Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Jill . . .

So, I've been remiss in blogging about Jill lately, my cute little bean.

Well, she turned 5 months old last week, and she is topping out around 18 pounds and approximately 16 inches long/tall. That means she's not quite as tall (in her age group) as she was last month, but she's still on the heavier side. She's pretty much just a very healthy girl!

She eats rice cereal about once a week and does all right with it. She doesn't hate it like some of her cousins have, but she still isn't quite sure how to eat it. She pushes a lot of it back out with her tongue, but she opens her mouth wide for the next bite!

When she was younger we gave her formula sometimes, so Jeff could help out and I didn't have to breastfeed in public (when I hadn't pumped), so Jeff's mom bought some for when she babysits Jill. Well, we gave some to Jill once two months ago and once last month, and she threw up both times. Not just spit up. Massive throw up. I had to take a shower after it one time, and we definitely both had to change clothes last time. Interesting since it didn't bother her when she was little, but she definitely doesn't seem to be a fan of it now. That's all right though. If I'm gone a short time, then rice cereal will work, and if I'm gone a long time, like for a temple trip or something, then I pump.

I used to wonder what the difference was between spit up and throw up. Now I know: the amount and the smell are the main differences for me!

Jill has been sleeping with a bear in her crib since we've been here in Cincinnati. (Thanks C Work!) She's never noticed it or given it the time of day. Then all of a sudden about three weeks ago, I walked in and she was holding it and playing with it. So cute! :) Some times she grabs its hair while she sleeps next to it. I'm just glad it's not my hair!

In her eagerness to be able to grab things these days, she pinches me sometimes. Hard. It hurts.

There were a few big changes last week. First of all, she has started noticing the pets and trying to get to them. The Colletts have one dog and three cats, and she is getting very interested in them now. She used to not notice them at all. I wonder if part of this is just her vision improving.

She scoots sometimes. She doesn't seem to know that she is though, because she doesn't do it consistently when she wants to get something, but every now and then she kicks those little legs when she's laying down, and she moves.

She is not a big fan of being laid down, kind of slanted, like she used to be. In her bouncer, car seat, and swing, she's always trying to sit up. Seriously. Abs of steel on that little girl. She does tons of baby crunches! She really likes sitting up these days, and sometimes she can stay up for quite a while on her own. It just depends on if there is something near by she wants to grab and lean toward.

Jeff also practices standing up with her a lot, too. She's doing pretty well at standing and holding on to her crib. (That's how Jeff is teaching her.) I'm not sure if I approve of that. (The standing in the crib.) Haha

She has really thick cheeks. Like when I put my finger in her mouth and pinch the inside and outside, it's thick. So, she looks like a little chipmunk sometimes when she spreads her mouth wide. She's pretty cute.

She's getting more hair in, but it's still very, very light, so she looks bald still. That's okay though. :) It is coming in kind of reddish still, so we'll see what happens there!

Her eyes have stayed blue, but they look almost gray sometimes. Again, we'll just have to wait and see!

I wish she would learn to smile for the camera. Then I could share cute smiling pictures of her.

Oh yes, she loves her binkie. She's been teething for about two months now, but no teeth yet. So, she's drooling all the time (and recently her nose has gotten rather plugged up). My favorite two things about the pacifier that I love is that it keeps her asleep better/puts her to sleep and it keeps her drool in her mouth. Whenever she's not sucking on her binkie, her clothes get soaking wet, but when the binkie is in, she keeps her saliva in her mouth. I love that. I don't like it when her clothes get wet.

Today she took a three-hour nap all by her lonesome, so that was fantastic. About twice a week, she'll let me lay her down for her naps. The rest she just wakes up immediately upon me putting her in her crib. She does still sleep through the night though. She goes down around 11:00 or midnight and then stays asleep until sometime between 8:00 or 10:00 the next morning. I'm excited for the time change to move her schedule up one hour. Yup. The only time I've ever been grateful for the time change. (Don't get me started on that!) Haha. I can't complain though! Only about once a week or less does she wake up in the night, around 5:00 or 6:00, and then she always goes right back to sleep after I feed her. Fantastic!

So, life is very good for baby girl Collett.


P.S. Has anyone lost a watch? One appeared in my diaper bag a few weeks ago. I assumed it was Jeff's and never looked at it until the other day. . . . It's not Jeff's.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Finally!

Finally! A movie has come out that I want to see!

Review of Bright Star
(You might consider this trailer containing spoilers, if you don't know the history of Keats. If you do remember learning about Keats in English classes, then I don't think there is anything in the review that would spoil the movie for you.)

Trailer for Bright Star

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Victory Dance buwahaha

Haha. Jeff and I were talking about blogs of some of our friends, and I mentioned one of our friends had put up a bunch of posts recently. He said, "Yeah, I just glanced through. Sometimes you women babble. I'm just lookin' for the pictures."

Well, this post would disappoint him.

No pictures. (Although this would be a good place to put a picture of a cute little kid sticking his tongue out, but then it wouldn't work, now would it? Wouldn't want to defeat my own purpose.) Ahem. Back on topic.

Oh yeah, and I'm sorry about the babbling. ;) Jeff says I babble on my blog.

Victory Dance!

So, I'm not fat or anything, but I am larger than I once was (although right now I'm wearing a shirt that says 1999 on it, so that makes me feel kind of good) and I'm definitely less in shape than I once was. Blah blah blah excuses about having a baby blah blah. Really I'm just not motivated. I need a coach or something. A team. Anyway, that's not really what this post is about.

My friend Elizabeth from high school (remember the Reds game post?) is on a work soccer team and remembering that it's my favorite sport, she invited me to join. They had enough girls, but I made it so there would be a substitute (always a plus!). So, I eagerly/tentatively said I'd love to.

I was quite nervous though. No one likes looking like an idiot, and I wasn't too sure that I wouldn't end up just looking like an out-of-shape has-been.

Well, Jeff said I did look slow (and I agree), so I didn't exactly shine, but I did score a goal! Yay! :) Jeff and I didn't think it was going in, because it was a tricky angle and there was a defender right on me, but I sneaked it in! (Yes, sneaked. Not snuck. Look it up.) (Okay, "snuck" is gaining popularity and acceptance, but "sneaked" is more fun I think. Risen in status. That is language for you!)

