Hey, look, I know things are a mess. I took a hiatus from blogging and decided to switch up my design before returning. Please be patient, because if you can wait out the mess it means REGULAR POSTING WILL RETURN SOON! :D

Hooray!

Tuesday, September 30

Mail from Mom

You know who totally rocks my socks? My mother! That's who!

As you could probably tell from my last post today has been an extremely stressful day. But at the same time I mailed off that awful, horrible, terrifyingly confusing, and otherwise frustrating paperwork I got to pick up a package! Mom had told me to be on the lookout for a package so I had some idea that something nice was coming. But I had no idea just how perfectly perfect the timing would be or how awesome the package would be.

Inside the package were 4 boxes of cereal (does my mother know me or what?), some jewelry, and (wrapped in the cutest wrapping paper ever) a beautiful, nay, perfect baby book/first year album. It was just too wonderful to get such a nice gift. It was a great way to end a rotten day. Needless to say I'm feeling really grateful for my mom (and dad too of course)!

In short, I hope that this baby loves me half as much as I love my mother.

Frustration of the Finest Form

I won't delve into the nitty gritty details (because really...my brain is already melted and I don't want to cause anyone else similar suffering). Suffice it to say that the processes involved in moving to Canada are confusing. And by "confusing" I mean "make you curl up in the fetal position and cry." And this is coming from an individual who:

* speaks English as her first (and only) language
* simply wants to be a legal resident (as in...not seeking citizenship and the right to vote or any of that jazz)
* is, by all accounts, a pretty smart cookie

So...what on Earth do people from Djibouti who speak- ok...Djibouti might be a bad example seeing as one of their official languages is French. Let's try again. What on Earth do people from Tanzania who speak Swahili do when they want to immigrate to Canada? That is...assuming someone from Tanzania can even afford the fees that go along with the paperwork (which are great and not refunded should you be rejected).

And riddle me this:

Why bother having a hot-line for immigration questions if you're never, ever going to answer it?

Why repeatedly instruct someone to apply for permanent residence within the first six months after entering the country but fail to inform said someone that they'll need to apply to extend their temporary status 30 days earlier than that?

How on earth am I supposed to figure out if I need to apply for "extension of temporary resident status as a visitor" or for "another temporary resident permit?" What's the difference? And if you answer with "why don't you ask immigration services" I will either refer you to my first riddle (if I can contain my rage) or completely lose it and smack you upside the head.

Are the forms, processes, etc. this confusing on purpose (to keep all but rocket scientists and brain surgeons from immigrating) or is the government really just that bad at keeping things relatively simple?

Is there someone, somewhere who, after years of slaving away in a government cubicle, grew bitter and made it their goal to make everyone else equally miserable by making this process as confusing as possible? If so...someone should get in touch with him. I'm sure he'd be thrilled to hear he made a pregnant lady cry.

Can I please have a word with whoever is responsible for the Canadian immigration website? I promise not to cause bodily harm. Honest!

And finally...

Seeing as I'm:

* not a terrorist
* not a criminal of any kind
* married to a Canadian and having his child in 3 months or so
* a pretty decent person
and
* not a burden to the Canadian people

Is it so much to ask that I just hang out here with my husband (without having to navigate a labyrinth, jump through flaming hoops, and walk the line of painsticks to complete the Rite of Ascension) while we wait for my permanent resident application to be processed?

PS: Can I please have a giant slice of chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and a big tall glass of milk and then curl up in a blanket and sleep until December?

I've Been Tagged!

One Word Tag!

1. Where is your cell phone? None
2. Your significant other? Adam
3. Your hair? Red
4. Your mother? Amazing
5. Your father? Superman
6. Your favorite thing? Cereal
7. Your dream last night? Upsetting
8. Your favorite drink? OJ
9. Your dream/goal? Survival
10. The room you’re in? Family
11. Your hobby? Writing
12. Your fear? Loss
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? House
14. What you’re not? Calm
15. Muffins? Yum
16. One of your wish list items? Book
17. Where you grew up? Ohio
18. The last thing you did? Phone
19. What are you wearing? PJs
20. Favorite gadget? Computer
21. Your pets? Furry
22. Your computer? Slow
23. Your mood? Stressed
24. Missing someone? Many
25. Your car? Angmar
26. Something you’re not wearing? Rings
27. Favorite store? Etsy
28. Like someone? Duh?
29. Your favorite color? Purple
30. When is the last time you laughed? Yesterday
31. Last time you cried? Friday

Kamis: You're IT!
Friday, September 26

Oh yeah!

Note: Honest Abe was never a senator (he ran for Congress, but unsuccessfully); however he was a representative. But even if it's slightly inaccurate the sentiment is the same.

Etsy: E-Bay's Prettier, Smarter, and Nicer Cousin

I pretty much hate E-Bay. The last several purchases I made did not go well. The majority of sellers on E-Bay seem to be irresponsible and concerned only with themselves. And PayPal stinks too. Anymore I avoid both like the plague. But Etsy...oh Etsy!

Let me list just some of the reasons I love Etsy:

1- Buying handmade is just awesome. Knowing that your purchase not only was crafted with care but was not produced by a 7 year old in Malaysia is enough to give anybody warm fuzzies.

2- The creativity and uniqueness of items on Etsy cannot be beat!

3- Every seller I'd had the opportunity to work with has been wonderful!

Here's an example:

I found a super cute baby sling on clearance for $15. For those of you who haven't been in the baby sling market that is an incredible price. It was even the exact colors/pattern I was hoping for. Well...when my package arrived it was an empty envelope stuffed in a plastic bag from Canada Post with a message something like this: "This item was either received damaged or damaged in processing. Sorry." Gee...thanks Canada Post. I can tell you really care. When I let the seller know what had happened she immediately offered to send another (even though it was probably the USPS or Canada Post's fault). And when the local fabric stores no longer carried the fabric I wanted my sling to be made of she offered to send me a substitute and a full refund.

