
Spray 9x13 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Sprinkle bread on bottom.
Sprinkle sausage over bread.
Whip 6 large eggs, then add 3/4 tsp. dry mustard and 2 1/2 cups of milk.
Pour egg mixture over the bread and sausage.
Grate 2 c. sharp cheese, and sprinkle over the top.
Refrigerate over-night.
Pour 1 can cream of mushroom soup mixed with 1/2 can of milk over entire dish.

Bake 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting it.

Eat in your new pajamas (opened on Christmas Eve). Go back for seconds. And thirds. And fourths for lunch. And maybe dinner.

This tradition was started by my Grandma J. Every Christmas, we would gather at her house for a Christmas morning breakfast/gift exchange. When she passed away in 1998, we knew the tradition had to continue. We now do our own thing Christmas morning (which for us still includes this yummy breakfast). However, at some point in the season, my parents, along with my dad's siblings, and any of their kids who can make it, reunite for this Christmas morning-ish feast. I love it. And even if I found a recipe I loved more, I wouldn't change it. It really does taste like Christmas.

What does your Christmas taste like? What other traditions do you enjoy?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Gratitude AFTER the long drive is over....

When we left our house early the Saturday-before-Thanksgiving morning, I sort of thought to myself WHY are we doing this? Do we really want to go? I kept these thoughts to myself...Joe didn't need any reason to stay home to watch this game. I knew the drive would be worth it. As weird as it sounds, I actually enjoyed the drive (for the first few hours, anyway). I liked having my little family packed into Michael's little Versa. (Thanks, brother...we got AMAZING gas mileage). I saw parts of the country I've never seen before. In Wyoming, we saw the exact spot where Joe's best friend Brian was killed. Then Nebraska was, well, boring. We also happened to be listening to the *%&$#& game in Nebraska. We moved on to Iowa for about 30 seconds, then entered the land of SLOW drivers...Missouri. Apparently folks in Missouri aren't in a hurry to get ANYWHERE! It's redeeming value was AMAZING gas prices. (We filled up one time on the return trip at $1.39/gallon.) Hallelujah! We eventually stopped at 3 am in Columbia, Missouri...wherever that is.

The next day we crossed into Illinois...pretty exciting. We met Superman! Parker was terrified, and refused to stand by himself anywhere near the monstrosity! After Superman, we entered Kentucky, then Tennessee AT LAST! I was seriously NEVER coming home.

When we made it, we remembered WHY we'd driven 20 billion miles in the first place.

  • For kisses from Nannu.
  • For breakfast at the Loveless Cafe.
  • To unorganize the organized cupboards, and to climb on unclimbable surfaces.
  • For teething. (My kids always get their teeth in Tennessee. Coincidence? I think not.)
  • For a trip to Gaylord, Opryland.
  • For a 3D movie after an amazing turkey meal.
  • For Grandpa and Nannu spoiling.
  • For running up crazy hills.
  • For Monopoly and Settlers matches.
  • For Ping Pong fun.
  • For chillin' time with Uncle Michael.
  • For wishing the big sister and fam were there.

  • And mostly, for spending time with the ones I love most...LOTS AND LOTS of time...

We have SO MUCH to be thankful for!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Twilight!

OK...I have lots of catching up to do. Most of it involves NO sleep, lots of driving (3400 miles worth), lots of poop (all in the potty!), lots of food, and lots of fun. The fun began two nights before the first 27-hour leg of our journey to Nashville. I'm not sure why I agreed to see a movie at 12:15 am (which didn't actually start until 1 am due to technical sound difficulties), but HELLO, it was Edward. I'm not sure if I would've loved it if I hadn't read the books...low budget at it's best. And actually, I'm not sure I loved it anyway...because I couldn't stay awake! I would say that I must be getting old, but let's be honest. Even in High School, I couldn't watch a movie after 10:00 pm. But the girl's night out was a blast (even though I only knew three of the girls...we were all BFF's fighting over Edward...ha ha!)

Here's what Kandis had to say about the night...

Ok, Ok, we all knew the movie wouldn't meet our expectations, and if I hadn't read the book I would have been sitting there wondering why I was at such a craptastic movie instead of sleeping. But hey, Edward was cute, there were only a few really awkward scenes, and I was with my girls--so all in all, I'd consider it a great night! (Half of my fun came from looking over every few minutes to see Robyn dead asleep with her mouth hanging open:) Sorry Robyn, you've been outed! It was hilarious! Aren't you glad you didn't snore?!


So yes...I guess I'm glad I didn't snore! But I have to see it again...who wants to come? I'm totally up for a matinee!



As for our ROADtrip to Nashville, it was great. The kids did amazingly well. Parker pooped in THREE different gas stations. And these poops usually coincided with Avery's poopy diapers. Tender mercy? I think so. When we finally arrived in Nashville, however, I was really tempted to inform you all that we were NEVER coming home. I couldn't fathom turning around and driving across the $%@# country again. But we did. And we survived. And MAYBE we'll do it again...in like 10 years. I'll never complain about a layover again!

Before the trip, we subscribed to Sirius Satellite Radio so we could listen to a certain football game. Joe now hates the state of Nebraska, but I won't go into details. 'Nuff said. Go Utes!

More on the trip later...I know you're all dying to see pictures, right? So am I! Send me some, mom!

Edited To Say: Parker is POOPING in the potty, but far from potty-trained. I actually gave up yesterday after cleaning pee off the floor 5 times. So for now, I'm happy with the poop in the potty, and the pee still in diapers!

Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 14, 2008

More Poop


Disclaimer #1: We've already established that I have no problem talking about poop. Want proof? Go here, here, or here.

Disclaimer #2: What I am about to tell you means that we will probably be talking A LOT about poop in the near future.

