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Sunday, November 30, 2008

In the Wee Hours of the Morning...

...like around 9am, on 11/27, I started a food prep process the likes of which our humble kitchen has never seen (well, at least not since last year when Mary cooked Thanksgiving dinner for us). I have to say I am quite proud of my Thanksgiving dinner. For someone who literally NEVER cooks, I think I did a decent job for my little family and our two large-and-hungry guests (my brothers).

I pulled all my recipes from Food Network's front page. Since I was searching for recipes a mere three days before Thanksgiving, I thought it appropriate that they had the easiest and best-loved recipes listed right there, first thing. Savvy Food Network people.

So, in reality, the process began the night before Thanksgiving with my creation of a yummy-smelling turkey brine solution. After cooking for some time, it promptly went into the fridge to chill. The next morning, we (anytime I speak of raw meat, "we" actually means "Dan") submerged the turkey in the solution and let it soak in our fridge for six hours.

In the meantime, the boys and I cooked our pumpkin bars that would be our dessert.

Dessert duty was followed by cranberry sauce duty (Dan's project).

Then, we waited...and waited...and waited.

Closer to dinner time, we made onion/green bean casserole, delicious skin-on mashed potatoes, brown gravy, stuffing, and corn on the cob. I also whipped up some cream cheese frosting for the pumpkin bars.

By the time the turkey thermometer read 160, the giant, hovering, behemoth boys were starving (as were the little ones). I swear they were like a school of circling sharks, and when dinner was served conversation was almost non-existent as the men dove into their food with a frenzy, practically inhaling entire plates of food. As a first-time Thanksgiving dinner maker, it warmed my heart to watch their enthusiastic reaction to the yummy food.

Thanksgiving 2008 - Success!

Things I would do differently next time:
1. Make homemade rolls
2. Buy a regular turkey, not a free range turkey (which tastes really fowl-y).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Plop, Plop

I'll revisit this achievement later, but I wanted to post a little blurb so as to remember the exact date of this momentous occasion. Today, Soren went poop on the toilet all by himself - from feeling the urge, to sprinting to the toilet, to pushing his little heart out. When I heard that tiny plop, plop - heralding an anxiously awaited milestone - my own heart soared.

Stay tuned for a step-by-step account of my brilliant (and unique) potty-training method...not for the faint-hearted.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Yep, that's right. I'm doing the private thing. In light of my recent activities with Proposition 8, and my vocal stance against same-sex marriage, and the very real threat of angry hackers, I am going private. Got to protect these little kiddos of mine. They are the most important thing in my life. So, I'll leave this post up for a while, please comment with an email address or just send one to me. I hope we still have a large following of loving friends and family who will make this migration with us!

Love you all!

The Gratitude Attitude - 11/24/08

Well, this week is the best week I can think of to bring back my attempt at "The Gratitude Attitude." I was previously pretty pathetic at keeping up with it. Today I am thankful for:

1. Patience
2. Testimony
3. Warriors
4. Baby Bagels' Bedtime
5. Silence
6. Anticipation (Daniel and Joseph are coming tomorrow to celebrate the holidays with us!)
7. Sunshine and Warmth (because I miss it right now)
8. Prophet
9. Blogs
10. The Iron Rod

I love this James Christensen "Hold to the Rod" painting. This little dude is so laden down by the things of the world that it's clear he needs to let something go in order to be able to grasp the rod and cling to it. Nothing in this world matters as much as eternal life with our families. Nothing.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Nobody Knows

Mommy Singing: "No-bo-dy knows the trou-ble I've seen. No-bo-dy knows but Jeeee-sus."

Soren: "We know!"

Mommy: "What do we know?"

Anders: "The Muffin Man!"

We're going to have the best family dinners with the most random conversation when our family gets older and larger. I can just feel it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Photo Tag

Fourth folder, fourth picture. Actually, I have so many folders within folders that my search ended up with the fourth picture of the fourth folder of the fourth folder of the fourth folder.

I love this picture. I took it right after I got my new camera (the big behemoth); and I do mean right after. Anders had been napping while I was pulling it out of boxes and putting it all together. When he woke up cranky and there I was snapping pictures of him...well...you can imagine his distress. Actually, you can see his distress right here. :0) He was not as thrilled with my new toy as I was.

I tag: whoever wants to play (and I hope to see many 4th-folder pictures popping up on blogs soon)!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Dear Anders,

Two years ago, at exactly 4:18pm, you squeezed your way through the birth canal, and, in fulfillment of Mommy's dream to forgo another c-section, successfully emerged VBAC style. You were the calm after the storm of miscarriage and you were such a sweet little baby, only squawking when you wanted food or needed a diaper change. Your silence then is being more than amply made up for now, right this moment, as you scream your objection to my potty break right in my face. Obviously, you are just as strong as your brother and you will need that strength as you join him in the ranks of the Lord's army, fighting fire with water, advancing on relativism with righteousness. The world needs more good young men. I look forward to watching you with your precocious little personality grow up. You are a very, very precious addition to our small family. I just asked you, just now while looking at your birth pictures, "There you are, Anders, coming out of Mommy. Do you remember being in Mommy's tummy?" You replied, in all your two-yr-old innocence, "Yeah, sleepin'. My home. Love him." You melt me. Totally and completely.

