Friday, November 16, 2012

And now, we resume our regular programming . . . kind of.

My apologies to the Democrats in the room for having such a partisan blog title up for so many days. I have long since licked my wounds and returned to normalcy which is why I haven't put up a new post for quite some time. "Normal" of course means crazy busy with school projects, school reports, extra extra curricular stuff, volunteering at the preschool, hosting a little foodie group meeting at my house (I made this recipe and it wasn't as good as I had hoped), taking children to dentist appointments, and getting another dog. Yes, a new and improved breed that works much better for ALL members of our family--as in, THE MOMMY! Isn't she adorable? We are just trying her out for a few days, and then after a break over Thanksgiving we will make a decision one way or another. Since we've already named her Yuki (a girl's name in Japanese that means snow) it will be hard not to keep her at this point:
But yes, between Facebook and this blog I collected many wonderful messages for the Romneys which I will be fowarding on to my friends who will then forward it on to them . . . soon.

Before returning to our regular programming, I would like to say that I am actually seriously considering making politics and religion a regular part of this blog. After talking to and emailing back and forth with several Democrat friends and family members over the last week or so, I am convinced more than ever that respectful, civil dialogue is absolutely necessary or we will never become united as a nation or as individuals. We need to be able to agree to disagree and still maintain respect for each other. We need to be able to educate each other in order to encourage more understanding and tolerance. I have often felt very judged and misunderstood by the party of "tolerance" and it's obvious that Democrats feel the same way. (Well, I'm not exactly sure how Democrats feel judged or misunderstood--tell me!--but I get the feeling that they definitely think we are xenophobic, homophobic, Bible wielding white supremacists who only want to take care of the rich white man. Tell me where I'm wrong.) I think if any person or party is so set in thier ways they can't even listen to another person's point of view, well, then that's the beginning of the end. 

So I would love to ask the intelligent and thoughtful Democrats in the room to refute the main points in this video segment by Bill O'Reilly. (Please don't refuse to watch it simply because it's Bill O'Reilly . . .) I happen to think he has some great points here and would love to ask someone on the other side of the aisle to explain it to me from their perspective. Tell me this last election wasn't just about entitlements, cool factor, and secular progressivism as seen in the legalizing of recreational marijuana in several states. I heard someone say the other day that even if Obama totally destroyed the economy, his base would still vote for him on the basis of abortion and gay marriage. Say it isn't so! And tell me Democrats understand that unless Romney had half the Supreme Court assassinated and replaced them with ultra conservatives who then had an opportunity to reverse Roe v. Wade, abortion was never going to change in this country over the next four years. Realistic conservatives would just like to discourage convenience abortions as well as cruel late-term abortions rather then encourage them, and -really, who is opposed to that? Tell me Democrats understand that legalizing recreational marijuana can't possibly be good for our society on any level. (Did you know marijuana contributes heavily to testicular cancer? That's per Brandon). Of course, judging other people is never a good thing, but can we not judge that certain behaviors are, in fact, not good for society at large? To what degree do we encourage moral relativism in this country before it catches up to us in the form of millions of poor unwed mothers, who knows how many people addicted to pot (as if the nicotine and alcohol problem in this country isn't bad enough), and the complete dissolution of the traditional family which is what contributes to so many of these social problems to begin with. Sigh, sigh, sigh . . .

Believe it or not, I would really love to hear your comments and perspective. Tell me why I'm wrong. I love it. (But be prepared for a challenge.) 

And now, we really do return to our regular progamming. That is, warm and fuzzy pictures of my adorable kids doing cute and happy things so I can remember the good times after we all fall over the fiscal cliff into economic collapse. Good thing all those really cool liberal states made it a priority to vote for legalizing recreational marijuana so people can smoke themselves into happy after we turn into another Greece. (The healing process is a little more gradual than I'd like you believe.)

So sorry! Back to warm and fuzzy, cute and happy. Here we go. 

Following are a bunch of random pictures from the last few months that wouldn't constitute an entire legitimate blog post on their own. (At least, in my opinion. But then again, I would probably blog more often if I just did lots of short, sweet posts . . .) 

