Thursday, February 26, 2009

Of Stalling Children

I think most kids are masters at stalling (particularly at bedtime). Arden hollered down the stairs the other night (about an hour past his bedtime) that he couldn't sleep because he had dirt under his fingernails. Hmmm...and this is an hour and a half after his bath...?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Of Mice and Men

Yesterday Charity found a cute little mouse out in the garage. Dave captured it in a small box, and we let the kids enjoy it for a bit. Arden asked if we could let it run around the house for a while. Charity's response to that was a rather emphatic "no!." Unfortunately, after we transferred the mouse to a larger box so the kids could see it better, it escaped out of a tiny hole in the bottom. Maile burst into tears, repeating over and over, "I want a mouse, Mommy" in a very heartbroken way. Yeah Maile, I'm sure Haiku would love a mouse.

So, Dave will probably hate me for sharing this, but I have to say, I love teasing him. He is so gullible. Either that, or I am a really good liar (A rather dubious distinction, I will admit!). Perhaps it is a combination of both. Apparently Charity doesn't tease him much, so he is "fresh material," as she says.
A couple weeks ago, they had bought a strawberry plant to plant in their planter box. The plant had a few flowers on it, but that was about it. Anyway, Charity and I had purchased some ripe strawberries from the store, and I thought it would be fun to play a little joke. I poked a hole with a toothpick in the top of one of the strawberries and pushed a little stem from Dave and Char's strawberry plant into the toothpick hole, so it looked like the strawberry had grown there. We left it for a few days until finally Dave noticed it. He just couldn't get over how fast that strawberry had grown there, and kept commenting wonderingly, "That's just incredible!" until Charity and I could not contain ourselves any more and busted up laughing. Then, I worried Dave quite a bit yesterday, when I told him the the beautiful rose bouquet on the table had been sent to Charity by one of her old high school sweethearts. Charity's face turned bright red at this point, which seemed to confirm my tale. Yes, Dave did look quite concerned! In reality, I had bought the bouquet from the grocery store on their after Valentine's day special. Hee Hee! This is fun. I will miss Dave when I go back home. Curtis knows me too well--he doesn't fall for my pranks quite as easily!

Love you, Dave! You're the greatest!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Of Valentine's and Kids

Valentine's Day was nice. Since Charity and Dave were off on their "Sweetheart Adventure," we basically had our family celebration on Sunday after church. The kids had all made each other nice Valentines. My favorite, though, were the Valentines that Ellie and Arden gave to Dave and Char. They had each wrapped up several kumquats in pieces of construction paper and given these little packages to them. (We had gotten the kumquats from the experimental gardens at the extension service a few days previously--no one liked them.)

So, I have also been wanting to write down a couple of cute "kid things." Enjoy!

There are quite a few cattle guards in the area. I told the kids that when the car drives over them, they are supposed to lift up their feet so they don't fall in. Apparently they didn't quite understand what I was saying, because now they call them "camel guards" anytime they see one. Watch out for the roaming camels, folks!

Arden and Ellie have very much been enjoying the little preschool Charity and I do for them. They are both doing quite well at learning letters and their sounds. A few days before Curtis came to visit, we were going for a family walk around the lake and Arden commented, "I am so excited for 'D' to come!" (Meaning Dad, of course.)

Maile has had a cold for a while, so I have periodically been giving her medicine. She kept coming up to me and saying, "I need some medicine, Mom, I have the hiccoughs!"

Charity passed this next one on to me--I didn't hear it personally, but I thought it was way cute. The kids were all sitting down to breakfast the other day. Apparently little Ellie was getting tired of hearing whatever Arden had to say to her, so she remarked, "I don't want to hear it anymore. You guys are making me seasick almost!"

Ellie came downstairs in tears a few days ago, crying and carrying on about how Maile had hit her. She was sad and fussed for probably a good five minutes, until finally I asked her why Maile had hit her in the first place. Her tearful response? "We were playing war."

Oh, how I love my sweet kids and nieces and nephews. They truly bring so much joy and laughter to our lives.

Of Debt and the Economy

Dear Mr. President~
I know you have a difficult job, and you face decisions on a daily basis which can and do alter the course of our nation. I want you to know that I pray for you every day.

I love this wonderful country of ours with all my heart. I love what it stands for. I love the freedom that we are afforded which so many countries do not enjoy.

