Sunday, March 31, 2013

Anda proves she is a real Jones.

Anda and I were at the grocery store today.

I was getting broccoli, and she pointed at a shelf nearby. "What's that?" she asked.

"Leeks," I said.

"Oh. They look like they'd be fun to wave in the air," she replied.

I nearly fell over laughing. Not at the image of my daughter waving a leek in the air but because, like a true Welshman, the first time she sees a leek, she wants to wave it in the air. The instincts run deep.

Jones is a Welsh name. Clearly she is a real Jones.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Cool new toy!

I just figured out how to put Tim's songs on the sidebar of my blog. So now if you go to the blog itself (instead of reading via email or a reader), you can actually listen to Tim's latest releases right there while you read.  Or you can check it out right here in this post.

Really fun.

So I guess this would also be a good post to announce that Tim was accepted to perform at the One Man Band festival in Canada this year. Also that he's in the studio recording a solo album, with two more in the works as well.  iTunes here we come!

Asynchronous development...alas.

Asynchronous development is one of the key things about gifted kids that drives parents crazy. It results in bizarre things like a kid being able to do algebra in kindergarten but not tie his shoes until 6th grade.  It means that a child is ahead in some ways (far, far ahead) but woefully behind in others, and right with their peers in still others.

Makes for a lot of confusion about what a child should or should not be doing because the "normal" doesn't generally apply across the board.

It also makes for a lot of frustration among kids and parents alike.

So we got us another baby who is already showing signs of asynchronous development. He's 2 1/2 months old. Favorite things include watching the kids run and "talking" (he says lots of words that start with "ahg" and end with round vowels) with people. His playtime generally consists of kicking and flailing, and he's just learning how to uncurl his hands and touch thing deliberately.  All of this is normal for a 2 1/2 month old.

Unfortunately, he's also been studying our mouths while we talk, and yesterday  he started trying to copy Caleb's laughing--he wasn't laughing, though. He was deliberately trying to mimic the sounds. But, while his brain is ready for mimicking sounds, his physiological development isn't there yet. His mouth and facial muscles aren't developed fully yet.

And he's been watching us eat and has started begging for real food--especially ice cream, bottles of milk, and anything Daddy is eating. Even advanced kids usually start this kind of begging "early" at 4 months old, so at 2 1/2 months he's really jumping the gun. The CDC doesn't even recommend you TRY solid foods on your kid until 6 months. I have read that you can start giving kids solid food when they start asking for it, but whoever wrote that didn't anticipate that happening at 2 1/2 months--his gut isn't developed enough to digest solid food, and it could actually be damaged by food at this point.  Poor frustrated kid.

He's also become extremely interested in mouthing things. Everything. Anything. He just wants to explore his world by chewing on...stuff. Any stuff. This is an interest that doesn't usually show up until 4-6 months. Unfortunately for Jack, his gross and fine motor skills haven't developed enough for him to grab things and get them into his mouth. So he's frustrated. He wants me to hold things in his mouth so he can mouth them, but then I do it wrong (hold it at the wrong angle, don't take it out soon enough, don't move it where he wants to feel it, etc), and he gets even more frustrated and ends up screaming at me.

We've done this before. It means I have to be more heavily involved in every minute of the baby's day than I really can with 7 kids to care for, and it frustrated both of us. Good thing we have siblings around to help out and distract this little guy!


The poor child's mind is 4-6 months old, but his body is just 2 1/2 months old.  And I can't fix that for him.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

In which I feel I must take a stand, so I do even though it terrifies me

I read articles on gay marriage all day yesterday. Literally. Sat in my chair and followed links and links and links and read and read and read.

My conclusions:

1. The people who claim they are "only for love and tolerance" are primarily the ones who are spewing vitriol, anger, and outright hate. They are the ones who are vilifying the other side and preaching destruction and bigotry, even though they are claiming the opposite is true. They are also the ones who are refusing to engage in civil dialogue--or any dialogue at all, for that matter. The advocates of marriage revision have their fingers in their ears and are yelling mean things while the advocates of marriage traditionalism are trying to reach out, trying to appease, trying to find common ground, advocating kindness, tolerance, love, patience, and listening. Read articles for 12 hours straight and you'll see that I'm not making this up. That alone really turned me off to everything the marriage revisionists are saying. They're acting like spoiled children in their dialogue rather than responsible, adult citizens of a country. Amazing how the way you talk about something can completely destroy your chance of being heard.

2. I did not truly understand the social role of marriage before. I didn't understand how important it is to society as a whole for marriage to be strong and established and difficult to dissolve. Without that understanding, I found myself believing what the revisionists believe: That the purpose of marriage is to validate love. If that's the case, what business does government have in marriage at all? But it turns out the purpose of marriage is so much bigger than just to validate love. Marriage is the best, cheapest, easiest-to-comprehend, easiest to implement, and most effective way of ensuring that society continues, runs smoothly, protects the vulnerable, and lubricates the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. It helps keep government in its place (outside our houses and lives as much as possible) and helps society and government run smoothly and economically, guarantees and makes plain the rights of fathers (who are not obviously connected to their offspring), mothers, and children. A strong, healthy marriage culture eases or even fixes, to a great extent, all the problems our country is struggling with: debt crises, entitlement crises, mental health crises, health (even obesity) crises, education crises, crime crises, drug crises, overcrowded prison crises, economic crises, abuse name it, it would be a smaller and easier problem to deal with if we fixed marriage and put it at its proper place in our culture: as the foundation, the bedrock, and the most important part of society. Period. It is absolutely in government's best interests to support, legislate, and incentivize healthy, long-lasting marriage, especially as the foundation of families (with children, because having children at or above the replacement rate is what makes a country strong).

3. It is foolhardy to take the most important part of our culture and mess around with it without a lot of thought and planning and research and moving slowly, even if that slow movement offends people. I love this quote from G.K. Chesterton that my brother sent me:

"In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, 'I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.' To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: 'If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.'

This paradox rests on the most elementary common sense. The gate or fence did not grow there. It was not set up by somnambulists who built it in their sleep. It is highly improbable that it was put there by escaped lunatics who were for some reason loose in the street. Some person had some reason for thinking it would be a good thing for somebody. And until we know what the reason was, we really cannot judge whether the reason was reasonable. It is extremely probable that we have overlooked some whole aspect of the question, if something set up by human beings like ourselves seems to be entirely meaningless and mysterious. There are reformers who get over this difficulty by assuming that all their fathers were fools; but if that be so, we can only say that folly appears to be a hereditary disease. But the truth is that nobody has any business to destroy a social institution until he has really seen it as an historical institution. If he knows how it arose, and what purposes it was supposed to serve, he may really be able to say that they were bad purposes, or that they have since become bad purposes, or that they are purposes which are no longer served. But if he simply stares at the thing as a senseless monstrosity that has somehow sprung up in his path, it is he and not the traditionalist who is suffering from an illusion."

4. While people say there is no gay agenda, that's actually impossible. Everyone has a bias and therefore everyone has an agenda. Nobody lives in enough of a vacuum for their actions to not affect anyone else. Simply the fact that the marriage revisionists believe that religion is foolish and needs to be reformed to be more inclusive IS an agenda. They think it's just truth. Both sides think they're saving children from evil beliefs that are harming them.

Of course nobody thinks they have an agenda. But if you believe that gay marriage is completely equal to traditional marriage, you're going to act in a way that spreads that view, and actively work to suppress ideas that oppose that view--for the good of society, not to further your agenda. Traditionalists will do the same. Both have an agenda. So we need to stop saying they don't and openly deal with it. Unfortunately, the agenda of each marginalizes the other group. That's not okay.

