Thursday, October 30, 2008

Love One Another

I need to vent a little bit about the Defense of Marriage initiatives that are being voted on around the country this coming Tuesday. I have some very dear friends who are gay, and I love them; I cherish our friendships. I think—I hope—all my liberal friends have an understanding where we "pro-marriage" folks are coming from. Or at least where I and other informed conservatives are coming from.

Let me begin by saying that neither I nor anyone I know wishes to take away anyone’s pursuit of happiness. For me, defense of marriage is a simple legal and religious issue. I don’t think anyone should ever be discriminated against in the courts based on their sexual preference or the gender of the partner they’ve chosen to spend their lives with. Any law that specifies a spouse as next of kin or inheritor should be re-worded to mean partner. I believe that gay couples should have the same rights under the law that married couples have.

But I don’t believe gay marriage should be legal. I don’t even believe that such a thing exists. Why? Because marriage, by definition, is a sacrament. It is a three-way covenant between a man, woman, and God, and marks the establishment of a family unit. It doesn’t exist outside of religion, no matter what we have told ourselves over the past century. And yes, that goes for heterosexual couples, too. I don’t mean to offend, but that’s just what I believe. I have deep respect and admiration for any couple that commits to eachother and strives to build a life together, and I believe every union deserves protection under the law. But unless you have invited God into your union, it’s not a marriage by definition. I could go look up all the Milton and Luther quotes flying around my brain on this subject, but I’ll just leave my thoughts there.

I also worry, as many other religious people do, about the repercussions of legal gay marriage for churches who continue to abide by biblical standards. Will refusing to sanction such marriages result in legal action? If so, we are no longer free and church and state are no longer separated, and good-bye America.

Then, in California, there is the whole issue of legislating from the bench—creating a dictatorship of the court. It should never, ever be okay for the court to overturn legislation that has been voted upon by a majority of the people. WE THE PEOPLE rule this country, and we must defend our right to rule and not be dictated to by an elite few who think they know better than the majority of citizens.

All of these things can and should be done in a spirit of love and respect--two things I have seen very little of on either side.

Don't Drink the KoolAid!


I'm voting early. Rich already did. And it's fun to tell the pollsters who call our house 5-10 times a day that we have already voted...HA!

PLEASE don't be cynical and pessimistic. I know the electoral college makes you feel insignificant if you're not in the majority, but just let your voice be heard. Read on if you need a boost, listen to Lenny, and know, "Baby, it aint over til it's over!"




From http://www.hillbuzz.wordpress.com/ (comments 10.27.08)

I work for a campaign and can’t wait for this week to be over.
I was doing it for a job. I was not a fan of any candidate but over time grew to love HRC.
The internal campaign idea is to twist, distort, humiliate and finally dispirit you.
We pay people and organize people to go to all the online sites and “play the part of a clinton or mccain supporter who just switched our support for obama”
We do this to stifle your motivation and to destroy your confidence.
We did this the whole primary and it worked.
Sprinkle in mass vote confusion and it becomes bewildering. Most people lose patience and just give up on their support of a candidate and decide to just block out tv, news, websites, etc.
This surprisingly has had a huge suppressing movement and vote turnout issues.
Next, we infiltrate all the blogs and all the youtube videos and overwhelm the voting, the comments, etc. All to continue this appearance of overwhelming world support.
People makes posts to the effect that the world has “gone mad”
Thats the intention. To make you feel stressed and crazy and feel like the world is ending.
We have also had quite a hand in skewing many many polls, some we couldn’t control as much as we would have liked. But many we have spoiled over. Just enough to make real clear politics look scarey to a mccain supporter. Its worked, alough the goal was to appear 13-15 points ahead.
see, the results have been working. People tend to support a winner, go with the flow, become “sheeple.” The polls are roughly 3-5 points in favor of Barack. Thats due to our inflation of the polls and pulling in the sheeple.
Our donors, are the same people who finance the MSM. Their interests are tied, Barack then tends to come across as teflon. Nothing sticks. And trust, there were meetings with Fox news. The goal was to blunt them as much as possible. Watch Bill Oreilly he has become much more diplomatic and “fair and balanced” and soft. Its because he wants to retain the #1 spot on cable news and to do that he has to have access to the Obama campaign and we worked hard at stringing him a long and keeping him soft for an interview swap. It worked and now he is anticipating more access. So he is playing it still soft. This is why nothing sticks.
The operation is massive, the goal is to paint a picture that is that of a winner, regardless of the results.
There is no true inauguration draft or true grant park construction going on. There will be a party, but we are boasting beyond the truth to make it seem like the election is wrapped up.
Our goal is to continue to make you lose your moral. We worked hard at persuasion and paying off and timing and playing the right political numbers to get key republican endorsements to make it seem even more like it was over and the world was coming to an end for you all.
There is a huge staff of people working around the clock, watching every site, blogs, etc. We flood these sites. We have had a goal to overwhelm.
The truth is here. I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