Compare that to my latest E-Bay experience:
We bought a computer part to fix a friend's computer (which Adam had accidentally damaged while fixing an unrelated problem - of course if the computer hadn't had a serious design flaw the damage would have never occurred, but I digress...). It took forever for the darn part to get to us. And when it did we discovered that it was NOT the part we had purchased. We kept going back and forth with the seller (who barely seemed to speak English - if you can't speak someone's language you should probably NOT do business with them thank you very much). He never did send us the correct part. And he took so long getting back to us every time we contacted him that by the time we asked PayPal to refund our payment they refused because it had been too long since the initial purchase. Gee thanks. So we still have that stupid useless part and we still don't have our $100. Grrrr.

At any rate...I find Etsy to be vastly superior. Another reason to love Etsy? Customized items. Here's a story to illustrate what I mean:

I inherited my mother's "purse issues." We both seem to be on quests to find the "perfect" bag. We get close every once in a while. But it seems neither of us has found one that's quite right for our needs. My mom seems to have somewhat better luck than I do. I've been looking for a purse for, well, over a year I'd say...and have been so dissapointed with what I've found that I still haven't purchased a new one. I just can't bring myself to hand over my cash if I don't think it's just right. This problem has carried over into my search for a diaper bag (I've been searching from the get-go knowing how difficult a time I'd have finding one that worked for me). I've found plenty that are close to what I want but there's always one or two things that are just not right (the fabric is cheap and plasticy, the inner lining is dark (which makes finding stuff a total pain), the outside is plastered with teddy bears (sorry...but if I'm going to carry this bag around for the entire time Lovey is in diapers I'm getting one I like -when she starts carrying a bag she can have whatever motif she wants), the price is ridiculous ($150 for a diaper bag?! seriously?!), etc. etc.).
So I decided to look on Etsy. It took me a while but I found one I liked. It was simple, pretty, and had birds on it! Birds! I love birds! I think birds are pretty much the best motif ever. But, darn it all, it wasn't big enough for me (as Adam pointed out). So I contacted the seller. Could she make me a bigger one? Sure! She just wanted to know what dimensions I needed. It would be a little bit more (for materials and shipping) but still a good deal. But, alas, she was out of the bird fabric. *sigh* So. What solution did she offer? Me picking out my own fabric that's what! And, quite frankly, I like the one I picked even more than the original.

So it's not hard to get just what you're looking for on Etsy. In fact, you can even place a request for precisely what you want and sellers will bid on being the one to make your project!

And, just for fun, here are some other items I've gotten on Etsy.

These (above and below) are called Modest Milk Clips. They turn any blanket into a nursing cover (or any napkin/burp rap/whatever into a bib). Now I don't think nursing mothers should be obligated to cover up when feeding their baby (especially those with babies who hate to eat under a warm blanket). But I'd like to have the option available for my own comfort.
The two items below came as a matching set. The first picture is a pack of burp cloths (I know...I know...why get pretty ones when they're just going to end up covered in spit? Because they're super pretty and make me happy that's why -besides, it's not like I'm getting fancy-pants ones for all my burp rags). The second picture is meant to be a case for diapers and wipes. I don't think my cloth diapers will fit in the case but I prefer to organize my bag by having multiple removable dividers (rather than lots and lots of built in pockets). So I plan on using it to keep other things organized.

Of course...there's so much more on Etsy other than baby gear!!! There's art, clothes, stationary, jewelry, home decor, you name it! Here are some items I've got my eyes on for my own enjoyment (I'm saving my pennies).

Pendant
Locket
Suncatcher
(do you see what I mean about my obsession with bird motifs?)

And here are some sellers I'm fond of and want to provide free advertising to:

SewMagical (this is my sister-in-law her shop is currently empty but she's adding new inventory soon!)
Design Crush Co. (this is the lady making my custom bag)
MunchkieBaby (this is the lady who was super awesome about fixing somebody else's mistake)
AKgirlinOR
Modest Milk

So there you have it. My glowing endorsement of Etsy!

PS- Be sure to check out some of their neat-o search options (like searching by color).
Wednesday, September 24

I'm In Love!

Chrysler has revealed 3 new prototypes for electric vehicles. One of them has won my heart. Really. It is a dream realized. I can only pray that it will someday get past the prototype stage and hit the market (and I can only pray it will actually be affordable-hah! yeah right...) because I would weep with joy if I could ever have one.

But what about my beloved Angmar (yes my car has a funny name)? I still love Angmar! He's a very good car. Station wagons are pretty much the ultimate cars. But someday I'll have more family to fit into my vehicle. And someday Angmar will die. Hopefully it won't be for a long time. But when that day does come I will dream of owning...




...an electric MINIVAN!!!! That's right...a minivan that can drive 40 miles without a single drop of gasoline...and 400 MILES with only 8 gallons of gasoline!

Does the fact that I'm drooling over a thoroughly "Mom-ish" vehicle signal the end of my young and cool days? Maybe. Does the fact that I'm drooling over an electric vehicle signal that I am truly more hippy than not? Maybe. Do I care? Nope. Just give me one of those minivans and you can call me as "hippy-dippy-dorky-mom-ish" as much as you want. Heck...I'll wear the label on a t-shirt if it means I can drive one of those babies.

In other news: According to some sources I have officially entered the third trimester. Seeing as today is exactly three months to my due date I tend to agree with those sources. The countdown is on!
Monday, September 22

A Collection of Confessions

I actually kind of like it when businesses start decorating for Christmas a little too soon. Christmas is my favorite holiday so I feel all happy and giddy inside when I see the decorations come out. Then again...I listen to Christmas music year round so maybe I'm just a messed up anti-Scrooge.

If the way I handle my cats is any indication of my parenting skills then I'm not sure if I should be worried or not. On the one hand I can't seem to keep my cool and refrain from yelling at them when they are naughty for the fifteen-hundredth time in a day. On the other hand I have refrained from causing them serious bodily harm even if they've deserved it.

I really, honestly enjoy puns and word play.

I'm starting to like the "New Facebook" (for the most part).