So yeah. I feel like hot stuff. And it was really good exercise. I got really, really tired at the beginning. So tired that my gums started to hurt. (Weird, eh? Does that happen to anyone else?) But I got into the swing of things. I'm definitely not fast though. Sigh. Jeff just asked me why I don't run marathons like our friend Brooke. Haha. I'll work on it.

So yeah, I feel really good, and I'm so happy that my friend invited me to play. Soccer is definitely a sport that you have to know people to be able to play it. With other sports, like tennis or racquetball, you really only have to have one friend to play. Others require no friends at all. Like golf. Or swimming. You can do that friendless. Not as much fun though. Most things are more fun with friends.

In other news of my life, such as one of the reasons why I haven't been running recently, Jeff and I went to the library yesterday. I got four books. I read 3 1/5 of them. The fourth book wasn't that good, but I needed to know how it ended, so I just skipped to the end. Too much swearing and awkward things to read the whole book. So yeah, maybe if I could stop reading I would run more. Sigh. (I'm proud of you, Brooke! And of you, Ames! You ran a marathon a while back, too!)

So, once I get around to it, I'll have lots of good recommendations to put on here. :)

Sorry, no videos of my victory dance!

*Disclaimer based off of my sister's note: When I say marathon, I mean like an official run. I have no idea whether it is 5K or 50K. I just use the word marathon to mean running with a bunch of other people who are also running in an organized event, most likely that you had to pay for and later get matching shirts. I know. It's so imprecise of me who is usually precise.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Happenings


Well, it has been a full week (month!), but Jeff and I are finally back home. We were at my parent's house for a week, then we house and dog sat for a week, then we went to Muncie for my 5-year high school reunion, and spent the night in Indy at my brother's.

Phew!

The month is nearing its end, and we've only been in our beds about four nights I think. :)


So, the reunion. I ended up planning it, but there was no budget or time to plan a big event with tickets (so that there would be budget), so I went for something casual. It was a tailgate before one of our high school football games, and then we watched the football game. So, I did it all through facebook, and 51 people said they were coming and 72 people said they would maybe come. So, that sounds like a lot right? Haha. About 20 came. 


I really enjoyed myself though, because most of my best friends were there, and other people that I like but didn't keep in touch with were there as well, so it was nice to catch up.

My old gymnastics coach also coaches cheerleading now, so I got to see her again and that was fun. She couldn't believe I was married, has graduated from college, and had a baby! I felt like one of those insurance commercials: "Life comes at you fast!"

So, I am glad I went and had fun. Jeff probably would have preferred going golfing, but he was a good sport. Speaking of golfing, Jill has gone twice now. The first time, she and I just walked around the course with Jeff, and the second time we had a free cart! Score! Golf courses are so pretty. I love 'em!

Annibelle really looks like she's sizing me up in this picture. :)

Another highlight of the weekend was spending the night at my brother Peter's house. They have a lovely house, and Mindee is always adding all of these beautiful new touches. There are some new paintings and pictures up that I just loved. I also really admire the color choices she has made in the different rooms. (Peter may have helped—I don't know.)


On Saturday, we went to NUMA, a festival that was held in downtown Westfield, Indiana. It was small, but fun. They had a car show there, and this fire truck was Westfield's first fire truck from 1923! Unbelievable! :) There were also cars from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Two of them had never been restored but still looked great, so I guess they had very, very good owners.

Here are my two favorite pictures from the day!


 
If you want to see more pictures, I put them on Facebook. We missed the rest of us that weren't there, but we had a lot of fun together. Yay for family!

This video isn't funny or anything (although Annibelle does show off her dancing skills), so it's probably only of interest to my family. :) Enjoy!
video

New Baby!


One of my friends had a baby at the beginning of this month, and I've been sorely overdue at posting about it. Her baby is so beautiful, and he has so much hair! His name is Luis Santiago Arellano (named after his daddy).

She was over two weeks past her due date, so they induced her. Well, they tried. She went in Monday evening and ended up having a C-section Wednesday morning.

Definitely hard work, having a baby!



But here is her beautiful prize!
 

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Good Article

I receive many e-mail updates from different groups, and one of them linked me to this article that I enjoyed reading. No, Jeff and I are not having marriage trouble, but I think that any good marriage can be made better (likewise with any bad marriage—it can be made better). That's just my disclaimer, so no need to worry folks. :)

Now the article does have a mainstream Christian outlook (to death do us part) instead of a Latter-day Saint Christian outlook (sealed for all time and eternity), but the points are very strong and applicable in all marriages.

The article is from Focus on the Family.

God's Design for Marriage

Find the key to making your marriage flourish — just as God designed.

It's easy to think that only "other people" get divorced. That your own marriage is somehow immune to heartache, infidelity and fights over who gets the house, the car, the dog. After all, how many of us would walk down the aisle if we believed our relationships would end up in divorce court?

Truth is, no relationship comes with a lifetime guarantee. Even men and women who grew up in stable homes, who attend church and consider themselves Christians, who promise "until death do us part," can have it all fall apart.

As Christians, we know that applying biblical principles to marriage will give us a stronger foundation than those of our unbelieving friends and neighbors. We know this, but what are we doing about it? In other words, what makes a marriage "Christian"?

According to author Gary Thomas, we're not asking the right questions. What if your relationship isn't as much about you and your spouse as it is about you and God?

Click here to read the rest of the article.

It is worrisome when people go into dating trying to find their soul mates rather than finding someone with whom they are willing to make the journey. Soul mates, I believe, are made not found. Only through years of experiencing joys, heartbreaks, and growth does someone become a soul mate.

I also agree that the most important relationship in a marriage in a person's relationship with God, because when that relationship is your focus, then your marriage relationship falls into place harmoniously.

I fully believe in the goodness of marriage counseling when you and your spouse encounter problems that you cannot solve alone. And I know that any marriage can succeed when both partners make it their top priority.

I know that the greatest happiness on earth can be found in a marriage, and while it is not always smooth sailing, the sacrifices you make in your marriage will pay out huge dividends of joy in the end.

This brings me to another point. I was going out with the missionaries and during an appointment a friend of an investigator of the church asked about our beliefs. She said she had been taught in a religion class at college that we believed (in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) that women could only make it to heaven with a man. She asked if that was true.