Interestingly, the dialogue I'm hearing (and I haven't tried to make an unbiased survey of it, so I might just be hearing the wrong things) has had a huge influence on my feelings on the whole matter. Obviously this is an oversimplification of the issues, but what I've heard from the marriage revisionists is that of course the traditionalists and religious people are going to be marginalized, but their beliefs are so stupid that they should be marginalized, and their rights to control their child's education should also be taken away because what they are teaching their children is too mean. In other words, it's not only okay to marginalize people, but a positive thing, as long as you don't value their belief system. I read one quote from a gay activist (and I wish I could find it now, but I can't) that said that he WANTED religions to be forced to stop saying homosexuality is a sin, and he was actively trying to get the government to force all religions to recognize gay marriage or be disenfranchised. (Scared yet?).

Not only that, the social pressure to force silence of anyone opposed to gay marriage is really scary. There are serious, swift, and mostly illegal repercussions for speaking out in favor of religion or traditional marriage, and that kind of bullying not only not punished, it's sanctioned by society. This is really, really scary. And wrong. And, in my experience, one-sided, targeting traditionalists. (Obviously mine is not all the experience in the world--I do hear a lot about gay teens being bullied, and that's horrifying and heartbreaking, too. But it doesn't justify bullying other people.)

On the other hand, when the traditionalists hear that the revisionists are afraid of being marginalized and losing rights, the traditionalists are saying, "What rights are you afraid of losing? Can we change the laws to guarantee you get those rights? How can we make you happy without destroying our rights in the process?" MASSIVE difference in approach. One side is willing to compromise, the other is only interested in vilifying and snuffing out the others. And it's opposite of what the media is saying.

No doubt there are voices on both sides that want to snuff out the other, and no doubt there are voices on both sides that want to listen and compromise, and no doubt I found biased sources because they all are. So I'm not disputing the fact that a different set of readings might have led me to the opposite conclusion, but this is the conclusion I drew from the readings I found yesterday.

I am terrified of changing laws one way or the other without adequate protections for people's right to act on and live by their beliefs. ALL people, even the ones whose beliefs you don't like. 

And until the religions and religious people are properly protected, I can't support a change in laws regarding marriage.

And dismissing the other person's arguments by saying, "Yes it will change things, and some of us think that's a good thing." is not really helpful. From either side. But I hear it a lot lot lot, and primarily from the revisionists. For example, "I'm concerned that you will be teaching my 7 year old that homosexuality is a good thing."  "Yes, we will. And some of us think that's a good thing."  That doesn't address someone else's concern--it merely justifies their fears. It's like saying, "Yeah? So what?" to everything someone says. Not dialogue. Not a good way to win people to your side. Just rude.

5. Another thing I noticed in my research yesterday is a small but powerful and vocal group of gay activists have hijacked the stories of everyone and are using them for their own purposes. This leads me to doubt what's going on. I don't like to be swept away by activists, especially if they are claiming they aren't activists. They say they want all voices to be heard, but they are actively suppressing voices and legitimate experiences, both of gay and straight people, marriage traditionalists and revisionists. Someone is controlling the conversation, and this isn't right. The voices need to be heard. Members of the gay community and gay people who don't want to be part of the gay community are increasingly noting that the story being told is not their story, there are not just two sides (both extreme) to the issues, and the labels aren't right or accurate or acceptable.

6. When we talk about "marriage," our assumptions about what that word means are not all alike. Do you mean open marriage? Closed marriage? Marriage that lasts forever ideally, or marriage that's easy to get out of? All of these make a difference. I, personally, believe that marriage is best for society at large if it is 100% exclusive (not open or tolerant of infidelity at all), intended to be permanent, difficult to dissolve, and respected. So when I talk about marriage, you now know where I'm coming from. If we don't define what we mean, we might all be talking about different things--and that makes forming good laws difficult, if not impossible.

After all that reading, I can't see any reason government should be in the business of sanctifying or recognizing people's love for one another. Nor can I see any reason government should be incentivizing love. I do see reason government should be protecting property rights, inheritance rights, etc. And I now understand why government benefits from (and should do more about) protecting solid, permanent family structures founded on marriage that is intended to be both exclusive and eternal.

So what do I think should be done? I was about to write a lot more, but then I read my brother's blog and discovered he already said it. So go to SixteenSmallStones and read it there. I think this is a fair compromise, especially if it gives already-established families with gay parents a way to give those children some permanency in their lives. That seems important.

The bottom line for me has become strengthening marriage all together. Just because it's broken doesn't mean we should throw it away. Perhaps we should try to fix it? And always, always, always with love for all men, respectful dialogue, respect in general, lots of listening, and compromise--which seems to have fallen out of fashion, especially in Washington, but which is so very important. If only everyone could take the attitude of Robert P. George, that "there are "reasonable people of good will on either side." Then, perhaps, we could talk. 

Oh, so the title of the article. I said I'd take a stand. Until the dialogue is more respectful, until there is clear respect for and protection for religions and religious people as well as gay people (of all stripes, not just the one viewpoint being presented by the media and activists), and until the social science (good science, not shoddy or limited science) becomes more clear in other directions regarding what's good for children, I am in favor of traditional marriage as the ideal (with understanding that life isn't always ideal, but that doesn't mean we don't try for it), but I am also in favor of having strong and clear rights and protections for gay people and their relationships, including with their children--no discrimination, no tearing children from the only family they know. How's that for ambiguous? (Go read Jon's article at Sixteen Small Stones and it won't be so ambiguous). 

And, while I'm taking a stand, I am in favor of keeping immigrant families together, too, even if some members of the family are illegally in the country. The more I study, the more vital it seems to me that we support families and do everything we can to keep them together and help them succeed. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The best article I've found on the topic so far

I spent ALL DAY reading articles about gay marriage. Many are linked in the previous post.

This was my favorite: It's not linked in the previous post anywhere.

Read it.

That one post on gay marriage

I keep thinking I need to post something about this issue, since it's front and center right now.

But I don't know what to post.  We have friends who are gay. We have close friends whose siblings are gay and who are just as confused as I am about the broad split among righteous members of the church on this issue (like she says--not about the morality of it, but about the government's role). We have friends--good, smart people--who firmly believe what Bill O'Reilly said today--that the most compelling argument is on the side FOR gay marriage. It's one thing to talk theories. It's another when there are faces attached to them. And when those faces truly believe they want to be happy, in love, raising makes it hard to look at someone and say, "No. You are bad for society, your love is not healthy, and you can't possibly be as good a parent as a non-gay person." (Don't fight me on this--regardless of what you're actually saying, this is what people are hearing.)

We also have a church that has come down very firmly and unequivocally on the side against gay marriage, even though it's for gay rights in other areas. and and and

I am seeing a lot of one side (pro gay marriage) and not a lot of arguments on the other side. It's not that there aren't any--it's that it seems like nobody is talking about it. So I did some digging to find out what the conversation actually is....

Members of the church who are active and gay have made it very clear that the debate, as presented by the media, is inconsistent and not reflective of all the opinions and experiences out there. The media paints it as either this or that, when reality can fall anywhere in between. The media also paints all humans as beings defined entirely by their sexuality and sexual experiences, and we know there is SO much more to being alive than sex. It's just a tiny, tiny part of our existence, personal identity (hopefully), and life.  You can read stories that don't fall in the mainstream reductionist view of the issue on the Church's website:, and also from Robert Lopez (raised by lesbian moms), Josh Weed (gay and happily married), Jan Swoboda (gay and happily married--a European perspective), Laurie Campbell (lived the lesbian lifestyle and abandoned it),  and Doug Mainwaring (married a woman, left her for the gay lifestyle, and then came back--and why), to name just a few (all of these are worth reading).

Some of the arguments against gay marriage are fairly compelling.  Some are not. ("You can't just redefine a word like that." "Why not? We redefined computer. It used to mean, 'A person who computes.'" In fact, we started redefining the term "marriage" when people started using birth control extensively, and furthered that redefinition when we accepted no-fault divorce. This has been a long evolution; it's not a sudden redefinition--it's more like the culmination of a long process. Although there are compelling arguments why we should get the definition of marriage right, just saying, "You can't redefine a word" is not one of them.)