One year ago, you turned one. We had just recently moved to California and apart from a harrowing evacuation experience, we were loving our new home! You were an early walker just like your brother, so you were zipping all over the house, hanging out with family, decorating cupcakes for your birthday. You have always been such a happy boy, so ready to laugh and smile and joke around. You are our little comedian. I see "class clown" in your future, for sure. For more details on the one-year-old you, just click here.

One month ago, you were experiencing the great Prop 8 overhaul along with the rest of our little family. Mommy had started a "defending marriage" blog and we three were staking out intersections for sign waving "fun." You were also practicing to be Spiderman at Halloween. You did a great job running around, "reeling" people into our entryway for trick-or-treating on performance night. One month ago, we also made it back to our favorite pumpkin "patch" fair thingy where you and your brother cruised through the pumpkins, climbing all over everything and going on fair rides. You made us laugh, as you tend to do a lot, when you cuddled up with the biggest pumpkin you could find.

One week ago, we were celebrating Soren's 4th birthday and Veteran's Day. You were just getting better from being sick. You loved Soren's chocolate birthday cake, and, very typically, you were insisting that all of Soren's presents were, in fact, yours. You still think his keyboard is yours.

Today, you are two. A happy-go-lucky, mischievous two-year-old. Though you are currently experiencing one of those typical toddler speed-bumps (teething), you are normally the happiest kid I know. Anytime your brother wants something that you are playing with and puts up a huge fuss, you hand it right over in a very loving way. You say the funniest things like "back-y-ard" and "get-y-me-out." You love Mexican food and whenever we ask your opinion about what to eat for dinner, without fail your answer is a resounding "COTIJAS!" You love that place (as do I, little buddy, as do I). You love to rub my arms and cuddle and give kisses. You have the softest cheeks in the world and the most hilarious little grumbly voice that you use to say things like "NO! NO! NO! Dang it!" You clap your hands together in your crib to get my attention and let me know that you are awake. You love to mumble to me and wave night-night to Daddy while you are nursing. You are so cute I could just roll you up and eat you (but I won't, because then I wouldn't get to look at your cuteness anymore)! You love shoes and often crack me up with this obsession of yours. You'll traipse in from the back of the house sporting humongous dress shoes belonging to your attorney father. You clop around the house in those until you realize they aren't fast enough then abandon them for the next cool thing - a pair of massive flip flops. You always want to wear shoes - inside the house and out, with socks or without, girly heels or manly soles. You do not discriminate in the shoe department. While your brother brought a somber and reflective nature to this earth, you balance each other out perfectly because you came bearing gifts of humor and laughter and comedy. God blessed us twice and we hope to add still more unique personalities to our family. You will make a great big brother and role model to the next little bagel we hope comes along soon!

Since I started writing this yesterday, but couldn't get to the headlines, you'll have to settle for today's headlines (11/19/08) to give you an idea of what was going on in the world when you turned two.

MOCA Faces Serious Financial Problems: The museum has burned through $20 million in unrestricted funds and borrowed $7.5 million from other accounts. Cash from donors is being sought. A merger is one option.

Calif. High Court to Hear Challenges to Proposition 8: The justices refuse, however, to allow gay couples to resume marrying until they rule on the ban's validity.

Firefighter's Stand Saves Former Neighbors' Homes: Los Angeles County Fire Capt. David Yonan's perseverance helped save 131 homes even after he found Oakridge Mobile Home Park mostly destroyed.

Dow Drops Below 8,000 in Another Stock Sell-off: Shares on Wall Street closed at their lowest levels in five years as hope dimmed in Washington for an emergency bailout of the auto industry.

Consumer Price Decline Prompts Fear of Deflation: Consumer prices fell in October by 1 percent, the largest drop in the history of the survey, raising the specter of deflation.

New York Police Fight U.S. Over Eavesdropping: The New York Police Department wants the Justice Department and F.B.I. to loosen their approach to federal law that governs electronic surveillance, which federal officials have refused.

Daschle to be Nominee for Health Post in Obama Cabinet: Tom Daschle, the former South Dakota senator, has accepted Mr. Obama’s offer to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, Democrats said.

Hopes Dim for Quick Bailout for Automakers: The chief executives, of G.M., left, Chrysler, center, and Ford, right, were unable to convince lawmakers to aid their industry by tapping the financial rescue program.

Dow Dips Below 8,000 on Poor Economic Reports: Markets dive sharply in final minutes after Fed report shows its leaders expect further weakening and are considering cutting interest rates again.

Obama Picks Daschle for HHS: Sources say S.D. Democrat is president-elect's choice to head Health and Human Services.