Of course it is true. Sadly though, her teacher never mentioned the other half of the truth: that man likewise can only make it to heaven with a woman.

And of course when we say "heaven" in this context, we are talking about the highest degree of the celestial kingdom, exaltation.

I thought it was very irresponsible of a professor to say something like that and leave out all of details and the other side of the equation.

Husbands and wives need each other.

If you're not sure what I'm talking about and would like to know more, here is a great resource for you: Click me!

On a side note: What a beautiful website we have that I've never seen before! Click here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

And for something cheerful

Here is a cute video from last night. We obviously still need a lot of work on Jill's hand-mouth-eye coordination. Her depth perception could use some work as well. I just think she looks so cute when she head dives for the bottle with her crossed eyes and wide open mouth. :)

video

Today had a new experience for me. I took my friend Anayancy, who had a baby two weeks ago, to the WIC office to get her baby signed up. (By the way, what a great program!) Our appointment was for 9:30, and we got there at 9:15. Sounds reasonable right?

Yeah. We finally got in to see the dietician (How weird. Blogger prefers the spelling dietitian. I just checked, and it is listed first in the dictionary, but I still prefer dietician.) at 11:05. So, we had been waiting there for almost two hours.

Well, you know what happens in my life every two hours. Yup. Feed Jill. So, thus far in my life as a mom, I have breastfeed in various places: the car, other people's houses, the mother's lounge at church, etc. I have never done it in a public place before, public like a waiting room. Well, I couldn't go to the car and miss our turn, because I had to translate for Anayancy. (Wow, I wish I remembered more of my Spanish.) And I remembered one of my friends telling me that she had checked and it is not against the law to breastfeed in a public place in Ohio. (I wonder if there are states where it is. Anyone know? I should not live there.) :) So, I summoned my courage and breastfeed Jill. I didn't expose myself in any way, just slipped her under my shirt pretty much and then covered her head and myself with a burp cloth (today would be the one day I don't have a blanket in the diaper bag).

I had looked around and no other babies were nursing, but Jill was crying and hungry, and what's a mom to do?

Before I finished though, Anayancy had to nurse Santiago (which translates into James somehow. Interesting.), and another mom across the room was nursing as well. So, I had some comrades in the end. :)

Then I looked up and saw a huge, huge (or ginormous, if you will, which is apparently official. It's in the dictionary now.) banner. I have no idea how I missed it before, but there it was, larger than any of the signs that I hadn't missed. It pronounced that I was in a "Breastfeeding Friendly Zone."

So, I guess I wasn't as brave as I thought.

But still it was a milestone for me. I was way outside of my comfort zone, and I survived and Jill was happy.

Have you breastfeed in any bizarre places? Closets? Parks? Oh. I guess I have haha had Jill nurse in the outdoors before. When we were moving from our old apartment, it was full of cleaning fumes, so I didn't want to go inside with Jill. So, my sister and I sat on the bench outside of my neighbor's apartment, and Jill nursed there on the balcony of the second floor level. That was an interesting experience as well.

As a mom, you've got to do what you've got to do though. But still, I feel like I grew a bit as a mother today. And there wasn't much else I could do except not feed Jill, which obviously would not work for her. You can't reason with a baby. :)

Remember that Bill?

Remember my post back in July about Ohio HB 176? Click here if you want a refresher.

So, that bill passed in the House. Now it moved to the Senate. My representative, Joseph Uecker, voted no on it. So, I just sent him an e-mail thanking him for doing so. You can e-mail your representatives too, letting them know whether you agree or disagree with how they voted.

Here is information from the group Citizens for Community Values about Ohio HB 176.

Ohio House votes to take away freedom of religion and other constitutional rights; How did your Representative vote?

HB 176 moves to Ohio Senate

COLUMBUS, OH – Yesterday, September 16, 2009, the Ohio House of Representatives, by a margin of 56 to 39, voted to deny Ohio business and property owners their basic constitutional right to make decisions based on their personal religious convictions. The bill also lays aside personal property and freedom of association rights.

HB 176, the deceptively entitled “Equal Housing & Employment Act,” would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the list of protected classes under Ohio’s civil rights laws. Such an addition would be in contradiction to guidelines clearly established by our nation’s courts.

To qualify as a “protected class” under civil rights law our courts appropriately and consistently have maintained that a class must exhibit all three of the following criteria:

  • They must exhibit an unchangeable, non-behavior-based characteristic, such as skin color or gender.
  • They must have experienced a history of discrimination resulting in economic deprivation.
  • They must lack political representation.
Those who identify themselves by their sexual orientation, as well as those who are confused about their gender identity, do not qualify under any of these criteria.

To many employers and property owners across Ohio, the behaviors associated with homosexuality and other sexual orientations are contrary to God’s creative plan for mankind and thus morally wrong. Both our federal and state constitutions guarantee the right of conscience to make decisions based on such deeply-held religious convictions. The bill passed by the Ohio House would deprive Ohioans of that fundamental liberty.

As homosexual activists have clearly stated in their own organizational documents, the true purpose that drives legislative efforts such as HB 176 is not anti-discrimination. Rather, the stated goal of homosexual activists is to force complete societal acceptance of such lifestyles and behaviors. The Ohio House of Representatives moved homosexual activists one step closer to that goal through this disappointing vote.

For the Record

Below are lists of the YES and NO votes by each House member on HB 176. Please find your Representative below and click on the link to send a message of THANKS or DISAPPOINTMENT. Not sure who? Click here first.

Voting YES were (Republicans) Blair, Dolan, Hite, Lehner, and McGregor. (Democrats) Belcher, Bolon, Book, Boyd, Budish, Brown, Carney, Celeste, Chandler, DeBose, DeGeeter, Domenick, Dodd, Driehaus, Dyer, Foley, Garland, Garrison, Gerberry, Goyal, Hagan, Harris, Harwood, Heard, Koziura, Letson, Luckie, Lundy, Mallory, Moran, Murray, Newcomb, Okey, Otterman, Phillips, Pillich, Pryor, Sayre, Schneider, Skindell, Slesnick, Stewart, Sykes, Szollosi, Ujvagi, Weddington, B. Williams, S. Williams, Winburn, Yates, Yuko. Click here to send a message.