I am saying this because I know HRC was better for the country, and now realize this. I was too late by the time I connected to her. To me Barack was just a cool young dude that seemed like a star. I didn’t know him or his policies, but now I understand more than I care to and I realize his interests are more for him, and the DNC and all working like puppets with Dean. I always thought a president wanted the better good for the country. The end result I see is everyone dependent on the government, this means more and more people voting for the DNC. This means the future is forever altered. I don’t see this as America, so I am now supporting John McCain.
Sarah Palin is a huge threat, and our campaign has feared her like you can’t imagine. If it seems unfair how she has been treated, well its because she has had a team working round the clock to make her look like a fool. This is a big conspiracy and I am so shocked that its not realized.

We released a little blurb the other day that the Obama campaign was already working on reelection and now putting our efforts towards 2012. This was to make it seem like it was above us to continue caring about 2008. Trust me, its a lie. David is very smart, but its a sticky ugly not very truthful kind of intelligence.
It's not over yet, but I think the machine is working. And it's a hill to climb.
I will be quitting my post on nov 5th and my vote will be for John McCain. Fortunately, my position has been a marketing position and I don’t feel I had any part of anything I would feel guilty for. But I look forward to getting out of this as the negativity and environment upsets me.
I wish you all well, and good luck.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Recent Pix and a Recipe

James took this picture of Heidi on Monday

While we were making pies on Sunday, James did this with his rolling pin machine gun.

Silly Boy!

On Saturday, the Barbies had a jacuzzi party in my guest bathroom without asking.
***
Last night I made stuffed mushroom caps with a totally made up recipe and they turned out great. Try this (if you like spinach and mushrooms, that is...):
You need:
Baby Spinach
Grated Italian Cheese
A box of Stove Top Stufffing (water & butter to prepare it)
A carton of large mushrooms
***
Get a bag of baby spinach; chop it and wilt it in some garlic butter; squeeze a tiny bit of lemon juice on it and set aside (I ate some of this spinach for lunch and then saved the left overs--you only need half a bag for stuffing).
Preheat oven to 350
Cover a large baking sheet with foil
Prepare a box of StoveTop stuffing (any flavor will do, but you'll only use half)
Before you cover the ST stuffing and let it stand to steam, add the spinach and 1/2 cup italian cheese blend (or plain ol' mozarella); stir it up and let it stand.
Remove stems from mushrooms (I used a carton of large white shrooms from Albertsons--there were 12 in the carton). Hollow out the mushrooms caps and chop the stems.
Mix the stems into the stuffing
Spoon the stuffing into the caps, then sprinkle with sesame seeds (totally optional)
Bake for 20-25 minutes...VOILA!



Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Out of the Mouths of My Babes...