Bill Clinton Opens His Records: Bowing to vetting process for wife, Clinton agrees to clear charitable activities with Obama team.

Woolly Mammoth DNA Unraveled: Scientists reconstruct more than three-quarters of genome -- a first for an extinct species.

Japan Examines Links in Knifings: Police probe whether attacks on bureaucrats are tied to botched computerization of pension records.

McDonald's Reaches Out to Mom: Fast food chain launches program to win over one thing that stands between a kid and french fries.

Bankruptcy Still Off Table for GM: GM is resisting suggestions that it make preparations for a bankruptcy filing, a position complicating a high-stakes faceoff on Capitol Hill.

Health-Care Revamp Has Wings: Obama's choice of Daschle to head Health and Human Services puts a skilled Capitol Hill navigator in charge of the president elect's bid for universal health care.

South Could Gain as Detroit Struggles: Nonunion workers and more-advanced technology are helping Detroit's rivals weather the downturn better.

Stocks, Bonds Stumble to New Crisis Lows: Stock and bond markets fell to their lowest levels since the outbreak of the economic crisis, as worries about rising defaults by borrowers drove a new wave of concern about the financial system's health.

Prices Post Rare Fall, Giving Fed Officials a New Test: U.S. consumer prices fell 1% in October, their largest monthly decline since World War II, adding to deflation concerns.

Wider Interventions Would Yield Winners, Losers: Obama is promising to intervene in the economy in ways that Washington hasn't tried since the 1970s.

Militants Impede NATO Supplies: Islamist militants loyal to a powerful Taliban leader in Pakistan have moved in to block a supply route to NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Court to Hear Challenges to Proposition 8: The state Supreme Court decides it will review legal challenges to Proposition 8, the voter-approved initiative that bans same-sex marriages. At the same time, the justices decline to stay the effect of the proposition.

Gates Rejects Valor Medal Review for Fallen Hero Peralta: Defense Secretary Robert Gates has rejected a request by several members of Congress to upgrade the valor award for Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta, the late Iraq war hero from San Diego.

Dow Plunges Below 8,000: Wall Street hit levels not seen since 2003, with the Dow Jones industrial average falling below the 8,000 mark.

Spanos Stands Up for Turner: Norv Turner will be the Chargers' head coach going into the start of the 2009 season. “I'm committed to him,” team president Dean Spanos asserts.

Calif. Supreme Court to Take Up Gay Marriage Ban: California's highest court agreed Wednesday to hear several legal challenges to the state's new ban on same-sex marriage but refused to allow gay couples to resume marrying before it rules.

Senate Denies Judicial Appointment: The Utah Senate has voted 16-12 to deny confirmation of Judge Robert Hilder to the appellate court bench.

Defense Argues for Convicted Killer to be Spared Death Sentence: Trying their best to close the door on death row to Glenn Howard Griffin, defense attorneys and a forensic psychologist argued to a jury Wednesday why the convicted killer should be spared a date with the needle.

Local Theaters Gear Up for 'Twilight': Stores around the world have sold millions of copies of LDS author Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" books — nearly equaling the success of J.K. Rowling's blockbuster "Harry Potter" series.

Obama's Attorney General Selection Prosecuted Joe Waldholtz: Eric Holder —who news agencies reported Wednesday has accepted an offer to become Barack Obama's attorney general —has interesting ties to two old, big Utah news stories that created national headlines in their time.

Gay Rights Bill Gets Committee Approval: A proposal that would allow financially dependent gay couples to sue in the event of a wrongful death has won support from a legislative committee.

MormonTimes.com - Heart Transplant Preceded by Different Change of Heart: Angela Andra received a heart transplant at 20 and ultimately converted to the LDS Church. She is believed to be the first female heart-transplant patient to serve a Mormon mission.

State Revenue Picture Gets More Grim: Get ready for some more bad economic times for Utah State government, with layoffs of state workers and a reduction of programs for Human Services' recipients and other "critical" areas potentially considered, state legislators were told Wednesday.


Monday, November 17, 2008


Tonight Soren said the prayer, but he wanted Daddy to repeat after him. It went like this....

Soren: We thank Thee for my cool car tricks.

Daddy: We thank Thee for my cool car tricks.

Soren: Oh, um, hm. We thank Thee for Soren's cool car tricks.

Daddy: We thank Thee for Soren's cool car tricks.

Soren: And we thank Thee for my tricks.

Daddy: And we thank Thee for my tricks.

Soren: Actually, I mean we thank Thee for Soren's tricks.

Daddy: And we thank Thee for Soren's tricks.

[Ha ha! It can be frustrating getting your thoughts out clearly through another person.] :P

Later in the prayer, Anders screaming in the background.

Soren: And we thank Thee for funny Anders.

Anders: [screams again]

Soren: And we thank Thee again for funny Anders.

Anders: [screams again]

Mommy [whispering]: Anders, we don't scream during the prayer.