Voting NO were (Republicans) J. Adams, R. Adams, Amstutz, Bacon, Baker, Balderson, Batchelder, Blessing, Bubp, Burke, Combs, Coley, Daniels, Derickson, Evans, Gardner, Goodwin, Grossman, Hackett, Hall, Hottinger, Huffman, Jordan, Maag, Mandel, Martin, McClain, Mecklenborg, Morgan, Oelslager, Ruhl, Sears, Snitchler, Stautberg, Stebelton, Uecker, Wachtman, Wagner, and Zehringer. Click here to send a message.

HB 176 now moves to the Ohio Senate where the bill is expected to receive much greater scrutiny and evaluation.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Comments and Looking Back

I was reading another blog, where the author mentioned receiving 40 comments on a post, saying that was a new record for her.

Wow. 40. That seems like a huge number to me!

I just scrolled through my old posts (in the edit posts function), and I maxed out at 15. The most commented on post was when I had Jill. The second-to-most commented on post was when I announced I was pregnant. That makes sense. :)

I do like my good ol' statcounter though. It lets me know that people are visiting even if they don't comment. I know that sometimes you might not have anything to say. My posts are apparently often not thought-inspiring. And that's okay, since it's usually a very selfish blog and all about me and my life. :) Hey. It's my blog!

On another line of thought . . . I just switched my settings to the new features of creating new posts. I think I like it. I'm getting used to it at least. Once I'm completely acclimated, I'm pretty sure I'll love it. And if not, they do let you go back to the old way, so that's handy. Friendly, even.

I really need to go to bed!

But one last thing. :)

I looked to see what I was up to on Sept. 15 of last year, and lo and behold I did have a post from last year on this date (three actually!).

Here's what I thought was interesting on Sept. 15 in 2008.

I didn't post on Sept. 15 in 2007 or 2006, but here's a taste of 2005. Funny that I have the same haircut right now. :)

And I didn't post on Sept. 15 in 2004 either, but I did post on Sept. 30, and I thought it was interesting how utterly different my life is now from then. So, if you're really bored, here ya go!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cool, cool

One of my friends with a cool blog shared some of her favorite blogs with me, and I want to share them with you. :)

This post I have linked is from the blog: The Chocolate Chip Waffle.

What no parenting book will ever tell you
"A friend of mine is thirty-six. She lives in the San Francisco area in a lovely craftsman style home with her husband and some cats. She teaches composition at a community college. She is all at once brilliant, kind, and pretty.

She is fence sitting on the issue of having children, if at all. She doesn't feel ready. Part of me wants to take her by the hand and show her the way.

But how can I show her, really? That children are life's lesson. The lesson. That children, despite drippy diapers, late night teething, and Kindergarden homework, teach you more than any college degree, book, or library of books?"

Click to continue reading . . .



Haha. And her other favorite blog was pretty awesome, too. She definitely has good taste. :) It's My Real Life Was Backordered. Here are a few clips from one of her posts:

Digging Out
"We've gone beyond "cluttered". Even "filthy" packed its bags and quit without giving notice.

You know those pictures on the news of those poor communities in Central America that were constructed entirely of hardened mud so when the big earthquake hit, the houses sort of collapsed in a dusty heap, like maybe they were all playing the architectural equivalent of 'Ring Around the Rosy'?

My house envies those houses. My house wants to be those houses when it grows up."

. . .

"I've been gone for nearly a week, visiting family and dropping off my daughter at BYU-Ihatemyroommates. Since I left Rexburg I've received no fewer than two-point-eight million texts from Vanessa, all variations on a theme of "Where did I pack that cyanide capsule?"

I didn't even realize there was such a thing as a "throwing yourself under a bus" emoticon.

The things you learn when your kids go to college."

. . .

"Lord have mercy if I should happen to need a bathroom break during the night. Indiana Jones had an easier time reaching that Cave o' Grails than I have reaching my water closet.

So, naturally, I'm blogging about it instead of, you know, cleaning. I have long held that housework was for the unimaginative, a philosophy which has served me well until this week."

To read the full post, click here.

I hope you enjoyed those three blogs as much as I do. :) Feel free to leave a comment with any other blogs you recommend. I love reading!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Recent Thoughts

I've had a lot of emotions churning within me recently from several events: thoughts from the lesson I gave in Relief Society today on friendship; reflection on the fragile, temporary nature of our existence; gratitude for the well-being of my family; and sorrow for the tragedies that others have faced.

Through it, I have found some inspirational messages, interesting thoughts, and important causes.
_____________________________________________

"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: 'What! You, too? Thought I was the only one.'" —C. S. Lewis

While no one on this planet can know exactly how I am feeling, I take great comfort from knowing that I don't go through trials alone. My Savior Jesus Christ has suffered them all with me, and my friends who mourn when I mourn share a part of my sadness. I am never alone.
_____________________________________________

Inspiring Article
Blessed by adversity: Utah man refuses to wallow in past
by Lee Benson Deseret News | Published: Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2009
"Life. It throws change-ups. And nobody is exempt. No one wins them all. Or were you not watching what happened to Tiger Woods on Sunday?

Gary Ceran has seen his share of ups and downs. He's lost three children to cancer. He's lost twins to premature birth. He's lost businesses to the economy. And that was before his wife Cheryl and children Ian and Julianna were killed when a drunken driver plowed into the family car on Christmas Eve in 2006.

Only Gary and son Caleb and daughter Clarissa survived—all that remains of the family that could have been, should have been, 11.

I ran into Gary Ceran this past week. Almost literally. I was walking around a downtown corner, and there he was in the middle of the sidewalk, offering me a free Italian ice sample.

Click to Continue Reading

So that to me is an amazing story of forgiveness.
______________________________________

The important cause that I was thinking of is organ donation. Why not turn your personal tragedy into someone else's miracle?

I was lead to the story of Paul Cardall from one of my friend's blogs. He was born with a congenital heart defect and lived to be 36 years old before he received a heart transplant, making him the oldest person in Utah to do so. (He's still alive.) He's a talented musician as well, and he made this video to increase awareness.

It is interesting how I never really thought about heart problems before. I was naively under the impression that babies were born healthy. However, I have two friends with babies who both have heart problems and a niece with a heart problem. That has awakened me to the knowledge of a grief that I have not experienced, but that I can partially feel as I pray for those babies and their families.

