Thursday, October 30, 2008

I Can't Help Myself

Probably because Brigham has been out of town, Will and Andrew came down with the flu last night, and I fell ill in the presunrise hours of this morning. I had to change my bed sheets and bathe Will at 2 am after he vomited on my bed, himself and me. Somehow, though, I actually didn't feel too horrible getting up at 6 with my two insane boys. Both kids were in pretty good spirits, and I had Katie in the house with me. Just knowing that I could call on her to take over somehow gave me the energy to not even need to do that.

So, when it comes to my sick kids and my sick self, I can help myself out. But I can't stop myself from posting these bits of politics on my blog, even though I realize that it probably bugs or maybe even offends some of you guys, and even though I know that there is very little chance that Obama will not be our next Commander in Chief. I will let my favorite political columnist take it from here:

The idea that the United States must somehow rehabilitate itself in the eyes of the United Nations or NATO or "world opinion" is staggering, even though it is an idea very popular in the mainstream media.

The first duty of a President of the United States is to protect American interests — of which survival is number one — regardless of what others may say.

Virtually the whole world condemned Israel when it bombed Saddam Hussein's nuclear facilities back in 1981. But Israel understood that its survival was more important than international popularity.

Let us hope that today's Israeli government understands that issue the same way as regards Iran, since ours may not.

Despite the media hype that we need to rehabilitate ourselves in the eyes of the world, the United States of America remains the number one destination of immigrants from around the world, some of whom take desperate chances with their lives to get here, whether across the waters of the Caribbean or by crossing our dangerous southwest desert.

Even when dozens of governments around the world join the United States in coordinated efforts to fight international terrorism, the media will call our actions "unilateral" if some demagogues in France or Germany spout off against us.

The American nuclear umbrella has enabled Western European nations to escape responsibility for their own military survival for more than half a century.

Lack of responsibility has bred irresponsibility, one sign of which are unionized troops in NATO and NATO bomber pilots who have office hours when they will and will not fly, not to mention NATO troops letting American troops handle the really dangerous fighting in Afghanistan.

Maybe the time is overdue for NATO to try to rehabilitate itself and for Americans to stop trying to be "citizens of the world."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Will is One

Brig is out of town and we all are under the weather today, so this is how we celebrated Will's birthday. He will have a real party on Saturday. Katie bought this ball from a little coin machine during our outing to the thrift store today. Happy Birthday!

Andrew says that you are a funny baby. I say that you are wonderfully independent. You let me take showers while you entertain yourself. You sometimes get so mad that you turn away from me in a huff and refuse any entreaties. You love sweets and will refuse all food until you see something unnatural in a shiny wrapper. I often give it to you; you are underweight, after all.

You love balls more than any child I have ever seen. I even got you to eat some usually-rejected food by rolling it in a ball and identifying it as such.

See that bruise on your forehead? That came from a terrible collision with the headboard of Andrew's bed. The corner of it. That bruise was raised and carried the shape of that headboard. You cried for exactly as long as it took me to get my hand inside the large bag of chocolate chips I use to comfort you. Then you actually got happy and excited.

You love to do whatever it is that Andrew is doing. You are no weak baby brother, however. I have seen you crawl or stumble over to Andrew while he puts magnents on the fridge and push him with your baby hand. You have also attempted to push him away with foot or hand when Andrew encroaches upon your lap time with Nana. I suppose you have learned that you have to stick up for yourself.

One of my favorite memories of you standing up for your rights was this summer when Andrew snatched a ball away from you. The look on your face was pure outrage and shock. You looked at Nana and I with an expression that unmistakeably screamed, aren't you going to do something?! Your favorite word, incidentally, is "NNNoo!" "Ball" is a close second.

You also are trying to say Andrew's name now. You want to be where he is, doing what he is doing and with the toy he is using. You and your brother have much in common and I hope that it leads to a wonderful friendship rather than a rivalry. I also hope that I won't evaluate you by constantly comparing you to Andrew. It is sort of hard, since you are both born in the same month, and you seem to be twins separated by 2 years. Except that you are tougher. Andrew is constantly remarking, with true admiration in his voice: "Look how brave he is!" Usually this statement was preceded by an assault on you. But you are brave. As you have to be.

This skeleton suit is rather appropriate since you are still way too skinny. You have, however, finally doubled your birth weight!

Will, we love you, even if you may have an entire childhood of slap-dash parties in store. I think I will be better when I have your disappointment to face when I fail you.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sorry, I was tagged

I usually feel embarrassed and self-conscious of doing these tag posts bc I feel that they are boring for others. So, disclaimer and apology ready, here is my Tag

10 Years Ago I:

1) was a missionary in Pichilemu, Chile

2) felt guilty for reading Mere Christianity and Lion, Witch and Wardrobe on my P-Days (books are off-limits to missionaries)

3) weighed an extra 20 or so pounds

4) Was telling many, many Chileans that I was "cynico." (It means dishonest, liar etc; I thought it meant pessimistic or cynical.) I was always surprised by their reactions, which I took to be extreme. "Que horible!" seemed a drastic reaction to my admission that I sometimes thought the glass was half-empty.