Anders: [looks at Mommy impishly then proceeds to scream even louder...the little bugger]

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Simple Request

Dear Bagel Factory Readers,

It is clear that the same-sex marriage issue is not going away anytime soon. Even after California citizens have voted twice, in a matter of eight years, to define marriage between one man and one woman, opposition to this vote is angry and adamant that their "right" to the word marriage be recognized and legalized.

You've all seen the numerous protests, marches, and rallies across our nation following the passing of Proposition 8 on Nov. 4th. You've all heard or read the biased media coverage of said gatherings. With anger flaring and violence, vandalism, graffiti, hate crimes, harassment, intimidation, destruction, defacement, and even domestic terrorism ruling the day, there is more need than ever for Prop 8 supporters and marriage protectors everywhere to take a respectfully vocal stand. In an effort to heed this call, I have continued writing my thoughts and reactions on my What Our Country Needs blog. And, herein lies my simple request. If you stand in support of traditional marriage, could you please add a "Protect Marriage" link list to your blog and include my Prop 8 blog and any others you come across who are blogging for marriage and/or Prop 8? I have a whole bunch on my WOCN blog that you can just copy and paste into your link list. And, if you have any desire to do more, you could even start writing your own thoughts and musings about and reactions to Prop 8/marriage stuff on your blogs. You could even start a protect marriage blog! Join the community of bloggers for protecting traditional marriage. The Internet, as we have been reminded by our religious leaders, is one of the best and most efficient news outlets of our day. While others "join the impact" we can make our own strong and quiet presence known in the cyber community and beyond. We can make a difference, no matter how fast this tidal wave appears to be moving toward us. If nothing else, let's make a decision that we'll not turn and run, but dig in our feet and stand strong against the threat of moral relativism and irreligion.

Many of you, my friends, are incredible writers with backgrounds in journalism and reporting. Many of you are incredible writers, period. But whether you feel you write well or not, you have a voice and you have the ability and resources to give that voice flight, right here on the Internet. While others march against a decision already made, we'll write to protect the decisions yet to come.

Now, you may think to yourself, "I don't live in California, so how can I possibly contribute? What will my voice matter in Pittsburgh or Chicago or Stillwater or Amity or Spanish Fork?" Well, if you take a look at that group of "protect marriage" blogs on my WOCN sidebar, you'll notice that they are people reporting from all over the country. They either keep tabs on marriage happenings in their neck of the woods, or they simply voice their thoughts on marriage in general and Prop 8 in specific. Whether you write about legislation, marches, scriptures, speeches, conference talks, etc. you can do the same! Be respectful, be kind, be loving...but be heard.

I love you all! You inspire me to greater heights. My life is a better one for having met every single one of you and I would love for the world to know you, too.

Here's to protecting traditional marriage - marriage between one man and one woman.

Against All Odds...

...Anders threw up yesterday and acquired a high fever - one that, if experience is any indication, will be sticking around for the next seven days, controllable only by frequent, regular, alternating dosages of Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen.

I haven't been to Church now in, oh, five weeks or so. I am involuntarily going inactive.


Oh, and my Temple recommend has been expired since August.


I'm not going to do it...

...I totally shouldn't...

...but I can't help myself...

POOR ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*sticking out my lower lip and tromping all over it*

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Birthday Memories & Shooting the Breeze

So, first of all, there's just a couple of things about Soren's birthday that I'd like to share. We celebrated in the evening on the 12th. I asked Soren what kind of a cake he wanted and he was very decisive in his response, "RECTANGLE!" Well, kid, you're certainly easy to please. And good thing, too, because Mommy is not a kitchen person. We had a good time eating pasta, opening presents, then chowing down on cake and frozen yogurt (Golden Spoon - THE BEST!). Soren wanted everything chocolate - chocolate cake with chocolate flavor (no frosting, so I have no idea what "chocolate flavor" meant) and chocolate frozen yogurt. He is definitely my child. We got him some clothes and some books and a couple of cars. Our big gift to him this year is a Leap Frog computer keyboard that hooks up to the TV. We have yet to see it work since our refrigerator-stored batteries seem to have questionable functionality. Soren also got a special gift from our friend, Shelley, that she left on our front door - more chocolate - in the form of a donut and a Kit Kat! How did you know that he LOVES Kit Kat, Shelley?! And thank you for your thoughtful card. That was so kind. He was thrilled with that surprise gift. Grandma and Grandpa A. gave him a cute shirt that he's quite proud of since it declares him a "champ," and also gifted a "Cars" car that launches out of its pit stop. He loves it. Actually, I think that's an understatement. He adores it. And...so does Anders. Anders was hilarious all throughout the present opening. He proclaimed each item was really his and kept trying to take stuff away and sneak those little fingers into gift bags. He still thinks the keyboard is actually his. I can't wait for his birthday next week. He's going to love it! Soren got phone calls all day on Tuesday and Wednesday. He loved that, too. It was so funny to watch his face light up when I would yell down the hallway, "Soren, telephone!" He'd come running and then shyly mumble his way through conversations with loved ones. I'd wager it's safe to say he loved the phone calls just as much as the gifts, so thank you.