This video was created by Paul Cardall. (Musician website. Personal blog.) He composed and played one of the songs in the background music. One of my friend's babies is featured.



The video is wider than my posting width. You can click here to view it on youtube, where it fits.

Please take a moment to be grateful for the blessings in your life. I am grateful for the knowledge that life does not end with death, for the understanding of eternal families, and for our Brother who can heal our pain.

Welcome Back (not quite) Home

Jeff and I are house and dog sitting this week, so we're back, but not really. :)

It has been a lot of fun so far. One of the pluses is the bed. Amazing. Actually, two beds. At first I wondered why they slept on two twin beds instead of a king or queen, but then I discovered that the beds are special hospital beds. So, right now, the part under my back is totally reclined, and my feet are a bit elevated as well (because Jeff was playing around with the buttons). Fantastic, yes? And, it is amazing. Jeff's back almost always hurts him, but not on these beds! It's so amazing. I know I keep saying amazing, but these mattresses are. We definitely can't afford beds like these, so it's way nice to live the dream for a bit.

She's getting so big!

Along with the house are three dogs. Yup, three. There is an older dog named Isis; she's white. Then there is Auggie, who is different shades of brown and probably four or five years old.

Then there is Zachary. He's only about four months old, and he's black. He has lots of energy! He's also not potty trained. So, he's either in his crate or outside, or we're following him around the house to make sure he doesn't go potty inside. We learned that lesson quickly! You gotta watch him. :)

The dogs are so cute, but it is definitely a lot to have a baby and three dogs. Jeff's parents' dog, Sammy, pretty much just ignores Jill, unless she's crying. Then he gets concerned about that.

Well, Isis ignores Jill, but the other dogs do not. They seem to think she's pretty great and want to lick all over her. I left the bedroom door open today, and before I could do anything, Auggie (a rather big dog) had jumped on the bed on top of Jill.

That was a little scary, but no harm done. Auggie doesn't bite or anything. He's just a licker. Luckily, none of his paws landed on Jill. Lesson learned to keep the door closed or to hold Jill.

Although, Auggie and Zach will jump up with their front paws on me even if I am holding Jill.

I hope the dogs are allowed on the bed, or I'm in trouble. ;)

This experience is making me excited for when I have a dog some day, but it is making me rethink it a bit. I think I might wait until my kids are a bit older, when they can enjoy having the dog around. My niece Hallie loves the doggies, so I know it won't be too long until Jill can enjoy dogs. But it's a bit much to have dogs and infants.

Jeff says (jokingly, I hope) that he no longer wants a dog. I think he's kidding though. He was pretty cute with them today. We sat outside, and he kept trying to play fetch and other games with them.

This is a really cool "neighborhood," if you will. I hesitate to call it that, because you'll think of something that it isn't really. It's isolated but still a community. The houses are in a deep woods, so I can actually only see a bit of one other house when I'm outside, and you feel like you're all alone in the country. It's pretty cool. It reminds me of my grandparents' cottage in Vermont. :)

Along with (or because of) the woods, we get animals. So far, I've seen three deer and two bunny rabbits, as well as countless squirrels. I was driving at night the other day (late night run to Kroger's for diapers), and I was really worried about hitting a deer. The deer here are definitely not concerned about cars and humans at all.

Here is a video of Jill sticking her tongue out. I'm sorry it is so dark! :) I turned one lamp on during the video, but that didn't seem to help too much. Oh well.

Jill started sticking her tongue out last week when we were at my parents' house. Jeff was saying "dada" to Jill with no response, so he stuck his tongue out at her. She then mimicked him and stuck her tongue out! After a while of them sticking their tongues out at each other, Jeff started blowing raspberries, making "thpbth" noises if you will. Haha. She again mimicked him, but not quite like last time . . . She farted instead. Haha. It sounded pretty similar!
video

Friday, September 11, 2009

Nieces and Nephews

The grand count is 4 nieces and 0 nephews.

The exciting news is, we're going to have a niece #5!!!

Whoops!

I forgot to cite my source. The text in my previous post is from Family Watch International, http://www.familywatchinternational.org/fwi/.

Contact President Obama

Federal Abortion Funding Showdown Coming!

We MUST Put the President Clearly on Record to Save Innocent Lives!

In his address to a joint session of Congress Wednesday night, President Obama appeared to oppose any federal funding of abortion. He said, “Under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions.” That may not be accurate, and we urgently need your help to get him to clarify exactly where he stands on this issue.

The problem is that the president has only said that in his plan there will be no federal funding. But he has not even presented a detailed plan to Congress, which is already far along in drafting legislation. It is certain that even in the best of circumstances he will not get his plan enacted by Congress exactly as he outlined it in general terms last night.

Members of Congress have their own ideas about what should be in the health care legislation, some of which are contrary to the president’s wishes. Many of these will undoubtedly find their way into the final version of whatever health care legislation is passed.

One of those key differences is likely to be federal funding of abortion. For example, the leading bill in the House, H.R. 3200, specifically states that federal funds will be used to perform abortions. It is important to know that some members of the committee drafting this bill offered several amendments to specifically prohibit federal funding of abortion, and they were defeated.

So the threat is very clear and very real.

We MUST put the president clearly on record as stating unequivocally that he will not sign any bill that provides for federal funding of abortion in any way, directly or indirectly.

We know that he is willing to take such clear stands on some other issues. For example, he also said last night with respect to how to pay for any health care bill that “I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period.”

We MUST get an equally clear and unequivocal statement on abortion funding. If he were to make such a statement, it would remove from the debate in Congress one of the most divisive and controversial issues that will have to be dealt with. Without it, he can easily sign a bill presented to him by Congress that includes federal funding of abortion and still maintain that he personally does not support it.

But the only way he will take such a stand is if enough Americans contact him and demand that he do so.

This is why we are urging you to please contact President Obama today and ask him to state clearly and unequivocally that he will not sign any bill that would allow any possibility that your tax dollars be used to fund abortions, either directly or indirectly.

We make it easy for you to do this through a special feature on our Web site where you can send a suggested message to President Obama.