5) was pouring salt on my cereal (Zucaritas)

5 Things on My To-Do List:

1) nap while Andrew is at school (he does this only once a week)
2) go to the thrift store and get a kitchen table finally
3) nail down Halloween costumes (where can I get a toddler skeleton that is more cute than creepy?)
4) tidy up the . . . I will settle for just my bedroom
5) go to the cupcake party

5 Snacks I Enjoy:
1) ice cream wtih pretzles crushed up in it
2) saltines with pizza sauce and mozzerella cheese melted in a mug inthe microwave. It is good, you guys.
3) popcorn
4) ritz
5) chocolate chip cookies

5 Things I would Do if I were a Millionaire:
1) buy a house on Newark St in NW DC. Front Porch a must.

2) Send my kids to great private schools

3) Donate to causes I believed in, get things named after me :)

4) Eat out and bring home

5) hire a babysitter once a week to go out with Brig so I could stay home and relax. :)

Five Places I have Lived:
1) an overpriced apartment that was awesome in Cleveland Park, DC
2) an old pink farmhouse that I thought may be haunted in McLean, Va
2) a fetid, brown and poorly-named condo (we shall refer to it as BDA) in Provo, Ut where I once thought my roommate might attack
4) a lovely home in Rancagua, Chile where the shower had a shower glass window on a wall that allowed us to look out into the hallway. Awkward.
5) a hotel room in Cairo, Egypt where I posed as a married woman and ate a lot of pizza

Five Jobs I Have Had:
1) judicial law clerk at Utah Sup Ct
2) summer associate DPW
3) info desk, BYU
4) Kiddie Camp Counselor, Spring HIll rec (i was way better at this than anything else I have been paid to do)
5) Sandwich maker, Skyroom.

I tag:

Friday, October 17, 2008

Cox Farm



Pride in Achievement

Actually, he could do little more than hold onto the rope and then drop down. No swinging ever took place. Fortunately, he didn't know any better. Unfortunately, this was his favorite activity at that racket of a pumpkin patch.

Is he posing?

And yes, Will was there, too. He didn't want to be in any photos, though.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tuesday, 7:30 PM

Andrew having fun in the tub.
This is the second photo shoot of new hairstyles with Aunt Katie who, once again, came to my rescue at the bedtime hour while Brig is out of town.

Thanks, Katie. She also taught his some Halloween songs which he sings softly to himself while he plays sometimes.

Will said "Wow" tonight. He has said it about 10 times since. His vocabulary now consists of: ball, uh-oh, boon (balloon), nnnnnnn-o!, duck, momma and dadda. Here he is saying his new word.

Ignore the clutter in the photo while you focus in on the dinosaur book behind Will. He growls at it when we read. (Those beads, placed with great care and forethought on the book, inspired Will to utter his new word as he watched me twirl them.)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Zoo Day

We try to go to DC on Thursdays with Aunt Katie. We had perfect zoo weather. I hauled everyone to my favorite exhibits, like the giant swimming turtle.

Then a fight broke out on the climbing statue.

Will got two bug bites right on his poor face.

Climbing through the dinosaur bones at the tiger exhibit.

Smiling at my reminder of the 8 year old boy with short shorts who proclaimed himself to be "a piece of art!" and then almost knocked Andrew off the platform, making little Short Shorts a piece of something else in my book. Just kidding.

Watching the tigers. Discussion re glass shattering and parental and tiger reaction.

Will roared when the lions and tigers roared (or whatever noise it is that tigers make, as this tiger was certainly noisy today).

Andrew: I think he is just saying somethin in tiger language!"

Lunch from Vace's on the National Cathedral grounds.

Will crawled down the hill and Andrew tried to ride the stroller down.

"I love you so much, Mom."

The boys forwent reverence inside the Cathedral for shrieking so as to hear their echos. Will, too. His shrieks perfectly imitated Andrew's.

Two sleeping boys on the ride home = only one sleeping boy (Will) tonight.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

William Walks

We went to Andrew's Little Picasso class this morning at an old elementary school. I always love going to this weekly class mainly because I love to see Andrew in the physical setting. The first day we went, he walked in with his little Cars backpack and he had this funny little confident grin as he bounced down the hallways. I had this vision of him 13 years from now, striding down the halls of his high school, smiling and happy (he will not be an angry, brooding teenage boy).

