Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I have so so SO much running through my mind right now, I don't know where to start. My grandma died on the 18th, just three days after 58 years of marriage to my grandpa. I am happy that she will feel no more pain; I am resting in the knowledge that she is at peace. I'm grieving, but gently. I'm sad and I miss her, but I have faith and hope that I will see her again. The thing that is hardest for me is thinking of her children and her husband--my grandpa, my aunts and my uncle, my mother--who are left to mourn. Of course I mourn, but I know that my mother's mourning, and the mourning of grandma's other children and husband, is so deep.

I'm still trying to process all that happened last week. Amongst any sadness, there was peace, and there were little reunions happening throughout. (Just the way my grandma would like it, I think. All of us together for Christmas!) I have been thoroughly and tenderly blessed to have seen all my sisters and my brother--my brother I saw four and a half years ago! While in the midst of something that can seem insurmountable, I have been lifted up and nurtured. Phill demonstrated throughout the last week how selfless he is, how protective and how helpful he is. I am blazingly proud to call him my husband. (Seven years yesterday!)

I am grateful, so grateful, to have felt personally the love of a Savior who sees fit to meet my needs through those around me. To Phill, I don't know how to thank you enough for the man you are. To Cara and Jenn, who sent me a sweet and hilarious video to make me laugh away the heaviness. To you blogging friends of mine who frequently email or comment to give support or encouragement, I hope you know how much that means to me. To my neighbors and dear friends Sarah and Merilee, you are angels in human disguise. To my sweet sisters, my tender & wise parents, my gentle cheerful brother--I am honored to be yours. My heart is full to overflowing.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

True Colors

Once in a blue moon, I get in a Martha Stewart mood. This usually means that I A) do something involving lots of attention to detail -OR- B) make something pretty, but ultimately useless. Today I made this really yummy Pumpkin Spice Bread, and then was in the mood to do a little bit of cleaning. That rarely happens--that is, it rarely happens that I'm cleaning and wanting to clean at the same time. :) Usually I'm grumbling the whole time and cursing my mess-making & procrastinating tendencies. Today, though, for some reason, I decided to tackle the grout in between our floor tiles. The grout has been dark and dirty since we moved in, and since I have not paid any special attention to it other than the (very) occasional mopping, it was begging for a good thorough cleaning. I heard from Awesome Sarah that baking soda would work, but then I also heard (on HGTV, Phill's most hated of channels....) that baking soda mixed with hydrogen peroxide was good, too. So this morning, In an effort to justify my procrastinating my workout, I tackled the floor with a toothbrush and my peroxide-soda mixture. (See how that works? I tell myself it's okay if I don't work out today because oh-look-how-clean-the-house-is....after three months of regular working out--that's right, I did it!--I'm having to muster lots of motivation.) The results were too great to pass up for a Before & After picture. And besides, I love a good Before & After picture.
Oh hi, Grout! At last your true colors are discovered..... After my puny only-doing-this-because-I-should workout, and after taking Reed to school, the Martha Stewart craze returned and I decided to make peppermint bark (this may be the fifth time I've done it this month) to bring to Reed's class, to whom I read Polar Express today. And I actually took pictures this time! And I'm posting the recipe! Aren't you just fall-off-your-chair excited? Heh.
Peppermint Bark
(Rae's way.....of sorts)

I searched online for a recipe, then just used what I found to do my own thing. As is often the case. There could be a better way to do this, a yummier way, an easier way, a prettier way--but ANYWAY, this is my way. :) This makes two to three batches--as in two or three cookie sheets full.

~Melt a block of chocolate-flavored almond bark*. (I don't know how much one block weighs--two pounds?) It works to microwave or to melt it in a double-boiler. I just nuke it.

~While the chocolate melts, crush three candy canes to powder, or to chunk-size of your preference.

~Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper or wax paper.

~Once the chocolate is melted, pour it onto the covered cookie sheet, spreading the chocolate to the size of the sheet. Sprinkle the top with crushed candy canes. Set in fridge, freezer, or outside to harden. (Outside is fastest.) Once it's hardened, just break it into nice big 3-inch triangles.

