Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I subscribe to a fun blog with opinions about baby and children's products and children in general, from the point of view of a dad and found this on there today. Lots of fun pictures of Thanksgiving cupcakes lots of different people have made.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

So Thursday night I went to the midnight showing of TWILIGHT. :) It was very fun. Fun to hang out with friends, fun to be without the kiddos, and fun to see the movie.

I don't know that I'm going to do a whole review -- but I liked it! A lot! More than I expected to actually.

The other day my friend Liz posted this video her sister made about TWILIGHT. It's hilarious! Go see!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

As I was reading today about a new Motrin campaign ad that makes babywearing look bad, I found a really cool travel website for mom's with kids.

As y'all know, I've done my fair share of traveling with kids. First with a 2-month baby flying from SLC to Frankfurt. Then two years later flying with a 2-month old baby AGAIN and a 2-year old from SLC to Frankfurt. (With lots of road trips in between) And then flying without the hubby with a 5-year old, 3-year old, and 1-year old from SLC to San Francisco to Nagasaki Japan. And then of course there were the flights to return back to the States too. We are a well traveled family.

So I was excited to see that Mom Most Traveled is hosting a giveaway (it ends on the 18th) for a CARES restraint! I first read about CARES restraints last month as I was doing research and planning for our upcoming flight to Germany (yeah, I like to plan ahead...we still have about 10 months to go...).

As described on their webpage, Kids Fly Safe:

Forget about hauling a heavy, bulky car seat through crowded airports and narrow airplane aisles. There's a better way to keep your young children safe while flying. CARES (Child Aviation Restraint System) is designed specifically for airplanes and is FAA certified as having an equivalent level of safety to a car seat for all phases of flight. CARES is manufactured by AmSafe Aviation, the foremost manufacturer of airplane seatbelts and other safety restraints. Best of all, CARES weighs only 1 lb, fits in a 6" carrying case, fits on virtually all airplane seats and takes a mere 1 minute to install.
I would have loved one of these on our flights to and from Japan last summer. We took along one of our carseats and used it on our first, shorter flight but it made the tray on the sit in front of it unusable. It was a nuisance. But I knew that if my girls could have been in a 5-point harness, they would have an easier time staying in their seats. It would help them feel like we were going somewhere, even though they couldn't really feel the plane moving.

I'm crossing my fingers that I get lucky and win a CARES restraint because they cost 80 bucks!! Crazy huh?

But I googled it and found someone who rents them through ebay. $15 for a vacation that is no longer than 21 days.

And while I'm on the topic of flying with kids, here are some things I've found helpful. If you've been following along for awhile, you'll remember some of these from last summer (Yep, that's three different links. I'm feeling a little link-happy today).

Safety Harnesses
Make sure you get something that goes around the torso like this.
If it only attaches to the wrist it's a waist of time and money.
I put these on the girls and just unclipped the leash when we got on the airplane.
That kept me from having to worry about taking the harness on in a rush.

Baby Bassinet
The details for how I made this are on a past post, here.
Whatever you do, try to have some plan that accomodates a sleeping baby.
You'll be glad you did.

If I had to give one piece of advice on traveling with kids, I'd say
You know your kids,
what keeps them entertained,
what helps them feel secure,
what triggers tantrums.
Do a little planning to address those things and you'll have a great time!

(And trust yourself to come up with solutions based on what you have at home too!
You don't have to buy the whole store!)

Also, here are some blogs I subscribe to for travel tips:

Mom Most Traveled
Delicious Baby: Making Travel with Kids Fun

Update -- I've been asked for ideas for car trips and here are some of the things that have helped us:

* Make something your kids can use as lap desks in the car so they have a way to draw. Or buy a lap desk. We got ours at Borders for $15 each. I think that's pricey, but they were birthday presents. You could always try using a wooden puzzle flipped over.

* Read out loud to them or have them read to you or siblings, for those that can.

* Let them take turns listening to music or books on tape/CD on an mp3 player or walkman/discman.

* Let them each bring a stuffed animal, pillow, and blanket.

* If you have a Nintendo DS or know someone who doesn't need theirs for the Thanksgiving week, those are great and have some really fun kid games.

* Depending on how much charge your laptop gets, let your kids use it to play some of their favorite computer games.

* My girls also love dot to dots and things like that. You can find tons of printable activities online.

* And when all else fails, watch movies on a portable DVD player!


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Right now Esther is walking around the house swinging a toy-filled ice cream bucket singing,

catch a tiger
by his toe

She also says gark for dark, gink for drink, and gared, for scared. So sometimes I hear,

"Mommy, i's (that's her "it's") gark in here. I's gary!"

Funny is HUNNY.

And every time she takes her shoes off in the car - which is just about every time we're IN the car...she says,

"My shoes feel a little HUNNY Mom!"

Phone is HONE.

"Your HONE is ringing Mommy."

What a kid!

* These pictures are from the night Esther woke up screaming and unable to go back to sleep. I took her to Urgent Care and discovered she had a really bad ear infection in her right ear. On the way out the door to the doctor she said, "Get it out, Mommy! Get it out!" She was not a happy camper.