So, in looking through all of this...stuff...on marriage, I've realized there are a couple of questions that have to be addressed if there is to be any discussion on the matter (which seems to have been outlawed by the media and the pro gay  marriage folks, and that's a little distressing in and of itself).

1. Is the science solid on homosexuality never being a choice?

 For a while, it seemed to be (at least, it has been widely accepted that it is). Now, that conclusion, upon which most of the arguments seem to be based, is being questioned. While it seem unequivocal that some people are born gay, just like some are born with fibro, science (this article also quotes scientific studies) and the social conversation is starting to discover that sexuality can be fluid.

Also, it's worth pointing out, while sexual feelings might not be a choice, sexual activity is, even though the media makes it seem like it is not.

To me, sexuality being fluid and possibly based on choice for some people makes a difference, especially when you bring religion into the discussion.

2. What business does government have in marriage?

Keith Ablow and Jan Swoboda both think government should get out of marriage all together, and that would solve the debate.

Jennifer Morse, on the other hand, offers a well-reasoned explanation of why that's a bad idea. And Ryan Anderson has been one of the outspoken advocates of the government being involved in marriage. Alan Greenblatt points out that marriage, as an institution  has been weakening (unraveling really) for a long time, and this is one reason people are not very opposed to gay marriage--who cares about marriage anyway? Most people don't even seem to recognize why we have marriage except as an expression of love (and then why not let gays marry).  This unraveling has gone so far, in fact, that most people completely reject the idea that there is any purpose to marriage than love.  He also points out that there are lots of cultures, historically, that have embraced homosexual unions, and none of them are around anymore.

3. If marriage is about forming families to raise children (both for the kids' benefit and for the benefit of society, which then doesn't have to pay to raise the children or pay for the bad job they inevitably do without 2 parents in the home), why not let gay couples form families to raise children?

Mark Regnerus claims the families aren't equally beneficial for children. Other people point out that, since homosexual couples obviously can't have babies, a lot of them end up adopting children who obviously already fell outside the ideal of "child raised by its married biological parents". So maybe two dads or two moms isn't ideal (and they find that assertion debatable), but isn't it better than what the kids would otherwise have? And, they point out, isn't it better for those couples who are already raising children to have incentive to stay together, just like heterosexual couples?

4. There are other countries where homosexuality is legal. Why aren't we using them as examples, either way?

It makes me pause that advocates of gay marriage aren't holding up Canada and saying, "See, you people who are against us, it hasn't caused any bad results in Canada." That would be the first thing I would do. So what are people hiding? But, likewise, nobody is saying, "Look what it did to sad." So does that mean it really is a stupid debate that won't cause any changes?

5. (This is a really, really big deal to me): Regardless of what happens with the Supreme Court, I am extremely concerned about the rights of religious organizations. I'm not talking about photographers who are uncomfortable taking pictures of gay marriages and insist on making that public as their reason to turn a job down (instead of just saying, "Sorry, I'm not available that day. Why don't you call so-and-so?"). Personally, would be really offended if people said, "Oh, you're Mormon? I'm not making you a wedding cake." or "I refuse to take white people's engagement photos." or "Sorry, we don't rent our facility to people with children."

What I'm talking about are LDS Family Services adoptions, and Catholic adoption agencies. And religious school dorms. And pastors who contract out to marry people outside of their faith. And people being free to preach that homosexuality is a sin, even not over the pulpit. And the right of actual church buildings to allow and not allow weddings in their sanctuaries. Some of these things have been addressed in ways that protect religion and religious people (like pastors being forced to marry people outside their faith) and some haven't (like catholic adoption agencies being forced to close).

I'm also talking about this: "those who believe men can only marry women and women can only marry men will be treated as bigots, just as racists are treated today. In this future, already working itself out in states and countries with same-sex marriage (and even some that so far have only same-sex civil unions), these bigots will be denied advancement in their professions; their rights to conduct private businesses according to their view of the reality of marriage will be regulated out of existence; their children will be inculcated with a view of marriage that is anathema to them; and in general they can look forward to being told they are in the grip of an “irrational hatred” they must relinquish as an obsolete social pathology. The fact that considered moral views, and not animosity, are at the root of their beliefs, will matter not at all. The fact that, for most people believing what human civilizations have always believed about marriage, this belief is intimately bound up with religious faith and vouchsafed to them by revelation itself, will avail them nothing." (see the next link for the source of this quote).  This seems kind of outlandish, but it's already happening. That's why there has been and continues to be no meaningful discussion on this topic.

6. Why? Why do gay couples want to be married?

There is this: CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: "If you tell a child that somebody has to be their friend, I suppose you can force the child to say, this is my friend, but it changes the definition of what it means to be a friend. And that's it seems to me what supporters of Proposition 8 are saying here. [...] all you're interested in is the label and you insist on changing the definition of the label."

This also addresses that question.

and finally, 7. What will that do to the idea of marriage?

Matthew Franck says both side agree it will do a lot.  I have also read arguments on facebook from very intelligent people that pretty much amount to the idea that gay marriage is actually part of the same path that people got on when birth control became common. We divorced marriage from children at that point, and this is the natural outgrowth of that.  As Franck says, this debate actually started a long, long time ago, even if we didn't realize it: "Marriage in the modern age is a wounded institution, and the advent of same-sex marriage would injure it further. We already have trouble remembering that marriage is about procreation—and that procreation ought to take place within marriage. Same-sex marriage would make remembering this harder. We already have trouble honoring fidelity, exclusivity, and permanence in marriage; same-sex marriage would make this harder too. We already have trouble articulating why our society rejects polygamy, or even incest; same-sex marriage would render us speechless. We already have trouble recalling that marriage unites men and women so that children have both mothers and fathers, preferably the ones nature gave them; same-sex marriage means actively rejecting this idea." People might disagree that same sex marriage would further the breakdown of marriage, but his point is valid that marriage is breaking down and has been for a long time.

So what to post?

Apparently God doesn't seem to think having sex is as inevitable or as big a deal as we humans do, or he wouldn't ask any of us to be celibate outside of certain limits. (And, in fact, he does ask people other than homosexuals to be celibate if they don't find a spouse--like people who just can't find a spouse, people who are handicapped in ways that make finding a suitable partner unlikely, etc). He's not just picking on one group of people, even though the media paints it that way. )

Also, when no-fault divorce was proposed, it seemed like an awfully good idea. And look what a disaster it was. Look what a horrible idea it was for society. Where there should have been reform, we got revision, and it was a BIG mistake that we can't go back on. So the conclusion I've come to is obviously we, in our best efforts to do right and good things, to be compassionate and caring, sometimes can't see the future well enough to make the right choices. So we have to trust God because we can't see the future, and we can't predict the outcomes, but He can. And right now, He is saying traditional marriage is His choice. So, even if there is no argument that advocates of gay marriage can't counter compellingly, perhaps we should trust Him. And treat EVERYONE the way He would treat them--with love, kindness, caring, and patience.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Last thing on feminism....

While I have yet to see 3rd Wave Feminism in print, I'm starting to find a few 3rd wave feminists in person, and I'm finding that some of them I really respect and agree with on most (or all) points, and they don't fit the experience I've had with feminists that prompted the previous two posts.'s very convoluted. Clearly feminism means what you want it to mean.

But I'm still not joining.

And if I fight for things like my right to be respected for staying home with my kids, I'm not calling it feminism, even if you do.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Really why I'm not a feminist

Been thinking about this for days and days, as more and more people I know make statements one way or another.

I put in some of my ideas and feelings in the last post, but as I thought about it more and more today I realized the reason I'm not a feminist isn't something arguable like facts and the interpretation of them, although those do have a role.

I think it boils down to two things:

1. I don't like how the feminists talk to other people--especially people who are not in their camp, for whatever reason.

and, more importantly,

2. It just doesn't feel right to me.

I can try to explain or justify it all I want, but it really comes down to these two reasons, and mostly the last one. I know other people cry and say how much the feel the Spirit when they read some of these articles by Mormon Feminists pushing for change, but I just don't feel it.