Last Monday, on the way to dinner with Grandma

Heidi: I don't want to be a mommy when I grow up.
Me: Why, Heidi? Being a mommy is fun!
Heidi: I don't want to cry and get bleedin's--it hurts to have a baby [she's obviously scarred from watching her birth video]
Addie: Then you won't have any sweet little babies, Heidi! Don't you want your own little baby?
Heidi: No! I will cry!
Me: Well, Heidi, the doctor can give you some medicine so it won't hurt. Besides, it only hurts for a minute, and then you have a BABY!
Addie: Yeah, and after that, they're just tears of joy.
***

Sunday Night, laying by Heidi, toward the end of a LONG conversation trying to figure out why she won't stay in her bed

Me: Do these elephants above your bed scare you in the night?
Heidi: No, I love all my elephants.
Me: Then why do you keep coming down to mommy's bed?
Heidi: Because I love you more than elephants.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Few of My Favorite Things

First of all, HAPPY 29th BIRTHDAY (yesterday), JILL! We're finally the same age!
I love you, sis!
Secondly, Happy Birthday to Will, my brother and pal! I love you, too!
***
1. PUMPKIN SPICE KISSES
Yeah, you read that right! Thank you, dear Hershey's, for making the Pumkin Spice Kiss. It's the only candy I like as much as dark chocolate. It's on my gratitude list this Thanksgiving!

2. HEIDI'S PHOTOGRAPHY

How else would I record this mommy-pose?

Don't mind the foggy spot, just enjoy the Heidi-cheese!

She caught James enjoying Diego last week

And yet another charming self-protrait!

3. RUSK THICKR MOUSSE

Hope In A Can for the practically bald (that's my hair category--my hair is so fine that I am practically bald; most three-year-olds have thicker hair than I do)! I have never, ever been able to use anything but a light hairspray on my hair because EVERYTHING weighs it down, and mousse was out of the question. Until two years ago when my long-time stylist busted out this stuff. I though she was crazy--she knows my hair and she never weighs it down. "Trust me," she said, "This isn't like other mousse--you'll love it." And I do! It's like a fat suit for my hair. In combination with volumizing shampoo & conditioner and a quick blow out, I look like I have a full head of hair.
4. QUEEN HELENE COCOA BUTTER LOTION
In addition to my baldness, I have the dryest skin! I have spent a fortune trying to find the perfect remedy, and there's lots of good stuff out there (Curel and Eucerin, I love you). But for the day-to-day moisturizing (it takes longer to moisturize after a shower than the actual shower--if I don't do it, I literally can't bend my joints without cracking!), you can't beat the cheap stuff! Here's the routine: two layers of Queen Helene with a sealing coat of Curel on the rough spots. I got through about 2.5 of these each year, and I have been using it since I was a starving student. It's only $1.99 for this huge bottle at Walmart--I love that. It's the only cheap lotion I have ever found that doesn't irritate my skin. Yay for QH!
5. Lastly, at least for tonight: Bring Your Torches, Jeanette, Isabella by Manheim Steamroller
I am making pies with Addie, listening to our family Christmas Mix CD (it's the Sabbth, it's about Jesus, so don't tell my it's not time for Christmas, cuz IT'S ALWAYS TIME FOR CHRISTMAS!). The Manheim Steamroller version of this song is just SO CHRISTMAS to me. It really captures the spirit and feeling I have, just puttering around the house with my loved ones over the holidays. I love, love, love it! I couldn't find it on youtube, but here is a pretty version.
***
Happy Sabbath, and a wonderful week to all y'all!

Friday, October 24, 2008

It's Friday, I'm in Love

Oh, wow, WOW... I just read on cjane that they are going let Nienie wake up tomorrow. I am so excited for her progress, but I feel so sad for her. Imagine waking up from a "nap" and finding that two months have passed, your children are living with your sisters a state away, and your gorgeous body has been melted and grafted several times over. That is a lot to take in in a moment, but then I remember this, my theme for the past week or two:


  • "...for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up." --DC 84:88

Tomorrow is also Jill's birthday, which I am so excited about, even though she already got my present (a subsciption to Real Simple). For her bday, Jill gets to take her girls to see High School Musical 3 and my sis Dana gets to go, too...I am SO JEALOUS! ;) I know they are going to have a great day! Then Sunday is brother Will's bday and my first official presidency meeting, and Tuesday my brother Michael and Rich's brother Jess celebrate bdays, too. Then there's Halloween and October is over...that was fast! (and if you think October bdays are crazy in my family, November is just as nuts with FIVE girls from Rich's side, plus my dad, uncle, and BIL).



