Monday, June 29, 2009

Politically Incorrect?! - Why is the Great MJ's Death More Important than the Cap and Trade Bill that just passed?

These days I'm finding blogging to be a great way for me to write my thoughts out as a way of journaling, stress relief and also as a way to share and compare ideas I'm passionate about. Which lately happen to be in many different venues. I don't consider myself a person well knowledged in the areas of politics and economics. In high school they were my least favorite subjects. Had I had better teachers in these areas, I might have developed a better love for these.

I owe my recently developed interest in such fields to Glenn Beck. He just makes it so easy to actually understand what's going on in Washington. The more he talks about it, the more I desire to understand. The more I desire to understand, the more I seek. The more I seek, the more I read. The more I read, the more I truly understand. The more I truly understand, the more frustrated I get with my lack of education.

Everything I was taught in the public schools (which all happens to be government funded btw) is practically useless. Yes, I learned my ABC's and how to read, and on occasion how to do some basic arithmetic. Don't get me wrong. I am grateful for all that I have learned but I truly wonder about some of the things that I valued to be important in my education. The more I learn, the less I know. Crazy huh? I find out more and more each day, just how little I actually know. And anyone who knows me well, knows what a struggle I've had with deciding how I wish to educate my own children. Both Alex and myself were raised in public schools and have talked a lot about home schooling. I was of the idea that by doing so, I would be depriving them of a social life. But humans by nature are social, and will seek it out. Who is the government to think that as mothers and fathers, we are inadequate to educate our own offspring? I know many times I do feel inadequate as a parent, but how is it right to believe that my children's education would be better off in someone else's hands? There is absolutely no one out there in the world who could possibly love my kids in the same way I do and absolutely no one who could teach them with the same patience that I would have for them. When you really stop to think about this, there is nobody who could possibly educate and nurture a child the way a mother and father could.

I know that this topic may bring up some controversy, even within my own family, but all too often, we are taught to be politically correct. What does that mean btw? Politically correct?! I am using this blog post as a springboard to share more ideas as they come without feeling like I need to censor everything I say; without fearing that what I say might be "politically incorrect." In my opinion, that term was created by an individual (possibly a politician) fearful of the idea that someone might possibly disagree.

So aside from the fact that I am more and more convinced that home schooling is the path for me and my children, I wonder if anyone out there really understands what's going on with the Cap and Trade bill that has just passed today. I really want to know more about this and would like to exchange ideas with others who may know better than I or who may be interested in learning more about it along with me. Where is this country headed? Why is it that the mainstream media has focused so much on Michael Jackson's death and fails to present to the public, what's really going on? I mean, I love the great MJ. I'm a dancer. Nothing against him (well, maybe perhaps that whole sexual scandal). He's a great American icon. But I think even Michael would roll in his grave to hear that the vast majority of politicians accuse conservatists of being racist. Please. Anyone with ideas? Let's not be afraid to be politically incorrect.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Gimme, gimme, gimme...

Ligia and I have been called as substitute primary teachers in our ward here in Bloomington. There is a new rule that if a guy is teaching, there have to be two male teachers in the classroom. Is that a new rule by the way? Anyway, one of the male teachers was gone today, so I sat in on the class. Ligia on the other hand, got to go to Sunday School and apparently the lesson was on coveting. As we were coming home she was telling me about the lesson and some of the things that she learned and it roused some thoughts in my mind.

She was telling me about how when we covet something, we give it control over us. In essence, we subject ourselves to it and are then found in bondage. Anyway, anybody who knows me knows what I started thinking about immediately. That of course would be "freedom". It's so true. When we covet something, we become ungrateful for what we have, and then our sole concentration is focused on that object. We stop thinking about God, our family, all of our blessings, and we think only of what we lack, what we don't have, and of how that object would make us happy. What a lie that is.