Why I'm not a feminist

Feminism, especially Mormon Feminism, has been swirling around me for a couple of weeks now, and the more people get into it, the more uncomfortable I become.

Why am I not a feminist?

Because I don't trust the feminists to understand what women want or to fight for their right to be women--with all that entails.  Consistently, they seem to be pushing either a) women being superior to men or b) women becoming men. They also spend a LOT of time denigrating motherhood (which is the ultimate female condition, in my opinion, and worth honoring and glorifying) and trying to convince women that babies are a trap that will destroy your life.

They are out of sync with what it means to be a woman, and they seem to despise the fact that they are women, instead of embracing it. (Maybe I'm reading the wrong things. Or maybe they're presenting themselves poorly, but this is how I feel about what I read that they are saying. I feel like most of them are in the echo chamber.).
Take this, for example:  Great set of maps showing women's freedoms and issues all over the world. And what did they put smack in the middle? Birth rate. And the lower a country's birth rate, the higher the score they get.

This is outlandish! Why have they placed motherhood on the same level as rape and being denied property rights as bad things for women? This makes no sense at all. Low birthrates are not ideal for society. They lead to economic troubles. Low birth rates are actually less healthy for women in some measures (breast cancer, for example, is less prevalent where women are having and nursing babies). Plus, it should not be seen as a shame, as something inflicted on women, as something to be eradicated on behalf of women. As if no women wanted to have babies!  This is absurd and offensive. Why do these feminists presume to impose their anti-motherhood ideals on the rest of us?! Clearly, they aren't fighting for my rights.

If it were me, I'd be fighting for more support for moms, more respect for their important role in society, and more freedom for them to stay home and raise their kids in peace instead of being forced back into the workplace as quickly as possible. Consequently, this offended me, too:  I'm in favor of dads getting leave to be with their kids and wife, but not so that the mom can get back to work as soon as possible. This ignores biology and how long it really takes to recover from childbirth, and it seems someone forgot to ask the moms what they wanted!

This is the very behavior the feminists say they're fighting against: people (and nature) imposing their wills on women without the women's input. But they're doing it to other women! (It's like the pilgrims, fleeing religious persecution in England so they could freely persecute other religions in America).

I was also disheartened by this:    On the surface, this woman is saying the same thing I am--it's okay to lean back from your  job and put your family first. But she also agrees with a bunch of things Sheryl Sandberg says about women at work. And what do those things add up to: Women, you need to be more like men in order to be successful and valuable at work. What the heck?  Why do we have to write off a woman that cries and figure what she's crying about is "just hormones" and to be ignored? Why not listen to her? Why do they define it as "being concerned about being liked" instead of rightfully defining it as "being concerned about relationships and people's feelings"? And why do we have to stop caring about relationships? Why not ask men to respect that women care and use that to the advantage of everyone instead of trying to get rid of it? Why do women have to turn into men in order to succeed in jobs, instead of being valued for being women?

See, that's the feminist in me. She just also happens to be the anti-feminist in me.

It's that same feminist in me that says, "We should value women for who and what they are--both in work and in society. And that includes in their desires to be women, with all that entails, and to raise children and be with them." Not to say that all women must desire to raise children and be with them. But most of the women I know have those desires already. And we start feeling really beaten down by all the people telling us that's so stupid.

So I am still thinking about how (and if) to address the Mormon Feminist  thing in any kind of detail. I know (and care deeply about) women on all sides of this. (Okay, I don't know any who personally are asking to be ordained to the priesthood, but I do know some that are asking to be able to have traditionally priesthood callings, even if they don't have the priesthood). I don't want to offend or dismiss anyone's deeply-held feelings on this.

But I have observed a few things:

The Mormon Feminists keep telling me I'm unhappy, that women's needs are not being met in the church, and that this dissatisfaction is widespread and pervasive. But their views do not in any way fit my own personal experience--I'm not unhappy, my needs most certainly ARE being met, and I have found that the great, massive majority of LDS women I know do not feel unhappy and unfulfilled, so my experience is that it is NOT pervasive or widespread. (Clearly there is a disconnect here, and I wish they would stop telling me how I feel. It would be easier to have a conversation about things.)

Many (but not all) of the women I know who are openly supporting the Mormon Feminists are also not active in the church and haven't been for some time.

Many of the women I know who are openly supporting the Mormon Feminists are trained (by education and profession) to see the world in terms of inequalities. This is not a bad thing--they're the ones pushing for change in things like how the Pinewood Derby is run because it puts poor kids and boys without a dad-who-was-raised-in-scouting at a serious disadvantage. Consequently, though, they see everything in terms of inequalities, and they, like most of us, tend to define "inequal" as "not the same," especially since civil rights made it clear that "separate but equal" is usually a fiasco. This viewpoint can be suddenly very tricky when you have to deal with biological unsameness, like between the sexes. (I do recognize, by the way, that we all have our "Glasses" that we see through, including me. Not saying that's a bad thing--just making an observation.)

Many of the arguments I hear from Mormon Feminists are very clear in terms of what but not clear in terms of why. They clearly and lucidly explain what they want, but they rarely clearly state why--voluntarily or in response to a question.

There is a sometimes subtle (and often not-so-subtle) disdain (or outright hatred) of men in a lot of what they are saying and publishing online.

While they talk a lot about research and history and finding truth in our past, a lot of what I've seen published by the Mormon Feminists seems to be based on a severely revisionist history that I'm not comfortable with--and the more research I do using their materials, the less comfortable I am with it.

So, conclusions:

1. I am not inclined to trust feminists to protect my interests anyway, and I have (possibly unfairly) assumed Mormon Feminists are no more likely than any other feminists to a) listen to women who have different views than they do, especially if those views tend toward the traditional, and b) fight for women in general instead of their own agendas. (I hear 3rd Wave feminists are different than this, but apparently I've yet to meet any in print).

2. Until I get answers--real answers, not just hogwash--as to WHY the feminists want something (like lower birth rates or women to have the priesthood), I can't support them in their pursuits. Hiding the whys make all their requests seem nefarious. For example, they say they want changing tables in the men's bathrooms at church. WHY do they want this? It can't be for their own benefit, because they are not allowed to change diapers in the men's room anyway. And it can't be for the daddy's benefit because the daddies seem perfectly comfortable changing diapers on a blanket on the floor or on the couch in the foyer. Daddies in my ward change diapers in the mother's lounge when it's empty, which it often is.  So WHY are the feminists asking for this? Seems like a pertinent question. If the Daddies were asking for this, too, that would be one thing. But for just the Mormon Feminists to ask this?

3. I am deeply uncomfortable with the idea of pitting men and women against each other. I know the feminists say this is exactly what they're fighting against, the thing I keep wanting to ask them is, "Do you value men? Do you REALLY value men, for who they are?"  Because it doesn't need to be a gender vs gender thing. The  men need to really value the women, but the women also need to really value the men. And barring evidence of that, I have a hard time joining the fight because I'm not interested in doing something that would ultimately be detrimental to my husband, my father, my brothers, my sons.

4. I am a strong advocate of unity. This is not the same as making everyone the same--I'm deeply opposed to that. But unity driven by charity (real charity, as both described and defined in Moroni 7) is important to me, and so far the approach feminists take--to just about everything, even asking simple questions--seems divisive rather than unifying.

(Note: I've been told 3rd Wave Feminists don't fit the things I've observed here and are more woman-friendly, pushing women's rights to do whatever they want, including being moms "if that's what they really want". Good for them. Maybe these 3rd wavers start speaking up sometime soon?)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Did I just read that?

From Nature World News:

"The latest finding adds to the list of organisms hunted down by the eight-legged creatures. According to researchers, spiders are known to catch fishes, frogs, lizards and even snakes and birds. But, spiders preying on vertebrate like bats were thought to be a rare event."

Fishes? Not fish?

Also, fish, frogs, lizards, snakes, and birds are all vertebrates, too....

