Sunday, August 31, 2008

A fun 20 hours (even though it didn't involve a lot of sleep)

We had a fun Friday and Saturday morning with the McQueen's and the Bauman's at the Bauman's beach house in Treasure Island (not as crazy as it sounds). We went clamming, looked for crabs and Liam decided to head into the water in his tennies and jeans. It was great. Liam was the most excited about riding in a canoe. He asked us to call him Captain Butterworth. Jesse bought him this hat at the Army Surplus store...

(That's Sim, Jed and Liam from left to right)

Here are Sim, Liam and Jed checking out the buckets of clams that we collected. We had to strip off Liams pants and shoes after his little dip in the water. Awesome.

Josh McQueen and Jesse decided to take the boys out on the canoe. It was a daring move on their part. Fortunately the boys were mildly terrified and stayed put. Captain Butterworth called for his mommy at one point but regained control rather quickly.

We headed to a Fireman's Pancake Breakfast after a night with very little sleep. It was a charming time and the balloon animal making clown was a surprising hit with the kids. Liam requested a balloon sword and Sim requested a fishing pole.

Even Finn enjoyed the breakfast and felt very cool in his fireman helmet. I was very tired but managed to put a little make up on.

Ok. Turn your computer or head to the side. (Neely sent these through and they came through on their side.) Liam in the passenger seat of the fire truck. He thought it was the coolest. You can tell by the look on his face.

The cuties in front of the fire truck. We headed back after this. We had a great time!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

My Journey...

This election has really forced me to think through what I believe and I can see why people sometimes just make up their minds on an issue and never change them! (I am not suggesting this but can identify).

I was a born and raised Republican (I know that some of you are judging me right now :) but as I age and experience life and dialogue with friends, I have developed a bit of a problem. I don't fit into my family's party anymore (although I feel a fondness for John McCain). I don't really feel at home with the democratic party either (although I really like Barack). I don't come close to agreeing with either party on a majority of topics.

As a teenager, I developed the belief that the world is made up of black and white issues. My beliefs were of course the right ones and the Christian ones - but the further I get through this life, the more I see that issues tend to be anything but clear cut. I am going to name off a few things that I am dealing with. Please keep in mind that I am not trying to change anyone's mind, I am not an accomplished writer (or an English major), I am in no way a brilliant theologian and was an A and B student with occasional C's... I am just on a personal journey that I wanted to share with my few readers. Feel free to comment after this - just promise me that you won't be mean, rude or condescending. I don't think that I will take it well. :)

1) I am anti-abortion. I believe that a life is made when the sperm makes it through the outer wall of the egg. I miscarried a baby that was 7 weeks old and felt the loss of my child very deeply. BUT, I often get the sense that people that are pro-life are so focused on being against the abortion that they can't see beyond the issue to why a woman would have an abortion in the first place. It was easy for me to be Pro-Life living in middle class America with great parents and support in my life.

Jesse and I qualified as low income for a good part of our marriage. But after traveling to Thailand and Cambodia a couple years ago and experiencing real, extreme poverty - I caught a glimpse of the desperation that women feel. I couldn't imagine being that mom with mouths she can't feed and feeling the burden of being pregnant with another child that she can't feed. I can't imagine not being able to feed Liam and Finn (whom I would do ANYTHING for) and knowing that I would have another child that I can't provide for. It would torment me. Seeing what these kids deal with (starvation and malnutrition, rape, abuse, incest, enslaved, sold, sick, orphaned) made me question my stance on many issues. While there are some "success stories", very few of these kids make it out. Millions die a horrific death.

This happens here in the US too. How can I tell a woman that she must have her baby when I am not willing to adopt the child that she can't care for or take in a foster child? I just can't reconcile it.

2) My dad owns a logging company and I believe it is important to recycle. People have many strong opinions about my dad. (He was actually on the unibomber's list of people to kill - not joking). People believe that logging destroys the environment and kills animals. Many people that call themselves "environmentalists" haven't spent an 8th the amount of time my grandfather, dad and brother have spent in the woods. Most haven't actually been on a logging site and have no idea how or why they do what they do out there. Loggers are easy to demonize and thanks to shows like "Ax Men", often portrayed as idiots (ok - some of them are idiots). My grandfather, father and brother all have their college degrees and are smart, well educated men. I know how respectful my father is of the trees that he harvests and then replants. I know that he follows laws and government regulations. My brother was a forest management major and knows WAY more about sustainable forestry than most. Logging helps prevent forest fires by weeding out the dead and dry trees. It helps keep forests disease free. They obviously want to be respectful of the land and trees so that they have jobs in the future.

But, I also believe in Reducing, Reusing and Recycling and think going green is for the most part a great thing. I think it's important to reduce waste. I have reusable shopping bags and while I rarely remember to bring them, I do occasionally use them. I believe in respecting the earth given to us. I think global warming is real (I didn't always :) and I think that we need to reduce our dependency on oil. So how do I vote on this one?

3) I am against the death penalty. Not very republican of me but I don't understand how you can be Pro-Life and Pro-Death Penalty. It doesn't seem very consistent. If someone murdered someone I loved, I would like to think that I would still be against the death penalty. I haven't been there and pray that I won't be. I don't think having the murderer killed would make me feel any better. I think that they should be justice but Moses was a murderer, David was a murderer...