That being said, may I offer some thoughts on this second stimulus/bailout package that has been proposed? To put it in a nutshell, I am extremely disappointed that the government has decided to go through with it, and the results of this action worry me greatly. I didn't like the first one either, but to have two in nearly as many months? I am astounded that some of the top economists in our country have condoned this. Is there something I am missing? I feel like I have a decent grasp of basic economic principles, yet many of these principles are being blatently violated by those who should know them the best. May I share with you some of my concerns, Mr. President?

First and foremost, I make it a practice to occasionally read the constitution, and no where that I can find in that document, does it give the Federal government authority to implement anything like these bailout packages. FDR set an unfortunate precedent during the depression when he started the practice of spending government money on welfare. That being said, the measures he did take to get the country out of depression were supposed to be temporary. Look where we are now. Trillions of dollars in debt, with a huge population of welfare-dependent people. Mr. President, keep in mind that economies naturally fluctuate, but if left alone, a free market economy should always even things out eventually. Think a little more long-term here, Mr. President. What you are doing with this package is highly unsustainable, and very unwise.

That brings me to a second point. How in the world do you propose we pay this enormous debt off? As I see it, either we will become like some of the European countries where 2/3 of their income goes towards taxes, and/or our kids and grandkids will be paying their whole lives for this debt in which they had no involvement. Going to the first option, one of the basic principles of economics is that people respond to incentives. If one were to only receive 1/3 of one's salary, what incentive is there to get a good education and thus a traditionally higher salaried job, especially if you are distributing so many handouts to the poor? It seems like you are offering more of an incentive to remain in poverty.

Since we are on the topic of poverty, I hope I don't sound heartless with my next comment, but with all these handouts and benefits you are giving the poor, again, what is the incentive people have to get jobs and an education when they know they will be taken care of by the government and our taxes? We have created this suppressive culture of poverty in our country. Would you consider a radical change in our welfare system? I will preface this request by again saying that I do not believe welfare is the government's responsibility in the first place. It is the responsibility of individuals, families, churches, charities, etc. However, the idea of government assistance is so deeply entrenched in our society that I suppose it is wishful thinking on my part to want to do away with it. Back to the subject of welfare reform, Mr. President, from observations I have made of people in my own life, when one is not working, busy, and productive, one is not happy and content. When one is on the dole, one's self-esteem tends to plummett. Now, Mr. President, I do realize there are legitimate cases where people need assistance, but I believe that everybody can do something to earn what they receive. If you must give handouts, have people work for what they get. Have them assemble medical or humanitarian kits for people in third world countries, for example. Have them participate in planting a community garden, or beautifying their community. Have them do something, anything, that will allow them to contribute to society, rather then always be "takers." I will guarantee that, though it may be hard for people to adjust to at first, their overall happiness will increase, and I'll bet you anything that crime will significantly decrease as well. I believe this simple idea would bring about some very significant changes for good in our nation. Just a suggestion.

Speaking of poverty, I noticed in your proposed allocation of these stimulus funds, a very large chunk is earmarked for Medicaid. Just out of curiosity, how is this supposed to stimulate the economy, Mr. President?

Another thing: with all of this money being pumped into the system, and more money being printed to pay our nation's debt off, inflation is going to skyrocket down the road. Now Mr. President, I have always been taught that it is a wise thing to save--to set aside some money for a rainy day--but if inflation rapidly increases, what is the point? My dollar will be worth pennies. I remember studying about this in some of my classes in college. Specifically in South America--they did just what we are doing now, with printing off a bunch of money to try to meet their debt obligations. Short term, fine, but longer term? A loaf of bread costed the equivalent of $500! It DOES NOT WORK.

Now, this is all fine and dandy for you now, Mr. President. People love you. You are basically giving them free money. But what are you taking? You are taking away the possibility of a bright future for us and our posterity. You are leaving in it's place a legacy of debt and dependence, which the next leader of our country will have to try to clean up. Good luck with that.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Of Kids and Chefs

Today has been exhausting. Not bad, just exhausting, as I have had the three kids since bedtime last night. They really are great kids, but let's just say I was happy when their bedtime rolled around. Dave and I had done a bit of scheming a couple days back which resulted in him and Charity packing off to Mesa for some Valentine's R&R (I sent them off to "pick up something from the store," after I had secretly packed Charity's overnight bag, along with some cheesecake and Martinelli's in Dave's trunk--lovely, if I do say so myself!). Anyway, so I have been the nanny today. It really has been a nice day, and the kids and I had a fun time together building forts, having a pillow fight, playing outside, etc.