Monday, March 11, 2013

Did I just read that?

From's home page (The headline on the article is corrected; this is how it appeared on the home page): "2 arrested for planting razor blade bits in Smith's doughnuts, police "

Yeah, putting razor blades into police is risky if you want to avoid being arrested....

Sunday, March 10, 2013

I bet you didn't know Tim is Invisible

He is. Tim is invisible.

No matter how hard we work, how much we try, we can't seem to get people to notice that he exists. We can't get people to listen to his music, look at his videos, show up at his shows, look at his photos. Even our friends don't listen. I don't think a lot of our family members have heard or seen what he does.

So it was no surprise last Thursday when we opened the program at the school talent show, where Caleb and Anda sang a duet of "Rubber Monkey" and "Radioactive Monster Penguins". Every modern artist that kids were covering/dancing to in the program was mentioned in the program in parentheses after the song name. "Hedwig's Theme (Williams)" and "Rolling in the Deep (Adele)".  Everyone got credit for writing/performing the songs originally. Everyone but Tim.  "Rubber Monkey" was all the credit he got.

Story of our lives.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Did I just read that?

On's home page today: "Family: Woman killed by lion was a tragic accident"

Her parents admit she was an accident--and consider that tragic? How sad.

Truth is like vanilla ice cream

When I rediscovered my ice cream maker a couple of months ago, I started dreaming up ice cream flavors I wanted to try to make. Orange chocolate chip, peanut butter chocolate chip, raspberry, triple-strawberry white chocolate chip, blackberry cheesecake, jumbleberry pie, s'mores, black cherry, white chocolate....

We made a bunch of batches of ice cream.

After about a dozen, someone suggested we try vanilla. I brushed it off. Why would I want to make vanilla? That's so...boring. Plain. Not exciting or creative or unique or amazing or worth bragging about. And so easy to succeed at. Where's the challenge in making vanilla? Where's the romance and glory and risk and excitement?

Then, one day, after making two buckets of fancy ice cream (I like to make 2 or more at a time because the machine is already out and filled with ice, why waste it?), I found I had extra cream that I didn't have any other use for. I had cream and milk, but no flavorings. But the ice cream machine was ready and full of ice, so I threw together a bucket of vanilla ice cream.

It was incredible. One of everyone's favorite flavors. One of the fastest to disappear of anything we tried. One of the few that everyone asked me to make again--soon. One of the best. ever. ever.

I forget--often--given the great array of ice cream flavors to choose from that the simplest, plainest flavor is actually probably my very favorite. I love vanilla ice cream. My whole family loves vanilla ice cream. It's easy to customize with toppings, easy to pair with other desserts, follows any dinner perfectly, can be fancy or simple, and appeals to everyone's tastes. Nobody in the family hates vanilla. Nobody protests when I pull out a bucket of plain old vanilla ice cream. Everyone is satisfied with vanilla, and glad we had it.

I was thinking about Truth today and how much it's like vanilla ice cream. It is so simple, so plain, so unassuming that people tend to reject it, looking for something fancier, more exciting, more romantic. Something involving greater risk, a greater imagined reward, and bragging rights. Something that's a story you can tell your friends.

Take, for example, the search for eternal youth. Alchemists searched. Explorers searched. Science even now is constantly searching for the secret to living forever, young and healthy. Nobody seems to want to die.

But the truth is we already HAVE the secret to eternal youth and living forever. Jesus died and was resurrected, so everyone who is born gets to be resurrected into a glorified, perfected (presumably young) body. Their own body. Made perfect. Healthy and young forever. Ironically, the amazing key that unlocks this treasure that people have been seeking for thousands of years is death, the very thing they are trying to avoid.

Somehow, this answer--just live life and you not only get to experience all that life has to offer (including old age), but you also get to live forever in a perfect, not elderly body--somehow this answer is roundly rejected by, oh, everyone who is looking for eternal life. It's not the answer they're looking for. It involves death and submitting to life, and they would much rather submit to an arduous journey than to something as plain vanilla boring as life and death.

Somehow, truth is often so plain, so boring, so easy, that we can't seem to embrace it. Instead, we sink our lives into complex searches for something bigger and better and more mystical and amazing, and we miss the real answer to that hunger inside (whatever the hunger may be--sometimes we don't even know). With all the options out there, we overlook the vanilla ice cream and forget that it is perfectly satisfying, easily customized to fit any circumstance or need, and good. Oh, so so so good.

Once I composed a story about a man who wanted to have magical powers. He set out on a journey to find the secret to having magical powers. His journey took him across the world, to mountain peaks and deepest caves, across raging rivers and through jungles and deserts. Finally, after many years and a lot of struggle and sorrow, the journeying led the man back to his own house. His neighbor welcomed him home and asked how the trip was. The man told of his adventures, and the neighbor asked him, "Did you find what you were looking for?"  "No," the man replied. He explained to his neighbor what he'd been searching for, and the neighbor looked surprised. "Oh? You wanted magical powers? Well, you get those by possessing this magical stone." Now it was the man's turn to looks surprised. "You knew all along?" he asked. "Sure," the neighbor said. "I've had magical powers for years. In fact, I have dozens of extra stones lying around. Just a minute and I'll get one for you and teach you how to use it. It only takes a minute to master."  The man was shocked and could hardly believe it. His own mundane neighbor had the secret all along? And it was free and available? Something that precious and desirable was actually also common and easy to master? How could that be? He had never thought to ask around his own neighborhood, to take up the idea with his friends and neighbors. They were too normal. It was too easy. Too vanilla ice cream. Surely something that desirable would be hidden and take work and not be available to everyone, wouldn't it? Like finding the fountain of youth, which surely must be hidden in some cave somewhere, and not merely embedded in something as plain, normal, boring, and inevitable as death, he was searching for the exotic and forgetting to try the vanilla.

Because surely truth must be grand and amazing and hard to come by and profoundly mystical and not freely available to everyone and easy to find. And boring. Surely truth can't be boring.

But it turns out that so often, truth is unassuming and humble, seemingly boring and plain. But when you taste it, it turns out it actually is grand and amazing and incredibly satisfying. Delicious. But not fancy. And not necessarily new-and-improved or recently developed or newly discovered or the provenance of just a few.

Just like vanilla ice cream.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Labor and Birth Story, 2 months later...

A good friend reminded me the other day that I usually post my labor/birth stories on my blog and I didn't this time. So I'm remedying that.

I never have a normal birth story, and I still don't. We like to do things weird, I guess.

On the day Nathanael turned 4, I was puttering around getting ready for his birthday party, collecting his presents into one place to wrap, getting ready to bake his cake, making a list of the last 3 things he wanted at the dollar store, and waiting for Tim to come home with car so I could go buy them.

Regular old birthday.

And then I noticed the contractions. But I brushed them off.

And then I noticed they were pretty regular. Every 5 minutes. Even if I lay down. Even if I stood up. Even if I ate something. Regular.

I kept saying to myself, "Nah. I was going to have a baby on Sunday. It's only Wednesday. Too early. Besides, this is Nathanael's birthday."

Finally I called Tim at work. He didn't answer. Nearly in tears, I left him a message. When he finally called me back, almost an hour later, he was on the way home. "You didn't answer," I said.

"I was teaching," he said.

"I know. You think I would have called you if I didn't need you? What good is saying 'carry your phone' if you don't answer it?"

"Do I need to call a babysitter?"

I burst into tears. "I think so."

He called a babysitter and I got things ready. Babysitter was sick, but her husband was available, and we trust him, too, so he set off from Greeley before Tim got home from Denver, and we got my good friend who also happens to be my visiting teacher right now to come to sit with the kids until our babysitter from Greeley arrived. Turns out he was really fast, and he got to the house just as we were walking out.

So, while the babysitters were coming, I called the doctor, "I have an appointment in an hour, but I think I'm in labor now. Do I come to you first or go straight to labor and delivery?" I asked. They went back and forth and then said, "Come here first."