First, a picture of the girls' reaction to being in charge of changing the trash:
And a recent favorite I like to call "Lipstick and Band-Aids":
The artwork multiplies on our unfinished basement floor:
Soccer season ended way back in September:

Uncle Todd and cousin Ty were in town for a weekend in September to take part in the filming of this music video since Todd wrote the words and music. I was so glad their arrival coincided with Grandparents Day at the preschool because that is my second most dreaded day of the school year as the mother of children whose grandparents live hundreds of miles away. The MOST dreaded day of the school year is "Dads with Doughnuts" when all the dads who have jobs they can go to whenever they feel like it come and eat doughnuts with their lucky children while the children whose dads have to remove kidney stones for someone experiencing acute urinary retention cry in the corner and feel neglected even though they have the most amazing dad on the planet. (Can you tell this is a hot button issue for me? Right up there with immigration reform--which isn't why the hispanics voted for Obama at all, in my opinion. It was for the goodies. Once new immigrants are hooked on entitlements, it's hard to get them to vote any other way. This from the party of "compassion". Since when is it compassionate to encourage people to live off federal government programs for the rest of their lives? Where is the sense and the compassion in that? It's enslavement, to be honest! People need jobs, not handouts. Self-esteem, not freebies. Am I talking politics again? Doggone it . . . ) Anyway, thanks for standing in for Grandpa Reynolds, Uncle Todd:
September and October were chock full of beautiful mornings. I took advantage of the weather most mornings by going for a bike ride. Coolest thing ever: I finally had a chance to ride a real road bike for the first time a week or so ago. My husband's partner and his wife are really into cycling (she also has a HARLEY which I think is awesome and hilarious), and they do crazy 100 mile road races and all the rest of it. I've been telling her since we moved here that I would eventually like to get into cycling when Rachael goes to school full time, but my introduction came early when she spontaneously took me for a ride one day after stopping by my house for another reason. Where was I? Oh yeah, the beautiful mornings: 
Every year Kate has to decorate her art portfolio for art class and it makes me CRAZY because I would probably frame this stuff if it didn't get so beaten up by the end of the school year after carting her artwork around in it. Look at this beauty:
More amazing-ness:
Dad giving "horsey rides" to bed:
Elizabeth went through a little phase after Rachael got a tea set for her birthday where she was creating various types of tea parties left and right. This is the Klutz brand mini set I got her years ago:
This is Rachael's set, being utilized by Elizabeth:
Elizabeth put this "help wanted" sign up for her restaurant on a wall in our house. Look at all the takers:
And a sign on the exterior door of the house to lure in the whopping 5 people who might happen to pass by the front of our house to come on in and enjoy a meal at "Little Diners": 
Love the Harvest Festival in September down at Thanksgiving Point. They always have a heaviest pumpkin contest and the winner is always close to 1000 pounds:


Yippee! We've officially entered chilly season:
After a piano recital for the three older kids, the little girls took to the miniature harps:
I know I've mentioned this before, but the endless projects and reports for this gifted program are just about killing me. I'm starting to think that mediocrity is more my style. Give it up for Super Fudge:
And a homemade solar oven:

And "Market Day" where Elizabeth sold "Lizzie's Cocoa". I really think this girl has some business sense! She's initiated many conversations about different types of stores she would like to open when she's older. I can totally see her starting a small business someday. That is, if we haven't been taxed into oblivion by the time she's an adult and become a socialist country. (Oh my . . . slipped again! My apologies.)

Did I tell you we are drinking green smoothies almost every morning? Easiest way EVER to get you and your kids to down the veggies you know you should be eating but don't. Favorite "recipe" so far is a cup of water, a cup of coconut milk, 2 cups of kale, 2 cups of spinach (just buy the big fresh bags at Costco and throw them in the freezer), and about the same amount of frozen fruit. Definitely include frozen bananas (I've been buying them by the bunches and just peeling, cutting, and freezing them for future use) and then I think the best other fruit to add is a frozen tropical fruit mix. You don't even need any sweetener, I promise! But you do need a serious blender. That's an extra cabbage leaf in Will's mouth just to be funny:
This smoothie was actually part of Dr. Oz's 2-day "cleanse" diet that I tried to do. I say tried because this smoothie and the veggie broth I made for dinner were so disgusting I couldn't even get through the first day. I'll stick with my favorite recipe:
My kind of afternoon! Helping preschoolers sort items onto "5 senses" trays. Oh, that all of life could be as sweet, simple, and cute as preschool! (Sorry for all the awful iphone pics . . .)

As the weather cools, I have an insatiable urge to be in the kitchen. Making brussell sprouts:

Our entire family's favorite cold weather meal (minus Rachael, but she will be trained), Japanese style curry: 
You can't go through the months of September/October without making some sort of apple cobbler or pie, right? This is actually an apple, pear, cranberry and pecan crumble. Can you say YUM!?
The only decorating I have done so far is to purchase these awesome bar stools. I am a decorating drop out! And a cheap skate. And a perfectionist. And an all-or-nothing type. So it will be quite some time before we pull this place together. Luckily, it's pretty just as it is:
There was a Saturday in October when Kate was at a Park Stikney workshop in Salt Lake and the rest of us went to this random (and HUGE) antique shop around the corner. It was fun to toodle around in there for an hour or so, even if the proprietor was having a cow over the presence of children in his store:
Last but not least, some pictures of the transition from fall to winter. Ga-OR-geous!