Are you ready for it?

PARKER POOPED IN THE POTTY TODAY FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER!!!!!

Disclaimer #3: This doesn't mean I'm ready to REALLY start the potty-training process. Meaning: 24-hour car ride to Nashville next week. Stopping every 10 minutes for potty breaks? Don't think so.

Disclaimer #4: I have no idea what I'm doing. Advice needed? Desperately!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

More pictures and introductions...

After introducing you to Mickey and Minnie last night, I checked my inbox and found WAY better pictures from my beautiful photographer (also sister-in-law). So allow me to introduce you to the new and improved Mickey and Minnie Mouse!And as themselves...Parker and Avery. Avery even smiled once! That's right...out of several hundred pictures, there was one. single. smile. I love my little stinker!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A few introductions...

Let me introduce you to Fred and Wilma Flinstone, the adoptive parents of Minnie and Mickey. (Hi, Ev! Thanks for the Flinstone costumes, you domestic diva!)
Which leads to an introduction of Mickey Mouse. Also known as: Mickey the Candy Addict Mouse, Mickey the I-want-to-sleep-in-my-costume Mouse, Mickey the squeaky-ears-make-me-happy-and-my-mom-crazy-but-I'll-squeak-them-all-day-long-anyway Mouse, and Mickey the thank-goodness-Halloween-finally-arrived-so-I'd-stop-asking-when-I-got-to-go-Trick-or-Treating Mouse. That Mickey Mouse is quite a character...and a cute one at that.
Now meet Mickey's sister, Minnie Mouse. Also known as Minnie the I-will-smile-all-day-long-until-you-pull-out-the-camera Mouse, Minnie the why-are-you-putting-me-in-this-itchy-dress-again Mouse, Minnie the my-ghetto-headband-was-made-with-electrical-tape-and-cardstock Mouse, and Minnie the I-didn't-get-a-single-piece-of-candy-and-I-don't-care Mouse!
Fast forward a few days for our next introductions. After 70 degree weather on Halloween, it decided to snow. Meet a very happy I-want-to-play-in-the-snow-all-day boy. And a coatless why-are-you-putting-a-fifth-layer-on-me-mom? girl. And another Cougar fan...Parker's first snowman!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Birthday, Kimberly!



I have a big sister,
Parker calls her Kimblee.
Could I live without her?
Don't think so. Not me.
Kimberly is so like me
As if twins, only not.
We talk alike, think the same,
Cry and laugh a whole lot.

Growing up with a 'sis
like Kimblee was the best.
My hair she made pretty
(Though it hurt, I'll attest).
Her beautifying skills are unlike any other's
Make-up, she enhances.
With her, I've two mothers.

Fun and games, was it always?
Prob'ly not, I'll admit.
Like the time she knelt on me,
and proceeded to spit.
Or the time on a brownie,
when landed a fly.
She gave that one to me.
Fly poop--how I cried!

We got a bit older.
Sure loved all her clothes.
Did she share? On occasion.
Mom threatened her so.
Well maybe "threat" isn't quite the right word.
Mom just helped us not act
quite so darn immature.
We'll just say Kim's posessions
were treated with care,
and with my sticky fingers,
would you want to share?

When Kimblee met Devon--her prince in disguise,
They'd hug and they'd kiss,
and I'd roll my eyes.
But really, I watched
ev'ry move with intent.
This is love, turned to marriage,
then three kids, so it went.
The love my 'sis shares
with her family of five,
Has shown me the course
for which I should strive.

In life, she came first.
I followed behind.
I still follow, and watch,
and try not to be blind.
The lessons she teaches
are many and often.
A mom, a true friend,
with a heart meant to soften.
All around her admit
cuz of her, life is better.
Now I'll end this small tribute
with just a few letters.

K is for KINDNESS, you'll never meet nicer.
I for INTELLIGENT. Than me, she's much wiser.
M stands for MERRY. She makes life so bright.
B is for BUSY. She works hard day and night.
E is for EAGER. So willing to please.
R is for RADIANT. A beauty with ease.
L is for LAUGHTER. Or LIGHT. Also LOVE.
Y is for YOU, are what life's made of.

A Birthday's a day to have fun.
Celebrate.
Halloween birthday? Better.
All around think it's great.
The party has started.
Dress up. Trick-or-Treat.
Just remember your YOU day.
Feeling old? Don't. Just sweet.

I adore you, big sister.
It's your day--go have fun!
Just remember, I love you!
My best friend...number ONE!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KIMBERLY!!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Prop 8

I know I've posted about Proposition 8 before. And I'm posting again. I got a degree from BYU in Marriage, Family and Human Development. I studied the family for four years. I'm currently a stay-at-home mom, so I don't officially have a "job" in my field. As a School of Family Life alum, however, I feel a certain responsibility to helping safeguard the family.

Many are questioning the LDS church's position on California's Proposition 8. I do believe that everyone has a right to their opinion, and can vote accordingly. I'm certainly grateful the church isn't telling us who to vote for. (Although in some ways it would be nice to just be told...I don't really like either candidate very much). So I will use my brain to vote for who I feel is the lesser of two evils.

The church has, however, instructed church members in California to take a stand on the moral issue of gay marriage. Without going into depth with my personal feelings regarding this issue, I will say once again that I truly believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman. I believe we should respect and love the people around us, no matter who they are. I think homosexuals deserve rights and freedoms. I just don't think the legal definition of marriage should change.

I'm attaching the Church's official statement regarding Prop 8. You can read it below, or here. It is long, but well worth the read. I will bold some of the points that stood out to me, personally.