So we went there. Got to the doctor's office, still having contractions every 5 minutes, and I told them when I checked in that I think I'm in labor, and they nodded and said, "Have a seat." So we sat and watched the fish for 20 minutes. 20 minutes!

Tim told me all about 3-D printing. I said, "They should put fish in labor and delivery rooms. Very soothing." He replied, "I have lots to tell you, but I want to tell you when you will remember what I said." "If I have a baby here in the waiting room, it's their own fault for making me wait," I replied.

We finally got called back to the exam area and the nurse handed me a cup to pee in. I said, "But I think I'm in labor, and we called ahead to tell you and you still made us wait 20 minutes!" The nurse went a shade paler and said something about how the nurse who had answered the phone and talked to me got called home to tend her sick baby, so the message hadn't been passed along. So I went in the bathroom and peed in the stupid cup, and then came out and stood on the scale, and then sat in the exam room on that uncomfortable table. Finally the doctor came in and checked me and said, "Go on down to labor and delivery. But walk around first."

I was only dilated to 3, I think. Maybe 2?  Anyway, we went down to the main floor of the hospital (doctor's office is in the same building, more or less), and we walked up and down and up and down and looked at the art and paced some more and I was still having contractions and I told Tim over and over, "We can't be having a baby today. I was going to have a baby on Sunday. It's Nathanael's birthday today." Over and over. We were both really shocked and unsure about things.

Finally we went up to labor and delivery. I was really nervous because a week or two before I'd been in triage to have the baby turned, and they gave me an IV I didn't need because it happened that he had already turned (because Tim gave me a blessing that told him to). But as I was there, I had realized that I hate that room. It's the place where I am forced to lay in the least comfortable position, in labor (and therefore in pain), waiting for someone else to validate that my experience is real enough to stay. I hate the ceiling tiles in that room, with the pretty flower borders embossed into them. I hate the nurses in that room, even though they're different every time I go. Even though I would like the same nurse if she just stepped outside the door. I just hate that room. So I was really really dreading having to go in there and have someone tell me if I was in labor or not. I wasn't sure myself because it felt like labor, but it didn't at the same time.

Besides, weren't we going to have a baby on Sunday? And it was Nathanael' birthday!

But the doctor had called up and admitted me, so they took me right past triage and into room 2012, which was a little confusing because then we were having a baby in 2012 in 2013.

I was so unsure I was really in labor that I think I asked the nurse several times, "are we really staying?"  She said yes.

The nurse was a little bit of a miracle. I had convinced the doc to not make me have an IV because the IV sites hurt like crazy for weeks and weeks because of fibro. The unnecessary IV I got for the baby turning that didn't happen still hurt. It made my whole arm hurt. And the doctor went along with it (she's a saint!). And the nurse, when I said, "I have fibromyalgia," stopped me and said, "I do, too." So she understood everything I was saying. She got me. She let me be an intelligent woman with special needs. And she was so gentle and kind and determined to help me do this labor without and IV and without medication.

So we labored for a couple of hours, and then the doctor was getting to a point where she wanted to get home, and we all knew I usually go really fast, so she came in and broke my water to hurry things along, with my permission because I wanted to get done and go home, too, and usually after they break my water I'm done in 15 minutes. That's when I knew I was actually staying at the hospital, that I was really in labor and this was real and I was going to have a baby. That's what happens when they break my water--I have a baby. It was real.

Well, this hadn't been a usual pregnancy by a long shot.

And the unthinkable happened. It baffled the nurses and doctor and me and Tim completely. They broke my water--and my labor STOPPED. Completely. I was no longer in labor at all. Not a hint of a contraction.

The doctor said (the next morning) that she was amazed, that they can break the water of someone not even in labor and she has a baby right away.

But not me. Not this time. We had a nothing.

So the doctor went home.

I had no IV, so they couldn't give me pitocin. And I was dripping large amounts of amniotic fluid and at risk of infection now, so they couldn't let me go home (I even asked). So Tim and I tried everything. We walked. And walked. And walked. We rested. We talked. We ate (don't tell the hospital I brought food in my bag and ate it while I was in labor--it's against the rules!). We laughed. We cried. We prayed. Tim gave me a blessing. We had some of the most intense, heartfelt prayers ever, where Tim voiced every thought of my heart even though I hadn't told him any of them. It was a very spiritual night. But not a very baby-filled night.

Finally, at about 1:00 am, Tim gave up. My water had been broken for 7 hours and we were still just hanging around not in labor. The nurse made the couch into a bed and got him a pillow and blanket, and he went to sleep. I walked more. I tried different positions to sit, stand, crawl. Nothing. So finally I went to bed, too, and slept poorly for about 5 hours. Hospitals are terribly uncomfortable places.

Well, shift changes with the nurses got me my nice fibro nurse back, and she wasn't ready to give up. We had a hot jacuzzi bath that just made me feel nauseated and achy. I tried different positions. My nurse was sure the baby was posterior, and that's why he was stuck. We jokingly told the nurse that our friend was also expecting and that we had joked all along that she would have a baby the same day I did--and mentioned who the couple were, and our nurse said, "She's here!" The computers show  several patients' labor monitors all at the same time, so we watched her labor progress in the other room while my labor did NOTHING. Because I wasn't in labor at all. I did get into the positions that are supposed to turn a baby, though, and I guess they worked because when he was born, he came anterior. But he HAD been posterior--that's why I was feeling contractions strongly in my back when I had been in labor (but I wasn't anymore!).

Finally, I cried about it and then told Tim I would have to get some pitocin. The doctor had been really nice, letting me go several hours past the deadline that's considered safe to have your water broken and no baby before risk of infection really sets in, just so I could try everything. And they all left the decision to me. And I finally knew, after 15 hours, that I wasn't going to be in labor any time soon, and they weren't letting me go home. So I agreed to pitocin. And then my doctor and nurse were angels again. They did some research and found that pediatric patients who need IVs get numbing cream first, so they ordered some and held off on everything until the pharmacy got it in and delivered it for me. And then they waited another half hour while both my hands got numb (just on the backs). And then they used the tiniest needle they could find, really trying to minimize the impact on my body. And it worked.

IV was there. But my arm didn't hurt for weeks and weeks after. Well, the right one didn't. The left one, where I had the "normal" IV before (the one we didn't need)--that one hurt for 6 weeks. But the labor IV didn't cause me grief.

They gave me the lowest possible dose of pitocin, and labor started up, but not very strong. So the nurse upped the dose to 8 (a fairly common dose is 30. 30 what I don't know, but she said it was 30).  And then I was in labor. Just like that.

I did pretty good. I lasted a long time, and didn't need anything for most of it. And then I got to that point that all my friends said you get to where you just get done. It wasn't that the labor was any worse, although contractions were more frequent. I was just done. I didn't want to do it anymore. I told Tim I wanted an epidural, and he and the nurse looked at each other in a way that said, "too late!" but the nurse agreed to check me. If I was past a 7, no epidural. No time. If not, I could get one. I was at a 6 1/2. And I was pretty unhappy because the baby was in distress, so I had to lay back in that horribly uncomfortable position and wear an oxygen mask. I swear those things have latex in them--they make my face feel weird. But I also have this thing about having things touch my face--it's the reason I refuse to go under water. I don't have a phobia of going under water per se--it's a phobia of having things touch my face. So the oxygen mask was not happy for me--especially since she kept forgetting to turn it on, so I'd get it on my face and not be able to breathe at all, and then I'd panic.

Anyway, the doctor was just down the hall, and he came in and gave me a spinal/epidural, aka a "walking epidural" and it started in 5 minutes (instead of 20), and he talked too much. Tim said it was the same doctor who messed up my epidural last time (so I could feel everything from the knees up), but this time he was brilliant. Quick. And, joy of joys, he numbed ONLY my uterus. I could still move my feet. I could still feel my bladder (which  meant I didn't need a catheter, hallelujah!). I could still squirm and shift positions. This is a BIG deal to me because the forced holding still of an epidural makes my fibromyalgia crazy painful for weeks and weeks. He had barely left the room when I said, "ouch!" Turns out he numbed ONLY the uterus. Not the birth canal.