She's had more than her fair share of doctor/urgent care/ER visits and is usually very mellow and even smiley for the doctors and nurses. That night she was in no mood for smiles. We could barely get her to allow them to do take her temperature. Or check her pulse.

But after the doctor visit and a dose of motrin, we picked up her prescriptions (antibiotics and ear drops) and headed home. I think once that motrin kicked in she was feeling euphoric because she couldn't feel anymore pain! She was really goofy on the car-ride home. She kept talking about kitties, about getting the kitties in, and hurry hurry, and how doggies say "wuf", and chickens say "brawk". At home it was more of the same and that's when I snapped those pictures. :) Eric and I were worried she was too hyper to sleep. But we laid her down and she didn't even try to get out of bed once.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I almost used a yogurt raisin as ticky-tack.

10am and Heidi has asked for a snack multiple times. I suddenly remembered the rest of us ate breakfast while she was still sleeping. Even she had not realized she hadn't had breakfast. She is now eating honey nut cheerios.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

We missed Esther's nap today. Fast forward to 6:30pm -- she fell asleep in her booster seat at the table. Poor thing! Of course, as I called Eric over to look - she woke up. She was waiting for ice cream. So I got her the ice cream and then put her in bed. I sat on the floor next to her bed and held her in my arms, wrapped up in her blanket, and sang to her. :) Just the two of us in the room. How rare! And so sweet.

Monday, November 3, 2008

WOW. All I can say is WOW. I've had so much going through my head regarding Proposition 8 and for the first time -- I understand why I will vote YES on Amendment 2 here in Florida to declare that marriage be defined as between a man and a woman and why I would vote YES on Proposition 8 if I lived in California.

Up until now, I knew I would vote yes. Because the prophet of our church has asked us to do so. But I hadn't resolved in my mind, why it was so important that for the first ever, the leaders of the Church are actually taking a position in something political.

I get it.

Read this. It's a bit long, but so worth it, and so riveting.


I am going to attempt the impossible: I want to try to discuss Proposition 8 in an honest, equitable manner.

To demonstrate the divisiveness of the issue, let me first point out that I could only call it "Proposition 8." If I'd called it by its original name, "Proposition 8: California Marriage Protection Act," you would think that I want you to vote "Yes on 8." After all, who wouldn't want to protect marriage? If I'd called it by its new name, as determined by California's attorney general and legislative analyst in July, "Proposition 8: Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry," you would think that I want you to vote "No on 8." After all, who would want to eliminate someone's rights?

And, to demonstrate how far-reaching its effects, I didn't even need to call it "California' s Proposition 8." No matter where this email goes, to any of the 50 states that may have propositions up for vote, I'm confident people will know which state's "Proposition 8" I'm talking about.

Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times describes the Proposition with poetic imagery: "it is raging like a wind-whipped wildfire in California." More poetic still...from an article in Monday's San Francisco Chronicle:

"Michelle Sundstrom and her husband gave $30,000 to the Yes on 8 campaign and put a sign on their home. But in response, two women
parked an SUV in front of their home, with the words 'Bigots live here' painted
on the windshield. Sundstrom believes such responses must come from deep places of pain-and that gays and lesbians are entitled to the same rights as
heterosexuals, just not the word marriage. Any animosity toward gays or lesbians is wrong, she said.

"There must be such deep, deep, deep hurt; otherwise there couldn't be so much opposition," she said. "They've lived with this. I guess we're getting a taste of where they live."

Wow. Perhaps all this craziness and hate-slinging is actually getting us somewhere. A heterosexual Mormon couple has a "Bigots live here" sign parked in front of their house, and what's their response? "They've lived with this. I guess we're getting a taste of where they live."

And she didn't just say "deep hurt." She said "deep, deep, deep hurt." I know the depth of that pain. I grew up Mormon and gay back in the 1970s. That was when we were shunned, ridiculed, bruised, battered, and discriminated against by nearly everyone, religious or otherwise. We hid in the closets because it hurt too much to come out. People who did come out were called perverts, child molesters, predators, queer, sick, you name it. For those of us who were Mormon, it was even worse. We were attracted to the same sex, yet Mormon doctrine stated we were supposed to get married only to a member of the opposite sex. It is a direct conflict between the two strongest, most significant desires in life.

When I was in college, I met a woman with whom I thought I'd spend the rest of my life. But after a couple of years, we broke up. That was when I had this feeling, an impression, to talk to my bishop. I had no idea who he was because I hadn't gone to church in years.

That bishop used the power of the priesthood in my behalf, just as the divine plan had been laid out. He met with me for almost three years as I struggled and faltered. Suicide was a very real threat. I feel blessed, or lucky, or both, not to be among the many who have already pulled the trigger. I wasn't suicidal because of the Church's unwavering stance on marriage, however. I hadn't been forced to believe, or guilted into it. I had not been brainwashed. My testimony came from the heart.

In time, my spiritual identity began to gain strength over my sexual identity. I
was finally able to choose the right. But it was a troubling choice. I had no
desire, whatsoever, to spend a lifetime with a man - much less an eternity. So
that left me with celibacy. To this day, sacrificing same-sex relationships is
the greatest sacrifice I have made.