This is likely to be the final showdown on federal funding of abortion. If we cannot make sure that none of our tax dollars are used to kill innocent children, we will see a massive increase in the number of abortions performed in the U.S. every year. And once federal funding starts, it would very difficult to ever cut it off.

There is so much at stake. Please act now to contact President Obama. Click here.

Sincerely,
Sharon Slater
Sharon Slater
Presiden

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Baby Monitors and Binkies

In my new life as a mother, there are two things that occupy my entire attention and focus: Jill and her binkie.

I am always on hyper alert as to how Jill is doing, where she is, who's holding her, if she's happy, etc. and as to where her binkie is. It is very important to know where it is and to know that it's not dirty.

Others do not share this sensitivity to pacifiers.

Jeff will hand me Jill, and I'll say, "oh where's her binkie?" He'll respond that he doesn't know. Then we'll have to go look for it.

Same with everyone else who holds her for me, pretty much.

I don't mind, haha. I just think it is funny that my personal orb of attention (or whatever) has expanded to include a small piece of plastic and whatever other materials make up the Nuk pacifier.

It is also kind of funny, because for the first month or two of her life, Jill hated the pacifier. She would have nothing to do with it. We kept putting it in her mouth though from day one, and it is so helpful, we've found. I know not everyone is an advocate of the pacifier, and that's fine. But I really appreciate its ability to keep Jill sleeping or to get her to sleep or to help her be happy when she's lying in her crib.

One of my friends recently had a baby and was told not to give her baby a pacifier until after 15 days at least. Which is interesting, because Jill had a pacifier (as I just mentioned) on the first day she was born. The nurses at our hospital joked (but somewhat seriously) that they disliked it when a baby was in the nursery to whom they weren't allowed to give a pacifier or a bottle, because then they had little to help when the baby was crying. So, we decided she could have a pacifier. Some say that giving the baby a pacifier right away might cause problems for the baby and breastfeeding. Maybe it can. I don't know. I only have one child in my experience. :) I definitely cannot speak for the average. I just thought it was interesting all the differences of opinion that exist. :)

Another baby product that has received my attention recently is Jill's baby monitor. In the past, it had only been used perhaps three times during the rare occasions that Jill was napping in her crib. Since her crib is in our "family room," I'm usually still in there when she is sleeping (if she'll nap in her crib). But a few times, she's been asleep in the crib when I've been upstairs eating or doing other things. So, it's only been used when I'm awake, because with the door open between the family room and our bedroom, we're only about seven feet away from each other. The baby monitor was not needed.

At my parents' house though, Jill has her own bedroom and we have our own bedroom, separated by two doors, a wall, and a hallway. So, we have been using the baby monitor when we're sleeping.

This has caused much stress on my part!

Haha. I never know how loud I should have it turned to, because I never turn it on until after I put her in there asleep, so she's not making any noise. When I'm awake that is not a problem, because the red lights come on when she's making noise even if the volume is down, but when I'm asleep, I won't be able to see the red lights. So I was always terrified it was too quiet. Sometimes I would turn it up really loud, just in case, but then the annoying static sounds (or whatever they are) would keep me awake, so I would turn it back down.

The other thing I have learned is that Jill makes a lot of noises in her sleep. The first night, I went in there unnecessarily twice, because I heard her through the monitor. When I got in her room though, she was fast asleep. Hehe. So cute. So, apparently when she and I are both sleeping right next to the monitor, I hear her better then when we're just a few feet apart.

It's kind of like when I sleep with her, except then I usually get woken up by flailing arms rather than cute little noises.

This morning was so sweet! I woke up and thought I heard noises in the monitor, but it wasn't crying. Jill was just babbling away to her self.

Be still my heart!

She's so stinkin' cute!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Good Times in Michigan

Jill became 4 months old two weeks ago, and we started her on rice cereal. She seemed to be ready: she could hold her head up, had doubled her birth weight, made chewing motions, and was still hungry after numerous feedings a day.

One of the best parts is Jeff's involvement. I take the spoon every now and then, but pretty much it is always Jeff feeding her, and I think that is a lot of fun. He was involved when I would pump sometimes, but honestly I'm not the biggest fan of pumping. I don't know why I don't like it. Maybe I'm lazy. Regardless, I like the rice cereal.

It was so cute watching Jill's face as she tried to figure out what to do with rice cereal the first few times she has had it. (I think she's had it six times now.) She kept moving it around with her tongue, kind of like what in the world am I supposed to do with this?

Anyway. I think she looks pretty darn cute!

The Colletts at Pontiac Lake
There are some perks to me working from home and Jeff being unemployed. One of those is getting to visit our family. This is especially nice since we've been on the other side of the country for so long! We got to go up to Michigan and visit my parents this past weekend. Actually, we're still here. :) The plan is to stay until Thursday. I decided to start posting about it now though, to take advantage of the fact that Jill is napping in her bed. Or gone down to bed early for the night. It's 9:00 pm. Take your pick. ;)

Here is a video of my mom singing to Jill and Emily. Look closely, at the very beginning of the video, Jill has a huge smile on her face! :)
video

Well, I think we know where the blue eyes came from. :) Mom thinks she looks a bit mischievous in this picture. Definitely up to no good! Or all good. :)

It has been really wonderful to spend time with Mom with just my family around. I love being here with all of my siblings, but then there is a lot of Mom-sharing going on, so it is nice to have some times when I don't have to share Mom.

I really enjoyed having Mom help me with Jill's bath. I was able to see how she would do a lot of things with the bathing and diapering. I can kind of envision what it was like when I was a little baby, and Mom had to do everything for me that I do for Jill.

I'll tell you what, Jill definitely smells good after all of the steps Mom took on her during and after the bath. :)

Jill with her toes in the sand for the first time. We didn't go in the water. The summer here has been too mild for the lake to have warmed up enough for Jill to handle it. Baths are hard enough as it is, and they are with warm water!

Clean and precious after bath time.

Jeff and Jill in front of the lake.

Momma and Jill on the swing.

Rachel showed me how to make these shoes. She and Mom helped me with it as well. They turned out pretty cute, huh? Too bad Jill doesn't fit in them. Haha. I guess I'll either save them for an eventual daughter number 2 or give them to someone as a gift. I think they're cute.