The Divine Institution of Marriage

Introduction

The California Supreme Court recently ruled that same-sex marriage was legal in California. Recognizing the importance of marriage to society, the Church accepted an invitation to participate in ProtectMarriage, a coalition of churches, organizations, and individuals sponsoring a November ballot measure, Proposition 8, that would amend the California state constitution to ensure that only a marriage between a man and a woman would be legally recognized. (Information about the coalition can be found at http://www.protectmarriage.com/).


On June 20, 2008, the First Presidency of the Church distributed a letter about “Preserving Traditional Marriage and Strengthening Families,” announcing the Church’s participation with the coalition. The letter, which was read in Latter-day Saints’ church services in California, asked that Church members “do all [they] can to support the proposed constitutional amendment.”


Members of the Church in Arizona and Florida will also be voting on constitutional amendments regarding marriage in their states, where coalitions similar to California’s are now being formed.
The focus of the Church’s involvement is specifically same-sex marriage and its consequences. The Church does not object to rights (already established in California) regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the family or the constitutional rights of churches and their adherents to administer and practice their religion free from government interference.


The Church has a single, undeviating standard of sexual morality: intimate relations are proper only between a husband and a wife united in the bonds of matrimony.


The Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage neither constitutes nor condones any kind of hostility towards homosexual men and women. Protecting marriage between a man and a woman does not affect Church members’ Christian obligations of love, kindness and humanity toward all people.


As Church members decide their own appropriate level of involvement in protecting marriage between a man and a woman, they should approach this issue with respect for others, understanding, honesty, and civility.


Intending to reduce misunderstanding and ill will, the Church has produced the following document, “The Divine Institution of Marriage,” and provided the accompanying links to other materials, to explain its reasons for defending marriage between a man and a woman as an issue of moral imperative.


The Divine Institution of Marriage


Marriage is sacred, ordained of God from before the foundation of the world. After creating Adam and Eve, the Lord God pronounced them husband and wife, of which Adam said, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Jesus Christ cited Adam’s declaration when he affirmed the divine origins of the marriage covenant: “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh.”


In 1995, “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” declared the following unchanging truths regarding marriage:


We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children . . . The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.


The Proclamation also teaches, “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.” The account in Genesis of Adam and Eve being created and placed on earth emphasizes the creation of two distinct genders: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”


Marriage between a man and a woman is central to the plan of salvation. The sacred nature of marriage is closely linked to the power of procreation. Only a man and a woman together have the natural biological capacity to conceive children. This power of procreation – to create life and bring God’s spirit children into the world – is sacred and precious. Misuse of this power undermines the institution of the family and thereby weakens the social fabric. [4] Strong families serve as the fundamental institution for transmitting to future generations the moral strengths, traditions, and values that sustain civilization. As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms, “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society.”


Marriage is not primarily a contract between individuals to ratify their affections and provide for mutual obligations. Rather, marriage and family are vital instruments for rearing children and teaching them to become responsible adults. While governments did not invent marriage, throughout the ages governments of all types have recognized and affirmed marriage as an essential institution in preserving social stability and perpetuating life itself. Hence, regardless of whether marriages were performed as a religious rite or a civil ceremony, married couples in almost every culture have been granted special benefits aimed primarily at sustaining their relationship and promoting the environment in which children are reared. A husband and a wife do not receive these benefits to elevate them above any other two people who may share a residence or social tie, but rather in order to preserve, protect, and defend the all-important institutions of marriage and family.


It is true that some couples who marry will not have children, either by choice or because of infertility, but the special status of marriage is nonetheless closely linked to the inherent powers and responsibilities of procreation, and to the inherent differences between the genders. Co-habitation under any guise or title is not a sufficient reason for defining new forms of marriage.
High rates of divorce and out-of-wedlock births have resulted in an exceptionally large number of single parents in American society. Many of these single parents have raised exemplary children; nevertheless, extensive studies have shown that in general a husband and wife united in a loving, committed marriage provide the optimal environment for children to be protected, nurtured, and raised. This is not only because of the substantial personal resources that two parents can bring to bear on raising a child, but because of the differing strengths that a father and a mother, by virtue of their gender, bring to the task. As the prominent sociologist David Popenoe has said:


The burden of social science evidence supports the idea that gender differentiated parenting is important for human development and that the contribution of fathers to childrearing is unique and irreplaceable.


Popenoe explained that:


. . . The complementarity of male and female parenting styles is striking and of enormous importance to a child’s overall development. It is sometimes said that fathers express more concern for the child’s longer-term development, while mothers focus on the child’s immediate well-being (which, of course, in its own way has everything to do with a child’s long-term well-being). What is clear is that children have dual needs that must be met: one for independence and the other for relatedness, one for challenge and the other for support.


Social historian David Blankenhorn makes a similar argument in his book Fatherless America. In an ideal society, every child would be raised by both a father and a mother.


Challenges to Marriage and Family


Our modern era has seen traditional marriage and family – defined as a husband and wife with children in an intact marriage – come increasingly under assault. Sexual morality has declined and infidelity has increased. Since 1960, the proportion of children born out of wedlock has soared from 5.3 percent to 38.5 percent (2006). Divorce has become much more common and accepted, with the United States having one of the highest divorce rates in the world. Since 1973, abortion has taken the lives of over 45 million innocents. At the same time, entertainment standards continue to plummet, and pornography has become a scourge afflicting and addicting many victims. Gender differences increasingly are dismissed as trivial, irrelevant, or transient, thus undermining God’s purpose in creating both men and women.