Years ago, a friend said: "The sacrifice of a loved one for an attempt to live righteously cannot go unnoticed. The loss is real, the sadness is real, in a world where so few things are real." Now, the loss and pain are being publicly recognized by Church leaders. In a fireside for Latter-day Saints in California, Elder Quentin L. Cook said, "There are faithful temple-worthy members of the
Church who struggle with this great challenge, often in silence, fear, and
great pain. Our hearts go out to these good brothers and sisters even as we
uphold the divine truths the Lord has revealed about marriage."

Back when I was struggling with same-sex attraction, I couldn't find any LDS resources that dealt specifically with the issue. I'd insist, "The Church doesn't
understand. They don't even care enough to help." Finally I realized the
Church I was critizing was not just "they", it was also "I". And perhaps "I" should quit complaining and start writing. So I did. The title of my book sums it up: Born That Way? A True Story of Overcoming Same-Sex Attraction. Few people were offering hope back then for people who wanted to overcome same-sex attraction. I felt compelled by the spirit to provide hope for others with struggles similar to mine.

The secular resources did more harm than good. Back then, the only claims you heard from the "experts" were: "Sexual attractions are a permanent part of who you are. They're indelible, unchangeable, and unavoidable. " Fortunately,
the "experts" are now realizing that, just like other aspects of who we are,
sexual attractions are influenced by genetics, environment, upbringing,
experiences - all of it. Nature and nurture are no longer pitted against each

I've had the unique opportunity to witness the journey of many people who struggle with same-sex attractions. In 1990, I volunteered as a phone counselor - originally referred through Evergreen, an organization established to help Mormons who face this trial. Over the span of almost 20 years, I've seen some Latter-day Saints get married in the temple, and others work to remain celibate - either because they have not found a spouse yet, or because they have not developed attractions toward the opposite sex. I also have friends, who once had very strong testimonies, who tried desperately to bring their lives into accordance with gospel principles, but finally gave up. At least for now.

Some people, no matter what they do or how hard they try, will never find
themselves attracted to the opposite sex, in this life. They deserve our utmost
respect. So do those who identify as gay or straight or bisexual or none of the
above. They all deserve our respect.

It's not difficult for me to understand how the body of the Church in California has become divided over this issue. I have felt divided, too. Our family lived in California in 2000, when the Defense of Marriage Act came up for vote the first time. My husband and I were sealed together for time and all eternity, and our children were born under the new and everlasting covenant. We, as an eternal family, were and are the direct beneficiaries of the Church's unwavering stance on marriage. What once created angst so severe I considered suicide has led me to a life I never thought possible. One in which I have been happily married - to a man - for 15 years.

However, I know all too well what it's like to be discriminated against. "Eliminating" someone else's rights seems wrong. And up until this past week, it seemed to go against my sense of fairness, democracy and justice as a citizen of the United States. It also seemed to run contrary to the core of my faith - the second greatest commandment - to love one another.

Despite my apprehensions in 2000, my husband and I acted in faith and supported Proposition 22 because the prophet asked us to. I hate to
admit this, but it wasn't until this week that I was finally able to reconcile
the opposing viewpoints I continued to debate with myself. I finally realized
why the leaders of the Mormon Church have been taking such an active role in
all this. It happened when I read a National Public Radio report entitled "When
Gay Rights and Religious Liberties Clash". It says, "In recent years, some
states have passed laws giving residents the right to same-sex unions in
various forms. Gay couples may marry in Massachusetts and California. There are civil unions and domestic partnerships in Vermont, New Jersey, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Oregon."

I was astonished when I read: "So far, the religious groups are losing." They listed examples such as Catholic Charities in Massachusetts. They had to pull out of the adoption business because they refused to adopt to same-sex couples. Even individuals' religious rights are being revoked. A woman
declined to photograph a same-sex couple's commitment ceremony, saying her Christian beliefs prevented her from sanctioning same-sex unions. She was found guilty of discrimination.

When I read that article, it was like a light bulb went on. More importantly, I also felt a spiritual confirmation that the prophet truly is prophetic. Here is the impression that came to me as I read:

It's not that the Mormon Church is trying to get into politics. It's that politics is trying to get into the Church. And not just our church. Any church or congregation or individual who believes that only a marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.

I'm sorry I couldn't see what the prophet could see-until this week. I'm sorry I'm not sending this letter out till now. And I'm sorry for my apathy - for being "lukewarm". Why, just last week I thought it was only a matter of time before same-sex marriages became legal everywhere. How wrong I was.

Yes, we're behind in the polls. Yes, it's the Friday before Election Day. So PLEASE, email this letter to anyone and everyone you think could benefit from it - as quickly as possible!

Unfortunately, someone has to lose with Proposition 8. Somebody's right to something will be limited at the end of the day on Tuesday. I, for one, do not want it to be my right to worship as I please.


Erin Eldridge

P.S. For those who would like to respond to this letter - whether in anger or frustration or support - I will do my best to respond to every email I receive. But please, be patient. All our kids are still at home and I work part time. Email riverwalk8@gmail. com.