So if you read this far and still like me despite my political persuasions (and you are a Democrat), leave a friendly and intelligent comment below to persuade me that this country really isn't going to hell in a hand basket like I fear it is. 

And God bless America: 
(That's not my house, but it sure is clever!)

I almost forgot to include a little religion for you! (Of the non-partisan variety. Though I am SORELY tempted to point out the disparity between the media's coverage of "Bush's Katrina" and "Obama's Sandy" . . . oops! Guess I just did. :D) Here it is. 


  1. As I've said before, I don't talk politics with really anyone besides my younger brother who happens to be one of the most intelligent people I know. He tends to be pretty down the middle (I honestly have no idea who he voted for), and I will decline (to make my comment more 'neutral') my persuasion at this point in time.

    In an email exchange recently with him regarding the election results and the doom and gloom a lot of Republicans were declaring, I made this comment,

    "I also don't consider myself an optimist (in general) but as far as all these world events, politics go, etc. I guess I am. Perhaps it is a naive type of faith I have rather than optimism, but I have it nonetheless."

    His reply brightened my day,

    "I liked what you said: "Perhaps it is a naive type of faith I have rather than optimism, but I have it nonetheless." That's not naive. It's called hope. And as far as I remember, that's a basic principle of Christ's gospel/plan. Fear and contention is not."

    That's my two cents for a Monday morning. Have a great Thanksgiving.

    1. I definitely am not looking for contention or fear. That is why I want more open, civil dialogue! As I see it, the more we can talk about it respectfully, the less contention there will be between people. Understanding each other is the answer to both contention and fear. Not talking about it adds fuel to the fire, in my humble opinion. But again, I can talk about these things, disagree with people, and still like them. (Unless they can't talk about politics/religion in a respectful way and end up acting like crazy people. That makes it tough. Both parties have to be able to respect the other.

  2. PS-In a totally friendly, non-partisan way, have you read this blog post? It is quite well written, and has some good points.

    It's not long, and probably well worth 2 minutes of your time. I'm not sure if you're familiar with this site or not, but it's a good post:

    1. Oh, Tiffany! I hope nothing I've written sounds apocalyptic because I am so not in that category! But I do feel certain democratic policies, areas of emphasis, and liberal values are not good for our country in general. I have every intention of being here four years from now!

  3. I read your entire post and was so looking forward to the comments and alas there were none! What the heck?! Good post! I hope some dialogue gets free flowing but whenever I talk to my Democrat family or friends they just say lets agree to disagree and change the subject. *le sigh I'll be back to see if anyone has responded!

    1. I'd LOVE some free flowing dialogue, but alas, not everyone is game. Wish you were a Dem, then maybe we could talk the issues! :D

  4. OK; I will be the one to tell you: this election was not “just about entitlements, cool factor, and secular progressivism (whatever that is?!?) as seen in the legalizing of recreational marijuana in several states.”

    So what was it all about, then? This election was first and foremost about the economy. And that’s why Obama won.

    Obama took office in the midst of a catastrophic economic meltdown, the likes of which we had not seen since 1929. He responded by moving to set a floor for the downturn and provide an atmosphere for recovery. He passed an imperfect but still useful stimulus of public spending when private investors were running for the hills. He partially nationalized the auto industry (savings hundreds of thousands of jobs), while wisely declining to do the same to the banks. He also kept fostering growth by cutting the payroll tax once the stimulus ended.

    The results: 1.7% annual GDP growth while Obama has been in office, as well as the creation of 150,000 jobs a month. Now, that growth is anemic, to be sure. But any growth beats the direction the economy was heading when he became president.

    And it’s this reality, I think, that conservatives can’t grasp: Obama won because of his stewardship of the economy and not in spite of it. It’s why we see comments like O’Reilly’s video, and indeed even Romney’s own remarks about how Obama won the election via “gifts.” They can’t believe that a majority of the country voted for Obama, even when that same majority, too, cared most about the economy.

    So instead, O’Reilly, Romney, Ryan, et. al. weave a narrative about how Obama only won because his voters want more “stuff.” They can’t admit their guy was in fact weak on details as to how he would fix the economy, because to admit that would be tantamount to conceding the falsity of the basic conservative economic mantra: tax cuts—always categorically good for the economy; government—always bad.