Singing "Happy Birthday" to Soren.

So today, in an effort to "stop the insanity" at the computer, the boys and I took off for a much needed Mommy and sons date at the beach. Turns out, it was exactly what we needed - all of us. It was a warm day with lots of sunshine and hardly anyone at the beach. The waves were extremely small, so combined with a very "flat" beach, there was no stress for Mommy. The boys ran in and out of the water, getting soaked then shedding clothes, tromping through waves in nothing but diapers. Innocence in action is a very rejuvenating thing to witness. We built a sand castle, searched for seashells, chased some too-bold birds, and made new friends. A perfect day. And tomorrow will be even better since I've taken a friend up on her offer to watch my boys while I go to the temple. I am so looking forward to that.

Just a thought about the beach. It was funny to sit in my beach chair and people-watch...something I have always found amusing. What I discovered today is that our high school caste system is still very much intact in other locations and stages of life. See what I mean....

...the nerds...

...the jocks...

...and those who walk through life with their very own, adoring fan club.

And then there was this one exchange that was absolutely hilarious to be a spectator for. I wish I could have gotten it on video. There I am just chillin' in my chair and I notice red-bikini clad blonde come dripping out of the ocean, fins and snorkel in hand, sultry hair-flinging in action. At the same moment, shirtless guy comes walking by, does a double take, falters, then continues on with backward glances every, oh, millisecond or so. Then, as if he isn't being obvious enough with his chiropractic-reminiscent neck craning, he puts out both hands, palms up, and proceeds to make a questioning, weighing action in the direction of his two shirtless buddies while he looks back at the blonde "bombshell." Oh brother. I felt like I was watching a Neanderthal gathering as the three dudes pow-wow'ed to discuss further action. Then, as the blonde was joined by her brunette friend, the guys hesitantly started walking in the girls' direction, looking to each other every two seconds for reassurance and ego-boosting. The five never rendezvoused. The Neanderthals chickened out. Wusses.

Frollicking in the waves.

Chasing belligerent birds.

Bucket train!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bowing Out - Revised

Well, venting is good, but what I wrote last night was probably not the best thing to share on a public forum. So, I've moved it to my personal journal (original post reattached below, 7/09). I still felt all that - it was very real and very raw - but because we are, as a religion, so much in the public eye right now, it's too easy for personal frustrations to be aired out and misconstrued as Church opinion. Our leaders have advised us over and over again to speak kindly, civilly, and with great respect. We have been admonished not to contend with one another. I have, as the very imperfect being that I am, crossed the line on both accounts. Last night I expressed my frustrations about certain people acting like a group of teenagers, but as I read through what I wrote, I realized I was having a teenage moment of my own. My frustrations had grown out of hurt pride and in my "poor me" moment I was stomping around having a rant of my own at the expense of someone else's struggles and tender feelings. There are good people on both sides of this issue. I'm not one of them yet, but I'm working on it. Please forgive me for being insensitive and rude. Thank you all for your comments. Today has been a MUCH better day...away from my computer (for the most part). :)

Original Post:

Well, I'm shutting down and bowing out of Prop 8 conversations...something I should have done long ago for my own sake. Having spent the last six days straight, sitting in front of my computer and debating the same Prop 8 issues over and over and over again, I'm done feeling anything other than resignation. A person can only take so much before the battering on her testimony becomes overwhelming. Don't get me wrong, my testimony is as strong as ever. I stand with the Lord and His Prophets. I always will. I am just done trying to convince the clearly unconvince-able that my opinion counts too. I am a good person. I know I am. I have never called a homosexual immoral, just the lifestyle they have chosen to live. And yes, they do choose. They are born with feelings and impulses, but they can choose whether or not to act on them. They have to be able to choose as free agency is central to the Lord's plan for us. And many have chosen to walk away from the homosexual lifestyle and have lived a happily-ever-after heterosexual lifestyle. This proves that people can choose. And I wouldn't dream, not for one millisecond, of claiming that it would be easy in any way. I love the quote that entreats, "I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it."

I need to go to the Temple. I need to feel Heavenly Father wrap His arms around me, literally. In the past month of my life I have been screamed at, flipped off, cussed at, ranted at, raved at, accused, abused (verbally), threatened, vilified, mocked, sneered at, jeered at, and disregarded as stupid. All this because I gave a measly donation (wish it could have been more) and waved signs for a couple of weeks; then exercised my right to vote and filled in the yes bubble with my dark ink. And all anyone on the "other side" can give me in return is a noncommittal and insensitive, "Well, now you know how it feels." As if, somehow, by some strange turn of events, certain people never actually got the memo about Jesus' higher law that replaced the Mosaic Law. People are still living "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." And I'm not even the one that poked them in the eye in the first place! Oh well, I'm sure this is just thickening my skin for what's to come in the persecution arena.