I have never taken a single chemistry class.

I don't miss college classes (with the exception of some religion courses), but I do miss a lot of the high school classes I took.

I can't decide whether or not I want Adam to get rid of the bee nest under our porch. On the one hand I'm really scared of the buzzy little guys. On the other hand they haven't yet bothered us and I feel "mean" wanting to kill them.

I am jealous of Jen because her blog posts always strike me as superlatively entertaining compared to mine.

I ask Adam to read a children's story to Lovey every night. But really, I want the story just as much for my own entertainment.

I notice when people make public speaking faux pas in Church talks. The mistakes bug me. But the fact that I get so annoyed by bad speakers makes me feel guilty.

I love doing craft projects in a group setting because I usually do a really good job and when people "ooh" and "aah" over my results it makes me feel like a million bucks.

Sometimes I mix up the numbers 7 and 3.

I still don't have the times table memorized (I don't know what 7x7 or 7x6 is for example).

Sometimes I want to send a secret to Post Secret. But I don't have any secrets worth the postage. I'm not sure if that means my life is awesome or boring. Maybe it's both.

My in-laws are so cool that sometimes when I hear an in-law horror story I think "are they making this up?" because I just can't imagine in-laws being so lame.

Sometimes I look at those Facebook engagement/wedding groups/photo albums for people I don't know (friends of friends) because I just like to look at the pictures.

When I was a kid I secretly wanted to be in a tornado (even though they scare me).

Feel free to leave your own confessions in the comments section.
Thursday, September 18

Baby Showers

Maybe I've just got messed up priorities but I have been really, really depressed about the fact that I wasn't going to be getting a baby shower. When I got hitched none of my friends offered to throw me a bridal shower and it hurt, real bad.* I told Adam over and over again that I'd just better get a baby shower, it would all be OK if I got a baby shower someday. Then, shortly after getting pregnant we decided to move to not only a different town...but a different country. Good-bye all of my friends. Good-bye chances of having a baby shower.

It's not about the presents that come with a shower (though hey, who doesn't like getting stuff, especially of the small and cute variety?). It was about knowing someone was excited for me. It was about knowing someone cared enough to go to the effort of hosting a party to celebrate such a huge, awesome, momentous occasion. I had hoped that I would make a bunch of new friends right away and someone would offer. But I haven't made a lot of friends yet. And the last few weeks I was feeling especially glum about the whole thing. One of those baby development calendars oh-so-helpfully pointed out a week or two ago that if I was having a shower someone should have offered by now. I was convinced I was going to relive the sadness I felt when none of my friends offered to throw a bridal shower for me.

But today one of my visiting teachers offered to throw me a shower!

Have you ever felt so much joy you felt like doing a happy dance? Because that's how I'm feeling! I went from feeling glum and convinced I would never have a shower (after all, most people don't have one for any baby other than the first and it didn't look like I was getting on for this baby) to feeling ecstatic and excited and thrilled! So thank you, thank you, thank you to Mandi, my visiting teacher!

Now, let's just hope there isn't a cake like this, or this, or this, or this, or this.

PS- Why are they called "Baby Showers?" And does that make anyone else think of the song "It's Raining Men" by The Weather Girls?

PPS- Apparently they're called "showers" because that's what bridal showers are called. And bridal showers are called showers because of "the custom in Victorian times for the presents to be put inside a parasol, which when opened would "shower" the bride-to-be with gifts." So, apparently I'm wrong and it is all about the presents, or, at least, was to somebody at some point.

*After being married for quite some time my best friend surprised me be throwing a belated "shower party thing" to make up for never having gotten one. It's one of the nicest things anybody has ever done for me. Please note that I had not yet met this friend when Adam and I got married. So no-one should think she's to blame for not having a wedding shower in the first place.

Toys That Tantilize...or Traumatize...whatever

Every once in a while I see something in a store that stops me in my tracks...and I don't mean in the "Oh my gosh! That's so awesome! I want one!" way. I mean in the "What on earth?!" kind of way. At first glance this toy seems normal enough:


But take a look at this close up (just in case you missed it):

Wow. That's got to be every little girl's dream come true. A toy puppy that has "accidents." Isn't one of the benefits of having a toy dog not having to clean up after it? I guess there is a certain appeal to the realism of it all but not enough to convince me this toy isn't completely over the top. I think the fact that the main selling point is "I lift my leg and pee" is a pretty good indicator that maybe this is a toy one should just pass over.
Now, you might point out that little girls have long loved baby dolls that wet their diaper. That's true. But I'd like to point out that the baby doll usually comes with a diaper (or at least a potty). I'd also like to point out that I think that's a little odd too. Most moms will not tell you that diapers were their favorite part about raising a baby (Jen being an example of what I'm talking about). The peeing baby dolls also (as far as I've ever seen) consist of water just kind of leaking out. This puppy? He raises his leg and lets 'er rip! Show me a baby doll that makes those "going potty" faces that babies make and we'll talk.
Another messed up toy I saw recently? This duckling. I'm not going to get too deep into the debate on dolls with bottles (if you don't know what I'm talking about don't worry about it). But, um...could someone please explain to me why a duck needs a bottle?! In case you hadn't noticed ducks are not mammals. I would very much like to know what is supposed to be in that bottle; because I'm pretty sure it ain't milk.
Here's another one: While I totally get why some puppy and kitten toys come with bottles (orphaned puppies and kittens are bottle fed all the time) why does this Barbie*/puppy play set come with a bottle? These puppies are clearly not orphaned. Mama dog comes in the package with them. So why are the puppies being bottle fed? Does mama dog work? Is she a search and rescue dog? Maybe she's a drug or bomb sniffing dog? Does Barbie hook her up to a little doggie breast pump to feed the puppies while she's at work? And if so, how come the doggie breast pump doesn't come in the set? Does it have to be bought separately?
Wow. I just watched the commercial for the "Barbie Taffy & Puppies Play Set." Apparently one of these puppies will also have accidents. But...and this is a little disturbing...you have to squeeze the poor thing to make it pee...because, you know, I always had to crush my dog Dodger when he was a puppy to get him to do his business. And here's the other disturbing question: why don't the other puppies pee? Is something wrong with their bladders? Are they going to have to go see the vet for some major surgery? If they don't pee soon will they get urinary tract infections, or worse, will their bladders explode? I worry because I really don't think dead puppies make a great child's toy.