Conversely, what liberates us is enjoying and being grateful for what we already have. And in fact, it's even more than that; it's acknowledging that all we have comes from God, and that if he requires it of us, being able to give it up. This is when we find true freedom and happiness. And, I can testify that when I do this, Heavenly Father always provides for not only my needs, but also my wants.

I started thinking about entitlement. We're living in the entitlement generation. It's so sickening to see everyone think that they actually deserve everything without working for it. And it's even more frustrating when I feel those tendencies in myself. The thing is, entitlement is pretty much the same thing as covetousness.

I remember last year, in Philadelphia, I heard an ad on the radio about healthcare and how it's our right. Needless to say, I was pretty upset to hear it. The entitlement we as a nation feel is so deep that we're at great risk. There are however a few things that we are entitled to, namely; life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This encompasses our freedom to practice religion, own property, protect and provide for our families, etc. The right to receive healthcare is a crock. It's a lie because the one thing that we don't have a right to do is infringe on the rights of another, and with the redistribution of wealth that is public healthcare, we infringe on the rights of those who we steal from to pay for it. And this is the problem with entitlement. When we are "entitled" to everything, we lose the only thing that we're truly entitled to which is freedom.

I'm so grateful that we have prophets and apostles who have so plainly taught us these truths for years now. Despite all that is going on now with the government being absolutely retarded and corrupt, I'm confident that things will get better. It really makes me happy to see my children and the love that they have for each other and our family as a whole. Anyway, hope you've all enjoyed these thoughts.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Our Little Girl is Growing Up

So here is the latest in the life of Chrysalis: She can now hold her own bottle.

She started rice cereal today and very much enjoyed it. She only spit out little bits but for the most part, she downed it.

Lovin' it. I'm kind of sad she's growing so quickly. I love her like this. She's such a little sweetie.

And Yet Another Allergy

See this avocado fruit. A perfectly harmless and most delicious fruit it is. Not so in Orion's case. Anyone who knows my son, knows just how many allergies he's got. I can't be too sure just yet because I need to test it again more carefully, but it was one of those nights when I decided I wanted Orion to try a new food. What a wonderful mom I am. Here I am encouraging and almost forcing my son to try something that's not good for him. Avocado was the food of the day. I only wanted him to try it. He's such a picky eater sometimes that he doesn't try things based on how they look. So he barely had the tiniest piece in his mouth before spitting it out. Then the rash came. I don't want to envision what might have happened if he'd eaten more. All he had was residue. Like I said, he spit the tiny bite out. I swear I have the most allergic little boy on the planet. Most of his intolerances are mild enough that he's never suffered from an anaphylactic shock or anything like that. Usually he just breaks out into rashes, some more severe than others. So technically they aren't true allergies; just intolerances. Some of the culprits that I know of for sure, are milk and all dairy products, peanuts, coconut and now very possibly avocado. So sad. I love guacamole. This particular one rather gave me a scare. And I'm not the kind of mom who scares easily. He was actually coughing and wheezing for a bit and so I gave him some benadryl and put an analgesic cream on his skin that our naturopathic doctor prescribed and it seems to be under control now. Milk and coconut are not as bad, but with peanuts, his face actually swells up and he looks like Hitch. With avocado, he seems to only have a rash but the wheezing started to scare me because for a moment he seemed to have trouble breathing. Not so good. Well, I guess this means we need to be careful with avocados. No avocado masks for you, Orion.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Mundane...

So, over the years, when you look back on your life, you only tend to remember the big events that stand out. A quick brainstorm of the last 10 or so years, for example, makes me remember only a few notable experiences; the time I almost had my finger pulled off in a pulley, my seminary graduation, the MTC, my homecoming, my marriage to Ligia, and of course the births of our two children. But for the most part, the vast majority of the past ten years doesn't even exist anymore in my memory. Surely this is why the prophets recommend, or even command, that we be a record-keeping people.