I don't know what ever possessed me to start that Facebook group but it has been a curse for me from the start. I can't seem to pull myself away from the multiple, simultaneous conversations because, well, I started it and, therefore, I feel an insane sense of responsibility to make sure that everyone is civil and respectful and no one is using the forum to disseminate anti-Mormon literature. I also feel an insane sense of responsibility to defend the truth...all the time. Me. All by myself. I have to take them all on. All the Mormon haters and misinformed purveyors of misinformation. Only problem is, there are 20 discussion topics and a "wall" that moves a mile a minute with all the comments being posted. Add to all this the fact that I have had to ban someone for claiming anti-Mormon literature as Church doctrine and policy, and that special someone has seen fit to rail me for it via messages in my Facebook inbox. Apparently I am a "sterilizer" and a bigot and intolerant (haven't heard those before) and....Well, in the end I just started deleting his messages without reading them. There was no point in subjecting myself to all that. Which leads me back to why Facebook is a curse. You see, with more people joining this group every day, conversations are constantly starting over...and over...and over....Emotions run raw when regulars (myself included) have to state their opinions repeatedly to new people and it's especially hard when respect is demanded but not offered. R-E-S-P-E-C-T is a difficult thing to keep a tight reign on because if I call someone out for disrespect, then I am censuring. If I don't, then I am bending over and taking one in the rear since their disrespect is usually aimed at me. There is something about a strong testimony and conviction that really seems to work people into a frenzy, even when I share it tactfully and respectfully. Call me crazy, but I think they envy that kind of conviction in a world overrun by entitlement and relativism.

But the worst, the absolute most degrading circumstance for me, is to be treated with condescension. Pat on the head and sent back to bed because my arguments aren't trendy and enlightened and intelligent. This makes my blood boil - a very un-Christlike response, I know. But my conviction is spurned in a world driven by MTV education, Hollywood testimonials, and popular (misleading) slogans. I have been told that I have no right to fear for my children, that schools should be teaching homosexuality to kids for the sake of engendering a feeling of love and apathy and understanding for homosexuals. They mock the slippery slope argument and they spurn my fear (as a mother of two very tender and precious little boys) that a teacher, in a position of authority and teaching with the secular stamp of approval, could send a very different message about homosexuality to my child than the one I am teaching him at home, thus undermining my faith-based teachings on this sensitive subject.

Circles, circles, circles. My brain is exhausted. I know what is right and I am getting a whelping for it. They think they know what is right and, like a bunch of spoiled teenagers, are demanding that they get it, threatening that they get it, or else.... I know that I am not speaking very kindly here and that my "they" is WAY overgeneralized, but if I can't speak my mind on my own dang blog, then where can I? A girl's gotta vent!

And my boys, my poor sweet boys. They are the true victims in all this since their mother is constantly drawn to her computer like a bee to pollen. Night and day, 24/7, I sit here and defend the truth. Sometimes I feel like I'm on autopilot as I write the same things I've written 37 times before and then just watch as they're shot to pieces in 37 different and vile ways.

I need to go to bed. I need a lifetime on a deserted island with just my family and a lifetime worth of food storage and reading material. I need a place where nothing bad can touch me - nothing sad, nothing evil, nothing twisted and made to look white when truly it's black, nothing. I'm talking grapes and unicorns, crystalline water and brilliant blue skies (no rainbows please), butterflies and downy soft grass, naked babies and innocent laughter. I need heaven. No, I need the Temple. I need to know that God still loves me even though I may not always say the right thing. I need to know that God appreciates my minuscule contribution to His work on earth. I need to know that my children will be safe, and my grandchildren, and my great-grandchildren.

Boy am I down right now. No one should write when they are depressed. And so, instead, I'll go to bed. I'll turn off my computer and go to bed and pray that I have enough self-control to leave the power button alone tomorrow. I'll pray that the other 4,000+ participants on "my" group will be willing to stand up and carry the day so that I can spend tomorrow in peace, loving and tending my children and home, knowing that my "garden" of truth isn't being overrun by weeds. In all honesty, my greatest missionary effort will be right here with my boys. How can I prepare them for the onslaught if I am ignoring them while trying to convert the onslaught? I am just one woman against a tidal wave. I need to focus on finding adequate footholds for my family to be able to weather the storm rather than spend all my energy trying to stop the wave.

Don't worry, I'll be fine tomorrow. Everything is always 100 times worse at night. I'm still laughing every day and reading books with the boys. I still somehow managed to pull off Soren's birthday. I don't want anyone to think I'm walking toward a cliff right now. I'm far from it. Truly - just venting. So, if you made it this far, thanks for listening.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Dear Soren,

Four years ago, at exactly 3:01am, you cut your way into the world, belligerent to the last. After 20 hours of labor, Mommy had had enough of your stubbornness and told the doctor to just get you out! Now, seeing how the world has become in just four short years, I can understand your hesitance to join us here. However, you have been prepared for this last dispensation. You volunteered to be among God's chosen warriors for truth. The strength of your testimony will shine in a world darkened by moral relativism. I asked you today if you know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live and you answered with a resounding "YES!" I adore you for the strength of your conviction and the purity of your soul.