Anyway, Andrew is not terribly interested in the painting and usually gets his work done pretty quickly, but it is still fun. His teacher is particularly interesting to me. She only lacks a cigarette between her lips to complete the image of a grumpy older woman with personal problems who dislikes kids. Andrew is her second least favorite student. He doesn't mind. He can't understand a word she says; he just wants to know where her nursers are (she is anorexic).

So while Andrew was engaged in Pointilism, Will started walking around the classroom. He could take between 5 and 10 steps before he would fall, but he was so proud. He will be totally independent soon.

Will also participated in the painting today. He was not content to just stay in my arms and watch. He stretched and whined until I gave him a little q-tip. Repeat stretch and whine until I help him dip q-tip in the paint and then let him go for it on the paper. The look on his face was priceless. Just a huge grin. He was even prouder of himself for painting than for walking.

I wish I had photos and that I knew how to get them on the computer.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Fact Check: Not in My Own Words

Ok, so I am aware that I have a readership of about 12 people, but that is not going to stop me from publishing this column, authored by Thomas Sowell (an economist at Stanford). It is just too good.

Abraham Lincoln said, "You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you can't fool all the people all the time."

Unfortunately, the future of this country, as well as the fate of the Western world, depends on how many people can be fooled on election day, just a few weeks from now.

Right now, the polls indicate that a whole lot of the people are being fooled a whole lot of the time.

The current financial bailout crisis has propelled Barack Obama back into a substantial lead over John McCain— which is astonishing in view of which man and which party has had the most to do with bringing on this crisis.

It raises the question: Do facts matter? Or is Obama's rhetoric and the media's spin enough to make facts irrelevant?

Fact Number One: It was liberal Democrats, led by Senator Christopher Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank, who for years— including the present year— denied that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were taking big risks that could lead to a financial crisis.

It was Senator Dodd, Congressman Frank and other liberal Democrats who for years refused requests from the Bush administration to set up an agency to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

It was liberal Democrats, again led by Dodd and Frank, who for years pushed for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to go even further in promoting subprime mortgage loans, which are at the heart of today's financial crisis.

Alan Greenspan warned them four years ago. So did the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to the President. So did Bush's Secretary of the Treasury, five years ago.

Yet, today, what are we hearing? That it was the Bush administration "right-wing ideology" of "de-regulation" that set the stage for the financial crisis. Do facts matter?

We also hear that it is the free market that is to blame. But the facts show that it was the government that pressured financial institutions in general to lend to subprime borrowers, with such things as the Community Reinvestment Act and, later, threats of legal action by then Attorney General Janet Reno if the feds did not like the statistics on who was getting loans and who wasn't.

Is that the free market? Or do facts not matter?

Then there is the question of being against the "greed" of CEOs and for "the people." Franklin Raines made $90 million while he was head of Fannie Mae and mismanaging that institution into crisis.

Who in Congress defended Franklin Raines? Liberal Democrats, including Maxine Waters and the Congressional Black Caucus, at least one of whom referred to the "lynching" of Raines, as if it was racist to hold him to the same standard as white CEOs.

Even after he was deposed as head of Fannie Mae, Franklin Raines was consulted this year by the Obama campaign for his advice on housing!

The Washington Post criticized the McCain campaign for calling Raines an adviser to Obama, even though that fact was reported in the Washington Post itself on July 16th. The technicality and the spin here is that Raines is not officially listed as an adviser. But someone who advises is an adviser, whether or not his name appears on a letterhead.

The tie between Barack Obama and Franklin Raines is not all one-way. Obama has been the second-largest recipient of Fannie Mae's financial contributions, right after Senator Christopher Dodd.

But ties between Obama and Raines? Not if you read the mainstream media.

Facts don't matter much politically if they are not reported.

The media alone are not alone in keeping the facts from the public. Republicans, for reasons unknown, don't seem to know what it is to counter-attack. They deserve to lose.

But the country does not deserve to be put in the hands of a glib and cocky know-it-all, who has accomplished absolutely nothing beyond the advancement of his own career with rhetoric, and who has for years allied himself with a succession of people who have openly expressed their hatred of America.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

A Visit From the Cannons

Grandpa and Will at Burke Lake, who looked especially adorable in the Jack and Janie puffer vest I got at a thrift store when Will was a month old.

Andrew at Burke Lake Park. We were with Momo-Katie (the hyphen is to emphasize, in the absence of photographic evidence, the physical proximity Katie kept with her mother the entire duration of the trip. I am eager to get ahold of the many face-to-face staring off into the distance shots that were NOT posed.), Claire, Granpa and Will. Andrew loved scaring the geese back into the water.

Climbing on cannons down in Jamestown. Somewhere in the universe there are also many many shots of Andrew and I playing in the James River. I wish I had some. The water was surprisingly warm.

More photos to follow as they become available.