*I've tried this same method/recipe with one layer dark and one layer milk, one layer milk and one layer white, one layer milk with vanilla drizzles, one layer dark one layer milk and vanilla swirls, and as of today, a vanilla layer with the crushed peppermint and mini chocolate chips. I can't name a favorite. It's all good. One layer, two layers, dark-milk-white-vanilla--it's all good. Just play around. (I did dark with Hershey's special dark chocolate, milk with the almond bark, vanilla with vanilla-flavored almond bark, and white chocolate with white chocolate chips.)

And lastly. Owing to the fact that my grandmother took a dramatic turn for the worse, my mom and youngest sister arrived from Japan on American soil last Friday. All of us thinking a good-bye to my grandma was imminent or about to be missed, Phill practically sent me to Provo (by myself) to be with everyone. I went expecting to give support and comfort, expecting it to be a somewhat somber reunion of sorts, and mostly unsure of what I would find when I got there. But from a deep coma, my grandmother awoke, ensuring us a few more days of loving words and reverent remembering. As I write, she is still alive. She said things to me that fed my soul, said things that answered prayers only the Lord has heard. Being with my mother, sister, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousin was balm to my soul. I went to Provo expecting to give, and received more than I can begin to tally.

That isn't all. On my way home Monday, I found myself in swirling, blinding snow the last hour of the trip. The moment I hit that wall of white, I began to shake from head to toe, and started to pray.
I'm not at all confident when driving in the snow, and frequently ascend to a barely-managed hysteria when it even begins to snow as I'm on the road. This wasn't the worst I've ever been in, but it was awful.

Well, I wasn't left to assume the difficult last hour and thirty minutes by myself. I was absolutely not alone. I felt very tangibly protected. And a very heavy vehicle in front of me--what were you, Nevada license-plate number 35035T? A tow truck? A plow?--just happened to be going the perfect speed for me to follow, as if it were my guide. Well, it was, really. I could see where patches of ice were, because he went before me, sliding only a little here and there, which acted as a warning to me when I needed to be especially mindful of the ice. He carved out a path for me to follow. His lights were my reference point, the sentinel for my tear-filled eyes. Later on, a semi ambled along behind me, providing yet another way for me to measure the distance and eye the road, making me feel less lost in all the white.
I'm certain that the truck in front of me realized that he was helping me, and I'm so grateful that he didn't mind. As I took my exit, trembling with relief, I saw him change lanes as if to say goodbye, my job is done.

There are so many more things I could say, more miraculous blessings I could write about--but so many of them are too sacred and too dear to me to write here. And somehow when I try to put words to it, to tell Phill or Abby, the words pale in comparison to the actual happenings.

I happened upon this scripture yesterday, and it made me laugh out loud because it is so appropriate to how I'm feeling as of late, and it is the appropriate ending to this post:

Alma 26:16
Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Picture of a picture-taker's family: Attempt I

It is infinitely harder (for me, at least) to take good family pictures of my own family than it is to take good family pictures of someone else. (Did you get all that?)

First, I make the huge mistake of building this perfect, beautiful image in my mind, prompting me to exhibit incredible crankiness as I dress the kids before we go--already buckling under the pressure I've put on myself.

Second, I almost never choose the right outfit for myself. Sure, my children might look darling, Phill might look dashing as ever, but me? I forget all the things I like about great photography, and I wear something that almost inevitably reads horribly on camera. And third.....

....third. Once everyone else is positioned and ready, and my finger has irrevocably hit the shutter button--it happens:
I do something weird. Or dumb. Or awkward. Like.....oh, draping my arm over Phill's front, making it look as though my limb is as big as my head. Or smiling so hard that my cheeks look like they're full of a squirrel's winter supply. Or completely block out another person's head with my needs-to-be-thinned Hermione-big hair. OR jumping into the weirdest spot as if I have no time before the picture is taken, then freeze, not knowing how to change my position, even when I have a leisurely ten seconds still left. It's quite frustrating.