Anyway, the days keep rollin' along, don't they? I am kind of in a Primary bubble, with the Primary on my mind and the Spirit giving me bits of guidance here and there, everyday. It's pretty neat and I am genuinely excited to make stuff happen with my awesome counselors. I am amazed at how HF can teach me even in the busy and sometimes chaotic state of my life. Last night at Stake Training Meeting, I was jotting down some of the impressions I have had the past few days. One of the most significant was that this is the first time since my mission that I will be teaching people the gospel and preparing them for baptism. All the priciples of the old commitment pattern have been coming to mind--now I know why:t hese are people who are just starting to grow their own testimonies and they need learn to "feel and recognize the Spirit" and to "build relationships of trust" with their leaders and teachers so there is a strong foundation upon which to build a testimony and life-long activity. YAY! And I am so excited about the 2009 Theme of My Eternal Family.

So yeah, I may be a "kid person" after all.

Speaking of kids, my two little ones have requested a bubble bath and they're gonna need it after what they've done with their yogurt. Have a great weekend, and keep Nienie's family in your prayers, as well as the Livingston Ward Primary, if you please ;)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Old Fotos

We took Rich's camera to Europe, so mine just sat here for a month, until I took it to Helena last week. I was surprised to find these pictures from September 16th on October 16th--exactly a month after I took them. Back on 9/16 we took the kids out to the Pop Stand for a good bye dinner, then we went to the fall open house at Addie's school. Here are pix at the Pop (ooo, I hate that word--it's SODA!) Stand. Addie watching the TV
Dad and James eating lemons
James with his James train
(Lisa Anderson--you sent that train to him when he was born, but I never gave it to him until his second birthday and now it's his very favorite thing!)

Kids by the sign
Look at those hams!

***

I also found some Heidi masterpieces...

Books on her bedroom floor
Babies in her window
A Lovely Self-Portrait
My sillies on 10/02 with their Euro-booty...
*girls wearing their lebkuchenhertz (gingerbread hearts) from Oktoberfest
*Addie wearing her Neuschwanstein castle pendant
*James & Heidi wearing Bavarian T-Shirts
*James holding his UK Taxi, double-decker bus, and Cooper Mini

Monday, October 20, 2008

Remember on "Baby Mama" When She Says "Is That Chocolate or Poop?"?


It was chocolate (Nutella, to be exact).




I've had some political things to say, but I found them put eloquently at other blogs, so have a gander: Learn about the mortgage crisis at Amy's blog. Learn about the Republican crisis at Brent's blog. So help me, I think I've become a Montana Libertarian!



***

Sing Along with Amy Poehler's Sarah Palin Rap (click to watch--I can't get it to embed from the nbc site) from SNL 10/19/08


one two three
my name is sarah palin you all know me

vice president nominee of the gop
gonna need your vote in the next election
can i get a ‘what what’ from the senior section
mccain got experience, mccain got style
but don’t let him freak you out when he tries to smile
cause that smile be creepy--but when i be vp
All the leaders in the world gonna finally meet me

how’s it go eskimo(eskimos)
tell me what you know eskimo(eskimos)
how you feel eskimo(ice cold)
tell me tell me what you feel eskimo(super cold)

i’m jeremiah wright cause tonight i’m the preacha

i got a bookish look and you’re all hot for teacha
todd lookin fine on his snow machine
so hot boy gonna need a go between
in wasilla we just chill baby chilla
but when i see oil, let's drill baby drill
my country tis of thee

from my porch i can see
russia and such
all the mavericks in the house put your hands up

all the mavericks in the house put your hands up
all the plumbers in the house pull your pants up
all the plumbers in the house pull your pants up
when i say ‘obama’ you say ‘ayers’

obama. (ayers) obama (ayers)
i built me a bridge - it ain’t goin’ nowhere.(ohhh)
mccain, palin,

gonna put the nail in
the coffin
of the media elite (she likes red meat)
shoot a mother-lovin' moose, eight days of the week
[three gunshots] now ya dead, now ya dead,

cause i’m an animal, and i’m bigger than you...

yo i’m palin, i’m out!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Heidi is Hilarious


Today at naptime as I programmed the DVR, a commercial came on Nickelodeon about kids voting in the presidential election.