I think about all the lessons that I've learned over the past few years that I've had to repeat over and over and over... It seems so clear when I re-learn those lessons that I wonder why, or how, I ever even forgot them in the first place. I find that the answer is extremely simple. But because it's so simple, it's frustrating. The reason is found in a couple scriptures that I really enjoy. D&C 59:21 says, "in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments." And then also in Alma 36:29, when talking to his son about their forefathers, he says, "and he has also brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem; and he has also, by his everlasting power, delivered them out of bondage and captivity, from time to time even down to the present day; and I have always retained in remembrance their captivity; yea, and ye also ought to retain in remembrance, as I have done, their captivity."

These two scriptures, and countless others like them, all talk about remembering the great works of the Lord, and being grateful for them. I think that the problem I have, and I doubt that I'm alone, is that a lot of times I tend to forget the blessings of the Lord, and therefore am very ungrateful. Fortunately, this is something that's easy to remedy. Well, maybe not EASY, but SIMPLE. This time, the scripture is Alma 37:6-7, "by small and simple things are great things brought to pass..."

I think that that's the key, it's the small and simple things. Daily prayers, daily scripture study, frequent entries to a journal or some other source for keeping records, etc. In other words, the things that can be mundane if we forget to focus. This is something that I've been working on lately and I feel a lot closer to the Lord. I find that when I do these small and simple things, I have much more control over all aspects of my life.

Anyway, sorry if this comes off as "preachy". Ligia was getting on my case because I hadn't written for a while and she wanted me to post "my thoughts and feelings". So there you have it, hopefully it may help others going through it.

Trying to Go Vegan

So I've been experimenting a lot with organic and raw foods lately and have delved into the world of veganism. All my life, I've been a big lover of different meats and specialty cheeses so this has been a tough one for me. I can't begin to explain how much I crave Parmessan and Asiago right now. I haven't sworn off meat and dairy quite yet but I've discovered this is probably the best way I can detox my body and cleanse it from all its addictions, and believe me, I have a few. I've discovered that with every commandment, there is a higher law and the same holds true to the Word of Wisdom. Just because we've eliminated cigarettes, coffee, tea, and alcohol from our diets, doesn't mean we are following the word of wisdom perfectly. In my opinion, that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Anyways, I'm done getting sick. I've realized that I need to feed myself better if I am to be truly healthy. This last week, Alex and I have been on what we called a Vegan fast. No dairy, meat, or animal products. The only one we allowed was fish. But we've been eating a lot of greens this week and have noticed a huge improvement in just our energy levels alone. We're finally owning up to the fact that we haven't been eating very well for the last couple of years. Another plus this week is that I've lost weight without really trying. Anyone who knows me, knows I've struggled with this feat. I suppose that really, I am trying by disciplining myself in this way, but what I mean to say is that it hasn't been too difficult. Once you've made the decision to do something, it seems that pleasing results are sure to follow. And I believe both Alex and myself have made up our minds to do this. It helps when your partner in life decides to take the same trip by your side. Thanx hun.

The one thing I'm struggling with is being creative enough with salads and greens so that they taste good and so that we can get more variety. It's tricky trying to feed some of these things to kids sometimes. My little boy will let me know when something isn't as appealing. I know there is tons of stuff out there but it is all so overwhelming sometimes. So if anyone out there has any advice on good informative books or recipes for vegans and their children, I'm open to all and any ideas for tricking my son into eating healthier foods. It's not as though we're about to turn away some yummy steak or cheesy dishes if someone were to offer them to us, but we are in this for the health benefits and for the sake of setting a good example for our kids. Orion wants to eat pizza because he sees us eating pizza and frankly it's just not how we want to be. Not to mention the fact that he has allergies galore. This is another good reason for us wanting to do this. But the simple fact that in one week, we've both noticed significant enough weight loss and higher energy levels is incentive enough for us to keep doing this. I'll probably keep posting results as I see them in the weeks to come. Heck I might as well do a before and after photo to see if there are any slow changes I might not notice right away. I'll probably post these later.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Orion Learns to Read

So everytime I try to show off my son's newest tricks (wow I talk about him like he's my puppy) he gets shy and doesn't want to do any of it. So I find the best way to do it is by video recording him while it's just the two of us and then I can just show the video. Hope you all enjoy. Here's to Orion making his grandparents proud. Or should we say "pleased?"