I don't know why I forget that it sometimes (often, Rae, OFTEN) takes more than one attempt when we're doing our pictures ourselves. I like taking them myself, because I love doing photography, and because when they turn out well, I'm very proud of my work....(go ahead and say it, I'm proud)....but then I give myself the burden of trying to be not only a good photographer, but also a good subject. And unfortunately, the good subject part eludes me until somewhere around Attempt III, and sometimes the good photographer part just doesn't kick in. Add to that difficulty my desire for family portraits that are colorful, demonstrative of our personalities, and maybe even a little imaginative, and that's one big job.

I'm posting this here so that I can look back and remember, when I'm annoyed, yet again, that I'm attempting to do something that may take some time.

Do all good things take time?!

It ought to comfort you to see just how normal we really are, should you subscribe to delusions that we are pristine and perpetually positive. (I don't intend to paint that false picture.) Savvy demolished the bow I had in her hair. DEMOLISHED it. I mean--took off the metal barrette part, pulled apart the ribbon--DEMOLISHED to the point that it wasn't wearable. (Take that, Mom! I'll show you to girly me up!)

When I did manage to do something halfway normal, I blocked out Reed's head a little or had to pretend it wasn't hard to keep squirming Savanna in my arms. :) Would you like to see some of our hilarious results of today? Actually, the ones of the kids were pretty cute, if I do say so.
(And I do.) Used some of Pioneer Woman's *FREE* actions, which are WONDERFUL! Enjoy the blooper reel, first off.

Ah, well. I can't look at those smiles and feel that I didn't get something good out of our first attempt tonight.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Temporary Rest

This last week was, hmmm, let me think......:

One long hyperventilating stretch of Busy.

I do make an effort to choose not to be stressed. But there are times that I just seem to drown in the ocean of Things to Be Done!

Monday was big. We had returned from our Thanksgiving trip to SLC the day before, so it seemed that our suitcases were exploded everywhere. Unfortunately they still are. A week later. We made a trip to Cedar, during which I wanted to visit Lara and Mandy and Kathy and Kim and about five other people. But I had to stick with the necessaries. Which meant: Going to pick up headbands and hats (Crafty Moms plug HERE) from Terre! Going to the eye doctor to pick up a sample pair of the right prescription. (I have been wearing the wrong prescription for a few months....I made my last sample ones stretch for several months after my last appointment a year ago. Shameful. Absolutely shameful. I cried when I put on the RIGHT samples. It's insane how different everything looks when you can really SEE!) Going to see my friend who had some herbal remedies tucked away for me as payment for several past photo sessions. (This was most definitely fun.) Eating dinner at Pastry Pub!! Oh, how I devoured that salad and sandwich....Then we went to the storage unit to pick up Christmas decorations, during which I clutched my Josh Groban Christmas CD to my chest and ran jittery from the spiderwebs I could feel in the darkness of that cement room. (ew) So we ended up spending four hours total in the car. Needless to say.....well, needless to say! You can imagine the scene in our car!

Tuesday was great--I had a photo shoot! (Will post soon) It was a gorgeous location and one gorgeous family--complete with many extended. :) I came home and (true to my word to Phill) stayed away from the computer right at first. But by about 7:00, I couldn't resist. I became a blissful zombie, editing away into the night, happy with glazed eyes, talking to myself the whole time.

Wednesday was spent very much on the phone, making phone calls necessary to my part in helping organize our ward's Christmas party. LISTEN UP: If you have ever had a part in planning your ward's Christmas party, MY HAT'S OFF TO YOU!!!! Time-consuming and energy-sapping. And it seems to take a village. Then I also had to make phone calls and had a meeting to plan our Family Readiness Group's Family Day (which happened today).

Friday was the ward Christmas party. I didn't really eat. I was too busy. I took pictures of the kids with Santa (coming soon, like everything else that is crowded on my front-burner right now), and made sure the music people were there and making music. :) Exhausting. But fun! And exhausting. (phew)

Saturday night, went with other FRG leader to shop for Family Day. Up 'til 1 making peppermint bark, which recipe--if you can even call it that--will be posted....you guessed it! Soon! I was only up 'til 1 because I was making enough peppermint bark--5 pieces chocolate and 5 pieces white choc./vanilla EACH--for 32 families. 14 batches. Hooray!