Meanwhile, things got tricky with the staff because my friend down the hall was pretty much done, too. She ended up delivering her baby boy exactly 2 minutes before I had mine. Hers was also posterior, and born with the cord around his neck, and their birthweights were only one ounce different. Pretty astonishing, actually.

Anyway, I knew the baby was coming because I could feel the birth canal, and also that I needed to push (never felt that before!). But it was okay because they got the doctor in there (different doctor than the one I had been working with, but one I like just as much--if not more) and I pushed 3 or 4 times and we got us a baby. He had the cord around his neck twice, tight. Tim refused to let go of my hand to cut the cord (right choice by him) and insisted they get the cord off the baby's neck. And then they put that little screaming baby right on my chest, and I said, "Hi, Jack." and he stopped crying instantly and just looked at me. I've never had that experience before. All six other kids were whisked away to get oxygen the instant they were born, but there was Jack, looking into my eyes, and I recognized him from a dream I'd had a year (or more) before and he seemed to recognize me, and I didn't care what else was going on in the room or with my body.  It was pretty intense. I might have let Tim hold him after a while. Maybe.

Anyway, by the time the Anesthesiologist came back in to check on me and make sure the epidural was working fine, and see if I needed more medication or we were good, I was done and everything was cleaned up and put away. He said, "I can't believe you held still through all of that when you were in transition and I was putting it in!" That was the first point where I went, "Oh. Huh. I probably could have done it without." But, I realized, I didn't want to. I wanted exactly what I got--a numb uterus and everything else not numb. It's what I've always wanted, and have asked for six other times only to be told, "We don't do that kind of epidural here." I guess now they do.  At least, here they do. I've had babies in four different hospitals, and I can't vouch for the other three. Anyway, he said, "I probably could have just given you a shot." Next time, I'll ask for that. Skip the tubing--just give me the "lasts one hour" shot.

Within an hour I could walk again. Usually it's 12+ hours later because I'm so numb. And I went to the bathroom and the nurse didn't make me go twice. She just quietly took out that pesky IV--didn't even make me keep it overnight like most do. Sue was the best thing that ever happened to me in labor. Seriously. She was a miracle. I've wondered if I didn't stall on the labor just so she could be back on duty for me when I needed her--I was only in labor while she was there, not while any other nurse was.

So the baby came at 1:00-ish, about 24 hours after I got to the hospital in the first place. He was my smallest baby, at 6 lb 13 oz (I think?), but just as long as the others--21 inches. And big, big beautiful eyes that I think he might have gotten from his Great-Grandma Springer. He was sweet in the hospital--hardly squeeked and a good sleeper, but a bad nurser. He's still a pretty bad nurser. He doesn't latch on tight enough, and sometimes chokes and often gets his rhythm off and swallows air, but he's growing nicely so I'm not too worried.  We named him Jacob (after Nephi's brother) Bruce (after my dad) Jones (after Tim, of course).

The delivery was really quite bloodless. It every surprised all the doctors and nurses. They said I lost 100 ccs of blood. In a normal delivery, mom loses about 500 ccs of blood. It was a really clean delivery. No tears, no episiotomies, no stitches. I could walk soon after. And I felt great. I've never felt or moved around like that after a baby is born. I hardly hurt at all--so much so that I forgot to ask for even ibuprofen, and I was up walking around, brushing my hair and teeth, fiddling with the TV. It was amazing. Best delivery and best recovery ever.

I think it's because of the long break. I did half of labor, had a long rest and some sleep, and then did the other half of labor a day later. I think my body did some resting and healing in the break, and that was good for me. It also gave Jack a chance to get in the right position. Delivering him posterior without any medication would have been...not fun. To say the least.

Anyway, I felt good enough that I would have gone home right then, but we had to stay 24 hours for the baby because they check jaundice at 25 hours, so we still had to be there. Especially since he was pretty seriously jaundiced--just shy of needing lights, but only just. (Nursed that right out of him, though!).

The nurse we had all day after the delivery made us both glad to get to go home. She was really nice, but she didn't treat me like I knew what I was doing. She kept wanting to give me nursing pointers, for example. That is, until the Lactation Consultant came in. I said, really quickly (because I was tired of everyone telling me how to nurse), "I've nursed six babies successfully. This is my seventh."  "I know," said the Lactation consultant, "I came in to get tips from you."  Then the nurse left me alone. Really, even the "new nursing hold people have just started doing!" I have been doing since I had a spinal headache with Anda--9 1/2 years ago. Anyway, the nurse backed off on the nursing, but she still wanted to mother me, and I know some women love that, but I don't need it. And I think Tim really resented being treated like an idiot. He knows how to put a onesie and a diaper on a baby! He doesn't need someone to rush over like he's breaking the poor babe and rescue them from each other, to "teach him how." At least they didn't ask us to go to the new mothers class. I didn't have time--too many people coming and going in my room.

I guess the hospital plans for you to stay for 2 days, because they started people coming in at like 5:00 am, after I hadn't slept well because hospital beds are worse than sleeping on the floor. And it was non-stop until it was time to go home. I finally got a break and the baby fell sleep at just after noon, and as I got ready to get in the shower, the massage lady came in. I sent her away, preferring a shower and a get-ready-to-go-home to a massage. I'm always wary of massages because most massages make fibro feel worse, not better, and I'd been sitting on that rock-garden bed for 24 hours already and needed to get off before my fibro killed me. It got so painful to sit there because of the fibro. I couldn't stand it! Anyway, I did have a pleasant visit with my dad (that part was nice) and a friend from my ward (that part was nice), and other than that it felt like Grand Central Station for hospital personnel in there. I needed to go home so I could rest and recover (who decided a woman should give birth and then have to talk to medical people for 6 hours straight after being awake most of the night because who can sleep in a hospital?! That's no way to recover!!!).

Tim and I did get a bit of quiet time. We have watched a Pixar movie in the hospital with almost all our kids (maybe not Caleb, but I think maybe all the rest?). So Tim went out the morning after the baby was born and came in before he had to go to work with "Brave." We've laughed for years and years now that when we were in labor with Caleb, we were watching "Zorro" and just as we got to the climax, Tim turned it off and never turned it back on. I still haven't seen the climax to "Zorro," and Caleb turns 12 this year. (In his defense, he thought I'd seen the movie before, and I didn't protest or ask him to turn it back on, so it's my fault I didn't see the end). So it's a big joke when we're in labor that after the baby comes, Tim can't turn off the Pixar movie at the climax. So we settled in and we're watching "Brave," and we get to the climax, and there's about 10 minutes left in the movie and Tim has 15 minutes until he has to leave for work, and the nurse comes in and starts talking and she talks and talks and talks and talks and asks questions and talks more and asks more questions, and none of it is important stuff as she tells me about her son who is an adult now and the time is slipping away and the movie is paused...and we missed the climax because the nurse was still talking when Tim had to go to work.


(So we brought the DVD home and watched it with the kids that night. And I got to see the climax.)

Anyway, after Tim got back from work, we finally we escaped with the baby. He was so tiny, the carseat seat belts wouldn't tighten enough around him for the nurse to be happy, even at their tightest. I knew we were literally driving around the corner to get home, so I finally gave up and twisted my hand in the belts on the back of the seat, tightening them so that when she checked, they were good. Then I plopped a blanket over baby and belts so she wouldn't see them go slack again, and we took that little bundle home and immediately had a birthday party for Nathanael, 2 days too late. And for the rest of forever, we'll be having birthday parties two days in a row for these guys, Nathie on the 9th, Jack on the 10th. I think that's better than if they shared a birthday, although that would have possibly given them a special bond as brothers. I like them to each have their own special day.

