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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Still Alive

I have been absolutely remiss in updating our family blog. I am still alive and kicking, I just find my attention and energy focused here and here these days. I suppose it'll slow down eventually (then again, maybe not).

For now, here's a quick update with more to come sometime soon (I hope).

We are back home in SD. We drove all night Saturday night in order to give ourselves an entire day to clean up our burglary mess. Instead of cleaning, however, we ended up piling into our bed together and catching up on some much-needed shut-eye. Later, our home teacher and my visiting teacher came to help. Jared cleaned up my entire desk area (bless you) and Lorraine tackled our ransacked bedroom. As Dan and I walked through our home when we first arrived, we found ourselves more and more confused by our intruder. Whoever it was stole our $15, piece of junk DVD player but left our nicer one. They stole my monitor, but not my computer tower. They stole my monitor calibrator, but not the entire package containing all pieces and parts essential to its functioning. They did not find my wedding ring, though a simple removal of toiletries would have revealed its pathetic hiding place. They found the video camera case, but never found the video camera hiding in plain site atop the TV armoire. They stole all of our DVDs...except ALL seasons of Frasier and the box set of Lord of the Rings (valued at upwards of $90). It just makes no sense and we regularly scratch our heads in wonder and amazement. We are blessed.

There's something funny that happened while we were in Arizona that I've been wanting to write about before I forget it. It's totally random within the context of this post, but I'm putting it here out of fear that I'll forget it soon. We were sitting down one evening to family dinner around Mary's beautifully and intricately decorated table. One of Dan's sisters asked Soren who his favorite Aunt was. He responded without hesitation, "Aunt Susan!! ... And my favorite Aunt-man is ... Daniel!!" Love it. Who needs the designation "uncle" when you have "aunt-man?"

Tuesday, December 23, 2008



I can't stop grinning. This whole thing seems too fantastic. The little, old Honda Civic is sitting at an impound lot in Otay Mesa, just waiting for us to pick it up. We don't know what condition it's in or what might be missing from its interior (Dan's says 'good riddance' if the radio was stolen; it was ancient), but we'll keep you all updated via this fabulous blog method of mass communication. Another miracle. I was sure it'd be long gone to Mexico by now. Lindsey, thank Nikko and his blood-hound smeller for us. :0)

Keep praying. Maybe they'll actually find the thief and recover our stolen goods. That would just be the icing on the cake, wouldn't it?!

Monday, December 22, 2008


Well, Merry Christmas to us. This morning we found out from our beloved neighbor that our home had been broken into. We lamented as we were told that Dan's car was stolen and our computer, too. No one was certain about anything else but that the home had been completely ransacked - clothes, books, and papers thrown about everywhere. I was so sad because I had left my wedding ring in the medicine cabinet, not being able to wear it on account of my swollen, eczema-riddled fingers. My computer was also very dear to me, though by the Lord's own divine intervention (inspiration) I had thought to backup EVERYTHING on my computer to my external hard drive THE NIGHT BEFORE WE LEFT! We have that external hard drive here with us in Dan's backpack. I had told him that there didn't seem to be any point in having a backup if it went up in flames while we were gone.

This afternoon, a friend of ours went over to our home to investigate and see if, by some miracle, he could find my diamond ring. Well, the Lord loves us. He truly does. I will never cease to believe in miracles because today we had not one, but two. Todd (our beloved friend who will go down in our history books as our "deliverer of good tidings"), found my wedding ring right where I'd left it...tucked away behind a little, mostly empty tube of prescription hand cream. I remember trying it on before we left to see if I could wear it. It was tight and I knew my fingers would be further agitated by wearing it in the dry weather here. So I put it back on its shelf and, as an afterthought, wrapped my tube of hand cream around it as a pitiful barrier between it and predators. Only the Lord knew it would work. The burglars had opened the medicine cabinet, but hadn't taken anything out for some reason - maybe they just gave a disinterested glance at the deodorants and prescriptions and moved on. I don't know, but I'm deeply grateful to the Lord for His protection. The second miracle became known when Todd moved to the living room and there, amidst a mountain of papers and files and mess, was my beloved computer tower. Yes, that's right, the burglars had stolen the computer monitor, but not the tower. I started crying and whooping and hollering! I couldn't believe they had taken the monitor and not the tower!! It is unreal to me. I have been thanking the Lord all evening for stupid thieves.