Three years go, you turned one and, just as precocious as ever, you were zipping around our house, perfecting your latest skill - walking. The depth of your genius was just becoming apparent to Mommy and Daddy. We loved your toddling and babbling. You were an independent little bugger and wanted to control just about every aspect of your life...even if you weren't skilled enough to be able to. You loved going on walks outside and would stop at every little branch, twig, leaf, anthill, and piece of garbage to investigate. You were a delightful one year old.

Two years ago, you turned two. We were living in Utah again after having spent the summer in San Diego. Mommy was pregnant with Anders and you were sick on your birthday. We decided not to have a party and Mommy didn't even make you a birthday cake (gasp!). Together we got Jamba Juice and proceeded to open your enormous basket full of toy cars. Yes, Mommy and Daddy readily admit we went a bit overboard with your gifts. At two, you were becoming more and more of a little person and less and less of a baby/toddler. You could easily recite your ABC's. You knew all your colors, shapes, and numbers. You LOVED it when anyone would sit down with you and write letters in your notebook. You also loved having your knowledge tested with quizzes and questions. Such a bright little boy! You have always brought joy to our family.

One year ago, you turned three. Your little brother had arrived just after your birthday the year before. And, though you were wary of Anders at first, you had grown to love him by this time. For your third birthday we did have a party and invited friends and family. You trotted around your party with the biggest grin on your face and you particularly enjoyed playing with your cousin Veronika (as is still the case). At three you had become a little man. You were very helpful with your little brother; you had great manners; you loved GMC's; and you watched the movie "Cars" at least once a day. And best of all, you made us laugh every day with your thoughts and assumptions and assertions and misconceptions and observations.

One month ago, you played with our friend Isaac, watched a BYU football game with Daddy, and attended a baptism with Mommy. You were eager for Halloween and any excuse before then to wear your Batman outfit complete with cape and mask. You were happy and healthy, bossy and chattery, hilarious and sober. Mommy was just preparing for the weeks ahead of Prop 8 sign waving. Daddy was working his tail off (and still is) to get his hours completed for the year. And Anders was following you around everywhere, your permanent and adoring shadow.

One week ago, you were watching anxiously with the rest of the nation and the world, as the United States of America voted for Barack Hussein Obama to be the nation's first African American president in its history. Mommy and Daddy weren't so happy with this decision though we did appreciate the historical significance of the event, but we respect the voice of the people and we pray for the success of our president and our country. You also joined your prayers with your family's that Proposition 8 would win the day - and it did. Your little spirit was so strong as you prayed to our Heavenly Father that he "would keep marriage between a man and a woman; and not a man and a man or a woman and a woman." You spent the election not only in prayer but in fever. Illness had become our family's constant companion in the weeks before Halloween and for a week after.

Today, you are four. A big, bold, ornery and undeniable four. You are pee pee potty trained, but for some reason you think your poop can't come out in a toilet. Mommy has given up the fight for the time being. You are extremely vocal, a trait you no doubt inherited from your mother. You are stubborn and sweet, tender and aggressive, bossy and encouraging. You are the light of your little brother's life. As I type this, you are helping Anders color on a piece of paper. You LOVE to pretend and you build up the most wild and entertaining lives in other rooms of our house. Anders is always your constant companion on these imaginary excursions to grocery stores, down exotic rivers, and on school bus field trips. You love to watch educational cartoons with which you get to participate. Often I'll hear you from down the hall, yelling in response to Dora's pleading of "Louder, you have to say it louder!" Because of these programs, you can now speak certain words in Chinese and Spanish. You also love to sing. There's never a day that goes by that I don't hear you singing some nursery rhyme or Primary song. Music is something you very much appreciate. Mommy is still fighting on the marriage front and Daddy is still working long days and many, many hours in order to make his billables and earn his raise by the end of this month. Our prayers are with him constantly. He is a good example of hard work and determination for you and your brother and we all admire him for this. Your father loves you so much and often repeats as much to anyone who will listen. He is a good Daddy, the best. One of the things Mommy is most grateful for Daddy for is his worthiness to hold and exercise the Priesthood of the Lord. He will teach you the importance of the Priesthood in your life as you grow and become a man. We love you so much, Soren. You and your little brother are the light of our lives! As many thousands of angry people spurn the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Lord is calmly and lovingly cultivating his army of righteous warriors for the Light. These warriors are growing up in God-fearing homes across our nation and throughout the world, being taught the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ by the quiet and firm conviction and testimony of their parents and grandparents. You, Soren, are very much one of them. Always remember your grandfather's recent testimony and admonition that "we’re on the winning team – the Lord’s Team. In all other dispensations the truth has been lost; there has always been an apostasy; but not anymore. The truth is restored to stay. It will never again be lost or taken away from this sphere. This great Cause, in the end, will triumph. So, I warn [you], don’t ever quit the Team! In the future, stay with this wisest group on earth – whatever the issue." Amen!