In recent years in the United States and other countries, a movement has emerged to promote same-sex marriage as an inherent or constitutional right. This is not a small step, but a radical change: instead of society tolerating or accepting private, consensual sexual behavior between adults, advocates of same-sex marriage seek its official endorsement and recognition.
Court decisions in Massachusetts (2004) and California (2008) have allowed same-sex marriages. This trend constitutes a serious threat to marriage and family. The institution of marriage will be weakened, resulting in negative consequences for both adults and children.
In November 2008, California voters will decide whether to amend their state constitution to define marriage as only between a man and a woman. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has joined in a broad coalition of other denominations, organizations, and individuals to encourage voter approval of this amendment.


The people of the United States – acting either directly or through their elected representatives – have recognized the crucial role that traditional marriage has played and must continue to play in American society if children and families are to be protected and moral values propagated.
Forty-four states have passed legislation making clear that marriage is between a man and a woman. More than half of those states, twenty-seven in all, have done so by constitutional amendments like the ones pending in California, Arizona, and Florida.


In contrast, those who would impose same-sex marriage on American society have chosen a different course. Advocates have taken their case to the state courts, asking judges to remake the institution of marriage that society has accepted and depended upon for millennia. Yet, even in this context, a broad majority of courts – six out of eight state supreme courts – have upheld traditional marriage laws. Only two, Massachusetts and now California, have gone in the other direction, and then, only by the slimmest of margins – 4 to 3 in both cases.


In sum, there is very strong agreement across America on what marriage is. As the people of California themselves recognized when they voted on this issue just eight years ago, traditional marriage is essential to society as a whole, and especially to its children. Because this question strikes at the very heart of the family, because it is one of the great moral issues of our time, and because it has the potential for great impact upon the family, the Church is speaking out on this issue, and asking members to get involved.


Tolerance, Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Freedom


Those who favor homosexual marriage contend that “tolerance” demands that they be given the same right to marry as heterosexual couples. But this appeal for “tolerance” advocates a very different meaning and outcome than that word has meant throughout most of American history and a different meaning than is found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Savior taught a much higher concept, that of love. “Love thy neighbor,” He admonished. Jesus loved the sinner even while decrying the sin, as evidenced in the case of the woman taken in adultery: treating her kindly, but exhorting her to “sin no more.” Tolerance as a gospel principle means love and forgiveness of one another, not “tolerating” transgression.


In today’s secular world, the idea of tolerance has come to mean something entirely different. Instead of love, it has come to mean condone – acceptance of wrongful behavior as the price of friendship. Jesus taught that we love and care for one another without condoning transgression. But today’s politically palatable definition insists that unless one accepts the sin he does not tolerate the sinner.


As Elder Dallin H. Oaks has explained,


Tolerance obviously requires a non-contentious manner of relating toward one another’s differences. But tolerance does not require abandoning one’s standards or one’s opinions on political or public policy choices. Tolerance is a way of reacting to diversity, not a command to insulate it from examination.


The Church does not condone abusive treatment of others and encourages its members to treat all people with respect. However, speaking out against practices with which the Church disagrees on moral grounds – including same-sex marriage – does not constitute abuse or the frequently misused term “hate speech.” We can express genuine love and friendship for the homosexual family member or friend without accepting the practice of homosexuality or any re-definition of marriage.


Legalizing same-sex marriage will affect a wide spectrum of government activities and policies. Once a state government declares that same-sex unions are a civil right, those governments almost certainly will enforce a wide variety of other policies intended to ensure that there is no discrimination against same-sex couples. This may well place “church and state on a collision course.”


The prospect of same-sex marriage has already spawned legal collisions with the rights of free speech and of action based on religious beliefs. For example, advocates and government officials in certain states already are challenging the long-held right of religious adoption agencies to follow their religious beliefs and only place children in homes with both a mother and a father. As a result, Catholic Charities in Boston has stopped offering adoption services.


Other advocates of same-sex marriage are suggesting that tax exemptions and benefits be withdrawn from any religious organization that does not embrace same-sex unions. Public accommodation laws are already being used as leverage in an attempt to force religious organizations to allow marriage celebrations or receptions in religious facilities that are otherwise open to the public. Accrediting organizations in some instances are asserting pressure on religious schools and universities to provide married housing for same-sex couples. Student religious organizations are being told by some universities that they may lose their campus recognition and benefits if they exclude same-sex couples from club membership. Many of these examples have already become the legal reality in several nations of the European Union, and the European Parliament has recommended that laws guaranteeing and protecting the rights of same-sex couples be made uniform across the EU. Thus, if same-sex marriage becomes a recognized civil right, there will be substantial conflicts with religious freedom. And in some important areas, religious freedom may be diminished.


How Would Same-Sex Marriage Affect Society?


Possible restrictions on religious freedom are not the only societal implications of legalizing same-sex marriage. Perhaps the most common argument that proponents of same-sex marriage make is that it is essentially harmless and will not affect the institution of traditional heterosexual marriage in any way. “It won’t affect you, so why should you care?’ is the common refrain. While it may be true that allowing single-sex unions will not immediately and directly affect all existing marriages, the real question is how it will affect society as a whole over time, including the rising generation and future generations. The experience of the few European countries that already have legalized same-sex marriage suggests that any dilution of the traditional definition of marriage will further erode the already weakened stability of marriages and family generally. Adopting same-sex marriage compromises the traditional concept of marriage, with harmful consequences for society.


Aside from the very serious consequence of undermining and diluting the sacred nature of marriage between a man and a woman, there are many practical implications in the sphere of public policy that will be of deep concern to parents and society as a whole. These are critical to understanding the seriousness of the overall issue of same-sex marriage.