So, what did we lose you ask? Well, they broke the glass on the back door and waltzed right in, took our ancient laptop that was good for nothing except Soren's Starfall quiet times (he's quite heartbroken about the loss of that piece of junk...I feel for the tender little guy), my new DVD burner, our computer monitor, our entire DVD collection (which could bring in thousands in resale), possibly my Photoshop and Lightroom CD's, and Dan's old '97 Honda Civic. Don't get me wrong, we will miss these things, but after hearing the worst then being lifted out of the pits of despair with the good news; we feel like we must be the happiest burglary victims in the world.

We are so blessed. So blessed. Already friends and family and neighbors have jumped right in with offers to help. Dan's parents have graciously offered the use of their car for a time. Our Relief Society is standing by ready to help us clean up the mess when we get home. Other friends are offering to watch the boys and help out with whatever we need. We're so grateful. If there's anything in this world that demonstrates the true spirit of Christmas, it's the selfless nature in which people have responded to our personal little drama. Thank you everyone. And Merry Christmas. Let this be a testament to you that Christ lives and that our Father cares for us and watches over us. He knows what is important to us and will help when we need Him.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Family Friday

Okay, so really last minute, I know, but...still Friday. This week has been an eventful week on the marriage front.

1. The Digital Network Army debuted its new site. Read all about it at Pearl Diver.

2. Marjorie Christoffersen, 70-year-old manager of El Coyote restaurant in Los Angeles, quit her job after her $100 donation to the Yes on 8 campaign drew aggression, intimidation, boycott, and unrealistic demands from those opposed to the amendment. Read about it here at Beetle Blogger. And a short, humorous shout-out to gay rights activists here at Kingfisher Column.

3. New Jersey commission concludes that the state should legalize gay marriage because...wait for it...civil unions are too difficult to understand. Read about the ridiculous research method employed to arrive at this equally ridiculous finding. A Beetle Blogger post on Kingfisher Column.

4. And last, but not least, the hidden truth about gay "committed relationships" and marriage: unfaithful, polyandrous, open sexual relations. Says LeftCoastVoter in his essay entitled Gay Marriage. Robert and Gary. And Fred. And Martin:

Perhaps David Nimmons is a big enough name for you. You know, the founder of Manifest Love and a Gay Leader in New York.
In his book, The Soul Beneath the Skin, David cites numerous studies which document approximately 75% of Gay Men in a “committed relationship” are not monogamous. They go out and have sex with other men. And they both accept that. Even when they have children in their “family.”

Quote of the Week:

Corfield v. Coryell (1823 Supreme Court case), regarding definition of Article 4, Section 2 "Privileges and Immunities." Justice Washington lists the privileges and immunities that citizens are entitled to as they pass through and move to different states:
"Protection by the government; the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the right to acquire and possess property of every kind, and to pursue and obtain happiness and safety; subject nevertheless to such restraints as the government may justly prescribe for the general good of the whole."

Love, Service, and Bread

For the last month and a half, I have been entrenched in marriage defense by way of sign waving and blogging; it has become equivalent to a full-time job for me. About a week after the Nov. 4th elections that won Prop 8's victory, a friend in our ward brought me this delicious loaf of bread accompanied by a very humbling message:

Liz - Thank you so much for your magnificent sign waving example and leadership. -the P's

Then, my visiting teacher came just two weeks ago to see how I was doing. She brought me this fantastic Paperwhite Narcissus. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching it grow and am eager for it to bloom so I can find out if I will be counted among the PN scent lovers or haters.

Another ward friend of mine brought another scrumptious loaf of bread to our house last week. We are so loved and blessed; and we greatly appreciate the service of others toward our family. Thank you, loved ones.

So, I've written before about how Soren thanks Heavenly Father for five specific things each time he prays (Sister Stapley's house, My Kid's Clubhouse, the fair, pumpkin patch, and Halloween). Well, the other night I guess Anders decided that he needed his own list to thank Heavenly Father for. And so he began, "Heavenly Father, tank ee fo Megan, um Costco, Wal-Mart...." Dan and I were having such a hard time not laughing out loud. I love kids and I especially love kids' prayers! They are so innocent and pure.