Which brings me to....today. I would much rather not have had Family Day today. Because this is Church Day for me. However--it was today. And my other FRG lady had to leave ten minutes after it started. So I was the lone sailor, trading the kids off between Phill and I, making sure everything was set up/organized/clean/put away/everything-everything-everything.....my feet ache.

But guess what? This week is done. This hairy gnarly week is DONE. And now I can focus on my next to-do's, which are quite fun: Sending off packages, posting pictures of yummy recipes and darling kids, another photo shoot, taking and sending OUR family pictures, Christmas shopping, and holiday hoopla. I'm happy to buckle down and relax.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

How to Put Up a Christmas Tree: An Informal Tutorial

First: Note to the right of this post that I have snuck in the name of the winner of my giveaway!

Assemble small, pretend, rather sad-at-first Christmas tree from box.

Open weird-smelling Christmas bin and retrieve long-lost ornaments, lights, and various other Christmas incidentals.

String lights onto tree while fending off baby hands and trying to keep poor Charlie-Brown-ish tree from falling off little end table. (And listen to six-year-old boy sing along--loudly--to Josh Groban's Christmas CD.)

Lift ornaments gingerly from Christmas tin and place in eager death-grip hands of babies.

Top tree with weird little snowman, since an angel is not currently in supply.

Notice that sad (but now somehow sweet) little tree is leaning ever so slightly. Envision the joy of Savanna as she pulls it swiftly off little end table.

Reinforce with string and hook to keep anchored to the wall, and pray for the best.

Turn off lights and gaze.
"Mom, when you do your eyes like this, they look like fireworks....."

And don't forget the lone lingering soul at the dinner table, the one who contemplates her food long after it's gone, finding bits of it on her sweater, her chair, and in her teeny-tiny now-fuzzy braids; safely enthroned in her booster seat while we enjoy the Christmas tree lights.

All done!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Celebrating Reed

Reed is six today. I accidentally slept in (perhaps I'm in denial), and Reed ran into the room, stopped short of the bed, put his arms in the air and shouted joyfully, "Mom, I'm six!"

We spent about half an hour cuddling in my covers, tal
king about the scientific--and gross--aspects of boogers and volcanoes (a boy's dream), laughing and being generally silly and raucous.

My labor to bring Reed into this world was relatively, thankfully, short. I arrived at the Army base hospital around 9 in the morning, and Reed emerged at 5:18p.m. that same day. I remember that as I pulled him up close to me, his slick little body so tiny I felt as if my arms and hands were huge, his eyes were closed. I brought him close and his eyes opened and beheld my face.

I was his first earthly sight.

I remember feeling the both exhilarating and overwhelming weight of responsibility that descended on my shoulders in that abbreviated momen
t. I remember thinking, "But who am I to take care of you, so perfect and so new, so pure and from a place so untouched?" In that one condensed minute, I was bowled over by how much I knew I needed to teach him.

In those first few seconds of holding my first-born to my body, marveling at all
I was now responsible for, and wondering how the joy and worry did not make my heart explode, I didn't yet have an inkling how much Reed would teach me. It took me a long time to feel that confidence of a mother, that feeling of I-know-what's-best-for-you.

It took a long while for me to reali
ze that I was meant to be Reed's mother, and he was meant to be my son, and we really were both perfect for the job. :)

Amidst all the nagging worries and daily shortcomings and daily asking for help and forgivene
ss, sometimes there come moments when I realize that I've done something right. Moments where Reed says something that blows me away, and I am amazed at the kind of person he is, and then amazed that he learns and obeys so well when I, his teacher, am so faulty.

I really do believe, though,
that Reed already possesses a giant spirit in his gangly little body. I am just here to see that he is protected, nurtured, and retains as much of that goodness as possible.

Who am I to take care of you, so perfect and so new, so pure and from a place so untouched? I'm your mother, that's who!