*You should applaud me for not going into a long, drawn-out tirade about how much I hate Barbie. Or you could bake me cookies to congratulate me. Because I love cookies. Either way, be grateful you've been spared a rant on the mind-numbing loathsome toy that is Barbie (for now).

Family Room

Nothing motivates you to clean house like expected company. So, you can thank Mandi (one of my visiting teachers) for the photos I am finally posting of our family room.* If it weren't for the fact that she came to visit me today I probably would not have achieved what you are about to see. Remember what it used to look like?Here's the right side of the living room. The computer armoire (Ikea) houses Adam's desktop PC as well as our TV (free) and VCR ($5). The coffee table is a trunk I bought when I traveled to BYU for the first time. The blue thing on the floor is just a little file box. I don't have a better place to keep it right now.

This is our awesome couch (complements of Liz). The couch is actually the same material as the purple pillows...but not only does the cat hair really stand out on the dark color it sticks to the fabric like glue. But we like the slipcover (also complements of Liz) so we don't mind. And above the couch is our window to the messy kitchen.
Close up of the pillows. The two dark purple ones came with the couch. The awesome patterned one came from Target. We used to have it in our bedroom in Provo. But we were forced to make some changes in bedroom decor because of space and paint color issues.

Another shot of the armoir and trunk. Notice the CanadAmerican pride we're displaying up top?My coffee table knick-knacks. That's a shot of Adam and I from our Kingston open house on the left (frame from Target). On the right is a signed Walter Rane print. Remind me to write a rant/post someday about LDS artists and why Walter Rane is one of the only ones worth the canvas he paints on/only one who doesn't make me cringe in disgust. And that little do-dad that's hard to see is my metal bird (from Target...oh how I miss Target!). I have a thing for birds. I just love them! They're one of my absolute favorite decorating motifs (did you notice the two lovebirds on the red picture frame?)!

This is the left side of the family room. The secretary desk matches the armoir (it is also from Ikea). The table was made by Adam's grandfather (great grandfather?) on his mother's side. It has two leafs (leaves? -my spell checker seems to think "leafs" is OK) which fold up. We can sit about 4 people around it.

The flowers are totally fake (Wal-Mart). But they make me feel happy inside because they're so "fall-ish" and I love fall! The chair (and it's mate at my desk) was a freebie from my friend Crystal. The quilt on the chair was made by my "granny" for my graduation. Underneath that is a super-warm fleece blanket Adam's mom made him. We call is "Canada" because it has the Canadian maple leaf all over it. It's not a very creative name, but at least it's appropriate.

The metal folding chairs are being lent to us from the Church (because we don't have enough chairs). The secretary desk is my desk. It's where I can while away the hours on the internet. I love it because I can just close it and hide the mess (one of the reasons I also love Adam's desk). On top is a lamp I've had since high school. It doesn't really go in the room, but our budget is limited to it'll do. The picture frame is actually a photo album my sister gave me for our wedding. And the little pewter tray to the right was a wedding gift from an old neighbor. It was hand crafted in Lancaster County (so, perhaps by an Amish craftsman) and pictures a farmer harvesting wheat with the phrase "Give us this day our daily bread."
~*~*~*~

So, there you have it. I wouldn't say the room is done (is a room ever really done?). But it's nice. The walls are bare for now. But I've got big plans to plaster them with pictures. I just have to be able to buy the frames first (I've got my eyes on some really nice ones at Wal-Mart of all places). I might also hang a print of this painting (scroll down a little after clicking the link). And I might also put up some home made removable decals (perhaps a bird, and/or a tree - because how cool would it be to hang family pictures on a big tree...get it? A family tree!). At any rate it's finally presentable. And it finally feels like home.

*Yes...that's right. I only have pictures of the family room. Why? Because it's the only room that's even remotely done. We're slowly making progress and I do intend to continue posting pictures room by room. So you'll just have to be patient. If you want to speed up the process you're more than welcome to come help the poor pregnant lady who can barely bend over get things picked up and organized.
Monday, September 15

Fuzzy Brained Blogging

Maybe I shouldn't but here I am, BUI: Blogging Under the Influence...of pregnancy brain that is. I am suffering from a particularly acute case of it today. My brain, it is fuzzy. But I will attempt to share some amusing (or what I think are amusing) tidbits despite the obvious danger of run-on sentences, spelling errors, typos, and meandering blathering.

But first: A BIG HUGE CONGRATULATIONS TO KAMIS (who now has her very own "Belly Ninja")!

Yesterday we had a wonderful turkey dinner at the Johnson's. Awesome family. I understand why Adam loves them so much (they recently moved to our ward from Kingston). We also played Bang, which was a lot of fun. When we first arrived and were doing the introductions (for my sake) the youngest boy (7yo) matter of factly stated (in reference to me) that he "always expects to see a chubbo!" I think Sis. Johnson might have been a little embarrassed. She shouldn't have been. I'm well aware of the fact that there are plenty of children who lack a filter in between their thoughts and their mouth. I was probably one such child. Plus it was just far to funny to be offensive. When his mom tried to explain that I wasn't fat, but that I had a baby in my belly he said quite incredulously "I don't see any baby boppin' around in there!" It was, and I'm being completely sincere, one of the best moments of my pregnancy. The humor of it all was just wonderful!

On our way to the Johnson's place yesterday we saw some military guys decked out in full gear and carrying their rifles through the neighborhood. I assume it was some sort of training exercise. But still, weird.