When a man and a woman marry with the intention of forming a new family, their success in that endeavor depends on their willingness to renounce the single-minded pursuit of self-fulfillment and to sacrifice their time and means to the nurturing and rearing of their children. Marriage is fundamentally an unselfish act: legally protected because only a male and female together can create new life, and because the rearing of children requires a life-long commitment, which marriage is intended to provide. Societal recognition of same-sex marriage cannot be justified simply on the grounds that it provides self-fulfillment to its partners, for it is not the purpose of government to provide legal protection to every possible way in which individuals may pursue fulfillment. By definition, all same-sex unions are infertile, and two individuals of the same gender, whatever their affections, can never form a marriage devoted to raising their own mutual offspring.


It is true that some same-sex couples will obtain guardianship over children –through prior heterosexual relationships, through adoption in the states where this is permitted, or by artificial insemination. Despite that, the all-important question of public policy must be: what environment is best for the child and for the rising generation? Traditional marriage provides a solid and well-established social identity to children. It increases the likelihood that they will be able to form a clear gender identity, with sexuality closely linked to both love and procreation. By contrast, the legalization of same-sex marriage likely will erode the social identity, gender development, and moral character of children. Is it really wise for society to pursue such a radical experiment without taking into account its long-term consequences for children?


As just one example of how children will be adversely affected, the establishment of same-sex marriage as a civil right will inevitably require mandatory changes in school curricula. When the state says that same-sex unions are equivalent to heterosexual marriages, the curriculum of public schools will have to support this claim. Beginning with elementary school, children will be taught that marriage can be defined as a relation between any two adults and that consensual sexual relations are morally neutral. Classroom instruction on sex education in secondary schools can be expected to equate homosexual intimacy with heterosexual relations. These developments will create serious clashes between the agenda of the secular school system and the right of parents to teach their children traditional standards of morality.


Finally, throughout history the family has served as an essential bulwark of individual liberty. The walls of a home provide a defense against detrimental social influences and the sometimes overreaching powers of government. In the absence of abuse or neglect, government does not have the right to intervene in the rearing and moral education of children in the home. Strong families are thus vital for political freedom. But when governments presume to redefine the nature of marriage, issuing regulations to ensure public acceptance of non-traditional unions, they have moved a step closer to intervening in the sacred sphere of domestic life. The consequences of crossing this line are many and unpredictable, but likely would include an increase in the power and reach of the state toward whatever ends it seeks to pursue.


The Sanctity of Marriage


Strong, stable families, headed by a father and mother, are the anchor of civilized society. When marriage is undermined by gender confusion and by distortions of its God-given meaning, the rising generation of children and youth will find it increasingly difficult to develop their natural identity as a man or a woman. Some will find it more difficult to engage in wholesome courtships, form stable marriages, and raise yet another generation imbued with moral strength and purpose.


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has chosen to become involved, along with many other churches, organizations, and individuals, in defending the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman because it is a compelling moral issue of profound importance to our religion and to the future of our society.


The final line in the Proclamation on the Family is an admonition to the world from the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve: “We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.” This is the course charted by Church leaders, and it is the only course of safety for the Church and for the nation.
________________________________________________
[1]Genesis 2:24.
[2] Matthew 19:4-6.
[3] Genesis 1:27.
[4] M. Russell Ballard, “What Matters Most is What Lasts Longest,” Ensign, November 2005, p. 41.
[5] United Nations, “Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” General Assembly Resolution 217 A (III), 10 December 1948.
[6] David Blankenhorn, Fatherless America: Confronting Our Most Urgent Social Problem (New York: Basic Books, 1995); Barbara Schneider, Allison Atteberry, and Ann Owens, Family Matters: Family Structure and Child Outcomes (Birmingham AL: Alabama Policy Institute: June 2005); David Popenoe, Life Without Father (New York: Martin Kessler Books, 1996); David Popenoe and Barbara Defoe Whitehead, The State of Our Unions 2007: The Social Health of Marriage in America (Piscataway, NJ (Rutgers University): The National Marriage Project, July 2007 ) pp. 21-25; and Maggie Gallagher and Joshua K. Baker, “Do Moms and Dads Matter? Evidence from the Social Sciences on Family Structure and the Best Interests of the Child,” Margins Law Journal 4:161 (2004).
[7] David Popenoe, Life Without Father (New York: The Free Press, 1996) p. 146.
[8] Ibid., p. 145. See also Spencer W. Kimball, “The Role of Righteous Women,” Ensign, November 1979, pp. 102-104.
[9] David Blankenhorn, Fatherless America, pp. 219-220.
[10] Stephanie J. Ventura and Christine A. Bachrach, “Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States, 1940-99,” National Vital Statistics Reports 48:16 (18 October 2000); and Brady E. Hamilton, Joyce A. Martin, and Stephanie J. Ventura, “Births: Preliminary Data for 2006,” National Vital Statistics Reports 56:7 (5 December 2007).
[11] Alan Guttmacher Institute, “Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States,” In Brief, July 2008.
[12] Christine Vestal, “California Gay Marriage Ruling Sparks New Debate,” stateline.org, 16 May 2008, updated 12 June 2008. Stateline.org is funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts.
[13] Matt. 19:19.
[14] John 8:11.
[15] Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Weightier Matters,” BYU Devotional speech, 9 February 1999.
[16] Maggie Gallagher, “Banned in Boston: The Coming Conflict Between Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty,” The Weekly Standard, 15 May 2006.
[17] Jonathan Turley, “An Unholy Union: Same-Sex Marriage and the Use of Governmental Programs to Penalize Religious Groups with Unpopular Practices,” in Douglas Laycock, Jr., et al., eds., Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty: Emerging Conflicts (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2008, forthcoming).
[18] Marc D. Stern, “Gay Marriage and the Churches, paper delivered at the Scholar’s Conference on Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty, sponsored by the The Beckett Fund, 4 May 2006.
[19] “European Parliament Resolution on homophobia in Europe,” adopted 18 January 2006.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Joe's Birthday!