For Our Hero

Orion made this tie in nursery and so I had to capture this moment.

At Enrichment Day last week, there was a card making class in which I put together this fun little card for the Father that keeps our immediate little family together. Making it with scrabble letters was a fun touch because Alex and I love this classic boardgame.

In the world of scrabble, my hubby as a father and our hero, is worth 30 wopping points. In the real world, he's priceless.

We spent the day trying to fish. Orion loved running on the dock and throwing rocks into the water.

Here's to a relaxing day for a great Father. And to all fathers out there, yes including my own, HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!!! The world needs a few good men and there aren't many left. I'm lucky to be surrounded by so many. I look forward to the day when my son will become a good husband and father as well. Here's to hoping.

To Drive Gio Nuts

So, I know I've made these before, but I thought I would post about it a little since I haven't in the past. Making soaps has become a fun hobby of mine and so I've made quite a few with a couple of friends out here. I know this will drive my sister nuts because she has no patience for my arts and crafts. But "Whoooo Caaaaress."

Stephen, you would love the smell of this one. I've got one for you I know you'll just die for.

Fruity with strawberry seeds as exfoliants.

I do get carried away sometimes.

For Grandparents Who Can't Get Enough

Chrysalis is such a happy little girl. I love her smiles.

She was just handing them out left and right this day.

And after a poopy diaper, a nursing session, and some play time in her bouncer, she fell asleep while jumping.

A Day at the Pool.

Alex takes the kids to spend some quality time by the pool together.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Our Greatest Jewels

"In the eternal perspective, children-not possessions, not position, not prestige- are our greatest jewels." (President Ezra Taft Benson, an address given at a fireside for Parents on February 22, 1987)

I love this quote. I've been thinking a lot about this. Sometimes I get caught up in the ways of the world, always wanting the latest trendy thing. I swear I haven't grown up yet. I always want a new pair of shoes or outfit. And then there are times when I justify buying something because I think my kids need it when I well know they could very much still grow up to become great human beings without it. For the longest time, I thought that finishing college and getting my Bachelor's was what was important. I thought that having that title would make me worth something in life. While I did learn a lot in the process of receiving this particular accolade, I realize now that it is not my most "precious ruby," so to speak. Nothing I could ever accomplish in this whole world would ever amount to the worth of the two sweet little angels I lug around my hips from time to time. Children are our greatest jewels and I write this because I constantly need this as a reminder in my life. I forget so easily that I already have some of the most unique and valuable jewels that ever existed on the planet. As a co-creator along with my husband and Heavenly Father, these jewels are mine.

I've been reading Dr. Laura's new book In Praise of Stay-At-Home-Moms. I love it. It's such a good reminder and I recommend it to any mother wondering why she had kids in the first place. I know we love our kids but if we are to be honest with ourselves, we all have our days. I know I do. I am just now learning how to let go of the Feminist within that our culture so graciously teaches young girls to embrace. So sad. In my opinion, nothing is more empowering to a woman than to become a mother, and if the circumstance allows, a stay-at-home-mother.

Not looking to argue with anyone. Just writing out my latest thoughts.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Gio's Niece

Anyone who knows me, knows I love fun, bright colors. I love this sweet little dress that a friend gave us as a hand-me-down. Hand-me-downs are the best. I made a matching bow to go with it and voila. Here you have the sweetest little girl you ever saw in a minty green outfit. Gio, she's definitely your niece. Can you tell why?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Curious Child