We went to the Church's free clothing exchange (and household items) on Saturday. Unfortunately it was mostly dissapointing. Though Adam snagged a game of Tri-Ominos. I guess I shouldn't complain too much. I continue to get so much stuff from Freecycle and the Medicine Hat Mom's Swap that one dissapointing excursion is not the end of the world.

I feel like there was something else I was going to write about. But, well, you know...pregnancy brain. *shrug*
Thursday, September 11

Rumors

You know what totally rocks my socks? Hearing a rumor that sounds too good to be true...and confirming that it IS true!

http://www.health.alberta.ca/ahcip/AHCIP_premiums-elimination.html

That's an extra $88 a month that can go towards our student loans.
Wednesday, September 10

Hello World

Add:
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Lund, Sweden
and
Bangkok, Thailand
to the list of places which have been exposed to this blog!

No word on whether the inhabitants of those cities think I'm as interesting and hilarious as I think I am.

If I ever manage to get a reader from each and every continent I think I'll have to make a cake in celebration. Maybe I'll do a recreation of the nightmare which was this art project* (yummiest waste of time ever). Or maybe I'll do something simpler seeing as I'd rather consume one of these cakes than be forced to recreate that monstrosity.

So far I've gotten the following continents:
North America,
Europe,
Asia,
and
Australia

I still need South America, Africa, and Antarctica (which will be a tough one unless some scientists or penguins take a sudden interest in my life).

*Yes, I know there's a big chunk missing from the cake. It's on purpose. It was supposed to be meaningful. Of course, the meaning I was going for was not "this project deserves a D." C 'est la vie.
Tuesday, September 9

Sinning

I'm feeling a little cheeky today. So here is a humorous look at my sinful and not-so-sinful habits.

The Big 10

1- I think I'm good.

2- Good, unless chocolate counts as an idol. If so I commit idolatry on a regular basis.

3- No problems with this one.

4- Does sleeping through Church count or is pregnancy a "Get Out of Jail Free" card?

5- I both honor and love my parents. But to be fair it'd be pretty hard not to considering how awesome they are. <---See! I'm honoring them right now!

6- The cats have come dangerously close to driving me to break this one...but so far they have lucked out.

7- Definitely no issues with that one.

8- Um...does the occasional piggy-backing on someone's unsecured wireless signal because mine is down count? *sheepish smile*

9- Nope, no false witnessing against my neighbor. But I'd be happy to give TRUE witness against them. *wink*

10- I'm quite fond of my own house actually. It suits us just perfectly for the time being. And I can say with 100% sincerity that I have never coveted any man's wife.

The Sinful Seven

Lust: *blush* I'm too modest to talk about that sin, nevertheless commit it!

Gluttony: Hard to tell...I've been blessed with quite the metabolism. Is it possible to commit gluttony with just certain types of foods...oh, say...cereal? If yes, then I'm in trouble.

Greed: Only if a deep-rooted love of snagging free stuff off Freecycle counts...

Wrath: Recently it's been spotted...but I claim myself not guilty by reason of hormonal insanity.

Envy: Not really...though for some odd reason I covet the new iPod Nano. I think it must have something to do with all the pretty colors because I really have almost not use for my own now that I spend most of my day at home. But the colors...just look at the colors! So pretty!

Pride: Oh I've never had an issue with this one. I'm really a very, very humble person. Besides, it's only a sin if you aren't actually smarter, more talented, and just generally better than everyone else right?

The Modern Seven

Destroying the environment: Well, my friends all think I'm a hippie so I guess I'm not that bad. But I can't say I live in a Tumbleweed house and eat all home grown, organic foods cooked in a solar oven while wearing a hemp apron...(though the ideas are appealing).

Genetic manipulation: I'm pretty sure I'd have to have a stronger background in biology or something to commit this one. I'm opposed to GMOs though...so that counts for something right?

Obscene wealth: Ha ha ha ha! HA HA HA HA! *falls over laughing*

Creating poverty: I don't know how to commit this one. But considering about 15% of our income is spent on giving I pretty sure I'm guilty of fighting poverty.

Drug trafficking: Well...there was that one time I needed to make some quick cash and this guy offered me some money to deliver a package. He even got me a free trip to Columbia! (Just kidding!)

Immoral scientific experimentation: It's kind of hard to do immoral scientific experimentation when the closest I get to any kind of scientific experimentation involves leaving leftovers in the fridge for too long.

Violation of the fundamental rights of human nature: I'm not even sure what this means! I know what "violation of the fundamental rights of humans" is...but I'm not sure how one violates the rights of human nature. So I may very well be sinning in my ignorance! Do we get any leeway for being clueless?

The Virtuous Virtues (of which I must admit, I am hardly a virtuoso)

Prudence: I'm about as prudent as the next person. Does being a prude earn me bonus points?

Justice: I have been known to utter the words "that's not fair!" But then, most people were teenagers at some point or another (in all seriousness I do think I have a decent sense of justice and try to act accordingly).

Temperance: Emotional? Yes (minus the occasional pregnancy meltdown). Internet? Mmmm...not so much. Cereal and baked goods? If my admittance into Heaven depends on my temperance with those items then I'm totally going to hell. *big cheesy grin*

Courage: Excuse while I go cower in the corner because I'm too chicken to comment on this one. *cowers in corner*

Faith: Hey! This one I feel fine saying I've been pretty good at (Hey, Kamis! You're not the only one who can end sentences with prepositions!).

Hope: Goodness gracious. I have what some might refer to as an overly developed sense of hope. Let's just say Little Orphan Annie and I have more in common than just the red hair.

Love/Charity: I love everyone (except the people I don't)!

Mahatma Gandhi's Seven Sins (bet you didn't even know he had his own list, I didn't!)

Wealth without work: When I get the first half of that one I'll evaluate the second half. *wink* (In all seriousness I consider myself very wealthy/blessed.)

Pleasure without conscience: I'm pretty sure I need to diminish my guilt complex before I worry about this one.

Science without humanity: Nope, but I have been known to commit the sin of "humanity without science."

Knowledge without character: Well, I think I'm a pretty interesting character.