Yesterday we celebrated my darling husband's birthday. He turned 29...yowza! The day was pretty much a success...unless you consider a few minor details. Here's what I learned...

  1. If you plan on making your husband a special birthday breakfast, make sure you actually get out of bed before he leaves for work.
  2. If you plan any surprises, such as taking cupcakes to work (to make up for the missed breakfast), don't tell your 2-year old. While calling the birthday boy to sing the birthday song, all will be revealed!
  3. If the box says "24 cupcakes," don't try to squeeze all the batter into "12 cupcakes". Tasty? Yes. Pretty? No.
  4. Huge, ugly cupcakes at work will, however, ensure that employees know it's the big day. Sorry, babe...I had to tell.
  5. When you go shopping for presents, avoid the section of the store containing children's toys and books. It's hard to explain why daddy needs socks instead of a puzzle book.

  6. When you drop the kids off at Grandma's house (so you can actually enjoy a dinner out), don't leave the birthday cake on the counter. A 2-year old that's been waiting ALL DAY to eat some won't be able to resist scooting the chair over to have a few little tastes of frosting.
  7. Smooshed, finger-printy cream cheese frosting doesn't ruin a good cake.

  8. I have the most easy-to-please husband in the world!
  9. It's better to post a birthday blog on the actual birthday to remind friends and family of the occasion...oh well!


HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOE! We love you so much! One more year until the big 3-0!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

TRAKS Reunion

In High School, I had a great group of girlfriends. As cool as we thought we were, we were actually pretty dorky! We called ourselves TRAKS...for Tricia, Robyn, Amanda, Katie, Stephanie. Cool, I know. In the ten years since High School, my circles of friends have totally changed. I have college friends, mission friends, Joe's friends, and since-being-married friends. This weekend was our 10-year High School reunion, and for the first time in 10 years, we had a totally TRAKS weekend! It was great for me to remember how lucky I am to still have these friends.

These girls were my friends at a totally crucial time of life...High School. Post-High School friends have helped me remain true to who I am, but TRAKS helped me become who I am. We all made some pretty dumb decisions time and again, but we loved each other, supported each other, cried with each other, and helped keep each other somewhat in check. And while the rest of our Class of 98 was out partying, we were busy making our own talk shows, going to church dances, water skiing at the lake house, taking pictures of the pizza guy, making prank calls, day dreaming, cheerleading, playing basketball, waking up for early morning seminary, playing Mafia, watching X-Files, having pool parties, breaking our legs, and being super dorky. (Trust me...I have pictures.)

I really hope my kids are as lucky. Our friendship has survived 4 marriages, 1 divorce, 9 1/2 kids, 2 LDS missions, 1 parent's death. Lots of happiness. Lots of heartbreak.

Needless to say, it was great to see my girls.

We kicked off the weekend with some hot-tub fun. (Never mind the biting ants when we were close to the edge).

After a few (literally 4 for me--thanks to Avery) hours of sleep, Katie and I woke up to Turbo Jam (Katie obviously knows what she's doing much better than I do!)

Then it was on to pedicures, smoothies, shopping, and pre-reunion prep! (Avery even had her toenails painted!)

The time for the big reunion finally arrived. I dropped off my crying baby to her adopted California Grandma's house, and it was time to par-tay.

1st stop: Brea Mall for a "family photo"

2nd stop: Red Robin for dinner

3rd stop: Back to put my hysterically-attached-to-her-mama baby to sleep.

4th stop: House of Blues in Anaheim

It was pretty much like a "High School party that we never went to". Lots and lots of drunkenness. A few awkward conversations. Mostly lots of fun seeing faces I haven't thought of or seen in years.

So we paid $60 (since we bought tickets early) for everyone else's booze...and a cup of Sprite. But it was worth it. And our husbands are probably glad they stayed home.

We were kicked out at 11 pm, and were invited to continue the party at another local bar. We pretended we were going to go, but knew no one would remember that we weren't there, anyway (since I'm pretty sure the 5 of us were about the only ones not drinking). Psssst...can I get a refund?
So we left as TRAKS, and our own party continued with Hot Chocolate and another sleepless night. It was great.

Other trip highlights:

  • Going to the Single's Ward with Stephanie. Every time Avery even breathed, all eyes were on us! I forgot what church was like in a quiet ward!
  • Hanging out with Mandy and family. It was nice to relax (and sleep!) before returning to my tornado of a 2-year old!
  • Bringing home some special souveniers...ants! They somehow found their way into my diaper bag and appeared on Avery's head on the plane ride home...ewwwww!
  • Being so excited to see the aforementioned tornado, and Joe!

Thanks for the fun weekend, girls! Let's not wait another 10 years to do it again!

Brian Hovey


Joe had a best friend growing up. His name was Brian Hovey. They met when Joe was 4, and remained best friends until almost 4 years ago when Brian was tragically killed while on his way to graduate school in Colorado.

Brian would have turned 29 last week. We got together with his family and a few other close friends to celebrate Brian's life. We laughed a lot, we cried a little, and we remembered Brian.

Brian's mom, Dian, has always collected Precious Moments figurines. His sister, Renee was published here telling her story of how Precious Moments continues to bless their lives after Brian's passing with figurines such as "Lord, I'm Coming Home" and "Until We Meet Again". Renee promised her mom that there would be no more sad ones. However, as we celebrated what would have been Brian's 29th birthday, Renee gave her mom one last "sad" Precious Moment figurine.
We still miss Brian. We still wonder why he was taken at such a young age. But we remember him and know that we'll see him again! This poem by David Harkins (which I believe was read by Renee at his funeral) is a great tribute to our friend (and Parker Brian's namesake)!