A couple days ago, after I fixed the boys lunch and as they sat at the table eating, I set about cleaning the kitchen. Subconsciously, I was aware that Anders was singing, but wasn't really listening to the words. When I did tune in, this is what I heard and what I saw: "Happy birthday to carrots. Happy birthday to carrots. Happy birthday to carrots. Happy birthday to carrots...."

Friday, December 5, 2008

Family Friday

Instead of doing a Flashback Friday (which I've obviously been terrible at), I've decided to do a Family Friday (I think I can; I think I can). Each Friday I will go over some of the most interesting, inspiring, shocking, heart-warming "family" things that I've discovered over the course of the week as I've researched for my marriage defense blog. This will include short excerpts, links, and opinions.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, this fight is far from over. What's more, the Liberal Left owns the Internet while Conservatives are barely making a squeak. We need more people on the Internet, defending traditional marriage, making their voices and opinions heard, influencing the impressionable youth of our nation. We need more blogs linking together to surge to the top of search engine blog search results. We need more people to represent a strong front of religion and morality against a wave of irreligion and secularism. We need you. And you, and you, and you.

So, in honor of this pep talk, I'll refer you to a few more awesome pep talks I've read in the last couple of weeks:

Beetle Blogger: Voice of Our Actions
"The picture is growing clearer and those who stand on the side of traditional marriage give a gift we ought to prize with support. The time of blissful ignorance is over. It is necessary to raise our voices and be heard, to band together for strength and unity to withstand the bully tactics of the opposition."

Does My Vote Really Matter?: The Need to Keep Our Voices Heard
"Now is not the time to sit back just because one issue was voted in our favor. Now is the time to stand up with the other 6 million Californians and reach out across the nation. Our grassroots effort is not over... it has just begun!"

Latter-day Commentary: LDS Bloggers Making a Difference

"The last few weeks have been difficult in the Blogosphere as there have been so many negative articles and essays about the aftermath of Proposition 8. Is it just me, or does it seem like the national media coverage of this has been very slanted towards the civil rights side of the issue? I read so little about the moral side. That message isn't heard except in many of our LDS blogs.

Like Elder Ballard has said many times, we need to be the ones telling our story and defining what it is that we believe. I am grateful that Proposition 8 passed, just as I was when we worked so hard onProposition 22. But the resultant national dialog has been, quite frankly, a world of difference compared to what it was eight years ago when we went through this same battle.

I remain convinced that more LDS people need to join the online dialog. We are just getting started. There is much work to be done. Just visit some of the blogs of those who opposed proposition 8 and read what they have written about us. They do not understand us and they have said so. Let's give them more material, well written, well presented and shared widely."

And finally, one of the best marriage defense blogs I've found is one that has just recently made its debut....

The Kingfisher Column: A repository of news and information on family issues - provided by the people, for the people.

Here's one from Kingfisher: Prop 8 Umbrellas
"A recent demonstration at the Washington, D.C., LDS Temple produced interesting results. A small group of protesters gathered outside the temple grounds. They displayed their signs but did not block traffic. They did not deface any property or engage in any intimidating conduct.
When a rainstorm came up, sister missionaries working at the temple's visitor center...."

How's that for a cliff-hanger?

This site has it all: resource links, marriage news feeds, and regular opinion submissions. I'm even on their blog roll. Holla!

So, if you still don't know what to do, here are a few suggestions:

1. Start a family defense blog here. (It's super easy, I promise). Want tips? Don't hesitate to ask!

2. Join the DNA (Digital Network Army) and start receiving specific assignments each day.

3. Join the DNA Facebook Group to show your support for the growing DNA.

4. Educate yourself here.

5. Write to your elected representatives in support of marriage.

6. Express disgust with offensive, anti-religious tactics such as this, by commenting on reporting articles.

7. And/or take a couple minutes each day to comment on any number of pro-marriage and family blogs (check out our sidebar for options). Comments help to convey establishment and build rapport, encouraging blog-reader growth.