Politics without principle: No problems there. I wouldn't mind seeing a little more principles without politics in this election though...

Commerce without morality: Well...I do shop at Wal-Mart. But my over developed sense of guilt (see "Pleasure without conscience") makes me feel so miserable about it that karma-wise it evens out.

Worship without sacrifice: I assume (seeing as this list came from Gandhi) that we're not talking Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom type sacrifices; you know, of the human kind..

Tiny Magical People

We have a house gnome. It has a fondness for measuring spoons. So far we've managed to find where he's hidden them. Some times we look and look only to find he's hidden them right where they belong. Upon further reflection I'm not sure if that more strongly illustrates how bad he is at hiding things or how bad we are at finding them.

We also have a ghost, the ghost of a digital watch which beeps at 12 past every hour. It must have been a slow watch, 12 minutes slow to be precise (more precise than the ghost at any rate).

And we have a fairy. She sometimes does wonderful things (like clean the kitchen) overnight. Adam calls her the "Holly Fairy." I call her the "Insomnia Fairy."
Monday, September 8

I'm Up! I'm Up!

You know what I think is awesomely funny? Being woken by a knock at the door and answering it to find two Jehovah's Witnesses who proceed to give me a copy of their magazine "Awake." Is it a sign? Because if God wants me to get up I'll get up! Hee hee hee hee!
Sunday, September 7

What A Weekend!

Friday: The Kenco company picnic was at Echo Dale park. Good food (just ask Adam what he thought of the monstrous steaks) and good fun (it was nice to finally meet the people Adam works with). Of course, what's an evening without a pregnancy hormone melt down? Mine took place in the car on the way home. People should really learn not to put away s'more ingredients without first asking the lady with child if she wants seconds. Ha ha ha. I honest to goodness cried about it. Later we picked up a box of baby clothes I snagged off Freecycle. There were some seriously cute items (including a little winter coat and a frilly pink dress).

Saturday: Hit some garage sales. Managed to snag two baby dresses ($1 each), a little pink poncho ($1), a bed frame ($3), and a fake christmas tree ($2). The bed frame and tree are particularly exciting (our box spring and mattress have just been sitting on the floor and I didn't really want to do another 2d paper tree like last year). Also hit Value Village (but only got one little dress and a candle holder). We had a $25 gift certificate for Leon's (furniture store). We were hoping they might be like R.C. Willey and have a variety of small household items. It took us forever to find anything under $25 (seriously...who pays $40 for a tiny picture frame that isn't even that attractive?). We finally got what might be either a cookbook stand or a picture stand for $16. We also ran a bunch of errands (joy!) and got some free breadsticks at Pizza Hut. Later Adam picked up The Spiderwick Chronicles on DVD for $3 (thanks to the Medicine Hat Mom Swap on Facebook). Cute movie. We took Nathan's young 'uns to see it earlier this year and both enjoyed it. I still haven't gotten around to reading the books but I'm planning on it.

Sunday: I slept! I actually SLEPT! I had almost slept through the night (just one period of "awake-ness"). But was still wiped when it was time to get up. I tried to force myself but, alas, failed. But it felt good to get that much deep sleep. Just a little bit ago we got another Freecycle score: a 24 pound turkey. Adam is a BIG turkey fan so this was a fortunate happenstance. Of course...the thing is WAY too big to fit in our freezer. However, a family that used to live in Kingston just moved into our ward. They've invited us over for dinner this coming Sunday. So Adam gave them a call and asked if they wanted the turkey for Sunday dinner. They did. And they have the space for it. But hopefully we'll still get to take home enough leftovers to make sandwiches and curry.

All in all it was a free/"cheap-as-free" weekend; which is my absolute favorite kind!

And, since I've actually got one, here's a new belly picture at 24 weeks 2 days (I need a bit of a hair cut - nothing drastic, just something a little more stylish/less frumpy)! Truth be told, I'm kind of fond of my little purple stretch marks. They're a happy little visual reminder of the wonderful gift I'm getting this Christmas. And they're a little like a badge of honor too. But ask me how I feel about them if they haven't faded in a year and we'll see if I'm still fond of them. Ha ha.
Wednesday, September 3

Holly Shumate: International Sensation

So I added a little applet that shows where my readers are (see bottom of page). While I'd like my map to be plastered with more little stars I must say I'm pretty pleased with the results so far. I've gotten visitors from Mexico, Australia, and even Egypt! And of course I've also gotten readers from Canada and the US. But can you blame me for thinking an audience in Cairo is more exciting?

Also, I'm trying out the new Google browser, Chrome. It is still in Beta so there are bugs here and there. I wouldn't recommend most of my friends and family download it just yet (unless you're interested in reporting the occasional bugs, which Google makes very easy, in order to help them work out the kinks). But once this baby is finished up I may just permanently convert from Firefox. Considering my love and devotion to the browser that's a pretty big deal. Of course, anything is better than Internet Explorer. You gotta love well designed (free) software!
Tuesday, September 2

I Get On My Soapbox Because I Have Something Important to Say

Disclaimer: I will be talking about penises in this entry. I will not be talking about them in a crude, joking, or otherwise innapropriate manner but I thought I should give a heads up anyway.

If you never, ever read another post on my blog again I won't mind as long as you read this one! While my baby girl will be born sans penis, circumcision is a very big issue for me. And that is why I feel the need to get on my soapbox. If you are having a baby, may someday have a baby, or know someone who is or may be having a baby please please please read this post!

I've recently been reading The Meanest Mom blog. Jana, the author, has an excellent sense of humor and excellent writing skills to boot. I have, however, found myself becoming more and more disenfranchised with the blog. After a while the relentless negativity (even if for humors sake) wears you down. And you have to wonder if someday her kids will read this blog and feel as if Mom didn't like them (95% of her content is complaining about her kids' behavior). But, seeing as I woke up around 2 something this morning and didn't get back to sleep until after Adam left for work (shortly before 7am) I had some time to kill so I dove into the archives.