 I couldn't be more in love with this baby. And neither could Tim and the kids. Elijah spends a lot of time saying, "Ooooh--Dat is soooo TUTE!" (Jack is so cute). Nathanael held him several times a day for weeks. Caleb likes to look into his eyes, and beep his nose. Anda hops up and gets him whenever he makes a sound, even if he's not really upset yet. Daniel, too, protects and loves and pays attention to him. Even Benji takes time every day to love on this baby.  He is very much adored all around. And he spends a lot of time smiling at them--and, inexplicably, at the bookshelves. He loves the kids, loves his daddy, loves bookshelves, and loves music. I guess he fits right in!

He was worth the 9 months of near-hell it took to get him. SO glad we did it!

Monday, March 04, 2013

Writing again!

Now that the baby is here, I can write again. For some reason, with some pregnancies I can't write. And this was one of those. Nice to be able to put fingers to keyboard and have ideas come out again.

As usual, I find that when I open the blank page to start writing, I freeze. The act of reading a good book is such a magical thing, if I think about that I can't write. I'm sure I don't have access to the magic that will sweep you away into another realm.

So I have to keep telling myself: There is no magic. It's just words. All of the good writers are just using words. They're not even using them in a specially fancy way. They just tell what there is to tell. With the same words that I know, for the most part. Not magic. Words. And familiar words at that.

Sometimes, the blank page is too intimidating, and I just have to put "something" on it to get started. "Something" is a nice start for a sentence, and then the words start flowing out.

Sometimes I get stuck and don't know where to go next. A good writer who happens to be a good friend suggested that when I get stuck, I should consider blowing something up.  That usually works. That, or going back and figuring out what I wrote that was wrong. If I fix that, things go forward.

And I've learned to ask myself, often, "Stop thinking about what you want to have happen or where you want to take the story. Now, look at the characters. What happens to them next? What are they going to do? What are they thinking? What are they feeling? What are they going to say? Let the story take you there." It's a little scary thinking that I only set the process in motion and then the story has to write itself. But it's a lot of fun!

So now I'm fixing that confusing spot in Poison Spindle Problem because I somehow can't let it go after 7 years, and also because it's easier to revise with one hand than to write from scratch with one hand. When I don't have a newborn in arms, I'm working on the first chapters of Melora and the Maltese Falcon, which might end up being more fun than I thought it was going to be, even though I had to throw away all the previous drafts--the ones that were well-written were flawed, and the ones without plot/character problems were garbage in terms of writing. Nice to start fresh sometimes anyway. And then blow things up.

I've also learned that it's easier to escape the clutches of the internet and start writing if I take potassium first. Focuses my brain. I don't recommend anyone else do this, unless they have the same metabolic issues I do, but it does help to eat and sleep properly if you want to write well.

Good thing I have no deadline, though. Having the baby born makes writing possible. It also makes it nearly impossible sometimes!

Did I just read that?

"Baby born alive after crash kills mother" (from google news and also here:

I think that was a Stephen King story, wasn't it?

(Grammar is so fun. Is it "Baby-born-alive-after-crash Kills Mother", or is it "Baby Born Alive After-crash-kills-mother". Commas would solve this, of course, but they are both out of style and not used in headlines.)

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Oh, misquoted facebook quotes

This one came up today: "If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not people or things. Albert Einstein"

It just didn't ring true to me, although it's an appealing idea. I looked it up--it can't be proven Einstein said it. Wikiquotes attributes it to him, but in the "Attributed from memory and posthumous publications" section, and they said there are two variants. The above is neither, but is close to "If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or objects."

I can agree that tying your life to things is not likely to make you happy.

But I don't agree with not tying your life to people. If the purpose of the gospel is to guide us to true happiness ("eternal bliss" as Alma says), and God has asked us not only to interact with people, but to eternally seal our lives to another person, then I would assume that tying yourself to people is supposed to make you happy. In fact, the structure of the church has us thoroughly involved with people all the time--church is about people, home and visiting teaching are about people, missionary work is about people, family is about people. Everything we do in church is designed to tie us to God and to tie us to other people.

I think perhaps what Einstein was observing is that we don't really have control over other people. They can make us intensely miserable, they can be fickle and unreliable, they can go from friend to foe in a single misunderstanding. But, it looks like he's saying, we do have control over our own actions in pursuit of a goal, and that's what makes us happy. But it's an illusion that we have control over our goals and whether we accomplish them or not. We like to FEEL like we have that power, that we are in control of our actions and attitudes and therefore the outcomes. It seems to be the big philosophy of a lot of life coaches and business coaches.  Really, though, you can set a goal and work your life out for it, and it can still not happen. Or we can set goals that in our woefully short-sighted inexperience are really stupid goals that won't satisfy us in the long run. Again, a recipe for a wasted life.

Work does make me happy. And working toward an end makes me happy. I've found over and over in my life that if I feel down or discouraged or depressed, the answer is to work--it almost doesn't matter on what. I can do the dishes or write a novel or clean a room or plant a garden or fix a car or organize a closet or whatever work I can get my hands into. The very act of working makes me happy. And working towards a goal does make me happy--as long as it's a goal that can be accomplished. I hate working toward a spotless house, for example, because as long as we eat and wear clothes, it can never be truly done because there is always another load of laundry and another sink of dishes coming any minute.  I do that work because it makes me happy to work, not for a goal. Actually, I think in general for me it's the work that makes me happy, not accomplishing a goal. I do like to finish projects, but then I want to get right on to another.

I guess that's another reason this quote is totally not applicable to me. I don't care much about goals for their own sake. I care about working toward an end, about working in general, about living righteously, but having an endpoint written down has never really  motivated me. I guess it does other people. Just not me. Maybe it's a question of semantics, or maybe it's a question of what is personally satisfying? I know some people are highly motivated by having an endpoint to look toward and by accomplishing, arriving, and checking off. Not me--I am perhaps even happier to hike on a deer trail, which has no end and no destination, just to see where it goes, than I am to hike to a spot, get there, say I did it, and come back. It gives me no satisfaction to check off items on a list because I'm always adding items to the list. It's an exercise in futility for me. List is full? All checked off? Throw it away and get a new paper, quick. I have more things to do!

So, even though I often agree with Einstein's wisdom, this is one case where it just doesn't sit well with me. It doesn't ring true. I agree about the things--tying your life to things seems really foolish.  But when I'm an old, old lady, I want to be surrounded by people who love me, not proof that I have accomplished my goals. So obviously I want to tie my life to people--that's the kind of life I want, with all its ups and downs, and that's what makes me happy. The lows from people may be lower, but the highs are so much higher, and so much more permanent.  After we die, the things get left behind. Many of the things we can accomplish do, too. But the relationships we have with people go with us, and our families, if we are sealed in the temple, remain intact. That's where I choose to tie my life. And it does make me happy.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Mommy says,

"Hey--don't eat the platypus!" to my 4 yo.

Parents end up saying the most random things that, taken out of context, seem truly bizarre.

Of course, the contexts that produce comments like that usually are truly bizarre.

Friday, March 01, 2013

I knew it would happen some day

I shop like my mom.

I knew it would happen some day, and today as I hefted the box of oranges into my cart at the store, I thought of that.

I shop like my mom now, buying 40 lbs of oranges all at once, without fear of them going bad before they get eaten. 40 lbs of regular oranges, 5 lbs of mini oranges (plus 3 lb more yesterday), 15 clamshells of blackberries (and they gave me a bulk purchase discount because of it!), 2 cases of yogurt, 50 lb of cheese (maybe more), 30-pack box of corn dogs, 2 dozen donuts for a treat, a dozen bags of marked down Valentine candy (lollipops, pixie stix, and conversation hearts)...among other things. I started buying the big big bags of frozen veggies (and chicken strips, and fish sticks, and, well, frozen anything, actually)--the ones in the "Institutional" section of the store. I guess that means I've been institutionalized?

Now I'm trying to figure out how she managed all those years buying this much stuff with only one fridge. My fridge, freezer, and chest freezer are full, and everything isn't put away yet.

I think I need another fridge. If I can just figure out where to put it....