Heidi: I'm going to pick John McCain.
Me: Why?
Heidi: Because he's better.
Me: Better at what?
Heidi: He has a cute name
Me: Hm. What else.
Heidi: He looks like Santa.
Me: Ya think?
Heidi: Without a beard.


***

Also, today I was sustained as Primary President (leader of about 40 kids) at church. This is the first time a calling has made me queasy--not because I hate it but because I feel the mantle, and I'm feeling a little Moses-ish about it.


However, today was the Primary Program (where the kids speak and sing in the main church meeting to share what they have learned so far in 2008) and my last day as chorister. It went really well, especially considering that (a) I missed all but one practice and (b) I had to open the program with President's remarks after being sustained for all of 10 minutes. Phew! You can bet I napped hard today!


Now Rich is gone to an Insurance Conference until Tuesday night and I'm wrangling the wee Melins on my own. I am hoping to get a handle on Primary this week (I am glad Stake Training Meeting is on Thursday) and have fun with my children in the gorgeous fall weather (it's 60 degrees!). What are your plans for the week?


***
PS: Here are some awesome quotes about children I used in my message today...


“We must be so careful in speaking to a child. What we say or don't say, how we say it and when is so very, very important in shaping a child's view of himself or herself. But it is even more important in shaping that child's faith in us and their faith in God. Be constructive in your comments to a child—always. Never tell them, even in whimsy, that they are fat or dumb or lazy or homely. You would never do that maliciously, but they remember and may struggle for years trying to forget—and to forgive…[P]lease know that your Father in Heaven loves you and so does His Only Begotten Son. When They speak to you—and They will—it will not be in the wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire, but it will be with a voice still and small, a voice tender and kind.12 It will be with the tongue of angels. May we all rejoice in the thought that when we say edifying, encouraging things unto the least of these, our brethren and sisters and little ones, we say it unto God.”-Jeffrey Holland, April 2007

I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to serve the children of our ward. I know that Heavenly Father will use them to teach me to be more like Jesus. And I will always strive to show His love to them, to bring them closer to Him. This is a sacred trust. As President Hinckley taught us,

"Never forget that these little ones are the sons and daughters of God and that yours is a custodial relationship to them, that He was a parent before you were parents and that He has not relinquished His parental rights or interest in these little ones. Now, love them, take care of them...welcome them into your homes and nurture and love them with all of your hearts.”


Speaking of fall...Rich and Me at the London Temple last month

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Some Family Stuff...

1. Remember THIS LITTLE BABY? Well, it's a boy and he's growing in my SIL Kristen's tummy and we can't wait to see him! I mentioned him last post, but I wasn't sure I made it clear that he was THE LITTLE BABY I was so excited about last summer.
So, if you're keeping score at home, I'll be getting a niece from my sis Dana, then a nephew from my brother Sam, then a NIECE from Rich's brother Jess (YAY!), and we're hoping for another nephew (but we'll take another cute girl, right?) from Rich's brother Mark. Woo-hoo! What a spring time that will be!
2. Speaking of nieces and nephews...my nephew, EVAN turns EIGHT today!
Happy Birthday, Evan!