Anyway, changing the subject, I have yet to report on our "Iron Chef: Hamburger" competition from the other night, which was awesome, and great fun! Sadly though, my secret talisman (the cool Chef's hat) did not help me win. Curtis and I tied for second place. We were one point behind team Charity and Dave. )-; However, on the bright side, I did win first place in the "taste" category!

Here are the pictures of our finished creations. Curtis was at a bit of a disadvantage because he had never seen the show and we neglected to explain "plating" (sp?) to him, but nevertheless, he was very creative in his mountainscape presentation. All the food was so yummy, and this is definately something we plan to do again!

(In order--mine, Char and Dave's, Curtis')

Here are Dave and Charity with their victory pineapple! Congratulations!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Of Food and Victory

Tonight is our big "Iron Chef" competition. Curtis, myself, Dave, and Charity. Our (not so) secret ingredient is hamburger. We have all been carefully planning the dish we will prepare. (Yes, we are only doing one--not the five they have to do on the real show). The prize for the winner is a pineapple. I'm sure it will be delicious. (The pineapple, that is--and my food, for that matter!) I am confident that I will win, because I have a secret talisman. Charity is peeved that I won't tell her what it is, especially since it actually belongs to her, but if I tell her, I know she will want to use it, and thus win the victory. We can't let that happen, now, can we?!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

On (not) Finding the Perfect Pair of Pants

Well, another day has come and gone.

So,which is better--to buy an expensive pair of pants that looks great on you, or buy three pairs for the same price that look decent?

Charity took me to the mall today on a quest for the perfect pair of pants (which we did not find). We are such funny mall shoppers, because we went into the one store we originally wanted to, then we pretty much spent the rest of the time (and all our money!) on books at Borders. Good times. (Curtis, I hope you properly appreciate the fact that I am not a clothes shopper!) Afterwards we went to TGIFridays and indulged in some vanilla bean cheesecake...heaven....(-:

Monday, February 2, 2009

Of Death and Destruction

So, Charity and I had an interesting, if somewhat morbid conversation over breakfast this morning. I was telling her about this dream I had a month or so ago, that has stuck with me because it was scary and quite vivid. Usually I don't remember my dreams, but this one I did. Here is the dream; One evening, about dusk, I heard these strange noises coming from the sky outside. When I went out to investigate, I was terrified to see that some huge aircraft, the likes of which I had never before seen, were parked over our community. They immediately started firing upon the houses at the far end of the neighborhood with some sort of laser. Since we were at the other end of the neighborhood from the flying machines, many of those who were left alive rushed over to our house in an attempt to escape. Then the scene in my dream flashed to our basement, where we were all huddled. I had Maile clutched in my arms, and I assumed that Curtis had Arden, although I had no idea where they were. The aircraft slowly came towards our end of the neighborhood, systematically firing on all the houses, and I knew it would soon come to our house. Sure enough, it did, and continued it's relentless firing. I don't ever remember feeling so scared, but I did have the presence of mind to notice that right before the laser hit, there was a small pinpoint of red light, indicating where the next laser was going to hit. I saw one centered on myself and Maile, and quickly scooted back under the stairwell as far as I could before the beam killed us. However, before the beam came down, I had several thoughts race through my mind, which, since my dream, have given me cause for reflection. First of all, I remember wondering if it would be better to go ahead and stand in the way of the beam and have Maile and I be killed intentionally, knowing that anyone who happened to survive this assault would most certainly be captured by obviously brutal people. That thought was appealing to me also, because I felt that I had lived my life in such a way that I had nothing to fear from the other side of the veil. On the flip side, another thought I had was that perhaps Heavenly Father would be displeased with me if I did that, not to mention there is an innate survival instinct that made me very much cringe from killing myself.

Anyway, so that is what Charity and I discussed this morning. Which decision would have been optimal? What would we have done in a similar but more realistic situation, say, in a third world country where terrorism is much more common? How would we have reacted knowing that our children would surely have been tortured and probably killed anyways? Knowing that Heavenly Father views suicide as a sin since one would be willfully destroying his greatest creation, besides which, it is often through great suffering that we grow the closest to far is that applicable before He would excuse one from committing suicide? What if, for example, you knew some secrets of the state and were caught by enemies who would torture you to find out information. In God's eyes, is there be a higher law where it would be better to commit suicide rather then risk divulging information that would endanger others' lives? Hmmmm...