His personality, much of his strength, much of what will make him happy in this life, is already intact and
included. It is up to me to see that this strong foundation is reinforced, preparing him for his life out of home, and ultimately, his return to that other home. Today on his birthday I thought it only appropriate to transcribe (many) journal entries that detail some of the ways he is such a wonderful little boy. This doesn't even touch the scope of it, but I am in an it-all-comes-full-circle mood today, and this best represents that mood.

October 4th
, 2001
No one can crush the human spirit...It can't be broken. It is the frame of life...I will have children! I will not be cowardly! I will fight the evils of this world by making a heaven on earth in my home...and Satan is powerless against me.

Thursday, May 16th, 2002

Last Friday, I had the scare of my life. I thought I had lost you. When I went to the doctor, though, and had an ultrasound, there was your tiny body--and I sobbed with joy to see your strong and constant heartbeat. At that time you were just 2.91 centimeters long. Your limbs hadn't formed yet, but I could see the beginning of your nose and the umbilical cord.

Reed, 2 years old, June 2005
You sad, mama? You cry? [wrapping his arms around me] Is okay. Daddy come home soon.

Saturday, July 6th, 2002
Yesterday you had the hiccups! You also "punched" me
twice when my stomach growled. I laughed hard over that.
Every time you move, I have this feeling that you're a boy. And each time I prod my belly, trying to figure out how you're positioned, you either p
ush back or wait 'til I stop poking and then you slowly move into a new position. You are quite an active baby! Especially when I lie down, it's like you decide that my quiet time is your play time.
Some people say that babies don't have p
ersonalities until a few months or years after birth, but I disagree entirely. You definitely have a distinct personality, as far as I can tell. You seem to be an athletic, curious, communicative, and even stubborn baby. I suppose we'll see if I'm right later! May 2005 Reed, to my large pregnant-with-Jaxon belly, "Wake up and watch Cartoon Network? [then to me] Baby's hungry. He needs milk. [then to my belly] Baby's hungry. He needs milk. You hungry, baby? You want chocolate? Wake up."
[Reminding me before bed] "We need to read the scripdures."
[to his "hurt" stuffed animals] "Oh, sakes! Mommy, I giving him sakes."

Friday, August 20th, 2002
Dear Baby,
I keep wondering what you're going to look like! Red hair? Brown or black hair? Maybe even blonde! And your eyes....brown? Hazel? Blue at first?
Tuesday, August 27th, 2002
Dear Baby,
You're growing pretty fast! I'm finally showing now, and sometimes I feel your little feet poking me above my belly button.
Last night I had a wonderful dream about you. I think maybe Heavenly Fathe
r gave me the dream to help me feel better about some fears and worries I've been having. In the dream, I was nursing you, and you were smiling and cooing and being very peaceful. I felt so connected to you, as if we were understanding each other's thoughts perfectly, kind of a silent communication. Also, your daddy was holding you, and both of you were smiling and laughing at each other, and you napped together. It was such a sweet dream.
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2005
Me: Jesus will come again someday.

Reed: Jesus faraway?
Me: No. He's close by.
Reed: Daddy faraway.

Me: Yes, but he'll come back.
Reed: He play again. He rock me.
Then, speaking as if seeing something in his mind,

Reed: Daddy's silly. He's playing the toys. Is funny!

Me: Yeah?

Reed: Yeah...[then, suddenly more quiet]...he rocking me.

Oh, my sweet Reed! Your faith is unfailing. I draw strength from your tender little spirit and comfort from your kn
owledge that your father will return. And no, little one, Jesus is not faraway. He is with us. I feel His presence when I hold you in my arms.

August 22nd, 2005

Baby Jaxon is today two days overdue, and you asked me tonight, "Will you push out baby Jaxon for us?" You offer to "push him out" for me.
Reed, 4 years old: Mama, does Jesus sleep?
Me: Nope. He doesn't need to.

Reed: So he can protect us all the day. And watch us when we sleep.

July 2006
Autumn [Reed's cousin] was struggling to pick a weed, so you plucked it for her and handed it over and said, "There you go." She said, "That's perfect!"