Jill really just is too tempting for Emily.
Here is some live footage of the pool party.
video

To view more pictures of the fun we've been having, you'll have to check facebook. :)

I stole this picture from my mom's computer.
Jill and I were sleeping (not faking!) in this picture. :)

A truly interesting article

I am not saying that I agree or disagree with this article. I just barely read it, and I have not formed an opinion yet. I am saying that I found it very interesting to read, and it is making me think about things I have not before thought about.

Click here to read the article, "Generation Sloth," by Jeffrey A. Tucker.

One of the points the article made is about how minimum wage makes it impossible for those who would be willing to work for less (and who don't have the skills to make them deserve more money) to garner employment. If I am not very good at cleaning but am willing to clean for $4 and someone is willing to pay for mediocre at $4, it is against the law, because I have to receive minimum wage. I don't know if that is a bad thing or not, because even now a person can't really live on minimum wage, but should they be able to? Surely some money received is more than nothing. Perhaps people should be paid what their services are actually worth. Maybe. I don't know. I know I like receiving as much money as possible when I work. That I do know.

Another point the article brought up was about how college graduates are now taking jobs teenagers use to have, such as working retail. College graduates finish school with knowledge but little experience, and few employers seem to want to be the one to give the person his or her first experience.

Jeff and I are definitely finding that to be true. He did three internships in college, but most of the jobs he is applying for are asking for 5 years minimum experience, and some of them ask for even more than that. How is he ever supposed to get 5 years of experience if no one will hire him in the first place?

I don't know.

Every day it gets closer to looking like he'll just have to take a job, any job, so that he can have one and start earning money. However that job would be unrelated to his major, so it wouldn't give him the experience he is lacking, and then he'll never get the experience, and he'll have spent the last few years honing his skills and learning about his desired field just to never be able to join it. How many people do you know are not able to use their college education? I mean, how many people have degrees in topics that have nothing to do with their occupations? Obviously, I understand that many people do get to work in what they studied, but I'm wondering what the relation is. Do 90% of people get to? 20%? Of course some people decide they don't want to stay in that field after receiving a diploma, so that skews the numbers a bit.

Another point brought up in this man's article is that we currently have the highest unemployment rate for teenagers. Now this could be part of the overall recession, but with even more adults looking for jobs as well and college graduates taking jobs teenagers once had, I have to wonder if that unemployment rate will go down after the recession ends.

Another point that I am thinking of just from all these other musings is how college educations have changed. Back in the day, I'm talking hundreds of years ago, universities really only offered classes in the arts. You could study literature and philosophy, for example.

You could not study, as an example, facility management or construction management. Those skills were learned entirely in the work place. People spent years working in the underdog positions and worked their ways up to management positions. Now people are receiving college educations and expecting to be able to skip all the years in the lower positions. They have studied the techniques, the processes, the best way to do things that others have garnered from their years of experience. It seems reasonable to me that they should be able to skip the years. They've learned from other's experiences (their professors). But then I also wonder if education can ever replace personal experience. Can it? I don't know. It's unfortunately not possible to live two lives to find out. ;)

I have been doing a lot of family history recently, and I was reading about my great-great grandpa. He was a lawyer and a judge on the Washington Supreme Court. He never graduated from college. He took a year or two in school studying ministry, then changed his mind and studied law for a year. He ran out of money, dropped out of school, and started working for a lawyer. He took the bar exam and passed and became a lawyer himself.

Could that happen today? I'm pretty sure it couldn't. Is it good or bad that it can't happen today?

I have no idea. I am just bringing it up, because I think it's very interesting.

I would like to hear your opinions or thoughts as well, because I bet they're interesting, too.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Perspective

I just want to take a moment to be grateful. I have a healthy, precious daughter who is just starting to figure out how to sit up for longer than five seconds. I have a playful husband who loves me, puts up with me, and wants to be with me for eternity.

I have a father who would honestly do anything for me. I have a mother who has been the best role model for motherhood I could have ever wanted.

I have parents-in-law who so selflessly support us during this difficult time and give us a place to call home.

I have a sister is who is my perfect best friend. I have brothers who think I'm pretty great.

I have friends and best friends who cheer me up on sad days and rejoice with me on the good ones.

I have a knowledge of the true and everlasting gospel, and I know the commandments I need to keep and the steps I must take to return to our Heavenly Father.

All in all, life is pretty wonderful. Perhaps instead of thinking "why me" when bad things happen, I should think "why me" when good things happen. And then I should strive to live in a way that will provide adequate answers to the question of "why me" when good things happen. Sad things happen to "good" and "bad" people a like, but I might as well do all I can to deserve in a small way the good things that do happen. And perhaps in trying to be good, I can become a good thing that happens in someone else's life.

Thank you to all you wonderful people who have made my life so amazing. Thank you for being my blessings.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Unfortunate

I would much rather post cute pictures of Jill on here, but every now and then something comes up that I feel I must promote awareness of in any way I can. Please read the following and if you agree with what you read, please click to support by adding your name to the letter they are sending out.

The following is from Family Watch International.

Help Us Stop the UN from Sexualizing Children

According to a report recently issued by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), children as young as five have a “right” to learn about sexual pleasure, masturbation and homosexuality, among other things.

As I explain below, we need your help to stop this radical UN document by supporting a letter we will be sending to all UN delegations.

One of the main authors of the UNESCO report, “The International Guidelines on Sexuality Education” is Nanette Ecker, of the U.S.-based Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), an organization notorious for pushing inappropriate and explicit sex education in schools across the U.S. The publication was a collaboration of many UN agencies including UNESCO, UNICEF, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the World Health Organization (WHO).

One of the most dangerous concepts promoted by the document, which is intended to drive sex education programs used in schools across the world, is that “Sexual behaviours can be pleasurable and without risk of unintended pregnancy and STIs including HIV.”

Another example of a dangerous concept is this objective for 12 year olds: “Contraceptives and condoms give people the opportunity to enjoy their sexuality without unintended consequences.”

It is unconscionable that UN agencies are encouraging children to engage in sexual behavior while telling them there is no health risk. Especially since they know that sexually active children will likely engage in sexual intercourse and that even if they engage in so called “protected” sex, condoms fail and pregnancies and deadly sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS are the result.

Much of the document promotes “respect” for “sexual and gender diversity” and “people with diverse sexual expressions,” and it encourages ministries of education to “consult with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups.”