4) I think that we need to have some sort of health care available to everyone. Jesse and I were VERY poor and insurance was an impossible payment for us. He had an accident and was hospitalized at a disgusting (don't get me started) hospital in LA because he didn't have insurance. They wouldn't change his sheets, they didn't clean him, there was no pillow and he had to beg for pain relief. We ended up with $35,000 in bills. We both had jobs and worked hard but didn't make enough money or have benefits. There is something wrong with that picture. It was easy for me to say that the country shouldn't have to provide medical benefits to everyone when we were insured but I never thought that we would be on that list.

5) I think that we need a better system for immigrants to be able to come and live in our country. We have something great here and I don't think that we should force people to crawl through tunnels or be packed into containers for weeks to enjoy what we have here. I can't say that I wouldn't do the same thing to get here. I know that there are many valid reasons why people want to keep the benefits of our country all "in house" but I don't think it's right.

So... I am sorry if I have pissed you off. It is not my intention. I am just sharing where I am in my journey. I have more opinions but feel like this is already way too long! I would love to hear feedback but I will not take it well if you are a meany. :) Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mt. Hermon Part 2

Our Dear Friends Seth and Kristina drove down
to hang out with us for part of the week.
Here are some great shots that they took.

Someone finally caught Finn's Stink Eye on camera.

Liam and his Lady Love... Elliott Davis

Are they not the cutest couple ever?
It kind of makes me freak out a little.

I mean, should two 3 year olds look this cute as a couple?

Are they not the most adorable kids you've ever seen?
I love Liam's blue eyes and his,
"I'm the coolest kid ever," look on his face.
I love Elliott's demure smile.
While she is adorable, she is anything but demure.
That's a good thing.

Beautiful Finny.

Mt. Hermon Shots

Yes, we realize how awesome we are. We can't help it.

Liam in Gigi's glasses looking a lot like Pop Pop.

Jesse and Finny on the Mt. Hermon train to Santa Cruz.

Jesse and Finn on the Santa Cruz boardwalk Carousel.

Baby Cousin Ellie and Gigi
Liam loved Baby Cousin Ellie and was super gentle with her.
He really wants a little sister.

Cousin Ava, Cousin Jill and Cousin Jenna
getting down

Mom Against Kids Tug-a-War
Kids Won.
It was like 100 kids to 20 moms.

All of the Butterworth Cousins
doing Silly Faces
Liam and Finn didn't get the memo.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The State of Things

Life has been out of control crazy since mid-June and there is no sign of it letting up. In fact I know that I won't have a real, take a breath now, break until mid-October.

For the past two weeks I have been struggling with some anxiety and haven't been doing as well as I would like. I like to pretend that I handle stress well but I haven't been doing a good job.

I realized that there are some real outward signs that represent how I've been feeling on the inside and I thought that I would share them with you. Judge me if you must.

1) My planters are dead. While this isn't a real picture of my planter, it isn't far off. I haven't been a good waterer. It is low on my list of things to do but sad to look out at something dead.

2) My laundry pile has been out of control enormous. It is better today but now I have an out of control folded (yes, at least did that) clothes pile.

3) This is my favorite one... I noticed something really weird two days ago. The bottom of my forearm had been colored all over by a blue ball point pen. It looked fresh. Finn had been playing with a blue pen (great mothering, I know) but I can't for the life of me remember when he had actually colored on me. At first I thought that maybe I put my arm on something that had been scribbled on and it transferred - nope. I can't find anything like that. I am apparently so out of it that my son could come up and cover- I really mean cover - my right forearm with scribbles and I didn't feel it and I CAN'T REMEMBER!

Mmm... not good signs, are they? I decided to get out of the house this evening and I am going on a walk with my new mentor (yes, I now have a mentor) in the morning. I have been convinced that I am not doing as well as I pretend to be!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

We had a BIG Wedding Weekend

We had a long weekend full of wedding rehearsals, weddings and family participation on our part! The weddings were beautiful but I have to say that I am glad that the weekend is over. Here is a quick rundown...

- Jesse had a wedding rehearsal for the very 1st wedding that HE OFFICIATED! Yes, you read that correctly. Jesse performed the wedding ceremony (as opposed to performing AT the wedding).

- On Friday evening, Pastor Jesse (it just sounds funny for me to say) donned his one and only (Target) suit and I must say that he looked quite handsome (and very pastor-ish.) He did a GREAT job. He started out the ceremony by saying, "Marwidge." (The line from The Princess Bride). He was really nervous and cute up there but made it through and didn't forget anything. We brought the boys with us and had to leave a little bit early but had a chance to hang out for a little bit.His only flub went something like this...
"The, ah, reception is immediately following in the building over there... it is immediately following." (Ha ha)

- We had a wedding rehearsal for another couple on Saturday evening. Liam was in this wedding with six other kids. Crazy.

- The 2nd wedding took place on Sunday night. We had a little bit of a wait between pictures and the ceremony (and I was alone there with the kids while Jesse was at church) but with the help of my friends, we made it through. Liam's white polo shirt was even clean. That is a miracle. Jesse made it for the very end of the ceremony and volunteered to take the boys home so that I could stay and hang out with my friends. I finally took him up on it but admit that I didn't quite know what to do with myself. I ended up having a great time hanging out with some friends (see the shot above) and we did a good deal of dancing. I personally enjoyed the wine and espresso drinks being served.

So, all in all it was fun but I am still recovering!