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

My sweet Reed,

Today we welcomed your little sister, Savanna, into the world...Upon seeing Savanna, you grinned from ear to ear and climbed onto the bed to see her. You said so many sweet things and couldn't resist kissing her little face and stroking her soft, silky hair. "Hi, Savanna. I love you...[then, smiling] she's tiny!" Your commentary ran from how small she was compared to you and Jax, to how she could play on the playground when she's bigger, to how pretty she was, and finally how she's your 'sponsibility' and you plan on protecting her. You are the most kindhearted, fiercely loyal, protective little boy!! Your dad and I constantly marvel at the great capacities of your little heart. We're so proud as we watch the progress you are making. Reed, you are the bright light in our home. You illuminate the world of those around you. It is a blessing, honor, and privilege to call you my son.

I am blessed, I am honored, Reed, to be your mother. You made me a mother, and you continue to make me want to be better. My dearest ambition is that I can help you progress and find joy, returning the beautiful gift you have given and continue to give me.

Monday, November 17th, 2008
"Mama? Do you know what I want to do on my birthday?"
"Before the guests arrive, I want us to lay on the grass and look at the clouds and use our imaginations."

"Oh, we can absolutely do that."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What A Mighty Good Man

Today I find myself even more grateful for and in love with Phill. I'm grateful he's home, but today I'm just especially grateful that he's him. :)

At night after the babies are in bed, he sits down on the couch, pats the cushion next to him and says, "Come vedge. [Logical spelling borrowed from Q]" So we sit and watch TV or stare at each other and eat cookies and call to the children (one more time) "Go to sleep!" and talk about whatever is lately on our radar. And if I'm cold he lets me put my freezing cold toes in his big always-warm hands, or if my hands are cold I'm always allowed to tuck them into the front pocket of his sweatshirt.

Last night, before we were vedging, before the babies were in bed pretending to be asleep, he made cookies with the boys.

This morning as I got ready for my run I gasped dramatically and said, "I forgot to charge my iPod!" So I took Phill's, which isn't really the best for running (because his has the touch-screen and it's bigger). I wasn't too disappointed, and my run was fine, but not stellar. I came inside (from the wonderfully bracing cold) and Phill had to leave for work. I sat down at the computer and noticed that he had plugged my iPod in. Something small--but it made me glow with happiness.

And later on this morning, he left work for a while to come home and go with all of us to the book fair at Reed's school. After which we played all together at Reed's park before school started, sending Savvy down the slide with Reed so that her hair stood straight up from all the static and Reed could barely breathe for all the laughing. Phill was in uniform and a little boy said, "Are you a soldier? I saw another soldier once. But he was here
after school." :)

That's all. I'm just happy. Those four little things are making my eyes sparkle today.
Oh, I love my Phill.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


After dinner he danced around the kitchen with Savvy in her darling polka-dotted sleeper, and sang to her and smiled so big that his crow's feet were highly visible--like I like them to be. (I told him I missed his crow's feet.) When Savvy saw Phill walk through the door, she went immediately to his arms, inspected his face with her hands on his cheeks, a concerned expression on her face, before giving a tiny smile and resting her head on his shoulder.

The boys ran to hug him when they saw him, Reed bonding himself with Phill's right leg until he had to walk (eventually).

I went completely jelly-legs the minute he walked in and didn't answer my phone for a long, long time. (Sorry, Abby. I told you I'd be MIA today.)

Right now we are in the living room with the lights off so that the boys can play with their hand-held LED lights Phill bought them, and Savvy is drinking her bottle and holding her ear (sleepy posture), laying on the floor with her head right next to Phill's and her legs draped over his shoulder.

Only three weeks, but it seemed like so much longer!
Home, home, home.
(And then, with her last ounce of strength, she crawled into bed and slept for five days.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Because she is so awesome....

....and because she writes it so well, I HAD to post a link to my little sister's (Kate) blog. Her latest post is so wonderful that I found myself about to copy and paste nearly all of it, then realized that I ought to just post a link to the post itself. :)


Although some of you may have thought from my post yesterday that I had decided not to vote today, I did vote today, and was absolutely undecided until I was standing looking at the ballot for nearly a full minute.