He Is Gone

You can shed tears that he is gone
or you can smile because he has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that he’ll come back
or you can open your eyes and see all he’s left.

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him
or you can be full of the love you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember him and only that he’s gone
or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind,
be empty and turn your back
or you can do what he’d want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.



We miss you, Brian!

Scarecrow Festival


Every year, Marci and Jacob invite me and Parker to the scarecrow festival. (This was the third year of this tradition). This year the party grew, and somehow I didn't get any pictures of Parker and Jacob! But we had a blast! Instead of just the 4 of us, Tate and Avery came along. So did Grandmas G and B. And I thought, what the heck. Why not bring Parker's girlfriend Ellie, along with her mom and brother. And Marci thought, why not bring Jessica and her two boys and niece and nephew? So our party of four quickly became a party of sixteen.

At the festival (AKA "bess-bull") we did some crazy house-bouncin', slide climbin' and slidin', pumpkin picture takin', choo-choo train ridin', and best of all Navajo Taco eatin'. Long live the scarecrow bess-bull tradition!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Cosmic Twin

Last night, my brother discovered that I have a cosmic twin! Who knew? Her name is Nicole. Find out how we are so cosmically connected here!

Friday, October 10, 2008

High School Reunion to-do's

My 10-year High School Reunion is next week. I feel like I have so much to do before leaving town for a weekend with my High School BF's.

  • Clean and scrub my house. (It's a pre-leaving ritual I HAVE to do).
  • Create a new budget.
  • Organize our finances (up until now I've pretty much left them up to my husband. I'm ready to turn over a new leaf. Maybe I'll spend less if I'm more aware of where it's all going...we'll see).
  • Find a babysitter in California for my 8-month old (unless she decides to take a bottle before then, so I can leave her home).
  • Pack for myself and baby.
  • Pack for my 2-year old and his stay at Grandma's.
  • Probably pack for the husband and his man-weekend-pheasant-hunting trip. Ewwwww.
  • Shop for what-I-consider-suitable-snacks for my trip (we all know I need my fiber).
  • Gear up for some most-likely awkward reunion conversations (Yeah...I do remember that time...errrr...what was your name again?)
  • Get out old Yearbooks for a refresher.
  • Cut my hair. (I want it long again, but this in-between length will never do.)
  • Get a pedicure.
  • Find something suitable to wear (for each of the 5 days I'm there).
  • Lose the last 9 post-baby pounds.
  • Workout 3 times a day in a last-ditch effort.
  • Hurry and start a successful business.
  • Wonder why I care about impressing people I haven't seen for 10-years, and probably won't see for another 10 (besides my girlfriends...but why would I need to impress them?)
  • Decide that cleaning, packing, and budgeting will have to suffice.
  • And maybe just one new outfit.

Do any of you have times where you want to appear beautiful, successful, happy, intelligent, fill in the blank with desirable qualities, etc. Read on

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Protect the Family!



Because I care about the future for my children.


Because I want to have a say in what they are taught in school.


Because I want to be the one who teaches them about marriage and families.


Because this Massachusetts man was sent to jail for wanting to be informed on what the schools were teaching his son regarding the institution of marriage.


Because I'm not willing to sacrifice my parental rights.


Because marriage as God intended is between a man and a woman.


Because this affects all of us!!!!!



If you're a California voter, vote YES on proposition 8!
Read more here!




Sunday, October 5, 2008

Lagoon, Cedar City, BYU, oh my!

Lagoon





We've been busy hanging on to summer. Last weekend, we went to Lagoon! Don't get me wrong, we had a great time with Colby&Kandis&family. However, I had a few major epiphanies while there.



  1. It's probably a good idea to ease Parker into the rides. Like maybe a carousel before the Dinosaur Drop or Ladybug Bop. He may look like he's having fun, but pictures don't capture the worried yelps and screams.

  2. I kind of know what a hangover feels like now. I used to love rollercoasters, but realize now that having my head banged from side to side, or my brain twirled around isn't very fun. Over a week later, I still feel a dull, nauseous ache in my head.

  3. After getting soaking wet, it's totally socially acceptable for a 2-year old to walk around in nothing but a t-shirt and diaper.

  4. Avery is an angel.

  5. Leaving the men with the kids for an hour and a half so we can ride on the big rides is a much needed break. Yay for girl time at Lagoon (even if it does result in a rollercoaster hangover)!

  6. I miss Disneyland!


GO COUGS!



Since Parker's been so busy practicing the BYU fight song, we decided we had to take him to a game. So we went to Logan with Jake and Jaclyn for the big game. Here are a few highlights...



  1. Yes, we are hardcore BYU fans.

  2. Utah State fans are actually quite pleasant.

  3. However, one particular Utah State fan was a little too friendly...I now need to spend some time teaching Parker about strangers, AND taking candy from strangers. Lots and lots of licorice.

  4. Next time a nice candy-giving stranger asks to hold my baby, I should just say no. It's totally uncomfortable watching a strange man kiss and cuddle my fussy, crying baby. GIVE ME MY BABY!

  5. We will stay until the bitter end, even if the outcome is certain.

  6. Next time Joe thinks he might fall asleep while driving, just turn on the post-game show. Works better than his "spicy drinks"--the term coined by Parker for carbonated beverages.

  7. Did I say GO COUGS?!?!?!

CEDAR CITY

My sister now lives only THREE HOURS away! Last week, I went on a middle-of-the-week trip to see her. We must've had fun, because I didn't take a single picture. Here, howev, are some highlights from that excursion...