I love this photo. Lately, my little girl has become quite curious. I believe this photo really captures that look of questioning. Every moment I make googly faces at her, she reaches up to touch my face. I like to get up close a lot and sometimes I tend to get too close. Her little nails dig into my cheeks with such gusto. When I don't clip her fingernails, this can become somewhat uncomfortable, but it's through her curious eyes that I am able to rediscover the world. She reaches out to KNOW me. She wants to understand who and what I am. I begin to wonder how she sees me. I know how I see me. But I wonder how SHE sees me. She's not critical. She never makes me feel self-conscious. As cliche as it may sound, to the world, I may be just one little person, but to this one little person, at this precious time in her life, I AM the world. I am HER world. I am her whole world. And I hope that in some small way, I can preserve this precious moment in time. How I long to feel like a curious child. I know what it means now to "be as a little child." I know the Lord longs for us to further our own understanding of who and what he is. May we all find the curious child that dwells within us.

Zany Zoo Day

So a group of wives tried to get together to go to the Como Zoo. We left our apartment at about 3:15pm and tried to avoid the highway traffic so it ended up taking us about three times as long to get there and because it was a day when the rides at the zoo were supposed to be free, it turned out to be really packed. Finding a parking spot was the biggest joke ever. Well, to make a long story short, we ended up getting to the zoo 10 minutes before closing. It closed at 6:00pm and we literally got there at 5:50. It was one of those days that we will one day look back on and laugh at. So a few of us ended up playing out in front of the conservatory with the boys. My point: Sometimes a fun little pond with some ducks, lily pads and wide open grassy areas in which to run amuck are all they really need. So hopefully we will try the zoo again, but when life hands you a lemon . . . . .

Orion Teaches his Sister about Sesame Street

So lately, as the numbers come on, he counts out loud and points out the numbers to his sister. What a great big brother. He really loves talking to his little sister and telling her all sorts of stuff. He also calls her "sweetie." I think he's just heard me say it to her one too many times. But it's still endearing.

Monday, June 8, 2009

What does a _______ Say?

Alex has been dying to teach this to our little boy ever since his cousin Carson taught it to his son Jenson. So here is a little tribute from Orion to the Groffs. Hope it makes some of you laugh. It sure makes us laugh.

Little Miss Shrieky

From one day to the next, my little girl has become very vocal. She shrieks in a very high pitch lately and it kills my ears sometimes. No more crying. Now in order to get my attention, she screams. Orion never did that as a baby. She must be a girl. Oh the joys of parenthood. It's funny how different they are already in their demeanor. Even at four months of age, she's already a bit more dramatic.

Brittney has a Birthday!

The cake that Marissa and Heather put together for the occasion. I love these elegant cakes.

Our good friend Brittney celebrates another year of life. She's so beautiful.

Alex Unwinds

Playing with his little sister before bedtime.

Storytime after a long day of sales.

They love Dr. Suess.

Chrysalis Rolls Over

At about three and a half months of age, Chrysalis started rolling over from back to tummy. She was rolling from tummy to back at about two months. But she's gotten really good at it in such a short period of time. I can't believe how quickly these babies become so mobile. And then they are soon trampling all over you as you try to fit in a yoga workout here and there.

In Mommy's Dress

Something I've always wanted to do as a kid when my mother would show me the dresses I used to wear as a baby, was to put them on my own children. I suppose it's just one of those things that little girls long to do as they look forward to the day when they too will be mothers. And here I am, so in these photos, my little girl is wearing a dress that's a little outdated but that I used to wear when I was her age. I'll have to post the picture that I have of myself in this little dress but I need access to a scanner. In the meantime here is my little girl.

A sweet smile.

" La Fresita."

Chrys falls over as I'm trying to take photos but it looks like she's attacking her brother, trying to bite his arm.

First Day at the Pool for Chrys

At the pool.

Jacey and Ruger playing with Orion.

Our silly boy testing the water.

In her first new swimsuit.

A Day in the Park

Our cool little kid.

Fun at the park.

Chillin' with Ruger.

Chrys enjoying the light breeze.

Memorial Day Weekend

A couple days with Grandpa again.

Our little swimmer