I came across this post concerning circumcision. My feelings on the matter aren't exactly a secret (unless you've completely missed the banners and buttons to the right and at the bottom of my blog). And it wasn't exactly the post that upset me but rather the comments. After all, while ignorance is unfortunate and certainly not a quality to seek after, Jana can hardly be treated as if she committed a capital offense because a doctor failed to get informed consent before circumcising her boys. So while it's sad that her boys had that done to them it (unfortunately) happens like that every day. What got me so upset that I had trouble sleeping once I went back to bed were the things people said in response to her post (which was about the use of skin from circumcisions for skin grafts).

And now on to the nitty gritty stuff. I'll start with the comments that angered me/annoyed me/broke my heart/etc. Some of my responses might seem out of left field at first. But I assure you, by the time you get to the end of this post you will understand entirely where I am coming from.

"Also, I think this is just a great answer in the pro/con circumcision debate. I think all the anti-circumcision people would probably just have to shut up if you mentioned that your son's foreskin had been used as a skin graft on some terribly mutilated burn victim."

I'm sorry...not only will I not "just have to shut up" I will feel compelled to point out that cutting off a healthy part of your baby boy because someone might use that TINY piece of skin in a graft is not only not a "great answer in the pro/con circumcision debate" it's about as ridiculous as suggesting we surgically remove any healthy (irreplaceable and needed) body part from a living person (especially one who cannot advocate for his or her own rights) to give it to someone else. Removing the foreskin is not exactly the same as donating a kidney folks...if for no other reason than a little baby boy doesn't get to make the decision.

"Awesome. Now when people try to give me guff about circumcising my sons I will just tell them they were part of an organ donor program, saving lives. It sounds so much better than saying I didn't want to clean un-snipped peepees"

After I picked my jaw up off the floor this one made my blood boil. Aside from the fact that there are any number of sources for skin for grafts aside from baby penises (and really, is it that hard to use the actual name rather than "peepee?") did you ever stop to think why it sounds so awful to say you circumcised your little boys because you "didn't want to clean un-snipped peepees"? It sounds awful because it is awful. You let a doctor perform cosmetic surgery and remove a normal, healthy, and beneficial part of your babies' bodies because you wanted convenience?! That's not only incredibly selfish it's silly. Know why? Because uncirmcised penises are no harder to care for than circumcised! In fact, seeing as you don't have to care for the bloody mess after the surgery intact penises are easier to care for (I will address the care of intact penises further down, please, keep reading).

...

One of my favorite articles on circumcision was written in a question and answer format. So please pardon my appropriation of that style for my own use.

Isn't it cleaner?

No, no, and no. An intact penis is healthy and happy with just one little step: washing; as in washing the same way you would a finger. There's no need to retract the foreskin (in fact do not EVER EVER do that)! And as for concerns about infection (such as yeast) if one should occur it is treated in the exact same way you treat a woman's yeast infection (which is most certainly not cutting off parts of her genitals). And cutting off body parts or parts of body parts to prevent the chance of a possible problem in the future is an awfully dramatic step, don't you think? Or would you advocate removing baby girls' breast tissues to prevent cancer?

Also, the recent studies indicating circumcision may help prevent AIDS were so poorly done as to render the results useless. Besides which, chopping off the foreskin hardly seems like a logical preventitive measure when abstinence or condoms have been shown to work just fine.

It's just a little snip, right?

Wrong! Circumcision is a notoriously inprecise procedure. As much as HALF of the sensitive foreskin gets removed. And anyone who tries to tell you it doesn't hurt little baby boys is either frightenly ignorant or lying. Most circumcisions are done with no anethestic. And when one is used they don't tend to be effective. The argument some make that it must not hurt that much because babies fall asleep right after the procedure fail to tell you that falling asleep like that is actually a defense mechanism. It's easier for the baby to fall asleep than to stay awake and cope with the pain from being strapped down and sliced up (yes, they strap your baby down). And while it is extremely rare it is not completely unheard of for circumcisions to be botched so badly that a baby dies.

Is it really that big a deal?

I don't know. You tell me. How do you feel about female circumcision? Pretty barbaric that someone would "intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons" huh? Guess what. That's exactly what male circumcision is. But at least people have the decency to call female circumcision what it really is: "genital mutilation."

No really. I'm serious. Circumcision of the foreskin is not medically indicated (as Doctors Opposing Circumcision will tell you). It is cosmetic surgery (and anyone who thinks a baby should be circumcised so he looks like his dad or older brother needs a serious priority check). And it's something that cannot be undone (while there are some methods of foreskin "restoration" they only provide some of the benefit of being intact, the true damage can never be fixed 100%). Circumcision is also a violation of the rights of a child. Ultimately it is not your penis. Only the owner of the penis should get to decide if he wants to lose all the benefits of having an intact penis.

There is so much more that can be said on this topic. And while I like to think of myself as a pretty decent writer I also know there is no use in reinventing the wheel. So please, visit the following sites. They'll address some of what I've addressed and also some things I've left out (like the fallacy of "the locker room argument").

The Case Against Circumcision (article)

The Case Against Circumcision (forum)

Circumcision (Dr. Sears)

Deciding Whether or Not To Circumcise Your Baby Boy (also Dr. Sears)

NOCIRC (National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers)

In closing I want to say a few more things:

If you've already circumcised your boys because no one told you these things please know my anger is not directed at you. You have my deepest sympathies. Your doctor did not do his job by giving you the facts so that you could provide informed consent. He (or she) should be blamed, not you. $ometime$ you have to wonder what motivate$ doctor$ to continue performing the$e $urgeries even though the American Academy of Pediatrics reccomends routine infant circumcision NOT be performed (among many other medical organizations). My anger is caused by people who continue to spread complete nonsense about the issue in an attempt to defend a mistake they once made, or worse, by people who knew ahead of time the facts about why circumcision is a bad, bad idea but went ahead and did it anyway.

I only get so riled up because I believe so strongly that routine infant circumcision hurts boys (and men). So please, check out some of the great resources I've linked to. Please, protect any future baby boys you'll have the joy of bringing into this world. And please, please, please if you're ever in a position to make this choice remember this: it's not really your choice to make.