  1. It isn't very easy to stick food in a rear-facing baby's mouth while driving.

  2. But it is possible.

  3. Parker is very vocal. When you want to play with his toy, he screams and yells.

  4. Blake knows how to fight back. He punches!

  5. Devon can totally handle watching 5 kids so that I can go to Kimberly's Pilates class.

  6. Cookies and movies are the key to Parker's happiness.

  7. Parker and Avery don't sleep well in the same room together.

  8. At the McDonald's playland, take the sticky fruit leather out of Parker's hand before he starts climbing the nasty slides.

  9. I don't know how I'll survive when my kids have actual schedules! Kimberly knows how to move fast from place to place!

  10. Driving home at bedtime is a good idea.

  11. When Parker throws up ALL NIGHT, try not to think about the possibilities of what went in his mouth at McDonald's. Good thing the vomit only lasted through the night. Heaven forbid we miss the BYU game!


GENERAL CONFERENCE


While the men went to the Priesthood session of conference, we hung out with Erin and kids. Parker absolutely adores Spencer, Ethan, and Sadie. They even let him play "radio games" as Parker likes to call them.

I loved Saturday's sessions. Most of Sunday's, however, will have to be read online. In the future, remind me to stay home the week leading up to conference so I can stay awake!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Laundry Mishaps

Those of you who know my mom, know what a great housekeeper she is. Almost before you've finished your dinner, she has your plate in the dishwasher. Before you take your shoes off, they're stowed away in some unknown closet. Before your dirty clothes hit the laundry basket, they're washed, dried, folded and put away.

It's a good thing I take after my mom. Because if I didn't, clothes might occasionally pile up. But since I'm so on top of things (like my mother), they of course never do.

And speaking of laundry, my mom always taught me to wash whites with whites, darks with darks, and lighter colors with their likes. And usually in small loads. Since the laundry never piles up, of course.

So today when I finished folding all the laundry (that didn't take two hours...since of course I've been so on top of things the past few weeks...), I wouldn't have dreamed of throwing all the clothes we've worn in the past two days into one load...just to have everything clean and put away at once. I would NEVER do that. Because my mom never would.

If I did think it a good idea to throw everything into the washer (not to mention the still-wet-from-yesterday clothes I forgot to put in the dryer), that would mean a HUGE load with every variety of color. White. Black. And lots of pink. Lots of new, bright pink baby clothes. Good thing I know better than to mix all those colors.

I can only imagine what would've happened. Like Joe's white underwear...pink. Or maybe Avery's cute, white shorts and new white blouse...pink. Or my family reunion t-shirt...pink tie die. And any white socks? Pink.

Good thing I know better. Because as much as I love pink, it just wouldn't be pretty. And my mom would probably have a heart attack. So don't worry mom...I know better. Ahem.

Monday, September 22, 2008

How to run a marathon...and enjoy it!

Well, he did it. My husband completed his 8th marathon on Saturday, along with two of his brothers. This picture was taken after the race. They all look like they're trying really hard to smile.


I've already established how much I love watching marathons. This was the first race (as a spectator) that I didn't spend the whole thing driving madly along the course to find a spot to scream at Joe as he ran by. Instead, my friend Katie and I slept in. Well...sort of. Joe thought it would be a good idea (before leaving) at 4:30 am to put Mr. Ornery Pants back on the mattress he'd fallen off of. Which led to the awakening of the Angel Baby. Which led to a party in our room for the next hour before everyone finally settled down and went back to sleep.)


Katie and I did Turbo Jam, ate breakfast, then shoved 5 kids in her van to meet our husbands at the finish line. I felt slightly guilty for not being more supportive. Until I found out that if I had been somewhere along the course, Joe would've climbed in the car and suggested that we go home. Starting at mile 13.


So yes, my friends, Joe survived. But if he'd actually trained (5 weeks really doesn't count), he could've enjoyed the race...not just survived it!


So here are some tips for any of you considering running a marathon...or a half-marathon...or any race, for that matter. (Since I'm so experienced with ONE marathon under my belt...next time I'll follow my own advice)! Read On

Friday, September 19, 2008

Things I've Learned This Week

  1. When it's your turn to have preschool at your house (and you already have a busy week), plan accordingly! Otherwise you'll be up until the wee hours of the morning preparing silly animal crafts.

  2. Before going to bed (at 1:30 am), if you have the thought to download some preschool music, ignore it! Otherwise you won't be able to fall asleep due to the Old Macdonald Orchestra running through your head.
  3. When you're choosing a REAL preschool for your children (in years to come), check to make sure the teachers are well-rested. A tired teacher makes for a frazzled, impatient, grumpy teacher.
  4. Your own children have a 6th sense...when you're tired, they're extra grumpy, and will try your patience.
  5. You are SO lucky to have Evelyn two doors down to come steal your baby so you can focus on the 9 other children at your house. In fact, you have to fight back tears when she walks in the door, takes Avery, and walks back out. Only a real friend would use her free-time to watch my needy baby!
  6. Whoever decided to assign a "helper parent" to each person in charge is a genius!
  7. Whoever assigned the two of us with small babies together (not to mention Rebecca's toddler twins and preschool boy)? Not so smart! (Once again...thanks, Ev!)
  8. Parker doesn't like to share his things. (Oh wait, I already knew that).
  9. Finger painting is fun...but it's not very easy to listen to a grown up who tells you not to touch ANYTHING with your painted hands.
  10. Crayola paint really is washable!
  11. It's really exciting to see what "sinks" in the water, and what "floats."
  12. Two hours go by a lot faster than you think (especially when it's your week off!)
  13. You really CAN mask tired grumpiness if you try hard enough! The kids will hide by the fence when their parents come to retrieve them, so apparently something was fun.
  14. When you noticed that your "day" was the same day you have to leave for your husband's marathon, you probably should've switched...
  15. Too late!

And we're off....after I pack! I'll let you know if Joe survives...


Posted by Picasa