It also states that “teachers are likely to be the most skilled and trusted source of information” and “have a responsibility to act in the place of parents”

However, of most concern is the document’s systematic promotion of masturbation to children beginning at age five. In fact, Floyd Godfrey, LPC, whose specialty is treating youth with sexual addictions stated: “After working with hundreds of clients with sexual compulsions, I have seen masturbation as the most common symptom of sexual addiction. It is also the most common compulsive behavior for teenagers who later develop addictions. Instructing young children in sexual behavior is abusive. Although some young children encounter masturbation as they grow up, this does not give adults license to teach them how to perform sexual acts. It is inappropriate and against the law to teach young children sexual behavior.”

Here are some excerpts from some of the “learning objectives” in these guidelines:

Learning Objectives for Level I (ages 5-8)

  • Girls and boys have private body parts that can feel pleasurable when touched by oneself
  • It is natural to explore and touch parts of one’s own body
  • Bodies can feel good when touched
  • Touching and rubbing one’s genitals is called masturbation
  • Masturbation is not harmful, but should be done in private

Learning Objectives for Level II (ages 9-12)

  • Both men and women can give and receive sexual pleasure
  • Health risks associated respectively with safe and legal abortion, and with illegal and unsafe abortion
  • Many boys and girls begin to masturbate during puberty

Learning Objectives for Level III (ages 12-15)

  • Respect for the different sexual orientations and gender identity
  • Both men and women can give and receive sexual pleasure with a partner of the same or opposite sex
  • Everyone is responsible for their own and their partner’s sexual pleasure and can learn to communicate their likes and dislikes
  • Access to safe abortion and post-abortion care

Finally, under the definition for “sexual orientation” they list this example: “a man who becomes a woman and is attracted to other women would be identified as a lesbian.”

They believe this is the kind of thing children and teens need to learn in school.

We have told you in prior newsletters about explicit sex education manuals published by UN agencies such as UNICEF and UNFPA.

And now, this.

We must put a stop to it!

We have people in over 112 countries who subscribe to The Family Watch and who have signed the “I Stand for the Family Petition.”

I am calling upon each of you now to take a stand for the family by clicking here to join us and others around the world in signing our letter calling upon UN Member States to denounce these radical sex education guidelines.

We need thousands of people around the world to support this campaign for it to have an impact, so please pass this alert on to everyone you know, and ask them to join you in signing this letter online.

You have helped us protect the sanctity of the family at the UN before. It is time to do it again!

Sincerely,
Sharon Slater
Sharon Slater
President

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Jill *actually* laughing

In this video, Jeff is singing to Jill, and she is laughing. It's pretty cute, if I do say so myself. And this one is only a minute and a half, so no worries! :)
video

In addition to this new post, I just added six more posts with pictures and videos. They go back to Aug. 17 (I think) and are interspersed through my other posts. I just got behind on pictures. :) So yeah, if you're interested, they're there. :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Check it out

Okay, and check out this picture my sister found: Amy's blog.

Hahahaha

Close Call. Too Close.

One of my friends is a very good photographer and has some cool pictures on his blog right now. Well, he always does, but I specifically like these ones. I thought about downloading them and putting them on my blog to show you, but that felt a bit like thievery, so just click the link and go look at them. :) You won't be disappointed—they're pretty cool.

The Fooze

Sigh. Jill had a "sensitive" day. Sometimes she just cries. Screams and cries. And I don't know why. She did it today in the car. While I was driving through construction. I finally got out of construction, and we were going 40 (in a 45 zone). My phone rang. I looked down to pick it up and hold it, and when I looked back up, the car in front of me was at a dead stop because a car was turning left and there was no lane to get around it. I slammed on my brakes.

Seriously.

I used to think that I knew what it was like to slam on your brakes, but I didn't until today. I slammed on my brakes like I never have before. Slammed. The tires squealed and made that horrible smell, and the car even moved slightly sideways because of the force of slamming.

I was terrified.

I did not hit the car in front of me, a miracle for which I have thanked Heavenly Father about a thousand times.

It didn't phase Jill at all by the way. She continued screaming.

When I finally looked down at my phone again, I realized I had answered it, and I wondered if my friend had heard all the baby screaming and tire squealing. I just hung up on her, and we texted once I got home. She'll probably read this, and then I'll know if she heard it or not. :)

So, I got home after praying the whole way home about how grateful I was to not be in a wreck, and I was still pretty shaken.

Jill finally stopped crying after I held her for about two minutes being out of her car seat, so apparently the only problem was being in her car seat.

I go in and tell Jeff that I almost hit a car, and he says "I told you not to use your phone while driving." That, while being very good advice, is not something I ever remember hearing him say nor was it what I needed to hear. So I respond, "could you please just say that you're glad I'm alive and thankful I didn't get in an accident?" So he repeated what I wanted him to say. Then about a minute later, he said he was sorry and should have been more sympathetic. And I said that he was right, and I shouldn't look at my phone while driving or look away from the road in front of me at all.

So, all was well again in our world.

But now I'm thinking about it. I actually look away from the road a lot, and I've never had this close of a call before (or very close of any kind of call really). There are a lot of distractions while driving. Looking at the GPS map. Turning up the radio. Changing the AC/heat. Grabbing water. Eating. Searching for Jill's pacifier and driving with only one hand while holding the pacifier in her mouth.

How do you guys deal with distractions while driving? I'm starting to wonder if I should only drive with Jill if there is someone else in the car to take care of her.

Interestingly, I always tell Jeff to hand me his phone when he is texting or talking while driving, and he never does. Apparently I'm the one who needs to listen to my own advice.

So, I'm still a little freaked out by how the difference between life and death literally is only one second. That's it. One moment. One breath. One moment of distraction.

And, I really think that the road I was on needs to be widened. It's dangerous to have a road with a 45 mile an hour speed limit where cars have to come to a complete stop when someone wants to turn left. Give them a turn lane, please.

But I do know the real problem was me not paying attention.

So, I still have not gotten in an official accident, but I got very close today. And it was very scary.

(And friend, I'm not upset that you called me, and I'm sorry if I came off that way in this blog. It's my fault for looking down at the phone away from the road; not yours for calling me. Please continue to call me; I enjoy our conversations.)