    No, O’Reilly must instead attribute the loss to some grand, larger-than-life reason: the decline of “Traditional America.” But even without debating just what constitutes O’Reilly’s “Traditional America” (which, by the way, sounds suspiciously like Sarah Palin’s “Real America,” loosely defined as the part of America that agrees with her), his whole premise is off point. No “bigger picture” needs to be viewed. Romney lost because most people did not believe he would, in fact, do a better job than the guy currently there. Simple.

    If you want so-called “moral” reasons in addition to economic ones, they are there, too. For instance, the fact remains that a majority of Americans (and even a larger percentage of American women) support reproductive rights. Romney doesn’t. And you need to do your math on your assertion about the Supreme Court. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, the Court’s oldest member at 79, has twice battled with cancer, most recently in 2010. Were she alone to have died or resigned during the first term of a Romney Administration, he would have been able to replace her with a conservative justice to join Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito in an unbeatable five-member conservative majority. So I disagree that liberal-minded voters were silly to worry about the future of Roe v. Wade under a President Romney.

    As for the legalization of medical marijuana, I agree with you 100%: it is a terrible idea. But I disagree with you that it was a “Democratic” issue. President Obama certainly didn’t support it, and the Democratic governors of both Colorado and Washington opposed legalization. In Colorado, marijuana legalization passed with 53% of the vote. Since only 30% of Colorado’s voters are registered as Democrats, a fair number of Republicans must have voted in favor of toking up, too.

    Anyway, you wanted to hear from Democrats, so there it is. And I agree that reasonable discourse among friends is key to bringing us all together as Americans. So I am happy we can disagree and still remain friends. Even when you are wrong.

    Your dyed-in-the-wool Democratic friend,


    1. Martin! Bless your heart! Finally, a detailed, thoughtful, intelligent response from across the aisle. And see everyone? We can still be friends and--even better--I now have a handle on how the real live democrats in my own circle view the election results. No contention, no name calling, no "hit and run" going on here. My summary (and response) to your comment, Martin, is this: Republicans feel Obama made a tough economic situation worse and Romney--a proven turn around guy--could have done a better job with his track record to illicit a more solid recovery. Democrats think Obama did a good enough job over the last 4 years and that more of the same is a good idea. I can respect that even if I think it's nuts. I agree with you that people thought Obama would do a better job and that's why he won, but it's why they thought he would do a better job (in what context?) and from where they received their information that gives real meaning to the results. I still contend the media stole this election for Obama and that there are far too many uneducated voters. I read this article last night on Mother Jones (I know, surprising, right?)

      and my interpretation of the LA Times article linked to this one is that for the same reasons Obama was re-elected, Sarah Palin could be elected in 2016. (For the record, I'm not into Sarah for president--at all!) Basically, voters are choosing a Homecoming King or Queen more than anything. Those people are ruling way too much of our electorate in my opinion. I think you overestimate the general democratic population of voters, Martin. They are not as politically educated as you. And the same goes for the Republican party! As for the legalizing of marijuana . . . You're probably right about the potheads of America--they're everywhere--but both states went blue so I am still guessing that more democrats (or at least independents) voted for the legalization of pot. Come on, Martin. Who is more likely to be a pot head? I know it's a generalization, but without any empirical evidence I'm sticking with my guess that liberal people are more likely to smoke pot than conservative people. Here's an interesting link:

      As for Roe v. Wade, none of us can know what would have happened under a Romney presidency, but he was only in favor of overturning it in the context of letting states make their own decisions--much like he wanted to do with health care, and much like is being done with gay marriage. Any time we can leave those kinds of decision up to states is a good thing in my mind, but I can also see why Democrats want to "protect" women's reproductive rights. That being said, I find it highly unlikely that we would ever go back to the 50's like the scare mongers are wont to suggest. Conservatives are just extremely concerned about the increase in what we see as immoral behavior that disregards the life of unborn children. We want to protect them more than the rights of the women who are so nonchalantly aborting them. Much like I wish everyone had to answer 20 key questions to "qualify" to vote, I wish we could have more stringent "requirements" in place for women before they do something so serious. It's just becoming way too casual, and late-term abortion should NEVER be okay, whether you're a conservative or a liberal. (ADOPTION!)

      Man, do I feel better already. Thanks for the dialogue, Martin. Major brownie points.

    2. So long as you serve those brownie points a la mode (as in your delicious looking photo above), I am there!

    3. Of course! No self-respecting daughter of Jacque would do anything else. BTW--LOVE the profile pic with your "mini-me"!


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