Happy People Are Like Me...

The happiest people (I think) are those who are just very easy to please. After all, with a grateful attitude it's a lot easier to gloss over the bad stuff and truly appreciate the good stuff (no matter how small).

So I guess it's a good sign that I'm so darned excited about seeing a homepage image I've never seen before! I assume those are the little fox's ancestral ghosts coming to accept his offering of mandarin oranges (perhaps tangerines or clementines...or maybe just regular ol' oranges). I thought I had seen them all but how wrong I was! Now I have to wonder if there might be other vignettes I've missed...

Too cute!

If you have no idea what this "homepage image" thing is that I'm talking about I explain it in this post.

2:43 AM

This is not what I had in mind when I said I wanted to be a morning person! But, here I am, wide awake. Not sure what woke me this morning...possibly the very loudly purring fur ball curled up on top of me. Lily (the usually anti-social cat) sleeping happily on top of you makes for a very sweet moment once you get past the uncomfortable parts. But it isn't exactly sleep inducing (particularly when she's sleeping right on your big pregnant belly). *sigh* Oh well.

So, a project I've been working on for some time now is my "Mama Book." It's basically a collection of articles and such on parenting topics such as breastfeeding, attachment parenting, circumcision, babywearing, and much, much more. In addition to being an excellent resource for me (for those moments when I say to myself "dang it! I KNOW I read about this somewhere...") it will also come in handy should I be one of those unfortunate mothers that gets criticized, ridiculed or otherwise treated shamefully for my decisions about how I raise my baby. Nothing like having page upon page of research to back you up. Of course, I don't know who I expect to give me a hard time. Certainly not my mother or mother-in-law. They're way too cool for that. But I've heard too many horror stories from other women to assume I'll get by without incident.

But, like I said, it's a great resource for me. By the time I'm done it'll basically be the best child-care manual ever. And I've started including some "motivational" materials as well, such as talks given by Church leaders. This one in particular meant a lot to me. And I've got some funny little cartoons and stuff to throw in there as well.

Adam and I have been meaning to get some sort of oil lamp for a while now (mostly in case of power outages which seem to be relatively common here but also just because they make a beautiful, warm light source). We've settled on getting a hurricane lantern (like this). They're just a lot more cat-proof than the all glass ones (like this). It's too bad the cats can't be trusted because I love the old lamp style. At any rate, we hadn't been able to find one in town. And in addition to wanting to avoid shipping costs Adam was anxious to get our lamp ASAP. So he pulled out the phone book today and called around to see who might carry them. Canadian Tire had hurricane lanterns for about $13 (score!). What they failed to tell Adam is that they were going to be closing in about 5 minutes because of Labor Day (which is weird since typically retail goes crazy on Labor Day). So we got over there only to discover a deserted parking lot and locked doors. Adam was quite forlorn and understandably annoyed at the guy on the phone who didn't think that the early closing hour was pertinent information. At least we had other errands to run at nearby locations so it wasn't a total waste of gas.

I've been told that papaya enzyme is a great way to kill pregnancy heartburn. You can get little capsules or (so I'm told) dried papaya works great. Since I've been battling heartburn a little bit lately (and the Tums just aren't cutting it) I've been looking forward to getting some dried papaya (and hey, the yum factor is a definite plus). So while we were out running errands that was on the list of items we needed. Adam spotted a bag at Wal-Mart but it wasn't a particularly well priced bag. And the papaya slices had added sugar. Believe me...I get plenty of sugar in my diet already. So I passed. After all, Superstore (where we were headed next for our groceries) has a pretty awesome selection of dried fruits...


...except papaya.

I think I might be the world's first invisible pregnant lady. I keep hearing stories about how when you're pregnant strangers treat you differently. Some treat you wonderfully: holding doors open for you, letting you cut in front of them in lines (especially for the bathroom), that sort of thing. Others treat you not so wonderfully (and if you find yourself in the following description you should know that the utter disdain and loathing the pregnant population has for you is quite strong): making comments about your weight, passing along old wives' tales and labor horror stories, touching your belly without first asking for permission, inquiring as to the state of your cervix, breasts, or some such body part, etc. But so far I've got nothing. No nice stories about helpful individuals and no horror stories about people who seem to think a pregnant woman's body is open to discussion or touching. Now, I'm not too disappointed about the latter (although I'm sure such incidents would make for PRIME blog material). But I do find it odd that no-one seems to notice the big round thing attached to my front. It makes me wonder if I could get away with smuggling basketballs under my shirt. It also makes me wonder if maybe I just don't get out enough to be running into these people.

You know what's sad? My cat (Girla) is so fat that I can hear her clump clump clumping long before she actually walks into view. She's not exactly lazy. She gets plenty of exercise chasing specks of light and shadows. But somehow she's just big. She's always been big. I guess she'll always be big. But even fat cats are supposed to be graceful right? Even fat cats are supposed to walk silently (in order to sneak up on their prey) right? Girla would starve to death if her food posed any more of a challenge than walking to the bowl and munching.

I've discovered some added bonuses to living in Canada (besides the whole universal health care thing):

* I still get enough news about the election to know what's going on, but not enough to be driven entirely insane.
* Drivers here actually seem to care about pedestrians. Provo drivers could learn a thing or two from their neighbors to the North.
* People don't think I'm a total hippie because I care about the environment and like to eat organic food.
* We can use the word "eh" without anyone batting an eye.
* I can get poutine.
* People have some seriously awesome (but strange) garage sale hours (this may be a local thing rather than a Canadian thing). Honestly, it never ceases to amaze me how many people keep their garage sale running until 5pm!

And, in closing, I have provided a link to Medicine Hat's Wikipedia page. You know, just in case you were interested or something. (Disclaimer: the teepee is, in my opinion, not just highly overrated, but not really a teepee - if it doesn't keep the rain off or the wind out it shouldn't count).
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