Here are some of the major newspaper headlines from today, Veteran's Day, your fourth birthday 11/11/08:

Post-election Protests Anger Prop. 8 Backers: Measure's supporters say the people's will is clear and should be upheld.

Egypt Dusts off a 4,300-year-old Pyramid: After twenty years of excavation, what remains of Egypt's 118th pyramid has been identified in Saqqara, the sprawling burial site of ancient rulers.

Many Fallen Soldiers Followed Family Tradition: Scores of those who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan were motivated by military lineage.

For South, A Waning Hold on Politics: The pattern of support for Barack Obama may signify that the centrality of the South to national politics has come to an end.

Sparring Starts as Republicans Ponder Future: Republicans are debating how to position themselves ideologically and how aggressively to take on the new Democratic president.

Pakistanis Mired in Brutal Battle to Oust Taliban: In a vital corridor to Afghanistan, the Taliban has proven far more resilient than the Pakistani Army anticipated.

Housing Agencies to Widen Homeowner Help: Government, mortgage industry officials launch a streamlined system for modifying the mortgages of hundreds of thousands of borrowers.

Tapping into Shopppers' Psyches: This holiday season, the battle for customers is on, and competing stores have little margin for error.

Obama Backs a Compromise: President-elect warns that expelling Lieberman from Democratic caucus would send wrong signal.

Palin's Image Reclamation Tour: Whirlwind media tour is aimed at answering critics and positioning her for future.

Thousands Gather to Honor Vets: Ceremony at Vietnam Memorial pays homage to the nation's veterans, both living and dead.

In Pakistan, A Deadly Catch 22: Tribal militias are caught between demands from Pakistan military and Taliban suicide attacks.

Scientists Mine For Dark Matter: Researchers head underground to look for exotic particles called "wimps" that might help unravel the secret of dark matter, the key to understanding the shape, size and even the fate of the universe.

Bush Honors Veterans: Bush marked Veterans Day at a ceremony to rededicate the Intrepid Air, Sea and Space Museum in New York.

Are Biofuels Bad for the Planet?:Critics of biofuels are saying the oil alternatives -- long touted as green -- make global warming worse through indirect impact on land use.

Abortion Foes Face Dilemma: Anti-abortion strategists are debating whether the way forward should be based on confrontation or cooperation with the Democratic administration.

Losses Ease but Worry Remains: Stocks bounced off their earlier lows amid new steps to ease foreclosures, but continued worry about the outlook kept pressure on the market. The Dow fell about 170 points.

A New Air-Traffic Control System: A new air-traffic-control system about to be deployed has the potential to save fuel, shave time off long flights and enhance safety.

China Bets Roads Will Drive Growth: China is hoping that an infrastructure spending spree can help sustain its long record of expansion and rising prosperity.

Analyst - State Budget Deficit $28B by 2010: The Legislature's nonpartisan budget analyst says California's deficit will grow to $28 billion through June 2010 unless lawmakers take bold action to close the shortfall.

Mew Mortgage Aid Program Aims to Avert Foreclosures: The government and the mortgage industry are launching the most sweeping effort yet to help troubled homeowners by speeding up the process for renegotiating hundreds of thousands of delinquent loans held by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Remembering Veterans: President-elect Obama and Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth, director, Illinois Department of veterans Affairs, take part in a wreath laying ceremony at the Bronze Soldiers Memorial in Chicago in honor of Veteran's Day. President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney also participated in memorial services around the country.

Gmail Adds Voice Video Chat: Google has added a voice and video chat feature to its Gmail email service, launching a free Web-based service that competes with the likes of Skype.

AIG Defends Latest Gathering: AIG defends itself against reports of a sales meeting held at a luxury resort in Phoenix last week, saying the event was an "essential training meeting."

Gov't to Announce New Loan Aid Effort: In the most sweeping effort so far to help troubled homeowners, the federal government and the mortgage industry on Tuesday will announce a plan to streamline the assistance process for hundreds of thousands of delinquent loans held by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Holocaust Survivors Halt Talks With LDS: The LDS Church "stands by its word" not to perform posthumous baptisms for Holocaust victims, church officials said Monday, after a group of Holocaust survivors held a press conference in New York announcing it is breaking off negotiations with the church.

Catholics, Mormons Joined to Pass Prop. 8: Months before the first ads would run on Proposition 8, San Francisco Catholic Archbishop George Niederauer reached out to a group he knew well, Mormons.

Lawmakers Are Divided on Stem Cells: Utah's congressional delegation is divided over President-elect Barack Obama's apparent plan to reverse a Bush administration ban on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research — but the reaction of Utah researchers and organizations dedicated to cures for specific illnesses seems to be a resounding "hurrah!"

MormonTimes.com - What's Missing in the Word of Wisdom?: BYU religion professor Paul Hoskisson says an amazing thing about the revelation known as the Word of Wisdom is not just what is in it, but what was left out.