Thursday in Helena

Since all my Montana sibs are working too hard (both Laura & Darrin work, and both Matt & Amie work and Matt goes to school), and since my kids are out of school, we took a field trip to visit our Helena cousins and deliver Halloween- and Euro-booty on Thursday. We left home at 9am and got there around 11am, in time to share treats and have a picnic lunch! Aunt Laura (Rola), Jared, Addie, Sam, Jake, Heidi, and Gabriel enjoying some Halloween treats (I thought I got Matt in that photo, but apparently not!)
Jake & Heidi were so happy to be reunited!
Sammy likes chocolate pumpkins!
James was excited to ride the mountain goat at the Great Northern Carousel. Believe it or not, I think this is his frist time on the Carousel!
Sammy and his Daddy
Heidi, Jake & Jared spinning!

Addie on her sea horse
James checking out his reflection in the pole
"WEEEEEEEE!"
Heidi & an otter
Outside the carousel, we climbed on rocks and wildlife statues...
Addie, Jared, and James on a bear
James, Addie and Jake mauling a bear (isn't that a cute bear? I love it!)


Jake dashed away as I took this group shot by the bear
Addie and an otter
Uncle Matt helped the kids go bouldering...look at my baby James up there!
Jared and the goat


Sammy jumping boulders
Addie riding a bear
One last turn on the carousel...Jared rides a wolf
Addie on a horse

***


We said good bye to Postums at the Carousel (Amie had to work, Matt had homework) and took Jared back to his house (where Darrin was preparing to go to work and Laura was on her way home from work). It was a quick trip, but so much fun. I loved spending time with my kids in the car (really!) and seeing my cute nephews again. We love you guys! Come see us, and get ready for another AWESOME Christmas party (let me know about dates!) The kids were so good on the way home! I got them some drinks and trail mix out of the trunk and we listened to the radio as we drove. They fell asleep just before the turn off at Three Forks and slept all the way home, so I had a nice 40-minute chat with Aunt Marti on the cell phone (mostly discussing the calling I will be sustained to tomorrow at church), and we got home the same time as Rich! PERFECT! I heart my fam! XOXO

***

PS: We bought a Select Comfort bed on Wednesday night, so Rich is building a little platform for it right now. I can't wait to sleep on it! We'll save the ol' Stearns and Foster for the guest house at the ranch :)






Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Another Heidism

Monday night, Heidi laying on our bedroom floor (I have banned her from the bed)

Heidi: Chinese kids say 'moshakomaguchi' when they have bad dreams. Know what that means?
Me: (groggily) No, what?
Heidi: It means 'Lay by me.'
Me: Hmmm, where did you learn that?
Heidi: In Spanish class.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hot Meal for a Cold Day

I keep losing this recipe on my computer, so I am going to post it here, then I can find it and you can, too!
***
RL Ranch Cookhouse Chili

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, coarsely chopped, plus more for garnish (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 to 2 teaspoons chili powder
3 tsp brown sugar (Optional--this gives a more barbecue-ish flavor)
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 pound ground beef
One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, crushed
One 15-ounce can kidney beans, not drained
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Grated cheddar, for serving (optional)
Sour cream, for serving (optional)
Chopped onion, for serving (optional)

-Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add garlic and onion, and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add cumin and chili powder; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
-Add beef, and cook until browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add green pepper, and cook for 2 minutes.
-Add tomatoes, beans and their liquid, and cook until thickened, 35 to 45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.


Just Like Marie’s Cornbread

SERVES 6
1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/3 cup oil

Mix dry ingredients together in large bowl.
Mix wet ingredients in another bowl; then combine with dry and stir till combined. Pour into ungreased 8x8” pan and bake 20-25 min at 400°F.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

More Than a Week Ago...

...1. we took down this cute sign that the kids made for us with Grandma.2. It was my brother Sam's 31st birthday (Yay, Sam) and this week he found out that his wife is carrying a MAN child (Yay, Seamus)
3. While Daddy was at Priesthood meeting, we put up the Halloween decorations and the kids dressed up in last year's costumes.
Sillies!
Eerie orange lights and spiders' webs in the front window
Bee, Punkin & Ladybug LOVE!

FAMILY LETTER 11.19.17

Dear Loved Ones,                                                                                                                          ...