I'm still not happy about my choice. But I'm happy to exercise it. I feel oddly resigned and pretty keyed up about watching the results tonight.
No matter who wins, changes are coming, and instead of feeling like I'm embarking on some grand adventure, I feel like buckling my seat belt and putting my head down over my knees.

Still....*woohoo* for the right to vote!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Rock the vote? Or rock the boat?

All over the airwaves are orders to "rock the vote" to "make yourself heard", to make sure you go and vote because if you don't you have no voice.....

Today when waiting for Reed to come walking out of school, I heard a man say this on his phone: "Nah, man, I ain't gonna vote. Don't make no difference, do it? I mean, Bush got elected anyway, didn't he?"

I may have mentioned a few times how much I hate apathy. But just in case, let me drive it home. All of these sentiments are near-infuriating to me: -"My efforts don't matter. I make no difference." -"What's the point?" -"I don't know. I don't really care. I don't have much opinion on the matter." I tend to feel really awful when I find myself guilty of apathy or complacency.

Inwardly, this is what I was shouting, "What's WRONG with you?! What are you SAYING?! Way to negate your voice and your influence!! Choose, darn you! Choose!" And that's when I started to laugh. Indeed, what would I have said to him? Choose! You HAVE to voice your choice!

You see the irony here, don't you? And now it seeps out of the television and out of the radio: Vote! Do it! You MUST!

I remember my mom giving me a home-school lesson about voting, democracy, freedom, etc....she expressed her joy at having the ability to vote, the ability to contribute to the future of the country, and often in the direction she prayed for. But then she said that because we have that freedom, that right, that it is ALSO our right to choose not to vote.

*GASP!!!* My patriotic sensibilities were completely offended! I understood what she was saying, but I was disheartened by the thought of anyone giving up their chance to vote.

So when I heard this oh-so-eloquently expressed opinion today, I had to try very hard not to say something back. So much is done to protect our freedoms, but especially--specifically--our freedom of voice, our right to express and make known our deepest beliefs.

I called Phill. What else could I do?
Me, breathless: "Honey, this guy at Reed's school was talking about not voting because he doesn't think it matters at all!!....isn't that crazy?"
Phill: "Well, that's silly. Of course it matters. Actually, um, I might not vote."
"WHAT?!" (Actually clutching my throat melodramatically, breathing very fast)
"But for the opposite reason. I know my vote matters. And I'm not sure yet that I want to take responsibility for voting for either candidate. I don't know yet if I can live with the effects of either choice."
"Oh." (Pausing for a long time, feeling my heart slow down as I process this....)
"Do you know what I mean?"
"Yeah.....but vote anyway? Just write in Mickey Mouse?" (Pleading)
"We'll see!"

Which leads me to this: I'm not going to yell from the rooftops ROCK THE VOTE! (I think that was last election's slogan? Heh...maybe I'm way off the mark there....that'd be funny.) But I will say: EXERCISE YOUR FREEDOM OF CHOICE! Enjoy your agency! Whatever you choose: Be it Obama, McCain, Mickey Mouse, or even the absence of your vote. Rock the vote or rock the boat. :)

P.S.-For the record, because I know some of you are sitting with bitten fingernails about to fall off the edge of your seat, I AM voting, and I am voting for.....

.....gotcha. I knew for about 32 hours who I was voting for, and that was the longest I had remained decided. I am--once again--undecided, hardly a day between now and my turn to vote, and thinking that I will be surprised to see whatever I choose. But I'm happy I can choose.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Photos

We started out with Reed as Anakin (I would like to mention that his costume except for the long-johns was homemade, because my sewing machine does not work, and it took me five hours to do, and I had no pattern.....so be gentle with any critique of its quality!), Jax as a pirate, and Savanna as a ballerina--that was for the ward trunk-or-treat on Tuesday. But we ended up with: Reed as Anakin, Jax as "an army", and Savanna as a fairy. I was lazy and it was eighty degrees outside. Some shifting was necessary! It was kind of a huge day for them yesterday, what with all the sugar, heat, and clothing changes. By the time we got to the actual trick-and-treating itself (at the Zion Outlet Mall), they were pretty much done. It was still fun, though, I think? :)