Happy reading...and, hopefully, crusading.

Bagel Family Photo Shoot

We have the coolest ward family! A couple weeks ago, due to a forecast of low ocean swells and poor surfing conditions, our good friend Bob Hansen (who, incidentally, Soren and Anders adore) called us up and sacrificed what turned out to be, contrary to forecasts, prime hang ten time when he offered to take our family pictures on a coveted Saturday morning. We jumped at the chance and, despite belligerent children who had me wishing I could yell at the top of my lungs - "Whose kids are these? Could you come collect your ragamuffins?! We are trying to do a couples photo shoot here." - we still managed to walk away with some fantastic pictures courtesy of photographer extraordinaire, BH. These pictures totally and completely represent the distinct personalities in our little family. You will notice that Soren is always with Daddy and Anders is always with Mommy. Soren is never anywhere near the water and Anders is constantly charging into the ocean like a football player charging at a quarterback for the sack. One of my favorites is the picture of the two boys on the rock where Soren is clinging to Anders and Anders is screaming in protest. It's so them.

After our photo shoot, Bob just handed me the compact flash card and basically told me to knock myself out. So, of course, I did. These are all his shots and my post-processing. Well, enough of this yakkity yak. You're probably eager to see the results, so, without further adieu, I give you my family....

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Unconventional Potty-Training Method

So, when I said it was a unique potty-training method, I meant it. About a week and a half ago, I got fed up with Buddha pooping in pull-ups and claiming that he couldn't get his poop to come out while sitting on the toilet. So, The Chief's mom gave us an idea. She said to make Buddha clean himself up after pooping. Well, I'm sure you can all imagine how messy that would be, so the first time I made Buddha do it, I commanded him into the shower. He doesn't like being distracted from playing, so the first couple of times showers were dreaded. However, after a few "accidents," he no longer cared that he had to get in the shower following a poopy diaper. He loved playing in the warm water, washing his little belly over and over again with "his" soap, running down our hot-water supply and running up our gas bill. So, of course, with my typical lack of patience I quickly became fed up with that, too. One day I said to him, "Buddha, we're changing things up. If you poop in your pull-up, you will get washed with cold water in the shower." I don't think he believed me because, sure enough, later on that same day my nose discovered him wandering around with a little present in his pull-ups. In the spirit of "don't threaten anything unless you're willing to follow through on it," I walked him straight to the shower and asked that he remove his clothes and poopy diaper. He refused. I counted to five. He still refused. Out came a quick burst of water. Buddha screamed. I closed the bathroom window and started counting to five again. Buddha still refused. Second burst of water found Buddha hastily stripping down to his skivvies. Poop went in the toilet and we wrapped up the episode by spraying down Buddha's tookus amid screams of indignation.

Now, don't judge. It sounds worse than it was. I actually didn't have the water on cold...room temperature works perfectly fine. And I didn't make him linger in the shower; I just kept the stream of water on him until all the poop had disappeared. After two or three cold showers, Buddha successfully pooped on the toilet and hasn't looked back since. With high-fives all around he is now wearing big boy underwear, waking up at night to poop and peep, and even learning to pull his own shorts back on after using the restroom. I am one ecstatic momma, let me tell you.

Moral of this story:

We really did try everything to get Buddha to poop on the toilet. We knew he could do it. Finally it came down to finding the right (translate: unconventional) method for our very unique child. He just needed enough motivation to try it once and get it right once. After that, it was all downhill. I can't believe it took me this long to figure out; Buddha has always responded well to firm discipline.

Now to figure out what will work for Bugga.... :0)

Monday, December 1, 2008

"Your skin is pale white and ice cold...."

Move over, Robert Pattinson!

There's a new Edward in town. Check out the "real deal."


Actually, for all you single ladies out there (I know there aren't many reading this blog, but...), meet my sexy, buff brother, Daniel. Oh, and did I mention that he's (ahem) SINGLE?! And, as noted by the picture above, he has a fantastic sense of humor. Thanks for indulging me, big brother.

For more sexy body shots from our beach and park photo shoots, click here.

And for some rockin' shots of my younger brother Joseph (sorry ladies, he's taken), click here.